WASTELL, Robert, of Totnes, Devon.
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Family and Education
Wastell is first recorded in 1401 when, described simply as ‘of Devon’, he stood surety in Chancery for one Robert Cordelle, who had been accused of a trespass. He was probably a native of Totnes and primarily a barber by trade, although he may also have taken some part in the expanding cloth industry of the town. He acted as a local assessor for the parliamentary subsidies levied in 1414 and 1416 and served on the jury in borough courts held in 1415 and 1425. In the meantime, in another court held in Totnes in 1415, he had been indicted for disturbing the peace, and whether for this or some other offence, in January 1417 he was declared an outlaw. Nevertheless, he clearly escaped the full effects of this sentence for his possessions, which included linen and woollen cloth, were not forfeited to the Crown, and he continued to reside unmolested in Totnes.
CCR, 1399-1402, p. 419; H.R. Watkin, Totnes Priory and Town, 307, 320, 325, 328, 330, 331, 351; CIMisc. vii. 573. A Robert Wastell was granted letters of protection in July 1413 as about to go to Calais in the retinue of the lieutenant, William, Lord Zouche, the lord of the borough of Totnes. It seems unlikely, however, that this was the MP, for the recipient of the letters was described as ‘of Gloucestershire’: C76/96 m. 25.