HAY, Roger (d.1423), of Reading, Berks.
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Family and Education
Bailiff of the liberty of the abbot of Reading by Sept. 1385.1
Mayor, Reading Mich. 1398-9, 1400-1, 1406-7, 1411-12; bailiff 1403-4.2
Coroner, Berks. bef. June 1423.
Hay began his official career in the service of the abbot of Reading, being the latter’s bailiff by 1385. It was then that he was indicted for the murder of John Cubbelwyk, junior, at dawn in a park at Sherborne St. John, Hampshire, the jury stating that the victim, having been first shot with an arrow, was stabbed to death. The motive is not known, though the fact that Hay’s accomplices included the abbot’s steward, Reynold Sheffield†, and two other abbey servants is certainly significant. No serious action was apparently taken by the authorities, and Hay was granted a royal pardon in April 1393, as were most of the others at about the same time.3
We have no information as to when Hay first became involved in the administration of Reading, or whether he did so as the abbot’s representative in the town. (His apparent lack of property there, save for a grange held of the abbey, may well indicate that it was indeed in this capacity.) The abbot had a hand in choosing the mayor, whose office Hay had just relinquished when returned to Parliament in 1399. From this time on, he became increasingly involved in local activities. In 1399 he appeared as attorney for William Shortwade*, and in 1408 he was nominated with Stephen Stapper* and others to settle a dispute between certain burgesses. He continued to be important in the town even after his fourth and last mayoralty in 1412; indeed, he was present at the parliamentary elections in May 1413, 1419 and 1421. It was probably under Henry V that he was appointed coroner for Berkshire, a post he was occupying at his death in June 1423.4