BELASISE, of John, of Lincoln.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. Maud, at least 1s.1
Bailiff, Lincoln Sept. 1385-6; mayor 1394-5.2
Collector of a tax, Lincoln Nov. 1388.
Coroner of the liberty of Lincoln by 15 Aug. 1411.
Alnager, Lincoln Easter 1413-6 Feb. 1414.
This MP may have been the son or grandson of Peter Belasise, bailiff of the Lincoln Staple during the 1360s and a prominent member of the local mercantile community.3 He is first mentioned in 1385, when he became bailiff of the city and thus assumed responsibility for holding the elections to the Parliament which met in the autumn of that year. While in office he also became involved in the dispute over rival jurisdictions which had for some time poisoned relations between the ecclesiastical and civic authorities. By removing a man from the cathedral precincts for trial at the guildhall he incurred the wrath of Bishop Buckingham; and this act was only one of many about which forceful complaints were later made. By March 1390 matters had reached such a pass that a small group of leading citizens, including Belasise, were each bound over in securities of 100 marks to keep the peace towards the bishop and stay well away from the cathedral. A few months later, Belasise obtained royal letters patent exempting him from holding either municipal or government office, but in the event these early experiences did not deter him from becoming mayor of Lincoln in 1394 and later serving as coroner and alnager there.4 Although described in some sources as a spicer or a grocer, he evidently derived a substantial part of his income from the wool trade. In October 1395, for example, he received a formal pardon from the Crown for ‘excessive and unjust weighing of wool’; and three years later a ship carrying wool and woolfells of his from Boston to Calais was wrecked off the Suffolk coast. The customs records for the port of Boston are unfortunately incomplete, but in the last two months of 1399 alone he exported 31 sarplers and 57 woolfells. As the alnage accounts for Lincoln show, he was also dealing in cloth at this time.5
Belasise played an important part in civic affairs for many years after his mayoralty. In both 1396 and 1397 he acted as an attorney at the Lincoln assizes for the municipal authorities, and in September 1398 he witnessed a deed on behalf of the corporation. He subsequently attested another conveyance for Robert Appleby*, one of his successors as mayor. We do not know when he was made coroner, but the office was certainly in his hands by 1411, and he may have combined it with the post of alnager. The latter was awarded to him in 1413 for a period of five years, although he was replaced early in 1414 perhaps because of illness or even death. He left at least one son, who was obliged to petition Chancery for help in recovering certain unspecified property which his father had settled in trust for him upon one Thomas Somercotes. By marrying his daughter to the young John Belasise’s cousin and conveying the estates to them, Somercotes had fraudulently disregarded the terms of the agreement, but it is not clear if the couple were ever required to defend their title in court. Our Member and his wife, Maud, were remembered by the Lincoln merchant Seman Grantham, who made provision in his will of 1452 for masses to be said for their souls.6
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Variants: Bealassis, Belassiso.
- 1. Early Lincoln Wills ed. Gibbons, 184; C1/9/338.
- 2. C219/8/12; JUST 2/93 mm. 1, 5.
- 3. C143/349/21; C267/7/5-9.
- 4. C219/8/12; CIMisc. iv. no. 376; CPR, 1388-92, p. 253; CCR, 1389-92, p. 165.
- 5. E101/340/2; E122/8/4; JUST 1/1501 rot. 101v, 1508 rot. 16; CPR, 1391-6, p. 626; 1416-22, p. 45; CCR, 1396-9, p. 358.
- 6. C1/9/388; CFR, xiv. 911; CPR, 1408-13, p. 305; Early Lincoln Wills, 184; Lincs. AO, FL deed 3222.