CHILD, William (d.c.1398), of New Romney, Kent.

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



Jan. 1377
Oct. 1383

Family and Education

poss. s. of Thomas Child of New Romney by Margaret, da. of William Spite.4

Offices Held

Cinque Ports’ bailiff at Yarmouth Sept.-Nov. 1378.5

Jurat, New Romney 25 Mar. 1380-1, 1397-8.6


Child paid maltolts in Bocherye ward, Romney, from 1379 to 1398. During this period, he owned land in the neighbouring Kentish hundreds of Langport and Newchurch, on which as a Portsman he claimed exemption from taxation.7

Child was engaged on New Romney’s business in the spring of 1381, when he made visits to Dover and Sandwich in connexion with the spoils of an alien vessel captured by one of the Cinque Ports’ barges, and he also went to Dover to certify the accuracy of the indentures which listed the Portsmen’s properties outside the Ports’ liberties for the purpose of claiming tax exemption. On 27 Nov. while his second Parliament was in session at Westminster, he and his colleague, William Holyngbroke*, rode off to Dover to arrange for sending Romney’s common ship, suitably fitted with ‘unam cabane ad usum regine’, to bring Anne of Bohemia over from France for her marriage to Richard II. In January following, during the parliamentary recess, they attended her coronation, receiving from Romney more than £7 as the cost of their robes and other necessities. Later that year (1382) Child went to the Weald to procure timber for Romney’s new sluice, and subsequently helped to supervise its construction. Visits made to Dover in 1382 and 1383 were for meetings to plan how the Ports were to fulfil their obligation to help keep the sea, and over the years until 1387 he returned there several times for other business concerning Romney, in particular for hearings of the town’s dispute with Lydd, its member-port.8

In June 1388 Archbishop Courtenay arraigned Child and Holyngbroke as ringleaders in Romney’s attempt to undermine his rights as lord of the town, notably by trying to bring his bailiff under their control, thus obstructing the exercise of his temporal and spiritual authority. The two men were excommunicated, and the town placed under an interdict, with the consequence that, in October, after an attempt to procure royal intervention had failed, the townsmen were obliged to submit. Child and Holyngbroke spent as much as £16 15s. on maintaining Romney’s defence in the central courts, and two years later they disbursed a further £6 10s. on collateral business they were managing on the town’s behalf. The two men were associated yet again in June 1393, when they stood surety in £200 that John Talbot*, the then bailiff of Romney, would appear in Chancery to answer in a lawsuit. In 1395-6, after Courtenay had brought further action against the townspeople ‘pro franchisa’, Child served on the delegation that went up to London to oppose him, though later he visited the archbishop at Maidstone to treat for a settlement of their differences.9

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: A. P.M. Wright


  • 1. Reg. Daniel Rough (Kent Rec. Soc. xvi), 194.
  • 2. He and William Holyngbroke received £7 18s.d. for their expenses: Romney assmt. bk. 1, f. 12.
  • 3. He and John Ellis were paid £6 12s.1d.: ibid. 2, f. 9.
  • 4. Reg. Daniel Rough, 40-41.
  • 5. Ibid. 200.
  • 6. Kent AO, NR/JBr/4 nos. 3, 69; C47/64/10/304.
  • 7. Assmt. bk. 1, ff. 4-18; 2, ff. 2-42; E179/225/4, 7, 11, 22.
  • 8. Assmt. bk. 1, ff. 11, 12, 16; 2, ff. 5, 8, 12, 15.
  • 9. Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Courtenay, ff. 285-6; assmt. bk. 2, ff. 18, 24, 41; CCR, 1392-6, p. 144.