GROOS, Richard (d.1407), of Wells, Som.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. Agnes, 2s.1
Keeper of the streets (vicorum), Wells Mich. 1382-3; churchwarden of St. Cuthbert’s 1386-7; rent collector Jan. 1395-Mich. 1396, 1397-1400; constable of the peace 1402-3; master 1403-4.2
Groos became a freeman of Wells in 1379, and soon set up in business as a producer of woollen cloth. He was assessed for alnage on as many as 172 ‘dozens’ sold in Somerset between 1395 and 1397, and on 81 broadcloths sold in 1402-3. Over the years he provided pledges for the admission of no fewer than 18 new burgesses, including Thomas Groos, possibly his brother. Indeed, he was always closely involved in the town’s affairs, regularly holding local offices and on occasion acting as tax collector in the ‘Southende’. In March 1400 he served as a juror at an inquisition held at Wells concerning the possessions of Richard II’s adherents in the area. It was during his mastership of Wells that he was returned to Parliament for the only known time, in 1404.3
Groos owned houses in Cuthbert Street, and in 1398 the master and commonalty leased to him, his wife and their son, Richard, other property in the town. When himself master of Wells, in September 1404, he officially received two messuages and two shops granted to the commonalty by Thomas Tanner’s* executors; and in March 1406, in association with Thomas Hore* and John Horewode I*, he obtained a royal licence to grant other properties in Wells in aid of the borough’s regular expenses.4
Groos’s will, made on 18 May 1407, showed some concern for the community’s welfare. He left 1d. to each poor person coming to seek alms on his burial day, 4d. to every sick person in the infirmary of the hospital of St. John the Baptist in Wells, and 4d. to every decrepit and blind person of the town. Bequests were made to the vicar, chaplains and clerks of St. Cuthbert’s church (where he was to be buried), and also remembered were the clergy at the parish church at Montacute. Groos provided for wax to make six great tapers for use at his obsequies, and for gowns, hose and shoes for the poor men who were to carry them. He left seven marks as payment to a priest who for a year was to celebrate mass for his soul. Provided that she paid for his obit every year at St. Cuthbert’s and the hospital, his widow was to have for life two messuages in St. Cuthbert’s Street, which after her death were to be shared out between their sons, John and Richard, who were required to support the same charges. When the sons died, one messuage was to be granted to the master and commonalty of Wells, the other to the hospital. Groos’s sons were to receive £10 each and other bequests such as silver spoons, brass pots and beds, but these items were to remain in their mother’s custody until John finished his apprenticeship and Richard came of age. Groos died before 31 May, the date of probate. Before very long his widow married Luke Wilton*.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Wells Town Clerk’s office, convoc. bk. 1378-1450, f. 131; Wells City Chs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 134.
- 2. Convoc. bk. ff. 9, 65, 112, 115, 128, 132, 135, 150, 155.
- 3. Wells City Chs. 125, 127, 129-33; convoc. bk. ff. 3, 127, 131; C145/277/9; E101/343/28, 30, 344/3, 4.
- 4. Wells City Chs. 9-10; CPR, 1405-8, p. 160; convoc. bk. f. 131.
- 5. Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xvi), 25-27. Wells City Chs. 134 erroneously describes Agnes as Groos’s da. His son John had become a freeman of Wells in 1406.