QUECCHE, Hugh (d.1402), of London, Chipstead, Surr. and Steyning, Suss.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Robert Quecche (d. by 1366) of Clayton, Suss. by his w. Laurentia. m. by 1366, Elizabeth, 1da.1
Commr. to take oaths in support of the Lords Appellant, Surr. Mar. 1388; of inquiry, Hants, Surr., Suss. Dec. 1399 (goods held by Richard II in the castle and lordship of Portchester), Suss. Jan. 1400 (concealments), June 1400 (offences against the tenants of Shoreham), Dec. 1400 (thefts and waste of timber), Surr., Suss. Mar. 1402 (concealments by customs officers).
By the time of his first return to Parliament Quecche was securely in possession of a sizeable estate made up of property which had come into his hands from three major sources. His father, Robert Quecche, left him land in the Sussex villages of Cuckfield and Steyning, and it was probably through inheritance rather than purchase that he obtained other holdings in the same county in and around Bolney, Twineham, Chilington, Merston and Chailey. His mother, Laurentia, and her second husband, Peter atte Wood†, had set out to consolidate their position as rentiers by acquiring land in Chipstead, Merstham, Nutfield, Carshalton, Ewell and elsewhere in Surrey from Cecily Turberville, lady of Hatch Beauchamp. Both atte Wood and his only son were dead by 1387, however, when Laurentia released her title to Quecche. The latter had already bought out Cecily Turberville’s share of the manors of Woodmansterne and Chipstead, having established an interest in Surrey through marriage to an heiress with farmland and tenements in the Coulsdon area. All these properties were the subject of a series of enfeoffments and confirmations of enfeoffments made by Quecche in the spring of 1386 to his cousin and executor, John Buckingham, and others. They were followed in June 1387 with a demise of all his personal effects, perhaps with the intention of settling his estate upon his daughter and heir, Joan, to whom it eventually passed.2 At the time of his death, Quecche was said to enjoy a landed income of about £33 p.a., although since it was not until 1389 that he added to his land in Steyning, and somewhat later that he acquired a London brewery and inherited his mother’s dower property in Ovingdean, Sussex, he cannot have been quite so affluent when the electors of Surrey chose him as their MP.3
Quecche’s career is particularly interesting in view of the apparent ease with which he played a prominent part in county society while retaining a foothold in the commercial world of London. Although he was married by 1366, at the latest, nothing else is heard of him until May 1373 when he obtained royal letters of protection pending his departure overseas in the retinue of John of Gaunt. A deed of 1381 describes him as a citizen and mercer of London, and since there can be no doubt that the Hugh Quecche, citizen of London, who drew up his will in October 1402, was the former shire knight for Surrey and Sussex, he may be assumed to have maintained close links with the City for over 20 years. He is not, however, known to have done other business as a mercer during this period, perhaps because of increasing involvement in the management of his estates in the country.4 Quecche’s influential connexions reflect his stature as a country gentleman. His father had been a feoffee of Michael, Lord Poynings, and he followed the family tradition by acting as a trustee for the latter’s younger son, Richard, Lord Poynings (d.1387). Between May and September 1388 he appeared as an attorney at the Exchequer for Richard, earl of Arundel, who may well have had some hand in his election to the Merciless Parliament of February 1388, and whose influence, as one of the Lords Appellant, no doubt lay behind Quecche’s appointment to the commission set up in March of that year to take oaths in support of the Appellants’ cause.5 Little else is known of Quecche’s personal affairs after this date. In December 1397 one Walter Sexteyn was pardoned his outlawry for refusing to appear in court when sued by him for retention of labour services, this being the second occasion (the first was in 1389, on a plea of trespass) when the MP had unsuccessfully gone to law. Quecche obtained a royal pardon in February 1398 which, in view of his former association with the earl of Arundel, must have seemed a necessary step for survival.6
Quecche died on 1 Nov. 1402, just a few months after being appointed to (but not serving on) his last royal commission. He was buried at the church of St. Mary, Steyning, to which he left the profits of his London brewery. His daughter, Joan, the wife of John Norton, succeeded to his estates in Surrey and Sussex, as well as to those of his wife, Elizabeth, who appears to have predeceased him.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Guecche, Quacche, Quetche.
- 1. C137/35/25; Suss. Rec. Soc. xxiii. 83, 110, 161; VCH Suss. vii. 230; CCR, 1381-5, p. 103; 1385-9, p. 421.