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John Philipot

(c. 1314—1384) merchant and alderman of London


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(d. 1384) a rich London merchant, a member of the Grocers' Company, one of the powerful victuallers' guilds, member of parliament and Lord Mayor of London in 1378–9. With Brenbre and Walworth he was one of the collectors at the Customhouse in the period when Chaucer was working there as controller. He seems to have been a powerful friend. His name appears as a witness to Cecily Champain's release to Chaucer in 1380 (see Geoffrey Chaucer: life). He was an important figure in London—at the death of Edward III he acted as spokesman for the city and assured the young Prince Richard of its loyalty. With Walworth he was appointed a treasurer of war. Along with other merchants he made a large loan to the king. His effective action in the aftermath of a French raid on the Isle of Wight and the seizure of a number of English merchant vessels in equipping a large force which pursued and recovered them was much praised, though not by all the nobles: he is said to have defended himself to the earl of Stafford by saying that if the nobles had not left the country open to invasion he would not have interfered. As Lord Mayor he seems to have been generous and effective. In 1381 with Brenbre and Walworth he took a prominent part in restoring order in the city, for which all three were knighted. He was praised for his ‘zeal for the king and the realm’.

From The Oxford Companion to Chaucer in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval).


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