S[PITLING], Henry, of Great Yarmouth, Norf.

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. 3s. 1da.

Offices Held

Controller of customs and subsidies, Yarmouth 28 Sept. 1415-28 Feb. 1416.

Bailiff, Yarmouth Mich. 1415-16.1


Spitling came from a family of Yarmouth merchants and shipowners, who traded in herring, salt and wine. The most prominent of them was John Spitling—perhaps Henry’s brother—who acted as customs collector in 1404, constable of the Staple in 1404-5, and bailiff in 1416-17, 1419-20 and 1424-5. As a shipmaster, John entered a successful trading partnership with William Colkirk*. Henry himself was actively engaged in trade at Yarmouth from 1399: he exported cloth and imported iron from the Baltic and wine and salt from Gascony, as well as linen, grindstones and such produce as barley and malt from elsewhere. He served for a short while as controller of customs in the port and for a year as a bailiff before being returned to Parliament in 1417, during his kinsman’s first bailiffship. He is last recorded in February 1421, when he obtained a pardon of his outlawry for failing to appear to answer Richard Monesle†, the Norwich merchant, for a debt of £20,2 and died before November 1425 when his brother, William, made enfeoffments of certain of his landed holdings. Under the terms of the will William made in May 1427 all his properties at Yarmouth and over the border in Suffolk at Gorleston, Bradwell, Belton, Hopton and Burgh, were to be divided between Henry’s sons (his own nephews)—William, Henry and John—all of whom were still under age; and his daughter, Alice, was given £10 towards her dowry. The family may have died out not long afterwards, for ‘Spitlings’ manor in Gorleston later came into the possession of Sir John Fastolf KG (d.1459) and through him to Magdalen college, Oxford.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Only ‘Henry S’ remains on the torn return (C219/12/2). Spitling is the obvious choice, as he had been bailiff in the previous year and was the only man with Henry as his first name and a surname beginning with S to be elected bailiff throughout the first half of the 15th century.

  • 1. Norf. Official Lists ed. Le Strange, 155.
  • 2. H. Swinden, Yarmouth, 810; E122/150/1, 2, 9; CPR, 1416-22, p. 293.
  • 3. Norf. RO, Reg. Surflete, ff. 12-13; HMC 4th Rep. iv. 461, 463; William of Worcestre, Itins. ed. Harvey, 151.