Appendixes: A. The Office of the King's Skinner

The English Fur Trade in the Later Middle Ages. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 2003.

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'Appendixes: A. The Office of the King's Skinner', in The English Fur Trade in the Later Middle Ages, (London, 2003) pp. 206-208. British History Online [accessed 21 April 2024]


In and after 1405 one of the serjeanties in the Great Wardrobe was granted for life to various London merchant skinners. Henry Barton, who received the office in 1405 in return for his services to John of Gaunt, was responsible both for the purveyance of furs and the supervision of work done on furs, and he received, as did his successors, a fee of 12d. a day and a livery. Staundon, the only one of this group who cannot be identified as a London skinner, was appointed as a purveyor of furs, and neither he nor Warter appear to have done much work in the Wardrobe itself. Warter stood high enough in Lancastrian circles for his receipt of this grant to be confirmed only two years after it had been annulled by the Act of Resumption of 1449–50. There was usually a small group of yeomen skinners who carried out the bulk of the work on furs, receiving a regular wage of 6d. a day and a livery. Those whose names are known, e.g. Ralph Harris, appointed in 1445, were Londoners and members of the Skinners' Company, and it was presumably through one or several of them that the services of other skinners were secured when required. (fn. 1) John Caster, for instance, held a post of some responsibility in 1480, when he was paid £10 for the year's work, and both he and John Rynge were at work in the Great Wardrobe in 1483. (fn. 2) Rynge was then a young man—he had joined the yeomanry of the Company in the previous year—and although he was never granted the better-paid post, he worked in the Great Wardrobe for over thirty years. He became a man of some importance. Like Barley and the two brothers, Thomas and Nicholas Jenyn, and others, he sold furs to Henry VII and Henry VIII, and did much of the work on the royal furs. (fn. 3) In 1509 he headed a team of fifty-nine men at work on the furs for Henry VIII's coronation, four of whom were his own apprentices, and in 1515 payment for all the work on the furs for Mary Tudor's trousseau passed through his hands. (fn. 4) The duplication of offices was not cleared up until after Rynge's death in August 1516. (fn. 5) N. Jenyn was then appointed to the Great Wardrobe, and became the King's Skinner after his brother's death in August 1518. (fn. 6) From thenceforth he and his successors were both buying furs and responsible for work in the Wardrobe. It is interesting to note that Thomas Jenyn's widow, Katherine, married Thomas Addington, who had been one of Rynge's apprentices. She was herself a silk-woman and had received a royal appointment in 1524. (fn. 7)


Henry Barton, Mayor and Alderman

5 January 1405 (fn. 8)

William Staundon

22 May 1433 (fn. 9)

William Staundon and Christopher Warter

21 December 1442 (fn. 10)

Christopher Warter, Sheriff and Alderman

7 February 1452 (fn. 11)

John Cole

12 November 1461 (fn. 12)

Thomas Cole

26 June 1483 (fn. 13)

Nicholas Barley, Master of the Skinners' Company

4 December 1485 (fn. 14)

Thomas Jenyn

6 November 1511 (fn. 15)

Nicholas Jenyn, Alderman and Master of the Skinners' Company

22 September 1518 (fn. 16)

Thomas Addington, Master of the Skinners' Company

23 April 1533 (fn. 17)

Addington died in December 1543, and his wife then held the office until February 1546 (fn. 18)

Katherine Addington and Richard Brykett

16 February 1546 (fn. 19)

Thomas Percy, Master of the Skinners' Company

25 February 1554 (fn. 20)


  • 1. C.P.R., 1441–6, p. 349; entered yeomanry 1436.
  • 2. Nicolas, A Wardrobe Account of Edward IV, p. 128; Lord Chamberlain, Accts. 9/50, ff. 57, 63.
  • 3. Campbell, Materials, passim. Barley and Jenyn also worked on furs for the King: ibid., passim; Stowe MS. 146/110.
  • 4. Lord Chamberlain, Accts., 9/50, ff. 191b–192; K.R.A.V. 56/10.
  • 5. P.C.C. 21 Holder.
  • 6. L. & P. Hen. VIII, ii, p. 875; P.C.C. 10 Ayloffe.
  • 7. E.C.P. 458/4, 459/1, 459/16; Repertory 4, f. 33; S.C. Appr. f. 28. L. and P. Hen. VIII, iv, no. 369.
  • 8. C.P.R., 1401–5, p. 478; C.C.R., 1402–5, p. 408. Offices noted were not all held in the year of appointment.
  • 9. C.P.R., 1429–36, pp. 197, 287.
  • 10. Ibid., 1441–6, p. 137. Annulled by the Parliament of 6 Nov. 28 Hen. VI.
  • 11. Ibid., 1446–52, p. 531.
  • 12. The grant was not enrolled with other Letters Patent but is noted in L.T.R. Enrolled Accts. Ward. 6, m. 55.
  • 13. C.P.R., 1476–85, p. 431.
  • 14. Ibid., 1485–94, p. 66.
  • 15. L. & P. Hen. VIII, i, p. 489.
  • 16. Ibid. ii, no. 4458.
  • 17. Ibid. vi, no. 419(6).
  • 18. Ibid. xix, Pt. ii, p. 411.
  • 19. L. & P. Hen. VIII, xxi, Pt. i, p. 148.
  • 20. C.P.R., 1553–4, p. 241.