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.
This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.
XL. DOCUMENTS FROM THE TOWN CLERK'S OFFICE.
Med q'd die Sabbatti xx die Octobris. Ao RRs Henr' Sexti xxjo cu' q'd Carta p'q'sita fuisset p' M. & Custod' Art' Scisso' London' ȝa lib'tes t' Consuetud' Civitat' t' exp'sse ȝa tenore Magne Carte ej' Civitat' Et Maior t' al' Aldr ej'd' Civitat' p' dict' Carta, repellend' misissent Dno Regi t' Cōcilio suo Recordatorē Civitatis ad int'im suspendend' execuc[i]one Carte p'dict' Dns Rex Brē suum misit Rob't Clopt' Maior, ad exequend' om'es Articulos Magne Carte Civitats no[m] obst' Cart' Scisso' p'dict'. (fn. 1)
[Memorandum: Quòd die Sabbatti vicesimo die Octobris, Anno Regni Regis Henrici Sexti vicesimo primo, cùm quædam Carta perquæsita fuisset per Magistrum et Custodes Artis Scissorum Londonensium. contra libertates et Consuetudines Civitatis, et expressè contra tenorem Magnæ Cartæ ejusdem Civitatis; et Major et alii Aldremanni ejusdem Civitatis, pro dictâ Cartâ repellendà, misissent Domino Regi et Concilio Recordatorem Civitatis:—ad interim suspendendum executionem Cartæ prædictæ Dominus Rex Brevem suum misit, Roberto de Cloptone, Majori, ad exequendum omnes Articulos Magnæ Cartæ Civitatis, non obstante Cartâ Scissorum prædictâ.
Be it remembered, that on Saturday, the twentieth day of October, in the twenty-first year of the reign of King Henry 6th, when a certain Charter had been earnestly sought by the Master and Wardens of the Craft of Tailors of London, contrary to the liberties and Customs of the City, and directly contrary to the purport of the Great Charter of the same City; and the Mayor and other Aldermen of the same City had sent to our Lord the King and his Council (fn. 2) for the rejection of the said Charter, the Recorder of the City:—in order to suspend in the meantime the execution of the aforesaid Charter, our Lord the King sent His Order in Council to Robert Clopton, the Mayor, to put in force all the Articles of the Great Charter of the City, notwithstanding the aforesaid Charter of the Tailors]
Isto die Mag'ri & Gardian' Mister' Pellipar' & Cissor' cū q'mptribȝ alijs p'bis hom'ibȝ utriusqȝ Mistr' comp'miser' se stare jud'o Rob'ti Billesden Maio' amp; Aldro' Civits London, sup quod'm mat'ia contrv's inter eos penden' qui quid'm Major' & Aldr'i reddiderūt Jud'iū p' mat'ia p'd'c'a pacificand' forma seqn: (fn. 3)
Be it remembred, that where there hath been of late a variaunce & contav'sie moeved & had betwene the Maist', Wardeyns & Feolaship of the Skinn's of the Citee of London on the one p'tie, and the Maist', Wardeyns & Feolaship of Taillors of the same Citee on that other p'tie, for the roume & place in their going afore in p'cessions wtin the same Citee; And for ceasyng and pacifiyng thereof the said Maist's, Wardeyns & Feolashipps of both the said p'ties the xth day of Aprill, the first yere of the Reign of Kyng Richard the iijde, of their free willes have comp'mitted and submitted theym self to stonde and obey the Rule and Jugemēt of Rob't Billesdon, Mair, and thaldremen of the said Citee of London: Whereuppon the said Mair and Aldremen, the day and yeere abovesaid, takyng uppon theym the Rule, direccion and charge of arbitremēt of and in the p'misses for norishing of peas and love betwene the Maisters, Wardeyns and Feolashipps aforesaid, the which ben ij grete & wirshipfull membres of the said Citee, by thassent and aggremēt of the Maist's and Wardeyns of both the said Feolashipps have adjugged and awarded in the forme that foloweth: First, that the said Maist' and Wardeyns of Skynn's shall yerely desire and pray the said Maist' and Wardeyns of Taillors to dyne wt theym atte their Com[m]on Hall, in the vigill of Corp' Xp'i, yf the same Maist' and Wardeyns of Skynn's than make an open Dyner; And that the said Maist' and Wardeyns of Taillors so praied shall yeerely dyne, then and there wt the said Maist' and Wardeyns of Skynn's aforesaid wtowte a reasonable excuse had; Also, it is awarded and adjugged that the said Maist' and Wardeyns of Taillors shall yeerely desire and pray the said Maist' and Wardeyns of Skynn's to dyne wt theym, in the Fest of the Nativitee of Seint John Bap'te, if thei there than kepe an oppen Dyn' at their Com[m]on Hall; and that the said Maist' and Wardeyus of Skynn's so praied shall yerely dyne than and there wt the said Maist' and Wardeyns of Taillors aforesaid, wtoute a reasonable cause, &c. Moreov' to sette aparte alman' occasions of strif and debate which hereaft' myght fall betwene the Maist's, Wardeyns and Feolashipps aforesaid, for the rowme & going in p'cessions, as it is above rehersed; it was awarded & jugged by the said Mair & Aldremen, the day and yeere abovesaid, that the said Maist', Wardeyns and Feolaship of Skynn's shall goo in all p'cessions before the said Maist', Wardeyns and Feolaship of Taillors, from the Fest of Easter, next comying unto the fest of Easter than next ensuyng; And that the said Maist', Wardeyns and Feolaship of Taillors, from the same Fest of Easter than next ensuyng, shall goo in all p'cessions before the said Maist', Wardeyns and Feolaship of Skynn's, for a yeere, fully to be complete; And so ev'more the Maist', Wardeyns and Feolaship of Skynn's for to have the p'emynencie of going afore in p'cessions one yeere, and the said Maist', Wardeyns and Feolaship of Taillors to have the p'emynencie of goyng afore in p'cessions another yeere, begynnyng the yeere alwey in the Fest of Easter; p'vided alwey that as ofte as hereafter it shall hapne any Aldreman of either of the said Feolashipps to be Mair of this Citee of London, by reason whereof the Feolaship of the same Mair shall, after the old Custume of the said Citee, goo afore all other Feolashipps in all placs wtin the said Citee duryng the tyme of the Mairaltie of the Mair so chosen, yt the same going afore all the same tyme be not accompted for any yeere of going afore by this awarde or juggemēt; But that the same of the said ij Feolashipps, which had by this Ordenaūce the p'emynence of going afore in p'cessions, from the Fest of Easter next afore begynnyng of the said Mairaltie have like p'emynence from thende of the said Mairaltie to the Fest of Easter than next folowyng, in p'forming of his hole yeere, and from thensforth to kepe thordre above appoynted.
Where late the Wardens of the Skynn's exhibited to the Court a Bill of Compleynt agenst the Mayst' & Wardens of M'chantayllōs, recytyng by the same an Ordynaūce made in the Mayralt' of Mr Byllesdon, for thorderyng of the seyd ij Crafts in goyng in p'cessions; and surmytted also in their seyd Bill that the seyd Ordyrn'nce was to be understand of oonly in goying in p'cessions, and at noon other gen'all goyings or assembles, which Ordyrn'nce red, herd and rypely understand by this Court, was clerely int'p'tyd & declared that the true meanyng & intent of makyng of the seyd Ordeyrn'nce was understand of not oonly for goyng in p'cessions, but also for rydyng, goyng or metyng in & at all other assembles: And thereupon the seyd Wardens had in comaundet by this Court, that they and their succ' from hensforth shuld use and ex'cise the seyd Ordyrn'nce according to the seyd int'p'tac'on & declar' by this same Court made and det'-myned. (fn. 4)
In the mat' of cont'v'sie dependyng in this Court betwe'n Reynold Newyngton, ye which by his Bill of petc[i]on desyreth to be t'nslated from the Mister' of M'chanttaylors to the Mister' of M'cers, yt apperyth to this Courte, uppon thanswer of the Mr and Wardeyns of the seyd M'chantaylors, that the seyd Reynold, of his own free wyll, was openly sworn uppon the Holy Ev'ngelists in their Cōen Hall, before the Mastr & Wardens then beying of the same Craft, that he, duryng his lyff, schuld abyde & contynewe stvll oon of the same Felyship, wtoute t'nslatyng, or in eny man' wijse to be ch'unged or made fo eny other Craft wtin the seyd Citie. Yt ys thought by this Court that the seyd Othe ys exp'ssely agenst the lib'ties of this Citie, & that the seyd Mr & Wardens shall adnulle & putte oute the seyd Clause of their Boke, & from hensforth no more to use yt; to the which they were then well agreeable. (fn. 5)
Also this Courte was enfõmed that div'se & many Yong Men, Tayllors of this Citie, go aboute the same idelly, & have no werk to occupye theym selfes therewt, wherefor the Wardens of the Tayllours nowe here p'sente have the comaunde to make diligent serche amongs all the Company who they be that be so idell; and farthermore to make diligent serche what foreyns wtin this Citie do sette a werk eny Tayllors to werk wtin their houses, and to bryng in their names to this Court on Tewesday next. (fn. 6)
This day John Robinson, (fn. 7) Citizen and Marchauntailor of London, being convented to this Court by the Mr and Wardens of the Company of Mar chauntaylors for refusing to take upon him to be one of the Wardens of the said Company, being by them elected according to rule and order, or to submit himself to pay his fine. And for his obstinate and wilfull refusing heere in Court to accept of the aforesaid Office, or to yeeld to pay his fine, in contempt of the good Rules and Ordinances of his said Company and of this Citty, and to the p'nicious example of other offenders in the like kinde, was therefore by this Court com[m]itted to the Prison in the Gaole of Newgate, there to remayne untill he shall conforme himself. (fn. 8)
