Said to have been born 1348
Date of death N.K
I have started the first of the personal profiles with this particular William, due to the fact, that he was the first family member of a long line of predecessors who, I can establish a direct link with the successive generations. In my researches I did discover a great number of predecessors, but in none of the references was there sufficient information, to construct a family lineage. Prior to our subject There were quite a number of Williams, together with numerous Richards and Roberts and a few Johns.
In he is mentioned as being an escheater & taxatore the post of taxatore did in later years actually get combined, in the all in one title of escheater, a number of his predecessors, also held this post. I could find no mention of his wife’s name, he appears to have owned a great deal of land in the Purbecks and elsewhere in the locality when he was appointed to his position his location as mentioned as being of Moreton, later this can be a little confusing since in another document it was stated that he had been appointed into the same position for East and West Morden which are two villages to the north east of Wareham. There is at least one other village with the name of Morden in the county
The duties of an escheater are a trifle vague, apparently his main occupation was to sort out the affairs of those who had died in testate, and deal with any arguments regarding, inheritance among their successors, this would I think this would have been quite a problem, due to the fact that not many people in those days, appeared not to have made wills. It would appear that most inheritance problems, were sorted out at inquest PM’s, where all the deceased assets were itemised, and put before a jury, one of whose members would have been the escheater , It was from this source of reference that I managed to gain the fact that a number of generations of the family had held this post..
In addition to the duties I have just mentioned the holders of this post, if there were no direct relatives they would seize on behalf of the crown all of the assets. of the deceased. There were also various taxes which had to be paid by land owners. It there fore fell upon the duties, of the escheater to check these assessments and arrange for the collection of the relevant tax. If the landowner didn't pay or went into arrears, it fell upon the escheater along with the Sheriff, to seize on behalf of the Crown as much property as was necessary to cover the debts incurred.
Due to the foregoing, this is why at this period there, is not much information, on land holdings but in later years the, the full extent, of these has become more apparent. There appears not to be, much information on William in the records generally, other than when he was appointed to the post that his father had held who was also William,. and was an escheater, what little there is on the records regarding this William is truly enlightening and gives one an indication as to his true character.
The following account regards an incident, that occurred near his land at his land at Kimmeridge, a reference to which I discovered in the Public Records Office. It was an actual transcript of the original document therefore it was a trifle muddled, however I did manage to write down, a rough account outlining the sequence of events. My interpretation of this account, was later confirmed, in greater detail, in a publication by Rodney Legg, the well known, Dorset Historian, in his Book "Guide to Dorset Coast and Shipwrecks"
Apparently some when in 1371 a ship named the "Welfare" of Dartmouth was sailing around the Dorset coast bound for London. but during rough weather she was driven ashore, upon hearing of this event, William and several other land owners in the area rushed to the scene, together with Thomas the Abbot of Cerne Abbey and two of his monks who Happened to be in the locality at the time, they also owned a large amount of land in the area.
It appears that, the abbot was the leader of this bunch, claimed that the foreshore was the property of the Abbey, therefore they had the right, to the ship and its cargo, so instead of assisting the captain and crew at this, traumatic time, the mob attacked them and stole the cargo. By that time apparently, most of the inhabitants of the village, had gathered, and between them they transported all of the goods from the beach, and hid them in a barn.
The cargo from the ship consisted of a large amount of luxury goods including bales of silk and other merchandise to the estimated value of £2000. However they didn't getaway with the crime and were later brought to trial at Sherborn assizes.
It was claimed that more than a hundred people were involved. The main protagonists were convicted . they were, William Chaldecott, John Anderbode, William wyat and his son, John Russell, John Swanland, and Thomas Gerrad. There appears to be no record of their punishment. The most likely outcome would have been that they would have been pardoned, this was the usual outcome of events of this nature, involving the gentry. A similar event took place involving one of Williams successors on this particular spot nearly two centuries later, which I will cover later in this account.
William was also apparently involved in another legal battle. This yet again concerned the Abbot of Cerne Abbis, he owned a field that was adjacent, to another which belonged to the Abbot so in order to reach this, the Abbots man crossed Williams field and broke down hedges and fences, he seemed to
have had a bit of a fracas with the Abbots man, and with the aid of his own man, confiscated four horses and a cart. For this he was hauled before a court, this time the jury found in favour of William,
and was completely cleared, and it was said that he had acted within his rights, so the horses and the cart were duly awarded to him. I could trace the date of Williams death. He was however succeeded by another William.
This William replaced his father as escheater . he must have led a relatively dull life the only entries I have seen recorded, was in reference to him sitting on juries and odd entries in the Lay Subsidy Roles. He was succeeded by his son Richard .
Richard appears to have broken the family tradition of having the first son and heir being William but this does not appear to be the case, he did have an older brother named William but he apparently died at Quite an early age .
Richard was also was an escheater , but in this field he appears to have spread his activities in this post over a wider area both in Hampshire and Dorset, it would appear that he had homes in both Wareham and Winchester, there is evidence in the record as having sat on juries in both counties.
In 1442 he was elected the Member of Parliament for Wareham, after this however he still appears to have, carried out his duties as an escheater, in both counties. It is likely he died sometime before 1454, this is the date recorded, that his son Richard was appointed, as an escheater for Hampshire.
In 1455, the year after he, was appointed to the post of escheater, and like his father stood for parliament, to represent and in 1455 and was elected as member for Wareham , and also , still seemed to have carried on his job as escheater. It is believed that his wife was of the heiress of the quarel family and in doing so brought the house at Quarleston into the Chaldecott family for a number of generations.
At the time of his death he had two sons, William age 14 and Richard 12. from this time on, a different pattern began to develop, in respect to the families. history inheritance. I therefore think that this would be an appropriate time in my account to compile a summary of the land and property assets, of the family, as this will have a great bearing on the rest of this account. These are listed in chapter 4