London Assize of Nuisance, 1301-1431: A Calendar. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1973.
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12 May 1374 – 7 May 1378 (nos 600–619)
600. Philip Forster, John atte Felde, William Kyriel, John Mymmes, Gilbert Chelchethe and Richard Mosehach, defs., essoin themselves against Robert, prior of the hospital of St. Mary de Elsyng within Crepulgate, by John Plot.
604. Robert de Denton, chaplain, essoins himself against John Leycestre and Henry Spark, by Ralph Coo in an assize of nuisance. Ralph is ordered to produce his warrant at the quindene [30 June]. On that day the parties appear in person, and voluntarily submit to the view and report of the master carpenters and masons. On Fri. 14 July, Thomas Fant and Richard Schropshire, carpenters, and Thomas atte Barnet and Richard atte Chirche, masons, having made the view and considered it, present to the mayor and aldermen their certificate, which is filed among the bills of assize of nuisance for the current year. They report that in Robert's wall, between his tenement and that of John Leycestre and Henry Spark, there are fifteen windows and apertures below the height of 16 ft., opening on to the pls.' garden, contrary to the City ordinance, and, further, that he has a filletgutter (filettum) 12 yards (virgas) 2 ft. (? 1½ ins.) long, from which in rainy weather the water falls into the pls.' garden. The pls. come but the def. makes default, and is ordered to appear on Mon. July 17 to hear judgment. On that day, at the Husting of Pleas of Land, John Baldok, serjeant, testifies that the def. has been duly summoned by John and Hamo Lumbard, but he again makes default. Thereupon, the process having been recited in the presence of the mayor, recorder, John Bernes, Bartholomew Frestlyng, William Waleworth and Adam Stable, aldermen, it is adjudged that Robert block up all the windows and apertures complained of, and repair the fillet-gutter so as to convey his water on to his own land. The same to be done within 40 days etc. He is warned accordingly.
605. Robert Savage and Joan his wife complain that the earthen wall between their garden and that of Philip de Broumpton and Alice his wife in the par. of St. Anne within Aldresgate, is ruinous and broken down in divers places, so that men and animals enter, and destroy (consumunt) and trample down their plants (herbas); and they are bound by the custom of the City to repair it, because it stands upon the pls.' land. John Aubrey and John Fifhide, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere (alias testati fuerunt) that the defs. have been summoned by Thomas Hay and Robert Watlyngton, but they make default. The mayor and aldermen, having viewed the premises, but wishing to be more fully informed as to the land upon which the wall is built, order the carpenters and masons, present in court, to make diligent enquiry and report to them on Mon. 7 Aug. at Guildhall. On that day the pls. appear by their attorney, Robert Watlyngton, and the carpenters and masons report that the wall in question is 14 ells long and 3 ft. wide, and stands on the pls.' land except at the east and next the defs.' tenement, where 1½ ft. 3 ins. stand on the pls.' land and the rest on the defs.' The mayor and aldermen, in order to have time for further consultation, give the pls. a day on Fri. 11 Aug. to hear judgment. They appear by attorney, and the premises having been recited, it is adjudged that, in accordance with the custom of the City, the defs. shall within 40 days etc. repair as much of the wall as stands on the land of the pls.
606. Adam Fraunceys and Margaret his wife complain that Thomas, parson of St. Michael de Bassyeshawe, William Willesdon and John Sandon, parishioners, have built a stile (scaleram) across the path (viam) leading from the street to their tenement in the churchyard, by which they and all the tenants of their same tenement have had free passage, time out of mind, for themselves, their servants, horses, carts and all manner of transport (cariagio), with every kind of merchandise (mercandizus) and goods (rebus). John Haddele and William Neuport, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the defs. have been summoned by John Hoke and Robert Cog, but they make default. The mayor and aldermen view the premises, and because the nuisance caused to the pls. by the stile is manifest, it is adjudged that within 40 days etc. the defs. remove it. The sheriffs are ordered to warn them accordingly.
607. John de Wentebrigg and John de Wakfeld complain that whereas all the water in their close (clausam), as well in rainy weather as at other times, used to flow through a gutter (gutterum) running from their close through the midst of the tenement of Edmund Daunvers adjoining theirs in the par. of St. Peter [Paul's Wharf] in St. Peter's Lane, and so into the street, and this easement was enjoyed by all their predecessors, the def. has now obstructed the gutter and checked the flow of water, so that it remains standing on the pls.' land and often flows into their cellar, rotting the timber and foundations of their party walls. Moreover, a plastered wall (murus plastratus) next their close is broken down in sundry places, so that their fowls (volatilia) escape through the apertures and are lost. Richard Lyouns and William Wodehouse, sheriffs, testify that the def. has been summoned by Thomas Welford and John Queldryk, but he makes default. The pls. are given a day to hear judgment at Guildhall on Fri. [? 2 May 1376] (before the feast of St. John before the Latin Gate, prox' futur'). On that day the pls. appear, and since the mayor and aldermen had found by view that the nuisances were as alleged, it is adjudged that within 40 days etc. the gutter be cleared and the plastered wall repaired and rebuilt.
