SUNNINGWELL, William (d.1400), of
Available from Boydell and Brewer
Family and Education
m. Alice, prob. s.p.1
Warden of the Mercers’ Co. 24 June 1395-6, 1400-d.2
Comparatively little is known about this MP, who appears to have set up in business as a mercer by May 1390, when he shipped luxury goods worth almost £35 into the port of London. Two years later he took on the first of his recorded apprentices, accepting two more in 1395 and a fourth in 1398.3 Yet, although he was quite clearly a rich and influential member of his livery company, Sunningwell remains an obscure figure, quite possibly because he died young, before his career had properly got under way. In April 1395 and again about two years later he arbitrated in disputes arising between his fellow merchants, and in May 1395 he witnessed a London deed: otherwise he seems to have shown little interest in civic affairs. Nor are his business dealings and personal connexions particularly well documented. In May 1393 William King, a wealthy draper, named him among the beneficiaries of his will; and at some point he became a feoffee of Richard and Idonea Forster for property in the London parish of St. Stephen, Coleman Street. During the Eastern term of 1396 Sunningwell began five separate suits for the recovery of debts totalling about £15 in the court of common pleas, but he was not apparently involved in further litigation of this kind.4
Sunningwell died between 30 Aug. and 4 Sept. 1400, and was buried in the church of St. Thomas Acon. To his widow, Alice, he left a cash sum of £200, as well as the customary third of his goods. The other leading beneficiary of his will was Adam, the son of the mercer, John Feraunt, who received £80, perhaps because the deceased had once been his father’s business partner or apprentice.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. Guildhall Lib. London, 9171/1 f. 456d.
- 2. Mercers’ Company Recs. Wardens’ acct. bk. f. 31; list of members, S-W, f. 574.
- 3. E122/71/13 mm. 8d, 9d; Mercers’ Company Recs. Wardens’ acct. bk. ff. 8d, 18, 27; list of members, D-J, f. 131, K-R, f. 412.
- 4. Cal. P. and M. London, 1381-1412, pp. 230-2, 245; CCR, 1392-6, p. 415; Corporation of London RO, hr 123/41, 138/15; hpl 120, Monday bef. feast St. Margaret, 20 Ric. II.
- 5. Guildhall Lib. 9171/1 f. 456d.