This day, upon a complaint made unto this Court by the Master and Wardens of the Company of Merchantaylors against Richard Walton, a Member of their Company, for that the said Richard Walton, being capable and duly elected, refuseth to take upon him the Clothing of the said Company, and to pay the usuall fine upon such occasions, the said Richard Walton pretending himselfe exempted from the juris- dicc[i]on of the said Company, being by Trade a Distiller, and haveing been since admitted and sworne to the Company of Distillers: It is notwithstanding ordered by this Court, that the said Richard Walton doc, according to the Custome of this Citty, complye and yeild all due subjecc[i]on to the said Company of Marchantaylors, whereof he is a Member, and cannot be discharged without the free consent of the said Company. (fn. 9)
This day Mr. Cõen Serjeant, in presence of Mr. Sherriffes, and also of the Citizens imploied to inspect & examine the late Poll taken for the Election of Lord Maior, acquainted this Court with severall objections that had bin made upon the Scrutiny agt divers persons who voted in the sd Poll, & he thereupon propounded severall questions to be considered of and determined by this Court: Which this Court taking into consideration, having first read a paper presented by some of the sd Citizens to answear the sd objections, and haveing also heard Councell to some of the perticulers, a question was put (after long debate, and a previous question put and carried in the affirmative, whether this should be the question), Whether such of the Company of Merchant tailers call'd upon ye Livery as have not taken the Oath required in that case by the Constituc[i]ons of the Company, are good and lawfull Liverymen. And it was carried in the negative, that they are not good and lawful Liverymen. (fn. 10)
This day appeared before this Court the Master, Wardens and Assistants of the Company of Merch'taylõs, upon ye complaint of the Wardens and 16 Men of ye Yeomandry of the said Company; and after a long heareing of ye complaint of the said Wardens and 16 Men of ye Yeomandry, for not sweareing the said Wardens, to enable them (as was suggested) to regulate abuses in the Taylors' Trade, as also of the defence made by the said Mr, Wardens and Assistants of the said Company, by Councell learned in the Law, on both sides: This Court being fully satisfied that the said Wardens and 16 Men have bin of late altogeather useless, and only a charge to the said Company, were of opinion that the Mr, Wardens and Assistants of the said Company of Merch'taylors ought not to be obleiged by this Court to sweare the said foure Wardens of the Yeomandry. (fn. 11)
This Court being highly sensible that severall persons free of the Companyes of this Citie (amongst others) are called upon the Liveryes of their respective Companyies, who have neither Estates nor Abilities to take the Cloathing upon them, which proceedings tend not onely to ye impoverishmt of them & their famelyes, but is alsoe at last a charge & burthen to the Companyes to which they belong; It is now Ordered for the future, that noe persons be called to take upon them the Cloathing of any of the Twelve Companyes unless they have an Estate of a Thousand pounds; And that noe persons be called to take upon them ye Cloathing of any of the inferiour Companyes, unless they have an Estate of Five hundred pounds. (fn. 12)
Upon hearing the Complaint of the Master and Wardens of the Company of Merchant Taylors against Michael Bland, one of their Members, for refusing to take upon him the Livery of the said Company, This Court being informed that he hath eight young Children, and is but a poor man, doth think fit to discharge him of the said office. (fn. 13)
The Complaint of the Master & Wardens of the Company of Merchant Tailors against John Kidd, a Member of their Company, who was chose on the Livery by the said Company, for refusing to take on him the said Livery, being heard, and the said Mr. Kidd here in Court being sworn, declared he was not worth One thousand pounds, his debts paid. Whereupon it is ordered, that he be at this time discharged from the said Livery. (fn. 14)
Upon application to this Court (the Merchant Taylors' Company) by Messrs. Francis Cooper, Robert Wilsonn, Geo. Dance, Robt. Purnell, and John Smith, 5 Liverymen of this Company, desireing that they might be allowed the liberty of inspecting the body of the Bye-laws which have been enacted for the governmt of this Company, and that the Clerk of this Company might be ordered to transcribe for them such of the said Bye-laws as they should, upon inspecting ye same desire, on their paying him a reasonable gratuity for the same.
