Finance and Trade Under Edward III the London Lay Subsidy of 1332. Originally published by Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1918.
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CALAIS UNDER EDWARD III
Calais in the twentieth century is a typical port and manufacturing town of modern times, with its extensive harbour, partly of natural formation partly of special construction, huge factories for the manufacture of silk and cotton net and other products, and canals and railways linking up its various districts (fn. 1) There do not seem to be any maps of the town in the fourteenth century extant, if indeed any ever existed, so that to obtain information of it as it was nearly 600 years ago one is dependent upon such slight descriptions as the chronicler or records afford, and with these as a basis one must endeavour by comparison with later maps to form some idea of the mediæval town For this purpose the map and the general view during the time of Henry VIII, published by the editor of Turpin's "Chronicle of Calais," are the most useful
Apparently, when conquered by Edward III, it covered an area of about 200 acres, corresponding to the district of the modern town known as Calais-Nord (fn. 2) It was defended by two walls and two ditches, the latter of which could be flooded by sea-water, (fn. 3) whilst the harbour, formed by a piece of land jutting east, was an additional defence to the north At the extreme north-west was the castle, the fortifications of which were merged in the town walls In the centre was the market place There was also a suburb beyond the walls stretching east, south and west, (fn. 4) which coincided to some extent with a part of the modern St Pierre, or Calais-Sud
On the 4th of August, 1347, (fn. 5) after eleven months' heroic resistance which has made it famous in the annals of history, Calais surrendered to Edward III, and thus became for two hundred years a centre for the English wool trade with the continent, and a convenient landing place for English armies. During that period the King of England did indeed in the words of Geoffrey Harcourt "carry the keys of the kingdom of France" (fn. 6) at his girdle
Having taken the town, Edward ordered the Chancellor, the Treasurer and the Archbishop of Canterbury (fn. 7) to summon John de Pulteney, William de la Pole, Roger Norman, and any other wealthy merchants whom they chose, and to require them to go to Calais for a month or six weeks, taking with them merchants and others suitable for giving aid and counsel with regard to its administration He also issued a proclamation throughout England that houses would be assigned to all English persons wishing to reside there who crossed over before a certain date, such houses to be granted for a reasonable rent to the new burgesses, who should have "liberties, privileges and immunities, so that with their families and goods they may be able to remain and live there safely" (fn. 8)
In consequence nearly two hundred men received grants of lands and tenements, (fn. 9) variously designated as inns, houses, messuages, cottages, shops and cellars, bakeries, gardens, void places and walls Amongst the recipients were a number of well-known financiers of the king Peter de Melchebourn was granted an inn, Walter de Chiriton messuages and gardens, Gilbert de Wendlyngburgh inns, Thomas de Swanlond, Henry Picard, John Golbeter and John Stodeye received messuages, and Matthew Canaceon inns and shops There is little information about the occupations of the new burgesses or the places from which they went Three leather workers, three mercers, two clerks, two serjeants-at-arms, a vintner, a goldsmith, a locksmith, a merchant, a taverner, a saddler, a barber, a spicer of the queen, and a porter of the king are mentioned Towns in various parts of England, and Gascony and Pavia occur as the original homes of the immigrants in a few cases
As a result many of the native inhabitants were expelled According to Froissart, (fn. 10) after prisoners had been taken all the rest of the people were driven out except a priest and two other old men who knew the ancient laws, and who were retained to assign the heritages Other chroniclers (fn. 11) give similar accounts The expulsion can hardly have been so indiscriminate as the chroniclers state however, for although a charter, which may be called for the purpose of distinction Edward III's charter, granted at an early date, ordered the removal of all natives, there was a saving clause "except those who have special leave of the king to remain there," (fn. 12) and the fact that three months after the conquest Edward confirmed the charter granted previously by the Countess of Artois seems to prove that a considerable number did remain.
From the outset there were two distinct branches of government, one consisting of royal officials, and the other consisting of representatives of the burgesses-the municipality It seems advisable to deal first with the question of the royal officials and their authority, as they formed the pivot round which the administration revolved
Immediately after the conquest there is reference to four royal officials, the captain, marshal, seneschal and constable, (fn. 13) the last three of whom are not mentioned at a later period In Edward III's charter (fn. 14) certain duties pertaining to the offices of captain, marshal and seneschal were laid down These were of a judicial character for the most part It was ordained that in cases arising between the king's soldiers, the captain and the marshal should be judges, and in those arising between the king's soldiers and the inhabitants, the captain, marshal, and seneschal should share the jurisdiction The seneschal was also given cognizance of all cases between inhabitants, and of those in connection with lands and tenements, and of all other royal pleas How far his jurisdiction over the inhabitants extended is not clear, as the municipality had both civil and criminal jurisdiction In addition to his judicial power the seneschal was given the con trol "of the houses of the king's herring-women, and of the lands, rents, and all other profits belonging to the king within the town and without, to make the king's profit of them" He also shared with the captain supervision of the marshes, in order "to ordain that all the defaults be redressed and repaired at all times that it shall be necessary, in the manner which shall be to the greatest profit of the king and the town" (fn. 15) From this it appears that during the very earliest period of Edward III's administration the seneschal was the chief royal official The first captain, John de Montgomery, who only held that office for a short time, (fn. 16) was apparently merely given the judicial power and control of the marshes mentioned above Whether that judicial power was exercised by his successors is not clear, as there is no mention of it in the letters of nomination to the position
