Wath, Michael de (DNB00)
WATH, MICHAEL or Sir MICHAEL de (fl. 1314–1347), judge, probably derived his surname from one of the three places of the name of Wath in Yorkshire. He first appears in 1314 as an attorney (13 Nov. Close Rolls, p. 201), and again in 1318, 1320, and 1321 (ib. pp. 592, 239, 356). On 14 Jan. 1321 he was described as parson of Beford (ib. p. 350), and on 11 July 1322, described as clericus, he was one of the manucaptors for the good behaviour of Roger Cursoun, one of the adherents of Thomas of Lancaster (Parl. Writs, pt. ii. pp. 212, 213). On 1 June 1327 ‘Sir’ [i.e. Dominus] Michael de Wath, clerk, witnessed a charter (Close Rolls, p. 205). On 20 Aug. 1327 he was described as parson of Wath (ib. p. 220), and on 2 March 1328 as clerk of chancery (ib. p. 369), which he always attended (Pat. Rolls, p. 139). He was clerk to Henry de Clif, keeper of the rolls of chancery, on 5 May 1329 (Close Rolls, p. 539). On 3 Feb. 1330 he received, by papal provision, a canonry and prebend of Southwell in addition to his rectorship of Wath (Bliss, Extracts from Papal Registers, p. 305), and to them was added a canonry and prebend at St. John's, Howden, on 11 May 1331 (ib. p. 332). He was appointed to assess a tallage in the county of York on 25 June 1332 (Pat. Rolls, p. 312). He became master of the rolls on 20 Jan. 1334, an don 17 April was presented to the living of Foston (Foss; Patent Rolls, p. 538). He surrendered the office of master of the rolls on 23 April 1337. ‘It is remarkable that during that time he never held the great seal as the substitute of the chancellor, as was then the custom of masters of the rolls’ (Foss). He was appointed to do so, however, with two others at the end of 1339, and also acted as commissioner of array for Yorkshire in the same year (Rot. Parl. ii. 110–12), and clerk of chancery in 1338 and 1340 (ib. p. 112). In December of this last year he was removed from his post by Edward III, with other clerks and judges, and imprisoned on a charge of maladministration, but was afterwards released (Adam of Murimuth, p. 117). In 1347 he was commissioned with others to inquire into the reassessment of the men of Frismerk in the East Riding of Yorkshire, who pleaded losses by floods (Rot. Parl. ii. 187).
[Authorities cited in text. The volumes of the Calendars of the Close and Patent Rolls, published by the master of the rolls, and Extracts from the Papal Registers referred to is in each case indicated by the date; Foss's Judges of England.]