The Court signified to them, that tho' this Court will not deny any reasonable request, yet that as this application is an unusual one, the Court think proper to take time to consider of it, & will return them an answer ye next Court.
Ordered that a state of the Case be prepared & the AttorneyGeneral's Opinion taken how far this Court is obliged or it is reasonable for them to comply with the request delivered to the Court, and that the state of the Case be communicated to the Master and Wardens, and they to sum[m]on the Assistants to advise with them thereon, and that such opinion as is given be also communicated to the Master and Wardens, and by them to the Assistants previous to ye next Court.
Upon reading the Opinion of the Attorney-General (fn. 15) on the Case laid before him, pursuant to the directions of this Court, touching the constitution of this Company under their Charter of Henry the 7th, and the power exercised by the Master and Wardens in making Bye-laws, and the validity of the particular Byelaws for Election of Master and Wardens, and how far the present Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants were obliged by law, or in point of prudence should comply with the request lately made to this Court by five of ye Members upon the Livery to have a sight of all the Bye-laws of this Company and copys of such of them as they may require; and upon consideration had of the said Opinion given by Mr. AttorneyGeneral, that by the Charter of Henry the 7th, the name of the Corporation was changed, & that for the future the Master and Wardens became the Corporation & had good power to make Bye-laws and Ordinances, and that the particular Bye-law of 1613 (for election of Master and Wardens) is a good law & binding on the Members, and to be observed; and that it is not advisable for the Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants to comply with the request of some of ye Members to do anything in derogation of its authority, which has been supported by usage long enough to presume a Bye-law, if none appeared in writing, and that as the usage goes so far back as stated before that law, it is sufficient to presume one before, or perhaps even a Prescription time out of mind, as the Fraternity appears to have acted as a Corporation before the Charter. This Court is of opinion that the request of the 5 Members of the Livery of this Company, made on the 20th of Decr last is not proper to be complied with, and that when they are acquainted with the opinion of this Court it be signified to them at the same time that the Members of ye Livery shall not be without due notice of the contents of any Bye-law which they are required to observe, and that the Clerk of this Company hath the permission of this Court to produce the Index of the Bye-laws, to ye end that if the Members of the Livery will specifie the Bye-laws the contents whereof they desire to be informed of, the Clerk may return an account thereof to this Court, who will then consider how far it may be advisable to comply therewith.
This day the humble Petition of John Smith, Francis Cooper, George Dance, Robert Wilsonn and Robert Purnell, Liverymen of the Merchant Tailors' Company, was delivered into this Court, and read in these words:
That your Petitioners having severally been called upon by the Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants in the said Company to take upon them the Livery, they have all paid to the said Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants the fine or sum of 30l., being, as your Petitioners were informed, the Livery fine of the said Company:
That by the Charter granted to the said Company by King Henry VII., in the 18th year of his reign, power was given to the Master and Wardens to make Bye-laws for the better government of the said Company: and your Petitioners have been informed and believe that some set of Bye-laws have been since made by the said Master and Wardens, in pursuance of such power, which Bye-laws your Petitioners humbly apprehend as well concern the Livery and Commonalty of the said Company as the said Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants:
That the said Bye-laws are not anywhere enrolled as your Petitioners have been able to discover; and although most of your Petitioners have been a great number of years on the said Livery, yet they have never had any opportunity of seeing the said Bye-laws, or hearing the same read:
That your Petitioners being fearful of ignorantly offending against any of the said Bye-laws, your Petitioners, in the month of December last, did jointly apply themselves to the present Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants, desiring that they might have the inspection of the body of the Bye-laws of the said Company, and that the Clerk of the said Company might copy out such of the said bye-laws as your Petitioners should desire, on their paying him a reasonable gratuity for the same, which request of your Petitioners the said Court desired time to consider of:
That after many applications on the part of your Petitioners for an answer to their said request, your Petitioners have lately received a paper from the Clerk of the said Company, which appears to be a Minute of a Court held the 22d day of April last, and in which is set forth, That the Court is of opinion that the request made by your Petitioners is not proper to be complied with; but your Petitioners should have notice of any Bye-law before they were called upon to observe it, and that the Clerk of the said Company had permission from the said Court to produce to your Petitioners the Index of the Bye-laws, to the end that in case your Petitioners should specify which of the Bye-laws they desired to be informed of the contents of, the said Clerk might return an account to the Court, who would then consider how far it might be advisable to comply therewith.