608. William Chevelee, 'taillour', Isabel his wife, Richard Irlonde and Emma his wife, William's daughter, complain that the rainwater from the buildings (domibus) of John Turk, clerk, falls upon their adjoining tenement and garden, 84 ft. long, in the par. of St. Andrew upon Cornhull, for lack of the construction and repair by the def. of leaden gutters (gutterarum de plumbo) to receive it and convey it away, so that the greater part of the pls.' house is decayed and ruinous, and the plants in their garden are totally destroyed (consumpte, destructe et adnullate). The sheriffs have testified elsewhere that the def. was summoned by John Lylye 'chaundeler', and John Cok, 'chaundeler'. He appears by Ralph Coo, his attorney, who says that he has muniments bearing on the matter. He is given a day at Guildhall on Fri. 11 July to produce them. On that day the pls. appear in person, and the def., as before, by his attorney, who produces no written evidence, but says that the def. holds the tenement concerning which the nuisance is alleged for a term of 200 years from the prioress and convent of St. Helen's, to whom the reversion belongs. The pls. say that he is not the lessee but the free tenant of the tenement in question. They ask that the matter be referred to a jury, and the def. likewise. William Sewale, serjeant of the Chamber, is ordered to summon twelve men of the venue to appear before the mayor and aldermen on Fri. 26 Sep. [Cf. 599.]
609. William Chaloner and Felicia his wife complain that the earthen wall, 120 ft. long, on the east side of their garden, dividing their tenement called Eveshammesyn in Faytereslane in the par. of St. Dunstan in Fletestret from that of William Pountefreyt, citizen and skinner, is broken down and ruinous, so that men and animals enter their garden and tread down and destroy the grass (herbagia) and other things growing there and carry off the fruit, and see the private business of the pls. and their servants, and they claim that the def. is bound by the custom of the City to repair the wall, which stands upon their land. John Haddele and William Neuport, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the def. has been summoned by Richard Stacy and Henry Traynel, but he does not come. And because it is manifest to the view of the mayor and aldermen that the wall complained of stands on the pls.' land, it is adjudged that within 40 days etc. the def. build there a new earthen wall 120 ft. long. The sheriffs are ordered to warn him accordingly.
610. The same William and Felicia complain that the earthen wall, 50 ft. long, between their same tenement and that of William Yoman, 'ferour', and Margery his wife is likewise ruinous. The defs., summoned [as in 609], come in person and freely acknowledge that they are bound to build and repair the wall in question as the pls. claim. Judgment that they do so within 40 days etc.
611. Robert Knolles and Constance his wife complain that in rainy weather the water from the tenement of Henry Colle and Margery his wife adjoining their tenement and garden in the pars, of All Hallows de Berkynge and St. Olave next the Crutched Friars falls upon their land for lack of a leaden fillet-gutter (filetti) which the defs. ought to provide; and the defs.' tenement overhangs theirs so that they cannot complete the stone wall which they had begun to build. John Haddele and William Neuport, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the defs. have been summoned by Richard Fulsham and Gilbert Meldebourne, but they make default. The mayor and aldermen, having viewed the alleged nuisances, order the master carpenters and masons, present in court, to view the premises and report to them at Guildhall on Wed. 2 July. On that day the pls. come by their attorney, and the four viewers certify that the water from the defs.' house falls upon their land for a length of 34 yards (virg') 1 in., and that it overhangs their land by 1½ ins. at the corner of the tenement on the east, and further along the wall of the same tenement by 3 ins., and in the middle of the wall by 5 ins., and in the corner on the west by 3½ ins., and for a total length of 12 ells 2ft.
612. On 8 May 1377 John Coraunt, goldsmith, and Thomas Farndon appear before Nicholas Brembre, mayor, in a dispute concerning two stone walls in the pars, of St. Michael and St. Peter de Wodestrete in which both claim a share. They agree to submit the matter to the arbitration and judgment of the masons and carpenters, who thereupon, by order of the mayor, view the walls in question, and, that same day, certify upon oath that the wall in the par. of St. Michael, which extends as far as Wodestrete and of which Thomas claims half, belongs wholly to John Coraunt; but the stone wall in the par. of St. Peter, in which John claims to have corbels, belongs wholly to Thomas Farndon, and John ought not to have any corbels in it unless he can show a specialty. The parties agree to abide by this judgment from now on.
