KYME, John I (by 1469-1527/28), of London.
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Family and Education
b. by 1469. m.3
Warden, Mercers’ Co. 1506-7, 1515-16, master 1521-2; gov. in England, Merchant Adventurers 1516-17; auditor, London 1511-13, alderman 1519-d., sheriff 1520-1; commr. subsidy 1523, 1524.4
John Kyme probably came from the Lincolnshire family of that name; he may have been the younger brother of the Thomas Kyme of Friskney who was born about 1460 and succeeded his father John Kyme in 1504. (The ‘alias Keble’ given him in the 2nd and 3rd editions of Stow’s Survey—but found nowhere else—appears to have been a mis-transcription of ‘Kemble’, the variant of his name used by Stow in his Summary and noted by Strype in his edition of the Survey.) Kyme was apprenticed to a London mercer and became free of the Mercers’ Company in 1490: 12 years later he was pardoned all trade offences committed before 1 Mar. 1502, and in 1509 and 1514 he sued out general pardons, being described on each occasion as a mercer of London.5
As a member of the Merchant Adventurers Kyme was appointed by the Company in September 1509 to negotiate with Antwerp about the street to be assigned to English traders in that city. Early in 1510, shortly before Parliament was to meet, he was one of four mercers named, with representatives of other city companies, to ‘study and devise what things be necessary to be sued for at the said Parliament for weal and profit of the fellowship’. On 12 Feb., when it had become clear that, so far as the Merchant Adventurers were concerned, the crucial bill before Parliament was that granting the King tonnage and poundage at the enhanced rates introduced during the reign of Henry VII, Kyme was one of ten merchants appointed to present a petition to the King; on 7 Mar. four of them, including Kyme, spoke to Sir Thomas Lovell I and on 8 Mar. to the Earl of Surrey, but three days later they had to report the ‘final conclusion’ of the King and Council against their petition. Kyme was elected by the commonalty of London to the next two Parliaments, and on 5 Mar. 1516 he told a general court of the Merchant Adventurers that having ‘well searched and seen in the Act of the Parliament that was last made upon rowing, barbing and shearing of woollen cloths’ (6 Hen. VIII, c.9) he advised compliance with its regulations, particularly as the King by a ‘placard’ had ordered a search for all cloths illegally shipped; they nevertheless decided to ‘order themself in their shippings and abide the danger of the said searchers’ on the grounds that ‘the said placard was of no more strength than the said Act of Parliament’.6
Kyme was then governor of the Company at home: in January 1516 he had been elected by the members of the Company abroad ‘for to be always within the realm of England, ruling and governing the fellowship of Merchants Adventurers there’, while John Hewster alias Brampton† remained governor in the Netherlands. This creation of a second governorship was an attempt to solve the difficulties caused by the frequent absences of the governor abroad, but it was evidently not successful as Kyme’s appointment was not renewed. When he was free to leave England Kyme went to Antwerp and helped Hewster to negotiate the commercial agreement with the city which was concluded on 1 June 1518. Before the next Parliament met in 1523 Kyme, although not re-elected by London, was appointed by the Merchant Adventurers ‘to devise such articles as should be thought necessary for the Company’.7
Kyme appears to have been engaged in the export of cloth and the import of such goods as camlets, oil and alum. In a petition from a number of London merchants for the reduction of the expenses of the shrievalty he was cited as one of those who had been reduced to poverty by his year as sheriff, and his assessment at £500 in goods for the subsidy of 1523, if hardly indicative of poverty, was below those of other aldermen. He was himself a subsidy commissioner in that and the following year for the ward of which he was alderman, not for the ward of Bread Street where he was assessed in the parish of St. Christopher. Although no will of his survives he seems to have made no benefaction either to the Mercers’ Company or to the City. This may have been because he was burdened by a debt to the crown incurred many years before. When he died in the winter of 1527-8—he was last present at a court of aldermen on 8 Dec. 1527 and died before 31 Mar. 1528, when his successor as alderman was elected—this liability led to the seizure of £500 worth of his goods and the ‘arrest’ of £1,000 worth of debts due to him. Among the debts was an item of £40 claimed from a widow, Mistress Hawkins, for the value of goods belonging to Kyme in her possession, ‘as well his wife’s apparel, rings, a chain of gold and other’; the lady’s reply that Kyme had given her these ‘in his life days, intending to have married her’, provides the only glimpse into his domestic life.