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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Wednesday the Feast of St. Edward [13 Oct.], 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], in the presence of John Brokle, the Mayor, the Prior of Christchurch, John Symond the Recorder, Henry Bartone, John Mychell, John Reynwell, John Gedney, William Estfeld, John Welles, Ralph Bartone, Robert Whityngham, Henry Frowyk, Robert Ottele, William Melreth, Robert Large, Stephen Broun, John Pattesle, Thomas Bernwell, John Hatherle, Thomas Wandesford, Robert Cloptone, and Thomas Chaltone, Aldermen, it was ordained by the said Mayor and Aldermen that no serjeant of the Mayor, the Chamber, or the Commonalty, nor any one besides the Mayor, the Aldermen, the Recorder, the Chamberlain, the Common Serjeant-at-law, and the Common Clerk of the City (or their clerks in their own absence), shall sit in the inner Chamber of the Council when the Mayor and Aldermen are there engaged on public or private business; that, further, the Common Serjeant-at-arms of the City or some deputy shall stand outside, guarding the door of the Chamber, prepared to lead persons in and out, and to do other things as the Mayor may direct.
Also, the same day and year, before the Mayor and Aldermen aforesaid, Thomas Ely, Keeper of the compter of Thomas Bernewell, one of the Sheriffs; John Goos, Keeper of the compter of Simon Eyr, the other Sheriff; Henry Dene, Keeper of the gaol of Ludgate, and John Bottele, Keeper of the gaol of Neugate, were sworn to provide their prisoners with a peck of coal, full and heaped up, for a halfpenny, a half bushel for a penny, and a bushel for two pence; also with a gallon of the best ale, costing the said Keepers 3 halfpence, for two pence and no more, and that ale that costs more shall not be allowed their prisoners. (fn. 1)
Folio 141 b.
Tuesday the Feast of St. Matthew [21 Sept.], 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], in the presence of John Brokley, the Mayor, John Symond the Recorder, Thomas Fauconer, Henry Barton, John Reynwell, John Gedney, John Welles, Ralph Bartone, Henry Frowyk, John Pattesle, Stephen Broun, Thomas Chaltone, Robert Otteley, Robert Large, William Melreth, and John Hatherle, Aldermen, and very many Commoners summoned to the Guildhall for the election of Sheriffs, Thomas Bernewell, fishmonger, was elected one of the Sheriffs by the Mayor, and Simon Eyre, draper, was elected the other Sheriff by the Commonalty.
The same day John Chichele, (fn. 2) grocer, was elected Chamberlain for the year ensuing; William Wetnale, grocer, and Thomas Badby, fishmonger, were elected Wardens of London Bridge; and John Pattesle and Thomas Chalton, Aldermen, and Ralph Holand, John Olney, William Chapman, and John Sutton, junior, Commoners, were elected Auditors of the accounts of the said Chamberlain and Wardens.
Afterwards, viz., on the eve of St. Michael [29 Sept.], the said Sheriffs were sworn at the Guildhall, and on the morrow of the said Feast they were presented and admitted, &c., before the Barons of the Exchequer.
Thursday the Feast of Translation of St. Edward [13 Oct.], 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], in the presence of John Brokley, the Mayor, the Prior of Christchurch, John Symond the Recorder, Henry Bartone, John Michell, John Reynwell, John Gedney, William Estfeld, John Welles, Ralph Bartone, Robert Whityngham, Henry Frowyk, Robert Oteley, William Melreth, Robert Large, Stephen Broun, John Pattesle, Thomas Bernwell, John Hatherle, Thomas Wandesford, Robert Cloptone, and Thomas Chaltone, Aldermen, Simon Eyr, one of the Sheriffs, and an immense Commonalty summoned to the Guildhall for the election of a Mayor for the year ensuing, Robert Oteley was elected.
Folio 142-143 b.
