Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Originally published by Harrison, London, 1875.
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THE OATHS OF THE COMPANY.
["Perhaps there is not a better measure to be taken of what is the natural and proper business of antient officers than what is compendiously and significantly expressed in the oaths which have, with great care and wisdom, been formed and instituted for them to take."—Lord Somers, in the Banker's Case, 14 Sta. Tri., p. 63.]
The Oath of the Master of Marchaunt Tailors at his first admission into the Office. (fn. 1)
You shall swear that you shall be true liegeman to the Kinge our Sov'reign Lord and to his heires Kinges of England. Yee shalbe good and trewe unto the M'ntailors of the Fraternitie of Saint John Baptist of London whereof yee be nowe Ruler and Governor and weel trewly and indifferentlie rule and governe all the Brethren and other persons of the said Fraternitie and Mistery being under your obeysaunce. for your tyme to your power, and yf there be any complaint made unto you by any person or persons of the said Mystery or by any other person or persons of other Misteries and Crafte, or else by Forreyn's Denizens or straungers against any Brother of your said Fraternitie or against any personne under your said obeysaunce you shal (fn. 2) doe your best endeavor wisely and discretely to examyne the matter of complaynt with the advice of the Wardens being in Office with you and of other of the Assistants of the said Mistery by you thereto to be called (it need require) that the matter of variaunce and complaint with the consent of the parties if they will be thereto agreeable be duly and truely examined and determined. And that no favor nor partialitie be shewed to neither party, otherwise than right, equity and good conscience asketh as far forth as God shall give unto you grace You shall keepe and mayntaine to your power all the lawful Acts and Ordynaunces made ratified and confirmed by the Right Honorable the (fn. 3) Lord Chancellor of England and the twoe Chief Justices of the King's Bench and Court of Common Pleas, according unto the authority granted to them by the Act of Parliament. And all the breakers of the same you shall as farre as justly you may, correct and punish with the advice of the said Wardens and Assistants according to the qualitie and quantity of his offence and the fynes and amerciaments ordayned and made for the said Breakers you shall do your endeavor to be levied and raysed and all other duties belonging in common (fn. 4) by the Wardens and other Officers of the said Mystery as often and when as need shall be without a reasonable cause be had to the contrary upon the payne that is contayned in an ordynaunce therefore made. Also you shall unlesse you have just cause of absence keepe your quarter daies fower tymes in the yeare and at fower principall termes in the yeare. You shall paye your (fn. 5) Officers within your Com[m]on Hall and poore Almesmen as it is nowe lawdably used. (fn. 6) All these premises and all the good Rules and Ordynances made for the said Mystery and ratified after the forme aforesaid, you shall well and trulie doe your best endeavoure to keepe, mayntaine, and observe to your power, whilest you stand in Office as neere as God shall give you Grace, Soe helpe you God and this holy Evangelist.
