ONEWYN, alias TAYLOR, Robert (d.c.1428), of Rye, Suss.

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



May 1413
Nov. 1414
May 1421

Family and Education

m. Joan, 1s. Robert.

Offices Held

Mayor, Rye (acting) 19 May 1409, Aug. 1415-17, 1426-7; jurat 1412-14, c.1420-1; dep. bailiff by June 1413.1


In 1405-6 Onewyn paid a maltolt of 3s.4d. at Rye, and a few years later he was assessed at 10s. for a scot levied there. His services for the town included, in 1405-6, delivering to the court of Shepway Rye’s share of the present promised to the warden of the Cinque Ports, and in 1410-11 New Romney paid him 10s.3d. for obtaining the writs to the local tax collectors exempting Portsmen from contributions to a parliamentary fifteenth.2

Onewyn himself claimed tax exemption for land at Wivelridge, Brede, Udimore, Knelle and Hope, Sussex, taxable altogether at about 20s. In 1405 he had enfeoffed Sir William Etchingham, William Long II*, and others with almost all his property in Sussex and Kent, but in the course of the next 20 years he steadily acquired yet more landed holdings in and near Rye, sometimes on long leases, and on occasion apparently by lending on mortgage and purchasing when the mortgagor was unable to repay the loan. For example, in 1411 William Acdenne of nearby Wittersham granted Onewyn the reversion of land in the marsh near Rye, giving him at the same time a bond in £40, and then, six years later, he acknowledged the receipt of £3, as part-payment of £6 due from Onewyn, possibly as an instalment for the purchase of the same property. Similarly, in 1420 William Caumville pledged his land at Peasmarsh to Onewyn, for repayment of a debt of £40.3

Onewyn also had seafaring interests. Probably during the reign of Henry V a Flemish merchant’s agent complained to Bishop Beaufort, then chancellor, that a vessel containing his master’s goods had been captured off Harfleur by four ships from Hastings, Winchelsea and Rye, one of which belonged to Onewyn, the then bailiff of Rye. The captors had taken the ship to Dartmouth where they had sold it and divided the proceeds. The agent appealed for orders to be sent to the warden to compel the shipowners and their accomplices to make restitution of his loss, set at 450 nobles (about £75). Another petition to Beaufort, this time from a Breton merchant, protested that Onewyn had come into illegal possession of a ship captured by pirates from Rye. While mayor in 1426, Onewyn was appointed to administer the goods of one of the most notorious pirates of his day, William Long (the same as had acted earlier as a trustee of his lands), who had recently died intestate. In this capacity he paid off his friend’s debts and distributed alms for his soul.4

Onewyn died at some point between August 1427 and January 1429. On the latter date one of his feoffees settled certain properties on his widow, Joan, with remainder to his son, Robert, making provision that if Robert’s line died out, then Roger atte Gate* of Winchelsea and his heirs should have possession. The younger Robert Onewyn alias Taylor was to sit for Rye in the Parliaments of 1449 (Feb.), 1450 and 1453, and to serve as mayor in 1451-4.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: A. P.M. Wright


Cat. Rye Recs. ed. Dell, 136/180, 186, 194.

  • 1. Rye Corporation mss, 33/7, f. 36, 77/1, 2; Cat. Rye Recs. 122/4, 136/174, 137/10; E364/37 m. Hd; E368/190.
  • 2. Rye Corporation mss, 60/1, 77/22; Romney assmt. bk. 2, f. 72.
  • 3. E179/225/31, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42; Cat. Rye Recs. 136/157, 168-9, 176-7, 179-82, 186, 137/7, 8.
  • 4. C1/6/130, 191; Cat. Rye Recs. 137/10.
  • 5. Cat. Rye Recs. 136/182, 185; Rye Corporation mss, 60/2, f. 26; L.A. Vidler, New Hist. Rye, 159.