Calendar of the Plea and Memoranda Rolls of the City of London: Volume 3, 1381-1412. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1932.
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CALENDAR OF SELECT PLEAS and MEMORANDA of the CITY OF LONDON
ROLL A 25
Theodoric Van Sylen and Baldewyn Claysson, merchants of Flanders, by their bill exhibited before the Mayor and Aldermen in the Chamber of the Guildhall according to the custom of the city, demanded against Allard Smyth of Rye (fn. 1), mariner, £179 10s due for merchandise bought from them. The said Allard came in his proper person and acknowledged the debt. Therefore it is considered that the said Theodoric and Baldewyn shall recover against him their said debt. And they freely remitted their damages. And nothing of mercy (fn. 2) because the same Allard came the first day. And for default of payment the same Allard is committed to prison until etc. Afterwards on 4 May the same year William Brampton, attorney of the said Theodoric and Baldewyn, as appears by the deed next following, came before the mayor and granted that he was satisfied of the sum aforesaid and prays that the same Allard be delivered from prison, on whose petition the same Allard is delivered, and thus the court and the sheriff are quit thereof.
A power of attorney from the above Theodoric Van Sylen and Baldewyn Claisson to William Brampton, citizen of London, to exact and receive the above sum of money. Given under their seals on 25 March 1382.
William Swalewe, servant of Nicholas Cordewaner of Estchepe, Henry Clemme, servant of William Mildenhale, cordwainer, and John Medelond were committed to prison because they went wandering by night in the ward of Billyngesgate about the eleventh hour of the clock, in a suspicious manner and against the ordinance of the Mayor and Aldermen (fn. 3). Next day they were mainprised under penalty of £20 each not to make any covin or assembly nor to wander about in a suspicious fashion either by night or at any other time, but to comport themselves well and loyally towards the officers of the city and the rest of the king's people.
Membr. 1 b
... was committed to prison because, when he was indicted in the ward of Billyngesgate, where he dwelt, as a man of ill fame and condition, he obtained in the Court Christian a mandate of excommunication against the good men of the said ward on the pretext that they had maliciously defamed him (fn. 4), and also because he threatened to burn down the whole ward and especially the house of John Blak. Afterwards on 17 May he was sworn to keep the peace under penalty of £40.
Gilbert Maunfeld undertook in court that 9 casks of wine, belonging to a certain John Mayton of Sandwich and then lying in a ship of Sandwich in le Pole of the Thames, should be conveyed to Sandwich; and the said John Mayton shall bring testimonial letters thereof under the seal of the mayor or bailiff of Sandwich this side of Christmas.
William Stokesby, William Sharpyng, Geoffrey Grigge, John Wakele, Peter atte Pole, Thomas Heyward, Richard Sprot and Nicholas Rote, vintners, were sworn for the scrutiny of wines and to prevent new wines being placed in cellars where there were old wines (fn. 5).
Membr. 2 b
Inquest held before John Norhampton, mayor of the city of London, and John Rote and John Hende, sheriffs, at Guildhall to inquire what evildoer or evildoers by night tore away and threw down certain shields, on which were painted the arms of the king and the emperor together, and another shield bearing the arms of the king alone, which shields had been erected round the Conduit in honour of the king and Anne the queen-consort on the occasion of their passing through the city to Westminster for their wedding ceremonies on Monday before the feast of St Agnes [21 Jan.] (fn. 6) — by oath of Richard Goudchild and twenty-three others. The jurors say that about midnight on the Monday aforesaid three shields, each bearing the arms of the king and emperor together, and another shield of the arms of the king alone were violently and maliciously pulled down to the grave dishonour and scandal of the king and queen and to the manifest danger and damage of the city, and that afterwards, when similar shields were painted and set up by precept of the mayor on the following day, a certain Godescalkus of Westfal in Duchesland (fn. 7), servant of John Porter, goldsmith, came about midnight the same day to the Conduit and began to hack down a newly-painted shield with a knife called a "baselard," and before he could succeed in so doing he was taken with the knife in his hand. They say further that the same Godescalcus tore away and threw down the four shields on the previous night, as they were given to understand; that he had resided in London for the last ten years and more; and that his master, John Porter, was a "native of France and was born in the allegiance of the king of France. Being asked if the said John or any one else was a confederate or consented to the abovementioned acts, they answered—no, so far as they could find out among themselves.
