SKELE, William II, of Winchelsea, Suss.
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Family and Education
s. of William Skele I*.
Jurat, Winchelsea Easter 1431-5.1
In the 1390s William Skele ‘junior’ imported wine, probably acting in partnership with his father; and it was also as ‘junior’ that he was returned to the Parliaments of 1395 and 1399. On the latter occasion he attended the Commons for five weeks, receiving £3 for so doing, and then remained at Westminster for three weeks more (that is, even after Parliament had been dissolved) as representing the interests there of all the western Cinque Ports. During the parliamentary session he was present at Henry IV’s coronation, doubtless as one of the barons of the Ports privileged to bear the royal canopy, for he brought back with him to Winchelsea the bells and staves once attached to it. He was still being described as ‘junior’ as late as 1407. Between that date and 1421 he owned land at Udimore and Guestling, on which, as a Portsman, he claimed exemption from taxation; and besides this he had other holdings at Iham. In January 1421 he put his property in Winchelsea in the hands of feoffees, who included John Tamworth*, Thomas Thunder*, Roger atte Gate* and Henry Tamworth†.2 Four months later he himself became a trustee of land on behalf of William Morfote†, the privateer, only relinquishing it on 31 May 1433, the very same day that he provided securities that Morfote would keep the peace towards William Worth†, one of his own fellow jurats. In the meantime, in December 1430, he had endowed the chantry of St. Nicholas in the church at Winchelsea with an annual rent of 2s., to pay for prayers for the souls of his parents.3