FULBROKE, John, of Bristol.
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Family and Education
Commr. of arrest, Bristol, Dorset, Som. Jan. 1387.
Tax collector, Som. Mar., Oct. 1393.
Fulbroke was unusual among the MPs for Bristol of this period in never holding office in the borough, not even, so far as is known, as a member of the common council. This may be because, although he was occasionally described as ‘merchant’ and is known to have had interests in trade, his main occupation would appear to have been as a lawyer. At one time he held property opposite St. Laurence’s church in Bristol, and in 1385 he witnessed some local deeds, but he was often referred to as being ‘of Somerset’, and was, indeed, something of a landowner in that county, with holdings situated at Wellow near Bath.1
Fulbroke was among the men of Bristol engaged in royal service at sea in 1375, when they took captive a number of French prisoners. One of them, John Boreman, was formally handed over at the guildhall for custody to one Richard Spicer, through whose negligence, however, he escaped before paying his ransom. Fulbroke subsequently petitioned the King and entered proceedings in Chancery against Spicer’s widow and executor to secure the ransom money, but his suit presumably failed, for the defendants obtained royal pardons in January 1383 with the help of Sir Peter Courtenay†. At a later date Fulbroke acted as attorney on behalf of nine Bristol merchants (including John Vyel* and Robert Gardener*) in a suit they were bringing before the King’s Council against Payn Dore, a Genoese merchant. The Bristol men alleged that their ship, Le Magdalen, carrying freight to Lisbon, had been captured in September 1383 by a Spanish vessel loaded with merchandise belonging to Dore, who was himself on board. Fulbroke argued his case on points of maritime law (the ‘law of Oleroun’), claiming damages of £500 on his clients’ behalf, but following the referral of the matter to a committee of judges, ‘for that the business needed much examination’, it was agreed in November 1385 that Dore need pay the English merchants no more than 100 marks and that furthermore this payment was not to imply admission of guilt. John Cobyndon, one of the Bristol men concerned, afterwards complained that Fulbroke had not given him his share of the money. This subsidiary question was perhaps, however, soon settled. At least, in 1389, Fulbroke and Cobyndon stood surety together for two Bristol merchants procuring royal licence to ship beans to Ireland. About Fulbroke’s own trading concerns there is no detailed information, save that on occasion he exported cloth to Gascony.2
In the meantime, in October 1384, Fulbroke had provided securities in Chancery that Thomas Fulbroke, possibly his brother, would not contest the divorce action brought before the King’s Council by his wife. About a year later he was himself suing John Bursy of Long Sutton, Somerset, for debts amounting to £60, Bursy’s goods being forfeited until he obtained royal pardon of outlawry in October 1386. Long afterwards, in January 1408, Fulbroke stood surety for John Flory, esquire, undertaking he would keep the peace, and in February 1419, described as ‘late of Bristol’, he was pardoned his own outlawry incurred for failing to answer charges of debt brought by the executors of Margaret Simond of Falmouth. He is not recorded thereafter for certain.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Gt. Red. Bk. (Bristol Rec. Soc. ii), 299; (iv), 193-4; Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xvii), 126.
- 2. CIMisc. iv. 189; SC8/180/8977; CFR, 1381-5, p. 225; 1385-8, p. 244; 1388-92, p. 151; CCR, 1385-9, pp. 92-93; Overseas Trade (Bristol Rec. Soc. vii), 192.
- 3. CPR, 1385-8, pp. 57, 184; 1416-22, p. 158; CCR, 1381-5, p. 588; 1405-9, p. 365.