STRATTON, Walter (d.c.1444), of Dover, Kent.
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Family and Education
m. bef. 1421, Joan, ?3s.
Mayor, Dover Sept. 1414-15, 1417-18, 1420-2, 1423-4, 1426-7, 1428-30, 1431-3, 1439-40; jurat 1415-16, 1424-5, 1427-8, 1430-1, 1433-5, 1437-8, 1440-2.3
Controller of customs and subsidies, Sandwich 28 Feb. 1416-24 May 1425.
Commr. to take musters, Dover Oct. 1418; commandeer shipping to victual Henry V’s forces at Dieppe June 1421.
From the time of his first appearance in the records of Dover in 1413, Stratton spent nigh on 30 years almost continually in office in the town. Little is known about his mercantile interests, although they certainly included trade in wine, which he is recorded as importing in 1417.4 In later years he had possession of the manor of Northcourt in Hougham near Dover, and his wife enjoyed a title to that of Southcourt (probably the property of that name in the same parish) which in 1421 was settled on Margaret, widow of Alan Roys of London, for her lifetime.5
When as mayor, Stratton attended the Brodhull in July 1424, he complained that Faversham was refusing to pay the contribution which it owed to Dover as a member-port, and obtained the other Ports’ backing in asserting this obligation. The dispute was to trouble him for a long time: on five occasions in the years 1427-9 and 1431-2 he attended meetings at Canterbury at which attempts were made to mediate for a settlement. Meanwhile, in 1427-8, he had undertaken to obtain a new grant of murage for Dover: he promised £2 to an esquire of the treasurer of the Exchequer, Sir Walter (now Lord) Hungerford*, for his assistance, and while up at Westminster for the Parliament of that year he spent as much as £7 6s.8d. on having the royal letters patent copied and sealed. He attended Henry VI’s coronation in 1429 as one of the canopy-bearers sent from the Cinque Ports; but when, in the following year, plans were being made for the King to cross to France to be crowned there too, he spent two days at Canterbury trying to persuade the royal council to excuse Dover from providing its full quota of ship-service. He subsequently sold the commonalty a tun of wine for presentation to the warden of the Cinque Ports, Humphrey, duke of Gloucester.6
At some unknown date Katherine, widow of Thomas Foster, made Stratton her executor, instructing him to sell her land at Wye and bestow the proceeds in alms. But the trustees of the land refused to convey it as Stratton asked, so that he was obliged to sue them before the chancellor, Archbishop Kemp. However, in 1435, when he himself was summoned to appear in Chancery under penalty of £40, he disobeyed the writ, so the mayor and bailiff were ordered in July to produce him at Michaelmas to answer for his contempt. Stratton last paid maltolts in 1443-4, and probably died shortly afterwards. During his lifetime the manor of Northcourt had been settled on him and his wife in survivorship, with remainder to Bartholomew Stratton, the second of three brothers (quite likely Walter’s sons).7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: A. P.M. Wright
- 1. He was paid at the rate of 2s.8d. per day for 41 days’ attendance: Add. 29615, f. 75.
- 2. He was paid 12 marks for 40 days’ attendance before Christmas and £6 for 36 days after Christmas, at the rate of 3s.4d. a day, and also received 20s. for fees given to the clerk of the Parliament, and ‘pro jentaculo ... ut mos est ad finem Parliament ’: ibid. f. 136.
- 3. Egerton 2088, ff. 182, 198, 199, 2091, f. 20; Add. 29615, ff. 72, 77, 116, 126, 138, 151, 166, 174, 181, 189, 202, 29810, ff. 20, 31, 39; Dover Chs. ed. Statham, 194.
- 4. Egerton 2088, f. 172; E122/127/8.
- 5. CP25(1)113/292/343.
- 6. Add. 29615, ff. 68, 125, 134, 136, 137, 147, 153, 158, 173, 178.
- 7. C1/7/89, 21/8; Egerton 2105; f. 25; Add. 29810, f. 53.