Calendar of Letter-Books of the City of London: K, Henry VI. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[Folios. 131 blank.]
Folio 131 b.
Monday the Feast of St. Matthew [21 Sept.], 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1433], in the presence of John Perneys, the Mayor, John Symond, the Recorder, Nicholas Wottone, Thomas Fauconer, John Michell, John Gedney, William Estfeld, John Reynwell, John Welles, Ralph Barton, Robert Whityngham, Thomas Wandesford, Henry Frowyk, John Brokle, Robert Ottele, Stephen Broun, William Melreth, John Pattesle, Robert Large, and William Rus, Aldermen, and very many Commoners summoned to the Guildhall for the election of Sheriffs, Thomas Chaltone was elected one of the Sheriffs by the Mayor, and John Lynge was elected the other Sheriff by the Commonalty, for the year ensuing.
Wednesday the Feast of St. Edward [13 Oct.], 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1433], in the presence of John Perneys, the Mayor, the Prior of Christchurch, John Symond, the Recorder, Henry Bartone, Nicholas Wottone, Thomas Faukener, John Michell, John Reynwell, John Gedney, William Estfeld, John Welles, Ralph Bartone, Thomas Wandesford, Henry Frowyk, John Brokle, Robert Large, John Pattesle, Robert Ottele, William Melreth, William Rus, John [sic] (fn. 1) Bernwell, John Lynge [struck through], and Thomas Chaltone, Aldermen, and an immense Commonalty summoned to the Guildhall for the election of a Mayor for the year ensuing, John Brokley was elected Mayor.
Afterwards, viz., on the Feast of SS. Simon and Jude [28 Oct.], he was sworn at the Guildhall, and on the morrow was presented, admitted, and accepted before the Barons of the Exchequer at Westminster.
[The rest of the folio and also fo. 132 b blank.]
Writ to Sheriffs, Mayors, Bailiffs, &c., that they allow men of the King's vill of Donewich alias "Degeleswiz" (fn. 2) to be quit of all toll, inasmuch as the said vill is of the ancient demesne of the Crown, and as such the men of the vill should be so quit according to the custom of the realm.
Folio 133 b.
13 Nov., 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1433], came Thomas Coper and John Hecheman, Wardens of the Mistery of Dyers, and John Lacy, John Wilby, William Hoker, John Horell, Thomas Cokys, Thomas Warvyle, John Ludford, Thomas Basset, John Cresaltone, Thomas Wylershey, John Becke, Robert Brembille, Richard Haryet, Bartholomew Corsse, Thomas Coldam, William Danyell, and William Neubolt, good men of the said Mistery, and complained to John Brokley, the Mayor, and the Aldermen, of "wolde" that was imported being forestalled and engrossed by certain men of the Mistery to their own profit and to the prejudice of the poorer members. They prayed, therefore, that it might be decreed that no one of the Mistery should be allowed to buy woad (waldam) except the Wardens, under penalty of 100s., viz., 63s. 4d. to the use of the Commonalty, and 36s. 8d. to the use of the Mistery, and that the woad so bought should be fairly distributed among all the members, both poor and rich. They further prayed that no one of the Mistery should thenceforth pay more than a yearly salary of 40s. to any servant, besides victual and clothing, under a like penalty. Their petition granted.
To the illustrious and discrete lords William Cheyne, William Babyngton, and John Juyn, Justices and Knights appointed to hear the evidence of parties and causes subscribed and to report their finding to the Lords of the Council, the Mayor and citizens humbly submit a report to the following effect:-
That from time immemorial a certain custom called "scawang" or "scawagium," charged on all merchandise brought by foreigners by land or water to the City for sale, has belonged to the Sheriffwick of the said City, and that the Kings of England in succession, when the Sheriffwick was in their hands, were seised of the said custom as one of the principal appurtenances to the said Sheriffwick.
