Shareshull, William de (DNB00)

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SHARESHULL, WILLIAM de (fl. 1360), judge, is mentioned among the advocates in the ‘Year Book’ of Edward II, and also as receiving a commission of oyer and terminer on 22 Feb. 1327, and the two following years. In 1331, when he had risen to the rank of king's serjeant, he was appointed with others to assess a tallage in the counties of Oxford, Gloucester, and Berks (25 June). In the following year he was one of the council selected by the king to advise him, was ordered on 11 Oct. to attend the approaching parliament in Scotland for the confirmation of the treaty with Edward Balliol, and was made a knight of the Bath.

On 20 March 1333 he was made a judge of the king's bench, but was removed to the common pleas on 30 May following. In 1340 (30 Nov.). Edward III suddenly returned from the Low Countries, and removed the chancellor and treasurer and other prominent officials, among them Shareshull, on a charge of maladministration. He was reinstated, however, on 10 May 1342, and on 2 July 1344 he was made chief baron of the exchequer. On 10 Nov. 1345 he was moved back to the common pleas, with the title of second justice. He was also appointed one of the guardians of the principality of Wales during the minority of the king's son. On 26 Oct. 1350 he was advanced to the headship of the court of king's bench, and presided in it until 5 July 1357. While holding that office he declared the causes of the meeting of five parliaments, from 25 to 29 Edward III (1351–1355), and his functions seem to have more resembled those of a political and parliamentary official than those of a judge (Foss). In the last year of his chief-justiceship he was excommunicated by the pope for refusing to appear when summoned to answer for a sentence he had delivered against the bishop of Ely for harbouring a man who had slain a servant of Lady Wake.

According to Clarke's ‘Ipswich’ (p. 14), in 1344 some sailors, thinking Shareshull (he is there called Sharford) stayed too long at dinner, when he was holding assizes in that town, one of them mounted the bench and fined the judge for non-attendance. He took such offence at the joke that he induced the king to take away the assizes from the town and seize the liberties of the corporation into his own hands for about a year. Though retired from the bench, he occupied confidential positions as late as 1361. He lived beyond 1364, in which year he granted his manor of Alurynton in Shropshire to the Augustinian priory in Osney, in addition to lands at Sandford in Oxfordshire, which he had given seven years before. He was a benefactor also to the priories of Bruera, near Chester, and Dudley. He left a son of the same name, who died in 1 Henry IV (1399–1400).

[Foss's Judges of England, iii. 504; Cal. Pat. Rolls, Edward III, 1327–38 passim; Rymer's Fœdera, ii. 991, iii. 126, 230, 457, 469; G. Le Baker, ed. Thompson, p. 72; Barnes's Edward III, pp. 212, 551.]

W. E. R.