|Notes for Robert Chaucer|
|He was also known as "Robert Malyn alias de Dennington, alias the Saddler, alias Le Chaucer, 1312-15." 202|
"The usual derivation of the name Chaucer is from he O.F. chaucier, chaussier, 'a shoemaker', on which ground it has been conjectured both that he himself was of Norman origin and that his origin was low. Tyrwhitt, however, in 1775, while preferring the derivation given above, suggested that according to what was said to be the old spelling of the name, Chaucesir, it might have been derived from Chaufecire, an office which then exited under the title of Chafewax." 202
He was said to be "of Ipswich and London". 201
"The move to London was made by Chaucer's grandfather, Robert Dynyngton, also know as Robert Malyn de Lhaucer (that name, meaning 'maker of shoes (or hose)', may well have been adopted by Robert ona the death of his emplyer, the mercer John le Chaucer)." 203
"According to Pearsall, The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer, pg. 12 and Table 1, in which Pearsall acknowledges the information of Lister M. Matheson, Robert was known as Robert Malyn, Robert le Chaucer, Robert Malyn le Chaucer, Robert of Ipswich, and Robert de Dynyngton. Pearsall, pg. 12, explains Robert's name change by referencing 'a recent study by Lister Matheson.' When robert's employer, John le Chaucer ('a mercer'), was killed in a brawl (1302), Robert inherited the business and took his employer's surname. Robert seems to have done well for himself: he was in the king's service in 1305." 201
"Andrew's son was known as Robert de Dennington and then as Robert Malyn le Chaucer, surnames being rather lax at the time." 197
"Chaucer's grandfather, Robert, died when John Chaucer was an infant." 195
He was said to have been a vintner. 195
"The family background is a little uncertain except that it was, by John Chaucer's father's day, solidly though newly middle class insofar as such terms have any meaning in a world of lords and vassals, guild masters and journeymen, freemen and serfs. It was a family engaged, at least tangentially, in more financial ventures than one, and ferociously, litigiously, devoted to making its mark - or pound, or shilling. Part of the evidence of the family's social standing is the variety of names to which Chaucer's grandfaather answered in courts of law. . . Geoffrey Chaucer's grandfather Robert's family, which had London connections but mainly lived in Ipswich, was known as 'le Taverner' - the poet's great-grandfather was Andrew le Taverner - which means some of them were tavern-keepers, guildsmen of, loosely, the lower middle class. Tavern-keepers were by law distinct from vintners, the one a retailer, the other a socially elevated wholesaler . . In London, the poet's grandfather, Robert Chucer, lived on Cordwainer Street ('Shoemaker' or 'Leatherworker' Street) in the better section of the leather district, and was known as robert le Saddler and also as Robert Chaucer (French chaussier, 'hose-maker' or 'shoemaker'). Both the location and the surnames have suggested to some that he may have been a master craftsman in leatherwork. But the more likely explanation is that Cordwainer Street was a fashionable address that might naturally have appealed to a man rising in the wine business and not engaged in leatherwork at all - as on other grounds we know he probably was not. He also appears as Robert of Dennington (as his father, Geoffrey's great-grandfather, appears as Andrew of Dennington), which suggests that he was born, once lived in, or owned property in Dennington (in Suffolk); and, finally, he appears as Robert Malyn, that is, apparently, Robert of Greater Lynn, as Robert of Ipswich, and as Robert Malin le Chaucer - whatever that may mean. He did, we know, have relatives in all these places." 193
"What seems likely is that, the family having thrived in the tavern business, Robert became a London vintner. He strengthened his position by marriage to a woman of means . .Robert Chaucer increased his wealth through the wine import business, becoming notable enouh to be named as deputy to the king's butler in 1308 and 1310, and as a collector of the king's customs - a powerful position, profitable even if a man were burdened, as most collectors apparently were not, by moral scruple. .. Judging by his holdings and those of his descendants, Robert Chaucer (and others of the family) may have risen partly through shrewd acquisition of real estate. . .Court records give some clues to the value of the property the family owned. "193
"It may be that one of Alice [Perrers]'s early relatives had dealings with Chaucer's grandfather Robert, for Haldeen Bradd points out that ' . . . it was no other than Elias Pier (Peres, Piores, Pieres, etc.) who on September 14, 1309, succeeded Robert Chaucer (appointed November 15, 1308) as Deputy to the King's Butler in the City and Port of London. Moreover, on August 2, 1310, Robert le Chaucer and this same Elias Perr' (Perrers) were appointed, jointly or severally, to collect at the port of the City of London the custom on wines brought by merchant vintners from the Duchy of Aquitaine.' " 193
"At thirty-five he [son John] was deputy to the king's chief butler in the port of Southampton, then shortly customs collector on exports of cloth and beds from five ports - appointments he help only a few years, not unlike appointments his own father [Robert] and grandfather had held and his son Geoffrey would hold at about the same age."195
"Another bit of evidence in favor of my belief, but relating to a different piece of property, was communicated to me by my friend and co-worker, Vincent B. Redstone, Esq., in 1926. It concerns a suit brought by Robert le Chaucer and Mary his wife by Walter de Cretyng, their attorney, against Ralph le Clerk of Edelmeton [Edmonton] in Middlesex concerning ten acres of land in Edmonton as the right of Mary by the gift of Elias de Suffolchia, who enfeoffed therewith Mary and John Heyrun, formerly her husband. The following is a transcript of the part of the de Banco Roll (CP 40/161/391d.) which especially concerns us:
'Robertus le Chaucer et Maria vxor eius per Walterum de Cretyngg' attornatum suum petunt uersus Radulphum le Clerk de Edelmeton' decen acras terre cum pertinenciis in Edelmeton' vt Jus ipsium Marie de dono Elye de Suffolchia qui ipsam Mariam et Johannem Heyrun quondam virum ipsius Marie inde feoffauit et in quas idem Radulphus non habet ingressum nisi per predictum Johannem quondam virum ipsuis Marie qui illas e dimisit cui ipsa in vita sua contradicere non potuit etc.' " 206
"Many years ago, when I made the discovery that the grandfather of Geoffrey Chaucer (55) was Robert (20) and not Richard Chaucer (23), a fact which is now accepted by all the poet's recent biographers, I also ventured to point out that an anonymous writer fo the latter end of the 18th century - a local man who wrote under the pen-name of 'Ben Adam' - had positively asserted that Chaucer himself was born at Lynn in Norfolk, and I gave some reasons, from internal evidence afforded by the poet's own work, for thinking that the statement might be true." 200
"Robert Malyn (20), al's de Dennington, al's le Chaucer, al's de Gunthorp, the poet's grandfather, was second husband of Mary [Stace?] (21), who married firstly JOhn, son of William heyroun (22), secondly Robert Malyn just mentioned (by whom she had John le Chaucer, the poet's father) and thirdly Ricahrd Chaucer (23)."200
"In 1307 Robert malyn al's Chaucer and his wife Mary were parties to a fine, with Ralph le Clerk, as to 10 acres in Edmonton (Kirk p. 139).