Yee shall sweare that ye shall be true liege men to the Kinge our Sov'reign Lord and to his Heires Kinges of England. Yee shalbe good and trewe to the M'ntailors of the Fraternitie of Saint John Baptist of London whereof yee be now Wardens, and well truly and indifferently rule and governe with the Maister all the Brethren and all other persons of the said fraternitie and Misterie for your tyme to your power, and yf there be any complaynts made unto you jointly or severally to any of you or to the said Maister by any person or persons of the said Misterie of what estate, degree or condic[i]on he be of or by any other person or persons of other Misteries and Crafts or else by Forrayn'es, Denizeus or Strangers against any person of your said Misterie, Yee shall doe your best endeavoure, with the advice of the Maister, or his Deputy in his absence, wisely and discreetely to examyne the matter of complaynte and the same to determyne, and that noe favour nor partialitie be shewed to any partie otherwise then right, equitie and good conscience asketh as fareforth as God shall give you Grace. Also yee shall see that all the good Ordynaunces, Acts and Rules of late made and ratified by the Noble Lords aforenamed in the Maisters Charge and Oath to be observed and kept and that the Maister and you truly and indifferently as farr as justly you may correct & punish all those persons that bee breakers of the same, and that you doe your best endeavour to raise and levy the amerciaments, fynes and all other duties pertayning to the com[m]on profitt of your said Misterie in honest manner, of all them that come not to Quarter daies (fn. 8) and other Assemblies or any other cause concernynge the worshipp and com[m]on profitt of the same Misterie yf a reasonable cause be not had to the contrary. Also yee shall make true search through the Cittie and the franchesies thereof once or twice a yeare at least and oftener (if it be thought convenient by the Maister to the said Misterie) to viewe and oversee what forreyn'es or Apprentices not presented, worke within the franchesies of the said Cittie and for other defaults, if any happen to be founde and used contrary to the good rules and ordynaunces of the said Misterie to the intent that a due redresse and punishment may be executed according to the qualitie or quantitie of the offence or trespasse. And also that all the Revenues growinge of the Lands pertayning to the said Misterie and cominge to the Maisters hands this yeare and all and all manner of payments by him paid and laide out to and for the use of the said Misterie be truly by your Clarke for the tyme being written, and that you doe your best endeavoure to see a true reckoning made thereof by the Maister to the Company at the day of his accompt. And that yee see that the Quarter daie be kept ffower tymes in the yeare, and at fower principall termes in the year, unles some speciall cause of impedement doe fall out to hinder the same. The (fn. 9) Officers and Almesmen of the said Misterie you shall see to be paide within your com[m]on Hall and the Almesmen to be paide within the Almeshouse or com[m]on Hall by the hands of one of you or else by the hands of the Clarke or Beadle with the oversight of one of you as hath bene of olde tyme and nowe used and accustomed. And that yee be present with the said Maister or his said Deputy in your Lyvery to you to be assigned (fn. 10) when and as often as yee thereof shalbe informed by the said Clark or Beadle. Also at all tymes when neede shall require you shall give your attendance and personally be present with the Maister as well within this your com[m]on Hall, as in every other place within the said Cittie for matters and causes pertayning to the com[m]on profitt and worshipp of your said Company and to see and help as much as in you is the same performed without a reasonable cause be shewed to the contrarie. All these premises and Articles afore rehersed well and truly on your behalf to be observed. Yee shall keepe and mayntayne to your power as nigh as God will send unto you Grace. Soe help you God.
Yee shall sweare ye shall be true liegemen to our Sov'reign Lord the Kinge and to his heires Kinges of England Ye shall at all tymes when yee be sum[m]oned by the Beadle or required by the Maister and Wardens or by one of them, be present in your proper person with the Maister and Wardens of the said Mysterie, be it in the Com[m]on Hall of the same, or in any other place for necessary matters, causes and business concerning the weale and worshipp of the said fraternitie without you have a cause and a reasonable lett to the contrarie and yett that lett to be shewed upon your Oathe, that it is true, if you be thereunto lawfully required, and at all such tymes when yee be present, ye shall give the best advice and counsell that yee can in all things that shall concerne the weale worshipp and com[m]on proffitt of this fraternitie, And yf you knowe anything of ill that shoulde redownde or sounde to the infamy, slaunder, disworshipp or hurte of this said fraternitie, yee shall doe the Maister, Wardens or other worshipfull Assistaunts and Counsellors of the said Misterie to wete thereof, and to your power yee shall see it retormed and amended. Also in all matters and causes which shall be propounded and alleddge before the Maister and Wardens between parties which should be pacified and determyned before them & by the said Assistants whereof yee are one nowe admitted Yee shall give after your wisdome and discrec[i]on your opinion and sentence according to troth and good conscience not sparing any man for favour affection or love nor hurting nor hindering any man for mallice or hate but equally and truly ye shall beare and behave you in all causes and matters betweene partie and partie according to equity, indifferency, and good conscience. And all the lawful secretts and counsells of this Misterie be it in matters and causes belonging to the said fraternitie or matters and causes between party and party, you shall keep it secrett and close to your selfe without any utteraunce or disclosure of the same secretts to any person, but yf he be one of the saide Counsell admitted, (fn. 11) all these points and Articles concerninge the said Mystery recited and rehersed concerning this your present charge and Oath you shall on your behalf well and truly observe and keepe and therein well and truly behave you as nigh as God shall give you grace, Soe help you God.
