WARMWELL, William (d.1423), of Salisbury, Wilts.

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



Feb. 1383
Apr. 1384
Jan. 1390

Family and Education

m. Joan (d.1396), 1da.1

Offices Held

Reeve, Salisbury 1 Nov. 1373-4; coroner 1378-9; mayor 1379-80.2


A leading citizen of Salisbury for more than 50 years, Warmwell witnessed deeds there between 1368 and 1410,3 and took his place as a member of the city’s convocation until at least 1409.4

In about 1376 Warmwell was appointed, with John Bitterley* and others, as an executor of William Teynterer, junior, a wealthy fellow citizen, and as such he became engaged through the executors’ proctor, William Montagu, earl of Salisbury and captain of Calais, in a dispute with one William Gilbert of Calais, who, it was alleged, had owed the deceased the sum of £329. Warmwell’s special responsibility was the sale of certain properties in Salisbury and the distribution of the proceeds for the mending of roads and bridges and for poor men, but for some 30 years after Teynterer’s death he failed to fulfil his obligations in this respect, retaining the premises for his own profit. In 1397 the complaints of Teynterer’s widow Alice (then married to Bitterley) forced him to sell the properties concerned, but the proceeds were still in his hands in 1406, when Alice inserted a passage in her will accusing him of wrongfully keeping 200 marks, and requesting the mayor and the bishop of Salisbury to compel him to distribute the money according to her late husband’s will. She warned Warmwell that if he still failed to complete his charge, he ‘wolde be dampned to the fuyr of Helle’.5

Meanwhile, there had been no indication of dishonesty in Warmwell’s other dealings. In 1378 he had stood surety for the attendance of Thomas Boyton in Parliament, and two years later did the same for John Bitterley. From June 1380 he shared with Thomas Bowyer, a fellow citizen, and William Hunte, a yeoman of the King’s chamber, the farm for ten years of the subsidy on cloth for sale in Wiltshire, paying an annual sum of 100 marks. In July 1385 Warmwell and Bowyer arraigned an assize of novel disseisin against Thomas Burford* and others, concerning a tenement in Salisbury; they recovered their property and were awarded damages of 3s.4d.6 During the highly acrimonious dispute between the corporation of Salisbury and Bishop Waltham in June 1395, Warmwell was one of those who acted as attorneys for the city when the case came up before the royal council. In the autumn of the following year his wife, Joan (who had been married twice before, in both instances to local men) died, leaving him a life interest in their residence in Castle Street.7

Although Warmwell produced only ten cloths for alnage in the financial year 1396-7, he was apparently quite well-off. His contribution to the Salisbury tallage of 1398 was the highest paid by any inhabitant, and in 1412 he was stated to own tenements worth £21 10s. a year in the city, as well as land worth £5 p.a. in Todworth.8 His wealth, and the extent of his property, is shown by his will, made on 8 Oct. 1422 (when he must have been at least 75), and proved on 10 May 1423. Its provisions included a request that he should be buried in St. Thomas’s church, Salisbury, to which he left a missal, vestments and plate, together with a psalter which was to be chained in the pew he used to occupy. Payment was made for no less than 3,500 masses to be said for his soul, and legacies were made to all the city’s churches and friaries, as well as to the lepers at Harnham and to the hospital of St. Giles at Wilton. Over £14 (3,500 pence) was to be distributed to the poor. His plate, personal effects and armour were to be divided between his daughter, Joan, and his nephews, John and Robert Warmwell. Among the properties mentioned were four tenements and ten cottages in Salisbury, some of which were to go to his daughter, but the majority were to be sold by his executors and the proceeds distributed for charitable purposes. Like many of his fellow citizens of this period, Warmwell left to the mayor and commonalty a sum of money (an annual rent of 10s. in this case), which was to go towards payment of taxes levied on the city. His executors were his daughter, his nephew, Robert, William Bourer* and William Dondyng, a former mayor.9

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: Charles Kightly


  • 1. Salisbury RO, ‘Domesday bks.’ 2, f. 5, 3, f. 88.
  • 2. R. Benson and H. Hatcher, Old and New Sarum, 695; Tropenell Cart. ed. Davies, i. 213; Salisbury RO, deeds xi. 10.
  • 3. ‘Domesday bk.’ 2, ff. 11, 15, 16, 18, 21, 25, 34, 41-42, 45, 51, 64, 74, 85; Tropenell Cart. i. 219; CCR, 1405-9, p. 87.
  • 4. Salisbury ledger bk. A, ff. 29, 34.
  • 5. CPR, 1377-81, p. 469; 1381-5, pp. 21, 71, 79, 125, 262; Benson and Hatcher, 100; ‘Domesday bk.’ 2, ff. 16, 25, 73-74.
  • 6. C219/8/2, 4; CCR, 1377-81, p. 340; CPR, 1389-92, p. 245; C260/97/6.
  • 7. CPR, 1391-6, p. 651; CCR, 1392-6, p. 355; ‘Domesday bk.’ 2, f. 5.
  • 8. E101/345/2; ledger bk. A, f. 6; Feudal Aids, vi. 539.
  • 9. ‘Domesday bk.’ 3, f. 88. Robert Warmwell was mayor of Salisbury in 1419-20 and 1429-30: ibid. ff. 48, 117.