A writ, dated 22 Oct., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], for the due observance of a statute enacted in the last Parliament touching weights and measures as set out. (fn. 3)
Whereupon there came before the Barons of the Exchequer on the morrow of the Apostles Simon and Jude, viz., on Friday, the 29th October, John Brokley, William Estfeld, John Welles, Henry Bartone, and many other citizens, and presented Robert Otteley to be admitted as their Mayor, and he was so admitted; but instead of taking the ancient oath (as entered in the Red Book of the Exchequer), which he was prepared to take, (fn. 4) he was asked to make a further oath to the effect that he would see that the above statute touching weights and measures was duly observed. This he hesitated to do, for reasons stated on his behalf by word of mouth of John Symond, the City's Recorder, unless the Court pressed the matter. Thereupon, by the advice of the Justices of each Bench, viz., William Cheyne, Knt., William Babyngton, Knt., William Westbury, John Martyn, James Strangways, and John Cotesmore, the said Robert Otteley took the oath recorded in the Red Book as his predecessors in the Mayoralty had done, and was ordered by the Barons to take another oath to observe the aforesaid statute, or show sufficient cause in writing why he should be exonerated by the law of the land. At the Mayor's request, a day was appointed for him to come in person before the Barons and either take the oath or show cause why he should not do so. On the day appointed the Mayor appeared and pleaded that by the oath he had already taken he was bound to observe the statute aforesaid touching weights and measures, and all other statutes passed by Parliament; but as regards the having and using in the City a common bushel sealed and agreeing with the Standard bushel in the King's Exchequer, as prescribed by the said statute, he said that he ought not to be charged by law, inasmuch as the City of London is the most ancient and most free city in the realm, and commonly called the King's Chamber, and that the ancient Standard of the lord the King for the tron, the iron ell, as well as the gallon, bushel, quarter, &c., sealed with the ancient seal or iron mark of the lord the King, have been in the City from time immemorial, as the chief City of the realm, and have been in constant use, as shown by various statutes and charters cited by the Mayor. In conclusion, he says that it was never intended by the last statute that the Mayor should be made to take any further oath on his election.
Folio 145 b-146 b.
Reply made to the above plea by John Vampage, on behalf of the lord the King, who cited various charters and statutes, and among them Stat. 16 Ric. II. cap. iii., enacting that all weights and measures throughout the realm should accord with the Standard of the Exchequer, and asked that the Mayor might be convicted of contempt.
4 Dec., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434], the guardianship of Thomas, son of John Frankyssh, called "Boston," late mercer, together with the sum of £1,000, the orphan's patrimony, committed by Robert Otteley, the Mayor, the Aldermen, and John Chichele, the Chamberlain, to Thomas Onhond, mercer, one of the executors of the orphan's father. (fn. 5)
The same day and year a recognizance was entered into by Thomas Bataille, Thomas Osbarn, Elias Davy, Hugh Wiche, and John Derham, mercers, with John Chichele, the Chamberlain, for the payment of the above sum of £1,000 by Thomas Onhond, mercer, to the above orphan by Christmas, 1437.
22 Aug., 20 Henry VI. [A.D. 1442], came the above orphan before Robert Clopton, the Mayor, and the Aldermen, and acknowledged satisfaction for the sum of £500-part of the above sum of £1,000-paid to him by his guardian.
Folio 144 b.
Writ pluries to the Mayor and Sheriff to admit John Forthey as deputy-coroner to Ralph Botiller, the King's Chief Butler, to whom the office of Coroner in the City belongs, but who is unable to attend to it owing to pressure of other business. Witness the King at Westminster, 14 May, 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1435].
