SCUT, Adam, of Exeter, Devon.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. by 1384, Ellen, 1s.2
Steward, Exeter Mich. 1364-5, 1368-9; member of the council of 12, 1369-72, 1373-4, 1375-7, 1378-85, 1386-97, 1398-1407, 1408-11, 1412-16; receiver 1372-3, 1377-8; mayor 1385-6, 1397-8, 1407-8, 1411-12.3
Tax collector, Exeter Mar. 1377.
Collector of customs and subsidies, Exeter and all ports from Bridgwater to Weymouth except Lostwithiel, Plymouth and Dartmouth, 16 Nov. 1378-9.
Constable of the Staple, Exeter Feb. 1390-May 1391; mayor May 1391-June 1393; c.1401-2.4
Commr. to close the ports of Budleigh, Ottermouth and Exeter May 1401.
Scut, who was admitted as a freeman of Exeter on 11 July 1362 for the payment of the sum of 40s., became one of the more prosperous merchants of the city in this period. Woollen cloth was a principal trading concern of his, and he was engaged in its manufacture as well as its export. He also had a considerable interest in the Gascon wine trade, and his cellars often supplied the city with wine for such visiting dignitaries as John, Lord Holand, Robert Tresilian†, c.j.KB, Sir John Cary† and Sir Philip Courtenay* of Powderham. But not all of his merchandise was acquired in a legitimate way: in 1365 he was found in rather dubious circumstances to be in possession of cloth worth £5 belonging to some Spaniards, and in December 1404 he was one of the west country merchants ordered by royal letters close to return specified goods to certain Italians or else explain to the royal council why they refused to do so. A profitable sideline for shipowners was the transport of pilgrims to the shrine of St. James at Compostella, and in April 1410 Scut obtained a royal licence to make such a voyage on his vessel La Katherine of Exmouth with 100 passengers.5
In the meantime, in 1393, John Ponton of Exeter had conveyed to Scut all his moveable possessions and all his real estate (two messuages, eight shops, two tenements, three cottages and gardens) in Exeter and the suburbs, and although, as a consequence of Ponton’s outlawry for debt eight years later, the property was forfeited and granted to crown nominees, fortunately for Scut judgement was given in his favour when the case was heard in Chancery. He and his wife also held land not far from Exeter, at Nadder, Trillow and ‘Rowehorn’, and they had an interest, too, in property at Newton Abbot. Ellen Scut may have come from Dorset; in 1384 she and Adam had sold holdings near Sherborne and Caundle Marsh, perhaps an estate which she had inherited.6
Scut acted as executor of the wills of Thomas Smythesheghes and William Gervase of Exeter, the wishes of the latter, a former mayor, involving him not only in the sale of property but also in the trouble of securing royal sanction for a grant in mortmain.7 But his circle of acquaintance extended beyond the confines of the city: in 1389 he assisted Sir John Hull†, j.K.B, in his purchase from the Crown of the manor of Houndestone in Brimpton, Somerset, and four years later he acted as receiver for Sir William Hasthorpe in the collection of part of a debt of 1,000 marks owed by Sir John Dynham.8
Scut is last heard of in 1415, after a career of civic service lasting more than 50 years.9
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Variants: Scot, Scutte, Skot.
- 1. The return gives John Wonard and John Churchehull as the Exeter representatives in April 1384, but the local receiver’s accounts record payments to Richard Bosom* and Adam Scut ‘for the Salisbury Parliament’: Trans. Devon Assoc. lx. 188.
- 2. This son was John Scut, also a cloth merchant, who entered the freedom of Exeter in 1388 as Adam’s apprentice, and in 1390 occupied with his wife, Denise, a new house behind the guildhall: Exeter City RO, mayor’s ct. roll 11-12 Ric. II m. 38; H. Lloyd Parry, Hist. Exeter Guildhall, 5.
- 3. Mayor’s ct. rolls 42 Edw. III-4 Hen. V.
- 4. C67/23; C2