RICH, Walter (d.1446/7), of Bath, Som.
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Family and Education
Churchwarden of St. Michael’s, Bath 21 Oct. 1402-4, 1414-15.
Mayor, Bath c. Sept. 1416-17, ?1418-19, 1424-5, ?1430-1, July 1438-c. Sept. 1439, Oct. 1442-3; alderman Nov. 1427.2
Rich’s first experience in public life seems to have been as churchwarden of St. Michael’s by the north gate in Bath. He was closely connected with the church, holding a tenement in Broad Street of the wardens as sub-lessee of the civic authorities, for which he paid 2s. a year. In 1420 the wardens were charged to receive from him 400 roof tiles or their value in money; and in 1428 their fellows sought allowance for 12d. paid to the cofferer for Rich’s tenement and 10d. in expenses for removing dung and rubble lying in front of it. Apart from this property, Rich had another dwelling in Broad Street, conveyed to him by Richard Widcombe*, a share in two shops in Northgate Street, and a messuage in Frog Lane.3
Rich was a member of the local jury required in 1409 to give evidence about the suicide of Thomas Rymour*. In civic affairs, he was one of those who decided on the site of the new pillory in 1411, and, on succeeding Widcombe in the mayoralty, followed the latter’s lead in a drawn-out dispute over bell-ringing with the prior and convent of Bath. He appeared on the committee of four responsible for presenting the Bath parliamentary returns to the shire court in 1419, 1420 and 1421. The ‘William Rich’, mayor of Bath, appointed to a commission of gaol delivery in November 1430, is probably this man, wrongly named. In August 1438, during what may well have been his fifth term as mayor, Rich came to an agreement with the master and convent of the hospital of St. John the Baptist concerning the ownership of a plot of land outside the west gate. In settlement of the dispute the master demised the plot to the mayor and commonalty in return for the right to pasture animals on it and for the annual rent of 2s. coming to the city from Rich’s own house in Broad Street.4
Rich witnessed deeds in Bath in August and October 1446, but died before the following February when his widow made a release of his property.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Ancient Deeds Bath ed. Shickle, 1/50.
- 2. Ibid. 1/24, 2/80, 95-96, 3/29, 77, 5/14; CPR, 1429-36, p. 129.
- 3. Procs. Som. Arch. Soc. xxiii (pt. 2), 17, 18, 22, 28; xxv (pt. 2), 36, 38, 40; Ancient Deeds Bath, 2/61, 75, 5/15, 87.
- 4. R. Warner, Hist. Bath, app. pp. 24-25, 47; C219/12/3, 4, 6; CPR, 1429-36, p. 129; E143/19/4/18; Ancient Deeds Bath, 3/26-29; Med. Deeds Bath (Som. Rec. Soc. lxxiii), 30.
- 5. Med. Deeds Bath, 107-8; Ancient Deeds Bath, 1/50.