HELMETH, Peter, of Dunwich, Suff.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Dunwich Sept. 1390-3, ?1395-6, 1400-1, 1403-4.1
The Helmeths probably derived their name from Emneth in Norfolk, but they had settled in Dunwich by the late 13th century, when an early namesake of the MP was mayor.2 As bailiff, Peter represented Dunwich in a suit in the admiral’s court held in November 1392, and a few weeks later he made the returns to the Parliament summoned for January 1393. In 1403 he paid 4s. towards the first half of the parliamentary subsidy, then being listed as a resident of St. Leonard’s parish. Four years later he was fined 2s. in the borough court for not cleaning his section of the ditch around King’s Meadow and 40d. for an encroachment on the common at Grey Friars. On other occasions he was associated in petty pleas with Richard Griston*, and in 1412 he was sued by Hugh Thorpe* for a debt of 12s.3d.3
Helmeth witnessed the Dunwich return to the Parliament of 1414 (Nov.), but may not have been the same person as attested those of 1421 (May), 1423, 1426, 1427 and 1431. Between 1427 and 1430 his namesake is recorded as owing land in the town worth 21d.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: K.N. Houghton
Variants: Elmeth, Helmet.