BOLT, Richard, of Winchester, Hants.

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



Family and Education

s. and h. of William Bolt*. m. (1) Margaret, da. of Richard Compton of Winchester; (2) by 1428, Ellen, 1s.1

Offices Held

Bailiff of the 24, Winchester Mich. 1412-13; mayor 1416-17, 1 Feb.-Mich. 1419, 8 Apr.-Mich. 1428.2


Richard Bolt initially did business as a vintner, but later followed his father’s trade as a clothier, and in addition exported the products of his looms from Southampton. When, in 1411, a group of clothiers petitioned the mayor and his peers to relax an ordinance restricting weaving or fulling to men living in the city, and the authorities (with an eye to the loss of revenue for the fee farm which would result from an abolition of the usual fines) reaffirmed the regulations, only Bolt, the wealthiest and most influential of the petitioners, stood by the demand in face of official pressure to retract.3 His abilities as a spokesman and negotiator are well evidenced by his frequent employment to conduct business on behalf of the city. Nor was it unusual for him to appear as a mainpernor for his fellow citizens. In 1402 and 1403 he had stood surety in Chancery for a local dyer and other Hampshire men accused of trespass, and in 1405 he undertook that Thomas Harberger would not molest the bishop of Chichester or his servants.4 Five years later he was associated with Richard Gould* and William Wood II* in standing bail for Simon Membury. Then, in April 1415, he went surety in the Exchequer for the newly appointed alnagers of Hampshire, Thomas Smale* and the same William Wood, acting subsequently for Wood’s successor, John Veel†, as well. In November 1416, during his first mayoralty, Bolt was asked to settle a rental dispute between Nuneaton priory and the chapel of the Trinity in St. Mary’s abbey, Winchester. A year or so afterwards he was paid as much as £12 for conducting civic affairs. His elections to both his later mayoralties occurred when the existing mayors died in office, and it was immediately after his second term that he was returned to Parliament for the second time. On this occasion he witnessed the indenture of return for the knights of the shire, as he did again at the next election in 1420. In 1421-2 Bolt travelled to Southampton with Richard Turnaunt* and 12 other ‘homines optimi’, to discuss a matter involving a messenger of the Chancery. In 1430 the city contributed over £4 towards the costs of a suit of his in London brought against one John Spynays.5

Bolt maintained but did not much enlarge his father’s property, apart from his acquisition in 1412 of a tenement next to one of his own in the lane joining Gold Street and Gar Street, and, later on, of premises, including a fulling mill, in the Soke and Otterbourne. He lived in a house on the west side of Tanner Street. It was there that in 1424 he built a fence at the end of his garden next to St. Pancras church but without first securing the necessary royal licence. By 1430 he was among the eight richest citizens of Winchester, being then assessed at 16s.8d. by the collectors of a fifteenth, and the report of the following year that he held property in the city worth no more than £2 a year was doubtless erroneous. As befitted a ‘gentleman’ of substance, he possessed a full suit of armour.6 Bolt probably died before 1435. His son, John, entered the Church and, those persons on whom the Bolt estate had been entailed having died without heirs before 1452, he then sold all the property to Henry Smart† of Winchester, in return for a sum with which to make provision for his father’s soul.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. D.J. Keene, Surv. Winchester (Winchester Studies 2), ii. 1167; CCR, 1447-54, pp. 335-6, 504.
  • 2. Black Bk. Winchester ed. Bird, 50, 65, 193; Stowe 846, ff. 134, 136, 140v; Winchester RO, bagmen and laghmen acct. 6-7 Hen. V.
  • 3. Black Bk. 27-28; E122/183/3, file 2, f. 32.
  • 4. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 517; 1402-5, pp. 151, 139; 1405-9, p. 79.
  • 5. Winchester RO, chamberlains’ accts. 8-9 Hen. IV, 5-6 Hen. V, 9 Hen. V-1 Hen. VI, 8-9 Hen. VI; CCR, 1409-13, p. 101; CFR, xiv. 110; xvi. 6; Add. Ch. 47878; C219/12/3, 4.
  • 6. Keene, i. 177, 225; ii. nos. 275-6, 429, 433, 435, 448, 465, 593, 659-60, 662, 667; Winchester RO, 37/BX/SR1; Feudal Aids, ii. 374; Stowe 846, p. 134; Black Bk. 61-62.
  • 7. Stowe 846 f. 158; CP25(1)207/33/32; CCR, 1447-54, pp. 335-6, 504.