PHILIPPS, William (d.1444), of Bath, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
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Family and Education

m. Agnes, 2da.

Offices Held

Mayor, Bath c. Sept. 1427-8, 1431-3, 1437-June 1438, Sept. 1441-2, 1443-4.2


This MP may possibly be identified with the ‘William Philip, merchant of Bristol’ who was involved in the arrest of a Breton ship off the coast of Ireland in 1419. Certainly, he had other connexions with Bristol merchants, and, very likely, exported cloth from that port. In his will he described himself as a ‘clothmaker’ and among his bequests were 20 ‘dozens’ of winter woollen material, a leaden furnace and a pipe of woad. In June 1422, as a result of a petition filed against him by Ralph Hunt*, a fellow clothier of Bath, concerning fraud in giving sureties, Philipps found himself in the Fleet prison under bail of 500 marks to appear before the royal council.3

As mayor of Bath in September 1427, and again in April 1432, Philipps headed the delegations from the city sent to witness at the shire court the finalization of the parliamentary returns. He evidently became a prosperous member of the community, being a party to a number of property transactions within the city bounds, where he himself owned houses in Northgate Street and Broad Street. Some of his possessions lay in Bynbury Lane, among them three tenements, a barn, a chamber and four almshouses, which he himself had had built. Philipps ‘happily arranged’—so his executors declared—that certain of these should be granted to the mayor and commonalty to finance an obit for himself, his wife and others in the civic chapel in St. Mary Stalls, while the almshouses were to be for eight people (the bedeman and his wife and six ‘very poor persons’). Philipps was sufficiently well-to-do to be able to lend money to the bishop of the diocese: in Bishop Stafford’s last year in Bath and Wells (1443) his receiver-general accounted for £15 which had been finally repaid to the clothier.4

Under the terms of his will, made on 3 Mar. 1444, Philipps left 7d. per week for seven years (a total of £10 12s.4d.) to ‘the most needy poor dwelling within or without the city of Bath’. His executors were to complete the chapel of St. Katherine in St. Mary Stalls, ‘lately begun anew by me according to my intention more fully expressed to them by word of mouth’. Every curate in Bath and in 20 parishes around received 12d. to pray for his soul, and his parish church of St. Michael received £1 for forgotten tithes, a silver and gilt cross for his enrolment in the martyrology, and a bequest for the chaplain to say prayers there for seven years for the testator, his parents and his benefactors. Also remembered were his daughter, Joan, her husband, William Walley, and their children, while the remainder of his possessions were to be divided between his widow and his other daughter, who was married to John Shipward of Bristol. Philipps asked to be buried before the high cross in the cathedral at Bath, bequeathing to the church besides £7 for special prayers, vestments, altar cloths and two silver items called ‘bollepecys’. His will was proved on 21 Apr. following.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421


Variants: Felyps, Phylpys.

  • 1. W. Prynne, Brevia Parliamentaria Redivivia, iv. 912.
  • 2. Ancient Deeds Bath ed. Shickle, 1/24, 49, 53, 5/59, 87; C219/13/5, 14/3. It should be noted that although Philipps was mayor in June 1438 his place was taken by Walter Rich* in July and Aug.: Ancient Deeds Bath, 3/29; Med. Deeds Bath (Som. Rec. Soc. lxxiii), 107.
  • 3. PPC, ii. 248-9; C1/5/202.
  • 4. C219/13/5, 14/3; Lambeth Pal. Lib. ct. roll 224b; Ancient Deeds Bath 4/102, 104; Med. Deeds Bath, 30, 107.
  • 5. Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xix), 338-9.