WEBBE, James (by 1528-57), of Devizes, Wilts.
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Family and Education
b. by 1528, s. of Richard Webbe. m. Wilhelmina, wid., at least 2s.1
James Webbe does not seem to have been related to the rich merchant family of Salisbury. He was assessed for subsidy in 1549, 1551 and 1553, each time on goods worth £10, in the parish of St. John’s, Devizes, and in 1553 he was among the townsmen who certified that the tax had been collected. In July 1556 a James Webbe was one of four bakers who were each fined 20d. for some offence against the constitutions of the borough; this was presumably an otherwise obscure namesake, since the Member seems to have been a prosperous tanner who was to leave his son Thomas ‘my vessels, knives and other tools that belongeth to the occupation of tanner’s craft’, with a quantity of skins and leather.2
It is uncertain whether Webbe was active in borough affairs, since no records of Devizes from before 1555 have survived. Of his brief parliamentary career all that is known is that he is not among those Members listed as having opposed a government bill. When his fellow-Member Thomas Hull was elected deputy to the mayor on 8 Oct. 1557, Webbe was promised the mayoralty for the following year, but on the first day of the following month he died. He had made his will on 28 Oct., asking to be buried in St. John’s church. The principal legatees were his sons Thomas and Jeremy, but until they attained the age of 20 his wife and executrix was to enjoy the property. Webbe’s father and ‘brother’ (?brother-in-law) Richard Wyllys were appointed overseers and Thomas Hull was among the witnesses.3