WALL, John (d.1435), of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. Elizabeth, at least 1s.1
Collector of pavage and pontage, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 4 Feb. 1406-11.
Sheriff, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Mich. 1409-10, 1413-14, 1418-19; mayor 1422-3.2
Commr. to requisition coal for shipment to London, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Dec. 1415; victual Berwick-upon-Tweed Jan. 1417, July 1427.3
The early background of this MP remains obscure, although by 1406 he was sufficiently well established in Newcastle-upon-Tyne to be made a collector of pavage and pontage there. Wall owed his wealth and position to trade in a wide variety of commodities ranging from cloth and soap to dyestuffs and iron, some of which he shipped to England from the Baltic. Much of his energy was, however, devoted to the business of local government, and by the time of his one—and only known—return to Parliament, in 1420, he had already discharged three terms as sheriff, besides serving twice as a royal commissioner in the north-east. Not surprisingly, his name appears on the list of 11 leading burgesses of Newcastle who accompanied the mayor, William Langton*, to Durham in March 1412, in an unsuccessful attempt to reach a settlement with Bishop Langley during a protracted dispute over the fortification of the Tyne bridge. On this occasion, the delegation refused to accept the bishop’s claims to jurisdiction, although they were eventually obliged to comply with his demands by the court of Chancery.4 Over the years, Wall witnessed a number of deeds in and around Newcastle, becoming closely involved in the affairs of his fellow burgesses. In 1409, for example, he joined with Robert Hebburn* and the above-mentioned William Langton in offering sureties to Bishop Langley on behalf of a local man; and a while later he and William Ellerby* agreed to underwrite one of the many business transactions of Roger Thornton*. He also played a prominent part in the appointment, ‘in full guild of the said town’, of a new chaplain and master of the works for the Tyne bridge, besides putting in a regular attendance at the parliamentary elections. Indeed, Wall helped to choose the representatives for Newcastle to all but one of the Parliaments (1431) which met between May 1421 and 1433, for he was customarily included among the probi homines of the town who undertook this task.5
Towards the end of his life, in 1429, Wall and his associate, William Strother, another Newcastle merchant, had further dealings with Bishop Langley, to whom they surrendered bonds totalling £49. At the request of Wall’s widow, Elizabeth, and his son, John, Strother was appointed by the bishop, in April 1435, as one of the two administrators of his late friend’s estate. Wall had evidently died intestate, and there were long delays over the making of an inventory of his goods. These were so bad that in January 1436 Langley himself ordered the administrators to appear before him within a week with the appropriate documents.6