YOUNG, Thomas III (d.1427), of Bristol.

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



Apr. 1414

Family and Education

m. bef. 1408, Joan (d.1429), da. of John Wotton of Bristol by his w. Margaret, wid. of John Canynges* (d.1405) of Bristol, 2s. Thomas and John, 1da.1

Offices Held

Tax collector, Bristol Mar. 1401, Nov. 1404.

Bailiff, Bristol Mich. 1402-3; sheriff 1 Oct. 1407-9 Oct. 1408; mayor Mich. 1411-12, 1420-1.2

Commr. to assess a tax on land, Bristol Jan. 1412.


It is possible that Thomas was related to William Young, Bristol’s parliamentary representative of 1361, or to John Young, a bailiff of Bristol in 1384-5, but he was, nevertheless, born in Wales. He formed trading connexions with Bristol at least two decades before November 1413, when as Thomas Young alias Mere he procured for £2 the royal licence to live in England necessistated by recent statutes requiring all native Welshmen to return home. His standing in Bristol was in part due to his marriage to Joan, the wealthy widow of a former mayor and MP, John Canynges. This marriage had taken place before January 1408, when Young, who was then sheriff, appeared before the mayor to acknowledge that he had undertaken the guardianship of Joan’s children by her first husband: Thomas Canynges (later to be mayor of London), then aged ten, William (subsequently the foremost Bristol merchant of his day and five times mayor), then aged only five, and their sisters. He had already taken up residence in the Canynges’s home in Redcliff Street, which Joan had been given with all the rest of her first husband’s extensive properties in Bristol to hold for life.3

But Young had become actively involved in the affairs of Bristol well before his marriage, for he was elected as a bailiff in 1402 and (after being unsuccessfully nominated for the office in September 1405 and 1406), appointed as sheriff in 1407. At Michaelmas 1409 he was named a councillor for the mayoral year then beginning, and he again figured as a member of the common council in 1416, having served in the highest local office, the mayoralty, in the meantime. It was later to be alleged by the abbot of Tintern that a cross (worth £10), removed for safe-keeping from a cell of the abbey in Ireland, had been unjustly detained by Young when mayor, on the erroneous grounds that it had been stolen. During his second mayoralty Young also acted as mayor of the local Staple, following his formal election on 25 Sept. 1420. Although he is known to have represented Bristol on only one occasion in Parliament, he displayed an active interest in the parliamentary elections for the borough by attending 12 of those held between May 1413 and his death.4

There is little evidence bearing upon Young’s mercantile activities, although in August 1391 he shipped eight dozen cloths to Spain, and he was assessed in 1405-6 to pay alnage on 15 lengths of woollen material produced in Bristol. His interests in internal trade may have taken him to Oxford, since a local draper, John Milton, brought a counter-action in Chancery following Young’s allegations of trespass against him. In 1406 he was engaged in further litigation against two Bristol dyers; and in July 1414 he entered a suit against Richard Alexander who, in a bond for £400, undertook to appear in Chancery if the case, entrusted for arbitration to four other Bristol merchants (John Burton II* and David Dudbroke* acting for Alexander, and Robert Shipward and Thomas Fish for Young), had not been settled by the autumn.5

It was possibly this Thomas Young who had purchased 40 acres of land in Newent, Gloucestershire, in 1395, but most of his property was situated in Bristol. In 1412 when, as mayor, he was responsible for the collection of a royal aid assessed on lands worth upwards of £20 p.a., he returned that he himself enjoyed an annual income from holdings in the locality amounting to £36 8s.2d. Before 1413 he owned a garden in ‘Pylestrete’ which, however, reverted to the Crown under the Act of Resumption of that year and was leased out by the Exchequer. At his death Young possessed messuages, shops and tenements in Temple Street, Fuller Street, Baldwin Street, St. Nicholas Street, High Street, on the Back, and on Avon bridge, which by his will, made on 14 Mar. 1427, he bequeathed to his widow, with remainder to his two sons and his daughter Alice, wife of Thomas Pynchon. He requested burial before the altar of St. Nicholas in the church of St. Thomas the Martyr, where a chaplain was to be employed to say masses for his soul for a year. He died before 10 May, the date of probate in the prerogative court of Canterbury. Young’s widow, in her last testament composed on 21 Aug. 1429, arranged that her property in Redcliff Street and Temple Street should be inherited first by her sons by John Canynges, then by those of Thomas Young, in both instances benefiting the younger before the elder. Young’s career has been overshadowed not only by those of his stepsons, but also by his own issue, Thomas, the famous lawyer who was to make the bold proposal in the Commons of 1451 that Richard, duke of York, should be recognized as heir to the throne, and John, who was to sit in the Parliament of 1455 for London, and became mayor of that city subsequently.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. E.E. Williams, Chantries of Wm. Canynges, 53; Bristol Wills (Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. 1886), 2, 25.
  • 2. Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xxvi. 129-30.
  • 3. CPR, 1413-16, p. 124; Bristol Wills, 2; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xv. 227-45.
  • 4. C267/5, no. 47; CFR, xiii. 4, 47; Little Red Bk. Bristol ed. Bickley, i. 138-9; Procs. Chancery Eliz. ed. Caley and Bayley, ii. p. vii; C219/11/1, 4, 8, 12/2-6, 13/1-4.
  • 5. E101/339/7; E122/16/21; C1/5/70; CCR, 1405-9, p. 147; 1413-19, p. 187.
  • 6. CP25(1)79/83/135; Feudal Aids, vi. 448; CFR, xv. 34; Bristol Wills, 115-16; PCC 8 Luffenham; Trans. Bristol and Glos. Arch. Soc. xv. 227-45; lxxiv. 113-21.