COLET, Walter, of Wallingford, Berks. and Oxford.
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Family and Education
m. bef. 1394, Juliana.1
Bridge warden, Wallingford Mich. 1397-8.2
Chamberlain, Oxford Mich. 1404-5; bailiff 1409-10, 1415-16.3
Colet was trading in woollen cloth at Wallingford from 1394 until at least 1402. There is no actual record of his residing there, but it is clear that he was a burgess of that town, for he held the minor office of bridge warden in 1397-8 and, in the following year, sat as a juror in the borough court. He first appears in the Oxford records as standing surety for John Spicer I’s attendance in the 1399 Parliament, and five years later he became one of the borough’s chamberlains. The last record connecting Colet with Wallingford occurs in 1407, when he went surety for the attendance of William Clowd in Parliament.4 It is probable that his close links with Wallingford ceased at about this time, possibly for reasons connected with the town’s rapid commercial decline.
Colet’s property in Oxford included two houses in All Saints’ parish. He witnessed deeds there in 1407 and 1408, and served as bailiff in 1409-10.5 In the following year, 1411, he became involved, probably involuntarily, in the affairs of the university: the chancellor, Thomas Prestbury, then abbot of Shrewsbury, took refuge in his house after being mobbed during a meeting of the convocation of the university, by John Birch (a proctor) and others. This incident evidently did no harm to Colet’s reputation in the town and, having represented it in the Parliament held at Leicester in the spring of 1414, he was chosen bailiff for a second term in 1415. During his tenure of office, he acted with John Ludlow* as an executor of Robert Boterwyk, the university bedel. Like many of his fellow burgesses, Colet was embroiled at about this time in the dispute between the borough and the nearby abbey at Osney: an inquisition of April 1418 states that, as a former bailiff, he was one of those who had encouraged the corporation to usurp the abbey’s jurisdiction in North and South Osney. Later that same year, and after the monastery’s rights had been recognized, the abbot brought more specific charges against Colet and others, accusing them of having broken his weirs, stolen nine horses, fish and other goods, and assaulted, wounded, threatened and imprisoned tenants and servants of his at Osney.6 Colet was present at the Oxford elections to Parliament in 1419 and 1421 (May), but no more is heard of him after this.
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: Charles Kightly
- 1. Berks. RO, W/JBb/53.
- 2. Ibid. W/JBb/55.
- 3. Oxf. Hist. Soc. xxxvii. 20; Univ. Coll. hustings roll 1a.
- 4. Berks. RO, W/JBb/53-56, W/FR/7-9; C219/10/1, 4.
- 5. Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxiv. no. 357; lxvi. no. 409; Bodl. Twyne ms 23, f. 373.
- 6. Oxf. Hist. Soc. lxxi. no. 190; lxxx. 105-6, 209; Liber Albus Oxoniensis ed. Ellis, no. 198; CPR, 1416-22, p. 107; C219/12/3, 5.