Floria, widow of Andrew de Shaldeford, brought a bill of complaint against John de Donyngton for having taken Maude, widow of Simon atte Grene, aunt on the father's side of the above Andrew, out of her custody together with two messuages in the parish of St John Walbrook, in which the said Andrew, by his will enrolled in the Husting (fn. 8), had given to the said Maude a life interest, with remainder to the complainant. The said Maude, she alleged, was now very aged and had little sense or discretion to look after herself; and the said John de Donyngton was not maintaining or providing for her in a manner befitting her position and means, wherefore the complainant prayed the court to summon the said John to explain how he came to assume the guardianship of the said Maude. [French]
The said John appeared on summons on the Monday following and asked leave to consider the matter till Wednesday, when he would answer the complainant "peremptorily," but failed to appear on that day. Thereupon came John Huwet and Denise his wife, a kinswoman of the said Maude, having no interest in the property, and asked the court to grant to them the guardianship of the said Maude together with her rents and tenements, which were of the annual value of 100s. And because both Floria and John were claiming the reversion of the property after Maude's death, it was considered that the guardianship be delivered to John Huwet and Denise his wife, who found sufficient security, viz. Michael Trenthennek and John Ruggele, skinner, that they would maintain the said Maude well and honestly according to her condition; and the serjeant of the Chamber, Robert Markele, was ordered to execute the judgment.
Testimonial letters from the burgomasters, echevins and council of the town of Bruges certifying that Louys de Zeeland, Jehan Cornet, Nychaises van den Bussche, Victor Dongheres and Johan Zuernic, burgesses of Bruges, had appeared before them and had appointed Thiery van Zilen and Jaquemon Scoetelare, bearers of these letters, their general proctors and special messengers, with full power jointly and severally to demand restitution of a cargo of wheat in a ship captured by Alaerd le Fevre (fn. 9) and his accomplices about the middle of May last past, which was taken into the port of Rye under the jurisdiction of the constable of Dover, and also of other cargoes of wheat carried in four ships, which were captured in the week before Midlent by Jacque le Moer of Hithe (del Yde). Agreements having been made as regards the restitution of the said wheat, the said Thiery and Jaquemon were empowered to levy, receive and give acquittances for moneys due in lieu of it. Given under the seal of the town of Bruges 1 Dec. 1381. [French]
Adam Ryebred of Spalding was brought before the Mayor and Aldermen on a charge of wandering through the city begging and pretending that he was unfit for work, whereas, upon examination of his body, it was manifest that he was strong and lusty, capable of labour and able to earn his food and clothing and a reasonable wage in any part of the kingdom, and thus he was defrauding genuine beggars and poor people, and deceiving the public. The said Adam did not deny it. Accordingly he was sworn not to beg within the liberty of the city henceforth, under penalty of the pillory if he were convicted thereof.
Afterwards Geoffrey Auncel from Ireland, Simon Crockere from Somerset, John Sperlyng of Hoddesdon, Patrick the Irishman, Thomas Potager of Bristol, John Gurdelere and other "faitours (fn. 10) " were similarly sworn.
