PROUDE, John (d.c.1409), of Sellindge and Canterbury, Kent.

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



Family and Education

m. (1) bef. 1374, Margaret, 1s. 1da; (2) bef. 1404, Joan; (3) Christine.

Offices Held

Tax collector, Canterbury Dec. 1380, Kent Nov. 1386, Mar., Nov. 1388, Dec. 1402, Nov. 1404, Dec. 1406.

Jurat, Canterbury Mich. 1382-3, 1384-5, 1388-9, 1390-3, 1396-7, 1402-4, 1406-8; bailiff 1386-8, 1389-90, 1394-5, 1397-8, 1400-1.1

Coroner, Kent bef. Apr. 1385-1391.

Commr. of array, Canterbury Dec. 1399; sewers, Kent, Suss. Dec. 1401; inquiry, Kent May 1405 (confiscated land).


Proude seems to have been the first member of his family to have settled in Canterbury, although his own links with his native parish of Sellindge, several miles to the south of the city,2were never broken. He is first recorded, in 1374, as, together with his wife Margaret, disposing of property in Wittersham, which he replaced in the following year with several acres of land in Nonington and Barfreston. Few details of his holdings in Canterbury itself survive, although he was clearly well established there by 1393, when his daughter, Joan, received a bequest of a reversionary interest in a house in Jewery Lane. That same year Proude himself acquired a messuage and garden elsewhere in the city, and in 1399 he exchanged a plot of land there for another of equal size in Sellindge, all of which property was afterwards to come into the possession of two local almshouses. Throughout his life he retained interests in and near Sellindge, including farmland at Lympne, and in 1408 he agreed to pay an annual rent of four marks charged on his holdings there to a London hosteler.3

Proude’s public career was divided between his official duties in the shire, as tax collector, commissioner and coroner, and his commitments in Canterbury as a jurat and six times’ bailiff. In April 1385 the sheriff of Kent was ordered to elect a coroner in his place after he was reported to be dead, but this was a mistake, for he remained in office another six years until, in the spring of 1391, a new order to the sheriff demanded his replacement, this time on the ground that he was ‘insufficiently qualified’. He had become prominent in Canterbury by February 1386, when he joined with five other leading citizens in soliciting the Crown for a grant of £200 to be spent on urgently needed repairs to the city walls. The work had already begun when he was chosen bailiff at Michaelmas, with Henry Lincoln* as his colleague; and because the two men ‘travailed diligently’ during their term, the King, in the belief that the task might be more quickly completed were they to remain bailiffs for a further year, issued an order for their re-election in September 1387. Nevertheless, the works, after being carried on for several years, eventually came to a standstill, despite the fact that the bailiffs had spent the grant of £200 and more than twice that sum in addition.4

In July 1389 Proude joined a syndicate to purchase from the Crown certain properties in Hythe and its neighbourhood (near his home at Sellindge), which had been forfeited by Sir Robert Bealknap, c.j.c.p., in the Merciless Parliament of the previous year. Late in Richard II’s reign he and John Pirie* applied for royal permission to grant three messuages in Canterbury to a chaplain at the parish church of St. Mary Bredman in return for certain religious services, but although the local jury could find no reason to reject their request, a licence was apparently never issued. In 1400, in fulfilment of the will of Henry atte Stone, Proude gave a quarter of barley grown at Herne to Harbledown hospital near Canterbury. He appeared as a surety at the Exchequer in May 1405, in connexion with a lease of alien priory estates in Kent.5

It is likely that Proude was dead by November 1409, when his son, William, joined other citizens of Canterbury in acquiring a royal licence to make a grant in mortmain to the commonalty as an endowment for continuing renovation of the city walls; certainly, by October 1411 he was no longer in possession of his house near St. Margaret’s church. He was survived by his third wife, Christine.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variant: Prowde.

  • 1. Canterbury Cathedral, City and Diocesan RO, burghmote reg. O/A1, ff. 5, 6, 11, 13; accts. FA1, ff. 2, 27, 58, 62, 74, 79; List of Canterbury Officials comp. Urry and Bunce, 48.
  • 2. i.e. ‘Sellyng’ near Monks Horton (CP25(1)112/263/236) not Selling, a few miles to the west of Canterbury.
  • 3. CP25(1)107/200/2062, 202/2123, 112/263/236, 271/435; Canterbury O/A1, f. 15; Bib. Top. Brit. i. 248, 273; CCR, 1405-9, p. 356.
  • 4. CCR, 1381-5, p. 541; 1385-9, pp. 120-1, 342; 1389-92, p. 227; E364/27 m. D.
  • 5. CPR, 1389-92, p. 100; C143/429/16; Bib. Top. Brit. i. 242; CFR, xii. 307.
  • 6. CPR, 1408-13, pp. 150, 322; CP25(1)113/279/25; Canterbury O/A1. f. 39.