COULLYNG, Robert, of Taunton, Som.

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. Christine, ?1da.1

Offices Held

Portreeve, Taunton Mich. 1386-7, 1396-7, 1412-13.2


Members of the Coullyng family were living in Taunton at the beginning of the 14th century, and Robert himself was concerned mainly with local affairs. He was a member of the jury which, in 1382, accused the abbot of Glastonbury of blocking the river Tone, making accession down river to Bridgwater impossible. His own trading concerns were doubtless at risk, for Bridgwater was an outlet for cloth manufactured at Taunton. Coullyng himself was one of the principal producers, being assessed for alnage on 205 ‘dozens’ sold in Somerset in the years 1395 to 1397. It was during his second term as portreeve of Taunton that he was elected to Parliament for the borough. He again served as a juror in the town in November 1400, this time at a sheriff’s inquest. By 1403 he and his wife were tenants for life of a messuage in the town.3

On 16 Feb. 1410 Bishop Beaufort of Winchester obtained a commission of oyer and terminer to investigate his complaint to the effect that several Taunton men, led inter alios by Coullyng and John Northmore*, had assaulted those of his officers appointed to levy the tolls from the fair, threatened them and his tenants and encouraged 400 townsmen to make a compact ‘to live and die’ against the bishop. Six days earlier, Coullyng and the other leaders had been ordered under pain of £40 fine to appear in Chancery on 23 Feb. to answer the bishop’s charges, and in 1412 Coullyng was fined 66s.8d. by Beaufort for his attempt to take over control of the town (ad gubernandum burgum de Taunton).4 It would appear that his appointment as portreeve in that year was as a result of popular pressure and not in accordance with the bishop’s wishes.

Coullyng is last recorded, in October 1414, as a witness to a local deed.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Collynges, Colyng, Cullyng.

  • 1. Alice Coullyng, named in the will of John Northmore in 1415, may have been Robert’s second wife, or his daughter: Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xvi), 70.
  • 2. Hants RO, bp. Winchester’s pipe rolls, 159393, 159398, 159403, 159414.
  • 3. Exchequer Lay Subsidies (Som. Rec. Soc. iii), 147; Som. Feet of Fines (ibid. xxii), 8-9; E101/343/28, 30; CPR, 1381-5, pp. 511-12; C145/278/29.
  • 4. CPR, 1408-13, p. 179; CCR, 1409-13, p. 38; bp. Winchester’s pipe roll, 159414 m. 1d.
  • 5. Bridgwater Bor. Archs. (Som. Rec. Soc. lviii), 570.