PRIDE, Thomas, of Shrewsbury, Salop.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
Bailiff, Shrewsbury Sept. 1376-7, 1380-1, 1383-4, 1393-4; assessor 1392-3, 1395-6, 1402-3, 1407-8, 1411-12, 1418-19; coroner 1401-2, 1413-14, 1417-18.2
Tax collector, Shrewsbury May 1379, Mar. 1392, Oct.1393.
Commr. to settle disorder, Shrewsbury Mar. 1381.
By 1278 the Prides had acquired extensive property in Shrewsbury, including numerous tenements and more than 200 acres of land, and had taken up residence in a mansion on the north-west side of what is now known as Pride Hill. They numbered among them several 14th-century bailiffs and MPs, notably Roger Pride, who represented Shrewsbury in Parliament 19 times between 1312 and 1340. Thomas’s father, the bailiff of 1346-7 and MP of 1338 and 1339, died before 1375 when he and his widowed mother entered into recognizances for 288 marks under the Shrewsbury statute merchant with John Shotton; and in the following year, in connexion with these bonds, they settled annual rents of £5 on Richard Grafton.3
Thomas may have been a lawyer. From 1376 he was continually active in municipal government for more than 40 years. During this period he was selected six times as an assessor, three as a coroner, and four as a bailiff, and sat for Shrewsbury in no fewer than 11 Parliaments (in six of these, in 1393, 1394, 1402, 1407, 1411 and 1414 (Apr.), while occupying an official post). During his second bailiffship (in association with William Biriton), in November 1380 and as a result of petitions to the Parliament of Northampton then sitting, a royal commission was set up to inquire into a complaint by certain of the townspeople of Shrewsbury that, whereas normally the bailiffs were elected by the ‘more sufficient men’ of the town from among themselves, certain individuals of inferior status, being prompted by the ‘evil counsel’ of rabble rousers, including Pride and Biriton, had chosen these two as bailiffs before the appointed day (1 Sept.), squandered money from the common fund and risen against their betters. Despite the allegations, on 26 Mar. Pride was himself named on a second commission to settle these local differences and disorders and to arrange for a fresh election to be held. In fact, this commission never took effect, for three days later, at the earl of Arundel’s Shropshire castle called ‘Isabel’, and following a fortnight’s negotiation, 12 ‘more sufficient’ men of Shrewsbury were elected to assist in the government of the borough until September 1383. Pride was one of their number, and he may even have continued to hold the bailiffship for the rest of the term. Five years after this, in August 1389, when bailiff once again, he witnessed at Shrewsbury abbey a further ‘composition’ to reform the administration of the town. Perhaps it was on this occasion that he came to the favourable attention of the abbot, who was to appoint him as his proxy in the forthcoming Parliament of January 1390, and again in 1393. On 19 Jan. 1394 the borough forwarded to Pride and his fellow MP, Hugh Wigan, £4 to cover their expenses at the Parliament due to assemble the following week, and in June reimbursed him for further costs of £1 incurred while attending the Commons at this time. In addition, for travelling to London that summer to obtain a writ at the King’s bench on the commonalty’s behalf, Pride received £2 13s.4d. However, it was not long before he was again caught up in local disputes: between September 1398 and May 1399 the then bailiffs, William Biriton and Robert Thornes*, alleged that he had embezzled money allowed by the Council as rebate to the borough on its fee farm and contributions to parliamentary subsidies over the previous four years. It may have been on this account that orders had gone out for his arrest in October 1396, May 1397 and May 1398, and that he, to protect himself, had taken out in June 1398 a royal pardon, in which he was described as of Shrewsbury alias of Ruthin.4 Nevertheless, Pride was only briefly out of favour with the Shrewsbury burgesses, for in 1400-1 he was once more entrusted with the town’s business in London, receiving £2 7s.8d. for his travelling expenses, and in October 1400 he was a member of a local jury at the sessions held by the j.p.s. He was again sent to the Commons in 1402 and 1404, and the bailiffs’ accounts for the year 1407-8 not only include his costs for riding north on the commonalty’s affairs, but also those he and John Scriven incurred at the Gloucester Parliament, amounting to £4, as well as another £2 3s.4d. for going ‘versus Regem pro pardonacione subsidii habenda’.5
In May 1389 Pride had obtained a royal licence to found two chantries in St. Alkmund’s church, Shrewsbury, dedicated to the Holy Cross and St. Mary, and to provide for prayers for Richard II, Queen Anne, and himself. After making settlements on the church of eight messuages (situated in Barker Street, Mardon, Castle Street and Fish Street, in the suburb of Coleham and at Bicton),6 he retained several other properties in the district. These included land in the fields behind Shrewsbury castle which he leased in 1398 to William Tour (brother of Simon*), who had married his daughter Jane, and which, five years later, he finally settled on Tour and his heirs. In the autumn of 1410 Pride and his wife conveyed property in Shrewsbury and Cotton (eight miles away), including ‘Le Parke’ and an enclosure called the ‘Smalemedowe’, to feoffees, who transferred them to Tour in May 1413; and in 1419 he settled a further two messuages, 50 acres of arable land, six of meadow, and six more of wood, on his son-in-law.7 He is last noticed in September the same year, when a witness to a Shrewsbury deed. The combined wealth of the Pride and Tour families passed to his grand daughter Isabel, who married William Burley of Shrewsbury (MP in 1427 and 1437), and, through the marriage of their daughter and heir, eventually descended to the Mytton family.8
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), i. 14-17; Add. 30321, f. 72; CP25(1)195/20/19.
- 2. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 1) iii. 240-1; Shrewsbury Guildhall, box II, 67, ff. 9-14.
- 3. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), i. 14-17; v. 275-6; Shrewsbury Lib. deed 6281; Shrewsbury Guildhall, box II, 67, f. 39.
- 4. CPR, 1377-81, pp. 579, 631; 1381-5, p. 2; 1396-9, p. 53, 158, 366, 472-5; Shrewsbury Guildhall, box II, 67, f. 9d; box VIII, 351; SC8/299/14935, 14942; C67/30 m. II; SC10/37/1817, 38/1891.
- 5. Shrewsbury Guildhall, box VIII, 353, 355; Salop Peace Roll ed. Kimball, 33, 62.
- 6. C143/407/32; CPR, 1388-92, p. 45; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 3), v. pp. xii, xiii; x. 343; E301/41 m. 2.
- 7. Add. 30321, ff. 49, 72, 117, 120; Shrewsbury Lib. deeds 3719-21, 3912, 3913, 3917; CP25(1)195/20/19, 21/14.
- 8. CCR, 1419-22, p. 56; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. (ser. 1), vii. 199; viii. 269.