ALGAR, Ralph, of Colchester, Essex.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Oct. 1383
Apr. 1384
Sept. 1388

Family and Education

m. bef. Oct. 1382, Maud.1

Offices Held

Alderman, Colchester Sept. 1378-9, 1381-3, 1384-5, 1387-8, 1392-3; bailiff 1380-1, 1383-4, 1385-6, 1388-9, 1393-4.2

Tax collector, Colchester May 1379, Dec. 1385.


Algar first appears in the Colchester records in 1373, being then described as a merchant of London. In the following year he was a co-purchaser of a messuage at New Hythe in Colchester and in March 1377 he contributed to the poll tax as a resident of the town. He was formally admitted to the freedom on 27 July following. Subsequently, in 1380, he was fined 40s. by London corporation because he lived elsewhere while still retaining his rights of citizenship. During the 1380s he acquired various plots of land in Colchester, held property there in the right of his wife and, in 1391, bought another tenement at New Hythe. Algar also had an interest in land in Ipswich, which, however, he had sold in 1384.3

Algar’s trade as a merchant gave him a tenuous connexion with Thomas of Woodstock, earl of Buckingham: in July 1380 he bought two casks of red wine at Colchester for Woodstock’s household, but he had not paid for them by August 1382, and was accordingly sued for debt. Meanwhile, in May 1382 he had obtained a general pardon issued for any felonies committed during the insurrection of the previous year. Algar was returned to Parliament on no less than three occasions while holding office as bailiff of Colchester and twice more in between terms. When attending the House of Commons at Westminster for the third time, in November 1385, he was bound in the court of the Staple there to pay £260 to William Hyde I*, the London grocer, but failed to do so before the appointed day.4

In August 1392, along with Stephen Baron† and Henry Boss*, Algar was granted the advowson of Holy Cross hospital, Colchester, in order that they might transfer its income to the town authorities in aid of repairs to the walls.5 He is not recorded after the last of his five terms as bailiff, in 1394.

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: K.N. Houghton


  • 1. CPR, 1381-5, p. 170.
  • 2. Colchester Ct. Rolls ed. Jeayes, iii. 163; Cal. Colchester Ct. Rolls ed. Harrod, I; Colchester Moot Hall, ct. rolls 21, 22, 24, 26, 28.
  • 3. Colchester Ct. Rolls, iii. 27, 150; E179/107/54; Cal. Letter Bk. London, H, 146; CAD, vi. C5903; Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 75, 203; ct. rolls 22 m. 58v; 27 m. 25; Ipswich RO, recog. roll 10 Ric. II.
  • 4. Ct. roll 21 m. 50v; C67/29 m. 25; C241/174/74.
  • 5. Essex Rev. xlv. 33; CPR, 1391-6, p. 154; VCH Essex, ii. 181.