PAMPING, Geoffrey, of Great Yarmouth, Norf.

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. 1404
Nov. 1414

Family and Education

m. bef. Jan. 1401, Petronilla.

Offices Held

Collector of customs and subsidies, Yarmouth 18 Mar. 1404-8 Sept. 1405, 9 Nov. 1405-11 May 1406, 20 Feb. 1407-7 Mar. 1408.

Bailiff, Yarmouth Mich. 1406-7, 1410-11, 1413-14, 1418-19.1

J.p. Yarmouth 12 Jan. 1411-c.1419.


Geoffrey may have been the son of the merchant Ralph Pamping, one of the ‘great and powerful men’ of Yarmouth of whom the ‘poor men’ of the town made complaint to the Good Parliament of 1376.2 He himself was actively engaged in trade by 1392, his principal export being cloth and his imports including salt and wine from Gascony, iron, resin, almonds, saffron and cork from Spain, and woad, linen and whetstones from the Low Countries and the Baltic. In addition, he built up a major interest in the local herring industry.3 Various incidents of Pamping’s life suggest that he was a man of contentious disposition. He obtained a royal pardon in June 1398, presumably in order to gain protection from prosecution in the lawcourts, yet just five months later he forfeited goods and chattels worth £40 because he had killed one William atte Snaithe, the forfeitures being distributed among certain yeomen of the King’s chamber. Then, in 1402, he was indicted with three other Yarmouth men before the j.p.s in Suffolk, and was to be tried before a special commission of oyer and terminer set up in July. The alleged offences may have been connected with the town’s longstanding dispute with Lowestoft over control of the herring trade at Kirkley Road. Pamping was part-owner with Hugh atte Fenn* of a crayer of Kirkley which, probably in the autumn of 1404, took part in an act of piracy against two Prussian ships bound for Zeeland; in December following an official inquiry was held into the incident in order that restitution might be made. Four years later Pamping and other prominent burgesses of Yarmouth took out general pardons for all offences punishable by fine, ransom or imprisonment. As they had all recently been employed in the customs service, it may be that they were seeking exoneration from the consequences of negligence or concealments occurring in the course of their duties. In May 1412 he alone was ordered to recruit 40 mariners to serve on La Gracedieu, the vessel which was to take Thomas of Lancaster (shortly afterwards made duke of Clarence) to Gascony, and it is likely that he went on the voyage as ship’s captain. Early in the following year, when new regulations had to be established ‘for the good governell herafter to be had of heryng’ landed at Yarmouth, Pamping was one of the ten ‘discrete and wyse men’ responsible for their formulation. In April 1413 and again in May 1417 he and other local men, all masters or owners of doggers, received special licence to use them as fishing vessels, notwithstanding orders for the detention of shipping in certain English ports, issued (at any rate in 1417) in anticipation of the King’s invasion of France.4

Little is known about Pamping’s property holdings in Yarmouth, but what there is all concerns lawsuits. In 1401 he was sued by John Beverley’s widow for rent due from two tenements which he held in right of his wife, and in 1424 ‘diverse contentions and discords’ arose between him and John Fastolf†, esquire, over possession of a messuage and appurtenances on ‘Le Forland’ which had once belonged to Hugh Fastolf*; arbitrators eventually decided that Fastolf should have the disputed premises but should pay Pamping £10.5 Pamping had been the leading officer of the guild of St. George—the foremost of the town’s guilds—in 1406, the year of the first of his four terms as a bailiff. He attended the local elections to the Parliaments of 1420, 1421 (May), 1422, 1423 and 1425, on the last of these occasions acting as mainpernor for John Pynne. He is not recorded thereafter.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Norf. Official Lists ed. Le Strange, 155.
  • 2. CCR, 1374-7, pp. 470-1.
  • 3. E122/27, 28, 33, 34, 150/2, 8, 9, 151/21.
  • 4. C67/30 m. 6; CPR, 1396-9, p. 448; 1401-5, pp. 131, 508; 1408-13, pp. 44, 373; 1416-22, p. 89; HMC 9th Rep. pt. 1, p. 305; CCR, 1413-19, p. 7.
  • 5. Norf. RO, Yarmouth ct. rolls, C4/111, 133.
  • 6. H. Swinden, Yarmouth, 810; C219/12/4, 5, 13/1-3.