THOMER (TOMERE), William, of Bridgwater, Som.
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Family and Education
Tax collector, Som. May 1379, Nov. 1388; assessor Dec. 1380.
Portreeve, Bridgwater Oct. 1379-80; steward of the guild by Feb. 1391 and again by Oct. 1402.2
Commr. of arrest, Bridgwater June 1381; to requisition ships, Som. May 1401; of inquiry Jan. 1405 (evasion of customs and unlawful aid to Welsh rebels).
Lt. of John Holand, earl of Huntingdon, admiral of the west by 20 Aug. 1388.3
Coroner, Som. 14 Dec. 1388-?4
Thirteen appearances in Parliament is no small achievement, and Thomer’s position in Bridgwater came to be correspondingly prominent. He seemed to be set for a successful career when, in November 1377 and while up at Westminster for his first Parliament, he stood surety at the Exchequer for William, Lord Botreaux, but the importance and potential value of such a connexion was temporarily overshadowed by the events of 1380-1. In the summer of 1380, when portreeve of Bridgwater, Thomer took part in a night-time attack on the hospital of St. John the Baptist in the town, in which doors and windows of the church were broken down, and certain papal bulls relating to the appropriation of the vicarage were stolen. This was a prelude to the disturbances of the following year at the time of the Peasants’ Revolt, when Thomer seems again to have been involved. Certainly, a crayer called Le Cog John and three lasts of herring worth £15, which he owned jointly with one John Bursy, were subsequently confiscated by the sheriff, and Bursy is known to have taken part in the most violent of the local riots. The vessel and fish were returned to Thomer, however, in March 1382. In later years he became a substantial property owner, not only in Bridgwater, but also in Gothelney, Chedzoy, Langport, Weston Bampfylde and Charlinch. Furthermore, he and his first wife, Joan, accounted at the Exchequer for the issues of land at Bower and Chilton, which she held as executrix (and presumably widow) of a former MP for Bridgwater, Robert Plympton. Thomer’s position as lieutenant of the admiral of the west must also have considerably increased his influence in Bridgwater. It was he who in 1388 heard the opening stages of the prolonged Guernsey-Henton dispute, and he stood as pledge for John Kedwelly* when the latter became embroiled after acting as his deputy for the seizure of Henton’s goods. Thomer’s standing in the locality is also suggested by the facts that the stewards of the guild merchant sought his assent in 1392 before leasing a tenement, that he was a trustee for the rebuilding of the town bridge in 1395, and that in 1398 a deed relating to the manor of Edington was sealed with his seal as more widely known than those of the participants. Probably a merchant, Thomer appeared as plaintiff or defendant in several cases of debt brought in the borough and admiralty courts. He was often asked to act as a surety, doing so, for example, for the custodians of land belonging to Bruton priory (in 1396) and of the estates of the alien priory of St. James by Exeter (in 1397).5
Thomer died at some point between March 1405 and October 1409. As his daughter and heir, Joan, was a minor, the Thomer properties remained in the hands of Humphrey, duke of Gloucester, and others until after her marriage to William Thomas, esquire, constable of Codnor castle.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Bridgwater Bor. Archs. (Som. Rec. Soc. liii), 405; (ibid. lviii), 560; Som. Feet of Fines (ibid. xvii), 162; E364/14 m. Hd.
- 2. Bridgwater Bor. Archs. (liii), 330, 450; (lviii), 515.
- 3. Sel. Pleas Ct. Admiralty (Selden Soc. vi), 167.
- 4. C242/7/13.
- 5. Bridgwater Bor. Archs. (Som. Rec. Soc. liii), 318, 335, 375, 426, 446-7, 453, 458, 477-8; (ibid. lviii), 509, 539, 551; Som. Feet of Fines (ibid. xvii), 162; (ibid. xxii), 4; Hylle Cart. (ibid. lxviii), 51; E28/3/14; CPR, 1377-81, p. 570; 1381-5, p. 200; 1388-92, pp. 431, 464; 1391-6, pp. 7, 339, 547; 1405-8, p. 259; CCR, 1402-5, p. 476; CFR, ix. 36, 170, 283; xi. 173, 219; SC8/216/10759.
- 6. Hylle Cart. 51; Bridgwater Bor. Archs. (lviii), 551, 560, 600.