[m. 38] Fri. 5 Dec. 1376. Adam Stable, mayor, William Cheyne, recorder, John Pyel, William Waleworth, John Tornegold, John Aubrey, John Fyfide, John Haddele, John Organ, Adam de St. Ives (Sancto Ivone), John Norhampton and Robert Launde, aldermen.
613. Margery, prioress of St. Helen within Bisshopesgate, complains that Richard atte Felde, rector of St. Michael upon Cornhull, has built a stone step (gradum lapideum) and a (? bench) (scanile) across the lane (venellam) by which she and all the tenants of her capital messuage situated on the north side of the churchyard have always had access to and from Cornhull for pedestrians, horsemen, carts and other transport carrying their merchandise, victuals and other things; and further, that he has narrowed the entry by the door of her messuage by affixing a piece of timber opposite to it, so that whereas she used to be able to let the property for 100s. per annum, it is now worth only 10s. John Norhampton and Robert Launde, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the def. has been summoned by William Badby and John Myte to appear in the Chamber of Guildhall on Fri. 21 Nov., but on that day he essoins himself by Richard Ruer. On Fri. 5 Dec. the pl. comes upon the land by Gilbert de Meldebourne and Richard Galeys, her attorneys, but the def. makes default. The mayor and aldermen, having viewed the premises, give the pl. a day at Guildhall on Fri. 16 Jan. 1377. After various adjournments she appears by her attorneys on Fri. 2 Feb. in the presence of the mayor, recorder, John Pyel, John Chichestre [deleted], William Waleworth, John Aubrey, John Fiffide, John Tornegold, Thomas Cornewaleys, Andrew Pykeman and Robert Launde, aldermen, and the record and process having been recited it is adjudged, in accordance with the view already made upon the land, that the step and bench and the piece of timber complained of be removed within 40 days etc.
614. William Waryn, 'chaundeler', complains that Robert atte Haye, 'ferour', and Alice his wife have stopped up an underground gutter (gutteram subterraneam) on their land adjoining his in the par. of St. Dunstan West in Fletestrete, into which the water from his tenement always used to flow from a similar underground gutter in his messuage, and thence into Fletestret, and the defs. and all other tenants of their tenement have always hitherto maintained and kept clear (purgare) the gutter in their tenement at their own expense, but since it was stopped up the water in rainy weather flows back into and floods the pl.'s buildings, so that the party walls and timber are rotted, and he can have no profit or easement from them. Andrew Pykeman and Nicholas Twyford, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the defs. were summoned by William Persshore and Jordan Barton to appear before the mayor and aldermen on Fri. 11 Dec. 1377. On that day they come upon the land and claim to have muniments bearing on the matter, and are ordered to produce them in a month's time, in order to avoid Christmas Day. On Fri. 8 Jan. 1378 the parties appear, but because of important business touching the City, the proceedings are adjourned until Fri. 22 Jan., when the pl. essoins himself by Robert Watlyngton. At the quindene [5 Feb.] the pl. appears, but Robert atte Haye makes default. Alice his wife, who appears in person, is admitted to plead, the pl. raising no objection, [m. 38d.] She says that she and her husband are seised of a tenement on the east side of that of the pl., and that they have a receptacle (receptaculum) for the water falling from their own buildings, and an underground gutter which they and all the tenants of their messuage repair at their convenience (pro voluntate sua). She denies the pl.'s allegations and puts herself upon her country. The pl. reiterates his claim and likewise asks that the matter be referred to a jury. William Wircestre, serjeant of the Chamber, is accordingly ordered to summon a jury for Thurs. 25 Feb.
615. Robert Willyngham complains that Patrick Byker, Isabel relict of Boniface Byker and William Arblaster have two gutters (gutteras) on their tenement adjoining his in the par. of St. Katherine de Cricherche, one 34 ft. and the other 23 ft. long, which receive the water falling from their tenement and convey it thence into the pl.'s gutter; but in rainy weather the volume of water is so great that his gutter cannot contain it, and it falls upon his buildings and land so that his timber is decayed and ruined and his house flooded and its party walls rotted, and he can have no profit therefrom. John Norhampton and Robert Launde, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the defs. have been summoned by Robert Otery and Walter Morton. They come upon the land by Richard Forster, their attorney, and claim to have muniments bearing on the case. Given a day on Fri. 29 Jan. they again appear by attorney, but Robert Willyngham makes default. Therefore he and his pledges are in mercy, and the defs. sine die.
