LANGE, Walter (d.1410), of Southampton.

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



Sept. 1397

Family and Education

m. by Oct. 1374, Joan, da. and h. of Richard Chirton of Winchester, prob. wid. of Thomas Cust of Southampton.1

Offices Held

Steward, Southampton Mich. 1382-3; bailiff 1388-90; mayor 1393-4, 1407-8; alderman 1401-3.2

Commr. to prepare ships for royal service Oct. 1402; of array, Southampton Aug. 1403; arrest, Devon, Cornw., Dorset, Hants, Suss. Feb. 1408.


Walter’s uncle, Thomas Lange, lived and traded at Weymouth, in Dorset, but he himself settled in Southampton in 1374, when he purchased a house on the east side of English Street which Sir Thomas Beauchamp formally released to him in perpetuity some 11 years later. Another building, next door, which he also acquired, had belonged to Thomas Cust, for whom his wife had acted as executrix.3 Lange leased some of his property from the hospital of Domus Dei (St. Julian), and although acquitted of rental arrears in 1392, he continued to default on payment of dues for many years more. Meanwhile, the expansion of his property had not always been accomplished by fair means. In 1394 John Sutton had mortgaged Suttons Place (just outside Southampton) along with the ‘Broke’ in Totton to Lange and his wife, Sutton’s maternal aunt, provided that they made him annual payments of four marks. Lange’s illegal attempts to take complete possession brought him before the Winchester assize court. In 1397 he sold one of his English Street properties, but further increased his holdings two years later by purchasing from the widow of William Malmeshull four shops in French Street, a messuage (‘Putterewe’) and a garden, and shortly afterwards a house, well and plot outside the north gate, together with lands situated near the manor of Suttons Place. It was probably through marriage that he acquired property in High Street, Winchester.4

Like most of the prominent burgesses of Southampton, Lange was a merchant and shipowner. By 1383 he was exporting cloth in his own crayer, and acting as master of the Christofer of Hampton. In 1392 he shipped two sets of bed hangings, manufactured in Winchester, and later turned his attention to the wine trade. Although a royal inquiry of May 1398 established that Lange, perhaps illegally, had removed gear worth £100 and including anchors, cables, ropes, sails, cannon and armaments from a vessel lying in Southampton Water, just two months later he was appointed to conscript mariners for his ship La Marie to transport Richard II’s nephew, the duke of Surrey, and his men to Ireland, the charges to be borne by the King. He evidently had no difficulty in accepting Henry IV’s accession, and by March 1400 had come into possession of a blue gown, trimmed with otter, forfeited by a former adherent of Richard II. He had in fact entered Henry’s service the previous winter, being then engaged in transporting Sir Hugh Despenser, Lord Duras and their company to Gascony; and in the following year he made a similar voyage on royal pay. The King confirmed Richard II’s grant to Lange of a ship called the Maryknyght, and in 1402 commissioned him to prepare certain vessels, including his own ship, La Marie, for royal service. Lange successfully petitioned for additional payment for these duties.5

Lange’s other activities were less adventurous. In his official capacity as bailiff and mayor he had been charged at the Winchester assizes with unlawful disseisin of certain properties in Southampton, some of which belonged to Sir Richard Montagu. A servant of his, John Stake, was found guilty of murder, but obtained a royal pardon in 1407.6Lange died three years later. His widow, who before 1416 married Robert Bercroft, illegally acquired Suttons Place in fee simple, excluding the Suttons, her own family.7

Ref Volumes: 1386-1421

Author: L. S. Woodger


Variants: Lang, Long, Longe.

  • 1. Southampton RO, SC4/2/112, 117; Winchester RO, 34/BX/TC9, enrolments m. 14.
  • 2. Stewards’ Bks. (Soton Rec. Soc. xxxv), i. p. vii; Black Bk. (ibid. xiii), i. 71, 73; J.S. Davies, Hist. Southampton, 172; JUST 1/1502 m. 10.
  • 3. Southampton RO, SC4/2/112, 117, 120, 135, 143-4, 162, 169, 172; Hants RO, D/LY/7/8, 9; Queen’s Coll. Oxf. God’s House, D427.
  • 4. God’s House, D452, R372, 375, 379, 381; CCR, 1405-9, pp. 178-81; Hants RO, D/CJ/9, D/LY/7/14; Black Bk. i. 45; JUST 1/1513 m. 60; Southampton RO, SC4/2/189-90.
  • 5. E122/138/8, 10, 20, 25; CIMisc. vi. 201; vii. 122, 129; CPR, 1396-9, p. 438; 1399-1401, p. 289; E404/15/159, 445, 16/774, 18/302; CCR, 1402-5, p. 53.
  • 6. JUST 1/1502 mm. 10, 234; CPR, 1405-8, p. 332.
  • 7. Stowe 846, f. 128v; God’s House, R387; Hants RO, D/CJ/9.