POPE, Robert, of Gloucester.
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Family and Education
Steward, Gloucester Mich. 1375-6; bailiff 1377-8, 1383-4, 1389-90, 1391-2.1
Tax assessor, Gloucester May 1379.
Commr. to visit and reform St. Bartholomew’s hospital, Gloucester July 1381, Mar. 1383, Mar. 1384.
Robert was possibly a brother of John Pope I* and certainly a kinsman of Thomas Pope* and Stephen Pope*. He witnessed several conveyances in Gloucester between 1376 and 1392, and was a regular office-holder in the town. While serving as a steward he was elected to Parliament in 1376, and in September following he was chosen bailiff for the first of four annual terms.2 During the third of these (1389-90) the town’s dispute with Llanthony priory began. The prior and convent built a house for a recluse on a plot of land adjacent to the chapel of St. Kyneburg in Southgate Street and in July 1390 they obtained royal ratification of their right to both chapel and land as held by them and their predecessors from time out of mind, only for the bailiffs, Robert Pope and John Banbury I*, to seize the land as belonging to the borough. The prior procured a royal writ of novel disseisin, with the consequence that in February following Pope and Banbury, no longer in office, appeared before the justices of assize in person and the commonalty by one of the new bailiffs, Richard Ashwell*, to put their case that the land had been granted to the burgesses by King John. However, the jury found that the priory had been in possession in Henry III’s time, and had now been unlawfully disseised by the townspeople. The prior obtained a writ on 7 May ordering the justices to proceed to judgement, which they duly gave in his favour. Nevertheless, possession was evidently still refused, for the prior was then compelled to ask for an inquiry, his petition alleging that the bailiffs and commonalty had bribed the local escheator to hold an inquest, which had found that the prior had acquired the plot from John Head* as recently as 1388 and without a royal licence. A commission to investigate the prior’s complaint was appointed in June and eventually the burgesses were made to give up the land along with other property and £50 in money, after the commissioners discovered that they had indeed induced the escheator to hold his inquest, and that a false presentment had been made.3
Pope’s royal appointments included, in 1381, a commission to investigate reports that the brethren of St. Bartholomew’s hospital, Gloucester, had so wasted certain corrodies that their income no longer sufficed to maintain the chantries, and they themselves now lacked food and clothing. It was also said that various sums of money bequeathed to the hospital by local men had been dissipated. Two years later, in March 1383, he was appointed, with the abbot of St. Peter’s, to visit the hospital, and in the following year, when he was bailiff, to question the warden and draw up ordinances of reform for the guidance of the inmates.
According to a rental of 1430-1, a shop near the North Gate had once been held by Robert Pope as a tenant in frank almoign of the abbey of Winchcombe.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Gloucester Corporation Recs. ed. Stevenson, 997, 1004, 1013, 1022.
- 2. Ibid. 997, 999, 1017-18, 1021.
- 3. C44/17/3, 12; CPR, 1388-92, pp. 285, 444; CCR, 1389-92, pp. 249, 264; Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. Trans. lxiii. 102-3; C66/331 m. 26d, 332 m. 44d.
- 4. Landboc sive Reg. Winchelcumba ed. Royce, 75.