Writ to the mayor, the keepers of the pleas of the crown and the sheriffs of London reciting that a writ of exigent had been sent to Walter Doget and William Knyghtcote, sheriffs, ordering them to exact Simon Dyere of Colchester and Hugh Spryngafeld from Husting to Husting until, according to the law and custom of the realm of England, they were outlawed if they did not appear, and if they appeared they were to be brought before the king's justices at Westminster to answer John Hadlee, grocer, in pleas of debt of £10 17s 1d and 100s respectively, which writ ought to have been returned before the justices at Westminster on the octave of St Michael last past. Nevertheless the said Walter and William had failed to return the writ in contempt of the king's court. The mayor etc. are commanded to search the rolls, writs and memoranda in their custody and to send before the justices on the octave of the Purification [2 Feb.] all records relating to the above outlawry (fn. 11). Witness, R Bealknapp at Westminster 20 Oct. Ao 5 Ric. II .
Return of John Norhampton, mayor, Richard Odyham, chamberlain and keeper of the pleas of the crown, John Rote and John Hende, sheriffs, giving extracts from the Husting Rolls of Common Pleas, to the effect that Simon Dyere and Hugh Spryngafeld were exacted on the Mondays, 19 Nov. and 3 Dec. 1381; 20 Jan., 27 Jan. and 10 Feb. 1382, being outlawed on the last-mentioned date.
Membr. 3 b
A bill (fn. 12) handed to the queen for the city's liberties:
To the most excellent and most noble lady, Queen of England and France, your faithful subjects and very humble servitors the mayor, aldermen and the whole commonalty of the city of London make supplication that, whereas you are their supreme and natural liege lady, and whereas it pertains to your most benign piety, as well by right of your imperial majesty, of which you are possessed by birth, as of your royal dignity, by the emblems of which your position is made more resplendent, to assume, with bowels of compassion, the office of a mediatrix with that most excellent prince and puissant lord, our lord the king, your lord and ours, and in the exercise of your magnificence to recommend your subjects to our very noble lord aforesaid, as did other our queens, who preceded your most excellent highness in your realm of England—may it please your most clement and preeminent nobility thus to mediate by gracious words and deeds with our lord the king, so that he, in his royal munificence, may be willing to maintain and graciously to support and to confirm without diminution our liberties and privileges, granted by himself and his noble progenitors, kings of England, to us and our city, and confirmed during his time after deep deliberation with his council, since these liberties, being as it were our inheritance, afford to us, with the assistance of our labours, the means of our livelihood, and if they are withdrawn from us, we are thereby deprived of our very sustenance; and, may it be pleasing in your most gracious eyes, we submit that we have never knowingly in word or deed acted contrary to or offended against our said most illustrious lord or against your most noble ladyship, nor ever in future till the hour of death shall we so offend, but with all our powers so act as to serve your good pleasure and honour. These things, most excellent lady, we have boldly presumed to lay in your merciful hands, because our ladies, the queens of England, on their first arrivals, have been wont to afford to their subjects the like manifestations of their generosity, and it is the prerogative of your pre-eminence—a pre-eminence resting as well upon your natural birthright as upon moral education and the endowments of virtue—to do the same and even more.
Certificate of John de Norhampton, mayor, that on 26 Feb. 1381(2) he had inspected a letter of proxy on parchment sealed with the red seal of the most excellent and puissant prince, the King of Navarre, in the following terms:
Charles, King of Navarre, Count of Evreus, to all who shall see these letters, greeting. Whereas an agreement has been made between Thomas Trevet, knight, and Master Pascal Dylardye, clerk, acting on our behalf, Eneco de Sole and Johanco Dartasse, masters of Sir Olyver de Claekyn (fn. 13), of the second part, and Sir John Darondell, claiming the third part of the ransom of the said Sir Olyver, of the third part, in accordance with which we ought to have the third part of the ransom aforesaid, as appears by indentures sealed by the parties, which agreement we confirm by these presents, we acquit the said Eneco and Johanco as regards the value of the said ransom, and the said Sir Olyver, on condition that the latter pay us the third part of such reasonable amount as shall be determined between the said masters and Sir Thomas and Master Dylardye, and further we appoint the said Sir Thomas and Master Dylardye our general proctors to receive moneys due and to accord upon and perform all matters touching the said ransom. In witness whereof we have sealed these presents with our privy seal in the absence of the great seal. Given in our castle of Tassaille the last day of December 1379.
