CLERK, Henry, of Winchester, Hants.
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Family and Education
m. by 1390, Agnes (d.c.1407).1
Alderman of Tanner Street, Winchester Mich. 1386-7; bailiff of the 24, 1395-6.2
When, in 1378, Henry Clerk joined the guild merchant of Winchester (on payment of an entry fine of 13s.4d.), he was already established in business as a fuller. Three years later he was involved in an uprising in the city, one of the incidents of the Peasants’ Revolt, being named among the 14 identified rioters, most of them engaged in the production of cloth, who lived in the city itself. His chattels, worth £4 5s.2d. when confiscated by the escheator, included the material of his trade: half a sack of wool, two ‘reels for thread’ and ten ‘ells of green wool’. Although, along with the local leader, William Wygge*, Clerk was among those exempted from the amnesty granted in the Parliament of 1381, he escaped capital punishment and, when his case came up before the King’s bench as late as July 1386 and again in April 1387, he was eventually acquitted by verdict of a jury.3
In the meantime, despite his outlawry, Clerk had continued to trade, apparently normally: in 1384 he had exported from Southampton 43 cloths worth £78 13s.4d., along with a quantity of corn and peas, worth an additional £12 16s. In 1392 he was to ship as many as 65 lengths of cloth. In certain of his trading ventures he was associated with the wealthy Winchester merchant, Mark le Faire, for whom, at the elections to the Parliament of 1395, he went surety. In 1397 le Faire did the same service for him.4
Although he was alderman of Tanner Street in 1386-7, there is no evidence that Clerk held property in that part of the city. By marriage he acquired a tenement on the south side of Colebrook Street which reached the walls of Wolvesey castle, but in 1390 he and his wife conveyed it to Richard Wyke.5 This was doubtless symptomatic of severe financial difficulties, for in 1398, in an attempt to defraud his creditors, Clerk took out royal letters of protection to go to Guienne in the company of John Beaufort, marquess of Dorset, only for the latter, when he learned of his intentions, to instruct the chancellor to revoke the protection. A month after this repeal, dated 13 Nov., the civic authorities of Winchester were ordered to arrest Clerk and Robert Archer* for debts to the Crown amounting to £164. However, the mayor, Clerk’s colleague Mark le Faire, reported that neither culprit could be found in the city; and the alnage accounts of 1398-9 indicate that Clerk did, indeed, do little business in Winchester that year, selling only one-and-a-half cloths. He died before 1407, when his widow Agnes, who had since his death married Stephen Goseport and had again been widowed, bequeathed a tenement in High Street to Gilbert Forster*.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. D.J. Keene, Surv. Winchester (Winchester Studies 2), ii. 1193-4; Stowe 846, f. 92; Winchester RO, 34/BX/TC9, enrolments m. 34d.
- 2. Winchester RO, ct. roll 10 Ric. II m. 1; E364/30 m. 7.
- 3. Winchester RO, mayor’s acct. 2 Ric. II; E136/195/1; RP, iii. 113; A. Réville, Soulèvement des Travailleurs, 279.
- 4. E122/138/11, 20; C219/9/11, 12.
- 5. Stowe 846, f. 92.
- 6. SC1/56/122; CPR, 1396-9, pp. 445, 505; CIMisc. vi. 407; E101/344/12; Keene, ii. no. 88.