WERK, Nicholas, of Lincoln.
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Family and Education
m. Isabel (d. by June 1397), 1da.1
Commr. to make an arrest, Lincs. Apr. 1369 (Benedict de Lucca), Norf., Suff. July 1371 (Walter Serleby); impress craftsmen to make a royal barge, Lincs., Yorks. Jan. 1373; of inquiry, Lincoln Mar. 1377 (felonies).
Coroner of the liberty of Lincoln by 20 July 1375-aft. 2 Mar. 1389.2
Bailiff, Lincoln Sept. 1376-7.3
Werk is first mentioned in the spring of 1369 when he was instrumental in the capture and imprisonment of two men who stood accused of possessing forged papal bulls and other illegal documents. Since this event was followed almost immediately by his appointment as a royal commissioner for the arrest of a criminous clerk, it seems more than likely that he was employed in some capacity by the ecclesiastical authorites at Lincoln. In the following year he appeared as plaintiff in a suit for debt against one ‘father Benet the pardoner’, but his attempt to take the law into his own hands by seizing the pardoner’s horse aroused the indignation of the mayor of London, who demanded that the beast be returned at once. Walsh’s long period of service as coroner of Lincoln suggests that he also possessed a sound working knowledge of the law, although he is nowhere described as a lawyer by profession. He was evidently rich enough to extend his holdings to the countryside around Lincoln, for in the summer of 1376 he acquired land in the neighbouring village of Nettleham from a local couple. He continued to live in the city, however, and in the same year he took office as bailiff, being responsible as such for the elections to the first Parliament of 1377.4
At some point before January 1380, Werk was engaged in an unsuccessful lawsuit for the recovery of a debt of 40s. He again appeared in court three years later, but on this occasion as a juror at the sessions of the peace in Lincoln. Not surprisingly he was one of the leading citizens who were required, in March 1388, to take the general oath in support of the Lords Appellant; and his name also figures on the list of those who were bound over two years later in several securities of 100 marks to keep the peace towards the dean and chapter of Lincoln cathedral. Whatever his personal relations with the Church, as a former office-holder Werk could hardly escape involvement in the dispute between the civic and ecclesiastical authorities which came to a head at this time. His wife, Isabel, appears to have held some kind of title to land in the Yorkshire township of Skipton, for in June 1397 their daughter, Agnes, made a quitclaim of all the interests which she had inherited from her mother there. It is not evident from this deed if the MP himself was still alive, but no more is heard of him afterwards.5
Ref Volumes: 1386-1421
- 1. CCR, 1396-9, p. 203.
- 2. JUST 2/80.
- 3. Assoc. Archit. Socs. Reps. and Pprs. xxxix. 229.
- 4. C219/7/25; CP25(1)142/139/41; CPR, 1367-70, pp. 265-6; CCR, 1369-74, p. 13; Cal. Letters Mayor and Corporation London ed. Sharpe, 172-3.
- 5. Lincoln Rec. Soc. lvi. 175; RP, iii. 403; CPR, 1377-81, p. 429; CCR, 1389-92, pp. 164-5; 1396-9, p. 203.