BELL, John II (by 1514-43 or later), of Winchelsea, Suss.
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Family and Education
b. by 1514.1
Mayor, Winchelsea 1535-6, 1541-2, jurat 1542; bailiff to Yarmouth 1535.2
John Bell’s interest in the export of wood is revealed by the testimony given in August 1538 by a mariner of Aust in Normandy that a cargo of 12,000 billets which he had bought from Bell for use in the herring fishery had been seized by English customs officers despite Bell’s assurance that they were not liable to duty. With the coming of war Bell turned privateer; in April 1543, after he and another had seized three fishing boats from Normandy and ransomed them at £20 each, he was given letters of marque, with Thomas Inglet and John Reynolds of Rye, against French and Scottish ships, a grant which, as he informed the Council, he and Reynolds intended to exercise with four ships from Rye of 20 tons each. As this interchange took place during the second session of the Parliament to which Bell had been elected 16 months before, he must have quitted the Commons on the resumption of maritime hostilities. Nothing more has come to light about him, so that it is possible that he met his end at sea.3