A Family of Mercers in Medieval London
By Shirley Garton Straney
Foundations, Vol.1 No.5 (2005)
Abstract: A fourteenth century family coordinating elements of English life, the academy, the church, the crown, land, commerce and family connections to become significant participants in London life.
Introduction: A study of medieval London describes Hugh Garton asa Yorkshireman andone of the “three leading Wardrobe mercers” in that city, and also Sheriff in 1313 and Alderman of Coleman Street ward from 1319 until his death in 1327. Although the study refers to him as an immigrant to London, he was not the first of the name there.
The first found in the Corporation of London’s books is William Garton, Citizen and Mercer of London who on Thursday, 19 March 1292/3 was granted a shop in Sopers Lane in the parish of St. Pancras by Hugh Chelmeford, Citizen of London and his wife Alice. Thus began the family in Sopers Lane in Cordwainer ward in London, centre of the Mercers and Pepperers, and near to the Guildhall, where the Citizens met.
In this period the Citizens, including William Garton, agreed to send twenty men with horses to accompany Sir Edward, the king’s son, to protect the coast of Kent and stay four weeks. On 25 April 1311 William was one of the receivers of 1,000 marks to be sent to the king in Scotland. They delivered this by messenger to the king, and purchased a horse from William Garton for the use of the messenger. When the mayor and aldermen, and “good men from each ward” elected citizens to attend Parliament at York on 15 August 1314 at the Guildhall, William de Garton was among those chosen. Everyone was assessed one penny to pay for their expenses.