SKINNER, John IV, of Hythe, Kent.

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. ?1s.

Offices Held

Jurat, Hythe Feb. 1419-22, 1423-4, 1426-7, 1431-2.2


In 1417-18 Skinner’s chattels in Hythe were valued at £16, and two years later at £20. His maltolts show that he traded in cattle and other livestock, and also in beer brewed by his wife. Rent from leases earned him 15s. p.a.3

In the first year he served as a jurat (1419) Skinner was kept busy helping to conduct Hythe’s many lawsuits. We hear of him obtaining a supersedeas against the churchwardens of St. Leonard’s parish, and going on the town’s business to Dover in March, on the orders of the warden of the Cinque Ports. That same month he was sent to Canterbury to discover when the chancellor was expected in Kent, and he returned there again in April to show the j.p.s then in session a writ excusing the barons of Hythe from sitting on county juries.4 Perhaps his most important task was the management of Hythe’s defence in its long dispute with Thomas Newman of Burmarsh, who in the previous year had infringed the town’s liberties by removing certain cattle from West Hythe, and had begun legal proceedings at Westminster against the local authorities. This litigation involved Skinner in visits to Dover to request the lieutenant warden’s assistance in protecting Hythe’s franchise, and, in May, caused him to make two journeys to London, where he engaged legal counsel: having sent to New Romney for the Cinque Ports’ charter, he then showed it to the judges. A counter action, brought against Newman in the lieutenant’s court at Dover, eventually led to a mutual agreement for arbitration, but neither Newman nor his arbiters put in an appearance at the date agreed, in September. When, on 2 Oct., Skinner and others, including Alexander Appleford*, went to Wye to recover the cattle distrained from West Hythe, they found themselves under arrest at Newman’s suit and were then obliged to give bonds to the sheriff to secure their release on bail. The lieutenant’s requests to the sheriff to see his warrant, elicited the response that none was at hand.5 It may have been in order to enable Skinner to pursue the Newman case at Westminster that the commonalty of Hythe decided to send him in the place of Henry Tropham, its first choice, to the Parliament due to assemble on 16 Oct. He was in attendance at the Commons for 35 days. Certainly, his involvement in the suit continued, for in January following he went back to Dover to request the lieutenant’s help once more in the affair.6

John, who is not recorded after 1432, was perhaps the father of Henry Skinner, Hythe’s common clerk from 1442, who died in 1461.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: A. P.M. Wright


  • 1. The return lists the Members for Hythe as Henry Philpot and Henry Tropham (OR, i. 293), but local records show it was Skinner, not Tropham, who received payment with Philpot for attending the Parliament: Hythe jurats’ bk. D, ff. 10, 41. Tropham, a fishmonger, had served as jurat of Hythe in 1407-9 and 1412-14; Hythe Reg. 1, f. 23; jurats’ bks. C, ff. 1, 4, 46, 50, D, f. 9.
  • 2. Jurats’ bk. D, f. 39; Reg. 1, ff. 31-32, 2, ff. 1-2.
  • 3. Jurats’ bk. D, f. 10; accts. box 27, f. 42.
  • 4. Jurats’ bk. D, ff. 10, 44, 46.
  • 5. Ibid. ff. 38, 42, 44-46, 48, 50.
  • 6. Ibid. ff. 10, 40, 41, 46.
  • 7. Jurats’ bk. E, f. 18; Canterbury Cathedral, City and Diocesan RO, consist. ct. reg. 2, ff. 51-52.