The London Eyre of 1244. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1970.
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With the exception of the eyre of 1321, (fn. 1) the sessions of royal justices sitting at the Tower for the City of London were sessions for crown pleas only. Although Henry I had granted to Londoners the right of electing a justiciar to keep and determine crown pleas, that office had disappeared by the early years of Henry II, and the newly developed circuits of itinerant justices did not include London. While the reign of Richard I witnessed the development of the articles of the general eyre, London remained untouched by justices itinerant during the 1190s. The visitations which did take place were concerned exclusively with crown pleas and not with civil pleas: in this respect London was exceptional. A set of articles of the eyre, although not for the London sessions of crown pleas in John's reign, has survived in a London municipal collection of that reign. (fn. 2) The commissions for justices itinerant to hold sessions of crown pleas at the Tower were issued to Hubert de Burgh in 1221 (fn. 3) and to Martin of Patshull in 1226. (fn. 4) A single set of questions and responses was later digested from records, or at least from memoranda, of both occasions; (fn. 5) but the plea rolls themselves are no longer extant. However, the eyre roll of Hubert de Burgh of 1221 was cited in the Coram Rege Roll of 1310, (fn. 6) and in 1244 the justices referred expressly to Martin of Patshull's roll of 1226 (323), and denied the City's request for a transcript of it (36, 194).
The roll of 1244–6 here published is the oldest London document of its kind still extant. It is not the original but a copy made from two rolls: one of sessions of crown pleas at the Tower which opened on 17 April 1244 (a fortnight after Easter), were adjourned over the Whitsun holiday (about 21–29 May) and then continued for a few days in June; the other recording an enquiry into purprestures held at St. Martin le Grand intermittently between 13 and 24 January 1246 (1, 342, 347, 349). The crown pleas commissioners appointed on 18 April 1244 were William of York, Jeremy of Caxton and Henry of Bath: William was the senior justice of the court coram rege (known later as the king's bench) and Jeremy was his assistant there; Henry, though not currently a justice of either of the central courts, had served in both and had held many shrievalties, being at this time sheriff of Yorkshire. (fn. 7) The purpresture commissioners were William of York, still senior coram rege, and John fitz Geoffrey, a former royal household steward who had sat also in that court and was now justiciar of Ireland. The roll records (349) that the justices were not satisfied with the method of enquiry into purprestures to which the City claimed to be accustomed, namely that each alderman established the relevant facts in his ward, no doubt with the help of a panel of the neighbourhood. Instead, the justices undertook a perambulation with the mayor and citizens. No further details are supplied, but the new procedure must have required considerably more time than was usual for this, otherwise regular, part of the work of an eyre, and so the termination of the proceedings came only in January 1246. As it belonged with the eyre of 1244, no commission announcing the sessions of 1246 seems to have been necessary, nor has any enrolment been found upon the Close or Patent Rolls. Yet it should be pointed out that in 1246 John fitz Geoffrey and not Henry of Bath was associated with William of York, and that the sessions were not held at the Tower, but at St. Martin le Grand, the royal liberty that was the usual venue for special enquiries and appeals by royal mandate.
The next session for crown pleas at the Tower was held in 1251; no plea roll has survived, but the Pipe Rolls give an account of its financial issues and thereby provide a useful comparison with 1244–6. It is noteworthy that Arnold fitz Thedmar specifically mentions that two cases of wager of law, begun in 1244, were successfully completed in 1251. (fn. 8)
The copy of the rolls of 1244–6 which is here transcribed, translated, annotated and indexed is Miscellaneous Roll AA preserved in the Corporation of London Records Office. It consists of nine uneven membranes of varying length (20–30 inches) and width (7½–9 inches). The writing on each membrane was done continuously from face to dorse, so that the head of one side comes at the same end of the parchment as the foot of the other. Throughout the years, the document has suffered some physical damage, and much of it is faded and hard to read but little of the text has been totally lost.
The handwriting accords with other evidence to indicate that it was copied from the 1244 Crown Pleas and 1246 Purpresture Rolls early in the reign of Edward I. This suggests that it may well have been made in connection with the eyre of 1276.
The record of new crown pleas (mm.1–4d) is based on the rolls of chamberlains and sheriffs and observes a calendar of years in accordance with the tenure of office of the sheriffs. The rolls were designated by the regnal year during which the sheriffs entered office. For example, the last of the years reviewed in the plea roll is styled 27 Henry III and introduces the names of the sheriffs elected late in September 1243 (i.e. 27 Henry III) and presented at Westminster on the morrow of Michaelmas. The record of crown pleas of 27 Henry III therefore covers the remaining three weeks of the regnal year, and goes on to include all matters up to the opening ceremony of the eyre in April 1244 (28 Henry III). It is an interesting precursor of the system of mayoral dating used in City judicial records from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. (fn. 9) The Crown Pleas Roll of 1276 is similarly arranged; Both also make it quite clear that the normal eyre system of presenting juries did not obtain in the crown pleas sessions at the Tower. By contrast, in 1321, when, for political reasons, the general eyre was applied to London for the first and only time, the arrangement of the crown pleas section is the normal eyre arrangement of presenting districts, that is, the City wards, and so, utterly unlike the arrangement of 1244 and 1276.