They say also that the term "scawang" is a Saxon term meaning in English "shewing," Latin demonstracio, and that the custom is so called because all foreign merchants bringing merchandise to the City for sale showed the same to the Royal officers there in order that the custom due thereon might be levied before it was sold. They also say that King John and King Henry III. his son, ancestors of the present King, granted and confirmed to the citizens inter alia the said Sheriffwick of London and Middlesex with all its appurtenances, among which was, and is, the said custom of "scawang," to hold the same at an annual rent of £300 payable to the Exchequer, and that the said citizens choose Sheriffs from among themselves whom they will and remove them at will, and those whom they choose they present to the Exchequer to answer there for things appertaining to the Sheriffwick, and failing this the citizens render satisfaction for the fine and ferm. Moreover, they say that the said Henry granted by charter that no one should expose merchandise for sale until the custom thereon had been paid, under penalty of forfeiture. By virtue of which grants the citizens are seised of the said Sheriffwick, of which the custom of scawage, as charged on the aforesaid men of Janua and all other foreign merchants, forms part and parcel. (fn. 3)
Folio 134 b.
Afterwards the said King Henry III., by the great charter mentioned in the case (libello) submitted to the Justices on behalf of the said merchants of Janua, (fn. 4) ordained that the City of London should have all its liberties and customs in full, and that the men of Janua and all other foreign merchants might trade freely in England (unless already publicly prohibited), subject to ancient customs, of which scawage is one, as proved by inquisition preserved in the Exchequer, and hence the said charter, on which the said men of Janua rely, proves that they ought to be so charged rather than be relieved of the duty. Moreover, the said Sheriffwick and the City's liberties and customs had been confirmed by later Kings down to Henry VI., and were not subject to forfeiture by non-use or abuse.
As to the act (actum) mentioned in the case, the Mayor and citizens say that it had not the authority of Parliament as stated, but was a special edict of King Henry IV., without seeing or hearing the parties concerned, and could not derogate from the City's ancient liberties without loss to the Exchequer.
Also, the said Mayor and citizens say that by the terms of the peace late confirmed between the King of England and the Duke of Janua (as mentioned in the case) all merchants of Janua were to be allowed to trade freely in England on the express condition that they paid all accustomed dues, of which the custom of scawage is one.
Also, whereas it is stated in the case that John Welles, late Mayor, and Stephen Broun and John Atherle, then Sheriffs, had caused eight bales of woad belonging to merchants of Janua to be seized for the said custom of scawage, and still detained them, the present Mayor and citizens say that the late Mayor and Sheriffs were willing to prove the justice of the arrest whenever required.
Also, as to the arrests (mentioned in the case) made by John Pattesle and John Olney, late Sheriffs, during the Mayoralty, of John Perneys, the present Mayor and citizens say that long after the arrest-viz., on the 20th Aug., 11 Henry VI. [A.D. 1433]-certain merchants of Janua, named Amphrion Spinula and Simon Cataneus, satisfied the said Sheriffs in respect of the custom of scawage and other dues for merchandise hitherto brought to the City, and undertook by indenture to pay the same in future, which indenture the Mayor and citizens are ready to produce before the said Justices.
Folio 135 b.
11 Feb., 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1433-4], came John Cok, "wevere," before John Brokley, the Mayor, the Aldermen, and Commonalty in Common Council assembled in the Chamber of the Guildhall, and showed that whereas he had been admitted to the freedom of the City in the Art of Weveres and sworn when Richard Merlawe was Mayor and John Hille Chamberlain, viz., on the 2nd March, anno 5 Henry V. [A.D. 1417-18], he had long used, and was now using, the art of Drapers, and not the art of Weveres. He therefore prayed to be admitted to the freedom of the City in the said Art of Drapers. His prayer granted.
Letters patent appointing R[obert Fitz-Hugh], Bishop of London, and John Reynwell, John Welles, John Hatherley, and Thomas Catworth, the City's representatives in the last Parliament, to be Commissioners for allotting the sum of £76 15s. 6¼d. (part of the sum of £4,000 set apart by the said Parliament out of the subsidy granted for the relief of poor towns, cities, and boroughs (fn. 5) ) to the poorer Wards of the City, and certifying particulars of allotment to the tax-collectors. Witness the King at Westminster, 27 Dec., 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1433].
