PENNE, John, of Portland, Dorset.
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Family and Education
‘Messor’ and collector of the ct., Wyke Regis Mich. 1396-7.1
Commr. to share out ransom money, Dorset May 1404.
In 1392-3 Penne entered into a contract with the receiver of the Dorset estates of Roger Mortimer, 4th earl of March, to farm the lord’s demesne lands on his manor of Wyke for eight years at a rent of £16 13s.4d. p.a. Four years later he was also a lessee of seven acres of land in ‘Smalcombe’, a part of the same manor, overseer of the harvest and collector of the perquisites of the manorial court. In April 1395 he witnessed a deed at Wyke relating to property there and at Broadway and Weymouth. By then he had established trading contacts at Weymouth, where he sold cloth which was assessed for alnage. Penne also held property in South Street, Dorchester, of which he was still possessed in 1418, but his main interests in land appear to have been on the Isle of Portland. As ‘of Portland’, in 1404 he was put on a royal commission ordered, following the repulse of a French assault on the promontory, to divide a tenth of the ransoms of all the prisoners among those who had helped to defend the coast but had captured nobody themselves. In 1414 the executors of the will of Henry Palmer sold him property in ‘Le Franchise Street’, Weymouth, and it was this borough which he subsequently twice represented in Parliament. In the meantime, in November 1420, he had been present in the shire court at Dorchester as a member of a delegation of four authorized to report the names of the Weymouth burgesses elected to Parliament. On this occasion and again in 1422 he also witnessed the elections of the knights of the shire.2