Revised 24/11/2019


The surname Fraunceys suggests the family was of francais [French] origin, and the name appears in several counties in the 13th-14th Century, and in the most part they were probably unrelated. In particular there was a branch at Bristol (living in the St. Mary Redcliffe parish) concerned with the woollen export business: for example John Fraunceys (merchant of Bristol, and coroner, 1331), John Fraunceys the younger at Bristol (1331). There was also Walter Franceis (no occupation) mentioned at Berkeley Manor (mid-13th Century) renting land, Walter Fraunceys (bailiff) at Bristol (1275) and John Fraunceys (no occupation) witnessing two documents at Berkeley Manor (1352 and 1377, so possibly father and son).


The list of Mayors of Bristol includes the following names:

Walter Le Fraunceis (1233), Gerard Le Fraunces (1276), Walter Le Fraunces (1293), John Frunces (1330), Everard Le Fraunces (1334/38/40), Reynold Frensshe (1357/59). In addition, Everard le Fraunceis is shown as Mayor of Bristol (Cat. Close Rolls, January 2 1285-86). But his name is not in the "official" list (found on a web-site), instead this list shows as Mayor, for two consecutive (unusual) years, Richard Mangottesfielde (1285 and 1286), which suggests an error somewhere.

[FRAB491] Ebrordus le Fraunceys [born c.1240], merchant, was apparently operating in London in the mid-1270's. He was licensed to export 20 sacks of wool abroad, on condition it was not destined for Flanders, as King Edward I was then in dispute with the Countess of Flanders (Cal. Patent Rolls, July 20 1273). Four years later, an Eborard Franceis, merchant of Amiens, was licensed to export 20 sacks of wool being held at Southampton (with the same destination proviso). Eborard was one of number of merchants on the continent, Amiens and elsewhere, with (apparently) English-sounding names, as if English merchants were trading there at the time (Cal. Close Rolls, 1277). He is probably the same person who was mentioned in 1273, but it is unproven. Everard le Franceis was recorded as being Mayor of Bristol, when he acknowledges a debt of 47 owing to the Bishop of Bath and Wells, and the Archdeacon of Bath, with surety given as his lands and chattels in the counties of Somerset and Gloucester (Cal. Close Rolls, January 2 1285-86).

[FRAB501] Everard le Franceis [born c.1265] was accused along with many other men of breaking into Maurice de Berkeley's manor at Bedmunstre (whilst Maurice was absent in Scotland on the King's business), causing damage, and carrying away goods, and rescuing Robert de Cornubia, who was being held by the bailiffs at the Manor charged with killing Joseph de Wynchelese of Radeclyvestret [Redcliffe street], (Cal. Patent Rolls, March 12 1305-06).

Everard Fraunceys [born c.1295, son of Everard], merchant in wool, was bailiff at Bristol (writ dated July 14 1327). Gilbert le Palmer, merchant of Hereford, owed monies to Everard Fraunceys of Bristol, for wool he had purchased from him (document dated October 4 1333). Everard was also Mayor of Bristol (1334/38/40).

Everard Fraunceys, was also referred to as Burgess of Gloucester and merchant of Bristol (document dated April 2 1340).

In 1344-45, the mayor and bailiffs of Bristol were directed to take into the king's hand all the lands, tenements, goods, and chattels of which Eborardus le Frenshe, on account of [unspecified] deception and falsification, had been dis-seised. The property comprised "one tenement in Redeclyvestret and many others in several other streets in the vill of Bristol". Later, Eborard le Frenshe of Bristol, was pardoned for "all homicides, felonies, robberies and trespasses whereof he is indicted or appealed, and of any consequent outlawries" (Cal. Patent Rolls, January 21 1345-46).

Shortly after being pardoned, Eborard le Fraunceys of Bristol was licensed to provide a messuage for a chaplain to celebrate services at St. Nicholas' Church, Bristol, and pray for his soul and that of his wife after they were dead (Cal. Patent Rolls, March 1 1345-46).

Around 1346-47 Everardus le Fraunceys, of Bristol gave a receipt for a certain sum of money to John Strug, and a year later Everardus le Frenssh released John Strug from all actions against him.

Eborard died perhaps shortly before 28th February 1349-50, when Robert Gyene of Bristol was referred to as being executor of his will. Gyne later obtained a licence to complete the earlier arrangements (dated March 1 1345-46, see above), but increasing the messuages to two, and the number of chaplains to four; two to say prayers at the chapel of St. Mary, Radeclive [Redcliffe], and two to say prayers at St. Nicholas' church in Bristol (Cal. Patent Rolls, July 3 1349). Gyne was somewhat dilatory because four years later he was instructed to deliver certain lands to Thomas Fychet, "notwithstanding that Robert is detained in prison at the king's suit" (Cal. Close Rolls, April 10 1353).


A great deal of the London information has been taken from "Calendar of Letter-Books preserved among the Archives of the Corporation of the City of London at the Guildhall" (ed. Reginald R. Sharpe, 1899-1912), in a series of Letter-Books from A-H. The Letter Book series carried on to Z, then from AA - ZZ, which are not relevant to this family history. References below are shown thus, e.g. LBA-1, denoting page 1 of Book A.

Simon le Fraunceys [born c.1265, possibly brother of Everard le Franceis], is mentioned several times in London. In 1296 (LBA-140) he undertook to restore a sum of money (only 44s. 10d.), an outstanding debt originally John le Neweman of Canterbury had received from Adam de Rokeele, being part of a debt for which the said John sued John le Gardiner. In June 1299 (LBE-2) Simon Fraunceys helped to collect 1,000 marks, presumably for the King's expedition into Scotland. In April 1306 (LBB-171) Richard de Comptone acknowledged he owed Simon le Fraunceys 11, and agreed to pay this back in quarterly instalments of 1. Simon put in his place Robert de Mekkyngge (a fishmonger) to receive the moneys, as he Simon was feeble, blind and partly deaf. By January 1308-08 (LBB201) Richard de Comptone had died and his widow Agnes acknowledged she owed Robert de Mockynge the outstanding 7. This seems to be the last heard of Simon.

There is a mention in July 1311 (LBD-150) of John, son of Simon "Francis" de Ponfreit [Pontefract], being apprenticed for seven years to Simon de Paris (mercer). It would seem likely this was another Simon, and for the present this Yorkshire reference is ignored. There were four references to the surname Ponfreit around this period in London, and the inclusion of the name "Francis" may have been a modern guess, that was not in the original text.

 Simon Frauncis ([born c.1295, possibly son of Simon], was extremely wealthy. Simon Fraunceis, mercer, Alderman, of Cheap Ward, is mentioned in The Subsidy of 1319.

In December 1327 (LBE-224) Simon Fraunceys, mercer, acquired the 10-year lease of a cellar under certain tenements belonging to Richard de Rothynge, vintner, in the parish of St. Pancras, Sopereslane [Soper Lane]. These tenements formerly belonged to Walter de Foundour. Also in December 1327 the Mayor of London wrote commanding the custom collectors in Hull to let the merchandise of Simon Fraunceys pass free of tax on wool, inasmuch as citizens of London were by the King's orders exempt from such tax, "Calendar of Plea and Memoranda Rolls of the City of London" (ed. A. H. Thomas, 1926).

Simon was Sheriff of London (1329-30), Alderman (1336-58) including Cheap Ward (1339), represented the City of London in Parliament (1337-41), Mayor of London (1342), and Lord Mayor (1355), Father of the City [Senior Alderman] in Cheap Ward (1355). He purchased Northolt Manor (1346), then the neighbouring Manor of Downe (1354). He also had estates in Walthamstow (which he had acquired in 1352). In November 1352 Simon Fraunceys, Adam Fraunceys and John Malwayn (Alderman, and Receiver of Customs and Subsidy) together advanced 8,000 to the Exchequer.

In 1355, Simon Fraunceys, Lord Mayor of London, and Andrew Aubrey *** his Clerk, served a writ (1355) to the Sheriff of Warwick concerning a debt of 61. 10s., on a loan taken out (19th October 1340) by Robert de Sheppey (a merchant of Coventry) from the late Eborard Fraunceys, merchant of Bristol. Simon's intervention would suggest that he was most likely a kinsman of Everard who had died c.1350.

*** Andrew Aubrey was later Mayor of London (1339/40), Lord Mayor (1351). His son John Aubrey (grocer, and Alderman) married Maud (daughter of Sir Adam Fraunceys, see later).

Simon died (July 1358), holding manors in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Kent and Middlesex, together with tenements in Middlesex and the City of London, leaving a widow, Maud, and his son and heir Thomas (born c.1332, and had married Alice Rislip, daughter of John Rislip). Adam Fraunceys and Ellis Fraunceys (also a mercer, and also a beneficiary) were executors of Simon's Will (made 19th May 1358). It was recorded that Thomas Fraunceys, son and heir of Simon, owed Adam Fraunceys and Ellis Fraunceys 2,000 marks. Being a not inconsiderable sum, this would appear to be dues mentioned in Simon's will for performing the duties as executor (Cal. Close Rolls, July 28 1358). It is assumed that the Adam mentioned was Simon's kinsman.

Simon's son Thomas died 1368, leaving two sons who were not heard of again after 1370. Thomas' sister Alice (married to Sir Thomas Travers) for the time being retained control of the Northolt Manor. Then Thomas released this Manor to others, including John Alban (1370).


See The Annals of St. Helen's, Bishopsgate" (John Edmond Cox, 1876) for the 1374 Latin will of Adam Fraunceys, and see "Calendar of wills proved and enrolled in the Court of Husting, London, A.D. 1258 - A.D. 1688" (vol. 2, ed. Reginald. R. Sharpe, 1890) for the condensed English version of this will. See also "The Mercery of London" (Anne F. Sutton, November 2005). See also "A Calendar of the Cartularies of John Pyel & Adam Fraunceys" (ed. S. J. O'Connor, 1993).

According to the guide book (2009) to St. Helen's Church, Bishopsgate:

The eastern half [of the south transept], together with the arcade opening into it, was built between 1350 and 1363 with money left by a mercer, Adam Francis. It formed two side [chantry] chapels that became known as the Chapel of the Holy Ghost (northern) and the Lady Chapel (southern). Originally these were chantry chapels where the nuns or the poor prayed for the souls of the dead. The door and the stair turret in the south wall were added from the bequest of Adam Francis in 1374.

It seems likely 1350 relates to the endowment from Adam senior, 1363 relates to a later gift from Adam junior and 1375 relates to an endowment from Adam junior. However, Adam junior's will (made 26th August 1374) requests he be buried in the Chapel of the Holy Ghost, with provision made for the erection of two chantry chapels, one for the Blessed Mary [Lady Chapel] and one for the Holy Ghost. So the wording of the guide book is slightly adrift in its wording. However, it does suggest that Adam senior died about 1350, but the relevant documents covering the 1350 endowment have not been seen but are probably held at the Guildhall.



Bishopsgate, St. Helen's Church
(8 March 2010)

[FRAU513] Adam ([born c.1295], [allegedly] son of Ebrordis, possibly a brother of both Simon and Everard), married Constance (Harleian Charters 79.G.38, dated 21st March 1368). There was a reference (1327) to protection and safe conduct for Adam Frensche, master of La Seyntemaribate of London, which Stephen Aleyn citizen and merchant of London was intending to send laden with victuals and merchandise to Newcastle-on-Tyne in connection with the expedition against Scotland. Nothing further is known about him, and it is assumed that the various references to Adam which first appear in 1339 relate to his son. The absence of references to Adam senior and Adam junior even suggest there was only one Adam by 1339, at least in London. The suggestion that Adam senior could have died c.1350 is based on the entry in the guide book to St. Helen's Church, mentioned earlier, and needs further investigation.

[FRAU521] Sir Adam ([born c.1315], son of Adam, and assumed cousin of Simon, it being said that Simon was "his kinsman and mentor", see "The Mercery of London"). He married Constance ---.

Adam Fraunceys was in London by 1339, responding to an appeal from the king for money, and donating 100, so he must have been an established well-off merchant by this date. He was in Bruges (late 1339), and spent a few years there in a commercial enterprise.

Adam Fraunceys and Simon Fraunceys apparently jointly owned a ship, plying between Sluys and Newcastle with fish and possibly wool.

The La Laurence was carrying herring and woad (a herb, the leaves of which were used to produce a blue dye) from Lescluse (Sluys) in Flanders to Newcastle when it had to divert to Orwell Haven (port for Ipswich) in the face of a tempest. Here the port authorities collected a subsidy of 2d. per pound as if the contents were destined for Ipswich. Simon Fraunceys obtained an order for the ship to be taken to London (Cal. Close Rolls, February 18 1351-52).

In 1349 Adam Fraunceys is referred to as being a mercer.

In November 1352 Adam Fraunceys, Simon Fraunceys and John Malwayn (alderman, and receiver of customs and subsidy) together advanced 8,000 to the Exchequer.

Adam married (name unknown) and they apparently had several children, who all died young, including Joan and Maud I. For some reason Adam then had three children to Agnes (said to be daughter & coheir of Thomas (died in infancy). Adam and Agnes were later (by 1359) married, (presumably made possible because Adam's wife had meantime died), and they had one further child, Maud II (Adam's only surviving legitimate heir). In Adam's will, he mentions the provision of two Chantries at Bishopsgate Convent for his own soul, that of his wife Agnes, and those of various other persons, namely: Simon, Adam, Thomas, Peter, Roger, Richard, John, Matilda, Sarah, Margaret and Julian. It is not clear if these are adults or children, but the obvious omission of Constance (his mother's name) does suggest they could have been his various children. However, prayers for the soul of Constance may have been covered by the 1363 bequest.

