RUYNON (REYNION), Richard alias Robert (by 1478-?1521), of Shepton Mallet and Wells, Som.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1509-1558, ed. S.T. Bindoff, 1982
Available from Boydell and Brewer




Family and Education

b. by 1478.3

Offices Held

Jt. (with John Pole) bailiff, liberties of bp. of Bath and Wells, Som. and bp.’s bailiff, Wells Dec. 1499-1511, sole 1511-?d.; keeper, Evercreech park, Som. Dec. 1499; member of the Twenty-Four, Wells 1512 d.4


Nothing has been discovered about Richard Ruynon’s parentage. The chief branch of a family of his name was established at Bickford in Compton Martin after moving from Axbridge in the 15th century. Although Richard Ruynon was not mentioned in the will of William Ruynon of Compton Martin, who died in 1512, he may have been a younger brother or at least a kinsman, since he lived and worked in the same part of the county.5

Ruynon had become an administrative official in the service of the bishop of Bath and Wells before the turn of the century. He may have owed his appointment to the favour of John Pole with whom he shared his two bailiwicks, since the Ruynon family owned property near Pole’s home in West Harptree; the terms of the grant ensured that Ruynon was Pole’s assistant, forbidding him to act without Pole’s consent or to take any fees or profits as long as Pole lived (perhaps by way of compensation, he received the parkership of Evercreech at the same time). In 1501 Ruynon acted as attorney to deliver seisin of Goathurst manor and property in Wells in a settlement on behalf of John and Mary Paulet. It was in an official capacity that he witnessed the wills of Bishop King in 1503 and of Thomas Beaumont, archdeacon of Wells, four years later. At that date Ruynon was living at Shepton Mallet where in 1505 he was to be associated with other leading inhabitants in founding a guild of the Holy Trinity, St. Mary and St. John. In the general pardon which he obtained in 1510 he was described as Richard Ruynon alias Robert Ruynon, gentleman, of Shepton Mallet, Emborrow, and Wells.6

The death of Pole in 1511 marked the beginning of greater opportunities for Ruynon. On 9 Jan. 1512, as bailiff of Wells, he was admitted to the freedom and elected to a vacancy in the Twenty-Four: at the same time, having presented the sheriff’s precept for the election, he was himself chosen to sit in the Parliament of 1512 at the town’s usual wage of 12d. a day. In 1513, a year in which there was no session of Parliament, Ruynon was ordered by the Twenty-Four to reply to articles against him under penalty of expulsion. Whatever the nature of his offence, it did not prevent him from being elected for Parliament again in 1515 in response to the King’s letter asking for the return of the same men as before. Ruynon died before 13 Sept. 1521 when another was elected to the Twenty-Four in his place.7

Ref Volumes: 1509-1558

Author: M. K. Dale


  • 1. Wells act bk. 2, p. 266.
  • 2. Ibid. 2, p. 280.
  • 3. Date of birth estimated from first reference.
  • 4. Wells act bk. 2, p. 266; HMC Wells, ii. 157.
  • 5. Vis Som. (Harl. Soc. xi), 95-96; Som. Med. Wills (Som. Rec. Soc. xix), 155; Som. Wills from Exeter (Som. Rec. Soc. lxii), 137.
  • 6. HMC Wells, ii. 157, 183, 236; CCR, 1476-85, no. 109; 1500-9, no. 146; CPR, 1494-1509, p. 418; Som. Med. Wills , 46, 113; LP Hen. VIII, i; Collinson, Som. ii. 133, 141, 157; P. H. Hembry, Bps. Bath and Wells 1540-1640, p. 23.
  • 7. Som. Med. Wills, 155; Wells act bk. 2, pp. 266, 279, 304.