RYE, Stephen, of Hythe, Kent.
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Family and Education
Jurat, Hythe Feb. 1399-1400, 1408-9, 1412-13, 1418-22.2
Rye’s maltolts reveal that his main occupation was fishing: in 1412-13 he paid dues on ‘sprotfare, lentefare and Hokfare’ and in the following year on cades of herring and sprats. His chattels were valued at £36 in 1412-13, though only at £26 six years later.3
Rye was one of the victims of the machinations of John Smalwode, the common clerk of Hythe. It was alleged in 1407 that when Smalwode had been asked to draw up a bond for £20 from John Prowde in favour of Rye, he took advantage of the latter’s illiteracy to reverse it, making him liable to Prowde in for the same amount. As a jurat, in June 1412 Rye was sent to hire a vessel for Hythe’s use to provide ship-service to the King. In February 1413 he came home a month early from what proved to be Henry IV’s last Parliament, leaving his companion, Henry Philpot, to carry on in the Commons without him. However, he returned to Westminster in April to attend the coronation of Henry V, as one of the barons of the Cinque Ports privileged to carry the royal canopy, and in May he sat in the new King’s first Parliament. He also represented Hythe at a general Brodhull which met in July that year. For 28 days’ attendance in the Parliament of 1417 the town owed him 70s. in wages, of which 45s.3d. was still due two years later. Rye was present at Brodhulls in July and December 1419, having in the meantime gone to Dover in November to hire guns for official use. Other visits to Dover at the New Year were not only to defend Hythe in the suit brought by John Bernevale after the jurats had arrested his goods in order to enforce a toll on French prisoners, but also to answer an indictment made against the town for encroaching on the geldable of the shire.4
Stephen was perhaps the father of Richard Rye, who sat for Hythe in 1427 and 1435.