In 1308 he, by the name of Robert le Chaucer, was attorney to the King's butler, Henry de Say (Kirk p. 139, Pt. 2, Ed. II., pt. 2, m. 20). The writ was mislaid and found in 1321, and then enrolled (Letter-book D., p. 179).
In 1309 was probably the same as Robert de Lynn, mainpernor for a Gascon wine merchant in London (Restone's notes on Kirk p. 140).
He was accused with other of outrage and extortions against Gascon merchants in 1310 (Kirk 139, and D.p. 229), but soon after was appointed Collector of Customs on their wines (Kirk p. 146).
Died before 1315,when Mary, his widow, admitted owing Nicholas de Halweford £70. (close Roll Calendar, p. 318).
By his wife Mary he had John, the poet's father. He may have been the Robert de Lynn, taverner, of London (London Letter Books E., pp. 110 and C. 48), 1299-1319 (Do. E., p. 110), associated with Richard le Chaucer, 1319-1320-1, but these dates do not fit in if he was dead by 1315.
He may have been the Robert de Gunthorp of Lynn (Lete Roll of Lynn K., p. viii.).
May have been either Robert de Lynn, vintner in London, 1307, and of Cornhill, 1310, or the Robert de Gunthorp who were both witnesses to the same deed." 200
"We know that Robert le Chaucer, the poet's grandfather had borne the alternative name of Robert de Gunthorpe (1), for he had been appointed deputy or attorney for Henry de Say, the King's butler in 1307 under that name, and had three years later (1310) been reappointed to the same office under the name of Robert le Chaucer under Walter de Waldeshef, Say's successor.
If is very noteworthy that Robert de Gunthorpe appears on the Lete Roll and Chamberlain's accounts at Lynn in 1310 and 1334, the latter being a date which would cover the poet's old alleged birth date 1328, for his mother may have been temporarily staying with his grandfather at Lynn.
In 1338 Robert de London, possible the Robert de Gunthorp of Lynn in 1310 and 1334, was a Custom House Officer at Lynn the same year as Arnold de Lynn (Possibly Arnold de Bysanden, the keeper of the Coket at Lynn), and Richard le Chaucer contributed to the King's Loan at London.
"Robert Malyn (20) al's Chaucer, al's de Gunthorp, grandfather of the poet, was deputy (Close Roll I Ed. II., p. 6) to Henry de Say, the King's butler, in 1308 (Patent Roll 2 Ed. II., pt. 2, m. 20), Collector of Customs and Cascon wines 1310 (see London Letter Book D., 179), and was re-appointed as his deputy the next year by Walter de Waldeshoff who had taken Say's berth (Close roll 3 Ed. II., p. 169)." 200
"Robert le Chaucer (Robert Malin le Chaucer) was somtimes known also as Robert of Ipswich (Court of Husting, Common Pleas, R. 30, m. 12). In 1305 he was in the king's service (ibid, m. 14). the latest record which certainly pertains to him is a plea of debt brought by him in Michaelmas term, 1314 (De Banco R., 207, Mich. 8 Edw. II, m. 178 d.). Mary, widow of Robert le Chaucer, is mentioned in a recognizance of 29 Oct1315 (Close R., 9 Edw. Ii, m. 21 d.; df. L-R, Pt. Iv, No. 5). It waould thus appear that John Chaucer's father died when John Chaucer's father died when John was only two or three years old. Except for the few facts listed here, nothing definite is known of John Chaucer's father. Certain other records, formerly thought to perain to Robert le Chaucer, can be shown to pertain to another man, Robert de Gunthorp, known also as le Chaucer, but space for presenting the evidence is lacking here. Also, there were other Robert le Chaucers in contemporary records who might or might not be identical with the one who was Geoffrey Chaucer's grandfather." 194
"His grandfather Robert Chaucer, whom men also called Robert Malyn, first came to London" 195
|Last Modified 8 Nov 2007||Created 18 Jan 2009 using Reunion for Macintosh|
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