William Saket

(late 1200s-after 1327)
William Saket, of Southborough, St Peter in Thanet, Kent, was born presumably in the late 1200s. He appears in records dating from 1317, 1318, and 1327.
     William is the earliest Sackett so far discovered. In 1317, he was one of a number of tenants of the Abbot of St Augustine. The tenants refused to recognize a court convened by the abbot on 8 October 1317 to hear charges of lawbreaking. Each of the men was fined ten shillings and each was to supply a horse or cow as surety for payment.
     A regular biannual court of the King’s lathe of St Augustine had been held for centuries and, although the abbot had the right to convene a special court, this was not approved by the tenants. Their action in refusing to recognize the court was vindicated when Ralph, Abbot of St Augustine, and his bailiff Michael Baskerville were summoned before the Justices of Eyre to answer for unlawfully distraining from each of several tenants of the abbot either a horse or a cow as surety for fines imposed upon them.
     The Justices determined that the horses and cows must be returned to their owners and the fines were cancelled.1
     In the following year, 1318, William Saket was included in a list of borsholders of Southborough.2
     The duties of a borsholder, or constable, included:
  • ensuring the upkeep of means of punishment such as stocks and a cage
  • inspecting alehouses and suppressing gaming-houses
  • apprenticing pauper children
  • supervising the settlement or removal of itinerant strangers and beggars
  • seeing to the welfare of the poor
  • collecting the county rate and acting as agent for the collection of special national taxes
  • managing the parish economy
  • supervising the military arms supply and the provision of training for the local militia
  • convening parish meetings
  • assisting the churchwarden in presenting those parishioners who did not attend church regularly
  • caring for the parish bull
  • helping at shipwrecks
     Not surprisingly, in view of the wide-ranging and onerous nature of these duties, the position of constable was not welcomed by parishioners whose turn it was to be appointed and there was a widespread practice of paying someone else to do the job.
     In 1327, William Saket (presumably the same William) and John Saket were "assessed for considerable sums" on the subsidy roll of the Ringslow Hundred.3,4

 Notes & Citations

  1. David Oliver, Late Mediaeval Thanet and the Cinque Ports, published by the author (1997).
  2. James Bird, The Story of Broadstairs and St Peter's (East Kent: Lanes).
  3. Archaeologia Cantiana (Kent: Kent Archaeological Society).
  4. The Ringslow Hundred was a subdivision of the Lathe of St Augustine and comprised essentially the same land area as the Isle of Thanet.
Appears inSackett snippets
Notable Sacketts
Last Edited27 Oct 2019

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