PATCHING, Thomas, of Chichester, Suss.
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Family and Education
Controller of customs and subsidies, Chichester 16 July-17 Oct. 1401; collector 18 Dec. 1404-11 May 1406.
Commr. to weigh wool in the port of Chichester Dec. 1405.
Mayor, Chichester Mich. 1407-8.1
Mayor of the Staple, Chichester 17 Jan.-Mich. 1408, 1414-15.2
Patching’s name derives from a place four miles from Arundel (and 15 miles east of Chichester), and it is quite likely that he was related to John Patching* of Arundel. However, his career was firmly centred on Chichester, where he held property in East Lane as a tenant of the earls of Arundel, and became one of the leading citizens of the 1380s and 1390s. When the goods of John Felix, a bailiff of 1391-2, were found insufficient to meet a fine of 13s.4d. at the Exchequer, and the inhabitants generally were deemed responsible for it, Patching and John Castell† were summoned to appear in his place, only to be themselves amerced after failing to do so. Patching was among those present at the laying of the foundation stones of the Vicars’ Hall in Chichester in March 1397. As a parishioner of the church of St. Peter the Great, he welcomed Bishop Rede on his visitation of January 1403.3
While holding office as collector of customs at Chichester, in 1405, Patching was appointed with the mayor of the Staple to have all wool then in the port, even that already aboard ship, reweighed, and to certify the Exchequer of the true weight and quantity and the owners’ names. He began his mayoralty of the city in 1407 with an expression of the citizens’ resentment at the bishop’s enjoyment of a superior jurisdiction while his fair was in progress in the week after St. Denis’s day (9 Oct.). On 3 Oct. ‘en graunt orgoille’ he made an ordinance in the city assembly that any citizen who sued in the bishop’s court of piepowder should be fined 6s.8d. for each such plea; and when two dared to break the rule he fined one 3s.4d. and imprisoned the other for three days. Bishop Rede, reckoning his losses at as much as £100, sued for remedy to Archbishop Arundel, the chancellor, who had Patching summoned into Chancery the following February. He, however, evaded this on a plea of sickness, and sent Robert Jugler* and another man as his attorneys. The end of Patching’s mayoralty, at Michaelmas 1408, was also disturbed. Whether to secure re-election for himself, or from genuinely popular sympathies, he chose to admit the commonalty to the mayoral elections, so when the qualified citizens gathered at the guildhall on 24 Sept. they found a mob of craftsmen and labourers (assembled, they alleged, at Patching’s instigation), many of whom did not even possess the freedom of the city. These, by their threats and clamour, made the election impossible, and the regular electors hastily obtained royal orders to Patching, dated 27 Sept., to conduct the election properly within three days, excluding by proclamation all who were not qualified to attend and imprisoning any who tried to obstruct the proceedings.4
Despite the upheavals of his mayoralty, Patching still retained his prominence in local affairs. He was present in the mayor’s court during Whit week 1409 on the occasion when a bag of money discovered at Colworth was unsealed and found to contain 101 marks; and in September 1410 he was associated with the then mayor and Geoffrey Hebbe* in selling property as arranged under William Rose’s will. Two years earlier, during his mayoralty, he had acted as a feoffee of land at Coldwaltham and elsewhere on behalf of John Vincent*, and in 1418 William Neel (his fellow MP of 1388 and 1399) named him as one of his executors. For several years he had been a trustee of Neel’s property in London, Sussex and Surrey, and now his friend left him a house in Thames Street, London, to hold for the rest of his life. However, Patching soon decided to dispose of it: the reversion of the property was sold by his fellow executors to the trustees of the Billingsgate chantry, in accordance with the testator’s wishes, and in May 1419 he transferred his life interest to them, too.5
Patching himself died within a few years. By 1428 his obit was being kept in the cathedral at Chichester, in acknowledgement of his bequest of 100 marks towards the building of the bell tower.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger