The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1895.
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THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE CORPORATION OF HERTFORD.
The Corporation of Hertford, acting under the advice of their town clerk, Mr. Charles Elton Longmore, have lately placed their muniments in a fire-proof room in the Corporation Buildings. The records are in the utmost disorder and many require repair, but it is satisfactory that they are, at any rate, now kept together, and in a safe place of deposit. Mr. Longmore kindly provided me with a shorthand writer and with his assistance I was able in a short time to note some of the more important documents as I came upon them. These shorthand notes, I subsequently sorted, and the result is shown in the following report.
I believe the Corporation propose, hereafter, to have these documents listed, put into classes, and placed on shelves in the fire-proof room. I may say that the indictments and entries in the book of proceedings at the Mayor's Court contain matter of great topographical value.
These include an assignment of dower, temp. Edward I., to Queen Margaret; market charter of Edward III. (and confirmations by Henry IV., Henry V., Edward IV., &c.); a grant of fairs by Queen Mary; a general charter of pardon by Henry VIII.; confirmation charters by Mary, Elizabeth, James I., Charles I., and Charles II.; and a grant by Charles II. (16 August, 1670) to the Mayor and Corporation of fines payable under the Conventicle Act.
Undated.—Copies of (1) charter by Robert, bishop of Lincoln, concerning an agreement between the monks of Bermondsey and Hugh de Engayne as to the church of the Blessed Mary of Hertford; and (2) a deed relating to the church of Bengeo.
5th of the kalends of January, 6 Edward II.—Settlement of dispute between the Prior and Monks of St. Mary, Hertford, and the Burgesses of the vill of Hertford concerning common of pasture at Le Holmes.
Records of the Borough Court.
Manor Court Rolls.
1621, May 16.—Declaration against Mr. Wright. States that at the date of the declaration it was agreed that the new mayor should, at his own cost, provide a feast to the late mayor and the chief burgesses and assistants. Mr. Wright refused to give this feast.
1674, August 24.—Indenture between the mayor and burgesses of Hertford, and Ursula Burgess, of London, widow of Thomas Burgess. Recites that living in or near the said borough were divers persons who resorted to conventicles, and that the mayor and burgesses had been very diligent in executing the law against such persons; in consideration of this the King bestowed upon the mayor and burgesses and their successors, all fines and forfeitures of those convicted, under the sum of 300l., from the 29th of November 1670, less one third part thereof which he retained. The money was paid to the hands of the late Thomas Burgess, who died before rendering any account thereof. The indenture witnesses that, for the sum of 100l. the mayor, &c. acquit the said Ursula from rendering account to them of any sums received.
1683, March 25.—Foundation deed of John Chauncy's charity for providing sermons, &c., for condemned prisoners on the morning of their executions. (Printed in abstract in Turner's History of Hertford, pp. 369–70.) With supplemental deed relating to the payment of those engaged to preach these sermons, in the event of reprieves.
1692, 10 October.—Constitutions, Acts, and Ordinances made by consent of the Mayor, Recorder, &c., of the borough, and by authority of Letters Patent, for the government of the inhabitants of the said borough.
"His Majesty's House at Whytchale." "I have been informed that there is a report in the town of Hertford that the cross in the markett is to be puled doune, and not only that, but that some officers of mine should be in speech for buying the lead, and I have thought good, hereby, to require you to let me know by what authority the same is ordered to be taken down. And also to command you, or any other whom it concerns, to forbear to proceed therein before I have made his Majesty acquainted with it, at your utmost perill. Next, because I have herd of a lewd report that some of my officers have presumed to bargain for the lead belonging to the same, which I can hardly believe, bycause I know none I keepe that wold medle with any such matter without my privity, I thought good to desire you to let me know who they be that have been in speech with you about it, of which, as I hear, Mr. Gravenor or Mr. Manistey of your company can advertise you hereof." (Signed.)