Yee shall sweare that yee shall be trewe to our Sovereign Lord the King, and to his heires, Kings of England: You shall be good and true Brother unto the Merchant Taylors of the fraternitie of St. John Baptist of London whereof you are now a full Brother admitted; yee shall not from henceforth withstand nor disobey the sum[m]ons of the Maister and Wardens of the said fraternity, for the time being, at such time as yee be summoned, without a reasonable excuse be had to the contrary. Also, yee shall not discover the lawful councils of the said ffraternity and mystery, that should be kept secret within yourself; you shall come to the Quarter Daies (fn. 12) and other Assemblies for the worshipp and profitt of the said fraternitie, as often and when as yee shall be thereunto lawfully warned or else to pay for every time being absent, without a reasonable excuse be had, such penalty as is according to the effect of an Ordinance thereof made. Yee shall not withdraw your person in time to come, being in good health and within this Citie, from the Feast, kept yearely about Midsummer, and holden at the Com[m]on Hall of the said fraternity, because you would not bear the Office, Room and Charge, of the Maister or of a Warden of the same fraternity. (fn. 13) Also yee shall not use customably any unlawful things nor ungodly usages, that should be against good conversations and honest condic[i]ons; that is to say, yee shall be no com[m]on rioter, com[m]on dice player, com[m]on night walker, nor use the company of untrue jurors, nor customably haunt uncovenantable places, whereby, & through whose ungodly demeanõr and ill rule, the said fraternity and mystery might be brought into great infamy, slander and rebuke; & if you know any Brother of the said fraternity that hath offended in any of these points before rehearsed, yee shall warn the Maister or Wardens thereof, that they with the advice of the Assistants or the more part of them, there to be called, may, after their wise discretions, ordain a convenient and lawful remedy for the reformation of the said misdemeanors and ill doings, as of charity they ought to do to their Brother. You shall keep to your power all the lawful ordinances and acts, now ready made within your said fraternity, as far as shall concern or belong to your charge. (fn. 14) All these points and all the articles above specified and rehearsed, as much as in you is, you shall well and truly, on your behalf, keep & observe to your power, as near as God shall send you grace. So help you God.
Yee shall sweare ye shall be true to our Sov'reign Lord the King and to his heires Kings of England. Yee shall be good and trewe unto the M'ntaylors of the ffraternity of St. John Baptist in the Citie of London whereunto yee be nowe admitted. Ye shall not withstand or disobey the summons of the Maister and Wardens of the said misterie for the tymebeing by theire Officer therefore assigned but to the same Maister & Wardens yee shalbe obedient and obeysaunt at all tymes without ye have a reasonable and a lawfull excuse. Yee shall not discover the lawfull counsell of this ffraternity or mysterie that ye shall have knowledge of which should be kept secrett within yourself. Yee shall not conceale any fforreyne using the handicraft of Taylory or Merchandises to dwell within the Franchises of the said Cittie but as soone as ye know it ye shall warne the Chamberlayne of the same city thereof or some Mynistere of the Chamber that he may doe due correc[i]on therein as belongeth to his office to doe. Ye shall cover no forreyne in anywise under your own franchises to your profitt and singular advantage of the said forreyne upon the payne that is conteyned in an Ordynaunce thereof made. Yee shall take no fforreigne covenaunt man into your service but onely of your owne mistery such as have well and truely served as apprentices seven years within the said Cittie, or else apprentices duly bound without fraude or male engine. (fn. 15) And att the beginning of theire termes or before yee shall bring them to this place and them present before the Maister and Wardens according to the Ordinances and here the Indentures to be made. And every such apprentice ye shall cause to be enrolled within the first yeare of this terme as the custom asketh. (fn. 16) Ye shall not entice nor withdrawe any man's apprentice or Covenant Servant till that reasonable departing be made betwene the Maister and the Servant. (fn. 17) These points and all other good rules and Ordynances made and to be made not repealed nor reversed you shall obey, keepe & mayntaine to your power as neer as God shall give you grace. Soe help you God.
