SEWALL, Simon (d.1429/30), of London.
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. (1) by Jan. 1406, Alice, wid. of Ralph Freeman (d.1405), of London, brewer; (2) Alice, wid. of John Goldyng of Edmonton, Mdx., 1s. 1da.1
Tax collector, London Dec. 1417.2
Common councillor, Aldersgate Ward by 11 Jan. 1422.3
Although he played comparatively little part in the government of London and practised the relatively humble trade of saddler, Sewall was a wealthy man of some standing in the City. He first appears in November 1401 as a juror at the possessory assizes, and he continued to sit regularly on juries (usually for either Farringdon Ward or Cheap Ward) until the time of his death.4 In February 1402 he offered joint sureties of £100 in Chancery on behalf of William Saxy, a clerk; and by the following September he had been made a churchwarden of St. Peter’s, West Cheap. He acted as a mainpernor for a second time in August 1409, but is not known to have done so again for some years. Meanwhile, in June 1417, Sewall advanced the sum of £20 towards the cost of Henry V’s second expedition to France. He and the other prominent London merchants who helped to finance the campaign were to be repaid out of the first wool subsidy collected after February 1420, although many had to wait far longer. Further evidence of Sewall’s standing is to be found in his attendance at seven of the parliamentary elections held in the City between the spring of 1413 and his death, and in the grant made to him and his wife in August 1422 of a papal indult for a portable altar.5
A substantial part of Sewall’s income came from land, which perhaps explains why he was one of the very few artisans to represent London in Parliament during our period. According to the lay subsidy return of 1412, his property in the City was worth over £24 a year, above whatever rents and casual profits accrued from his holdings in Middlesex. He owned a tenement in West Cheap, another in Gutter Lane and four more in the parish of St. Botolph Aldersgate, as well as a brewery called Le Horne in Aldersgate Street. These he acquired in stages from 1406 onwards, if not before, together with the lease of a tenement in East Cheap, which was probably The Sign of The Elephant, a property confirmed to him in July 1411 after some unspecified dispute before the mayor and aldermen of London. His first wife, Alice, the widow of a prosperous brewer, brought him an inn in the parish of St. Mary Colechurch and a tenement in Seacoal Lane, but she died soon after their marriage and the premises passed out of his hands, along with the £130 which she held in custody for her young children. It may have been through his second wife that he obtained possession of three tenements in Pinner, Middlesex, her previous husbands having owned land in the county.6
Sewall himself died between 30 Dec. 1429 and 8 Jan. following, and was buried in the church of St. Peter, West Cheap. His two children, Henry and Elizabeth, inherited all his property, which, in the event of their dying without issue, was to revert to the Saddlers’ Company for the support of various charitable and pious bequests.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Cal. Letter Bk. London, I, 52, 54; Guildhall Lib. London, 9171/2, f. 69, 3, ff. 229-32.
- 2. Cal. Letter Bk. London, I, 208.
- 3. Cal. P. and M. London, 1413-37, pp. 115-16.
- 4. C143/442/17; Corporation of London RO, hcp 135 m. 3d; hpl 129, 130, 140; London Rec. Soc. i. nos. 191, 193, 202-3, 205, 224, 234, 236; Cal. Letter Bk. London, K, 71.
- 5. Cal. Letter Bk. London, I, 23; K, 36; CCR, 1399-1402, p. 506; 1405-9, p. 53; CPR, 1416-22, pp. 234-5; C219/11/1, 12/4-5, 13/1, 3-4, 14/1; CPL, vii. 323.
- 6. Guildhall Lib. 9171/2, f. 69, 3, ff. 229-32; Corporation of London RO, hr 134/28, 137/44, 147/45; Arch. Jnl. xliv. 62; Cal. P. and M. London, 1413-37, p. 196; Cal. Letter Bk. London, I, 96-97.
- 7. Corporation of London RO, hr 162/53; Guildhall Lib. 9171/3, ff. 229-32.