WILLIAM, Robert, of Southwark, Surr.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1386-1421, ed. J.S. Roskell, L. Clark, C. Rawcliffe., 1993
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Family and Education

m. 1s.

Offices Held

Tax collector, Southwark Dec. 1406.


Robert William may well have been the brother of the John William II whom Southwark returned to the Parliament of April 1414.1 In August 1401, then being described as ‘of Surrey’, he offered sureties in Chancery for a number of local men, and five years later he witnessed a deed relating to land in the county. It is unlikely that the messuage and rents in Southwark which he acquired from William Mounpelers during the Hilary term of 1409 comprised his first purchase of property in the borough, for he evidently exercised considerable influence there.2 In May 1415 he was summoned as a juror to attend an assize of novel disseisin regarding the ownership of land in both Southwark and Newington, and again in February 1417 and December 1422 he witnessed deeds drawn up by near neighbours of his. William appears to have been on close terms with Robert Frewell, the bishop of Winchester’s bailiff in Southwark, and was allegedly implicated with him in an attempt to imprison and defraud a London skinner named John Reed. The latter accused Frewell of detaining him in the bishop’s prison until he agreed to pay whatever sums should be required of him, and William of refusing to surrender the recognizance which he had entered into at that time. The date and outcome of the proceedings attendant upon Reed’s petition to Chancery remain unknown, although William evidently managed to escape any further legal action.3

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: C.R.


  • 1. Although John William II had a son named Robert, the latter cannot have been much more than a child in 1419.
  • 2. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 416; 1405-9, p. 119; CP25(1)231/67/65.
  • 3. JUST 1/908/8; CCR, 1413-19, p. 380; 1422-9, pp. 44-45; C1/16/43. Reed is known to have been practising his trade in London by January 1412 (CCR, 1409-13, p. 312); while Frewell held office as the bishop’s bailiff in, and probably before Mich. 1419 (Hants RO, bp. of Winchester’s pipe roll 159420).