By virtue of the above proxy the said Pascal had appeared before the mayor and acknowledged receipt from Sir Oliver de Claekyn, knight, seigneur of La Roche Tesson, by the hands of Philepot de Hodant, esquire, of the sum of 2000 francs of the coinage of the king of France due at Christmas last in part payment of 7500 francs, for which payment the said Sir Oliver, Sir John de Vendosme, seigneur of Feuillet, Sir Alein de Beaumont, seigneur of Sainte Nomee, and others had entered into bond in Paris on 18 Aug. last, and the said Sir Oliver had delivered hostages at Calais, namely, Sir John de Beaumond, knight, and Piere de Vendosme and Bertram de Claekyn, esquires. In witness thereof the mayor had caused this present certificate to be sealed with the mayoralty seal of the city of London on the day and year abovementioned. [French]
Memorandum that certain writings and deeds relating to lands in Strode (fn. 14) near Rochester co. Kent, which were entrusted to the chamberlain, John Cauntebrigge, at the instance of Henry Yevele and others, were delivered on 7 March 1382 to William Croydon and Henry Gellay, attorneys, at the request of the said Henry and by precept of the mayor.
John Hende, draper, was summoned to answer Richard Burton and John Boys of co. Essex for detaining two documents which they had entrusted to him on the previous 18 Nov. The said John appeared and, without challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said that the documents had been delivered to him, as an impartial custodian, by the plaintiffs and a certain Sir Thomas Fastolf, knight, of co. Cambridge, in accordance with certain conditions contained therein, and as he was unaware whether the said Sir Thomas had fulfilled the conditions or not, he prayed that he be summoned to show cause etc.
The deeds, which were produced in court, consisted of a statute merchant, whereby the said Sir Thomas bound himself to pay £200 to the plaintiffs for merchandise bought from them in the Staple of Westminster, and a bill of defeasance attached thereto, providing that the statute merchant should be of no effect if the said Sir Thomas carried out the following agreements: that he would give them within six days a sure title in the manor of Gilden Morden, called "Bonesbury (fn. 15)," which he had sold to them in fee simple, cause all persons who had acquired any estate in the manor from himself or his late wife Johane to release their interest, and would obtain a sure title in the manor of Irchestre, co. Northampton, by release of those having interest therein. On the other hand, if the plaintiffs were ousted from the firstmentioned manor by Margaret, the present wife of Sir Thomas, after his death, or by the heirs of the aforesaid Johane, or by anyone acting on behalf of the chief lords of the fee, or if the plaintiffs became responsible to the king for any debts owed by the said Sir Thomas, or were vexed by any annuities or other burdens charged on the manor by him, or were called upon to pay any fine for purchase and were not reimbursed, then these documents should be returned to the plaintiffs and the money due on the statute merchant should be payable. [French]
The parties appeared on 28 March, when Robert Markele, serjeant of the Chamber, reported that the said Sir Thomas could not be found within the liberties of the city and had no possessions within the same liberties whereby he might be summoned to attend. Accordingly the statute merchant and bill were delivered to the plaintiffs.
Membr. 5 b
At the court held before John Hende and John Rote, sheriffs of London, William Waleworth, citizen of London, plaintiff, offered himself against John Salman, burgess of Bruges, in a plea of debt upon demand of £100, for which the debtor had been attached by foreign attachment (fn. 16) and now made default for the fourth time. The plaintiff prayed that the attachment be valued and delivered to him in accordance with the custom of the city. Thereupon a valuation was made by Thomas Rolf and Richard Marleburgh, stacyneres, and Thomas Bonauntre and John Wych, tapicers, as follows: a book of Romance of King Alexander in verse (rimiatus), well and curiously illuminated, value £10; and a dorser of Arras work representing the coronation of King Arthur, 9 yards long and 3 yards wide, value £6. The attachment was handed over to the plaintiff in part satisfaction of his debt under security of John Whiteheved and William Askham to answer therefor, or for the value, if the said John Salman should submit himself to justice within a year and a day.