Much of the roll's contents was copied into Liber Albus and has thus long been known through H. T. Riley's edition in the Rolls Series (1859– 62). Riley himself does not appear to have known of the roll's existence but there is no evidence that it ever left the City's custody. Certainly from R. R. Sharpe's time onwards, it has been used by historians of medieval London.
1. The roll of 1244–6 and its relation to the City custumals
As Misc. Roll AA is a copy from the original record of 1244 it may not be complete but no evidence has been found to settle this point. The roll shows signs of uneven workmanship when words are omitted or two different Christian names are given to one and the same person, but such blemishes cannot detract from its authoritative character. It preserves the body of the original text together with its thirteenth-century marginal annotations, for example, infortunium, ad iudicum, misericordia. However, extensive marginal glosses were added in the fourteenth century, and all of these glosses refer to important legal problems in the relationship of the City to the king's government. The importance of the roll to the City administrators of the early fourteenth century is fully borne out by the remarkable extent to which it was copied into the City custumals of that period. It is, therefore, appropriate to study in some detail the way in which the custumals are related to the plea roll.
A full view of these relationships can best be had when all parallel versions of entries are presented synoptically and to this end a concordance is printed below in Appendix A. Excerpts from the plea roll of 1244, all of them differing in extent and coverage, appear in Liber Horn, Liber Ordina tionum (fn. 10) and Liber Albus. Liber Horn is named after Andrew Horn who was chamberlain of the City from 1320 until his death in 1328. The compilation of Liber Albus was the work of John Carpenter, common clerk of the City from 1417 until 1438. The reader must remember that if. 16–39 of Liber Albus which contain the excerpts in question date from c. 1320 and not from Carpenter's time. (fn. 11) Liber Ordinationum dates from the early fourteenth century while the compilation of Liber Horn was begun in 1311.
The concordance reveals significant discrepancies and agreements, partly between Liber Ordinationum and Liber Albus, but also between the roll on the one hand and both custumals on the other. Firstly there is a marked difference in the selection of extracts in the custumals; secondly, with few exceptions, the notae of both custumals agree with the marginal glosses in the roll, and thirdly in the text of Liber Ordinationum, there are a great number of abbreviated and inaccurate renderings, together with numerous copying mistakes. These shortcomings are occasionally compensated for by superior readings (53, 76 and 156) and by thoughtful handling of chronological references (45 and 184). Liber Albus is consistently more accurate and complete than Liber Ordinationum. It also furnishes a number of improved readings (6, 36, 53, 63, 76, 124, 156). Lastly, Liber Albus carries significantly extended headings in its table of contents. Yet, apart from the rare instances of improved readings, both custumals offer an inferior text compared to the roll. There can be little doubt that the excerpts and marginal glosses in both custumals were actually copied from Misc. Roll AA.
At the outset, the glossator of the roll was its perceptive corrector. He spotted mistakes and emended them by interlineation (32, 57, 203 and 237) and once substituted a correct name (75). He it was who detected the omission of the names of twelve compurgators in a lengthy report (158) on the procedure of the Great Law. But mostly he busied himself with running commentaries on the crown pleas. He so fashioned his marginal glosses that they extracted the points most important to him. Occasionally he nodded and no more than the word nota was written in the margin (56,188, 208). On the other hand not all of his marginal glosses reappeared in the custumals (57, 92, 128, 133, 140).
His work was available when Liber Ordinationum was being compiled soon after 1300. The matters selected were of obvious interest to the administrators at Guildhall, namely decisions in crown pleas, the record of formerly escheated property in London, regulations of the City courts, and the customs charged at Queenhithe. The generous scale of the extracts must have saved the user of the custumal from frequent recourse to the roll, although the excerpts were often abbreviated and marred by inaccuracies.
Such weaknesses may well have favoured the making of a second selection. Not only were the copies (made in about 1320) in Liber Albus much more accurate but they were selected exclusively from the New Pleas of the crown and included many more pleas from that part of the roll than Liber Ordinationum. Even more important, the selection was conceived as part of a special collection of extracts from various sources. The marginal glosses in the roll were converted into a sequence of chapter headings and were then assembled in the form of a numbered list which, significantly, provided for the inclusion of other materials. That step marked a transition from the mere copying of a text to the preparation of a systematically arranged compendium.
The selections from Misc. Roll AA included in Liber Horn (compiled in, or soon after 1311) require less comment. They are fewer in number and offer parallels only to Liber Ordinationum and not Liber Albus. The concordance enumerates eleven such entries (235 and 248–68). In Liber Ordinationum the reading of 235 suffered from indifferent copying but by contrast the text is correctly copied in Liber Horn. The entries dealing with Queenhithe (248–68) are accompanied in Liber Horn by an interesting gloss on the waterfront, as Riley duly noted in his edition of Liber Albus. These two selections, greatly varying in length, occur in widely separated parts of Liber Horn, ff. 302d and 342d–343. The earlier excerpt is related to the extracts which follow it concerning the history of eyres, but the second group of extracts is not related in the same way.
