ELLIS, John I, of New Romney, Kent.

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



Sept. 1388

Family and Education

m. bef. 1379, Margaret.2

Offices Held

Cinque Ports’ bailiff at Yarmouth Sept.-Nov. 1390.3

Jurat, New Romney 25 Mar. 1391-2, 1400-1.4


It was as ‘of Dover’ that in 1379 Ellis conveyed to Andrew Colyn* of New Romney 14 acres of land in Hope All Saints and St. Mary in the Marsh, which he had acquired through marriage. Nevertheless, he subsequently made his home in Romney, paying maltolts there from 1383 to 1403, and his property in the neighbourhood included the ‘High Mill’.5

Ellis was frequently employed on the business of Romney. In either 1384 or 1385 he was sent to Westminster to obtain writs certifying the Cinque Ports’ customary exemption from parliamentary fifteenths. In 1385-6 he went to Sandwich to buy a mast for Romney’s common ship, and to Dover to speak with Peter Rede (probably still acting as lieutenant to the warden), whom he was to see again a year or so later on matters concerning Romney’s member-port of Lydd. A visit to London undertaken in 1386-7 was to procure on behalf of the Ports a copy of their ‘magna carta’, which cost £2. He appeared at the Exchequer in March 1388 to offer securities in £40 that the prior of Folkestone would pay his farm to the Crown. Town business frequently took him to Dover: later that same year he gave the new warden, Sir John Devereux, Romney’s share (£11 2s.3d.) of the present promised him at his inauguration at the court of Shepway; in 1390-1 he was sent to arrange the terms on which Romney was to employ a new common clerk; and in 1391-2 he tried to have Romney excused from contributing to the Ports’ ship-service. The formalities concerning the Ports’ exemption from taxation took him to London once more in 1393-4. Ellis was also a member of the delegation from Romney which visited Maidstone in 1395 or 1396 for talks with Archbishop Courtenay about how to resolve their conflict over the town’s liberties. In 1400 he and John Roger II* rode to Dover ‘pro causa de Rye’, and also to inform the warden of the names of those elected to represent Romney in the Parliament intended to be held at York. One of the last records of him dates from June that year, when he and his ailing wife made a conveyance of a stall in Romney’s market place, next to St. Laurence’s church.6

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: A. P.M. Wright


  • 1. He and William Child were paid £6 12s.1d. for attending: Romney assmt. bk. 2, f. 9.
  • 2. CP25(1)108/212/106.
  • 3. Assmt. bk. 2, f. 24.
  • 4. Ibid. ff. 46, 53.
  • 5. CP25(1)108/212/106; assmt. bk. 2, ff. 3-56. It is also possible that he was the John Ellis who from 1375 to 1410 owned land at Udimore, Guestling and Icklesham, Sussex (all near Winchelsea), on which, as a Portsman, he claimed tax exemption: E179/225/5, 17, 31, 33, 34.
  • 6. Assmt. bk. 2, ff. 5, 8, 9, 11, 12, 15, 18, 24, 28, 34, 36, 51; CFR, x. 212; Kent AO, NR/JBr/6, no. 43.