VAWTE, William atte, of Rye, Suss.

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



Sept. 1388

Family and Education

m. bef. June 1391, Margery,1 1da.

Offices Held

Mayor, Rye Aug. 1397-9, 1401-3; jurat 1412-13.2


In 1392 several allegations were made against William atte Vawte in the hundred courts held near Rye: it was alleged that he and other Portsmen holding land at Watcombe were refusing to pay the customary scots, presumably relying on their liberties to claim exemption; a man named Denis Kechenore sought 50s. damages as compensation for atte Vawte’s having imprisoned his wife at Rye; and he was sued for having warranted that a consignment of herrings he had sold at Lent 1386 were good, whereas they were found to be rotten and had to be thrown away. Atte Vawte is recorded as a witness to deeds at Rye from the time of his first mayoralty until 1410. Under Henry IV he owned land at Wivelridge and Hope, on which as a Portsman he claimed exemption from parliamentary fifteenths, and his wife possessed a life interest in a messuage, 38 acres of land, and at Playden, which belonged to the family of Marchaunt.3

In 1401 atte Vawte was sent to Dover to try to have the Cinque Ports excused from providing shipping to transport Richard II’s widow, Isabella de Valois, over to Calais. In 1405-6 he was present at another meeting at Dover called by the lieutenant warden. For his attendance at the unusually long Parliament of 1406 he was paid at the rate of 2s.6d. a day for 42 days, but only 1s. a day for the remainder, making a total of £7 9s. (from which it would appear that his attendance was limited to 86 out of the 160 days of the Parliament’s three sessions). In February 1409 he obtained a royal pardon of outlawry for having failed to answer a plea of debt for £2 brought by the executors of a London draper.4

Atte Vawte is last recorded in June 1413, when he made an enfeoffment of land in St. Mary’s marsh, and may have died soon after. The heir to this property, as well as to a vacant place and a cellar in Rye, was his daughter, Alice, who before May 1428 married Richard Markham of Sandwich.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: A. P.M. Wright


  • 1. Cat. Rye Recs. ed. Dell, 136/137.
  • 2. Ibid. 122/1, 136/149, 151, 153; Rye Corporation ms 77/2.
  • 3. Ct. Rolls Rape of Hastings (Suss. Rec. Soc. xxxvii), 22, 41, 122; Cat. Rye Recs. 136/162; E179/225/31, 33, 34; CP25(1)111/257/90.
  • 4. Romney assmt. bk. 2, f. 55; Rye Corporation ms 60/1; CPR, 1408-13, p. 12.
  • 5. Cat. Rye Recs. 122/4, 10.