SEAMER, William (d.1402), of Scarborough, 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. by 1373, Maud, 1s.1

Offices Held


The Seamers were an old Scarborough family; and it seems likely that William was either the son or a close kinsman of the Adam Seamer who was twice town bailiff in the 1340s, and the owner of property and shipping there. He himself first comes to notice as early as November 1356, when he joined with other leading burgesses in witnessing a new ‘composition’ intended to settle factional disputes in the borough. He subsequently attested a number of local deeds, and also built up his own property holdings, acquiring land on the cliffs and near the Butter Cross. He married at some point before 1373, when he and his wife released their title to a messuage in Scarborough.2 As his name suggests, William probably had connexions with the neighbouring village of Seamer, where he is known to have mounted at least one large scale poaching expedition on the estates of Henry, Lord Percy (later earl of Northumberland). In November 1374, Percy accused him and others of wholesale robbery and assault, but the outcome of the affair is unknown. The bond of £200 which Seamer surrendered to a clerk named Adam Portlewe some three years later may, just possibly, have had something to do with the raid, but the conditions of payment are not recorded. Seamer certainly accumulated other debts, being sued at various times for sums totalling £15 or more, although he consistently failed to appear in court and in 1380 he obtained a royal pardon for the sentences of outlawry which he had incurred as a result. His decision to seek election to the Gloucester Parliament of 1379 may have been influenced, in part at least, by his involvement in private legal business at this time, although he was, in any event, well qualified to represent the people of Scarborough. He sat in Parliament for the second and last time in 1386, but continued to take a fairly active part in local affairs for several more years. In both 1390 and 1394, for example, he served on juries at inquisitions ad quod damnum in Scarborough; and in May 1401 he shipped a cargo of mixed goods into the port of Kingston-upon-Hull.3

Seamer died intestate shortly before 8 Feb. 1402, when letters of administration were granted to his son and heir, John. The latter lived on until 1429, in possession of three tenements and various shops in Scarborough.4

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


Variant: Semer.

  • 1. Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. lii. 170; Borthwick Inst. York, York registry wills, iii. f. 91.
  • 2. White Vellum Bk. Scarborough ed. Jeayes, nos. 5A, 17A, 19D, 20A, 22D, 24B, 33A, 38D, 39C, p. 83; CIMisc. ii. nos. 1495, 1654; Yorks. Arch. Soc. Rec. Ser. lii. 170.
  • 3. CCR, 1374-7, pp. 59, 544; CPR, 1374-7, p. 448; 1377-81, p. 532; C143/409/8, 423/30; E122/60/2.
  • 4. York registry wills, ii. f. 550; iii. f. 91.