Richard Waldegrave, knight, certified before the Mayor and Aldermen that on 8 May he and his household with their horses and divers goods had taken lodging with Thomas Taillour at the Swerd on the hoop (fn. 17) in Fleet Street, and the same day two coffers, called "trussyngcofres," had been stolen, one of which contained his seal and articles of jewellery of the value of 40 marks. In order that he might not be responsible for any document sealed with his seal after the date of the theft, he prayed that the facts might be entered on the rolls. William Wynkefeld, knight, attended the court and testified to the same effect on his behalf.
John Stockyngbury was brought before the Mayor and Aldermen for having a large dung heap on the banks of the Thames next to his house at Billingsgate, to the detriment of the Thames water, the damage of the commonalty and the disgrace of the city. He prayed for a reasonable time to remove it and cleanse the place, and agreed of his own free will to pay the chamberlain, Richard Odyham, the sum of £10, if this were not done before the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist [24 June]. He undertook further to construct a wharf on the site before Michaelmas under penalty of £20.
Membr. 6 b
Hugh Adam of Derby, who was one of the bailiffs of that town during the last year, was brought before the Mayor and Aldermen on a charge that, by his officials at Derby (fn. 18), he had taken from a certain John Deysterre, butcher or drover, of London, the sum of 40d as custom on his merchandise, against the liberty of the city of London, granted and confirmed by the king and his predecessors, whereby the citizens of London are quit of toll and lastage and every other custom throughout the king's dominions on either side of the seas and at all the king's ports at home and abroad. The said Hugh was not able to deny the charge. Accordingly it was considered that he repay the 40d unjustly taken, which he agreed to do. And further he found mainprise, viz. Thomas Maunfeld, glasier, of Fleet Street and William Pouns of Derby, who undertook that he would in future behave peaceably towards all citizens of London, and especially the said John, and that he would neither do nor cause to be done any damage or oppression to any of them, under penalty of £40 payable to the chamberlain or his successors in case he were convicted thereof.
John Lancastre of Hatfeldbrodook (fn. 19) was attached to answer John Organ, citizen and mercer, in a plea of trespass, wherein the latter complained that on 14 June 1381 the defendant with other evildoers unknown, who were then in insurrection against the king (fn. 20), came with swords and poleaxes against the king's peace, seeking for the plaintiff and threatening to destroy his houses and kill him, so that he from fear of death took flight, and in alarm for his goods carried them away from his houses and buried them in the parish of St Olave in Old Jewry, to wit, cloths of gold, velvets, baudekyns (fn. 21) of silk, linen cloths and other valuable articles (jocalia) of mercery worth £200, which goods thus concealed deteriorated and decayed, against the peace and to the plaintiff's damage £500. And thereof by his bill exhibited before the Mayor and Aldermen according to the custom of the city he produced suit etc.
The defendant pleaded not guilty and offered to verify his plea, wherein he prayed judgment. The plaintiff said that the defendant was guilty as alleged in the declaration and put himself on the country; and the defendant did likewise. But after the jury was tried and sworn and charged to render their verdict, the defendant demanded, in order to have a final issue of the matter, that the plaintiff should be put on his oath to say whether his action was a true one or not (fn. 22). The plaintiff, in accordance with the custom of the city, accepted the oath and said he was willing to swear that the action was a true one, as set out in his bill and declaration, except as regards the amount of damages sustained by him, and he took the oath to that effect. Thereupon the jury, being sworn to assess the damages, fixed the amount at £40. Accordingly it was considered that the plaintiff recover his taxed damages, and for default of payment the defendant was committed to prison.