[m. 39] Fri. 19 Mar. 1378. Nicholas Brembre, mayor, William Cheyne, recorder, John Haddele, John Orgon, John Rote, John Clevele, Geoffrey Neuton, John Eston, John Vyne and Richard Preston, aldermen, and Nicholas Twyford, sheriff.
616. Geoffrey Chadenesfeld, rector of St. Margaret Fridaystret, Walter Selsham, chaplain, and William Whetele, citizen and lawyer (allutarius), complain that Thomas Yonge and Alice his wife have built a concave leaden gutter (filacium plumbeum concavatum) upon the eaves of their solar and house adjoining on the east side the tenement of the pls. in the par. of St. Augustine by Paul's Gate, to receive the rain, hail and snow and all the water falling upon their house and convey it into a leaden underground channel (fistula) annexed to their tenement, but in bad weather it flows thence into a gutter (guttero) and similar underground channel belonging to the pls., and overflows on to their land and floods their houses, destroying the property (res diversa) of their tenants, so that they can have no profit from their houses. Nicholas Twyford and Andrew Pykeman, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the defs. have been summoned by Henry Traynell and Robert Markes. They come in person and claim to have muniments bearing on the case, and are given a day at Guildhall on Fri. 2 Apr. to produce them. On that day they appear by Richard Forster, their attorney, who essoins himself. Both parties are given a day at the quindene [16 Apr.].
617. [m. 39d.] Thomas Yonge and Alice his wife complain by Richard Forster, their attorney, that the above-named Geoffrey Chadenesfeld, Walter and William with Stephen atte Fryth, 'armurer', on Mon. 5 Oct. 1377 built a forge (fabricam) of earth and timber, 40 ft. from the road, in the close of their tenement adjoining the pls.' messuage in the par. of St. Augustine by Paul's Gate, on the south side of Watlyngstrate, of which the chimney (tuellus) is lower by 12 ft. than it should be, and not built of plaster and stone as the custom of the City requires; and the blows of the sledge-hammers (grossis malleis) when the great pieces of iron called 'Osmond' are being wrought into 'brestplates', 'quysers', 'jambers' and other pieces of armour, shake the storie and earthen party-walls of the pls.' house so that they are in danger of collapsing, and disturb the rest of the pls. and their servants, day and night, and spoil the wine and ale in their cellar, and the stench of the smoke from the sea-coal used in the forge, penetrates their hall and chambers, so that whereas formerly they could let the premises for 10 marks a year, they are now worth only 40s. Andrew Pykeman and Nicholas Twyford, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the defs. have been summoned by John Little, 'taillour', and Andrew Cornewaille. They come in person but Stephen Fryth says that he has no interest in the tenement in dispute. Geoffrey, Walter and William answer as tenants. They deny the pls.' contention that chimneys ought to be built of stone and plaster, and high enough to cause no nuisance to the neighbouring tenements, and declare that good and honest men of any craft, viz. goldsmiths, smiths, pewterers, goldbeaters, grocers, pelters, marshals and armourers are at liberty to carry on their trade anywhere in the City, adapting their premises as is most convenient for their work, and that according to ancient custom any feoffor may give, bequeath or lease his property as well to craftsmen using great hammers as to others. They add that they have let the premises against which the nuisance is alleged to Stephen Fryth for a term of years which has not yet expired, and that he has set up his anvil in what was formerly the kitchen at a sufficient distance from the pls.' messuage, and strengthened the chimney with mortar and clay and raised it by 6 ft. or more. They maintain that the pls. cannot in any case complain of the chimney or of the noise of the hammers or the smoke, because their messuage was built as recently as 1349–50, and is much higher than the house it replaced, and has windows facing the forge, which its predecessors had not.
[m. 40] Fri. 2 Oct. 1377. Nicholas Brembre, mayor, William Cheyne, recorder, William Neuport, Adam Karlill, William Baret, Robert Boxford, Robert Lucas, Walter Sibyle and Thomas atte Noket, aldermen, Nicholas Twyford and Andrew Pykeman, sheriffs.
