CURSON, Walter (d.c.1443), of Bishop's Lynn, Norf.
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Family and Education
s. of John Curson of Lynn. m. Agnes, 1s. Philip†.
Chamberlain, Lynn Mich. 1435-6.1
Walter was the descendant of Thomas Curson†, a merchant who had traded with Prussia and had served as MP for Lynn in 1357, as chamberlain in 1356-7, 1363-4 and 1376-7, and as mayor in 1383-4.2 He is first heard of, in December 1415, when he stood surety, under pain of a £300 penalty, for the attendance in Chancery of a local man. Before 1421 he served as a scabin of the Holy Trinity guild of merchants,3 and in 1433, 1437 and 1438 he appeared as an elector of the borough officers. In the meantime, on 4 Apr. 1435, the congregation in the guildhall, by the advice of the 24 and the common council, had agreed that he should accompany the mayor, Thomas Burgh†, and John Bampton, the town clerk, to Bruges where they were to present the grievances of the merchants of Lynn to a convention of English, Prussian and Hanse ambassadors. In the following March he again acted as proctor for his fellow merchants, this time at Calais, and immediately on his return home he read out to the assembled burgesses letters from the Hanseatic authorities. Although then only a member of the common council of 27, from 1438 he was one of the 24, a superior body.4 At that time Curson was acting as a feoffee for Richard Frank† of property in Dampgate (Norfolk Street), Lynn, and two years later, along with Sir Thomas Tuddenham† and to the use of Henry Wodehouse, esquire, he took on the trusteeship of the manor of Well Hall by Gayton, Norfolk.5
In 1442 confirmation of Lynn’s charter was obtained ‘by the labour and industry of Walter Curson’ who was then up at Westminster for his second Parliament (this being after an absence of 23 years from the Commons). The previous July he had been questioned in the guildhall with regard to rental arrears of 26s.8d. for two shops in ‘Grass Market’ which he had been leasing from the community since 1438. In the same year the Holy Trinity guild footed a large bill of £36 for repairs to a house once belonging to him in ‘Le Cheker’6 died before 1446. Disputes then arose between his own and his father’s executors and his son and heir, Philip, and were not settled until 1459, when Richard Frank and other burgesses of Lynn, acting as arbiters, agreed that Walter’s dwelling-place in Dampgate, a house he had purchased on the stone bridge, an orchard, ‘Teyntones’, rents and lands in Gaywood (previously acquired by his father) and various silver vessels and precious stones, should not be handed over to Philip until he reached his 36th year, even though Walter had provided for him to inherit at the age of 24.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. King’s Lynn Town Hall, assembly bk. II, f. 56d.
- 2. Red Reg. King’s Lynn ed. Ingleby, ff. 143, 169; HMC 11th Rep. III, 219, 222; CCR, 1385-9, p. 566.
- 3. CCR, 1413-16, p. 285; HMC 11th Rep. III, 228. He was probably the elder son of John Curson, for his brother John was not admitted to the freedom until 1428-9 (Freemen of Lynn, 38).
- 4. Norf. Arch. vi. 234; Lynn Town Hall, assembly bk. II, ff. 38d, 53d, 60d, 85d, 87d, 97d, 100d.
- 5. PCC 24 Luffenham; CPR, 1436-41, p. 485.
- 6. Archaelogia, xxiv. 321; M. McKisack, Parl. Repn. Eng. Bors. 137; Lynn Town Hall, Be 237, Gd 62.
- 7. Lynn Town Hall, Be 208, Ea 51.