HUNT, Thomas I (d.1433), of Bishop's Lynn, Norf.
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Family and Education
Mayor, Lynn Oct. 1415-Mich. 1416, 1418-19.1
Alderman, Holy Trinity guild Lynn by Aug. 1421-aft. Mich. 1423.2
J.p. Lynn 12 Feb. 1422-Nov. 1424.
Thomas was probably related to Alan Hunt, chamberlain of Lynn in 1375-6. In 1405 he is recorded exporting oats and cloth and importing dried fish and skins, and evidently he later traded on a large scale, for a single cargo of dried fish he landed in March 1406 was worth £130. He served as a scabin of the merchants’ guild of the Holy Trinity in 1411-12,3 but although classed as one of the potentiores he held no other office in the town until towards the end of the disturbances which, reinforcing attempts at constitutional change, characterized the period 1411-16. It was in 1415 that he first became mayor. This was not, however, as the result of an election by his fellow burgesses. Rather, he was appointed by the chancellor, Bishop Beaufort, in an effort to find a solution to the vexed question of the conduct of mayoral elections: on 18 Oct. Hunt was ordered, on pain of a £1,000 fine, to perform the mayoral duties as if he had been chosen according to the normal procedure, Beaufort stating that Henry V had ‘trust in the loyalty and circumspection of the said Thomas’ and wished the office to be exercised by one ‘zealous for peace’. The burgesses were constrained to accept him as mayor on a similar penalty of £1,000. However, on 3 Dec. following, a royal commission was set up to investigate opposition to these measures. In March 1416 Hunt wrote to Bishop Wakeryng of Norwich requesting the banishment from Lynn of certain trouble-makers, including William Halyate*, and on 3 July he sent word to the sheriff of Norfolk, John Spencer*, complaining about a local goldsmith who had been indicted for instigating a riot, and claiming that ‘many of the misdoers resorten and drawen again in counsailles to Bartholomew Petipas† in sustenance of his partie’. (He offered Spencer a present of a young male bear to solicit his assistance.) Following his return to Parliament in the next year, in 1418 Hunt was elected mayor for a second term, this time by the normal procedure, but not without again encountering opposition to his rule: indeed, on the next election day, 29 Aug. 1419, members of the 27 challenged the method of appointment. The outgoing mayor showed himself to be a strong supporter of the status quo and of the policy of conforming with the charters granted to Lynn by the bishop of Norwich, by declaring, ‘I do ye wel to weten that I wil nothing do ne say agayne my lord juggement, decre, ne sentence, for thou wost well that we alle not long agoon submitte us to stand to his juggement, decrees and ordinances, and I wil never breke hem, savant my liegiance’. His valedictory address, delivered at Michaelmas, has survived. In local records he is often described as ‘nobilis vir’.4
In the meantime Hunt had acted as feoffee of property in Bishop’s Lynn and, from 1417, of the manor of ‘Feltham’s’ in Great Massingham which belonged to Edmund Beleyeter*. His name appeared on the parliamentary election indentures of 1420, 1421 (May) and 1433, on the last occasion as mainpernor for John Waterden*.5 Hunt’s own estate in Lynn included a tenement in ‘Jews Lane’ and three messuages elsewhere. Very shortly after his death, which occurred at some point between June and November 1433, his widow married Thomas Burgh† of Lynn. Hunt’s feoffees arranged for her to receive £10 p.a. for the rest of her life from income from his properties.