BOSS, Henry, 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



Jan. 1397

Family and Education

m. 1s. Henry†.

Offices Held

Alderman, Colchester Sept. 1382-3, 1387-8, 1395-6, 1405-6; councillor 1384-5, 1399-1401, 1404-5; claviger 1395-6; mace bearer 1399-1400; bailiff 1406-7.1

Tax collector, Essex Dec. 1384, Nov. 1386.


Boss owned one of the seven mills in Colchester, being from 1373 onwards occasionally fined for taking excessive tolls. In 1382 he was accused with the other mill-owners of conspiring with the bakers not to grind the corn of the commonalty on fair days and market days, so that only the bakers could sell flour and bread. They were acquitted, however. He also had an interest in the cloth trade, being assessed for alnage at Colchester in 1394-5.2 Boss held a tenement in Head ward and in the 1380s he was penalized for digging up sand on the highway and carrying it off to New Hythe, where he held land, a quay, a shop and other properties. He sold some of the latter in 1384 for £18, but still retained a large messuage which earned him 30s. a year in rent.3 Boss was involved in the administration of Colchester for 25 years. In September 1392 he received a royal licence with Ralph Algar* and Stephen Baron† to alienate in mortmain to the borough land and the advowson of St. Cross hospital (of which they had been recently enfeoffed) as an aid towards the repair of the town walls.4 In 1396 Boss conveyed to his son, Henry, in association with Thomas Francis*, all his property within the liberty of Colchester, except for a house in Greenstead, but he lived on for several years more. In May 1400 he was chosen to represent the municipal authorities at the Exchequer after Henry IV had claimed the full fee farm. Six years later he and John Kimberley* were charged in the local courts with approaching the proprietor of a ship in the port of Colchester, buying his cargo of fish and reselling it in portions at a profit.5

Boss is not recorded after his bailiffship of 1406-7.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: K.N. Houghton


  • 1. Colchester Moot Hall, ct. rolls 22, 24, 26, 29, 31-32, 34-36.
  • 2. Ibid. 20 m. 8, 22 m. 4v, 28 mm. 1, 17; Colchester Ct. Rolls ed. Jeayes, iii. 16, 120, 162; E101/342/9.
  • 3. Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 206-7, 210-11; ct. rolls 20 m. 10v, 21 m. 16v, 27 m. 35; CAD, i. C1622.
  • 4. CPR, 1391-6, p. 154; Essex Rev. xlv. 33.
  • 5. Ct. rolls 31 m. 18, 35 m. 26; Colchester Oath Bk. 21.
  • 6. His son Henry (d. 1435) was often to be bailiff of Colchester, which he represented as an MP in 1425.