SETTER, alias MILERS, Richard, of Wells, Som.
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Constable of the peace, Wells Mich. 1414-15; master 1417-19, 1425-6; auditor 1422-3.2
Tax collector, Som. Nov. 1416
This MP may have been a ‘setter’ by trade, since on occasion he was actually called Richard Milers, ‘setter’. He was living in Wells at least by 1400, when, following the Epiphany Plot against Henry IV, he had in his possession there a breastplate belonging to one of the rebels, John Holand, earl of Huntingdon. However, he did not become a freeman of the borough until 1410, shortly after his marriage to the widow of John Blithe, one of the leading burgesses. Pledges were provided on his behalf by Roger Chapman*, and over the years he himself agreed to stand surety for the admission of four other freemen, who included Robert Elwell*, John Rock† (his fellow MP of 1422) and a son of John Pedewell*. Setter was elected as master of the town for three yearly terms during the first of which he attended the Commons at Westminster for the first time. He witnessed the parliamentary election indentures for Wells on as many as nine occasions: in 1419, May and December 1421, 1425, 1426, 1427, 1429, 1431 and 1432.3
Setter’s marriage to John Blithe’s widow had brought into his possession a number of properties in Wells, including a ‘mansion’ in the High Street, where he and his wife lived, and two cottages in New Street, and in 1416 the then master of Wells transferred to him Blithe’s lease of other lands and tenements in the vicinity, for an annual rent of 48s.6d.4 Setter also became concerned with the private transactions of some of his fellow burgesses, such as Edward Curteys (d.1413) who named him as an executor of his will. Then, in December 1415, he entered, with John Kyng, a local tailor, into a bond for £40 with Thomas Kyngesbury, it being agreed that Kyng and his wife should abide by the arbitration of certain cathedral canons and John Horewode I* and Richard Perys* in a dispute over property; and, perhaps as a sequel, in the following June he, Perys and Horewode all attested a conveyance made by Kyng. Perys furnished security for Setter when he became involved in a Chancery suit in 1420, following allegations that he and three other townsmen had forcibly taken possession of two messuages and seven acres of land in Wells belonging to John and Alice Rewe, thereby causing the plaintiffs considerable losses. In another suit, brought in the court of common pleas, Setter successfully prosecuted John Roper, a ‘roper’ from Milton, Somerset, for having retained his servant William Roper before the expiry of their contract, and damages of £24 were adjudged in his favour, although he eventually, before July 1421, released the defendant from what the judgement imposed.5 He is not recorded after April 1432.
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: L. S. Woodger
For this alias see Wells Town Clerk’s office, convoc. bk. 1378-1450, f. 240; HMC Wells, ii. ch. 540; Wells City Chs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 105, 135.
- 1. Convoc. bk. ff. 214, 240; Wells City Chs. 105.
- 2. Convoc. bk. ff. 198, 206, 214, 218, 241, 250.
- 3. Wells City Chs. 135, 139-41; CIMisc. vii. 66; C219/12/3, 5, 6, 13/3-5, 14/1-3.
- 4. Convoc. bk. ff. 214, 240; Wells City Chs. 105.
- 5. Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xvi), 65-66; HMC Wells, ii. chs. 540, 543; C1/5/200; CPR, 1416-22, p. 376.