SELY (CELY), Henry, of Winchelsea, Suss.

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



Oct. 1382
Sept. 1388

Family and Education

prob. yr. bro. of Benedict Sely of Winchelsea and uncle of Sir Benedict Sely (exec. 1400). m. 1s. 2da.1

Offices Held

Cinque Ports’ bailiff at Yarmouth Sept.-Nov. 1369.2


Henry’s presumed brother, Benedict, served as mayor of Rye in 1361-2 and as bailiff of Winchelsea from 1368 to 1372.3 He himself is first recorded in January 1364, when, along with Benedict, he obtained a royal licence to grant two acres of land in Rye to the Austin friars, on which (though the property was derelict through flooding) it was hoped they might build an oratory and a house which could also serve as a chantry for the donors. Then, seven months later, as ‘vintner of Winchelsea’, he received a different sort of licence—one permitting him to ship cloth and coin to the value of 100 marks to Gascony to buy wine of the new vintage. In September 1367 Sely was granted a royal pardon for causing the death of John Somery, as judicial inquiries had found that he had acted in self-defence. Two years later he provided securities at the Exchequer for Benedict Sely as bailiff of Winchelsea, and for Robert Harry I*, the mayor, when they were summoned to account for goods seized as prohibited exports. In 1388 Winchelsea paid him and Matthew Goldyve £2 6s.8d. each as their wages for attending the Parliament assembled at Cambridge, and as Henry had stayed on for a short while after his companion had gone home, he received 8s.4d. extra.4

Besides his property in Winchelsea (where he witnessed deeds between 1364 and 1386), Sely held land at Udimore, Ore, Guestling and Icklesham, on which, as a Portsman, he claimed exemption from parliamentary fifteenths. In 1392 a jury presented him for failing to maintain a bridge on his land at Ore. The date of his death is not known, but a deed of 1395 refers to a plot of land belonging to him as if he was then still alive.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: A. P.M. Wright


  • 1. Cat. Rye Recs. ed. Dell, 136/165. One of his daughters married John Pulman*.
  • 2. H. Swinden, Hist. Yarmouth, 192.
  • 3. E101/28/7; E364/6 m. A.
  • 4. C143/50/15; CPR, 1361-4, p. 440; 1364-7, p. 16; 1367-70, p. 6; E101/29/38; Add. Ch. 16431.
  • 5. Add. Chs. 20186, 20195, 20200; E179/225/3, 5, 12, 17; Ct. Rolls Rape of Hastings (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxvii), 122. Although he was in all probability the uncle of Sir Benedict Sely of Winchelsea and Hellingly, Suss. (E368/156 Trin. rot. 14), a ‘King’s knight’ to Ric. II, who was to be executed for treason against Hen. IV in Jan. 1400, the two men are nowhere recorded in association.