618. John Norhampton, draper, and Parnel his wife complain that whereas they have built five messuages on the west side of Pentecostlane in the par. of St. Nicholas Shambles, and two on the east side, and from time out of mind the rain, sleet and snow from their gutters (stillicidiis et gutteris) and the water thrown out of their houses has flowed into the kennel in the same lane through the midst of the garden of the Friars Minor, and out by way of an aperture in the City Wall into Houndesdych, William Newe, guardian of the same friars, has caused a stone wall to be built across the lane, near the convent garden and the pls.' messuages, in which is a narrow aperture partially blocked (obstrusum) by an iron grating (ferrimenta), and has obstructed the kennel itself, with the result that in bad weather the water from the pls.' messuages cannot reach the Houndesdych by its accustomed route, but overflows (refluit) so that the inhabitants and the children of the tenants are often drowned, and their goods and chattels are submerged and destroyed, and the timber and party-walls of their messuages are rotted, so that the pls. can get no profit from their houses or maintain them in adequate repair. The sheriffs have testified elsewhere that the def. has been summoned by Simon Mazerer and Nicholas Thame. He comes in person upon the land in the presence of the mayor, recorder and aldermen and claims to have documents bearing upon the case. He is given a day at Guildhall at the quindene [16 Oct.], but the court being unable to attend (vacare) because of important business touching the plea, the proceedings are adjourned until Fri. 30 Oct. Finally, on Fri. 23 July 1378 the guardian again appears upon the land in the presence of the mayor, recorder, John Pyel, Adam Stable, John Haddele, John Organ, Robert Launde, William Knyghtcote, John Eston, John Vyne, John Hoo, Nicholas Twyford, Thomas Reynham, John Kirketon, William Badeby, John Clivele, John Rote and Adam de St. Ives, aldermen, and expressly acknowledges that the pls.' water used to flow from the kennel in the lane through the midst of his garden, by way of an underground gutter (gutteram subterraneam), and that he had torn up (abracadasse) part of the same gutter and obstructed the rest and narrowed the outlet by an iron grating. And because the interests of the City are involved, and the parties are suspected of fraud and trickery, John Baldok, the mayor's serjeant, is ordered to summon a jury of twelve of the most trustworthy and senior men of the venue that the truth may be ascertained. They come by Elias de Weston, William Horwode, Nicholas Jurdon, John Thurkild, John Dorsete, senior, Thomas Soneman, Nicholas Thame, Robert atte Grene, John atte Shoppe, Thomas Martyn, John Curson and Henry Asshelyn, and corroborate on oath the statements of the parties, who are given a day at Guildhall on 2 Aug. to hear judgment. They appear in the presence of the mayor and aldermen, and it is adjudged that within 40 days etc. William Newe clear and repair the gutter, and restore it to its former state.
[m. 40d.] Fri. 7 May 1378. Nicholas Brembre, mayor, William Cheyne, recorder, Adam Stable, Adam de St. Ives, Andrew Pykeman, John Hoo, John Eston, John Vyne, Thomas de Reynham and John Rote, aldermen, and the same Andrew Pykeman, sheriff.
619. Roger Dunster, rector of St. Martin in Vintry, complains by Gilbert de Meldebourne, his attorney, that John Desterny and Philippa his wife have a house with a jetty overhanging the churchyard for a length of 14 yards (virgas) 16 ins., and a width of 21½ ins. so that he cannot build there. Andrew Pykeman and Nicholas Twyford, sheriffs, have testified elsewhere that the defs. have been summoned by Sampson Soham and Thomas Langeford. They come in person and claim to have muniments bearing on the case. They are given a day to produce them at Guildhall on Fri. 21 May, but then essoin themselves. On Fri. 4 June they appoint Richard Forster their attorney, and the pl. also appears by his attorney. The defs. produce in court letters patent of Edward III, (fn. 1) dated 8 June 1377, reciting a grant for life on 16 July 1369 to John Desterny for services rendered, of a messuage in the par. of St. Martin formerly belonging to Henry de Hereford, which came into the king's hand by way of escheat, and a later grant on 6 July 1372 of two cellars, three solars and three houses built thereon in the same par., which belonged to Thomas Swanlond, and were taken into the king's hand because Thomas died indebted to him, to hold as long as they so remain; and conceding, at the request of the said John, that the aforesaid messuage, with the cellars, solars and houses, as long as they remain in the king's hand, may be held by John and Philippa his wife, and their heirs male, lawfully begotten, with reversion to the crown in failure of such issue. The defs. therefore contend that the plea ought not to proceed without consultation with the king, to whom the reversion of the messuage, concerning which the nuisance is alleged, belongs. The pl. argues that John and Philippa held the messuage jointly at the time of suing out of the bill, but that in the letters patent shown in court Philippa is not named as tenant, although no evidence has been produced that the original grant was quashed or altered. The defs. ask judgment as above whether the assize should proceed. The parties are given a day on Fri. 18 June. They come by their attorneys, but the proceedings are adjourned until Fri. 2 July, when permission is given to the defs. to have recourse to the king's aid. Finally, on Fri. 23 July, the parties come, and Roger's attorney is told that he may proceed against the king if he so desires.