Return made to the above sicut alias to the effect that the City of London is the most ancient and most free city of the realm, and is a County of itself, for itself, and in itself; that before the first Statute of Westminster, by virtue of divers liberties granted by former Kings and confirmed by authority of divers Parliaments, the citizens had elected as Coroner whom they would of themselves; that the said Coroner before the said statute had always executed the duties of the office by the name of the Chamberlain of London, (fn. 6) as may be seen in the Rolls of Iters held at the Tower temp. Richard I., John, Henry III., and Edward I., and other memoranda preserved in the King's Treasury; that the said statute enacted (fn. 7) that thenceforth suitable Coroners should be elected in every County, of the most leal and discreet knights, who should make lawful attachments and presentments of the Crown, and that Sheriffs should have counter-rolls with the Coroners, as well of appeals as of inquests of attachments, &c. That by virtue of the same statute the election of a Coroner is lawfully made in the City or County of London, and appertains to the Mayor and citizens of the same. Moreover, the office of Coroner in the said City appertains to Ralph Botiller mentioned in the writ. For these and other reasons already shown by us and the rest of the citizens before the King's Council, we ought not to admit John Forthey to the said office, as required in the writ. (fn. 8)
20 Aug., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1435], the guardianship of John and Alexander, sons of John Best, late mercer, together with their patrimony, committed by Robert Ottele, the Mayor, the Aldermen, and John Chichele, the Chamberlain, to Elena their mother for a term of three years. Sureties, viz., William Thornhill, mercer, and William Portland.
Tuesday the 14th May, 21 Henry VI. [A.D. 1443], came the above John Best before the Mayor and Aldermen, and acknowledged satisfaction for his patrimony and for money accruing to him by the death of Alexander his brother.
Friday, 26 Aug., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1435], the guardianship of Alice and John, children of Richard Banastre, late vintner, together with their patrimony, committed by Robert Otteley, the Mayor, the Aldermen, and John Chichele, the Chamberlain, to Edmund Sheffeld, vintner. Sureties, viz., Thomas Knolles, junior, grocer, John Walpole, and Richard Stapill, vintners.
[Folios. 145 b-146 b vide supra , p. 186.]
Whereas every tenement situate near the walls or gates of the City should be distant from the said walls or gates sixteen feet at least, according to the laws and customs of the City, the said intermediate space being the common soil of the City; and whereas Bartholomew Seman, late goldsmith, and Katherine his wife, now wife of Robert Oteley, grocer, were seised of an ancient messuage called "le Swan," formerly belonging to Hugh Croydon, and situate within the gate of Neugate in the parish of St. Sepulchre, near the common soil of the City, and the said Bartholomew had recently built a new tenement upon a portion of the soil of the ancient messuage, as set out by metes and bounds; and whereas the executors of Richard Whityngtone, late mercer, similarly built a certain portion of the new gate of Neugate upon a part of the common soil lying between the said gate and the said new tenement of the said Bartholomew-in order to remove any doubt about the appropriation of the soil by the aforesaid buildings, it was proved and declared, on the 5th Oct., 14 Henry VI. [A.D. 1435], that the said new tenement, now belonging to Robert Otteley and Katherine his wife, is built on private ground, and that sixteen feet of common soil intervenes between it and the City's wall, as is usual.
The same day and year it was placed on record, by order of the Mayor and Aldermen, that part of a leaden pipe bringing water from the Hospital of St. Bartholomew to the prisoners in Neugate is situate, by permission of the said Robert and Katherine, on their private soil within the aforesaid messuage called "le Swan."
Folio 147 b.
Letter from Philip, Duke of Burgundy, to the City of Paris informing the inhabitants of the welfare of himself and family, and reminding them of negotiations having recently taken place with his brother-in-law the Duke of Bourbon at Nevers for a prolongation of the existing truce; and further, how it had been arranged that a meeting should be held at Arras on the 1st July for the purpose of negotiating a general peace between England and France, if the King of England accepted that day. He now informed them that Henry-" his adversary and the adversary of the King of France "-had agreed to the day and would send representatives to the Congress, and that he (the Duke) had desired the King of France to send likewise a goodly number of plenipotentiaries to Arras in order to bring matters to a successful issue. Dated at Dijon, 14 May [A.D. 1435]. (fn. 9)
Precept to the Aldermen to hold their several Wardmotes, and refer such matters as they were themselves unable to remedy to the General Court to be held by the Mayor on Monday after the Feast of Epiphany [6 Jan.]; further, to fine each defaulter 4 pence to the use of the Guildhall; to take steps for the preservation of the peace, the lighting of the streets, &c.; and to cause a certain number of men, freemen of the City either by birth or apprenticeship, and not by redemption, (fn. 10) to be elected to be members of the Common Council. Dated under the seal of the Mayoralty, 10 Dec., 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1434].
