ELWELL, Robert, of Wells, Som.

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



Dec. 1421

Family and Education

?bro. of Hildebrand Elwell*. m. (1) Mary (d.c.1421); (2) bef. Nov. 1428, Alice, wid. of John Russell II* of Wells.1

Offices Held

Constable of the peace, Wells 8 May-Mich. 1428; master 1428-9.2


Early in his career Elwell had some association with the Staffords of Southwick. Elizabeth, the wife of Sir Humphrey Stafford I*, left him 40s. in her will dated 1405, and later, in April 1413, Sir Humphrey himself made him a bequest of 26s.8d. It is of interest that the connexion was to be continued between Sir Humphrey’s illegitimate son, John (the future bishop), and Elwell’s putative brother, Hildebrand.3

Robert only became a freeman of Wells in 1421, the very year in which he represented the town in Parliament. Pledges were provided for him by Richard Setter* and Simon Bailly*. He took no great part in local affairs, offering sureties on only one occasion for a new freeman (William, son of Richard Langford*), although he did witness two parliamentary election indentures for the borough, namely in 1425 and 1429, the latter being towards the end of his mastership.4

Elwell’s first wife had owned lands in Somerset, but where they were situated is not recorded. With his second, in 1428, when he was described as ‘gentleman’, he obtained from Sir John Chideock a lease for life of property in Wells previously held by her former husband John Russell; and in the following year Chideock and Oliver Russell (presumably John’s son) additionally conceded to him the reversion of the property. In 1431 an estate consisting of 13 messuages and over 100 acres of land in Taunton, Fifehead and ‘See’ near Ilchester was entailed on the Elwells and their issue, with successive remainders to Walter and Oliver Russell and their heirs. Most likely this was Alice Elwell’s own inheritance.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. CFR, xiv. 336; HMC Wells, ii. ch. 587.
  • 2. Wells Town Clerk’s office, convoc. bk. 1378-1450, ff. 233, 235, 263.
  • 3. Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xix), 306, 313.
  • 4. C219/13/3, 14/1; Wells City Chs. (Som. Rec. Soc. xlvi), 139-40.
  • 5. HMC Wells, ii. chs. 587, 592; Som. Feet of Fines (Som. Rec. Soc. xxii), 81.