RESON, William (d.1427), of Winchester, Hants.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1416

Family and Education

m. by 1406, Joan.1

Offices Held

Commons’ bailiff, Winchester Mich. 1408-9; bailiff of the 24, 1413-14; mayor 1415-16, 1421-2.2


One of the few Winchester merchants recorded as exporters of cloth in the Southampton customs accounts of 1397-8 and 1403, Reson may have come from that port where, earlier on, he had sold the same commodity.3 However, he was certainly resident in Winchester by 1406, when he acquired a tenement situated in Colebrook Street against the walls of Wolvesey, the bishop’s palace. In 1414 by a grant from the twice-widowed Agnes Cully, to him and his wife and the latter’s heirs, of all her property in the city and the Soke, Reson took possession of a tenement comprising five cottages built side by side ‘sub uno edificio’ on the corner of Shulworth Street and Felter Street, but he usually resided in High Street in the parish of St. Mary Wode. Later he also came to hold a house next to his Colebrook Street property, buildings in the entrance to Parchment Street, a 41-year lease on part of the ‘great garden’ off Buck Street, and property in Beggar Street and Wood Street in the Soke.4 Reson quickly became a respected member of the community, steadily rising in the civic hierarchy to be eventually chosen as mayor twice and MP three times. By an ordinance drawn up in the ‘burghmote’ of the city, he was appointed in 1411 as purveyor of all raw materials needed for repairs to the fulling mill at Priors Barton and Le Starre Inn. In July 1413 he stood surety for John Blake I*, when the latter came up before the barons of the Exchequer for failure to render an account. In 1419-20 he was paid 3s.4d. by the city ‘pro j equo conducto pro domino rege’.5

Reson made his will on 3 Oct. 1427, ten days before his third Parliament was due to assemble at Westminster. Apart from his wish to be buried in Winchester cathedral cemetery, its provisions were insignificant and the bequests small. The largest legacies were £1 to William Nightingale, a fellow of Winchester college, to pray for his soul, and goods to the same value to his servant, Alice. Whether he ever attended the House of Commons is uncertain, for he died before 26 Nov., while the first session of the Parliament was still in progress, and the will was proved in London before the examiner general of Archbishop Chichele.6 Reson’s widow survived until at least 1444. In 1431 she had been recorded as owning property in Winchester worth £2 a year, and in 1436 as having an annual income from land in Hampshire of £5; and it looks as if she carried on her husband’s business, for she had woad carted from Southampton (presumably for dyeing cloth) in 1439. In 1467 rent from Reson’s Shulworth Street property formed part of the endowment of William Nightingale’s obit at Winchester college.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Stowe 846, f. 136.
  • 2. Ibid. ff. 121, 132, 136v, 144, 145v; Winchester Coll. muns. 1007, 1159.
  • 3. E101/344/11; E122/138/24. But there is no direct evidence to connect him with the William Resyn who was searcher of Southampton Water in 1391-8, and of Melcombe in 1398-9, and controller of customs in the latter port in 1398. That William was possibly a kinsman of Walter Reson*, MP for Melcombe and Wareham.
  • 4. Stowe 846, ff. 135, 136, 145v, 147v; Winchester Coll. muns. 1241, 1273, 1300; Winchester RO, D3.
  • 5. Black Bk. Winchester ed. Bird, 29; CCR, 1413-19, p. 87; Winchester RO, chamberlains’ acct. 7-8 Hen. V.
  • 6. PCC 12 Luffenham; Winchester Coll. mun. 20248.
  • 7. Feudal Aids, ii. 375; Brokage Bk. (Soton Rec. Soc. xl), 131; Chs. Selborne (Hants Rec. Soc. 1894), 94; Winchester Coll. muns. 20-30; E179/173/92.