Letter from the Mayor and Aldermen of the town of Calais to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, praying them, as they had been prayed in former times of distress, to use their endeavours with the King and lords of the Council to persuade them to succour the town. The Armagnacs that were in "Rewe" (fn. 11) were pressing on and threatening to override Guysnes. They had ravaged "Same de boys" (fn. 12) and taken many prisoners, and had burnt "Staples." (fn. 13) The neighbouring villages were being deserted, and the town of Calais was crowded with refugees. The writers pray the City of London, as "the principalle of all the cities of the roiaulme of England," to render them similar assistance to that they had rendered on former occasions. Dated at Cales, 27 June [A.D. 1435]. (fn. 14)
Folio 148 b.
Writ to the Sheriffs to cause four citizens to be elected to represent the City in a Parliament to be held at Westminster on the 10th October next. No Sheriff to be returned, and the election to be made pursuant to the terms of Stat. 8 Henry VI., [cap. vii.]. Witness the King at Westminster, 5 July, 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1435].
Pursuant to the above writ there were elected at the Husting held for Common Pleas on Monday before the Feast of St. Giles [1 Sept.], the year aforesaid, John Michell and Robert Large, Aldermen, John Bederenden, draper, and Stephen Forster, fishmonger, to attend the aforesaid Parliament.
Deed under the Common Seal guaranteeing the repayment of all disbursements made by William Whetnale and Thomas Badby, Wardens of the City's bridge, during their term of office, the said bridge having fallen into a ruinous condition. Dated 27 July, 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1435].
8 April, 13 Henry VI. [A.D. 1435], ordinance of the Common Council that thenceforth no one who had twice filled the office of Mayor should be called upon to fill it a third time, and that whosoever should be elected shall be an Alderman at the time of election (fn. 16) and have served as Sheriff. (fn. 17)
Letter from Robert Otteley, the Mayor, to the Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's presenting Walter Chaddesley, chaplain, for admission to the second of the three chantries founded in St. Paul's Church for the souls of Sir John Pulteney, Knt., and Sirs William Milford and John Plesseys, formerly Archdeacons of Colcestre, vacant by the resignation of Henry Gunne. Dated under the Mayoralty seal, 4 March, A.D. 1434[-5].
9 Nov., 15 Henry VI. [A.D. 1436], came William Osbarn, who married Alice, daughter of Richard Banastre, late vintner, before John Michell, the Mayor, and acknowledged that he had received from Edmund Sheffeld, vintner, by the hands of John Chichele, the Chamberlain, the sum of £100. (fn. 18)
Folio 149 b-150 b.
Be it remembered that after the Statute of Weights and Measures made temp. King John, and the Statute of the Great Charter made temp. King Henry III., and the Statutes of Assize of bread and beer made temp. Edward I., which respectively recite and confirm the ancient standards of the King for the gallon, bushel, and quarter of London as the only measure for wine, beer, and corn to be used throughout the realm-the lord Edward II., late King of England, by divers writs commanded a large number of measures to be made and proved by his said standards of London, and to be sent into divers counties and places of England for measuring, no other measures being allowed to be used, under heavy penalty, as more plainly appears from the following records. (fn. 19)
Afterwards the lord Edward III., late King of England, considering that the said standards of measures previously sent were too few, and wishing that one measure of wine and beer, and one measure of corn, viz., the quarter of London, should be used throughout the realm, decreed, with the authority of the Parliament held at Westminster on Sunday after Mid-Lent, anno 14 of his reign, that the Treasurer should cause other standards to be sent to each county similar to those already sent.
By these statutes, writs, &c., it is plain that in the times of the aforesaid King John, Henry III., and Edward I., II., and III., all the standards of measures sent to divers parts of the realm were proved by the King's standards of London, a thing unnecessary if there had been another lawful standard kept at that time in the Exchequer.