PAULYN, John, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumb.

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



Family and Education

Offices Held

Sheriff, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Mich. 1401-2, 1411-12.

Collector of pontage, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 4 Feb. 1406-11.

Commr. of inquiry, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Mar. 1406 (concealments).


Paulyn was a merchant whose commercial interests extended as far as the Baltic, and who dealt in commodities as diverse as coal, lead and grindstones. In the mid 1390s he and a small group of Newcastle men, including Roger Thornton*, exported a cargo of wool and wine worth 200 marks to Prussia on board a ship named the Goodyear, but the vessel fell into the hands of pirates from Wismer and Rostock. As late as 1405 efforts were still being made by the Crown to obtain compensation from the Hanseatic League, to which the two cities belonged, but with little apparent hope of success. Paulyn was evidently quite close to Thornton, because in April 1406 he was a party to the rich and influential merchant’s purchase of the manor of Byker in Northumberland from Sir Richard Arundel. Another of his associates was Sir William Swinburne’s* widow, Mary, for whom he witnessed property transactions at this time.1

Although Paulyn represented Newcastle only once in Parliament, in 1406, he maintained an active interest in local affairs for the next six years at least. He was closely involved in the protracted dispute between Thomas Langley, bishop of Durham, and the townspeople over the building of a tower on the Gateshead side of the Tyne bridge. The case reached the court of Chancery in the early summer of 1410, when he and five other leading burgesses travelled to Westminster to defend themselves against the charge of having infringed Langley’s episcopal jurisdiction; and two years later he was one of the delegation which attempted, unsuccessfully, to reach a compromise with the bishop and his council at the chapter house in Durham. Paulyn was then actually serving his second term as sheriff of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, after which he either died or retired from public life.2

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Variants: Paulin, Pawlyn.

  • 1. E122/106/18, 22, 32; J. Brand, Hist. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, ii. 222-3; CPR, 1405-8, pp. 165-6; Northumb. RO, Swinburne (Capheaton) ms, 1/130.
  • 2. C44/27/2; Surtees Soc. cxxxvii. 65.