The authority of the captain however gradually increased, and from 1349 onwards certain powers were with one exception always conferred on him (fn. 17) These were the right to punish all who were rebels to him in things pertaining to the salvation and defence of the town, and the right to remove all servants of the king found neglecting their duty in its fortification, and put other men in their places (fn. 18) This authority was often supplemented For example, Robert de Herle when captain was authorised to receive and hear all appeals made to the king (fn. 19) During part of the time the captain was controller of all payments made by the treasurer, (fn. 20) and also held the office of constable of the castle (fn. 21) Evidently to be captain was no sinecure, for in 1351 Edward III made certain promises to Herle whom he re-appointed to the office for the duration of a year (fn. 22) He promised that the wages of Herle and that part of the garrison which was apparently his retinue should be paid beforehand each quarter of the year, and that the town should always be victualled for at least six months in advance If the king failed in this after he had been warned, and suitable amendment was not made at the end of the quarter, he granted that it should be "lawful for the said Sir Robert to depart from the said town with his men, horses and their equipment, without hindrance or challenge of our said lord the king, his heirs, his council, or of any other in time to come" Moreover, if the town were besieged, the King promised within a month after he was informed of it, to send a relieving army of a hundred men at arms and a hundred archers A similar agreement was made later with John de Beauchamp (fn. 23)
In the year 1361 (fn. 24) the title of captain was changed to governor, and the office was endowed with powers of supervision, and full jurisdiction of all kinds high and low, in all causes both civil and criminal The governor had all the powers held by the captain except that he was not given the wardenship of the castle Later however that too was added, (fn. 25) and he retained it until almost the end of his governorship (fn. 26) Only two men, Henry Lescrope and Bartholomew de Burghersh, seem to have been given the title of governor, the former of whom held it from 1361 to 1365, and from 1366 to 1369, whilst the latter seems to have held it for a few months between these two periods (fn. 27) In 1369 Lescrope was appointed captain, apparently with merely military authority, and received his command shorn of the wide powers of jurisdiction in all civil and criminal cases which had characterised his period as governor (fn. 28) His successors to the captaincy were given authority similar to that exercised by previous captains Apparently during the years 1361-1369, therefore, the royal power reached its climax The title of the chief royal official during that period, "gubernator," itself implies more real authority than "capitaneus," and the fact that the power of civil and criminal jurisdiction was conferred on the governor must have given him considerable authority Apparently he exercised his power in conjunction with the municipality, for that body, or one or more special members of it, had also civil and criminal jurisdiction
Other royal officials besides the captain or governor were the treasurer, the master of the mint, the captain, warden or constable of the castle, the keeper or receiver of the victuals, to whom provisions were sent for the fortifications, and the bailiffs In the charter of the Countess of Artois, (fn. 29) which describes the municipal constitution before the conquest, and which Edward III confirmed soon after the town fell, there is frequent reference to a bailiff His duty was to represent the lord, and to attend to the lord's interest in the administration of the laws Under Edward III there was more than one bailiff, for on the 4th of December, 1347, William Stury besides being appointed to the office of seneschal, was made chief bailiff, (fn. 30) and later mention is made of bailiffs (fn. 31) Evidently there were officials possessing this title throughout Edward III's reign, for at a later date when the French laws were swept away, reference is made in 1368 to the bailiffs, (fn. 32) and in 1370 to the bailiff (fn. 33)
Having considered the royal officials and the part they played in the administration of Calais, we may now turn to the ordinary inhabitants, the duties devolving upon them, the privileges the king granted to them, and the various councils by which they were represented to a greater or lesser degree. The history of the town from this point of view can be divided into four periods, marked off distinctly from one another by changes in the municipal constitution
The first period covers the years from the conquest to 1363, and is characterised by the fact that the town retained its old French municipal constitution by which it had been governed before the conquest In Edward III's charter several grants were made for the benefit of the townsmen It was promised that the ancient customs and franchises should be kept in every detail, that all foreign merchants going to the town by sea or land to sell their merchandise should be free from all manner of customs and tolls as long as it pleased the king, that the captain and marshal should not take any wages from any man for anything concerning the safe keeping of the town, nor for default, but that transgressors should be punished "by their body and in no other manner," and that the watch should be kept by the king's soldiers as well as by the burgesses The question of the watch is constantly cropping up The tenements granted to the inhabitants immediately after the conquest were held "on condition that they bear themselves faithfully towards the king and do what shall be due for the safe-keeping and munition of the town and that the heirs render yearly a reasonable farm"
On the 3rd of December, 1347, Edward III confirmed the charter of the Countess of Artois, (fn. 34) which described the laws and constitution previously to the conquest The municipality consisted of thirteen échevins Every year the outgoing officials elected five of those for the ensuing year, (fn. 35) and the five thus chosen co-opted the remaining eight The échevins made laws, raised the "taille" (fn. 36) and "assise" (fn. 37) with the counsel of the other good men and true, and had judicial authority together with thirteen cormans (fn. 38) elected in the same manner as themselves (fn. 39) If one inhabitant of the échevinage committed an assault against another outside the échevinage, and the deed was not redressed where it was done, it was tried at Calais In connection with jurisdiction there was also each year a court of "frank verity" to enquire into "all things concealed" (fn. 40) during the previous year The members of this court were apparently nominated by the échevins Many transgressions were punished by fines paid to the lord of the town, an additional fine sometimes being paid to the injured party The most serious crimes, such as murder and arson by night, were punishable by death and forfeiture of goods to the lord Larceny of the value of two sous and upwards was punishable in the same way, larceny of the value of less than two sous by the loss of an ear, and for a second offence by death and forfeiture of goods The offender who broke laws made by the échevms lost his service for a year and a day, and paid a fine to the lord One or two glimpses into the ordinary life of the burgess can be seen Saturday was market day The lord of the land had two annual festivals, one from the last day of Easter to the 24th of June, the other from the 29th of September to the 30th of November
M Daumet in "Calais sous la Domination Anglaise" (fn. 41) thinks that under Edward III the cormans were abolished, and the power of the échevins was limited to administration, criminal jurisdiction and jurisdiction over foreigners, as a result of the granting of judicial functions to the captain, marshal and seneschal As Edward III confirmed the charter of the Countess of Artois without reservation, however, a fact which M Daumet himself seems to imply, are we not more justified in thinking that there was a dual jurisdiction of municipal and royal officials, which indeed seems to have been the case throughout the reign ?
