MP John Colles joins the Wawe gang?

John Colles, a wool merchant from Huntingdon who served four times as MP in the early 1420s, was named in a 1427 parliamentary petition that alleged he had defrauded creditors and since then had “retreated” to various sanctuaries, at Westminster Abbey, Culham (a manor of Abingdon abbey), and Beaulieu Abbey, staying out of reach of the long arm of the law.

The petition continued that at Beaulieu he had joined up with the notorious William Wawe, another featured sanctuary seeker, in a plot to murder one of his creditors. His MP biographer, Carole Rawcliffe, doubts this last allegation, which does seem as if the petitioners were simply trying to associate Colles with the “Most Wanted” of 1427.

Rawcliffe sees this episode as part of a string of money troubles that continued to plague Colles until he disappears from the records circa 1441.

Parliament Rolls, 1427-10 (4:321-22); Carole Rawcliffe, “Colles, John,” Hist of Parl Online.

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