LANE, Thomas (d.?1423), of Canterbury, 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



May 1413
Nov. 1414

Family and Education

prob. er. bro. of William Lane*. m. bef. Sept. 1387, Katherine, wid. of John Taunton (d.1385) jnr. of Canterbury.

Offices Held

Jurat, Canterbury Mich. 1389-90, 1397-9, 1402-4, 1408-10, 1413-15, 1416-17, 1418-20, 1421-2; bailiff 1407-8, 1411-13, 1417-18.1

Dep. butler, Sandwich 8 Nov. 1402-20 Feb. 1405, Sandwich and Faversham 22 Nov. 1418-10 Dec. 1422.

Commr. of inquiry, Kent Dec. 1411 (evasion of alnage); array, Canterbury Aug. 1415; weirs, Kent July 1423.

Collector of customs and subsidies, Sandwich 12 Apr. 1413-28 Feb. 1416.


Lane, who was to become a prominent citizen of Canterbury, is first mentioned in 1387, shortly after his marriage to the widowed Katherine Taunton. She had brought him all her former husband’s property in the city (including a messuage and six shops in Crabbe Lane in St. Mildred’s parish and a cellar in St. Alphege’s), which three months later was settled by trustees on Lane alone. (One of the trustees was Thomas Garrington of Well, who subsequently asked Lane to act as an executor of his will.) In 1389 Lane and his wife made a conveyance of a number of properties to Robert Benet the draper, but this was just one of several transactions in which Lane was to be involved in the course of his career. Evidently well-to-do, he could draw an annual income of £28 4s.4d. from his holdings in Canterbury and in the region to the north and east of the city, according to assessments made in 1412 for the purposes of taxation.2 Some of his lands in the countryside may have been acquired through investment of profits from the wine trade or from his tavern in the city. He often supplied wine to the civic authorities for offering to visiting dignitaries: for example, in 1398-9 he received £3 0s.8d. for wine given to the men from Chester guarding Richard II on the occasion of his final visit to Canterbury; and in 1416-17 he was paid £3 6s.8d. for a pipe of wine presented to the chancellor (either Bishop Beaufort or his successor, Bishop Langley).3

Lane’s involvement in the administration of Canterbury began in 1389 and continued with few interruptions for nearly 30 years. Naturally, he formed close associations with other citizens: thus, in 1396, he was named as executor of the will of John Mendham’s* daughter, Margery Waterschepe, being empowered to deal with her property across the Channel in Calais. (Perhaps his own interests overseas made him particularly well qualified to carry out the wishes of the testatrix.) Then, at the local elections to the Parliament of January 1397, he acted as mainpernor for John Sexton I. Following his own earliest return to Parliament in 1399, a rent of £2 a year which he owed the commonalty for some meadowland known as Kingsmead was assigned to pay him and his companion an advance on their wages. While up at Westminster, Lane incurred some additional expenses, including the cost of obtaining the renewal of the city’s charters and of the wine he presented to Thomas Percy, earl of Worcester, and John Beaufort, marquess of Dorset; and in due course he applied to the authorities for reimbursement. (Coincidentally, his initial appointment as deputy to the King’s chief butler in Sandwich, made two years later, was owed to Beaufort’s cousin, Thomas Chaucer*.) In February 1408, during his first bailiffship of Canterbury, he acted as an attorney for William Emery*, for the transfer of a nearby estate to Gregory Ballard, the archbishop’s steward, and others. Lane attested the parliamentary electoral indenture for Kent and its two boroughs in 1411. When himself elected to two of the early Parliaments of Henry V’s reign, it was while he was holding royal office as collector of customs at Sandwich. Official inquiries made in 1416 produced allegations that he and other former bailiffs of Canterbury had been collecting issues and amercements within the local hamlet of Langport, thus in effect treating it as a part of the liberty of the city and depriving the Crown of profits. However, these findings did not prevent either his re-election as bailiff in 1417 (in company with his presumed brother William) or his re-appointment as deputy butler in the following year.4

Lane is not recorded after his nomination to a royal commission in July 1423, and as, for the first time in 23 years, he is not mentioned in the civic accounts as tenant of Kingsmead, it may be supposed that he died before that Michaelmas.5

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


  • 1. Canterbury Cathedral, City and Diocesan RO, burghmote reg. O/A1, f. 13; accts. FA1, ff. 31-149d; List of Canterbury Officials, comp. Urry and Bunce, 49.
  • 2. CCR, 1399-1402, p. 300; O/A1, ff. 6, 7d, 10-11; CP25(1)109/233/626, 111/248/1010, 258/118; Feudal Aids, vi. 469.
  • 3. FA1, ff. 40, 126.
  • 4. O/A1, f. 17; C219/9/12, 10/6; FA1, f. 41; CCR, 1405-9, pp. 362-3; CIMisc. vii. 526.
  • 5. FA1, ff. 41, 156. His relationship to Thomas Lane, the citizen and grocer of London, who with his wife Alice made conveyances of property in Canterbury in 1428 and 1440, has not been ascertained: CP25(1)114/302/207, 115/314/506.