REYMES, John (c.1367-1411), of Overstrand, Norf.

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



Jan. 1404

Family and Education

b.c.1367, yr. s. and h. of Sir John Reymes (d.1383), of Overstrand by his w. Christine. m. prob. bef. 1397, Margaret, da. of William Wynter of Barningham, Norf., sis. of John Wynter*, 2s. 3da.

Offices Held

Commr. to make proclamation of Henry IV’s intention to govern well, Norf. May 1402; of arrest Apr. 1403; inquiry Oct. 1405 (hidden gold), Oct. 1406 (piracy).

Constable of Norwich castle 8 Nov. 1402-d.

Dep. butler, Bishop’s Lynn 26 Nov. 1407-3 Feb. 1408.


The family of Reymes had been established in Norfolk since the early 13th century, acquiring as its chief possession the manor of Overstrand near Cromer. This property John inherited in 1383, following the deaths of Sir John Reymes, his father, and Roger, his elder brother.1 In 1385 he served under Sir Hugh Hastings of Elsing in the unsuccessful invasion of Scotland led by Richard II in person, and it was again with Hastings that a year later he enlisted with John of Gaunt’s army for the Spanish campaign. Subsequently, he was retained by Lancaster with an annuity of £10 charged on the revenues of the duchy estates in Norfolk, and he saw service with the duke again in 1395, in Aquitaine. Reymes naturally came into close contact with others of the affinities of John of Gaunt and his son, Henry of Bolingbroke. In 1397 he was named as an executor of the will of his father-in-law, William Wynter, whose son, John, was to show himself a staunch supporter of the house of Lancaster, and in October 1398, on the eve of Sir Thomas Erpingham’s departure into exile with Bolingbroke, he witnessed the arrangements made for the administration of his estates. Although Reymes took out royal letters of protection to travel with Richard II’s army to Ireland in the spring of 1399, it seems likely that he never went.2 Certainly, he raised a troop of men to serve Henry of Bolingbroke on his return to England that July (later receiving £10 9s. for their wages), and some time in the two months before Henry mounted the throne he confirmed Reymes’s annuity charged on the duchy of Lancaster estates. Reymes became a member of the Household, thereafter wearing the livery of a ‘King’s esquire’. As such, he benefited immediately from royal patronage: on 15 Nov. he secured custody of lands in Suffolk lately belonging to Robert Hethe* during the minority of the latter’s son Thomas* (to whom Reymes subsequently married off one of his daughters); and nine days later he was granted a life annuity of £20 charged on the customs levied at Great Yarmouth. Furthermore, in October 1400, the King gave him three pipes of wine a year for life from the prise in the same port. Two years later, when John Payn II* died, Reymes replaced him as constable of Norwich castle, a prestigious post which carried an annual fee of £20.3 Clearly, his lack of a substantial income from land had been compensated by Henry IV’s generosity. Marks of royal favour continued to be shown him; early in 1403 it was ordered that he should receive his annuities even though he had failed in his obligation to accompany the King to Wales; a year later, in February 1404 and during his first Parliament (to which he had been elected in the company of his brother-in-law, John Wynter), he was granted the farm of certain property in Sussex pertaining to the duchy of Lancaster, and that August, ‘in consideration of his good services’, he was pardoned the escapes of a number of felons from the goal of Norwich castle, and the fine of £20 pertaining to the Crown was also remitted. In July 1405 he relinquished his letters patent with regard to his annuity and the grant of wine from the port of Great Yarmouth. This was in return for a larger pension of £30 p.a. charged on the duchy estates in East Anglia, and his yearly income in fees and annuities amounted thereafter to at least £60. Furthermore, he was able to make use of his position as an esquire of the King’s chamber to obtain certain lucrative wardships at the Exchequer.4

In November 1407 the chief butler, Sir John Tiptoft, who had been Speaker in Reymes’s second Parliament, named him as his deputy in Bishop’s Lynn. That same month the King personally put forward his name to the chancellor for appointment as escheator of Norfolk and Suffolk, only for him successfully to petition for exoneration. Reymes continued to take an interest in the parliamentary representation of Norfolk: he attended the elections of 1407 and 1410, on both occasions witnessing the return of his brother-in-law, John Wynter. In the meantime, in 1408-9, his constableship of Norwich castle had involved him in a dispute with the civic authorities and, perhaps in order to conciliate him, the citizens had presented him with a length of worsted worth 30s.5

In 1403 Reymes and his wife had obtained a papal indult to have a portable altar. He died on 2 Mar. 1411 and six days later the post of constable of Norwich was granted to another ‘King’s esquire’, William Phelip*. He was buried in the church of Overstrand, recently rebuilt on the half-acre of land donated by him by authority of a royal licence which he had procured on 1 Oct. 1399, the day after Henry IV’s accession.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Vis. Norf. (Norf. Arch. 1878), i. 290-2; F. Blomefield, Norf. viii. 143-6; Norf. Arch. xxx. 15-64.
  • 2. Foedera ed. Rymer (Hague edn.), iv. 11; DL42/16 (pt. 3), f. 4d; CCR, 1396-9, p. 400; CPR, 1396-9, p. 524; Norf. RO, Reg. Harsyke, f. 240; Norf. Arch. xxx. 32; S.K. Walker, ‘John of Gaunt and his retainers, 1361-99’ (Oxf. Univ. D.Phil. thesis, 1986), 283.
  • 3. DL42/15, f. 70; CPR, 1399-1401, pp. 87, 133, 393; 1401-5, pp. 29, 172, 349; E101/404/21, f. 45.
  • 4. DL 42/15 (pt. 2), f. 69; 16 (pt. 1), f. 43d (pt. 3), ff. 4d, 9d; CPR, 1401-5, p. 412; CFR, xiii. 84, 109.
  • 5. Cal. Signet Letters ed. Kirby, no. 708; C219/10/4, 5; Recs. Norwich ed. Hudson and Tingey, ii. 56.
  • 6. CPL, v. 567; CPR, 1399-1401, p. 10; 1408-13, p. 278; C143/429/9; Norf. Arch. xxx. 33.