WOOD, William II (d.1431), of Winchester, Hants.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. by 1403, Joan.1
Recorder, Winchester by 1408-c.1420.
Alnager, Hants 24 Apr. 1415-d.
Commr. of inquiry, Hants Feb. 1422 (false weights), May 1425 (destruction of salmon).
Wood established himself as a lawyer in Winchester where, in 1410, he acquired all the property of the Fode family.2 From 1401 he had occasionally appeared in Chancery to provide securities for local men, for instance on behalf of a creditor of Nicholas Tanner*, but initially his main practice was in the courts held in Winchester itself, where he took on briefs as an attorney at the assizes. He was appointed recorder of the city at an unknown date before November 1408, at which time he appeared with the mayor before the mayor and aldermen of London, their object being to complain about the subjection to distraint by the sheriffs of London for the custom of scavage of freemen of their guild merchant, asserting the right of the men of Winchester to exception as agreed in a composition made between the two cities long before, in 1304. Subsequently, he was often employed on the city’s business, which regularly took him to the central courts at Westminster. Thus, in 1411 he received a fee of 40d. a week for presenting a suit in the King’s bench against the abbot of Hyde; in April of the same year he delivered to the civic authorities in the ‘burghmote’ four royal charters concerning the liberties of Winchester which he had received in London from a servant of Mark le Faire* then, in September following, he was one of five inhabitants appointed with full powers to treat with Bishop Beaufort of Winchester on behalf of the community ‘de diversis causis in lite pendentibus’; and in January 1412 he was instructed to obtain in London a renewal of royal letters patent regarding poundage. At the time of the assizes in September 1416 the city spent 13s.9d. on bread, ale, wine and capons on hospitality for him and the escheator of Hampshire. He was evidently recorder when returned to five of his eight Parliaments, for in 1417-18 the city paid 14s. for seven yards of cloth for his robes, and as late as 1419-20 he was giving counsel to the civic authorities at the bishop’s court of the Pavilion (the court to which all legal business of the city was transferred for a fortnight every year, for the duration of the St. Giles Fair). Later in 1420, however, Wood evidently gave up the office, for on 23 Dec. (a few days after the dissolution of his fifth Parliament), by which time he had been made a jurat in the 24, he was exonerated from holding any other official position in the city, although still authorized ‘ad placitandum ad barram in curiis dicte civitatis omnia placita preter que tangunt ius commune eiusdem civitatis’.3
In the meantime, in April 1415, Wood had shared with Thomas Smale*, the then mayor, a grant at the Exchequer of the right to farm the subsidy and alnage of cloth in Hampshire for ten years at £32 p.a., and on 8 Dec. 1422 the lease was renewed for another ten years, his new partner being John Veel†. This renewal was arranged while Wood was up at Westminster as a Member of the Commons. Less than a year later, in September 1423, he attended the shire elections to Parliament, held at the county court at Winchester. Wood’s exemplary services to St. Swithun’s priory had earned him in 1418 a grant for life of a corrody, comprising daily provisions of bread and beer and a new robe trimmed with lamb’s wool every year to indicate his status as equivalent to the prior’s armigeri. A further mark of appreciation came in 1425, when the prior conferred on him his own chamber at the priory, together with stabling for two horses. Wood’s last known brief was to defend Thomas Burton, rector of St. Maurice’s church, Winchester, for breach of the peace.4 He died shortly before 16 June 1431, when as a consequence his grant of alnage ceased to be effective.