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Family and Education
s. of John Podmore by his w. Joan.1
The bp. of Bath and Wells’s bailiff of the hundred of Winterbourne Stoke, Wilts. 28 Oct. 1388-d.
Podmore had little connexion with the burgesses of Wells, and he evidently did not always live in the town. He was never admitted to the freedom of the borough, but may have been first brought to the notice of the inhabitants through his close association with Bishop Erghum of Bath and Wells. The bishop appointed him as bailiff of ‘Wynterstoke’ in 1388 for life, an appointment which was confirmed, in October 1393, by the prior of Bath and the dean and chapter of Wells and, in the following February, by Richard II. Podmore held the bailiffship on condition that he would faithfully serve the priory and chapter, neither oppressing their tenants nor putting the office out to farm. In November 1396 at Banwell, Somerset, he attested the bishop’s grant to the dean and chapter of the advowson of the church at Pucklechurch, Gloucestershire. In January following Erghum leased to him for life a messuage and one virgate of land in Wyke, within the episcopal lordship of Congresbury, at an annual rent of 24s.1d.This grant, too, was confirmed by the prior of Bath and the Wells chapter, and the recipient purchased royal confirmation in 1397. When Bishop Erghum made his will in January 1398 he bequeathed £100 to Podmore (a sum which, however, included £54 6s.8d. Podmore owed him) together with his ‘old’ silk bed, complete with silk curtains and four red hangings bearing the episcopal arms, and he also appointed him as one of his executors. Erghum wished to create a religious foundation at Wells, and it was to this end that in 1401 Podmore, described as the bishop’s ‘donzel’ (esquire), with Robert Hill* of Spaxton, steward of the estates of the diocese, and John Russell II*, bailiff of the bishop’s liberty of Wells, acquired in reversion two messuages and four acres of land in Wells which Nicholas Cristesham* was then holding for life. Subsequently, in 1407, the property formed the basis of the endowment of a chantry at the cathedral, where religious services were provided for the souls of the bishop, John, duke of Lancaster, and his children, and others, including Podmore’s own parents.2
It may have been in his capacity as an official of the episcopal estates that Podmore sued several persons of Bedminster for trespass in 1401, and brought legal actions for recovery of a debt of £40 against Hugh de la Lynde* of Bath (which was still outstanding at the time of his first appearance in the Commons). In May 1402 he provided securities at the Exchequer on behalf of John Frome*, a member of Henry IV’s council, who was granted a lease of the manor of Farley Chamberlayne, Hampshire. He was present at the shire court held at Wells in October 1407, to attest the electoral indenture for Somerset for the forthcoming Parliament. His own elections to Parliament for Wells came at the very end of his career.3