Horn had a habit of tracing the sources of selections for his custumal and often noted that a passage had been verified (examinatur). His meticulous care has provided the invaluable clue to the provenance of 235: in rotulo H. de Waltham ex'. Furthermore, the introductory heading in Liber Horn repeats the important words of the heading preceding 233–38 in Misc. Roll AA. It would seem, therefore, that Misc. Roll AA was Hugh de Waltham's and that it was in his custody as common clerk of the City (1311–35). The text of 248–68 copied in Liber Horn cannot be so confidently traced because it lacks the source reference and bears no mark of verification, but it may be assumed that it, too, was copied from the roll.
The custumal which bears his name was not the only one inspired by Andrew Horn. In his edition of Liber Albus Riley (fn. 12) stressed the fourteenthcentury handwriting of ff. 16–39 and described them as:
evidently coeval with the commencing portion of Liber Custumarum, as it at present appears, of the date probably of A.D. 1320 or thereabout, and consequently a century older than the rest of the work. Finding these sheets among the City records Carpenter no doubt was of opinion that they could not be put to better use than in being bound up with, and made to form a part of, his own compilation.
N. R. Ker's reconstruction of historical Liber Custumarum and of Liber Legum has traced these twenty-four folios to the original scheme of Liber Legum from which they were removed before Liber Legum was foliated. (fn. 13) Both, historical Liber Custumarum and Liber Legum, owe their composition to Horn's inspiration. Hence, the torso of twenty-four folios of the truncated fourteenth-century collection, surviving in fifteenth-century Liber Albus, was compiled under Horn's direction. Only by Carpenter's arrangement did the collection become part ii of his first book, dwarfed in size by the extent of the four books into which he divided this veritable storehouse of Londinensia.
1. Modus et ordo qualiter barones et universitas civium Londoniarum se debent habere et gerere, the ordinances for the conduct of the Londoners during the sessions of crown pleas at the Tower, printed in Liber Albus, i, 51–60.
3. Capitula civitatis Londoniarum apud Turrim, anno predicti Regis Henrici XXVIII, a table of contents organised as a list of 76 chapters, Liber Albus, i, 72–6; only chapters 1–44 refer to the eyre of 28 Henry III (1244) and they are the specially assembled marginal glosses which are treated in the concordance; chapters 45–76 comprise items 5 and 6 below.
5. Excerpts from a municipal collection temp. John (but in an order different from that in Mary Bateson's version); (fn. 14) Liber Albus, i, 109–19 and forming chapters 45–63 of item 3 above. It is noteworthy that an appendix to chapter 63 is twice marked Vacat in Liber Albus.
This arrangement accords well with the method of selecting materials for inclusion in the custumal named after Horn. Liber Horn is really a composite book in two or three parts: part i is a collection of Statutes of the Realm and of materials of broad interest to English and European history; but parts ii and iii (with different sets of numbered chapters) contain only London documents and set a pattern for later custumals. In particular, the London parts assemble copies of City rolls and charters and bring together numerous significant entries in the first City Letter Books.
Where did Horn find the materials for the collection of eyre materials now in Liber Albus? Item 3 may be claimed as his own work as it is a vital guide to the collection's contents, and item 4 was taken from the roll in the custody of the common clerk (Misc. Roll AA). Item 6 has been shown to constitute a sequence of excerpts from Letter Book C. Item 5 represents excerpts from a document which is a generation older than the eyre of 1244 and Horn included only short passages from it. The readings in Horn's selections vary from the text printed by Mary Bateson from B.M. Add. Ms. 14252, and might, therefore, point to a different exemplar at Horn's disposal. This line of reasoning was suggested by Liebermann in his edition of the Libertas Londoniensis. He followed the text of that private tract in Liber Horn, f. 230 as being superior to Add. Ms. 14252. (fn. 15) His view is inferentially shared by G. A. Williams who considers Add. Ms. 14252 to be a separate version of the municipal collection favouring the interests of the Cornhill family. (fn. 16) In other words, Horn used a Guildhall copy of the municipal collection of the reign of John.
Item 2 in Horn's Liber Albus collection is perhaps the most rewarding in enquiring into the association of Misc. Roll AA with kindred source materials. Its derivation from the rolls of 1221 and 1226 is announced at its very beginning. Apart from the version in Liber Albus, it exists once in Liber Ordinationum, ff. 204–5d, and twice in Liber Horn, ff. 303d–7 and 370–3, and reappears in the derived manuscripts. (fn. 17) A collation of all versions shows that the best and fullest text is to be found in Liber Horn, ff. 303d–7. The texts in Liber Ordinationum and Liber Albus were copied from Liber Horn and bear marks of uneven workmanship (omissions and copying mistakes). The second version in Liber Horn (it appears among the unnumbered chapters toward the end of the volume) is a later recension in the form of questions and answers. Still more important, item 2 is twice verified on ff. 303d and 307 of Liber Horn as: ex' in rotulo H. de Waltham and ex' per Waltham et dictus Hugo hoc ibidem habuit ad Turrim et verum est (repeated in Liber Memorandorum, f. 31d). Horn is apparently referring here to another roll in the custody of Hugh de Waltham, common clerk, which was produced by Waltham at the Tower during the 1321 eyre.
