MERYVALE, Richard (d.1437), of London.
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Family and Education
Auditor, London 21 Sept. 1418-19.2
Little is known of this relatively obscure Londoner, who first appears in May 1408 as a feoffee holding property in the City to the use of John Hadley* and his wife. He probably performed the same service for John Prophet II* and his associates, who conveyed their premises to him and three others in the following December. Meryvale was summoned to attend the husting court of London as a juror for Vintry Ward in March 1410, but he does not appear to have purchased property there until February 1420, when he bought a cellar and solar in Herber Lane. The tenement in the parish of St. Edmund, Lombard Street, which was the subject of a collusive suit brought against Meryvale and others by two of Henry VI’s chaplains in March 1432, probably formed part of the bequest subsequently made by him to the Vintners’ Company. He was also a trustee of property in the parish of St. James Garlickhithe.3
Although no direct evidence of Meryvale’s commercial activities has survived, he clearly did well for himself out of the wine trade. In June 1417, for example, he contributed £10 towards the cost of Henry V’s second French expedition, not being repaid until some point after February 1420. He made an unsuccessful attempt to recover a debt of £5 from one Richard Markaut of Billericay, Essex, who, in October 1429, was pardoned his outlawry for failing to defend himself in court. At some unknown date Meryvale and his wife, Agnes, became members of the influential guild of the Holy Trinity at Coventry, which suggests that he also did business there.4
Meryvale’s return to Parliament in October 1419, almost immediately after he had served a term as auditor of London, suggests that he was already by then a respected member of the community. He is, however, chiefly remembered for his gift of property in Lombard Street to the vintners of London, since it was as a result of his generosity that their livery company obtained a charter of incorporation in August 1437. His will, which he made in the previous April, was eventually entered on the husting roll on 11 June 1439. In it he gave instructions for the sale of his other possessions in the City, as well as land in Litlington and Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire: the money thus raised was to be spent on pious and charitable works, mostly for the poor of London. Meryvale evidently had connexions in Southwark, where he wished to be buried.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Reg. Holy Trinity Guild Coventry (Dugdale Soc. xiii), 68.
- 2. Cal. Letter Bk. London, I, 204, 226.
- 3. Corporation of London RO, hr 135/108, 118, 137/24, 149/40, 151/5, 167/55; hcp 134, m. 5d; hpl 155, Monday bef. feast St. Gregory, 10 Hen. VI.
- 4. CPR, 1416-22, pp. 234-5; 1429-36, p. 6; Reg. Holy Trinity Guild Coventry, 68.
- 5. Corporation of London RO, hr 167/55; W. Herbert, Gt. Livery Companies of London, ii. 639.