BRIGGE, Thomas (d.c.1423), of Bishop's Lynn, Norf.

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

Family and Education

s. of Peter atte Brigge of Lynn by his w. Alice. m. by 1391, Margery.2

Offices Held

Chamberlain, Lynn Mich. 1393-4, 1398-9; mayor 1402-3, 1407-8.3

Commr. of array, Lynn Oct. 1403; inquiry May 1408.

Tax collector, Lynn May 1404.

Customs collector, Boston 6 Apr. 1406-Feb. 1407.

J.p. Lynn 5 May 1408-Apr. 1410, 18 Dec. 1417-c.1422.


Brigge’s father purchased the freedom of Lynn in 1348-9, and later traded extensively from that port, making shipments to Calais, Zeeland, Norway and Gascony. Although Thomas’s brother, James, who was also a merchant, became a burgess in 1386, four years before he did (on 21 Oct. 1390),4 Thomas was apparently the elder, for it was he who inherited their father’s house next to St. James’s chapel. At Easter 1391 he conveyed to feoffees a messuage, two quays, two warehouses and three roods of land in the town. Later he leased from the community at an annual rent of £4 6s.8d. a tenement and store opposite the aqueduct, and by 1410 he was holding of the Holy Trinity guild another building by St. Margaret’s church.5

Although Brigge was involved in the cloth trade by November 1390, when he went surety in Chancery for the alnager of Norfolk and Suffolk, his main mercantile interest was in wool, which he exported to Calais (shipping upwards of 310 sacks, 220 cloves and 515 fleeces there between October 1398 and January 1402 alone). In February 1406, in partnership with his brother and Thomas Waterden*, he imported a consignment of herring and eels worth £195 and, with other merchants, a further cargo of herring, eels, sturgeon and iron valued at £127. At the same time he was also trading in Gascon wines. In August that year, along with John Brandon*, Brigge served under Nicholas Blackburn, who, as admiral of the north, was in command of the fleet which escorted Princess Philippa to Denmark for her marriage. Following questions put to Parliament in 1406 (Brigge’s second appearance there) and in 1407, he was required to testify before the royal council about details of the financing of this voyage. In July 1410 he was among the nine Lynn merchants who advanced a loan of 200 marks to the Crown for the safeguard of the sea.6

In July 1402 Brigge had been one of the burgesses obliged to provide £100 securities before the sheriff of Norfolk as an undertaking not to molest their overlord, Bishop Despenser of Norwich, or his officers. His name appeared on the parliamentary election indentures of 1407, 1413 (May) and 1421 (Apr.), and on the last of these occasions he also acted as mainpernor for Bartholomew Sistern. In the meantime in December 1411, as one of the potentiores, he again had to bind himself in £100, this time to the mayor, Roger Galion, thereby agreeing to abide by the new ordinances for the town’s government; and the following May his claim for £122 1s.5d. for expenses incurred during his own two mayoralties was disallowed by the committee of nine which was hostile to his party. Tension between the political factions of Lynn eventually led to violence against Brigge himself: on the night of 20 Aug. 1414, returning home from John Warner’s* tavern along with others of his persuasion, he was assaulted by a party of inferiores and mediocres led by William Halyate* and John Tilney*.7

At the meeting held at the guildhall on 3 Mar. 1421 it was stated that Brigge was in London about the town’s business. He returned home two days later to report that the commonalty had advanced loans of 400 marks to the King, receiving as pledge for repayment a gold circlet which had been placed in a chest, of which he had a key, deposited at Norwich.8 Brigge was re-appointed as a j.p. in Lynn in February 1422, but died before July 1424.9

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Brigge was also elected to the Parliament summoned for January 1402 which never met: Norf. Official Lists ed. Le Strange, 208.
  • 2. CP25(1)168/180/204; King’s Lynn Town Hall, Be 508.
  • 3. Red Reg. King’s Lynn ed. Ingleby, f. 117; HMC 11th Rep. III, 223; Norf. Official Lists, 190.
  • 4. Cal. Freemen Lynn, 11, 25; Red Reg. f. 133; CPR, 1364-7, p. 292.
  • 5. CP25(1)168/180/204; Lynn Town Hall, Be 506-8, 510, Ea 42, Gd 55.
  • 6. CCR, 1389-92, p. 292; E122/94/18, 95/3 mm. 1, 4, 5, 10, 11, 17, 21, 95/9; N.S.B. Gras, Early Eng. Customs System, 555; Harl. Roll. H 23; E404/23/481; PPC, i. 347.
  • 7. C219/10/4, 11/1, 12/5; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 575; HMC 11th Rep. III, 192-3; CIMisc. vii. 517; Lynn Town Hall, Ae 17.
  • 8. Recs. King’s Lynn ed. Harrod, 105.
  • 9. CCR, 1422-9, pp. 149, 185, 191.