Fos. 136 b-137.
Letters patent appointing Thomas Wandesford, Thomas Bernewell, Thomas Canynges, and Robert Cloptone, merchants, to be Commissioners for collecting in the City the subsidy of a fifteenth and a tenth granted by the last Parliament, making allowance for the above sum of £76 15s. 6¼d. Witness the King at Westminster, 1 Feb., 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1433-4].
Folio 137 b.
10 March, 12 Henry IV. [A.D. 1433-4], return made by John Reynwell and John Welles, Aldermen, John Hatherle and Thomas Catworth, Commoners, the City's representatives in the last Parliament, with the assent of Robert [Fitz-Hugh], Bishop of London, of their apportionment of the above sum of £76 15s. 6¼d. among the poorer Wards of the City, in alleviation of the payment of the tenth granted to the King in the last Parliament, viz., Cordewanestret, £20; Vintry, £9; Tower, £8; Dougate, £8; Chepe, £4 15s. 6d.; Bisshopesgate, £4; Farndon Within, £4; Colmanstret, £3; Portsoken, £3; Bridge, £3; Walbrok, 40s.; Crepilgate, 40s.; Bredstret, 40s.; Billingesgate, 20s.; Bradstret, 20s.; Langborn, 20s.; Quenhithe, 20s.; Lymstret, ¼d.
Writ to the Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen (pursuant to a request by the Commons) to appear before the Chancellor on Saturday next, and make oath that they would observe a certain article which the Knights of the shires, citizens, and burgesses attending the last Parliament had sworn to keep, (fn. 6) under penalty of £200. Witness the King at Westminster, 24 April, 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434].
Folio 138 b.
Writ to the Mayor and Sheriffs to bring up the body of Thomas Langshote, who had been arrested by the Sheriffs whilst engaged with Elizabeth his wife and Juliana Swyft in prosecuting a plea of debt against Walter atte Reye de Hadly, co. Essex, "husbondman." Dated at Westminster, 26 June, 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434].
Pursuant to the above, the said Thomas Langshote appeared at the bar in the custody of the Sheriffs on the day appointed, and John Brokle, the Mayor, and John Chaltone and John Lyng, the Sheriffs, explained that the said Thomas had been charged with making false vessels in his trade as "couper" by John Trendeler and John Dunstaple, Wardens of the Mistery, and had been committed to prison until he caused the said vessels, which he had removed to avoid examination, to be brought back. They further say that this was the cause of Thomas's detention, and not a plea of debt before the said Mayor and Sheriffs as alleged.
Mandamus to the Mayor and Sheriffs not to summon barbers to attend inquests in Sheriffs' Courts, pursuant to an order made on the 20th May, anno 31 Edward III. [A.D. 1357], by Henry Pycard, the Mayor, and the Aldermen, discharging scriveners writing court-hand and text, limners, and barbers from such duties. (fn. 7) Witness the King at Westminster, 21 April, 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434].
12 June, 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], came William Colman, fuller, before John Brokle, the Mayor, and the Aldermen in the Chamber of the Guildhall, and showed that whereas he had been admitted to the freedom of the City and sworn in the Art of Fullers temp. John Welles, Mayor, and John Bederenden, Chamberlain, viz., on the 19th Jan., 9 Henry VI. [A.D. 1430-1], he had long used, and was now using, the mistery or art of Shermen, as was testified by good men of that mistery. He prayed, therefore, that he might be admitted to the freedom of the City in the Art of Shermen. His prayer granted at the instance of good men of the same.
Folio 139 b.
9 Aug., 12 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], the guardianship of John and William, sons of Baldewin Laurence, late baker, together with their property, acquired from their late father and by the decease of Alice and Johanna their sisters, committed by John Brokley, the Mayor, the Aldermen, and John Bederenden, the Chamberlain, to John Gate, baker, for a term of five years. (fn. 8) Sureties, viz., Thomas Morstede, surgeon, John Frankleyn, "taillour," and Thomas Belgrave, "sergeaunt."
