PERLE, John II (d.1428/9), of Shrewsbury, Salop.
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Family and Education
Assessor, Shrewsbury Sept. 1392-3, 1402-3, 1414-15; bailiff 16 Nov. 1405-Sept. 1407, 1410-11, 1416-18, 1422-3; coroner 1418-19, 1426-7.2
The Perle family had lived in Shrewsbury since the early 13th century, and both of John’s grandfathers represented the borough in Parliament: Reynold Perle, a merchant, in 1348, 1355 and 1361, and Thomas Gamel in 1336. In March 1381, his father, John senior, being one of the ‘most sufficient persons of the town’, was elected to the council of 12. He was still alive during his son’s second bailiffship in May 1407, when both men were accused of disseising William and Sibyl Parys of a messuage.3
In the meantime, the younger John Perle’s name had been mentioned in connexion with a royal commission of oyer and terminer set up in March 1389 to investigate a complaint by Richard, earl of Arundel, that he and others had assembled a large force of armed men and archers, broken into the earl’s park at Shrawardine, hunted and fished there, and assaulted his servants at Haughmond and Aston. However, such activities seem to have had little effect on Perle’s career in Shrewsbury. Having been twice chosen as one of the six ‘supersedentes’, in November 1405, when William Biriton, one of the bailiffs, died in office, Perle was elected as his replacement; and it was during this term of duty that he first represented the town in Parliament. From then on he was regularly called upon to witness local conveyances, and in August 1410 he was party to the settlement of the dispute between Urian St. Pierre* and Nicholas Gerard*, entering into a bond for £100 that the latter would keep his part of the bargain.4 While Perle was bailiff again the jury at a coroner’s inquest, when viewing the body of his servant Jeuan, recorded how he had been wakened in the middle of the night of 1 June 1411 by shouts that Ireland Hall was on fire. Rising from his bed, he instructed his servants to keep watch, only to discover that Jeuan was out debauching himself in the local taverns. Straight away he went out into the street and rebuked the servant, threatening to have him thrown into gaol for a day or two, whereupon, the jury testified, Jeuan swore at him and raised an axe with the intention of killing him, only to die himself in the ensuing struggle at the hand of a passer-by.5
Perle was unusual among the Shrewsbury burgesses in occupying the bailiffship (along with Roger Corbet*) for two consecutive years, 1416-18, during which he was jointly responsible for drawing up ordinances regarding the collection of the ‘taske’ of the town. Immediately after relinquishing office he was appointed, again with Corbet, as one of the borough coroners. In 1419-20 the community paid for two flagons and three quarts of red wine to mark the occasion of the reconciliation following a dispute between Perle and William Forster†. When elected to Henry VI’s first Parliament, Perle had just been chosen bailiff for a sixth time. He was accompanied to the Commons by his son-in-law, Richard Horde, then representing Bridgnorth. In 1426-7 he travelled to Gloucester on the business of the authorities at Shrewsbury.6
At some time in his career Perle acquired land in Cotton, a few miles outside Shrewsbury; and in the town itself he held property off ‘Cordelane’ and in Shoplatch. In 1415 he leased four crofts and a messuage in Shrewsbury, Coleham and Abbey Foregate to John Scriven*, and a strip of land and a garden of his next to the walls of Shrewsbury later passed to his son-in-law.