WEBBE, George (by 1509-56), of Canterbury, Kent.
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Family and Education
Common councilman, Canterbury by 1537, sheriff 1537-8, alderman 1540, mayor 1552-3; commr. goods of churches and fraternities 1553.3
George Webbe’s admission in 1532 to the freedom of Canterbury by redemption shows that he was not the son of a freeman, and it was as a recent arrival there that he had paid a fee to the corporation in the previous two years to ply his trade. If it was his widow who gave John Webbe (q.v.) the ring which its recipient later bequeathed to her, George and John Webbe are to be thought of as kinsmen, perhaps brothers, and probably natives of Sandwich.
By profession a mercer, Webbe engaged in the corn trade, being one of the regrators who in 1540 were reported to be buying up all the grain in Kent. Such dealings evidently did not affect his civic progress, for it was in December 1540 that he was made an alderman of Westgate ward; three months earlier he had been fined £10 for failing to attend a burmote to which he had been specially summoned. In keeping with the city’s readiness to elect its mayor to Parliament, Webbe’s one short spell in the Commons came during his mayoral year. His name is missing from the torn return, and neither the election itself nor, owing to the loss of the accounts for 1552-3, any payment of wages is recorded in the city archives. Webbe cannot be identified with any particular attitude in politics or religion, unless his purchase of confiscated church goods in 1553 reflects an acceptance of that act of spoliation.4
Styling himself alderman of Canterbury and of the parish of St. Andrew, Webbe made his will on 23 Aug. 1556, asking to be buried in the cathedral. To his wife, Margaret, he left the lease of the house in which he lived, his new house at Fordwich and a tenement and lands in the parish of Monkton; after her death the house at Fordwich was to go to his son Anthony and the land in Monkton to be equally divided between two other sons, both named Thomas. Two more sons, Erasmus and Stephen, received a tenement each and lands in Fordwich and Westbere, and a sixth, George, £6 13s.4d. out of a lease in Westcliffe. Each of Webbe’s six daughters was to have £20 on marriage or at the age of 21, the first four also receiving a goblet apiece and the two youngest a ‘bunkyne’. The residue of all his goods went to his wife, whom he named executrix. The will was witnessed by two aldermen of Canterbury, Thomas Frenche and Henry Alday, and by the common clerk, George Toftes; it was proved on 18 Nov. 1556.5
Ref Volumes: 1509-1558
Author: Helen Miller
- 1. Canterbury burmote bk. 1542-78, f. 75v.
- 2. Date of birth estimated from first reference. Reg. St. George, Canterbury, ed. Cowper, 168; Canterbury prob. reg. A32, f. 151.
- 3. Freemen of Canterbury, ed. Cowper, 308; Canterbury burmote bk. passim; Arch. Cant. xiv. 318.
- 4. Intrantes of Canterbury, ed. Cowper, 193; LP Hen. VIII, ix; Canterbury burmote bk.; Arch. Cant. xiv. 320.
- 5. Canterbury prob. reg. A32, f. 151.