The text of item 1 in Horn's Liber Albus collection when collated with Liber Horn, ff. 209–11 and Liber Ordinationum, ff. 154d–7, proved inferior to the former but superior to the latter. In fact, Liber Horn's text is superior to all other versions which probably derive from it either directly or indirectly; it has been shown elsewhere that the texts in Liber Custumarum and Leconfield Ms. 10 (fn. 18) were copied from Liber Albus.
Horn's originality and the most precious portions of his collection imbedded in Liber Albus, lie in item 1 (Ordinances for the conduct of Londoners) and item 3 (the table analysing the contents of his collection). Item 3, more than any other in the collection, illustrates Horn's attempt to produce a law book for a specific purpose.
No clear evidence has come to light of the part that Misc. Roll AA played in the interval from its probable inception (around 1276) to the period of preparation for the eyre of 1321. It is tempting to think that it was available in 1313 when the City, through Hugh de Waltham, its common clerk, was able to effect a favourable settlement of a financial claim against it. The claim stemmed from one of the escheats which was reviewed in 1244, and the final exoneration of the City and its sheriffs is discussed below. It is strange that the roll was not produced by the City officials at this time. However, as we have seen, it was used by Horn at some time after 1311 when the compilation of Liber Horn was begun. While it is probable that Horn's second collection was undertaken as part of the preparation for the City's defence at the eyre of 1321, it is possible that it was prepared in connection with the proceedings in the King's Bench which arose out of the eyre in 1322 and 1324. (fn. 19) The remarkable extent to which Misc. Roll AA was incorporated in the City's custumals bears wit ness to its importance to the administrators of fourteenth-century London as a source for precedents.
2. The financial issues of 1244 and 1246
When the crown pleas session ended in June 1244, the justices held a taxing session in which, with City advice, they fixed the amount to be paid for the amercements incurred during the pleas. It is uncertain if the economic capacity of the lesser persons was vouched for by the relative aldermen, or whether ward juries were called for this, as juries of similar districts were called to affeer amercements in ordinary eyres. The details of the amercements, and of all the fines or fixed sums established as penalties for offences in the course of the pleas, and of the felons' chattels, were then entered in a roll of fines and amercements. A copy of this roll, known as the estreat, was sent to the exchequer. The exchequer proceeded to summon this estreat, by issuing a copy of it to the sheriffs, topped and tailed by the opening and closing phrases of the exchequer writ of summons, which ordered the sheriffs to collect the debts listed and to pay them to the exchequer by certain dates. The estreat would be resummoned as often as necessary, until its contents had all been cleared. The original estreat was kept by the exchequer as a master record, annotated to show what had been cleared and what had still to be summoned; a few items in it would be transferred for entry in detail in the Pipe Roll, to be cleared there or summoned thence by the separate yearly summons of all the debts standing in the Pipe Roll.
For 1244 we do not have a roll of fines and amercements, or an estreat or (as we have from the 1276 crown pleas in Guildhall Misc. Roll BB) a summoned copy of the estreat. To gather details about the financial issues of 1244 we are therefore left with such matter as came to be entered in the Pipe Roll, together with some details from the parallel memoranda of accounts in the Memoranda Rolls and the evidence of the only contemporary Receipt Roll.
After the 1246 purprestures session, the justices estreated a copy of all the newly created purpresture rents and sent it to the exchequer. The exchequer—as with the estreats of the great arrentation of serjeanties being conducted at this time by Robert Passelewe—entered a virtually complete transcript of their estreat in the Pipe Roll. The many small rents, that were to be collected and accounted for in a lump sum by the sheriffs, were not again entered in detail; but the other rents continued to be re-entered year by year, signposted by the marginal F (Firma).
Extracts from the London and Middlesex accounts in the Pipe Rolls, concerning the 1244 crown pleas and 1246 purpresture sessions, and taken from the accounts for the years 29 to 37 Henry III (1244–5 to 1252–3) have been printed below in Appendix B. In these extracts, cross references have been inserted to lead the reader to the numbered entries in this edition from which they arose. The history of individual items may be followed in these extracts and in the notes appended to some of them.
Something may be added here by way of more general explanation of the issues of 1244 and 1246. Adam of Basing and Hugh Blund, the sheriffs of 1243–4, had their account for 28 Henry III audited in the week beginning 27 October 1244. (fn. 20) They answered for the initial issues of the 1244 Middlesex eyre, but not for the London crown pleas. It is therefore clear that the exchequer did not summon the 1244 estreat until their successors, Ralph le Spicer and Nicholas Bat, had entered office, and that these undertook most of the work of collection. Their account for 29 Henry III began to be audited on 12 October 1245. During their year of office the estreat had been summoned twice. Against the names of those returned as paying at first summons the exchequer noted 't' (for reddit totum, or something of the sort) in the original estreat. The remaining names were noted 'd' (for debet, or the like). At the return of second summons, those who had now paid, had 't' added to their 'd'. In all, Spicer and Bat had collected £192 17s. 8d. at first summons ('t') and £16 13s. 4d. at second summons ('td'). Of this amount, £99 7s. 8d. was used, in or soon after February 1245, to pay bills for various goods which Adam of Basing, as the court's principal mercer, had supplied to Henry III; the rest reached the exchequer in cash, probably mostly between October 1244 and October 1245. The only Receipt Roll extant for these years is for the Michaelmas half-year 29 September 1245—3 March 1246; (fn. 21) the only item in it which may possibly represent part of the crown pleas issues is a sum of £44, paid by Nicholas Bat for London on Wednesday 11 October 1245, source not specified. Since there are no more payments up to Easter 1246, we can be sure that most of the issues had been collected and paid in by October 1245.
