[Bell Historians] Thomas Bullisdon

Richard Smith richard at ex-parrot.com
Thu Dec 9 15:55:48 GMT 2021

c.j.pickford--- via Bell-historians wrote:

> Can share this now (already scanned) - will check to see if text continues

Thank you.  Most interesting.

Unless I'm being more than usually denese, it doesn't 
include anything to support the 1515 date, which I guess 
must be elsewhere in the volume.  However it contains 
something else of perhaps greater interest.

Elphick writes that Bullisdon 'probably was a relative of 
Robert Billesdon who was Mayor in 1483.  There was also a 
merchant who was of the Staple of Calais named Thomas 
Bullisdon who had property in Portsoken Ward, and was a 
member of Parliament in 1492, who may have been the 
bellfounder's father.'

I cannot find out anything about the MP, though he doesn't 
appear on any of the (possibly incomplete) lists of members 
for the City, Essex or Middlesex that I can find online. 
Unfortunately the relevant volume of History of Parliament 
has not yet been published.  However, if he was a member of 
the Company of Merchant Staplers as this seems to suggest, 
this provides a direct link to the bellfounder, as the 
Common Pleas case I mentioned earlier today in Hilary 1498 
seems to refers to a Thomas Bullysdon who is both a 
'belfounder' (again the clerk seems not to have known a 
suitable Latin word) and of the 'mercatorum stapule'.


But this would lead us to the conclsuion that the same man 
was a skinner, a bell founder, a member of Merchants 
Stapler, and a member of Parliament?  I find this rather 
hard to believe.

Assuming there was only one Sir Robert Billesdon in London 
in the 1480s – which is not a certainty – then his widow, 
Joan, died 18 Oct 1496 according to her inquisition post 
mortem (CIPM, Hen VII, vol 2, no 1217).  She held property 
in the Epping area of Essex.  Her heir was their son, a 
Thomas Byllesdon, 'aged 30 and more', who had a wife named 
Elizabeth.  Tempting though it might be to identify this 
Thomas with the Aldgate bell founder, this seems a bit 
tenuous to me.


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