The will of John Andrew (made November 1371) is of interest, making bequests to Adam Fraunceys his lord, son Adam and daughter Matilda, thus confirming that Matilda (i.e. Maud) was still unmarried at that date; she was married by 1375.

Adam was alderman for Queenhithe Ward (1352-56), alderman for Lime Street Ward (1356-75), Lord Mayor of London (1352-54), Member of Parliament for London (1352/55/57/61/65/66/69), Father of the City [Senior Alderman] in Lime Street Ward (1368), Collector of Custom (1368, LBG-232), and auditor (1373).

A charter of King Edward III (June 1354) conferred on the Lord Mayors of London the right of having gold or silver-topped maces borne before them; but as Adam's term of office ended in October of that year, it is likely his successor was actually the first Lord Mayor to exercise this right.

Adam received guardianship of a number of orphans, some were children of mercers or their wives who had died. These were:

7-years old Thomas son of Thomas de Gartone (June 1346, LBF-142), who had previously been looked after by his mother Idonia, now deceased also;

Thomas son of John Coterel, mercer, (July 1349);

Simon son of Thomas Leggy (July 1357, though not formally accepted until March 1364-65, LBG-185, when he was 13-years old). Simon claimed his inheritance (November 1371, LBG-289) being then of full-age, i.e. 21;

John, Thomasina and Margery, children of John de Bovyndon/Bonyndon (April 1361).

Adam Fraunceys jointly with Thomas de Langeton acquired the Manor of Wyke from John de Causton (1st February 1349). Similarly Adam and Thomas acquired property in Hackney (5th August 1352); Thomas died and Adam then had full possession.

Adam Fraunceys and Peter Favelore jointly acquired lands and tenements in Edmonton, Enfield and Tottenham (6th March 1355), previously of William de Causton; Peter died and Adam then had full possession. About 1361 William de Say granted the Manor of Edmonton to Adam, probably as part of a mortgage deal. In 1371 it was legally settled on Adam for life with "remainder to his son Adam in fee". Adam thereby held the manor as tenant-in-chief of the Crown, as its feudal lord. After his death, his widow Agnes held a tenement in the parish of St. Mildred in the Poultry, London, and the Manor of Wick in Hackney.

In connection with the Manor of Rokholthalle [Ruckholt Hall, otherwise Ruckholt Manor] in Leyton (Essex), this was granted (at Westminster, 31st May 1359) by Thomas de Pateshull to "Adam Fraunceys, citizen of London, and Agnes his wife for the whole of their lives, with remainder to Robert Fraunceys in fee tail and thereafter to Adam Fraunceys junior in fee tail and the right heirs of Adam Fraunceys citizen of London (Feet of Fines, Essex iii, 124). (The expression "right heirs" presumably means "legitimate heirs".) Also, there was a "warranty to Adam Fraunceys citizen and mercer of London, Agnes his wife, and Robert and Adam sons of Agnes, their heirs and assigns, of all present or future right in the manor", etc (Cal. Close Rolls, April 3 1360).

Adam also acquired houses and shops in Cheapside (1368), which eventually came down to the Charlton family, before reverting to the Crown (1485), along with other properties when the holder was attainted for high treason (see later).

The name of Adam Fraunceys was far from unique. Adam had to produce a writ in court (11th November 1369) to the effect he was neither the Adam Fraunceys who had committed a felony in Lancashire (1342) nor the one charged with a felony in Yorkshire. Both charges were still open, and the persons concerned were outlaws still to be apprehended. On 1st February 1370-71 (LBG-275) Adam loaned to the King 300.

In his will (dated 26th August 1374), Adam left to his wife Agnes, all his tenements in the parishes of St. Mildred in Poultry, and St. Mary Magdalene in Westchepe. To Adam his son, and his wife Margaret, he left leasehold property in the parish of St. Lawrence, Jewry. To the Prioress of the Convent of St. Helen's, he left his lands and tenements in the parishes of St. Martin Oteswych, St. Elen, St. Alburga, St. Peter de Bradestrete and elsewhere. There was a bequest for the maintenance of a Chantry to be called "the chantry of Peter Fanelour [or Fauelowe]" in the church of All Hallows de Edelmeton. His daughter Maud was not mentioned, despite her being described as "his heir and daughter" at the Inquisition Post Mortem, but presumably this was because his son Adam had been born out of wedlock. One of the executors of Adam's will was Gilbert Champoneys, who could have been his wife's brother or nephew.

