ROUS, John II, of Ipswich, Suff.
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Family and Education
m. bef. Feb. 1414, Joan.
Collector of customs and subsidies, Ipswich 5 Dec. 1404-21 Jan. 1405, 1 Oct.-Nov. 1405, 1 Apr. 1406-20 Feb. 1407, of tunnage and poundage Mich. 1409-3 Feb. 1412.
Bailiff, Ipswich Sept. 1408-10; coroner 1411-12.1
Rous was a leading merchant of the Staple of Calais. Between April 1401 and May 1403 cockets issued in his name permitted shipment of 177 sacks, 75 cloves and 7,009 pells of wool from Ipswich to the continent. In December 1403 he stood surety in Chancery, on pain of £100, that certain Suffolk shipowners would ensure that their vessels, then under arrest at Sandwich, would unload their cargoes at Calais and not elsewhere. Along with four other merchants and Richard Whittington*, then mayor of the Staple, Rous made a loan of £4,000 to Henry IV for the wages of the garrison at Calais; in April 1407 they were granted priority for repayment from the wool subsidies collected in Boston, Hull, Ipswich and London—an order which, however, required renewal in the following year.2
As bailiff of Ipswich, Rous was responsible for making the returns to the Parliament of 1410, when he himself was one of those elected. On 28 Feb., while the Commons were in session, he secured appointment as collector of tunnage and poundage, backdated to the previous Michaelmas, and at the same time he was chosen by a London mercer named John Lardener to act as an arbitrator in his dispute with Drew Barantyn, the goldsmith (then also a Member of the Lower House). Three years later, in June 1413, Rous took out royal letters of protection to enable him to accompany Lardener, newly appointed captain of Oye, to his post in the march of Calais. He may have been the person of this name who embarked for France from Southampton in the spring of 1418 as a member of the retinue of Sir Edward Holand, presumably taking on the functions of victualler.3
Since 1406 Rous had held land at Whitton near Ipswich in association with Sir George Felbrigg; and, together with Robert Andrew I*, he had purchased in 1408 two shops in the town parish of St. Mary, as well as ‘La Condythous’ in St. Lawrence’s. In 1414 he and his wife took possession of more property in Ipswich as well as of lands in the suburbs of Stoke and Alnesbourn and further away at Ufford.4
The date of Rous’s death is not known. His widow Joan, who survived him by at least 20 years, was long troubled by lawsuits brought by Nicholas James*, a London ironmonger and merchant of the Calais Staple, who claimed that the deceased had settled on him part of the property she held in jointure. James refused to accept the unfavourable verdict given by several independent arbitrators and came close to ruining Joan through a series of expensive actions at law; and after his death in 1433 she petitioned the chancellor for redress. At about the same time, in the 1430s, she herself was being sued by William Bowes* of York, another merchant stapler, who claimed that he was owed 412 nobles (£137 odd) under a contract made with Rous at Calais in 1412 for wool sold at Bruges.5