Ye shall sweare that yee shall be trew to our Sov'eigne Lorde the Kinge and to his heires Kings of England, yee shall be good and true Brother unto the Merchaunt Tailours of the Fraternitie of St. John Baptist of London whereof you are now admitted Clerk, ye shall not discover the lawfull counsell of the said fraternitie which you shall have knowledge of and should be kept secrett within yourself. You shall not write, nor deliver any Act or Ordynaunce or other president made within this misterie for the good regiment & profitt of the same to any person of another mystery within this Cittie or without, but if it be with Lycence, Will and Consent of the Maister, Wardens and Assistants for the tyme being nor no manner of writing, booke, escript, Scrowe nor Evidence, ymbeasell out of this present place upon the payne as they will assesse upon you. Ye shall be obedient unto the Maister and Wardens for the tyme being in all things concerninge the com[m]on weale of this fraternitie. Ye shall be ready with the Wardens at all manner serches profitable business and needful errands for the politique advantage of the said fraternity when ye shall be thereto assigned. Ye shall truly and diligently inform the Maister and Wardens for the tyme being of all manner Ordinances, Constitutions and Statutes made in this fraternity and misterie which of late were confirmed by the noble Lords aforenamed as farr forth as ye shall have knowledge of, at all tymes needfull and behoofull, that the said Maister and Wardens run not into errors (fn. 18) through your negligence. You shall truly to your knowledge enter the names of all the Brethren of this Fraternity that come not to the Quarter dais (fn. 19) and other assemblies when they be summoned by the commaundment of the Maister & Wardens and enforme them in writing of all those persons that come not and make default in their apparaunce, and to help to your power yf you be thereto commaunded to gather and levy the amerciaments of the same according to the Ordynaunce thereof made. Ye shall duly enter into your Books all the Receipts received by the Maister to the use of the said fraternity. And all manner payments made by the said Maister for the tyme being to the (fn. 20) Officers, Almsmen & of all quitt Rents, (fn. 21) Reparac[i]ons & all other casual payments & expences to & for the necessary causes of the said fraternitie. And of all the said Receipts & Payments you shall engrosse & make a true reckoning and accompt in writing & the same shewe & declare to the (fn. 22) [Maister, Wardens and Assistants of the said fraternitie for the tyme being] or the more parte of them assembled for that purpose, openly in the Com[m]on Hall in the day of the yeelding up of the Maister's Accompt. Ye shall once or twice every year while ye stand in Office, declare the wills and compositions of all the Benefactors of the said Fraternitie at quarter dais holden in the presence of the Maister and Wardens & the whole body then assembled. And yf the Maister and Wardens for the tyme being would desire you to compile or make any new Acts or Ordynaunces which should grow to the disworshipp of the said fraternitie, ye shall lett it as far forth as ye may And yf you may not then, ye shall warn the most substantiall & wysest persons of the Assistants which have experience and wisdome to lett & adnull the same. Thus shall ye behave you well & truly to the said Companie as nigh as God shall send you Grace. Soe help you God.
You shall knowe no forraine to occupy within this mystery contrary to the ordynnances thereof made, nor Ryotor, Robber, night walker nor slaundered person of the said fraternity abyding within this Citty and liberties of the same, but that ye shall shewe the names of them as soone as yee have knowledge thereof to the Mr and Wardens for the tyme being, to the intent that the party so using himself through theire wholesome counsell and good advertisement, may the sooner be reformed and reconciled to grace. You shalbe ready at all tymes while you stand in office, to goe with the Wardens or with the Clarck, at all manner searches and all other needefull errands pertayning to the common proffitt of the said fraternitie as you shalbe thereto called or assigned. Ye shall doe all manner sumons and warnings within the said fraternity or mistery, without any Penny receaving for your labour, whether it be betweene party and party of the same mystery or else betweene Maister and apprentice or servant, except of every stranger complayning of any person of this mistery, for your sumons doing fower pence.