Adam died 5th May 1375 (buried at St. Helen's Church, Bishopsgate) and at the Inquisition Post Mortem it was declared "Maud wife of John Aubrey is his daughter and heir." Notwithstanding this, seisin was granted instead to Adam junior. However, it will be noticed that Maud (already married by 1375) received Ruckholt Manor which had been specifically entailed to her brothers Robert and Adam.

In May 1381 (LBH-170) Agnes, widow of Adam Fraunceys, rendered an account of her guardianship of Paul son of Sir Thomas Salesbury [of Walthamstow]. Thomas had died in 1370, and Paul (born c.1360, and came of age in 1381) died in 1400, leaving a daughter Elizabeth.

[FRAU532] Maud (Matilda) ("daughter and heir" of Adam), Lady of the Garter, acquired Ruckholt Manor, and eventually received the Manor of Hackney Wick, which passed in turn to her three husbands. She married 1. (before 1375) John Aubrey (pepperer by trade, sheriff 1331, alderman 1333-55, son of Andrew who was Mayor [1339-40], then Lord Mayor [1351]); he died 1380, leaving all his movables to his wife Matilda; then 2. Sir Alan Buxhall, one time Constable of the Tower, invested Knight of the Garter (1372); he died 2nd November 1381; then 3. [SAL2532] Earl John (see SALISBURY). The Manor of Hackney Wick was forfeit to the Crown after the Earl's execution (1400), but was almost immediately released to Maud. After her death (1424) the manor passed to her son Sir Alan Buxhall, who later conveyed it back to the Montagu family (1436).

[FRAU533] Robert (son of Adam & presumed Agnes). He died "without heirs of his body".

[FRAU531] Sir Adam (son of Adam & presumed Agnes), married 1. Margaret de Refham (widow of Thomas Tudderley who died 1371, and daughter of Roger de Refham & Joan), Margaret died before 1393; then 2. Margaret Holand (daughter of Sir John). Adam later held Ruckholt Manor [previously held by his sister Maud]. Adam died 21st March 1416-17. Sir Adam had two sons, John and Nicholas, who both predeceased him. He also had two daughters as co-heiresses, and a third daughter Thomasia who was a minor:

[FRAU542] Agnes, married 1. Sir William Staundon (Lord Mayor of London 1392 and 1407), died 1410; then 2. Sir William Porter, died 1436. Agnes died 1461 without issue);

[FRAU543] Elizabeth, married Thomas Charlton. Ruckholt Manor, which had passed down the family since 1360, later reverted to the Crown when Thomas Charlton's son, Sir Thomas Charlton, was attainted of high treason for his adherence to King Richard III (following the Battle of Bosworth, 22nd August 1485).

[FRAU544] Thomasia.


Arms of Adam Fraunceys (14th century) bore Party gold and sable bendwise with a lion countercoloured. The parting line is here commonly shown as sinister


Courtesy of FCIT (Florida Center for Instructional Technology), College of Education, University of South Florida


There is nothing to suggest that Sir Hugh was related to the above Sir Adam, and Fraunceys was by no means an uncommon surname. According to a website, Gifford's Hall, Wickhambrook (Suffolk), was built (c.1480) by one of the Heigham family (Sir Clement, 1434-1520, see below). However the date disagrees with the statement that Sir Hugh Fraunceys (died 1427) was of Gifford's Hall, and probably 1480 was simply the date the current hall was built, replacing an earlier hall bearing the same name.

[FRAN541] Sir Hugh Fraunceys (born c.1388), "latterly of Gifford's Hall, Wickhambrook"), married [HAMC542] Philippa de Hamme(daughter of Stephen de Hamme, see HAMME LORDSHIP). He died 1427.

[FRAN552] Margaret (daughter and co-heiress of Hugh) married 1. [GARN551] Thomas Garneys (see GARNEYS), died 12th December 1458; then 2. Thomas Peyton (widower, born 1418), of Esthorp, later of Isleham, Sheriff of Cambridgeshire & Huntingdonshire, of Peyton Hall, Boxsted (Suffolk), about 6 miles south-east of Wickhambrook. Thomas died 30th July 1484, and Margaret died 1492.

Isabel (born 1413, stated in one of the Suffolk Visitations to be "daughter and co-heiress of Sir Hugh Francis of Giffords Hall, Wickhambrook") married (c.1430) Thomas Heigham of Heigham Green. They were the parents of the afore-mentioned Sir Clement Heigham). Isabel died 26th March 1452, and Thomas died 21st March 1480-81.