Richard Norbury, mercer, sued John Courtray for detinue of chattels, under the following circumstances. When the count of St Pol (fn. 23) was in England he bought from the plaintiff between Easter and Michaelmas, 1378, certain velvet cloths and beds to the value of £40. As he failed to pay for them, the plaintiff in the Sheriffs' Court obtained the arrest of a quantity of pearls belonging to the count, which were in the hands of the defendant, in order that his debt might be paid. Thereupon the count told his servant, John Brayles, to satisfy the plaintiff out of the value of the pearls, but in spite of their being under arrest and notwithstanding the count's orders, the defendant refused to give them up; wherefore the plaintiff brings his bill of complaint in accordance with the law merchant and the custom of the city.
The defendant, after pleading that he had no knowledge that the pearls were the property of the count, said that they were entrusted to him by a certain Caulus, a knight of the count's household, to be set, and that he was to have £4 for his workmanship. He was willing to give them up, if the court so directed, on condition that he received the £4 due to him. The pearls, which he produced in court, were valued by oath of Richard Whityngton and John Wodecok, mercers, as follows: 424 pearls at 1½d each, 53s; 294 at 2½d each, £3 1s 3d; 180 at 1¼d each, 18s 9d; 1½ oz. 3¾ dwt. at 16s 8d the ounce, 28s 1d; 1⅛ ounces (fn. 24) at 10s the ounce, 11s 3d; sum total £8 12s 4d. The pearls were delivered to the plaintiff under security to save the court and the defendant harmless against the count, Caulus or any other person, and the plaintiff then paid the defendant £4 for his work.
Membr. 7 b
William Morton brought a bill against Robert de Eye, cutler, in which he complained that there had been a negotiation between them as to his becoming apprentice to the said Robert, after which the latter had caused a scrivener to draw up indentures according to his own wishes, whereby the complainant was to pay 4 marks to him at Michaelmas, to provide for himself during the first year of the apprenticeship and to pay a penalty of £40 if he broke the conditions. He had never agreed to these terms and refused to do so without the consent of his parents and his friends. Thereupon Robert had agreed that he should go to his parents and friends to learn their wishes. And because his father and his other friends were unwilling to give their consent to the indentures, the said Robert had sued him in the Sheriffs' Court, as though he were a hired labourer, and had caused him to be arrested.
On 19 June, when the said Robert appeared on summons, the complainant offered that if the said Robert, together with Martin Godard and John Morton (fn. 25), would swear that there was a covenant between them that he should provide for himself during the first year, then he would be ready to serve as his apprentice for seven years. Thereupon Robert, Martin and John took an oath on the book that there was such an agreement. Accordingly it was considered that the complainant should serve the said Robert as his apprentice, and the latter was enjoined to provide for him and teach him and not to treat him unjustly or maliciously under penalty of losing him. As regards the bond in £40, it seemed to the court, in view of the fact that the plaintiff was under age, to be against all reason and it was therefore cancelled. The said Robert was then told to take his apprentice away with him. But instead, he took him immediately to the Sheriffs' compter in Milk Street and there without any reason unjustly caused him to be imprisoned till 21 June, making no provision for his sustenance. On that day the said Robert was brought before the Mayor, Recorder and Aldermen and as he could give no reason or excuse for the imprisonment of his apprentice, which was directly contrary to the injunction and judgment of the court and brought disgrace and opprobrium on the city, it was considered that the complainant be exonerated, and the said Robert was ordered to bring the indentures into court for cancellation, which was done the same day.
