SAUNDERSON, John (d.c.1418), of Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorks.

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. Alice, 3s. 2da.2

Offices Held

Bailiff, Kingston-upon-Hull, Mich. 1405-6.3

Commr. to make an arrest, Kingston-upon-Hull May 1406.


The subject of this biography first comes to notice in November 1398, when he imported a quantity of wine into the port of Hull. He evidently prospered through trade, acquiring a chief messuage in Hull Street, which gave access to the river, and at least 11 other houses, four tenements and various plots of land, some of which he purchased from Thomas Frampton, receiver-general and attorney to the widowed countess of Suffolk. Not all his commercial ventures fell within the law, however, and he was implicated in at least one act of piracy, involving a Scottish ship called Le Faucone, which was captured in December 1399 by a group of mariners from Hull and Newcastle. The cargo of armour and cloth, worth between £100 and £179, disappeared before a proper valuation could be made by the customs authorities at Hull, and Saunderson was indicted at an inquisition held later, in September 1402, as one of those responsible for making off with the spoils. His part in the affair did not prevent his election, in 1405, as bailiff of Hull; and two years later he served as a juror at an inquisition ad quod damnum held in the town to determine whether John Birken*, Simon Grimsby II* and Walter Melton could endow a chantry in the chapel of Holy Trinity there. Melton was one of the landowners from whom Saunderson had purchased some of his own extensive holdings, so he naturally enough looked favourably on the enterprise. During this period, Saunderson appeared as plaintiff in two lawsuits for the recovery of debts totalling over £4, although neither was successful. He may, perhaps, have sought election to Parliament in March 1416 to pursue his litigation at Westminster, but he died before the defendants could be brought to court.4

In his will of 12 Aug. 1418, Saunderson asked to be buried in the chapel of Holy Trinity, to which he made several generous bequests, as well as setting aside 20 marks for the cost of his funeral. His widow, Alice, was to enjoy a life interest in most of his property, which was entailed after her death upon their five children. The task of executing the will fell upon Alice and their neighbour, Richard Swan*, who was promised 40s. ‘for his labour’. The date of probate is not recorded, but it looks very much as if Saunderson died within the year.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. W. Prynne, Brevia Parliamentaria Rediviva, iv. 1020.
  • 2. Borthwick Inst. York, York registry wills iii, ff. 608-9.
  • 3. C219/10/3; C260/119/10; E368/179 rot. 111v.
  • 4. York registry wills iii, ff. 608-9; C143/439/25; E122/159/11; CPR, 1408-13, p. 134; 1422-9, p. 29; CIMisc. vii. no. 226.
  • 5. York registry wills iii, ff. 608-9; Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. cxli. 159.