WIDCOMBE (WYDECOMBE), Richard, of Bath, Som.
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Family and Education
Bailiff, Bath c. Sept. 1405-6; mayor 1417-18, 1426-7, 1428-9; alderman Nov. 1427.1
Widcombe first occurs as witness to a Bath deed in 1388. By 1403 he was prominent enough to act as executor of Sibyl Pochon, who gave him her property in Walcot Street and the residue of her goods, all to be disposed of at his discretion; and five years later he took on a similar, though more complicated task, in executing the wills of Thomas Rymour*, who committed suicide, and the latter’s sister-in-law. He was a member of the jury summoned in 1411 to decide on a site in the city for the new pillory. In 1417 he acquired a tenement in Broad Street.2 It was during Widcombe’s first term of office as mayor, and perhaps as a result of his encouragement, that the townspeople staged a minor revolt against the prior and convent of Bath, which found expression in the ringing of bells. The priory bell had formerly given the signal for the city bells to ring, but at an official inquiry, held at Frome in October 1420, the prior complained that Widcombe and a number of citizens and clergy had taken to sounding their bells first, and that successive mayors had continued to encourage this practice ‘to the grave disquiet’ of the ecclesiastical authorities. The matter was finally settled by a judgement of Bishop Bubwith three years later.3
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. CIMisc. vii. 397, 582; Ancient Deeds Bath ed. Shickle, 1/24, 5/15, 86; C219/12/2; R. Warner, Hist. Bath, app. pp. 24-25.
- 2. Ancient Deeds Bath, 1/55, 2/61, 3/77, 4/75, 5/14, 27-29, 58, 88; Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xvi), 30-31; Warner, app. p. 47.
- 3. Warner, app. pp. 24-25; Reg. Bubwith (Som. Rec. Soc. xxx), 460-5; CIMisc. vii. 582.