WOLLASHULL, William (d.1453), of Wollashull, Worcs.
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Family and Education
s. and h. of Robert Muchgros alias Wollashull of Wollashull by his w. Margaret. m. by 1398, Elizabeth, da. of John Morant of Stoulton, Worcs., sis. of Thomas Morant*, 1da.
Escheator, Worcs. 10 Nov. 1404-1 Dec. 1405, 13 Nov. 1423-6 Nov. 1424, 4 Nov. 1428-12 Feb. 1430.
J.p. Worcs. 4 Dec. 1417-Nov. 1451.
Commr. of array, Worcs. Mar. 1419; to raise royal loans Nov. 1419, Mar. 1430, Mar. 1431, Feb. 1436, Nov. 1440; assess liability to contribute to a tax Apr. 1431, contributions to a subsidy Jan. 1436.
Dep. sheriff, Worcs. (by appointment of Richard, earl of Warwick), 6 May-2 Nov. 1422.
?Dep. warden of the Fleet prison, London by 1442-d.
The shire knight’s family had lived at Wollashull in Eckington since before 1175. In 1398 William’s parents settled on him and his wife an annual rent of ten marks from the manor, which he was to inherit after his father’s death. This occurred at some point after 1411 and probably before 1414, for it was William who then acted as patron of Birlingham church. In 1436, when he himself was one of the assessors, his lands in Worcestershire were estimated to provide him with an annual income of £26.1
Wollashull’s career as a lawyer had begun by 1401, the year that he first made appearances as a surety at the Exchequer and in Chancery. Among those for whom he did so were the lessees of the manor of Spernall (Warwickshire), previously held by William Spernore*, a former retainer of Thomas Beauchamp, earl of Warwick, and it is quite possible that he himself had already entered the service of the young Earl Richard. He was appointed escheator of Worcestershire for the first time in 1404, and attended the shire elections of 1407. Ten years later he himself was elected to Parliament, in the company of his brother-in-law Thomas Morant, a fellow lawyer then receiving a fee from the earl of Warwick for his counsel; and while Parliament was in progress he was selected as a member of the Worcestershire bench, where, having proved his competence, he was to remain without break for 34 years. In 1419 he stood surety for Morant’s attendance in the Commons, when the latter was re-elected. Meanwhile, his lifelong connexion with John Throckmorton*, another Worcestershire lawyer and already the earl of Warwick’s most trusted councillor, had begun. In October 1418 they had shared a lease at the Exchequer of the landed possessions of the late Thomas Crewe*, a former chief steward of Earl Richard’s estates, and in the following year they and two others of the Beauchamp affinity, John Baysham (the earl’s receiver-general) and John Harewell* (also a member of his council) took on the trusteeship of properties in Shropshire and Staffordshire belonging to yet another of Warwick’s retainers, Crewe’s stepson Sir William Clopton. Wollashull attended the Worcestershire elections of 1420, 1421 (Dec.), 1422, 1426, 1427 and 1431, on each occasion witnessing the return of at least one member of the Beauchamp circle, and there can be little doubt that his own return to the House of Commons in four other Parliaments was at least partly attributable to his connexion with Earl Richard. He owed his appointment as deputy sheriff of Worcestershire in 1422 to the earl, the hereditary sheriff; and he was probably responsible for conducting the elections of that year, when Throckmorton and John Vampage†, like himself legal advisor to the earl, were chosen. On that occasion and again in 1426 he provided securities on Vampage’s behalf.2
In 1425 Wollashull, in association with, among others, (Sir) William Mountfort I*, Robert Andrew II* and Throckmorton, was named as a feoffee of Warwick’s estates in eight counties. He, Throckmorton and John Wood I*, yet another lawyer from that intimate circle, were all linked too, from 1427 until 1441, as trustees of the extensive properties in some six shires belonging to Sir Hugh Cokesey† (in which the earl himself also had a fiduciary interest for a while), and, possibly acting for Cokesey’s brother-in-law John Greville*, as co-patrons in 1433 of Sezincote church in Gloucestershire. In October 1433 he, Throckmorton (now under treasurer of the Exchequer), Vampage (now attorney-general for the Crown) and William Pullesdon† (a co-feoffee of the Cokesey estates), were given the guardianship of the temporalities of the bishopric of Worcester during a vacancy. Wollashull was again named as a fellow trustee with Earl Richard, in 1435, this time of the manor of Aston by Birmingham on behalf of yet another of Warwick’s retainers, William Holt II*, whose tenancy was under serious threat. In that or an earlier year he was party to the settlement of two other Warwickshire manors by the earl’s aunt, Joan, Lady Beauchamp of Abergavenny, on her retainer Thomas Harewell. Needless to say, John Throckmorton sought his friend Wollashull’s assistance, too, with regard to several transactions of a similar nature.3 Wollashull’s friendship with John Vampage was cemented in 1436 by the marriage of his only daughter and heir, Joan, to his colleague’s eldest son, John. On 10 Aug. a settlement gave Joan an estate in tail after her father’s death in all his lands in Worcestershire, and after both her parents’ deaths in the manor of Syndercombe in Clatworthy, Somerset. Subsequently, Wollashull acted as a trustee of Vampage’s own properties, for settlement on his son-in-law.4
After 1436, although he continued to be a j.p. in Worcestershire, Wollashull would seem to have been usually resident in London. He acquired property in the City at ‘Pessokkeswharfe’ in Thames Street, and in 1441 he purchased a house and ‘Le Tilehawe’ on the river bank at Woolwich. And now in several of his dealings he was connected with Londoners, such as a fishmonger named Simon Shipton, and William Venour, the warden of the Fleet prison. Wollashull’s connexion with the latter, taken together with certain provisions in his will, would seem to confirm the statement in the herald’s visitation made many years later that he himself occupied an office at the Fleet, but it is much more likely that he was Venour’s deputy rather than full warden himself. In March 1442 he was associated with Bishop Praty of Chichester, Throckmorton and Venour, as an arbiter in a suit regarding tithes due to Selsey church, in Sussex.5
Wollashull never broke his ties with the west Midlands. In April 1448 he obtained a royal licence to found a chantry in honour of the Virgin and St. John the Baptist in a chapel annexed to the parish church of Wixford (Warwickshire), where prayers were to be said for the King and queen, the founder and the souls of his deceased friends, Thomas Crewe and Sir William Clopton and their wives, and to endow the same with some property called ‘Prestes Place’ and land worth £10 a year. When Wollashull made his will on 10 July 1452 his bequests reflected his association with both London and Worcestershire. Thus, he asked to be buried at the Grey Friars, and left money to St. Bride’s church in Fleet Street; but he also remembered Worcester cathedral, the abbeys of Pershore and Evesham, the Franciscans at Worcester, the chapel of St. Katherine ‘at the Rock’ and Yardley church (where his mother lay buried). Among those to whom he left small sums of money were Thomas Grey ‘myn owen clerc and writer hereof’, and ‘all the felaship servauntes of the Flete’. Joan, his daughter, was to have all such goods and chattels as he had left at Wollashull on his departure for the City, as well as all the fur trimmings from his robes, his silver plate, and a small coffer made of cypress wood with a silver key. One of Wollashull’s servants was to have £20 and another £10. His grandsons, John and Richard Vampage, were to receive 20 marks from the revenues of the London property when they came of age. To ‘my maister Wardenne of the Flete’ (Venour) Wollashull gave ten marks to buy a tun of wine, as reward for his supervision of the executors. He also left 40 marks for one priest to provide masses for hi