NORTHMORE, John (d.1415/16), of Taunton, Som.

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



Sept. 1397

Family and Education

m. Joan,1 1s.

Offices Held

Portreeve, Taunton Mich. 1382-3, 1402-3, 1407-8.2


Northmore traded in wool and cloth from his house in Taunton. He served as a member of the local jury which in 1382 accused the abbot of Glastonbury of obstructing the river Tone by building a new mill at the Bath Pool, thus causing the burgesses’ trade to suffer. This was at the beginning of the first of his three annual terms of office as portreeve. He evidently had business dealings with merchants of London, for in May 1396 he took out a royal pardon for failing to answer a suit for a debt of £10 brought by Walter Willesdon and William Kyngman, citizens and vintners.3 He was again serving as portreeve when returned to Parliament for the second time in 1407.

On 16 Feb. 1410 a commission of oyer and terminer was appointed on Bishop Beaufort of Winchester’s complaint that certain men of Taunton, led by Northmore and Robert Coullyng*, had assaulted his officers and tenants while collecting tolls at the fair. They had allegedly made a compact with 400 townspeople, all adopting the same livery, ‘to live and die’ against their overlord. Six days earlier Northmore had been ordered to appear in Chancery on 23 Feb. to answer the charges, on pain of forfeiting £40. Unlike Coullyng he was apparently not fined specifically for his part in the riots, but two years later he was made to pay £5 to the bishop’s receiver for illegally selling horse bread (panes equinos) in his inn, using two sets of weights, the lighter when buying, the heavier when selling.4 Northmore had been present at the shire court at Ilchester to witness the electoral returns for Taunton to the Parliament of 1410, and did so again for those of May 1413 and April and November 1414. He ended his days in comparative affluence, in possession of a building in Fore Street and two messuages on the castle mound in North Street, which last he held as a tenant of Bishop Beaufort after paying an entry fine of 26s.8d. in 1413.5

When making his will, on 4 Dec. 1415, Northmore arranged to be buried in the church of Saints Peter and Paul in Taunton, and bequeathed £3 to that church, 5s. to the vicar of St. Mary Magdalen and 2s.6d. to every chaplain who celebrated mass for his soul and the souls of his parents. His bequests totalled more than £54, being disposed in various sums but mainly to his son, William. Among the goods he left were a dozen silver spoons and a sack of wool. His executors included his widow, his son and his brother, another William. He died before 1 Feb. 1416, the date of probate. Three years later his widow paid the bishop 20s. for licence to enter possession of the two messuages in North Street.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Hants RO, bp. Winchester’s pipe roll, 159420.
  • 2. Ibid. 159389, 159407, 159410.
  • 3. E101/343/28, 30; Add. 30289, ff. 186-90; CPR, 1391-6, p. 679.
  • 4. CPR, 1408-13, p. 179; CCR, 1409-13, p. 38; bp. Winchester’s pipe roll, 159414.
  • 5. Bp. Winchester’s pipe rolls, 159391-5, 159415; C219/10/5, 11/2, 3, 5.
  • 6. Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xvi), 70; bp. Winchester’s pipe roll, 159420.