Apparently Edward III kept good control over the aldermen, if the following entry in the Close Rolls (fn. 42) is illustrative of his general policy "To the constable of the Tower of London or to him who supplies his place Order to release Richard Atte Wode, the king's serjeant-at-arms and échevin of Calais, from prison, as the king, on learning that Richard made several illicit meetings with the men of that town to the terror and disturbance of the people there and the danger of the loss of the town, appointed Thomas de Kingston, constable of Calais castle, to take Richard's key from him and to send him to the Tower to be detained there, and the king has pardoned Richard at the request of certain magnates and because he submitted himself to the king's favour, and by a security found before the king" He was released on the mainprise of a certain serjeant-at-arms "that he would behave faithfully henceforward in that town and if he should hold meetings or commit other like delict there that he should incur forfeiture of life and members and of his lands goods and chattels" The king had been informed of Richard Atte Wode's offence by the captain (fn. 43)
But the burgesses were by no means oppressed by the rule of Edward III It was to Edward III's interest that they should be friendly disposed towards him, and with this intent his policy towards them was directed A few months after the fall of the town letters were issued to the mayor and bailiffs of Dover and several other ports, as well as to the captain of Calais, (fn. 44) stating that it was the king's will that the common landing place for traffic between England and France should be Calais, and not Whitsand or Boulogne or elsewhere, and instructing those officials to take measures for the carrying out of that intention Although this attempt to make traffic with France all go through one channel was obviously not initiated in the interests of the inhabitants, yet it is equally certain that the plan would benefit them considerably In 1348 a similar ordinance was made, promulgated in a letter to the captain, (fn. 45) with the difference that "a true merchant with his merchandise" was exempt from the regulation At the same time the burgesses were declared free from exactions of goods and money granted to the king by the commonalty of the kingdom of England, and from pontage and all other payments through the whole of the kingdom of England for a period of three years, saving the usual customs and subsidies (fn. 46) In this year also a more important concession was gained Edward III granted that a staple should be held for cloth, feathers, tin and lead for a period of seven years (fn. 47) In 1358 the burgesses petitioned the king concerning a tenement question (fn. 48) They asked that when tenements held in fee simple became vacant, the bailiffs (fn. 49) and échevins might have the administration of them for a year, if the heirs were absent or if there were no heirs, "since it often happens that those holding houses in the same town granted to them and then heirs. die suddenly, at sea or elsewhere," the ordinary proceeding in such cases being of course their immediate transference into the king's hands Edward granted this demand as a reward for keeping the watch, "considering the various cares and great labours which those burgesses by continuous vigils for the guardian ship of the aforesaid town thence sustain, and that they may sustain more willingly in the future cares and labours of this kind"
Although Edward III granted many privileges it is not to be supposed that the advantage was all on the side of the townsmen In 1363 an order concerning the restitution of a tenement to a certain burgess, of which he had been deprived by mistake, mentions "burdens, so for the guard and fortification of the aforesaid town, as other burdens whatsoever incumbent on the same tenement in times of war and peace which burdens indeed far exceeded the annual value of the aforesaid tenement before this time" (fn. 50)
In 1361 (fn. 51) the king ordered the bailiffs, échevins and commonalty to elect six men to come to him at Westminster, and discuss how the town might be governed to the best advantage of the townsmen and the king, and what profit accrued to the kings of France and other lords before the king of England possessed it Six representatives came to England and were apparently interviewed by the king on these subjects, "probably at the conference of representatives of the eleven staples summoned for the end of May" (fn. 52)
In the early part of 1363 the great staple for wool, woolfells and leather, which had been removed from the continent to England in 1353, (fn. 53) was established at Calais (fn. 54) This begins the second period of the history of the municipal constitution under Edward III, for until the next year the town council was in the hands of the merchants of the staple A letter patent of the 1st of March, (fn. 55) issued from Westminster, ordained that twenty-six English merchants chosen by the king and mentioned by name "be there to govern the town and the people and merchandises which shall come here, and that of the said twenty-six English merchants be two mayors and twenty-four aldermen, by whom the burgesses and others who shall come to the said town shall be received and governed, and that they be between them a community and have a common seal" (fn. 56) The organisation of this company was simple The members had to elect two mayors from themselves yearly They could expel anyone from their number for sufficient reason, and elect a successor in his place from English merchants resident in Calais or England, and similarly if any member died they had to elect another from such English merchants. Amongst the members of this corporation was Adam de Bury, who played an important part elsewhere in the economic history of the reign of Edward III
Further details of the powers given to the company were contained in the letter of the 1st of March All franchises and charters granted to the town before that time were declared null and void The mayors and aldermen could make laws for its administration, and the old laws were not to be in force unless re-enacted by them They, or four, three, or two of them could hold civil and criminal pleas, but, if complaint arose about their judgment, suitors were allowed to go to a higher court, which would sit once a year in March, and be composed of the governor, the treasurer, the two mayors, and two merchants apparently not members of the company, chosen by the aldermen If anyone objected to the inclusion of the mayors on a plea of wrong done by them, their places might be taken by two merchants elected in the same manner as the two previous ones Apparently civil and criminal jurisdiction had to be administered on the same lines for both burgesses and merchants according to merchant law, with the exception that pleas of lands, rents and tenements had to be tried according to the laws of England or the usage of the country If any burgess or merchant in Calais or the March were imprisoned or his goods seized on any pretext, such a man or his goods had to be presented to the company in order that the case might be tried before them by jury If this were between denizens, or between denizen and foreigner, and done within the franchise of Calais, it must be tried by denizens if between denizen and foreigner, and committed outside the franchise, by both denizens and foreigners in equal numbers, in which case the sovereigns of the place where the deed was done might be present if they so desired The mayors were given power to take recognizances of debts of all people, to make obligatory letters according to statute merchant, and to make execution of them according to staple law The town, échevinage and haven with all profits except those obtained from the mint, were handed over to the mayors, aldermen and burgesses in return for the payment of a fixed sum, 500 marks a year They were also granted forfeitures of staple merchandise, which had apparently been coketted but had not been taken direct to Calais, afterwards found in the town, and half such merchandise found elsewhere in the king's possessions (fn. 57)
The company was given complete control of lands and tenements, and no one could hold a tenement without its consent, and then he must be English. (fn. 58) Descent of property had to be in accordance with the law of England, "and if any alienation or devise by testament or infeudation be made to others than to Englishmen, be the same lands, tenements, and rents so alienated or devised seized into the hands of the said mayors and aldermen, to hold to them and their successors, to the common profit of themselves and of the burgesses of the community aforesaid" No land or tenement could be sold or leased except to Englishmen on the same penalty (fn. 59) The company could elect the bailiff and certain other ministers, (fn. 60) and change them at will The same franchises, quittances and immunities which were enjoyed by the citizens of London were granted to the mayors, aldermen and burgesses, together with those granted to merchants by the Statute of the Staple They were freed from all kinds of tolls upon their goods and merchandise throughout the king's realm and power, saving the usual customs and subsidies The letter ended with the promise that if the king failed in his word with regard to the above concessions "then the said mayors, aldermen and burgesses can safely depart from there with their goods and merchandises, without hindrance of us or of our heirs, and without bearing the charge of the farm, or of other things belonging to the said town, haven and échevinage, from that day forward saving always to us that if default be found after this time in the above mentioned things, it shall be quite lawful for us and our heirs by advice of our council to amend, repeal and adjust at our will, and if the said mayors, aldermen and burgesses will not assent to what shall be thus amended, repealed or adjusted, then it shall be quite lawful for them to depart with all their goods and chattels, women and children, out of the said town of Calais, and to return to England discharged of the farm and of all other charges of the said town from that hour forward, without challenge, hindrance or disturbance of us or of our heirs, or of our ministers whomsoever, on this side the sea or overseas"