No further receipts from any later summons of the estreat have been traced up to 1260, beyond which the Pipe Rolls have not been searched. It is unlikely that nothing was then still outstanding in the estreat; but the number and total of any such debts was probably very small. It is likely that most of the items not covered by the lump sum payments of 1244–5 are represented by those debts which were transferred individually to the Pipe Rolls: two in 30 Henry III, two in 33 Henry III and one in 37 Henry III. They totalled £6 6s. 8d., and by the latter date only part of one, for £1 6s. 8d., was outstanding, owed by the royalist Simon fitz Mary. Although the memoranda accounts show orders for distraint for the recovery of this being issued at successive audits for some years, it was still outstanding in 1255, beyond which the Pipe Rolls have not been searched for individual debts. The total of lump sums and individual debts, as recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 29–39 Henry III, is thus £215 17s. 8d. It is unlikely that the total of the ordinary issues in the estreat was much above £220.
This was completely dwarfed by the swingeing common fine of £1,000 made by the City to compound its liability for the escape of Walter Bukerel (300). Such common fines, imposed on counties, hundreds and boroughs for grave dereliction of duty, had always been a feature of the crown pleas side of eyres. In the twelve-forties and -fifties, when parliament was steadily refusing to grant any extraordinary taxation, the scale of such fines was being made as heavy as communities could bear: thus to a considerable extent making good the lack of granted taxes and thereby arousing resentment against the crown pleas side of eyres generally. London's fine was easily the heaviest inflicted in the twelve-forties on any ordinary com munity; it is unlikely that the justices determined its total without consulting their colleagues on the king's council.
The purpresture sessions of 1246 produced an estreat of sixteen amercements, totalling £16 silver and £1 gold, which was entered in the Pipe Roll for 30 Henry III, without a distinctive heading. Most of these debts were soon cleared, but five were still outstanding in 1255, beyond which the Pipe Rolls have not been searched for individual debts. The estreat of the new purpresture rents was entered under a distinctive heading in 31 Henry III. Twenty-three items (after allowing for one grant) thenceforward made up an annual 'small purpresture farms' rent of £9 10s. 8d., to be accounted for by the sheriffs. The remaining six items—one a serjeanty and the others purprestures—continued to be charged individually.
By contrast with the probable total of about £220 from the 1244 crown pleas (excluding the City's common fine), the crown pleas of 1226 produced only some £75. (fn. 22) Of this, £57 5s. 2½d. (of't') was collected at first summons, by 104 tallies, probably representing as many debts. In addition, sixteen debts, totalling £16 16s. 8d., were entered individually in the Pipe Roll, and mostly cleared in the next three years. Since no further summons of the estreat has been traced, it is possible that the lump sum of 't' and these sixteen debts represent the whole of the estreat. There were only four new purpresture rents, totalling 1s. 8d.
In the next crown pleas session, of 1251, the ordinary total was substantially larger than in 1246, probably slightly exceeding £300. (fn. 23) Of this, £285 2s. 5½d. (of 't') was collected at first summons: no further receipts have been traced down to 1260. In addition, five debts, totalling £3 16s. 8d. were entered individually and soon cleared. An unknown number of debts must have remained outstanding in the estreat. The new group purpresture farms were arrented at only 12s. 5d., with only one other new farm, of 4d.: but, of course, only five years had passed since William of York's thorough investigation, whereas he had to deal with purprestures arising in the previous twenty years. We know also that, for all the offences marked against him by the justices, Arnold Geraudan, the chamberlain, had been amerced £5: but that this was speedily pardoned. (fn. 24), (fn. 25)
The later history of one farm arrented in 1246 is of particular interest. It arose from an escheat (208, 280 and 303) which was an object of no more than routine interest to the justices at that time but which became the subject of exchequer proceedings in 1313. (fn. 26) The escheat was the messuages of Martin de Virli in Milk Street and Bread Street which were disposed of by King John. According to a record of 1310 (208 n. 1), the Londoners testified in 1221/26 and re-affirmed in 1244 that the messuages were the king's. For this reason, their status was reviewed in 1221/26 although John had given both to Berner of Rouen, who sold one to Leo the Jew (280); the other was given by Henry III to Joce le Spicer and was lying waste in 1221/26. During the eyre of 1226 the messuage in the possession of Leo the Jew, worth 40s. annually, was taken into the king's hands. On the testimony of the constable of the Tower (in whose care were matters pertaining to Jews) Leo made fine and kept the land, presumably for an annual payment to the exchequer.
