FARLE, Richard, of Reading, Berks.

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



May 1413

Family and Education

m. 1s.


Offices Held

Bailiff, Reading Mich. 1420-34, 1439-47.1



Among the most active and longest serving of Reading office-holders in the 15th century, Farle is known to have been bailiff for more than a score of years between 1420 and 1447, and possibly for the whole of that period. His single term of parliamentary service occurred before then, surprisingly early in his career. A barber, Farle was permanently resident in the town, either in his own New Street property or in a house near the guildhall leased to him by the commonalty.2 The records show evidence of his continual municipal activity: in his capacity as bailiff he witnessed a very large number of deeds, and similarly he attended every parliamentary election between 1420 and 1447, with the sole exception of that of May 1421. Also when bailiff, he was elected one of the 24 townsmen to negotiate with the abbot of Reading in 1432; and in the course of time he stood pledge for seven new burgesses entering the guild merchant. As one of the guild’s most senior members, in 1442 he made the largest recorded subscription (3s.4d.) towards the repair of the guildhall.3

We know very little about Farle’s personal life, save that, like most of Reading’s substantial burgesses, he was a parishioner of St. Laurence’s, to which church he gave 20d. in 1440. He probably died soon after 1448 (when all record of him ceases).4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: Charles Kightly


  • 1. C219/12/4, 6, 13/1-4, 14/1-5, 15/1, 2, 4; CAD, i. A557-60, 564-6; Reading Pub. Lib. deeds, 106, 107, 109, 110, 112, 114, 117, 119, 121, 126, 133, 135-7.
  • 2. CAD, iv. A9113, 9114; Reading cofferers’ accts. 1414-15, 1436-7, 1447-8.
  • 3. Reading Recs. ed. Guilding, i. 1, 5, 10, 13, 20, 23, 28; cofferers’ accts. 1442-3.
  • 4. C. Kerry, Hist. St. Lawrence, 13.