LOUDHAM, John, of Northampton.
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Family and Education
m. by Oct. 1420, Katherine.1
Tax collector, Northants. Mar. 1401.
Mayor, Northampton Mich. 1401-2, 1416-17.2
In view of the connexions which he is known to have had with East Anglia in later life, it seems likely that this MP was a relative of the Roger Loudham, who, in 1329, levied a fine on certain land and rents at Herringfleet and Ashby in Suffolk. When his cousin, Nicholas, died without issue in 1417, John Loudham attempted to recover this property and at some point over the next three years he began a suit for the execution of the above-mentioned fine in the court of common pleas. In the main, however, his principal interests lay in Northampton, where he had already begun trading as a wool merchant by the end of the 14th century. In the summer of 1398, for instance, he and a partner named William Wale were involved in a dispute with another merchant from Pilton in Northamptonshire, to whom they had sold 40 sacks of wool. The disagreement arose over the accuracy of the scales used by the vendors, and they were obliged to submit them for examination by the authorities of the Westminster Staple. In October of the following year, while he was actually sitting in Parliament, Loudham offered sureties at the Exchequer for the newly appointed collector of the wool custom at Ipswich, where he himself probably did a good deal of business. Loudham’s personal standing in Northampton is reflected by the fact that he twice served as mayor, although his first term of office was marked by the introduction of ordinances for the regulation of the craft of shoemakers rather than any attempt to foster either the wool or cloth trade. His own commercial ventures seem to have aroused further suspicions in the autumn of 1403, when the King’s remembrances noted in the Exchequer records that a ‘certain process’ had been begun against him. Loudham himself went to law in 1406, when he arraigned a clerk named John Mandeville and others on an assize of novel disseisin at Northampton. The outcome of the case is unknown, but, in April 1411, Mandeville’s executors recovered £10 from the MP as ‘part payment of a larger sum’ in which he had been bound to the clerk.3
Loudham had, meanwhile, attended the borough elections to the Parliament of 1410, being one of the most affluent men then present. We know that between them he and his wife rented a garden and a tenement in Northampton worth 5s. a year from Nicholas Horncastle*, as well as owning another property called ‘Le Lyonn’ together with various appurtenances near the church of St. Sepulchre in the town. These holdings were the subject of a series of enfeoffments made between 1420 and 1428 in favour of Henry and Eleanor Pilkington. The couple, who may well have been the next heirs of Loudham’s wife, Katherine, also acquired a reversionary interest in the manor of Cookley in Suffolk, while their son, John Pilkington, obtained a similar title to the other, unspecified holdings which the MP had acquired in this part of England. At the same time as these conveyances were being effected, John and Katherine Loudham appeared as defendants at the Northampton assizes in a case brought against them by the abbot of St. James’s for the recovery of rents worth 12s.6d. a year.4
Loudham is last mentioned in July 1428, at which time the settlement of his estates upon the Pilkingtons was finally completed. These arrangements suggest that he had no children of his own, although the John Loudham, hosier, who became mayor of Northampton in 1429 may well have been one of his kinsmen.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Loutheham, Loudham, Lowdam, Lowdeham.
- 1. Add. Ch. 6053.
- 2. Northampton Recs. ed. Markham and Cox, ii. 549.
- 3. Peds. Plea Rolls ed. Wrottesley, 310-11; Add. Chs. 6048, 6050; CFR, xii. 4; Northampton Recs. i. 245-6; ii. 71-72; JUST 1/1514 rot. 26.
- 4. Add. Chs. 6053, 6057; CIMisc. vii. no. 574; JUST 1/1524 rot. 35.
- 5. Add. Ch. 6057; Northampton Recs. ii. 549.