MORYS, Robert (d.c.1453), of Reading, Berks.
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Family and Education
Mayor, Reading Mich. 1417-18, 1420-1, 1423-4, 1425-6, 1428-9, 1432-3, 1440-1.2
Morys participated in the administration of Reading for a period of at least 40 years. He was probably engaged in the cloth trade, and one of the earliest records of him is a payment for garments he provided for minstrels visiting the town in 1413. He witnessed a very large number of local deeds over the years from 1411 to 1453, and, although there is no evidence that he owned a substantial amount of property in Reading, between 1429 and 1453 he leased a house in Castle Street from the commonalty.3
Shortly after his election as mayor for the first time in 1417, Morys naturally put in an appearance at the borough hustings for the Parliament of that year. Thereafter he witnessed every parliamentary return for Reading until 1453, save in 1425, and when he himself sat as MP. His personal record of service as mayor—he filled the office seven times—was unmatched by any other Reading burgess of the period. Not surprisingly, he was one of the 24 townsmen selected to negotiate with the abbot of Reading in 1432, with regard to their liberties. In 1433, during his sixth mayoralty, he was allowed expenses for a visit to the King’s marshal at Maidenhead, and later that year, with Simon Porter*, he received 50s. for riding to London ‘pro certis causis maioris et communitatis’. When mayor for the last time, in 1440-1, he made a personal contribution towards the repair of St. Laurence’s church. Subsequently, Morys was involved, as a feoffee, in a conveyance of the manor of Earley Whiteknights, just outside Reading.4
Morys’s last recorded duties for Reading were performed in the early 1450s, when he must have been well advanced in years. In 1451 he was elected to a committee ‘ad determinandum et ostendendum et supervidendum omnes evidencias Gilde Aule’ (a proceeding connected with the long lawsuit between the abbey and the town which was conducted at great expense between 1450 and 1453), and he served on a similar body two years later. He was almost certainly dead by 1454.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: Charles Kightly
- 1. A. Aspinall, etc. Parl. Through Seven Centuries, 27, claims that there were two men of this name, one MP in 1419, the other in 1442. The only supporting evidence is a phrase in the diary of the corporation, calling Morys mayor in 1432-3 ‘for the first time’: Reading Recs. ed. Guilding, i. 3. There is, however, no break in Morys’s career between 1413 and 1453 to bear this out, nor any mention in the records of a Morys ‘senior’ or ‘junior’.
- 2. C219/12/2, 4, 13/4, 14/1; Reading Pub. Lib. cofferers’ accts. 1428-9, 1432-3; deed 112; Reading Recs. i. 13.
- 3. Cofferers’ accts. 1413-14, 1429-54.
- 4. C219/12/2, 4-6, 13/1, 2, 4, 5, 14/1-5, 15/1, 4, 6, 7, 16/1, 2; Reading Recs. i. 1; cofferers’ accts. 1432-4; C. Kerry, Hist. St. Laurence, 12; CPR, 1446-52, p. 24.
- 5. Reading Recs. i. 37, 39; cofferers’ accts. 1450-2.