MOREHAY, William, of Exeter, Devon.
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Family and Education
Attorney for the city of Exeter Mich. 1398-1405.1
In 1390 the parson of Shobrooke impleaded Morehay and the former escheator of Devon, John Aston I*, in an assize of novel disseisin regarding a freehold at West Raddon. William Hankford, then a serjeant-at-law, supported the defendants on the ground that the premises had been seized by Aston acting in his official capacity, with Morehay presumably as his deputy. In 1397 the latter was associated with two leading Devonshire landowners, John Copplestone and Henry Fulford, in a final concord enrolled in the court of common pleas concerning a moiety of the manors of Talaton and Yarnscombe.2 Morehay’s many other appearances in the central courts suggest that although he did act as an attorney at the local assizes, his man practice was at Westminster.3 Indeed, it was while serving as the official legal representative in the central courts for the city of Exeter that he was first returned to Parliament, having been exonerated from payment of the charge for admission to the freedom of the city on 6 Jan. 1399 in view of his office. His annual fee was 13s.4d. During the Parliament of 1407, which met at Gloucester, Morehay acted on behalf of a fellow Member of the Commons, Robert Archer, one of the parliamentary burgesses for Winchester, in a suit brought by merchants of Salisbury.4
Morehay is last recorded in 1412 when he himself was again a defendant at the Exeter assizes. This time the charges were more serious: William Curyton alleged that, leading an armed band of malefactors, he had assaulted him, invaded his closes at Alphington, Exminster and Topsham, cut down his timber, broken the widows of his house and stolen goods worth £20. Morehay failed to appear in court.5