A letter of the same date as the previous one released the governor and treasurer from the guardianship of the town, and commanded them to hand it over with all its belongings to the mayors and aldermen (fn. 61)
In spite of all these elaborate regulations the union of town and staple government did not last long. It seems to have worked unsatisfactorily The mayors and aldermen quarrelled with the other merchants, (fn. 62) and by the end of the year Edward III found it necessary to order the governor and treasurer to assemble mayors, aldermen, merchants and others whom they thought fit, in order that arrangements should be made until the king could devise a new form of administration In the early part of 1364 the governor and treasurer, together with Adam de Bury, three other nominees of the king, and those whom they thought suitable to join them, were appointed to assemble on the 1st March, (fn. 63) in order to survey the state of the town and the fortifications, to discover whether the mayors and aldermen had undertaken their duties faithfully, and to hear and terminate complaints against those officials The reason given by the crown for this step was that "by the very grievous complaint of the prelates, lords, and others of the commonalty of our realm of England, we have heard that diverse unsuitable impositions, customs and charges are put upon the wools and other merchandises of our said kingdom, by the said mayors and aldermen in the said town of Calais and several wrongs and grievances done to the merchants and others, who come to the said town for the cause of trading, to the great impoverishment of the peers and commons of our kingdom aforesaid"
M Daumet summarises the text of the resulting inquest, the original of which he has seen in the Public Record Office From this it appears that in addition to excessive impositions upon merchandise, the mayors and aldermen had issued troublesome rules, had concerned themselves with their own interests to the neglect of those of the king and townsmen, had raised taxes for their own profit, and had allowed foreigners to hold inns, with the result that the town had decreased in prosperity, that it had a bad reputation, and that if things were not altered both English and foreign traders would cease to congregate there The inquisitors stated that they could not prove whether the wrongs had been done by indi vidual members or by all, and could not value the damage done (fn. 64)
Soon after this the town council and staple were separated, and thus terminates the second period of the history of the municipal body After March there is mention of a mayor of the staple (fn. 65) and a mayor of the town (fn. 66) In July the treasurer was ordered to pay the wages of the mayors and aldermen from the 1st of March "to the time of the last ordination concerning the town of Calais made by us" (fn. 67) At the same time twenty-one merchants of the company of twenty-six were exonerated from all money received from the profits, the farm, and the imposition of 40d on each sack of wool ordained by the king and council, and from all kinds of transgressions against the king during the past year, (fn. 68) for £600 which the company paid over and above the farm, (fn. 69) but "those of the aforesaid aldermen who lately were ordained by us and our council to delay in the said town of Calais in the fortification of the same we will not in any way have excused" M Daumet suggests that the payment of £600 was the means employed by the mayors and aldermen to extricate themselves from their position after the charges brought against them in the inquest (fn. 70)
Details of a new municipal constitution are found in an ordinance of 1365 (fn. 71) It was decreed in that year that the council should consist of one mayor and twelve aldermen The mayor was given jurisdiction in all actions and complaints except those belonging to staple merchandise, which had to be settled by the mayor and commonalty of the staple, and he was made comptroller of the treasurer. One wonders to what extent he really enjoyed these powers, as the governor was endowed with the same authority The mayor must also have eight men sufficiently armed for the search-watch, and for the cost of these and for his own wages must be paid £200 a year Of the twelve aldermen one must be the marshal, and have a valet under him to summon the watch, the payment for himself and the valet being £20 a year, and another be the water-bailiff, taking "for himself and a valet guarding the high tower (fn. 72) £20 a year" Of the other ten aldermen six had to be "merchants of good renown," of whom one must be the mayor of the staple, and take for all cost £50 each a year, whilst the remaining four had to be "the more important burgesses," and take for all costs £40 each Each of these ten aldermen had to provide six men sufficiently armed for the search-watch Three of the six merchants mentioned in the letter were members of the company of 1363 Apparently the usual method of appointment of these officials was nomination by the king for an indefinite period, (fn. 73) although the corporation could appoint a successor to any alderman found inefficient, or who withdrew from his office A number of less important municipal officials and their wages were also specified in the ordinance of 1365. There had to be a recorder taking £20 a year, a common clerk taking 100s, two serjeants and fourteen valet porters for the mayor, the wages of the former being 40s a year, those of the latter 5d a day, eight valets for the scout-watch taking 6d a day, a valet day-watch under the mayor paid 5d a day, and a town crier paid 2d a day Also there must be two clerks under the treasurer, one "to receive the 4d on each sack entering the said town, and all the other tolls and customs on all manner of merchandise," and the other "to receive the 8d on each sack of wool going out," each to receive £10 a year These exactions were levied for the payment of the above mentioned wages and the works of the town and haven, and must not be confused with the ordinary customs and subsidies levied in England The assize of wine, ale and beer had to be received from denizens and foreigners as in times past The mayor and aldermen were freed from the 500 marks of fee farm specified in their previous charter, (fn. 74) because the revenues were taken into the king's hands
As time went on the judicial power of the mayor was more particularly defined Questions of lands and tenements were settled according to the English law and custom, other pleas and quarrels according to the law and custom used in Calais before that time (fn. 75) Cases arising between a merchant or officer of the staple and a burgess, unconnected with merchandise, were tried before the mayor of the town in the presence of the mayor of the staple, those connected with merchandise or debt, before the mayor of the staple in the presence of the mayor of the town (fn. 76) Apparently it was intended that trial by jury should be used The mayor appointed in 1370 was Adam de Bury, (fn. 77) and he retained the office until 1372 (fn. 78) Of the twelve aldermen appointed that year (fn. 79) one was made mayor and five were made aldermen in 1365, whilst one of the latter also had been alderman in 1363
The municipal council established in 1364 was the least independent of all the municipal bodies under Edward III's administration He apparently nominated its members, and took the control of taxation directly into his own hands, instead of leaving it in the hands of the representatives of the burgesses