Ye shalbe ready to search all manner distresses, fynes, debts, amerciaments and all other duties belonging to the said fraternitie which are and shall be assigned to gather and receave, and the same so gathered or receaved you shall bring in and make thereof a true relacion and accompt unto the Mr and Wardens of the said mistery for the time being, or else to the Clarck of the same, of all the said Receipts which shall remayne in your owne hands, unto the tyme that the Maister hath discharged you of all your said Receipts. In all these points and all other busines that belongeth to your Office of Beadle to be done, well and trulie you shall beare and behave you to the honor and worship of this ffraternity, as nigh as God shall give you grace. So help you God.
The Oath of the ffower Wardens substitutes of the Bachelors Companie. (fn. 23)
Yee shall sweare that ye shalbe true leige-men to the Kinge our Sov'reign Lord that now is and to his heires Kings of England. Yee shalbe good and trewe unto the M'ntailors of the Fraternitie of Saint John Baptist of London whereof yee are now admitted and elect as Wardem substitutes of the Batchelers company of the same fraternitie and the same Office to exercise and therein doe, under such manner and forme as the Maister & ffower Wardem with the advice of the more parte of the worshipfull counsellors and assistaunts of the said fraternitie will that ye shall doe for the good of the companie. Yee shall not withstand nor disobey the sum[m]ons of the Maister and Wardens of this misterie for the time being by their Officer therefore assigned but to the same Maister and Wardens ye shalbe obedient and obaysaunt at all tymes convenient and covenable without ye have a reasonable and lawful excuse to the contrarie. Ye shall make no gatherings, assemblies, congregations, nor conventicles (fn. 24) amongst yourselves nor knowe none to be made that should sound or redownde unto the reproach, infamy or prejudice of this fraternity in tyme to come. But that your said assemblies for your four quarter daies and other your necessary causes and business shall be kept and holden in this present place, onely for which gatherings & Assemblies Licence shalbe afore asked by you of the said Maister and Wardens and by them the daie and tyme assigned you and they or some of them to be present at the same. Ye shall make your Dynner or repast for the Batchelers Company in this said place in the day of the decollation of St. John Baptist such as the Maister and Wardens with the consent, will and agreement of the said Assistants will be agreeable unto. And at the said Dynner or repast ye shall doe, elect and choose the same four Wardens substitutes and none other as the said Maister, Wardens and Counsellors afore have admitted in your bill indented. Also yee shall not permitt, nor suffer the sixteene men called the Assistaunts to the Wardens substitutes of the Batchelors company from hence forth to make any election for wardens substitutes in tyme to come, nor enter into any Grant chargeable to your said Company secretly nor openly whether it be for almesmen, overseers or any other cause, but it it be done with the will, consent and agreement of the said four substitutes or three of them at the least. Also yee shall doe your best endeavõr to raise and levy the americaments, fynes and all other duties pertayning to the com[m]on profitt of the said Batchelors Company in honeot manner of all them that come not to quarter daies or any other cause concerning the com[m]on weale of your said Company a reasonable excuse be not had to the contrary. And of the breakers of the same yee shall certify the Maister and Wardens thereof that they may doe due correction therein as belongeth to their Office and authoritie to doe. Also ye shall keepe and fulfill to your power all such lawful Acts and Ordynaunces of late made, ratified, approved & confirmed by the Right honourable the Lord Chancellor of England the Lord Treasurer of England and the two Chief Justices of the King's Bench and Court of Com[m]on Pleas accordinge to the authoritie of an Act of Parliament heretofore made. All these premises and all the good rules and Ordynaunces made and ratified, after the manner and forme abovesaid you shall doe to be observed and kept on your behalf as much as in you is, while ye stand in Office as neer as God shall send you grace. Soe help you God.
