SEABURGH (SABURGH), John (d.1410), of Colchester, Essex.

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



Jan. 1397

Family and Education

s. of John Seaburgh (d.1373) of Colchester by his w. Maud.1 m. bef. Nov. 1391, Alice, wid. of Simon Merchant of Colchester,2 2s.

Offices Held

Alderman, Colchester Sept. 1384-5, 1392-3, 1395-6, 1398-9, 1400-1, 1405-7; bailiff 1387-8, 1391-2, 1394-5, 1396-7, 1399-1400, 1401-2, 1404-5; claviger 1392-3, 1395-6, 1398-9; mace-bearer 1400-1, 1405-7.3

Commr. to levy a fine of £2,000, Essex, Herts. Dec. 1397; prohibit vessels of over 30 tuns from leaving port, Essex May 1401.

Rent collector, estates of Elizabeth, Lady Grey of Wilton, Essex Sept. 1401-Jan. 1402.4


Seaburgh held a considerable number of properties in Colchester. In 1380 he obtained rents of £5 a year from the lands of John Christian*; he was granted 15 acres in the town in 1384; by 1387 he was holding three plots, upon one of which he had built a house, and in 1398 he purchased a messuage from John Pod*, with whom he subsequently occupied premises in All Saints’ parish. In right of his wife he possessed another messuage in New Hythe. He does not appear to have pursued territorial interests outside the town, although in 1407 he became a feoffee of several acres in Salcott, Layer Marney and elsewhere.5 He must have been a merchant of some substance with important commercial interests, for in November 1388 he was assessed for a contribution of £3 11s.8d. towards the cost of a royal embassy to Prussia, then being one of only three men of Colchester to be approached. Evidently he traded with the Hanseatic towns and with the Netherlands, dealing in large qwuantities of herring and cloth, and he also imported wine from France. He was charged alnage on as many as 85 ‘dozens’ of cloth sold in Colchester in 1394-5. Seaburgh could afford to employ a servant who had once been retained by the countess of Oxford.6

Seaburgh was active in the government of Colchester for more than 20 years, beginning in 1384. He was chosen for a jury empannelled in the courts at Westminster in May 1387, in a suit brought by Sir Thomas Swinburne* concerning other local men, and he was returned to Parliament in 1397 during his fourth term as bailiff. In January 1398 he represented the town at the Exchequer following royal demands for the full fee farm, and he was again selected to do so in May 1400 when pressure for payment was renewed. In 1405, as bailiff, he received instructions from the archbishop of Canterbury ordering the confiscation of all books written in English, this being part of a move to unearth the heretical writings of the lollards. At the parliamentary elections of 1388 (Sept.) and 1402 he appeared as mainpernor for Simon Fordham and Thomas Godstone, respectively.7

On 11 Jan. 1410 Seaburgh and his wife completed enfeoffments of all their lands, tenements and services in Colchester; and he made his will on 1 Feb. following. In this he asked to be buried in the cemetery of St. Nicholas’s church under his family gravestone, and left bequests to the church (including £20 to build a new roof over the chancel), and for works on St. Paul’s cathedral in London. His widow was to have their dwelling in St. Nicholas’s parish and all his other property in Colchester for life provided that she stayed single, with remainder to his sons, John and Robert. The will was proved by Archbishop Arundel at Lambeth on 19 Apr.8

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: K.N. Houghton


  • 1. Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 69, 97; Red Ppr. Bk. ed. Benham, 8; Colchester Ct. Rolls ed. Jeayes, ii. 104.
  • 2. Colchester Moot Hall, ct. rools 27 m. 10v, 37 m. 19.
  • 3. Ct. rolls 24, 28-30, 32, 35-36; Cal. Colchester Ct. Rolls ed. Harrod, 1.
  • 4. Essex RO, D/D Vo, 13 m. 2v.
  • 5. Oath Bk. 208-10; ct. rolls 20 m. 37, 23 mm. 57v, 59, 27 m. 10v, 33 m. 7; Essex Feet of Fines, iii. 228, 247.
  • 6. Ct. roll 34 m. 6; CCR, 1385-9, p. 566; E101/342/9, 14, 16; E122/50/30, 51/12, 193/33 ff. 15, 24d.
  • 7. Oath Bk. 17, 21, 218; EHR, xxix. 101-4; C219/9/5, 10/2.
  • 8. Ct. roll 37 m. 19; Lamberth Pal. Lib. Reg. Arundel, ii. ff. 47-48.