In the parliament of 1372 the burgesses of Calais made numerous petitions to the king (fn. 80) They asked that they might devise freely by will to English people their lands and tenements as the burgesses in the city of London did, that property should only be inherited by English heirs, that each burgess should be inhabited in the town within a year and a day after he had made oath, and that no alien should become a burgess nor purchase a heritage They complained that several houses had fallen down and been destroyed, some of which had come into the king's hands, so that he had lost their rent and watches, and they petitioned that he would allow the lands, tenements and void places belonging to the king to be granted in fee by the captain and treasurer to English people for a reasonable rent They demanded that all houses should be granted on condition that the holders bore the charge of the watch, or did the watch themselves Edward III's reply to most of these requests was in the affirmative, but he declared that any true and loyal man could inherit by purchase or otherwise, whilst the demand that aliens should not become burgesses was ignored The further petitions made by the burgesses that they might buy and sell victuals and merchandise in England, Ireland, Wales, Berwick, Calais, and its march free from all kinds of exactions, and that they might have common pasture for their cattle in the échevinage between Calais and Wale, and Calais and Sangatte, Edward III declared should be granted if such were the case before the conquest The burgesses also asked that the king would hand over to them "the lands in the échevinage of Calais, and in the lands of Merk, of those who were sworn to him in time of peace, and now are turned and become his enemies in France, for the same rent and service that they bore anciently to their lords" The king's answer concerning this seems strange, "It is granted that they have the fishery, and all other profits belonging to the town in ancient times before the conquest" These petitions and answers were quoted in a letter to the ministers, and the answers were given the force of a decree
It appears that at this time the burgesses also demanded the restoration of Edward III's charter, except that the law of land and tenements might be as in the city of London (fn. 81) As that charter contained the ratification of the Countess of Artois' charter, they were evidently demanding a return to the state of affairs immediately succeeding the conquest, when the municipal council consisted of a bailiff, échevins and cormans Edward III therefore appointed a commission of five, amongst whom were the governor and treasurer, to consider the advisability of such a proceeding The request seems peculiar side by side with the anti-French petition concerning property, but perhaps it was merely a protest against Edward III's autocratic nomination of the chief municipal officials, and a desire to get back some share in their appointment
There seems to be no further information concerning the commission, but in 1376 the Calaisiens petitioned the king in parliament a second time (fn. 82) Almost all the demands of 1372 were repeated, including the request for the confirmation of the charter of the Countess of Artois, with the exception that the law of lands and tenements might be amended according to English law In addition they now demanded government by a mayor and twelve aldermen, instead of by a bailiff, échevins and cormans, with "the mayor at their election from one of the said aldermen as they do in the city of London," that the mayor might take £100 a year from the king, and bear the charge of six men for watch and ward as the aldermen did at that time, instead of taking £200 a year, and bearing no expense for watch and ward as mayors had done in the past, (fn. 83) that no burgess should be taken from the franchise for any plea by writ of the king or otherwise, that no plea of lands, tenements or of any other contract, civil or criminal, should be adjudged in any court except that of the mayor and aldermen, and that the mayor, aldermen and burgesses should have power to make ordinances for the good government of the town which should be considered firm and stable (fn. 84)
Letters of July and October, the one patent, the other to the burgesses of Calais, (fn. 85) with some slight alterations embodied almost all the answers to these petitions, and gave them authoritative force The first letter decreed that the town council should consist of a mayor and twelve aldermen The aldermen, who must be English, had to be elected by the burgesses from themselves as often as it was necessary, (fn. 86) and on election take an oath to the king Every year they had to elect a mayor from themselves, who likewise took an oath to the king on election All officers and ministers must bear their share of all costs for which burgesses were liable The mayor was given jurisdiction in all causes, civil and criminal, pleas of lands and tenements to be judged according to the law of England, other pleas according to the law henceforth used in the town, saving pleas between soldiers which must be settled by the captain, pleas between soldiers and burgesses which must be judged by the captain and mayor together, and staple jurisdiction In order to help the burgesses to bear financial burdens, "namely, in the maintenance of the mayor and aldermen and the other officers aforesaid, as in the repairing of the pavement and the common fountains and the gutters . . which need great reparation as we have learned," they were granted "the assise of bread, wine and beer, and the stallage of the drapers and butchers, and the toll for fixing stalls of other merchants there in the market place, and also the exits and amercements and other profits arising from our court held before the said mayor and aldermen, . . saving always to us and our heirs fines for blows, spilling blood, escheats, and all lands, tenements, goods and chattels there confiscated" The mayor and aldermen were exonerated from the watches of six armati and archers which were due from each of them by virtue of their offices, on condition of course that they did the watches due from their tenements
The second letter included almost all the contents of the first, and further decreed that burgesses could devise their lands and tenements by will to English people as in London, that they could buy victuals in England and the March of Calais and take them to the town free from toll and custom, that questions of lands, tenements, debts or other contracts should not be tried by any other court than that of the mayor and aldermen, except by way of error, or unless the quarrel concerned the king, and that no alien or anyone unless he was English could become a burgess without special permission from the king It is noticeable that Edward III did not grant to the mayors, aldermen and burgesses the power to make laws In spite of this omission, however, the fact remains that by the year 1376 the principle of self-government had been introduced into the administration After a period of twenty-nine years the burgesses had gained the right to elect their representative body
A few words may be said here with regard to the finance of the town There were various sources of revenue There were the taxes levied by the municipal council, the rents from the land and houses, the profits from the mint and exchanges, and various other sources, such as the customs duties mentioned in 1365, and the profits from the municipal court mentioned in 1376 On the assumption that all the revenue obtained was used for expenses in connection with the administration, the town was unable to support itself In 1363 certain forfeitures of staple merchandise were granted to the mayors, aldermen and burgesses When the company of twenty-six merchants was dissolved there was mention of a tax of 40d levied at Calais on each sack of wool, which appears to have been levied "for repair of the said town" (fn. 87) In 1363 the Commons petitioned in parliament against this tax, which was an extra impost over and above the usual customs and subsidies, on the plea that it was used to enrich the merchants of the staple, (fn. 88) but it was evidently continued until 1365, for in that year the Commons again petitioned in parliament that it might be removed (fn. 89) In the same year and later reference was made in parliament to the large sums of money which had been used for the town (fn. 90)
Many regulations were made with regard to the coinage Soon after the conquest the king appointed a certain William de Salop as warden of the mint, (fn. 91) with power to make the assay of the money as often as was necessary. In 1348 the moneyers were ordered to coin silver money corresponding with that made in England, (fn. 92) but in the next year Edward III informed the captain and council (fn. 93) that they might give orders for the coining of such money as they thought advisable
