HUNT, Ralph (d.c.1432), of Bath, Som.
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Family and Education
Churchwarden of St. Michael’s, Bath Oct. 1393-4.
Mayor, Bath Sept. 1408-9, 1410-11, 1412-13, 1414-15, 1421-2, 1429-30; alderman Nov. 1427.2
Hunt first appears as witness to a local deed in 1388, and thenceforward is recorded regularly for more than 40 years. His property in Bath included a garden beneath the ‘Burghwalles’ and a tenement in Northgate Street, and his public life may be said to have begun as churchwarden of St. Michael’s which was near this latter building.3 Hunt, as engaged in the production of cloth at Bath, was assessed for alnage on the substantial number of 207 ‘dozens’ between 1395 and 1397, and on no fewer than 107 broadcloths in 1402-3. In 1405 a man from Bristol feloniously broke his close in the suburbs of Bath by night and stole ten yards of blue material from his racks. In 1422 when he brought an action in Chancery against a fellow clothier, William Philipps*, and against Robert Chiselden ‘qe soy pretende attourene de court’, for fraud in giving sureties, his petition described him as ‘marchaunt’. In his will he left 20 ‘dozens’ of undressed cloth and a bale of madder (‘standing near the door’) to his servant, a ‘denfote’ and fire-tongs ‘belonging to the art of fulling’ and 40 sheep to relatives, and his most efficient furnace to be sold after the death of his widow. Various robes, some made of Flemish fabrics, which he also bequeathed in his will, suggest that he had been prosperous.4
On six occasions (1407, 1414 (Nov.), 1419, 1420, 1421 (Dec.) and 1432), Hunt was a member of the delegation to the shire court responsible for presenting the parliamentary returns for Bath. Meanwhile, in 1423, a fellow citizen had appointed him executor of his will.5 In March 1427 Hunt and his wife obtained a papal indult for plenary remission at the time of death. His wife was still alive when he drew up his will on 26 Sept. 1432, for she received the residue of his goods. The bequests, totalling well over £100, included a large number for pious uses, such as £10 to the building fund of Bath abbey, 3s.4d. to each church in Bath deanery, 12d. to the fabric of Wells cathedral, £2 to the Carthusian priory at Hinton (for the inclusion of himself and his wife in the confraternity) and £1 to each order of friars in London, Coventry, Bristol, Bridgwater, Ilchester, Salisbury and Marlborough. He left 16 marks for prayers in his parish church near the north gate of Bath and 48 marks for the stipends of six chaplains to pray there for him for one year. Secular provisions included £5 to repair the middle arch of Midford bridge and £5 for the repair of the conduits at Bath. John Poorte of Salisbury and Richard Scharpe of Coventry, no doubt men with whom he had business dealings, stood to receive £2 and £5, respectively, if they showed friendship to Hunt’s widow and executors. Hunt wished to be buried in the churchyard of St. Mary Stalls before the north door of the cathedral, and left £20 for his funeral. John Westhope† was one of his executors and John Whittocksmead† the supervisor. There is no date of probate.6