The Aldermen of the City of London Temp. Henry III - 1912. Originally published by Corporation of the City of London, London, 1908.
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THE LANSDOWNE MS. LIST OF ALDERMEN, 1285–1320.
In the Lansdowne MS. 558 (British Museum) there is a list of Aldermen of each Ward (except Cornhill, which is omitted), for the period between the Iter of 1285 and that of 1320. No dates are given, but the names appear to be intended to be arranged in chronological order. There are some differences between these lists and those given in the preceding pages of this work, but in almost every instance the evidence of the attendances recorded in the Letter Books and of the attestations to deeds enrolled in the Court of Hustings shows that the Lansdowne MS. is in error, and reduces its authority to a minimum in the one or two cases of discrepancy where the proof is not so overwhelming.
The MS. has been quoted as an authority by Mr. Loftie, Mr. Riley and others; I have, therefore, thought it desirable to point out the evidence on which I have felt myself justified in disregarding it. There can, I think, be little doubt, that it was compiled to a great extent from memory without first-hand official documents whereby to correct it. Indeed it is difficult to see how such a list could be made out with accuracy except by a thorough examination and comparison of the Letter Books and Husting Rolls for that special object—a somewhat lengthy and arduous task which has apparently never before been undertaken.
The earliest known lists of Aldermen with the names of their respective Wards belong to the period covered by the Lansdowne MS. list. They are found respectively in (i.) Letter Book A, fo. 116 [Dr. Sharpe's Calendar, page 209] (ii.) Letter Book C, fo. 6 (xxx.) [Calendar, page 12] and (iii.) Letter Book E, fo. 104 b [Calendar, page 124]. Dr. Sharpe has printed all of them as an appendix to vol. i. of his Calendar of Wills (Court of Husting) pp. 702–704. The date of (ii.) is June 16, 1293 (Tuesday before St. Botolph, 21 Edw. I.): that of (iii) is 1319–20; it relates to the sums levied on each Ward towards the twelfth voted by Parliament to the King in 1319 and immediately follows the entry of a writ addressed to the Assessors and dated January 28, 1320. The earlist list is undated; it probably should be assigned to the year 1285, and certainly to somewhere between October, 1284 and March, 1287, this being proved by the fact that the predecessors of T. Box and M. Box who are named in it as Aldermen of Walbrook and Cornhill respectively were acting at the former whilst J. de Northampton, who appears as Alderman of Aldgate, had been succeeded by W. de Hereford before the latter of these dates. [In his footnote to Letter Book A, p. 11, Dr. Sharpe has inadvertently given February, 1286 as the date in H.R. 17 (22); it should be March 3, 1287 (Monday after St. Matthias, 15 Edw. I).] In all the three lists the Alderman of Portsoken is given as "Prior of Holy Trinity" without his personal name. The earliest list gives all the Wards, that in Letter Book C omits the Aldermen of Billingsgate and Cheap; that in E, Broad Street. Aldgate is called "Alegate" in all, as was usual at that time; Langbourn is written "Langeford" in the first, Broad Street is "Londingberi" in the first, "Lotheberi, now called Bradestrate" in the second. Farringdon is "Lodgate" (or Ludgate) "and Neugate" in the two first, "Farndon Infra" "Farndon Extra" in the third.
Another list of Aldermen (without the names of their respective Wards) appears on a scrap of parchment preserved at the Exchequer ("Q. R. Ancient Miscellanea 188/7"); it is undated and contains 21 names, omitting the Prior of Holy Trinity and two other Aldermen. It clearly belongs to the period between January and June 1293; the names given (with some variations of spelling) are those of S. Eswy, H. le Waleys, J. de Banquell, R. de Basing, W. de Hereford, W. le Mazeliner, J. de Canterbury, M. Box, R. de Rokesle, R. le Blund, W. de Farndon, J. le Blund, W. de Betoyne, T. de Estanes, J. de Gisors, H. le Bole, E. Russell, A. de Foleham, R. Eswy, T. Box, W. de Finchingfeld. The Aldermanries of Billingsgate and Langbourn appear to have been vacant. The names correspond with those elected on June 16, 1293, as given in the list in Letter Book C, except in the absence of any Aldermen for these two Wards, and in the inclusion of T. Box and W. de Farndone who are there replaced by J. de Dunstaple and N, de Farndone.