PERRY, Godfrey atte, of Harmondsworth, Mdx.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. (1) by Nov. 1377, Alice, wid. of William Forester of Surr.; (2) Mirabel.1
Commr. of inquiry, Mdx. May 1367 (lands of the honour of Wallingford in Ickenham); to make an arrest July 1381; suppress the insurgents of 1381, Mar., Dec. 1382.
Manciple (or purveyor) for the abbot and convent of Westminster by 30 Nov. 1396.2
Surveyor of pontage, Staines, Mdx. June 1396, May 1403, May 1406.
Members of the Perry family are known to have lived ever since the 12th century in or near Harmondsworth (where they gave their name to the manor of Perry or Perry Oaks), and also to have held land to the north of the county in Kingsbury. Godfrey himself is first mentioned in July 1376 when he was a mainpernor at the Exchequer for the prior of Takeley in Essex. At this time he owed suit of court to the lord of the manor of Harmondsworth and was fined in the autumn for failing to superintend the boon works of certain tenants. He was also joint lessee with Thomas Durdent, a former servant of the abbot of Westminster, of the abbey’s customary land at Islip in Middlesex, being confirmed in possession by an indenture enrolled in Chancery rather than by the more usual, but less secure, form of title deed.3 Shortly afterwards the London fishmonger, William Byce, bound himself in £20 to Perry and his wife, Alice, perhaps as part of a transaction arising from the settlement of Alice’s dower. She was then holding extensive farmland in Beddington, Carshalton and Croydon, Surrey, which had belonged to her former husband, William Forester, and from which an annual rent of 73s.4d.was assigned to Byce at this time. In the following summer, the latter obtained a quitclaim of some of this property from one of Forester’s kinsmen, so he may have actually bought Alice’s interest outright. It also looks very much as if Nicholas Carew*, lord of the manor of Beddington, acquired a modest part of her dower, although he may, just possibly, have been acting as her trustee. In October 1378, Perry himself owed a debt of £30 to the vicar of Stanwell, Middlesex. Save for his first return to Parliament as a shire knight in February 1383, no more is heard of him for the next ten years, but by June 1388 he was again involved in the affairs of the neighbouring clergy, on this occasion being joint recipient with the prior of Harmondsworth of a bond in £20 entered into by three local men.4 It was no doubt as executor of Thomas Kynnersley* that Perry was arraigned on an assize of novel disseisin by the deceased’s young daughter, Isabel, in 1395, although the case was probably collusive. In July of that year he stood surety for the abbot and convent of Westminster and later in the same month he obtained an exemption from holding any royal office or serving on juries against his will. He continued, even so, to be employed as manciple, or purveyor, by the abbey, and in November 1396 he and his colleague, William Norton*, were found liable for distraint (together with the abbot) because of their failure to render an account at the Exchequer for the goods of two felons whom they had arrested. Perry made a number of influential connexions in the Church. In May and June 1393, for example, he was a guest in the household of William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester; and he appears also to have been on friendly terms with Thomas Merks, the bishop of Carlisle. When, in January 1401, Merks was released on bail after facing a charge of treason and being deprived of his see, he named the former shire knight among his mainpernors.5
Perry’s importance as a landowner is now hard to determine. It was as feoffees-to-uses that he and others conveyed the manor of Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, to Richard II in April 1399, so that he might settle it upon Westminster abbey, although later in the month the abbot himself confirmed Perry and his associates as farmers of the property. His interest in certain land sales in the Harmondsworth area may well have been more direct, since he and his co-trustee, Thomas Coningsby*, already possessed sizeable estates in this part of Middlesex. He also owned farmland in Uxbridge which was held for life by two tenants, and which, in 1404, he settled in reversion upon a group of friends, including John Shorditch I* and the latter’s son, John II*.6 Perry made his last known conveyance of property in March 1411, when he sold the reversion of his lands, rents and fishery in Harmondsworth and Stanwell to Nicholas Walpole of Suffolk. Walpole was to take possession of the property on the death of Perry’s second wife, Mirabel, who was still alive in 1430, having relinquished her own title and that of her then husband, Richard Edward, to a local man.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Perie, Piry(e), Pury(e). He is named Geoffey (Galfridus) in te writ de expensis for the Parliament of Sept. 1388 (OR, i. 235n).