"Mr. Battell . . . . . . this is to let you understand that we received a letter from my Lord Treasurer which we have herein inclosed, wherein we desire your help, by the direction of Mr. Steward, to give answer thereof to my Lord. For the matter, you do understand as well as ourselves, and, therefore, if you penne a letter and set our hand to it, I hope it will be sufficient. We sell (sic) it by a consent amongst ourselves to pay that we owe; it was builded by townsmen. We have set up a better building in the place, which supplies the use of the crosse, and of greater worth. And further, the crosse is a thing decayed, and so have no use for it. We would be loth that any towards my Lord should be blamed for it, but rather say, if it please you, that we did make offer thereof to Mr. Shawe."
"Whereas Right Honourable, by your letters, we understand how your honour hath been informed touchinge our intended disposinge of an old markett Crosse, standing in our markett-place, and that some of your honour's officers are dealers therein, with intent to buy the same, and your honour doth also command that noe further proceedings should be therein, and to be certyfied by what authoritye the said Crosse was ordered to be pulled downe . . . . . . and doe certyfie your Lordship our case and proceedings therein. . . . . . The Castle of Hertford, late used for keeping the assisses of the county, being taken away, and the assisses, also, very likely to have been kept; for want of convenient room to sett the justices in, your honour's petitioners, for the good of the poor towne have (to ther great charge) new built a large and convenient house which serveth for the same justices' sitting, and also for the market, and in the place where the same Crosse stoode. After the moving of which Crosse, your honour's petitioners finding the town to be indebted for the new building, and that the said Crosse was of small use, and like to be a charge to them to repair, taking some learned advyse therein, that it was lawful for them to dispose of it, the Maior, and more part of the petitioner, consented to take yt down and sell yt for money towards payment of [the] debt owing for the said new house." The petitioners offered to sell the same to your honour's servant, Mr. Shawe, who has made no answer. "The Crosse, Right Honourable, thus standing, the petitions in all humility appeal to your Lordship's censure, and humbly desire your Honour's favourable respect of the said pore town indebted."
1650, June 9 (?), Hertford.—The parishioners of All Saints to "the Right Worshipful Dr. Gabriel Barber." We earnestly entreat your help in the speedy confirming, by the committee for plundered ministers, or otherwise, of Mr. William Tuker to be minister of the parish of All Saints in Hertford.
1671, May 16. Exchequer Office.—A. Sparke to Thomas Burgess, at Hertford. "There is great probability Mr. Solicitor will be made Lord Chief Baron, which will cause a vacancy as M.P. for the borough; Sir Edward [Turnor] desires this may be filled by his son.
1678.—Petition of "loyal subjects" of the town of Hertford to the King. There are some of their town "of inferior qualities" who call themselves "the Mayor and Chief Burgesses," and assume authority against right. Endorsed "Copy of Mr. Clarke's scandalous Petition."
1698.—Report of Thomas Turnor, made to the King on the petition of the Mayor, &c. of Hertford, complaining of the proceedings of 18 persons residing within the borough. He finds that one of the persons who subscribed the petition was indicted for the speaking of scandalous words against the magistrates; also that Sir William Cowper used scandalous words (set out) against the Mayor, Aldermen, and Recorder.
1717, August 15.—Certificate of a marriage celebrated at Datchworth, Hertfordshire, between Thomas Hodges, junior, esquire, and Mary Hallett, daughter of the late John Hallett, of Barbadoes. Witness, Mrs. Sarah Hallett, widow of the said John.
1781, October 17.—"Mr. Baker," M.P. for Hertford, to Benjamin Cherry, mayor, enclosing 11 guineas which he understands is the usual sum advanced by each of the borough members towards the expenses of the Mayor's feast.
Lists of Persons, Trades, &c. (Various).
Papers relating to Apprenticeships and Freedoms.
Rate Books and Rolls.
These exist for various dates from 1625 until recent times. The first is levied on the whole borough for the relief of such persons "as now are, or hereafter may be, infected by the plague." In 1637 is the return of a rate on the whole borough levied "towards furnishing of one ship for His Majesty's service"; and in the same year one for building "Pest Houses." There are returns of the rate levied for the entertainment of judges for the following dates:—1677–1686, 1690– 1699, 1701–1710, and 1714–1726.