BYLE, Richard, of Wareham, Dorset.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Wareham Mich. 1417-18; mayor 1427-8, 1436-7.1
Richard, who came from a prominent Wareham family, was a merchant and mariner. In July 1403 an inquiry by a royal serjeant-at-arms was ordered into a report that, as master of a barge from Poole, he had captured Le Seint Croys of Nantes off Guernsey, in breach of the truce then in force between England and France. Having appeared as a witness to conveyances at Wareham, he also acted as a juror there in September 1413, namely, at an inquiry into the possessions of the abbess of Shaftesbury. He was also assigned to report to the sheriff at Dorchester the results of the Wareham elections to the Parliaments of 1419, 1421 (May), and 1426 (when his kinsman Thomas Byle was elected), and 1429, 1432, 1435 and 1437 (on each of which occasions yet another member of the family, William Byle, was chosen).2
Richard was sometimes required to act as a trustee of the property of other parliamentary burgesses for Wareham. For example, in 1412 he was associated with Robert Craford* in a settlement of a dispute over the manor of ‘Byestwall’ and Stoborough, by which John Cheverell* was to be a beneficiary; and in 1417 he acted for Craford in a conveyance of land in Tyneham, Kimmeridge and West Holme. Ten years later he appeared as a feoffee for the coheirs to the Estoke estates. In 1430 he was again associated with Cheverell when they obtained royal pardons for taking on the trusteeship of lands in Charlton Horethorne, Somerset, on behalf of Thomas Woth, without first obtaining a licence. Apart from this last transaction, however, Byle’s activities were limited to eastern Dorset. He was at some time a feoffee of property in Wareham belonging to the Reson family, of which Walter*, his companion in the Commons of 1431, was a member. Byle’s standing in the shire is suggested by his inclusion in the list of local notables required to take the oath, authorized in the Parliament of 1433, not to maintain those who broke the peace.3
In 1421 Byle had acquired five messuages and six acres of land in Wareham and Worgret, of which the widow of Thomas Barbour (his associate in the Parliament of 1395) was a tenant for life; and ten years later his holdings in the area were valued at £5 p.a. The date of his death is not known, but he probably died soon after the end of his second mayoralty (1436-7). In 1461 a kinsman of the same name sold to John Priour of Sturminster Marshall a toft in St. Martin’s parish, Wareham, that had once belonged to him.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. E368/190; Dorset Nat. Hist. and Arch. Soc. lxv. 96, 104; Som. and Dorset N. and Q. xxiv. 211.
- 2. CPR, 1401-5, p. 282; Dorset Nat. Hist. and Arch. Soc. lxv. 104, 105; C145/292/17; C219/12/3, 5, 13/4, 14/1, 3, 5, 15/1.
- 3. Dorset Feet of Fines, ii. 271, 290, 336; CPR, 1429-36, p. 67; 1429-36, p. 382; PCC 4 Horne (will of Agnes Reson).
- 4. Dorset Feet of Fines, ii. 296; Feudal Aids, ii. 112; Dorset Nat. Hist. and Arch. Soc. lxv. 105. It was probably the younger Richard Byle who witnessed deeds at Wareham in 1445 and 1458. The family seems to have risen socially; and William Byle ‘of Wareham and Westminster, gentleman’, MP for Wareham six times between 1425 and 1437, was an attorney: CPR, 1429-36, p. 265; 1436-41, p. 554; C1/11/76.