KIMBERLEY, John (d.?1432), of Colchester, Essex.

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 1421

Family and Education

m. (1) bef. Aug. 1423, Alice; (2) bef. Oct. 1426, Agnes.

Offices Held

Commr. to survey crown lands, Essex, Herts. bef. Feb. 1394.

Controller of customs and subsidies, Ipswich and Colchester 19 Sept. 1401-Dec. 1402, 3 Oct. 1403-5, 29 Sept. 1408-Feb. 1410, 8 Nov. 1410-Feb. 1412; tronage and pesage 28 Jan.-May 1421.

Searcher of ships, Tilbury to Ipswich 19 Sept. 1401-Oct. 1405.

Dep. butler, Ipswich and Colchester 27 Sept. 1401-Oct. 1405, and Orwell and Maldon 24 Apr. 1411-Nov. 1432, Great Yarmouth 6 June 1407-Jan. 1408.

Councillor, Colchester Sept. 1404-7; alderman 1411-12, 1413-14, 1418-20, 1422-3, 1428-30; bailiff 1415-16, 1420-1, 1425-6; coroner 1418-20; mace-bearer 1422-3.1

Collector of customs and subsidies, Ipswich and Colchester 28 Jan. 1421-Jan. 1425.


This MP may have been the John Kimberley who was bailiff for Elizabeth, Lady Grey of Wilton, at Shirrington, Essex, from Michaelmas 1401 until her death on 10 Jan. 1402.2 Except for a period of ten months in 1403, he held the offices of searcher, controller and deputy butler in the port of Ipswich concurrently from September 1401 until October 1405, when he relinquished all three, although the reason for his demotion is not apparent. He later accounted for the deputy butler’s office at Yarmouth, and from the autumn of 1408 for the next 24 years he again found employment at Ipswich, only ceasing to do so in November 1432, by which time he was probably dead. Whether he had a personal connexion with the chief butler, Thomas Chaucer* of Ewelme, and with the latter’s cousin, Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester (on whose nomination he was reappointed customer at Ipswich in 1423 and 1424), has not been discovered. He may perhaps be identified with the John Kimberley who in July 1421, with three other ‘servants’ of James, Lord Audley, was granted a licence to ship grain from Kingston-upon-Hull for Audley’s household in Normandy.3

Kimberley is first mentioned in the Colchester records in 1402, and he subsequently discharged many of the borough offices. In April 1406 he was accused with Henry Boss* in the local courts of buying a cargo of fish from the proprietor of a ship in the port of Colchester and then selling it in portions at a profit. In July he was pardoned his outlawry for not appearing in the courts at Westminster when sued for debt by Robert Brunham*, the merchant of Bishop’s Lynn. In his official capacity he brought a plea in Colchester borough court in 1407 for £3 owed to the royal customs. For several years he owned a tavern in Colchester and in 1422 he obtained the lease of a vacant plot of crown land in the town. With his first wife he received a papal indult in 1423 granting them the right to receive plenary remission at death; and, with his second, in 1426 he secured possession of a tenement in St. Nicholas’s parish, formerly held by John Ford III* and William Nottingham*.4

Kimberley attended the Essex shire elections held at Stratford in 1411 and at Chelmsford in 1429.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: K.N. Houghton


  • 1. Colchester Moot Hall, ct. rolls 33-36, 38-43, 45, 49-50.
  • 2. Essex RO, D/D Vo. 13, m. 2v.
  • 3. DKR, xliv. 630.
  • 4. Colchester ct. rolls 33 m. 7, 35 m. 26, 36 m. 19v, 40 mm. 28v, 31, 33v, 47 m. 4v; CPR, 1405-8, p. 136; Colchester Oath Bk. ed. Benham, 102; CPL, vii. 303.
  • 5. C219/10/6, 14/1.