HEYBERER, William (d.1390/1), of Gloucester.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Gloucester Mich. 1361-5, 1370-1, 1372-3, 1376-7, 1384-5.1
Commr. of arrest, Glos. Oct., Dec. 1375, Feb. 1386, Aug. 1387, Mar. 1388; gaol delivery, Gloucester castle Aug. 1381, Mar. 1383, May 1384, May 1385, Apr. 1386; inquiry, Gloucester July 1381 (maladministration of St. Bartholomew’s hospital), Glos. Feb. 1385 (felony and insurrection), Aug., Nov. 1388 (the administration of St. Briavels castle), Bristol, Glos., Som., Devon Nov. 1388, May 1389 (evasion of customs, etc.), Glos., Herefs. Nov. 1388 (the forfeited estates of Sir Simon Burley); oyer and terminer, Glos. Mar., Dec. 1382; sewers Oct. 1382; array, Gloucester June 1385.
Tax collector, Gloucester Mar. 1377, Glos. Dec. 1384; surveyor Mar. 1381.
Surveyor of the works, Gloucester castle 14 July 1377-c.1378, 12 May 1379-Sept. 1381, Sept. 1384-Feb. 1389, 28 Oct. 1389-d.
J.p. Glos. 26 May 1380-July 1389.
William came from a Gloucester family, a probable ancestor being Roger Heyberer, parliamentary burgess in 1295 and bailiff from 1299 to 1301. His kinsman, another William Heyberer, had become chaplain of St. Mary de Crypt by 1353, and was rector there by 1357.2 He himself, however, was not only the most prominent figure in the town during this period (representing Gloucester in Parliament on as many as nine occasions), but he also joined the ranks of the local gentry and was elected knight of the shire five times.3
Heyberer’s involvement in Gloucester affairs began in 1359 and was to last until his death over 30 years later. His first appointment as bailiff in 1361 was extended for another three consecutive years, and during the whole period he twice represented the borough in the Commons (in 1361 and 1362). Similarly, he was again bailiff when returned to Parliament in 1371 and 1372. His elections in 1365, 1373 and 1377 all followed immediately upon service in the same post. It was again while bailiff that he was returned for the shire to the November Parliament of I 384 and only shortly after relinquishing office that,it October 1385, he was re-elected. Meanwhile, in July 1370, Heyberer had been one of the burgesses who assisted in an official investigation of the town’s liberties, and in January following he had acted as a juror in a matter of some, if only local, importance:the problem posed by a royal grant to the townspeople of ‘Seintmartyn-Place’ enabling them to build a clock tower, a privilege which was contested by the parson of St. Martin’s church. When, in June 1376, the ‘good men of Gloucester’ were granted pavage for one year towards the upkeep of their highways, it was stipulated that Heyberer, with John Head*, should supervise repairs.4 This appointment saw the beginning of Heyberer’s close association with Head in official duties, notably in connexion with the works at Gloucester castle. In July 1377 the two men were named overseers and controllers of the works which Sir John Beauchamp† of Powick, then constable of the castle, had been instructed to undertake. Then, two years later, Heyberer was appointed to authorize expenditure on further repairs to the castle and employ the necessary workmen, with Head as controller. As surveyor Heyberer accounted at the Exchequer for extensive projects, completed under his direction between May 1379 and September 1381, for which he had been allowed £90 out of the fee farm owing to the Exchequer by the borough and £39 from Pershore abbey. He exceeded this amount by nearly £6, however, in purchasing the raw materials required, such as stones, scaffolding and nails, and in paying the wages of the carpenters, cementers and labourers employed. He continued to overspend when responsible for further works at the castle between September 1384 and February 1389. Nevertheless, in the following autumn he was appointed to arrange for the repair of houses within the castle walls on a budget of 100 marks received from the sheriff, Head being again named as controller. Neither man, however, lived to complete the task, for by the time their accounts were due both had died, and it was two of Heyberer’s executors who in fact rendered account at the Exchequer.5
From 1375 Heyberer was regularly and frequently commissioned to perform local administrative tasks of one sort or another. Most notably he became a j.p. in the county five years later, and he is known to have regularly attended sessions at Gloucester and Chipping Sodbury.6 Several occasional commissions followed soon after the Merciless Parliament of February 1388, which he had attended as knight of the shire. They included an investigation into the administration of St. Briavels castle under its custodian, Guy, Lord Bryan, notably the checking of his accounts, and an evaluation of the estates of the late Sir Simon Burley. Nor was this later employment restricted to Gloucestershire: Heyberer was also appointed to investigate reports of smuggling and illegal concealment of crown revenues in Bristol, Somerset and Devon, and other commissions concerned Herefordshire.
Heyberer’s local connexions kept him busy in other ways. In 1371 he had stood bail for Walter Arnald, a chaplain imprisoned at the suit of the vicar of Lydney, and over the years he often provided securities at the Exchequer for lessees of land in the region, among them Sir John Thorpe†, his fellow j.p., John Cassy (afterwards chief baron of the Exchequer), and Richard Nash*, sometime knight of the shire for Herefordshire.7 A friend of longstanding was Thomas Steward, Heyberer’s fellow MP in 1372 and 1373, who named him as one of the trustees of the manor of Alvington to ensure its settlement on his daughter, Margaret, and her husband Edmund Blount. Heyberer was later responsible for drawing up a petition to the King’s Council for a special assize to hear charges against trespassers at Alvington, while the property was in the trustees’ possession. In 1381, shortly before Blount’s death, Heyberer was appointed as a feoffee of part of the manor of Bitton, and when, that same year, dower was assigned to Blount’s widow it was done in his presence, for he was said to be one of the nearest friends of the young heir.8 Heyberer also acted as a trustee in the manor of Haresfield which, in 1383, belonged to Sir Edward St. John of Stopham, Sussex, and his wife Joan.9 Among his co-feoffees on the last occasion was his colleague John Head, with whom he was constantly connected, not only in the works at Gloucester castle, but also in bringing joint actions for debt, and, in 1386, in applying for royal licence to exchange a shop in Gloucester for land of the equivalent value held by St. Bartholomew’s hospital in Hardwicke.10
Heyberer participated in several religious benefactions in the course of his career. As early as 1364 he had joined in the foundation of a chantry in St. Michael’s church, Gloucester, and five years later he had helped to provide for a light to burn in the priory church of Llanthony during mass. Finally, towards the end of his life, in 1389 he joined with John Head and Sir Laurence Sebrooke* (who had married Edmund Blount’s widow, Margaret Steward), in granting some of Head’s property in Maisemore to St. Peter’s abbey, Gloucester. The jurors at the inquiry then held to ascertain whether licence should be awarded said that Heyberer possessed four messuages and six shops in the town, as well as lands in the suburbs, altogether valued at 20 marks a year. Whether he still owned the property in Tewkesbury which he had bought in 1371, or that in Charlton Kings and Newenton acquired in 1375, is not revealed.11
Heyberer is last known to have been alive at the time of his election to the Parliament of January 1390. One of his executors was his fellow MP on that occasion, John Banbury I, the Gloucester merchant, while another was Sir Laurence Sebrooke, who then represented the shire. In May 1391 they and th