The same entry in the record of the eyre of 1244 relates that in 1226 the land in Bread Street was given outright to Christine, wife of Joce le Spicer. Subsequently, that messuage is no longer included in the list of inheritances on which the itinerant justices kept so watchful an eye. The record does, however, mention that the grant was to be discussed, loquendum, because it had been made during the king's minority. The messuage in Milk Street then became the sole object of the exchequer's interest and in the Pipe Roll for 31 Henry III it is listed among the purprestures and escheats farmed to the City with a higher rent of 5 marks. In 1249 an inquisition post mortem (fn. 27) presupposes the death of Leo the Jew, but soon after the inquisition one of his co-heirs died, and that contingency led to a grant in 1251 by Henry III of a fourth of the messuage to Martin Shenche, king's arblaster. The king must have acted on the strength of his right to dispose of former escheats at will. But as only one fourth of the messuage could be claimed at that time (three co-heirs of Leo still surviving the one whose death occasioned the grant), the king bought out the other three parcels and bestowed the entire messuage on Martin Shenche.
It would appear that payments were made to the exchequer until 1290. When the City brought its suit in the exchequer in 1313 it sought the discharge of the annual payment since 1290. As the Jews were expelled in that year it is more than likely that the City used this fact to support its case. (fn. 28) It also had to be proved that the messuage in question was the one now held (1313) by the widow of the younger Martin Shenche for her son. A jury of the neighbourhood finally made a favourable decision establishing its identity. The court concurred, and a complicated arrangement permitted the City to be exonerated from its share of charges after 1290, with the exchequer crediting these overpayments toward other charges.
This chronicle of legal steps does not permit the king's claims and the payments by the City to be fully traced. However, it is hard to assume that Hugh de Waltham, in whose custody Misc. Roll AA was held, did not study the judicial record of 1244 when he prepared his case before the barons of the exchequer in 1313. On the other hand it is significant that the City did not contest its obligation before 1290 and that the entries in the Pipe Roll for 31 Henry III were accepted by the City as an authoritative summary of the financial demands upon it arising from the arrentation of 1246.
3. General observations
Although the roll printed in this volume is a prime source for the study of customary law in London, no attempt is here made to discuss the matter because it is best studied in conjunction with the surviving records of London's later eyres. However, the index to this volume provides a key to the more interesting and important matters contained in the roll. It will suffice, therefore, to confine the following observations to a few topics.
More than half a century after the death of Henry II, who curtailed the privileges of the City, a lingering resentment of that monarch can be sensed in Simon fitz Mary's objection to precedents based on procedures of eyres prior to the reign of Richard I (36). While the roll contains no direct reference to the Commune of London, the disorders of the eleven-nineties are the background to enquiries into several escheats of that period. The name most prominent among persons leaving King Richard's allegiance is that of William fitz Osbert, but others are also mentioned (211–12, 281, 291, 295, 299, 307, 328). The aftermath of the loss of Normandy still occupies the justices' attention, and the enquiry into escheats provides new information on persons leaving King John's allegiance (208, 218, 272, 279– 80, 288). The enquiry reveals survivals of the soke system (45, 210, 233, 242, 251–67, 279, 306) and interesting details of duties and privileges of serjeanties connected with the king's household (197–8, 275, 318–21). Some light is also thrown upon the association of prominent Londoners with the Barons and Prince Louis at the time of Magna Carta (195, 316): four new names appear with that of Serlo le Mercer, the mayor, who lent 1,000 marks to Prince Louis. Another plea of particular interest concerns a Jew who collusively transferred land in the hope of protecting himself against the consequences of the Barons gaining complete power (296).
As would be expected, royal charters and various private records were regularly offered for proof or reference during the eyre (208, 212, 217, 245, 282). However, more than ordinary interest attaches to two categories of documents particularly relevant to eyre rolls and of exceptional value during the sessions of crown pleas in 1244. The first such category is the official record of past eyres. Neither the City nor the justices attempted to cite evidence prior to the previous London eyre of 1226, although some of the newly authorised constitutions for the City (233–8) betray striking similarities to the Questions and Responses used in 1221, preserved in Liber Horn, Liber Ordinationum and Liber Albus. The roll of Martin of Patshull of 1226 was repeatedly referred to by the justices but the City was denied access to it, although it pressed its claim that it had been normal procedure in the past to furnish the City with a transcript of the preceding eyre roll (36, 208–20, 221). The other category of records is discernible in the new pleas of the Crown, namely, the chamberlain's and sheriffs' rolls (45–6, 50, 60, 68, 94, 144, 147, 156–7, 161, 172). No firm evidence of their custody can be given, but the justices insist on a new arrangement to take effect after the eyre, namely, that the record should in future be kept by the chamberlain, and that inquests by sheriffs alone would be null and void.
The justices' use of precedent does not appear to have been consistent. At one point, Simon fitz Mary protested against a possible reliance on precedents dating back to the reign of Henry II. The justices then seemed to agree that the year 1189 marked the beginning of 'legal memory' (36). But they carried their point more incisively in repeatedly invoking the eyre roll of 1226. They certainly re-established continuity in the matter of the customs at Queenhithe (248–68) when an intermediate tariff was set aside in favour of the regulations prevailing at the end of John's reign. Also, when the City relied on decisions reached during the minority of Henry III, the justices countered by invoking the higher authority of the interests of the Crown which should not be damaged by imprudent acts during the years when the king was not of age (300).