Your Petitioners humbly pray, that the said Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants may be directed by this Honourable Court to show and produce to your Petitioners, or their agents, the said Bye-laws of the said Company; and that your Petitioners may have Copies of such of them as your Petitioners shall desire.
Whereupon this Court doth appoint Tuesday the 16th in stant to hear the matter of complaint on the said Petition; and it is ordered that the Master and Wardens of the said Company of Merchant Tailors, as also the Petitioners, do then attend the Court for that purpose.
This Court proceeded, according to the order of the 2d instant, to hear the matte of complaint in the Petition of John Smith Francis Cooper, George Dance, Robert Wilson and Robert Purnell, Liverymen of the Merchan Tailors' Company, against the Master, Wardens and Assistants of the said Company, as well as the said Petitioners; attending according to the said order, they were all called in, and the Petition was then again read; and the said Master and Wardens being required to answer the same, they did deliver into this Court a paper writing, signed by their Clerk, by their order, which the prayed might be read as their answer to the said Petition, and the same was accordingly read, in these words:
The Master and Wardens of the Merchant Tailors having received an order of this Court, requiring their attendance the day, and being desirous on all occasions to show their great regard and due respect to this Court, do attend accordingly.
And with deference to this Court, saving to themselves as to the subject matter of the Petition mentioned in the order of this Court, all rights by their several Charters from the Crown, confirmed by Parliament or otherwise, in them vested, they say that in the affair mentioned in the Petition of five of the Members of the Livery of their Company, they the said Master and Wardens have hitherto, as they apprehend, acted according to law, and pursuant to the advice of His Majesty's Attorney-General as Counsel, and hope this Court will not interfere between them and their five Members, in which the Merchant Tailors' Company will endeavour to act agreeable to their Charters, with reasonable regard to any proper application of their Members; and with submission they apprehend that nothing to contrary appears in the transactions with their complaining Members, on their own state of the affair duly considered.
And some debates arising thereon, all the said parties were ordered to withdraw, and they withdrew accordingly. This Court, after debating the matter, doth resolve, That it is their opinion that the several Companies, Guilds, Fraternities, Misteries and Societies within this City, are by custom and prescription under the regimen, government and orders of this Court, and doth adjourn the further consideration of the said Petition and Answer till this day fortnight, when all the said parties are hereby ordered to attend again; and in the meantime this Court doth recommend it to the said Petitioners to apply to the said Masters and Wardens to see the Index of their Bye-laws in the Petition mentioned, and to demand copies of such of them as they shall desire
This Court proceeded to take into their consideration the matter of the Petition of John Smith and others, complaining of the Master, Wardens and Assistants of the Company of Merchant Tailors, pursuant to the order of the 16th instant; and Mr. Town Clerk acquainted this Court that this morning he received a letter from Mr. George North, the Clerk of the said Company, which he produced in Court, and the same was read, purporting in effect, that he was directed by the Master, Wardens and Court of Assistants of the Merchant Tailors' Company, to acquaint the Town Clerk that the five Members of their Livery, the Petitioners to the Court of Aldermen, having, according to the Minute of the Court of Assistants of the Company of the 22d of April, mentioned in the Petition, inspected the Index of the Bye-laws, and specified, in a note by them signed, the particular Bye-laws they required to see, the said Mr. North had the orders of the Court to permit the said five Members to hear read and have copies of the Bye-laws specified in the note by them delivered: the case being thus, it was apprehended the attendance of the Master and Wardens was not necessary; they therefore, and not for any want of due regard to the Court of Aldermen, do not attend this day. Whereupon the further consideration of this matter is adjourned till this day fortnight.