BENTBOW, Simon (d.c.1427), of Cambridge.
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Family and Education
Tax collector, Cambs. Mar. 1393, Cambridge Oct. 1393.
Bailiff, Cambridge Sept. 1394-5, 1402-4; mayor 1413-14.1
J.p. Cambridge 8 Feb. 1414-Apr. 1415, 12 Dec. 1420-Nov. 1423.
Bentbow is first heard of in 1376 when he gave evidence at an inquest in Cambridge concerning the murder of Walter Frost. In 1381-2 he and Robert Swanton sold a tenement in St. Michael’s parish to Richard Assewell. Bentbow’s occupation has not been discovered, but he evidently held a position in which he employed others, for in 1386 he sued one John Orforde for breaking his contract of service. Within three years he had become warden of the religious guild of St. Katherine in the church of St. Benedict, as such being custodian of whatever funds the guild possessed.2
The full extent of Bentbow’s property in Cambridge and elsewhere is not known, but in 1396 he purchased a tenement on the present site of Caius college, in the following year he was holding a messuage in Petty Cury and in 1407 he leased another building from Corpus Christi college in Cutler’s Row, St. Mary’s parish. Either he had other holdings in St. Mary’s too, or this last was the tenement which he and William Salle* conveyed in 1415 to Richard Bush† and others. At that time Bentbow was acting as a trustee of the manor and advowson of Coppingford (Huntingdonshire) for its conveyance by John Styuecle* to the London merchant, John Shadworth*.3
Having first held public office as a collector of taxes in both the borough and county of Cambridge in 1393, Bentbow was chosen by his fellow burgesses to be bailiff for three terms, mayor for one, and MP twice. He held no major office in the town after 1414 and it is probably no coincidence that this was when John Bilney I* rose to prominence in local politics. In articles framed by the university against Bilney in 1420, Bentbow is referred to as one of the ‘peaceful burgesses’ excluded from Bilney’s mayoral council. However he was re-appointed as a j.p. in Cambridge at the end of that year, and in April 1416, when the common council of 24 was reformed in the guildhall after a disputed election, he was one of the first group of eight burgesses to be nominated to it by Richard Bush and John Knapton*.4
By 1428 Bentbow had died, and part of his property in the town was sold by his widow.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
Author: E.M. Wade
- 1. E372/240; CIMisc. vii. 250; Add. 5833, f. 134.
- 2. JUST 2/23 m. 3; Bodl. Ch. Cambs. 22; CCR, 1385-9, pp. 139, 153; Cambridge Antiq. Soc. 8to ser. xxxix. 82, 91.
- 3. J.M. Gray, Biogs. Mayors Cambridge, 17; Add. 5813, ff. 164, 168, 174; CCR, 1413-19, p. 284.
- 4. C.H. Cooper, Annals Cambridge, i. 166, 175.
- 5. Gray, 17.