It was particularly distasteful to the Londoners when the justices reserved the right to special powers of discretion, as for example in examining witnesses privately (39 and 40). Without using the word, the justices repeatedly stood on the king's prerogative, as when they indignantly rejected John de Coudres' argument about the liberties of the City proceeding pan passu with the life and limb of its citizens (73). On one other occasion the City claimed that the justices' decision could be detrimental to the liberties of London, a claim for which it was duly rebuked (347).
It remains to comment upon the style of recording and reporting. The majority of entries, particularly of the new pleas of the Crown and of the reviews of appeals, are highly formalized. So too are the findings of the enquiry about purprestures during the perambulation by the justices and the mayor and citizens. There are, however, a few exceptions. They are due to certain circumstances which lend an air of freshness and immediacy to the record. One example is the set of constitutions provided for procedures in the City courts (233–8, 242–4) which point to deliberations between the justices and the spokesmen for the City and are recorded as agreements.
Also, the roll usually preserves the gist of the proceedings and a summary of the decisions. But on occasion it could retain the memory of the heated clashes between the two opposing sides, thus subtly turning from 'recording' to 'reporting' (323, particularly note 2); in that vein one solemn declaration by a justice is preserved (346) whose ringing phrases reappear in a later legal tract: 'Barons, earls and free tenants have lawfully put their serfs in copper, but not in irons; but if they like they may sell their serfs like oxen or cows but they may not kill them, maim them or wound them because the bodies and members of the serfs belong to the king.' (fn. 29)
Innovation was always possible. Andrew Horn turned from routine copying to creative custumal making, and the established tradition of 'recording' in the plea roll did not exclude exceptionally vivid 'reporting'. That last feature in particular prepared for the work of glossators and writers of lawbooks. It is these forecasts of future uses as well as the mass of traditional and formalized recording which make the eyre roll of 1244–6 and its absorption into the City archives a memorable part of English legal history.
A concordance of entries copied from Misc. Roll AA into Liber Ordinationum, Liber Albus and Liber Horn
The arrangement in three columns permits comparative observations on form and content of the roll and the custumals. As the observations are based on the footnotes in this edition, the text and its apparatus should be consulted concurrently with the précis of findings in the concordance. Wherever possible, glosses on Misc. Roll AA are also pointed out, even if no parallel excerpts were included in a custumal. The commentaries on selections in Liber Albus, in the third column, refer to chapter headings and notae. The chapter headings are found as a consecutive and numbered set in a table of contents, printed in Liber Albus i, 72–5; the notae are marginal glosses of the manuscript of Liber Albus and are often, but not always, identical with the chapter headings of the table of contents. These often indicate the content of the text more clearly than the marginal glosses. From time to time Riley used the notae to interpolate ad hoc captions to introduce the chapters of the printed text; otherwise he relied on the table of contents to furnish the numbers and words for the chapter headings, not present in the manuscript.
Extracts from London and Middlesex Accounts in the Pipe Rolls
From the Account for 29 Henry III (P.R.O., E 372/89, m. 10d):
Idem vicecomites reddunt compotum de 192 li. 17s. 8d. de misericordiis hominum quorum nominibus preponitur littera t in rotulo de eodem itinere. Et 16 li. et 1 m. de misericordiis hominum quorum nominibus preponitur littera t litera d in eodem itinere.
From the Account for 30 Henry III (P.R.O., E 572/90, m. 7):
Gives London Radulfus le Specer et Nicholaus Bat pro eis reddunt compotum de 192 li. 17s. 8d. de quadam summa totali sicut continetur in rotulo precedenti. Et 16 li. 1 m. de quadam alia summa sicut continetur ibidem. In thesauro 108 li. 16s. 8d. Et debent 100 li. 14s. 4d.
lidem vicecomites reddunt compotum de dim.m. de Roberto le Cordewaner [? 393] pro quodam solario levato ad nocumentum strate regie. Et de 20 s. de Radulfo Kanun [? 474] et sociis suis pro eodem. Et de dim.m. de Henrico le Muneur  pro eodem. Et de 1 m. de [Martino] (fn. 30) de Garschirche  pro eodem. Et de dim.m. de Gilberto le Bas  de eodem. Et de dim.m. de Isaac de Paris  pro eodem. In thesauro 4 m. Et debent dim.m.
Ricardus de Totenesse  debet dim.m. pro eodem; Walterus le Brun  dim.m. pro eodem; Peytevin filius Sleme [? 398] 1 m. pro eodem; Deulecres filius Josce [? 400] 1 m. pro eodem; Jacobus de Warewic  40 s. pro eodem; Belasse  dim.m. pro eodem; Elyas Episcopus  5 m. pro eodem; Josceus clericus de Oxonia [? 400] 2 m. pro eodem; Benedictus Crespin [401, 403] 1 m. auri quia attraxit quandam partem cuiusdam venelle ad curiam suam elargiandam.