In 1363 fresh regulations were made In the early part of that year an exchange of money, gold and silver plate, and broken silver was set up at Calais, (fn. 94) and as a result a certain Adam de Saint Ive of London, who had been granted the farm of the exchanges of England, was released from part of the farm, because "profit which used to arise of the exchanges in England is rather taken at Calais to the king's use" The letter of the 1st March establishing the staple company ordained that the master of the mint should be chosen by the king and council, that the mayors and aldermen could appoint the wardens and changer, and with the assent of the governor and treasurer remove them if found guilty of default, and that the master, wardens and changer must be laymen The same day an indenture was made between the king and a certain Henry de Brisele, (fn. 95) witnessing that the king had made the latter master of the mint, and embodying certain regulations The master had to coin gold and silver money agreeing with that coined in the Tower of London There must be three kinds of gold money, nobles, half nobles and ferlings, valued at 6s 8d, 40d, and 20d each, respectively, and four kinds of silver money, groats, half groats, sterlings and mailles, valuing 4d, 2d, 1d, and half a steiling each, respectively Of every pound of gold by weight four ounces had to be coined in nobles, six ounces in half nobles, and two ounces in ferlings of nobles, of every pound of silver by weight three ounces must be made in groats, four ounces in half groats, four ounces in sterlings, and one ounce in mailles, and "for the common profit," each year one hundred pounds of silver by weight had to be made in silver ferlings, four of them worth a sterling The coinage had to be tested every three months before the governor, treasurer and two mayors, in the presence of the wardens and master, who must notify the king and council in England what was the result This did not satisfy Edward III however A part of each kind of money thus tested must be sent under the seal of the above officials to England, and again tried before the king and council The king undertook "to cause proclamation to be made once every month in the town of Caleys and the échevinage forbidding any man, rich or poor, for any sort of merchandise great or small, victual, labour or aught else, openly or privily to receive or pay any money but the king's money made in the said town on pain of losing the value thereof and his body at the king's will, or to bring to Caleys or the seigneurie round about any sort of false or counterfeit money on the same pain, the informer to have one third of money found counterfeit" The charters of liberties previously granted to the moneyers were confirmed, and the master took oath before the king's council to do his duty, finding mainpernors before the governor and treasurer of Calais for 1,000 marks to recompense the merchants who took gold and silver to the mint Three days after this indenture the officers of the exchanges were given privileges similar to those of the officers of the London and Canterbury exchanges (fn. 96) They must not be placed on assizes, juries or any recognitions, if guilty of wrong doing they must be tried by the master and wardens, except with regard to pleas belonging to free tenement and the crown, and they must be free from all taxation upon themselves or their property in England or Calais
The regulation that no money should be used except that which was specified was evaded (fn. 97) In June Edward III informed the company that people had made "subtle exchanges of moneys, so of our kingdom of England as of other parts, with money made in the said town of Calais," ordered a proclamation to be issued that this must be stopped, and stated that he was going to appoint a commission to make a scrutiny and that after eight days from the proclamation all money not made in the town would be cut in two parts and returned to the owners A few days later the treasurer and master of the mint were ordered to execute this, (fn. 98) but to leave enough money in the hands of travellers to take them where they wished to go
The next year lending for interest was prohibited, (fn. 99) the reward for anyone who brought an offender to law being the fourth penny of what was forfeited as punishment In that year too (fn. 100) the king complained that although he had established a mint and caused the coinage to be made like that of England for the advantage of the merchants, the merchants were selling their goods "by way of loan, without paying anything of gold or silver," in order to destroy the coinage "Seeing how the moneys of gold and silver, which are much better than the moneys of other countries, are from day to day taken and carried out of our kingdom because of the gain of the merchants, and if no bullion of gold and silver be taken to our coinages our said kingdom will be destitute within a short time of moneys," all men buying wool and other merchandise of England, Wales and Ireland, sold in Calais or taken outside it, had to take a certain amount of bullion, assessed on the quantity of goods bought, to the mint, sufficient security to be taken from buyers by the survey of the treasurer and master of the mint, before the mayors and aldermen The treasurer and master of the mint had likewise to see that the merchants bartering "wools of simple price or refuse of wools" for other merchandise took bullion to the coinage (fn. 101)
In 1365 (fn. 102) a proclamation was ordered to be made to the effect that no one must exchange money except with known merchants and for trading purposes, after which no ordinances concerning fresh regulations for the coinage were made throughout the reign Indentures made after 1363 between the king and the master of the mint (fn. 103) corresponded in all important details with that made between Edward III and Brisele in 1363.
With regard to religious matters The town was situated in the diocese of Thérouanne (fn. 104) At the time of the conquest there were three churches, (fn. 105) those of St Mary, St Nicholas and St John or Maison Dieu, the two latter of which had hospitals attached, and a house of Carmelite Friars (fn. 106) During the period of repopulation "all the Calais chaplains and clerks" were driven out, (fn. 107) "on account of the peril which might happen from them," and it was decreed that two chaplains should be ordained as priests of the churches At the same period (fn. 108) certain dwellings kept vacant by the departure of their original holders, were granted to the Carmelite Friars for the extension of their premises In 1351 a house of Augustinian Friars was established, (fn. 109) a habitation in mortmain being granted to them in the parish of St Mary, on condition that they should not cause any houses to be thrown down there without the consent of the captain and treasurer, and that the prior provincial of the order in England should place only English friars in the monastery
As the town was situated in a French diocese it is not surprising that there was friction between the king of England and the bishop of Thérouanne In 1372 Edward III presented a certain Geoffrey de Westwyk to the church of St Mary (fn. 110) Two years later we find the king complaining that owing to the war between France and England the bishop had not yet confirmed his nominee, Geoffrey de Westwyk being afraid to approach the bishop on the subject, "on account of fear of death" Edward III therefore ordered the captain, treasurer, mayor and aldermen to hand over to his protegé all the fruits and issues of the church, which had been seized into the king's hands owing to the war, and to allow him to collect such in the future, until he had obtained the church "canonically and pacifically," on condition that he did his duty faithfully as pastor
Various religious bodies had considerable rights There were "rents and services due to the church and the hospital of St Nicholas," (fn. 111) rents and profits due to the Abbot of Boulogne and the Master of the Charterhouse of St Omer, (fn. 112) "a quit-rent to the Masendewe," (fn. 113) and a yearly rent of 107s 3d due to the Carthusian convent of St Omer, (fn. 114) all which profits apparently were drawn "from the common purse as from the other lands and tenements" In 1352 Edward III decreed that the Carmelite Friars should receive a grant "of 20 marks yearly of the king's alms to be taken by the hands of the treasurer of the town" (fn. 115)
The church was prohibited from acquiring more land than it possessed at the conquest The retention of what it held at that time was guaranteed by the Treaty of Calais, (fn. 116) but in 1363, 1372, and 1376 alienation in mortmain of land and tenements was forbidden (fn. 117)
The arrangements for defence were twofold, those dealing with the food supply, and those dealing with the fortifications Every facility for exporting food stuffs from England to Calais was given When free export of corn and victuals was forbidden, licences were granted to take them to the town, or it was exempted from the regulation (fn. 118) Provisions were bought and purveyed in England, (fn. 119) and dispatched to a special officer deputed to receive them, the receiver or keeper of the victuals (fn. 120) In spite of all the care taken to keep a good supply of provisions there was a shortage of corn in the summer of 1355, (fn. 121) for in July of that year an order addressed to the sheriffs of London, and the mayors and bailiffs of a large number of other towns, commanded "proclamation to be made that all merchants and others who have any corn and especially oats, and wish to sell it, shall bring the same with all speed to Calais, where there is now a great scarcity of corn, and where they will find numerous buyers and prompt payment, as the king has learned that there is a great scarcity of corn and especially of oats at Calais, whereby a great peril may come to the town"
Great efforts were made to keep the fortifications in repair, and to defend them properly Soon after the conquest it was decreed that all people except those who had the liberty of the town, or who were employed in its fortifications, should pay on entering or leaving a tax of 3d, one penny for murage, and the remaining two pennies for the repairing of the harbour (fn. 122) The king bought and purveyed materials such as timber, lime and stone for the works, and stones for the war machines, as he bought and purveyed victuals for the inhabitants (fn. 123) It is certain that some of the war machines at least were discharged by means of gunpowder, for in 1363 there is mention of "attilium pulverum" (fn. 124)
