ELWELL, Hildebrand, of Wells, Som.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
?bro. of Robert Elwell*. m. wid. of a Wells burgess.
Auditor Wells, Mich. 1417-18; constable of the peace 1417-20; master 1420-2.2
Members of the Elwell family living in Wells in the 14th century included a vicar-choral of the cathedral. Hildebrand, a grocer by trade, was able to become a freeman of the town in 1414 by virtue of his marriage to the widow of a burgess, and he subsequently (1417) provided pledges for two other new freemen, one being Richard Langford*. It was probably because of his services as master of Wells that the rent of 4s. which he paid annually to the commonalty — for a house he had rebuilt in Grope Lane — was released to him in November 1424.3
On 13 Nov. 1419, Elwell stood surety for Richard Mayne II* and others granted an Exchequer lease of land in Compton Durville, Somerset, and only two days later Mayne reciprocated when he, in association with John Stafford (the future bishop of Bath and Wells), obtained custody of the manor of Long Critchell, Dorset, together with a moiety of that of Tollard in Wiltshire. Four years earlier Elwell had formally became a member of the Grocers’ Company of London, but it was not until Christmas 1424 that he was issued with the livery of the company and took up more permanent residence in the City. A few years later he promised to contribute 20s. towards the purchase of the ‘Groceris Place’ in Conyhoop Lane, but was slow to part with his money when actually required to do so. He always retained contacts in the West Country. In February 1427, described as ‘grocer of London’, he furnished security for John Stourton I* and John Reynold, a canon of Wells, when they were granted in retrospect the issues of the temporalities of the see of Bath and Wells for the period of its vacancy (1424-5) before Stafford was consecrated; and in May 1428 he entered into a recognizance for £100 with the Somerset landowners, (Sir) Thomas Brooke* and Sir Thomas Beauchamp*. Elwell also established trading connexions with the Dorset port of Bridport, one of whose burgesses, a chapman named Robert Hore, named him as an executor of his will. He represented Wells in Parliament for the last time in 1431. As ‘citizen and grocer of London’ he was retained as a member of the retinue of John, earl of Huntingdon, in the spring of 1433, shortly before the earl sailed for France, his role in the expedition being presumably that of a victualler. He is not recorded thereafter.4
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
- 1. Wells Town Clerk’s office, convoc. bk. 1378-1450, f. 275.
- 2. Ibid. ff. 214-15, 218, 221, 225, 230.
- 3. HMC Wells, i. 292; convoc. bk. f. 246; Wells City Chs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 137, 139; CPR, 1422-9, p. 245.
- 4. CFR, xiv. 297; CPR, 1422-9, p. 397; 1429-36, p. 308; CCR, 1422-9, p. 403; C76/115 m. 7; Ms Archs. Grocers’ Company ed. Kingdon, i. 113, 156, 164; ii. 176, 188.