PODMORE, Thomas, of Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs.
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Family and Education
Mayor, Newcastle Mich. 1398-9.2
Members of the Podmore family were living in Newcastle by the early 14th century, and from then onwards they played a prominent part in municipal life. This MP was probably a kinsman of the Richard Podmore who sat for the borough in six Parliaments between 1355 and 1366. He seems to have been either the son or grandson of another of Newcastle’s parliamentary representatives, his namesake, Thomas Podmore, a former mayor, whose presence among the prima duodena—or senior members—of the merchant guild in 1388-9 secured his election (as Thomas Podmore the younger) to the freedom of the borough without payment of the customary fine.3 It is by no means certain which of the two men recovered land in the surrounding countryside from a local couple during the Michaelmas term of 1390, although we know that Thomas Podmore the elder had previously settled an estate in the area upon feoffees. The younger man was perhaps himself a member of the prima duodena by 1396. Less than one year later he was summoned to defend himself against an action of account brought by Richard Lagowe, the heir to estates in Newcastle of which he had previously been farmer. Podmore was returned to Parliament in 1399 while still in office as mayor, and although he did not again hold any post in the borough, he continued to participate in its affairs. In February 1403, for example, he joined with other residents to offer sureties of £40 on behalf of a local man charged with breaking the peace, and not long afterwards he headed the list of jurors present at the annual view of frankpledge.4 Podmore last appears in August 1404 as a litigant at the Stafford assizes. His claim to a reversionary interest in five messuages and other property in Newcastle (as heir both to one John Podmore of Coventry and John, son of Thomas Podmore) was rejected by the court and he was fined for bringing a vexatious action. He was dead by the autumn of 1411, when his widow, Isabel, sued another of his ubiquitous kinsmen for assault.5