WELSHOT, John (by 1473-1518/19), of Wells, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1473. m. by 1494, Isabel, 2s. 1da.2

Offices Held

Keeper, church goods, Wells 1499-1500, guild of the Holy Trinity 1503-4, altar of St. Catherine 1515-17, rent collector 1505-6, constable 1505-7, auditor 1507-d., member of the Twenty-Four by Oct. 1507-d., master 1509-10, 1515-16.3


The antecedents of John Welshot are obscure. He. may have sprung from the family of that name in Bristol, but his only known relative, apart from his immediate kin, was his uncle Thomas Cornish, suffragan bishop of Tenos and precentor of Bath and Wells, who made him an executor of his will in 1513 and left him two tenements to found a chantry in the parish church of St. Cuthbert.4

Welshot was admitted to the freedom of Wells in 1494 without payment of a fine because he was married to the daughter of a burgess, and thereafter he stood surety for a number of other freemen. With Bishop Cornish and two others he was appointed executor of John Tyler in 1512. Doubtless preoccupied with his own trade as a mercer, he did not at first readily accept civic office. In 1501 he would not pay the 20s. exacted for his refusal to become collector of the town rents. He swore that he had never wished to become a freeman and threatened to bring the matter before the King’s Council. Such was his obstinacy that this item in the city’s act book was subsequently struck through and a note added that Welshot had been pardoned: and although this was followed by an ordinance that in future no one should be elected to the Twenty-Four unless he had previously acted as rent collector, Welshot’s payment in the following year of 6s.8d. of the 20s. demanded led to the decision that service as chamberlain or rent collector should not be a condition of membership of the governing body. Welshot’s own record during the next few years appears to reflect a change of heart in the matter. It was during his first term as master that he was elected to Parliament with John Mawdley I, who had been master in the previous year. They were paid at the city’s usual rate of 12d. day ‘and no more’. Both were replaced in the following two Parliaments and Welshot died before another was called.5

In his will of 26 Apr. 1518 Welshot made a number of religious bequests and provided money for obits at two altars in the parish church, where he wished to be buried near the altar of St. Catherine; he also left the commonalty a house and land in Wedmore for another obit. To his wife he bequeathed plate and £100 in money, together with land at Congresbury, a tucking mill and a tenement in Wells, all of which were to pass to his son William after her death; all other land, doubtless including long leases of the Catherine Wheel in the High Street and of property in Biddisham which Welshot had acquired in 1509 and 1511, went to William, who was named an executor with his mother. He left much plate and household ware, with sums of money, to this son and to another son and a daughter John and Julian, and to John a gold ring with a T surmounted by crown. John Coke of London, merchant taylor, and John Bonar of Wells, two of the overseers of the will, were appointed to act for the heir until he came of age. The will was proved on behalf of the widow on 16 June 1519, but the second probate was not obtained by William Welshot until 10 May 1532.6

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Wells act bk. 2, p. 258.
  • 2. Date of birth estimated from admission as freeman. PCC 18 Ayloffe; HMC Wells, ii. 213.
  • 3. Wells act bk. 2, pp. 213-91 passim.
  • 4. PCC 12 Stokton, 18 Fetiplace, 30 Powell, 18 Ayloffe.
  • 5. PCC 15 Fetiplace; Wells City Chs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 162-3, 165, 167; Wells act bk. 2, pp. 204-91 passim.
  • 6. PCC 18 Ayloffe; HMC Wells, ii. 213, ch. 736; Wells act bk. 2, p. 291.