HELIER, William, of Melcombe Regis, Dorset.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Melcombe Regis Sept. 1394-5, 1410-11, 1412-13, 1414-15; constable 1397-8.1
Helier was first returned to Parliament for Melcombe Regis during his first known occupation of the office of bailiff of the town; and the community paid him 13s.4d. for his expenses in travelling to Westminster. As bailiff he also rode to Dorchester on several occasions on the business of the community. In fact, most of the evidence about his career relates to merely local matters. He appeared at the borough court in October 1396 to pay a 6d. fine for one Richard London, who had committed a breach of the peace; and in May following he was himself fined for unjustly raising a hue and cry against the mayor’s chaplain. On 6 Nov. 1397, only shortly after his election as a constable and, incidentally, when he had only recently returned from Westminster following the prorogation of Parliament, actions were brought against him for certain misdemeanours, with the result that he was amerced for making false accusations against Eustace Kymer*, and required to answer a charge of assault on both Kymer and Henry Barbour II*.2
It was perhaps the same William Helier who, in 1413, described as ‘alias Cole’, sold his house in Dorchester for £9; and undoubtedly our MP who was one of the delegates attending the shire court held at Dorchester in 1417, 1420 and 1421 to report the outcome of the Melcombe parliamentary elections.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. HMC 5th Rep. 577; E368/183, 185, 187.
- 2. HMC 5th Rep. 576-7.
- 3. Recs. Dorchester ed. Mayo, 183, 199; C219/12/2, 4, 6. If he was the same as William Helier alias Cole, then he also attended the shire elections, under his alias, in 1429. No evidence has been found to identify him with the William Helier who, with his wife Joan, was a member of the fraternities of the Two Torches and St. Katherine in St. Mary’s Church, Bridport, in 1428. That William predeceased his wife, but she was still living as his widow in 1461 (Dorset RO, B3/CD16, f. 2, 22 f. 2d).