HOLT, Thomas, of Canterbury, Kent.
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Family and Education
m. bef. Jan. 1408, Joan.
Commr. of inquiry, Kent Feb. 1386 (wastes in the earl of March’s manor of Erith), Mar. 1388 (inability of Faversham to provide ships for royal service as required by its charter).
Holt was living in Canterbury by 1372, and in the course of the next 20 years he acquired a number of properties in the city, situated for the most part near Westgate. That his career as a lawyer proved financially rewarding is further suggested by his ability to purchase land in several places in east Kent, concentrated on the Isle of Thanet and in the area between Canterbury and Sandwich.1 Holt’s professional training had ended by the early 1370s, for he then began to make appearances in the court of common pleas for the purpose of registering conveyances of estates in Kent. On several occasions subsequently he acted as an attorney at the assizes held at Rochester and Canterbury, and as a surety for Kentish defendants engaged in litigation in the central courts.2 His competence as a trustee won him such clients as Henry Burton, a London citizen who in 1375 included him among those to whom he gave all his goods and corn, so that the grantees might dispose of them as their own. In 1377 Holt joined others in obtaining a royal licence to grant to the Charterhouse in London an estate near Canterbury, which they held in reversion expectant on the deaths of Sir Laurence Brenle and his wife; and in a more personal act of benefaction in 1380 he was associated with certain neighbours of his in Canterbury in securing another such licence, this time to sanction a gift of a plot of land next to the west gate of the city so the Augustinian canons of St. Gregory’s priory might have a site on which to build a new church of Holy Cross. As a feoffee he appeared in 1381-2 on behalf of Roger, de jure Lord Northwood, making arrangements for the sale of his client’s reversionary interest in certain parts of his landed inheritance; and in the same year he was also party to the settlement of an annual rent on Northwood’s daughter, Agnes, at the behest of Richard, Lord Poynings.3
It may well be that Holt’s activities as a lawyer rendered him unpopular in certain sect