JACOB, Martin, of Somerset.
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Family and Education
Jacob’s background is obscure and his connexions with both Bridgwater and Taunton seem to have been slight at the time of his elections to Parliament. He was well acquainted, however, with prominent figures in both towns and at various times acted as a feoffee in each. In 1423, for example, he was a trustee of the substantial properties inherited by Thomas Gascoigne, brother of William Gascoigne, his fellow Member of 1420, and he later served in a similar capacity for Walter Portman* of Taunton. Like Portman, Jacob was a lawyer, and was frequently a party to local conveyances enrolled in the court of common pleas, transactions which often brought him into contact with two other members of his profession, the brothers Alexander† and John Hody*. In 1424, described as‘gentleman’ Jacob stood surety in Chancery for the keepers of the temporalities of the see of Bath and Wells after the death of Nicholas Bubwith, among them being John Stourton I of Preston, who had represented Somerset in the same Parliaments of 1420 and 1423. Jacob was a feoffee (with Sir Thomas Stawell* and others) of the manor of Fisherton Delamere (Wiltshire), which was entailed on John Paulet, esquire, by deeds which Jacob acknowledged at Westminster in 1430. It is likely that he was then practising in the central courts as an attorney: certainly he was described as such five years later when appearing in the common pleas on behalf of the vicar of St. Cuthbert’s, Wells, in a suit brought by the chapter of Wells cathedral. In 1436 he was named as an executor of the will of William Paulet.