No one who was an inhabitant could be a member of the garrison, "lest the soldiers there should be overwhelmed" (fn. 125) How many men constituted the garrison is unknown When Robert de Herle was made captain of the town in 1351, there were in his retinue alone ten knights, forty-nine esquires, and sixty archers on foot, (fn. 126) in that of John de Beauchamp (fn. 127) in 1356, nine knights, forty esquires, and thirty archers on horseback When Henry Lescrope was made captain of the town and castle in 1369, (fn. 128) it was ordained that there should be in his company (fn. 129) or retinue forty-nine men-at-arms and fifty archers His wages should be 4s, those of "forty-one esquire men-atarms" 12d each, and those of the fifty archers 6d each a day It was decreed at the same time that a knight of the captain's company must always remain in the castle with fourteen of the men-at-arms and twenty archers, and the remainder be at the disposition of the captain, over and above eighty men-atarms, two hundred archers, and the retinues of the mayor and aldermen of the town already in the garrison The captain and his men, together with those remaining on garrison duty during war, were granted the gains of war as they were accustomed in times past The captain and his men-at-arms were granted also the accustomed regard
From time to time persons were appointed to supervise the fortifications, (fn. 130) to see that they were well supplied with victuals, to take sufficient security from the men of the garrison that they would remain at their posts, to remove those found to be inefficient, and to imprison deserters
In connection with the defence of the town the watch of the burgesses should be mentioned, and the part played by the great staple when established there, which consisted in the provision of a number of men-at-arms and archers by each staple merchant, amounting in all to one hundred swordsmen and two hundred archers, (fn. 131) to act as a guard when the captain had withdrawn the usual garrison on a hostile expedition
In addition to the land defences there was also at the beginning of the reign a small fleet of seven ships stationed in the harbour, (fn. 132) under the control of the captain of the castle
One of the greatest benefits that Edward III. conferred on the town was the establishment of staples In 1348 "certain men" of Calais persuaded the king that it would be to his own and the town's advantage if the staple for cloth was set up there, and accordingly a grant of a staple for cloth, feathers, tin and lead, to last for a period of seven years, was issued on the 5th of April (fn. 133) This was not pleasing to the English people, and before the end of the year they complained that it was injurious to the king and themselves, and petitioned for its removal So on the 1st of December Edward III summoned the men, or at least four of them, by whom he had been encouraged originally to fix the staple at Calais, to come to London in the ensuing February, and show him and his council the advantage accruing to himself and the town from the staple, and what that advantage was likely to be in the future, "wishing to be done what might be of more advantage so to us and the said town of Calais as to our same people" Already he had attempted to conciliate his subjects by granting special licences to take goods elsewhere, (fn. 134) but apparently the result of the February conference was the removal of the staple, for licences cease after the 1st of April, 1349
When parliament met in 1362 (fn. 135) part of its chief business was to discuss whether Calais, "which belongs to our said lord the king, and where he has full jurisdiction, would be a good and suitable place for the wools and residence of the merchants" Complaint was made that previously when the staple had been in the dominions of a foreign power, the wools had been greatly reduced in value owing to misdeeds and outrages perpetrated on English subjects, which could not be remedied because the king had no authority, and also owing to the feebleness of the money received for the goods, and the unsatisfactory exchanges The lords gave their opinion "that the said town would be a good and suitable place, if it were inhabited with good merchants and well governed And the knights of the shires examined on this matter before the lords said that they had spoken to several merchants about the matter, of whom some said that the repair would be good for the said town, and others the reverse And therefore they prayed that they might be excused from saying one or the other, since knowledge of that matter lay with merchants more than with any other And so this article remains pending the opinion of and agreement with merchants and others" From a letter to the mayors and aldermen two years later (fn. 136) it appears that all merchants advised the fixing of the staple at Calais
Accordingly on the 9th of February, 1363, (fn. 137) an ordinance was made by the king and council complying with this advice It was decreed that the town should be the staple for wool, woolfells, leather, cloth, tin, lead, worsted, cheese, butter, honey, feathers, felt, woad, grindstones, sea coal, "and other merchandise whatsoever, except namely lead which we will to be retained in our kingdom for a certain time, and tin and cloths, which if they be not taken to the said town of Calais, we will permit to be carried to the parts of Gascony, and to other parts in the west and south subjected to our dominion, and not elsewhere" Both aliens and natives might export As a check to evasion of the decree all ships-masters and merchants taking staple merchandise out of the kingdom, must take oath in the presence of the collectors of customs in the ports assigned for export, that they would take their goods to Calais, and obey the mayors and aldermen in all things Letters patent, indented under the coket seal had to be made, one part of which must remain in the hands of the collectors of customs, and the other be delivered to the mayors and aldermen by the ships-masters
The words "other merchandise whatsoever," lead to the supposition that there was an attempt at this time to accomplish some new enterprise, and to make Calais the sole mart for all English exports whatsoever, with the two exceptions mentioned above The evidence on this point is unsatisfactory In April, (fn. 138) horses, falcons, woollen and linen thread, and in May, (fn. 139) wine, corn, beer, animals, flesh and fish, were forbidden to be taken from the kingdom without special licence, the commons having petitioned in parliament that the latter commodities, that is the food stuffs, might remain in the kingdom (fn. 140) A prohibition of the unrestricted export of so many articles, together with the fact that there is no mention of Calais either as the sole mart for these commodities, or the only place to which licences could be issued, seems to contradict the statement that the town was the staple for all exports from England Moreover in July (fn. 141) the men of Sandwich and the sea coast near, complained that Flemish traders importing victuals had ceased to export chalk, lime, brushwood, tan, bacon, pigs, and honey to their own land, because of the ordinance, "to the damage of the men of the coast aforesaid" The Flemish traders were allowed to continue exporting these goods, " as by the coming of the men of Flanders great advantage and profit arose, whereof the whole country of the said coast had great part of their living, and the goods aforesaid are not among the merchandise specified in the proclamation to be taken to Calais, nor was it the king's intention that the passage of goods of small value should be restrained by colour of the proclamation" (fn. 142) On the other hand next year Calais is again referred to as the mart for "all wool, hides and other merchandise" (fn. 143)
The staple was restricted in two ways, by the granting of licences to take staple goods elsewhere than to Calais, (fn. 144) and by the prohibition of export of some of those goods without licence, which meant that a licence would be required to take them to the staple The first restriction of the latter kind was the one with regard to woollen thread, which apparently included worsted, mentioned above (fn. 145) A further restriction was the result of the petition of the Commons against the exportation of food, for in October (fn. 146) aliens and natives were prohibited from taking red herrings, cloth, corn, malt and beer out of the kingdom without special licence, except "cloths of worsted, and other narrow cloths by merchants of Germany to Germany, and herrings and certain woollen cloths by the merchants of Gascony bringing wines to England, to whom it shall be lawful to buy herrings and cloths below or up to the value of their wines which they shall have led thus into England, having made oath that the herrings and cloths thus bought by them are being taken to Gascony and not elsewhere" This was a serious reservation, for whilst now cloth could be taken to Germany and Gascony under certain conditions without licence, it could only be taken to the staple with one. (fn. 147) Later, merchants wishing to take cloth from the county of Devon to Gascony could do so without licence (fn. 148) In 1367 (fn. 149) a further regulation was made with regard to cloth It was decreed that no native should take worsted cloth, and that no native or alien should take sea-coals, millstones or felware outside the kingdom without special licence, except only to Calais
