SPENCER, Thomas, of London and Southwark, Surr.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. by 1398, Joan, da. of Richard Burn of Southwark.1
Tax collector, Southwark Nov. 1419.
In May 1394 and again in October 1397 a Thomas Spencer was suing various London tradesmen for menaces, and it was probably he who, jointly with his wife, Joan, leased a messuage and its appurtenances in Southwark to Richard Neville during the following year. Although he was then described as a citizen of London, there is sufficient evidence to identify him with the Thomas Spencer ‘of Surrey’ named as a surety with other local men in July 1398, October 1400 and November 1407.2 In December 1416 he and his wife appeared as defendants at an assize of novel disseisin held to determine the ownership of property in Southwark, basing their case upon Joan’s title to the lands and tenements in the borough settled upon her by her late father several years before. Spencer had clearly enriched himself through marriage, and appears to have set up in business as a local inn-keeper at the turn of the century. There was certainly no truth behind the allegation that he and John Baker II, his colleague in the Parliament of 1406, had deliberately concealed their true names and humble origins at the time of the election, and the two men subsequently began a suit in Chancery against John Stanley, the author of these rumours. Some months later, during the Hilary term of 1407, and again in September 1414, Spencer and his wife were involved in property disputes at the local assizes. On the first occasion they were suing a London brewer for the possession of two messuages and their appurtenances in Southwark, and on the second they were summoned as defendants in a case then being heard before the justices at Guildford.3 In December 1415, Spencer and his associate, William Weldon, purchased the marriage of Thomas Pyrly, a minor in royal custody, for £20 paid into the Exchequer. He was still alive in May 1420, when he witnessed two deeds at Southwark, but nothing more is known of him after this date.4