NICHE, Walter, of Norwich, Norf.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. bef. July 1387, Emma, 1s.
Treasurer, Norwich Mich. 1375-6; bailiff 1376-7, 1383-4, 1391-2, 1397-8.1
Niche provided securities for Bartholomew Appleyard† and others in September 1373, guaranteeing that arrears for the subsidy due from Norwich to the Crown would be paid into the Exchequer. Following his service as bailiff for the first of four terms, he is known to have attended meetings of the civic assembly in December 1377, and in October 1379 to have been sent by the same body to Great Yarmouth to settle the account of John Hacon*, the mariner who had been placed in charge of a barge built at the city’s expense for royal service. As chosen by Wymer leet, he was among the 24 electors of the bailiffs in September 1382. During his own terms of office, he shared responsibility for making returns to the Parliaments of 1383 (Oct.), 1384 (Apr.) and 1391. Meanwhile, in 1386 he and his parliamentary colleague, Walter Bixton, had been paid expenses and costs amounting to £33 6s.8d. in connexion with the payment of loans of 550 marks advanced by the city to the King. On 1 Jan. 1399 he was named on the committee set up to plan how best to petition Richard II, on the occasion of his proposed visit to Norwich, for the elevation of the city to the status of a shire-incorporate.2
Niche possessed a number of properties, including several shops, in Norwich, scattered over no fewer than five parishes. Most of these were in Wymer leet, where in 1378-9 he paid a tax of 20s. He also held, as the city’s tenant, two parcels of land in the castle fee, while in the suburbs he owned a messuage at Heigham. However, it may have been only in the capacity of a feoffee that, in 1395, he had possession of lands a few miles south of Norwich, at Dunston, Mangreen, Gowthorpe and elsewhere.3 Niche doubtless owed the acquisition of at least some of these holdings to the successful outcome of mercantile ventures. In this connexion he is known to have dealt in substantial quantities of wool and woolfells, shipped from Great Yarmouth to the Low Countries, and to have imported from the Baltic cargoes containing dyestuffs, timber (in the form of wainscots, clapboard and staves), tar, iron and flax, as well as foodstuffs such as onions, grain and oil. In November 1388 he was ordered to contribute almost £5 towards the cost of a royal embassy recently sent to Prussia to negotiate an agreement over acts of piracy committed by English and German merchants against one another. His last recorded trading activity took place in April 1400 when he dispatched a consignment of cloth to Danzig.4
Niche died at an unknown date before March 1413, by which time his son, William, had taken possession of some of his property in Norwich.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
Variants: Neech, Nieche, Nythe.
- 1. Recs. Norwich ed. Hudson and Tingey, ii. 43; Norf. Official Lists ed. Le Strange, 97-98.
- 2. Recs. Norwich, i. 270; ii. 83; C219/8/9, 10, 9/8; Norf. RO, Norwich assembly rolls 1, 6 Ric. II; F. Blomefield, Norf. iii. 114.
- 3. Recs. Norwich, ii. 46, 248; Norwich enrolments, 14 mm. 5d, 27d, 34, 15 mm. 11, 28, 16 m. 2; CP25(1)168/181/261.
- 4. E122/149/11, 17, 21, 22, 27, 33, 34, 150/1; CCR, 1385-9, p. 565.
- 5. Norwich enrolments, 17 m. 3. The Walter Niche who m. Alice (d.1466), da. of William Taverham of Taverham, Norf., may have been a yr. son of Walter the MP: Blomefield, iv. 489; x. 469.