PALMER, William I, of Bridgnorth, Salop.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
Available from Boydell and Brewer



Jan. 1380
May 1382
Oct. 1382
Feb. 1383
Oct. 1383
Nov. 1384
Feb. 1388
Sept. 1388
Jan. 1390
Jan. 1397

Family and Education

?s. of Nicholas Palmer of Bridgnorth.

Offices Held

Commr. of inquiry, Salop Dec. 1390 (maladministration of Alberbury priory), Staffs., Salop, Mar., Apr. 1395 (contravention of the statutes of weights and measures and regarding shoemakers), Mar. 1396 (maladministration of the hospital of St. John, Bridgnorth).


The Palmers had long been prominent in Bridgnorth as reeves, bailiffs and MPs from the early 14th century onwards. Theirs was by far the wealthiest family in the town, having held from as far back as 1255 a house in Upper Cartway and premises in the High Street and Mill Street, not to mention land at nearby Astley Abbotts and Little Brug.2 William’s father may well have been the Nicholas Palmer who was elected as bailiff eight times between 1364, 1366 and 1371.3

After completing his training as a lawyer, Palmer regularly provided securities in Chancery for defendants in lawsuits, doing so, for example, in March 1383 (when at Westminster for his fourth Parliament), for Sir William Burcester*, and in 1384 for Robert Gyboun of Tutbury, Staffordshire (only to be subsequently fined 2s. for failing to bring the latter before the King’s bench). In 1388 he performed a similar service at the Exchequer for Sir Robert Swillington and other lessees of lands in Leicestershire and Lincolnshire. However, on another occasion he was amerced 10s. for failing to respond in the King’s bench to charges preferred against him personally by William Norton of Warwickshire and John Farnales, his fellow Member for Bridgnorth in five Parliaments. He again stood bail in 1390 (while attending his ninth Parliament), this time on behalf of Sir John Cheyne’s bailiff, and in December the same year he found mainprise, along with Sir Hugh Cheyne* and Farnales, for the future good behaviour of Sir Richard Ludlow*. He did so once more in 1392, now undertaking that Hugh Mortimer would keep the peace towards his stepfather, Sir Adam Peshale*. Shortly after serving in the Commons of 1395, Palmer was appointed to two royal commissions, one to inquire in Shropshire into the persistent use of false weights by merchants purchasing wool, the other into breaches by shoemakers and tanners of the statute of 1390 controlling their trades. He failed, however, to act on either.4

By 1398 Palmer was renting property in the High Street, Bridgnorth, from the chantry of St. Thomas the Martyr in St. Leonard’s church; and at the Shrewsbury assizes of 1400 he was accused of unlawfully acquiring another messuage in the town.5 Nothing more is heard of him for certain.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. C219/9/10. Not Thomas Palmer as in OR, app. xviii.
  • 2. R.W. Eyton, Antiqs. Salop, i. 309-10, 314-16, 319, 364-74; Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. xlix. 193.
  • 3. Add. 28731, ff. 4, 5; CAD, iii. C3434; SC6/965/7; E372/223 m. 39d; C146/3452.
  • 4. CCR, 1381-5, pp. 289, 433; 1389-92, pp. 161, 302, 531; 1396-9, p. 495; CFR, x. 243; E372/232 m. 41d, 234 m. 39d.
  • 5. Trans. Salop Arch. Soc. ser. 4, viii. 210; JUST 1/750 m. 1.
  • 6. The William Palmer who was bailiff of Bridgnorth in 1406-7 and held courts there in 1414 was perhaps another man of that name: Add. 28731, f. 5d; JUST 1/753 mm. 15, 24.