TALBOT, John (d.1403), of New Romney, Kent.
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Family and Education
m. Alice (d.c.1412),1 1da.
Talbot paid maltolts in Holyngbroke ward, Romney, from 1381 until his death. As a Portsman he claimed tax exemption on land in the Kentish hundred of Worth.4
When Archbishop Courtenay made Talbot bailiff of Romney in succession to Edward Middleton, he may have hoped, in replacing a stranger with a local man, to conciliate the townsmen, who had been seeking to subject the bailiff more strictly to themselves as a way of reducing the archbishop’s authority as lord of the town. But Talbot soon found himself at odds with his fellows: as early as February 1392 he was compelled to enter into a bond with the jurats to forfeit £40 to them if he ever gave decisions in the town court contrary to their judgement and to the customs of Romney. Although, following the archbishop’s intercession, this penalty was reduced to £10, Talbot was still held liable for a fine of £2 for certain trespasses he had allegedly committed against the town’s liberties during his first year of office. For a while conflict was avoided, and in June 1393, when he was being sued by Alice Letton, widow of Thomas Barbour of London, two ringleaders of an earlier confrontation with the archbishop, namely, William Holyngbroke* and William Child*, stood surety under pain of £200 for his appearance in Chancery. (The case apparently fell through, for on 3 July Alice gave Talbot a general release from all legal actions.) At Michaelmas Archbishop Courtenay leased to him for ten years his manor of Chene in Romney Marsh, at a rent of £40 a year. But in the last few months of Courtenay’s life, in 1396, Talbot’s troubles as bailiff of Romney re-emerged. In March that year four criminals broke out of Romney gaol, allegedly through his default, and as a consequence he was fined by the King. At the same time he fell foul of the archbishop’s steward, William Makenade, and on 6 June he had to give him a bond in 200 marks, probably in connexion with a lawsuit. It seems likely that he had lost Courtenay’s confidence, and may in any case have forfeited his office when Courtenay died the following month. (He had certainly done so by 12 Aug., by which date Richard Water* of Canterbury had secured the bailiffship.) Nevertheless, Archbishop Arundel, Courtenay’s successor, permitted him to remain as farmer of Chene, where he retained the lease at least until October 1397, when Arundel suffered exile and forfeiture of his estates.5
Following his dismissal as bailiff, Talbot evidently returned to favour among his fellow townsmen, for he was chosen by them as one of their representatives in the Parliament which acclaimed Henry of Bolingbroke as King. During the session he was present at Henry’s coronation among those barons of the Cinque Ports privileged to bear the royal canopy.6 Subsequently he served as a jurat. Talbot made his will on 22 Mar. 1403 and died within six days. He asked to be buried beneath the bell tower in St. Nicholas’s church, Romney, where masses were to be said for his soul for the next two years. Bequests to his kinsmen included a gown and a hood of the livery of Battle abbey, in whose service he may have been for a time. He had been leasing the manor of Plumstead from St. Augustine’s abbey, Canterbury, and now left the monks there ten marks to pray for him, on condition that the abbot released all his moveable goods at Plumstead to his executors and also made them due allowance for such repairs to the property as he had undertaken. As executors, Talbot appointed his wife, Alice, his daughter, Joan, and the then bailiff of Romney, William Clitheroe*, leaving the latter a bequest of £2 for his labour.7
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: A. P.M. Wright
- 1. Romney assmt. bk. 2, ff. 58-73.
- 2. CPR, 1391-6, p. 47; C47/64/10/304; Kent AO, NR/JBr/4, nos. 6, 7.
- 3. Assmt. bk. 2, ff. 46, 52.
- 4. Ibid. 1, f. 4; 2, ff. 15-54; E179/237/57.
- 5. Assmt. bk. 1, ff. 28, 41, 44; 2, f. 53; CCR, 1392-6, pp. 144, 224, 517; CIMisc. vi. 319; C47/64/10/304; CPR, 1396-9, p. 156; NR/JBr/5, no. 12.
- 6. Assmt. bk. 2, f. 49.
- 7. Lambeth Pal. Lib. Reg. Arundel 1, f. 200. Joan subsequently married William Chanewe, the bailiff of 1410-14: NR/JBr/6, no. 15.