Leo Judeus  [blank] dim.m. auri ad nocumentum ut supra. (fn. 31)
From the Account for 31 Henry III (P.R.O., E 372/91, m.4):
Cives London Radulfus le Specer et Nicholaus Bat pro eis reddunt compotum de 100 li. 14s. et 4d. de remanente certe summe totalis sicut continetur in rotulo precedenti. In thesauro nichil. Et Ade de Basinges pro pluribus ab eo emptis 99 li. 7s. 8d. per breve (fn. 32) regis sicut continetur in eodem brevi. Et debent 26s. 8d.
Civitas London reddit compotum de 333 li. et di.m. pro receptamento Waiteri Bukerel  sicut continetur in rotulo precedenti. In thesauro nichil. Et Johanni de Gisorz 500 m. quas rex mutuo ab eo recepit per breve regis. (fn. 33) Et quieta est.
Firma. Idem vicecomites [blank] 15s. de firma duarum fabricarum levatarum in regia strata per Templarios (fn. 34) [350, 351]. Et 12 d. de Rogero le Fundur  pro quadam domo supra aquam de Flete. Et 6 d. de Willelmo le Fort  pro quod am gradu in Smethefeud. Et 2 s. de Galfrido de Pontefracto  pro quadam purprestura ex opposite Fratrum Predicatorum. Et 6 s. de Petro archidiacono London  pro quodam muro lapideo levato versus Castrum Baynardi [an erasure follows]. Et 6 d. de Willelmo Marescallo  pro quibusdam travis levatis in parochia Omnium Sanctorum. Et 12 d. de abbate Sancti Albani  pro quadam purprestura in Bradestrate. Et 2 d. de Jacobo [Blund]  aldermanno pro quodam solario ibidem. Et 4 d. de Randulfo le Ferun  pro quodam solario. Et 4 d. de Editha que fuit uxor Willelmi Campe pro [quibusdam] travis. Et 4 d. de Ricardo Marescallo [397, 436] pro eodem. Et 4 d. de Albino filio Alani  pro eodem. Et 4 d. de Stephano [? 397, ? 436] Marescallo pro eodem. Et 4 d. de Galfrido [sic] Fabro [? 439] pro eodem. Et 4 d. de Simone Marescallo  pro eodem. Et 12 d. per manum Willelmi de Turri  de Tinctoribus versus Turrim et de Kyrenelane. Et 5 m. de uno mesuagio quod Leo Judeus [280, 303] tenuit et quod fuit Martini Verli Normanni. Et 2 m. de redditu qui fuit Marsilie meretricis [? rectius Sperlenge, 317] in vico Pontis. Et 1 s. et 8 d. de Nicholao filio Josce filii Petri [279, 306] de soka que fuit Willelmi Martelli. Et 20 s. de medietate mesuagii quod fuit Willelmi cum Barba quam Felicia  que fuit uxor Joscei le Jeovene tenet. Et 20 s. de uno mesuagio quod fuit eiusdem Willelmi quod Ricardus Russel  tenet. Et 22 s. et 8d. de terra que fuit Radulfi filii Burwardi  utlagati. Et 1 m. de domo que fuit Waiteri Bukerel [298, 304] qui abiuravit regnum. Et 14 s. de domo, sopa et gardinetto que fuerunt Willelmi le Barber [291, 292]. Et 102 s. de eisdem de dimidio anno preterito. Summa per annum 10 li. 4 s.
Firma. Idem vicecomites de redditu cuiusdam fabrice extra Alegate quam prior Sancte Trinitatis London tenet . (fn. 35)
From the Account for 32 Henry III (P.R.O., E 372/92, m. 75):
Gives London Radulfus Lespecer et Nicholaus Bat 2 m. de remanente cuiusdam summe totalis sicut continetur in rotulo XXX. (fn. 36)
From the Account for 33 Henry III (P.R.O., E 372/93, m. 2):
From the Account for 34 Henry III (P.R.O., E 372/94, m. 7):
From the Account for 35 Henry III (P.R.O., E 372/95, m. 10):
From the Account for 36 Henry III (P.R.O., E 372/96, m. 17):
[m.17d] Fiona. Vicecomites London debent 10 li. 4 s. de firma minutarum purpresturarum sicut continetur in rotulo XXXI. Et 46 li. 4 d. de annis preteritis. Summa 56 li. 4 s. et 4 d. De quibus Halingrettus balistarius  reddit compotum infra de 6 m. et di. de redditu unius marce annue de domo  que fuit Walteri Bukerel qui abiuravit regnum de hoc anno et quinque annis preteritis et ultra dimidio anno xxx° que marca debet decetero subtrahi de firma predicta 10 li. et 4s. Et debent vicecomites 51 li. 17s.et 8d.
From the Account for 37 Henry III (P.R.O., E 372/97, m. 4):
Debita et libertates huius itineris non sunt in rotulo. (fn. 37)
Firma. lidem vicecomites [? 470] de redditu cuiusdam fabrice sicut continetur ibidem Et [blank] de 6 annis preteritis. (fn. 38)