It has already been shown how after the location of the staple at Calais the government of town and staple was put into the hands of the two mayors and twenty-four aldermen, how the mayors and aldermen quarrelled with the other merchants, and how in 1364 owing to a complaint of the English people that those officials had been putting extortionate impositions upon staple merchandise, Edward III appointed a commission to enquire into the matter, with the result that the municipality and the staple each came into existence as a separate body From the details in connection with all this it is obvious that there were two divisions of merchants bringing goods to the staple, the actual merchants of the staple, that is the staple company, and the merchants who were not of the company, but under its control It does not transpire whether the company, although not known as two mayors and twenty-four aldermen, still numbered twenty-six after 1364
The ordinance of 1365 which described the new municipal constitution laid down certain regulations about the staple (fn. 150) The mayor of the staple must have cognizance of all quarrels touching the staple He must take as wages £40 a year, and for his regard what was decreed by the staple company from their own goods or the profits of their court, without any tax upon merchandise for the purpose. The wages of all staple officials except those of the mayor had likewise to be paid from court profits, and the constables had not to be paid more than they had formerly received at Bruges All officials must be appointed and dismissed by the company John de Norfolk was appointed by the king as searcher of forfeitures, (fn. 151) his wages being 12d a day, and Richard de Cayton was elected by the merchants as weigher of wools for the usual wages The wools had to be weighed "in the house near the moneyage, which house was ordained and directed for that cause at the commencement of the staple there, on account of peril of fire, and for several other reasonable causes" Four Lombards were mentioned as correctors of wools for the men of Lombardy (fn. 152)
Further details of the staple are recorded in a letter patent of the succeeding year (fn. 153) The company was given free election yearly of all its officials, including the mayor and two constables, the three latter to be chosen from the company, and to have recognition in all pleas concerning staple merchandise between merchant and merchant The company must have a gaol to guard prisoners, or otherwise hand them over to the gaoler of the town, who must "find sufficient security to them concerning replying for those prisoners at the mandate of the same mayor and constables" The mayor could receive recognitions of debts of merchants or others, in the presence of one or both of the constables, who must do execution with regard to the recognitions according to the ordinance of the staples The merchants of the staple could sell all their merchandise and other possessions wholesale, but not retail or by parts The mayor and constables had power to grant houses necessary for the households and merchandise of the merchants of the staple, from merchants and burgesses, in the staple court, by the common consent of merchants specially elected for this purpose
In 1367 (fn. 154) it was ordained that wools which had to be weighed on the suspicion that they were not properly coketted, should be weighed before the treasurer and the mayor of the staple, and the defects be certified in chancery under the seals of those officials (fn. 155) and the searcher of forfeitures The same year (fn. 156) Edward III promised that the English merchants of the staple should be free from the custom and subsidy on all cloth sent to Calais, to be used for their own and their servants' livery Evidently merchants of the staple wore a distinctive dress
In this year too there were dissensions between the merchants of Lombardy and the merchants of the staple (fn. 157) The former complained that from the time of the establishment of the staple at Calais, certain of their number, together with certain of the latter, had been brokers, but that now a number of the English brokers were preventing their Lombard fellow officials from doing their duty Edward III commanded the governor, treasurer and mayor of the staple, or two of them, to end the dispute if possible, but if they were unable to do so to send the parties to Westminster, where the king and his council would settle it, in which case each party would be under the penalty of £200
The customs and subsidies payable on staple merchandise were collected at the English ports from which the goods were shipped, (fn. 158) specified by the letter patent of 1363 as those towns assigned for export by the statute of the staple The customs fixed by that statute (fn. 159) were 6s 8d on each sack of wool, 6s 8d on every three hundred woolfells, and 13s 4d. on each last of hides, for natives, and 10s, 10s, and 20s, respectively, for aliens The subsidies varied From 1363 to 1365 they were 20s on each sack of wool, 20s on every three hundred fells, and 40s on each last of hides, (fn. 160) from 1365 to 1368 40s, 40s, and 80s, respectively, (fn. 161) and from 1368 to 1369, 36s 8d, 36s 8d, and 80s, respectively (fn. 162)
In 1369, (fn. 163) on the petition of parliament, the staple was removed from Calais, on account of the risk to the goods at sea, as a result of the renewed outbreak of war with France
As early as 1370, (fn. 164) however, the mart for wool, woolfells and leather was set up a second time, although it seems to have been removed the next year (fn. 165) After Whitsuntide in 1372 (fn. 166) it was re-established, and apparently remained until the end of the reign (fn. 167) How far these staples of 1370 and 1372 were staples for other exports besides the three chief products of England is not quite clear Together with the various petitions made in parliament by the Calais burgesses towards the end of 1372, (fn. 168) was one that wools and other little merchandise might "be sold there and not elsewhere, for when the staple was entire at Calais, and the captain made any chevauchée upon our enemies, the mayor of the staple made watch within the said town with about a hundred swordsmen and about two hundred archers of the merchants and their servants, who do not take any wages of the king And now they are gone to the great peril of the said town" The same request was made in the petitions of 1376 (fn. 169) It was decreed in reply to the first petition that the mart for wools, woolfells and leather should be there "as shall please the king, and of the remainder be as has been accustomed before this hour," which appears to have authorised a return to the state of affairs before 1369 (fn. 170) In reply to the second petition it was ordained that the town should be the mart for wools, hides, woolfells, lead, tin, cloth called worsted, cheese, butter, feathers, woad, honey, felperie, and tallow (fn. 171) It is evident that both demands requested measures against the infringement of the staple, which seems to have been a particular evil at this time In 1373 the Commons protested in parliament against it, (fn. 172) and in 1376 (fn. 173) one of the charges against Latimer and Lyons in the impeachment of those ministers, was, that together with a number of privy councillors, they had persuaded the king to grant licences to export goods elsewhere than to Calais, and had levied extortionate impositions to their own profit on those taking out such licences
In December of 1376 there is again a reference to Calais as the staple for all exports from England, with the exception of a few specified articles (fn. 174) An ordinance was made to the effect that all merchants, native and alien, exporting the above mentioned articles, "and other merchandise whatsoever," except woollen cloths made in England, dried herrings, grindstones, sea coals, corn and logs of wood, must take their goods to Calais and not elsewhere
M Daumet shows that in 1376 the staple organization was established on the same lines as it had been previously An ordinance of July renewed the privileges granted formerly to the company, and granted others Amongst the latter, power was given to the mayor and constables to make ordinances which they judged necessary for good order, and to fix with the common consent the tax to be paid upon goods entering the mart, (fn. 175) which must be used to pay the wages of the employees All the members of the company when going to Calais were exempted from personal tolls collected at Dover, and from taxes upon bread, wine, beer and other victuals bought for their own consumption at Calais An ordinance of December confirmed that of July, with the addition that all traders going to the town were excused from personal tolls at Dover It was also specially decreed that Italians could buy wools in the town and take them to Italy, after giving security that they would not sell them in Flanders, or in any other country this side the mountains, (fn. 176) so that the privileges of English merchants might be safeguarded in the north-west of Europe