27 Oct., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], came John, the Abbot of the monastery of Chertsey, and acknowledged that he had received from Thomas Haseley and Richard Osbarn, executors of John Shawe, late vintner, the sum of £60, the property of Philip, son of the said John, now a professed monk in the above monastery, acquired by legacy of his said father and by the decease of John, Edmund, and Alice, other children of the said John Shawe.
Grant by the Mayor and Commonalty to William Trymnell, late one of the Wardens of the City's Bridge, and to William Estfeld, mercer, of an annual rent of £50 charged on the great tenement called "le Stokkes," and other lands and tenements assigned to the use of the said Bridge, (fn. 9) in recognition of the services and money expended by the said William Trymnel whilst in office. Dated in the Chamber of the Guildhall under the Common Seal, 26 Oct., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434].
A similar grant to Hugh Wyche, mercer, who married Johanna, widow of Robert Colbroke, late one of the Wardens of the City's Bridge, and to Philip Malpas, draper, for similar cause. Dated 26 Oct., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434].
Folio 140 b.
23 Oct., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], ordinance by the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, in Common Council assembled, that the ancient privilege of Mayors admitting six persons to the freedom of the City without fine or fee paid to the Chamber should thenceforth cease and be annulled, and that the Chamberlain of the City for the time being shall give to the Mayor for the time being, for surrender of such privilege, four (fn. 10) casks of the best red wine of Gascony that can be found for sale in the City, in the name and at the expense of the Commonalty.
Also it was ordained, there and then, that all freemen of the City who have come with their wives and families to reside in the City before the holding of this Council, or shall so come before the Feast of Easter next, shall be esteemed and treated as other citizens of the City, the recent ordinance touching loss of their freedom if they came not before Michaelmas last notwithstanding.
Also the same day, in order to prevent unlawful grants in mortmain by wills of citizens, it was ordained that thenceforth no will of any citizen devising lands or tenements in mortmain shall be admitted for enrolment except after strict inquiry made on oath before the Mayor and Recorder for the time being, or one of them, together with an Alderman, whether the said legacy be without deceit or fraud, and be concerned with lands or tenements justly belonging to the testator by inheritance or just acquisition, and not of lands or tenements belonging to others conveyed to him by feoffment a latere for the purpose of bequeathing the same in mortmain without the King's licence, under colour of his franchise. (fn. 11) Provided always that during the building of the new Chapel of the Guildhall, (fn. 12) at the expense of the Commonalty at large, a reasonable fine shall be taken for enrolment of such wills at the discretion of the Chamberlain and Common Clerk of the City for the time being.
Also it was ordained that all amercements inflicted on those not coming to the Common Council, if duly warned, viz., 2s. for every default, shall be levied by the serjeants who summon the Councils, and be delivered to the Chamberlain for the time being in aid of the same building; and likewise the amercements for not attending Wardmotes, viz., 4d. each person, shall be levied by the Constables and Beadles of each Ward, with the assistance of Serjeants of the Chamber if need be, one moiety thereof to go to the collectors for their trouble and for providing ladders, iron hooks, and cords in case of fire, at the discretion of the Alderman of the Ward, and the other to be devoted to the above building.
Also it was ordained by the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty that Piecers (Picticiarii (fn. 13) ) or Cobblers (Cobularii) residing within the liberty of the City may thenceforth make a quarter for one piece (quartam partem pro una pecia) in an old boot or shoe and sell to any one, according to the ordinance made anno 12 Henry IV. [A.D. 1410], temp. Thomas Knolles, Mayor, and recorded in Letter-Book I, fo. cvi, any petition of the Cordwainers or other thing to the contrary notwithstanding. (fn. 14)
It was also agreed, the same day and year, that John Houghton, Bailiff of the waters of the Thames and Medewaye, should have a valet or serjeant to serve the Commonalty and him in the execution of his office, receiving for his labour yearly from the Commonalty four nobles, like other valets of the Mayor and the Chamber, so long as it shall please the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty.