KIRKBY, Thomas I, of Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorks.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Kingston-upon-Hull Mich. 1391-2, 1409-10.1
Commr. to make arrests, Kingston-upon-Hull July, Dec. 1394; of inquiry, Yorks. Dec. 1395 (wreck at Bridlington).
Mayor of the Staple at Kingston-upon-Hull, date unknown.2
Kirkby was a member of the mercantile community of Hull, with a particular interest in the export of cloth and wool, which he shipped regularly from the port from 1381 onwards. On at least one occasion, in 1386, he was shipwrecked in the treacherous waters of the Humber while sailing for Holland with a group of English merchants. Their valuable cargo was arrested by one John Frank of Holderness, and in December of that year Kirkby himself travelled to Westminster to present a petition for redress to the royal council and act as spokesman for his associates.3 He appears to have been on friendly terms with the vicar of the chapel of Holy Trinity, Hull, who chose him, in July 1388, to act as one of his executors. Three years later he assumed office as town bailiff, and was thus able to return himself to the Parliament of November 1391. It is unlikely that he had to bring much, if any, pressure to bear upon the electorate, since he went on to serve at least seven more times as a parliamentary burgess, and must have been a popular choice. We do not know exactly when he was made mayor of the Staple of Hull, but by July 1394 he was sufficiently well regarded by the government to be appointed to the first of three royal commissions. In the following year he offered securities in Chancery on behalf of a follower of Sir Thomas Talbot who had been imprisoned ‘for various evildoings’; and, somewhat later, in 1403, he acted as an attorney for the delivery of land in Denton Lane, Hull. Little else is known of his more personal affairs from then onwards, although he continued to be involved in local matters until 1411, the date of his last Parliament. A clerk named Thomas Kirkby, who was active in Hull in the 1430s and had dealings with the wealthy merchant, Robert Holme II*, and his family, may possibly have been his son.4