You shall swere that you shalbe trew to or Sov'eigne Lorde the Kinge and to his Heires Kings of England and also good and trewe to the Marchaunt Tailors of the fraternitie of Saint John Baptist of the City of London. Ye shalbe obedient to the Maister and Wardens of the sayd Crafte or Mistery for the tyme beinge, and also to the said Wardens Substitutes for the time being in all things concerning the Com[m]onwealth of this Misterie. Ye shall also (if yee be be somoned or required by the Officer thereunto assigned by the Maister and Wardens or by the Wardens Substitutes or by any of them) be p'sent in your own person with the said Maister and Wardens or Wardens Substitutes be it in the c[i]oen Hall of the said fraternitie, or in any other place for the needful and necessarie matters, causes or busynes conc'ning the weale, profitt or worshippe of this said Misterie without you have a cause of reasonable let to the contrary. And yet that let to be showed upon your othe to be trewe, if you be thereunto lawfully required. And at all tymes, when ye shalbe p'nte with the said Wardens Substitutes you shall give your beste advice and co'ncell that you can or that your wit will s've you to the uttermost of your power in all things that shall conc'ne the weale and worshippe of this fraternitie. And if you knowe any thinge of evill that shulde redownde or sounde to the infamy, disworshippe or hurte of this said mistery, ye shall diligently do the Maister and Wardens or other of the worshipfull Assistants of the same Mistery to witte thereof, for a reformãcon in the same to be hadd. And also such causes and matters as shalbe alledged or brought before the Wardens Substitutes and yowe, betweene p'tie and p'tie; You shall diligently and truly reporte and p'sent the same fully and holly to the Maister and Wardens of this Mistery for the tyme beinge, not sparyng any man for favor, affection or love, n'r hinderinge, nor hurtinge any p'sone, for malice or hatred, but equally, truly and indifferently, in your said reports betwene p'tie and p'tie ye shall bear and behave yorself and all lawfull co'ncells and secretes of this Mistery, be it matters or causes beloninge to this Misterie or any other thinge, that ought to be kept secrete ye shall kepe it secrete and close to yorself, without any utterance or disclosynge of the same secretes to any p'son but the Maister or Wardens or one of the said Co'ncell admytted. And all things touching the common weale of the same Mistery under the said Maister and Wardens for the tyme beinge and by their sufferance, leave and Licence ye shall do and procure to the uttermoste of your power. And you shall to your power see that th' accompts of the c[i]oen goode of the same fraternitie shalbe made yerely appertly, openly [&] playnly before the Maister and Wardens for the tyme beinge, or some of them, and the hoole body of the said fraternitie. All these points and Articles befre recited and rehersed unto you conc'ninge this your p'nte charge and Othe, you shall on your behalf obs've and kepe the same as nighe as God shall gyve you Grace, Soe helpe you God.
All which Acts, Ordynaunces and Oaths in manner and forme specified at the request of the said Maister. Wardens & Fellowshipp of the aforesaid Misterie of Merchaunt Tailors by the authoritie of the same Act of Parliament Wee the said Lord Chancellor and Chief Justices of either Bench aforesaid have examined & the same Ordinaunces and every of them, for good, lawdable and lawful Ordynaunces and Statutes do accept and admit and by these presents as much as in us is ratifié, lawd and approve provided alway and foreseene that these Ordinances within this Booke expressed or any of them in no wise extend nor be prejudicial or hurtful to the Kings Prerogative neither to the hurt of any Graunt or Grauntes by the King or his Noble Progenitors beforetime made to the City of London or any other or any lawdable customs, now used in the same Citie. And in case any Article or Articles in this booke expressed be prejudicial or hurtful to the Kinges Prerogative or to any Graunt by the Kinge or his noble Progenitors made to the said Cittie of London or any other or to any lawdable customes above expressed then the same Article or Articles and every of them so being prejudicial or hurtful as is above said shall in that point be voide, cassate and of none effect anything by us the said Lord Chancellor and two Chief Justices in this behalfe done or made notwithstanding.
In witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names and put to our Seales the fourth day of May in the Eleventh Yeare of the Reign of our Soveraigne Lord James by the Grace of God King of England, France & Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c., and of Scotland the six and fortieth. 1613.