PERLE, John I (d.1402), of Dorchester, Dorset.

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



Feb. 1388

Family and Education

s. of Walter Perle by Hawise, wid. of John Mohun of ‘Hamme’, Dorset.1

Offices Held

Escheator, Som. and Dorset 24 Nov. 1394-18 Nov. 1395, Dorset 24 Nov. 1400-8 Nov. 1401.

J.p. Dorset 12 Nov. 1397-Sept. 1399, 16 May 1401-d.

Commr. of weirs, Dorset June 1398; array Dec. 1399, Aug. 1403.

Tax collector, Dorset Dec. 1401.


Perle’s career is obscure. His father was the MP for Dorset of 1368 and 1371 who, appointed as one of the King’s serjeants-at-law in June 1375, became blind and unable to work in the course of the following year, subsequently receiving a pension from Edward III and Richard II until his death, some time after 1389. By 1377 John was holding jointly with his parents land at Thornford and ‘Westleigh’ in Dorset. His father claimed as his wife’s jointure from her previous marriage the manor of ‘Byestwall and Stoborough’ in the same county (John acted as his attorney at the assizes at Dorchester when the case was heard in 1385), but there is no evidence that he was successful. The Perles also encountered difficulties over their title to land and rents in Gloucestershire, at Pitchcombe. In 1381 an inquiry had been held to see whether they might retain some eight messuages, 140 acres of land, six acres of meadow, 32s.8d. rent and a moiety of the advowson of Pitchcombe church, which they had acquired from William le Gyldere. The latter was probably a kinsman of theirs; and in 1390 John Perle and Walter Perle, chaplain (perhaps his brother), established their right to land at Holwell (Somerset) and at Sherborne, Caundle Marsh and other places in Dorset against Roger Gulden (sic). A recognizance for 88 marks entered into by Gulden with Perle at the same time was probably connected with the transaction. Perle also held land at ‘Crokeston’ (in Somerset or Dorset) of the honour of Dunster, and he owned a house in Dorchester. The latter probably qualified him for election to Parliament for the borough. That he also later on sat for the county suggests that he was a landowner of greater substance than the surviving records reveal. His activities as a surety for leases of land and as a witness to deeds were all confined to Dorset, as was his public service (with the exception of the joint escheatorship).2

Writs of diem clausit extremum on Perle’s death were issued for the counties of Somerset, Dorset and Gloucestershire on 10 Apr. 1402, but no inquisitions have survived to provide details of the date of his death or of his property. Earlier, he had conveyed some of his landed holdings to feoffees, of whom the most important was Sir Humphrey Stafford I*, and they had settled them on Richard More and Elizabeth, his wife, and the latter’s heirs. Elizabeth was probably Perle’s daughter.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421


  • 1. CPR, 1381-5, p. 53; JUST 1/1495 m. 11.
  • 2. C143/399/16; CPR, 1381-5, p. 53; 1388-92, p. 114; 1408-13, p. 37; Sel. Cases King’s Bench (Selden Soc. lxxxii), pp. xxxi, xcviii; Dorset Feet of Fines, 134, 176; JUST 1/1495 mm. 11, 49; CCR, 1389-92, p. 296; Feudal Aids, ii. 297; Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xxii), 205; Honour of Dunster (ibid. xxxiii), 113; Recs. Dorchester ed. Mayo, 145, 184-5.
  • 3. CFR, xii. 167. Perle’s appointment to collect a tax in Dorset in Mar. 1404 was presumably a clerical error (ibid. 258).