MARCHAUNT, William I, of Taunton, Som.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Tax collector, Som. Mar. 1377, Nov. 1383.
From 1382 to 1415 Marchaunt paid to the bishop of Winchester’s receiver 4d. a year for a plot of wasteland next to his own property in Fore Street, Taunton, and from 1384 a further 6d. for a second plot opposite John Northmore’s* house, on the understanding that he did not build on it, although he was licensed to do just this in 1387. Occasionally the 6d. rent was remitted for services to the bishop. In 1413 the lord received 3s. in profits from a close that had once belonged to Marchaunt. By 1391 he and his wife had acquired an interest for life in a messuage in the town, part of the inheritance of the wife of William Portman, his frequent associate as parliamentary burgess, and in 1405 they leased a moiety of another building there, at an annual rent of 18s.1
Marchaunt traded in wine which was shipped into Exeter, and he also imported madder for use in his cloth finishing business in Taunton. He was assessed for alnage on 69 ‘dozens’ sold in Somerset between 1395 and 1397.2 His election to 12 Parliaments for Taunton suggests a close involvement in the affairs of the borough, yet save for his appearances as a member of the jury which in September 1382 had testified against the abbot of Glastonbury for blocking the river Tone, his service as a juror in November 1400 at a sheriff’s inquest held in the town, and his participation in local conveyances as a witness, no other evidence of such an involvement survives.3