WACE, John (d.1399), of East Rudham and Bishop's Lynn, Norf.
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Family and Education
Chamberlain, Lynn Mich. 1381-2, 1391-2, 1393-4; mayor 1396-7.1
Commr. of array, Lynn May 1398.
Wace, who came from East Rudham, some 12 miles from Bishop’s Lynn, was admitted to the freedom of the borough on 31 Mar. 1371, after completing his apprenticeship to a local merchant. He soon became involved in the affairs of the town as an elector of its officers five times between 1383 and 1389, and of the parliamentary burgesses in 1383, 1384, 1388, 1392 and 1395. By the time he himself entered the Commons he had been chosen as one of the council of 24. Meanwhile, in October 1384, he had been appointed as a guardian of the moveables of Emma Beeston, an idiot in royal wardship, and in July 1388 had been named by William Bally of Lynn as an executor of his will.2
A member of the Holy Trinity guild of merchants, which he served as a scabin in 1386-7, Wace built up fairly considerable trading interests. In the year of his only election to Parliament he imported large quantities of dried fish, timber, pitch, tar, iron, wax and pelts, worth more than £210, from Scandinavia and the Baltic. His main exports were cloth and malt (his shipments of these commodities being valued at £145 in 1392), although in July that year he sold 300 stockfish to Henry of Bolingbroke’s clerk of the kitchen, to help with the victualling of the earl’s ‘crusade’ to Prussia. In the following year he obtained a royal licence to ship 500 quarters of malt to Norway, but did not in fact make use of it.3
In September 1392 Wace granted a messuage in West Lynn to the local parish church to be converted into a manse for the parson. He retained property in Bishop’s Lynn worth more than £5 annually, as well as three messuages and 40 acres of arable land in East Rudham.4 Wace is last heard of on 1 Mar. 1399 when he witnessed a local con