Ralph Strode (fn. 26) was summoned to answer William Temple, Robert Rotherham, Walter Barkeswell, Thomas Cruche, Thomas Beneyt, John Payn, Thomas Sulhill, Thomas Bole, John Marram and John Carbrok, bladsmythes (fn. 27), in a plea of deceit, wherein they complained that on 17 Nov. 1376 he had advised them in the Guildhall to move the Mayor and Aldermen to have certain articles touching their mistery granted and enrolled in the Chamber, telling them that these articles would be of great profit to the city and themselves. Accordingly he had been retained to be of their counsel for making this suit and received from them 40d the same day, and acting on his advice they had prayed the Mayor and Aldermen from day to day to grant the articles, until the defendant, plotting to annul and destroy their suit, on 26 Jan. 1377 deceitfully informed the mistery of Cutlers of the matter, and took the part of Simon atte Nax, Henry Blakwyne, Robert Austyn and others of that mistery against his own employers in praying the Mayor and Aldermen not to grant or enrol the aforesaid articles, whereupon the said Cutlers, solely by his advice and counsel, prayed the Mayor and Aldermen that the Bladesmiths should not have their purpose and desire, and this the said Ralph did unjustly and to their damage £100. Note that the Bladesmiths' bill is in the file of bills terminated between Easter and the feast of St John the Baptist, together with the ordinances proposed by the Bladesmiths.
The defendant pleaded not guilty and offered to defend himself by his law (fn. 28) as a freeman in accordance with the custom of the city, and thereof he prayed judgment. The plaintiffs pleaded that in such a case he was not entitled to his law and also prayed for judgment. In order that the court might be advised, the action was adjourned until 14 June 1382. On that day both parties renounced their pleading to judgment and willingly put themselves on an examination of the Cutlers mentioned in the bill and agreed to stand by it. Thereupon the Cutlers, being separately examined on oath, swore that the defendant had not been retained or paid by them, that he was not of their counsel and had given them no information, whereby the Bladesmiths' articles were rejected. Accordingly it was considered that the Bladesmiths take nothing by their bill, but be in mercy.
Peter Serdau of Genoa, who was arrested by Nicholas Exton, alderman of Billingsgate, on suspicion of being of the allegiance of the king's enemies and of having come to these parts in order to spy on the realm of England, being hostile to the same, was sent to the mayor arid questioned by him on 30 June. He declared that he belonged to Genoa and was not an enemy nor a spy. At the same time Cosma Dorea and Lodewyc Malbek swore on the book that as an honest mariner he came in a ship called a "karik (fn. 29) " to Southampton and was intending, with the favour of God, to sail thence with his merchandise for Lombardy.
Robert Joynour, servant of Robert Wydmere, joiner, was found by a jury not guilty of a charge brought against him by William Causby, chaplain, of having taken and carried away from the plaintiff's house in the parish of St Mary Magdalene near Oldefysshstrete the following goods: £30 in gold and silver, a psalter of the value of 6s 8d, another large book containing several grammatical treatises of the value of 33s 4d and 5 yards of linen cloth, value 8s.
It was afterwards reported to the Mayor and Aldermen that the plaintiff had called the jurors false and perjured. When he was questioned on the point on 26 June he spoke maliciously in court and was thereupon sent to prison. Next day he was bound over in £20 that he would neither speak ill of the jurors nor begin proceedings against any of them in any court.
Membr. 8 b
A certain physician (fisicus) to the queen came before the Mayor and Aldermen and said that he had paid John Blake, goldsmith, the sum of 5 nobles for a silver cup and covercle which he had purchased, but that the said John refused to deliver them. Thereupon came the said John and said that he had only been paid 3 nobles, and this he was prepared to prove by six men, as a freeman of the city. The plaintiff consenting, the defendant together with six others swore that he had only received 3 nobles from the physician.
Thomas Norwich, chaplain, was attached to answer Henry de Wilton in a plea of trespass, wherein the latter complained that the defendant on divers occasions between 1 Aug. 1381 and 8 July 1382 by force and arms and against the peace had eloigned and carried away the plaintiff's wife Joan, woollen and linen cloths, silver plate, dishes, pewter saltcellars and iron and brass pots and pans.
A jury brought in a verdict that as regards the wife, she was nothing but a common strumpet, and so there was no eloigning (fn. 30), but the defendant was in possession of certain goods belonging to the plaintiff of the value of 60s, some of which Joan had brought to him and the rest he had himself taken. It was considered that the defendant pay 60s damages and restore the goods, in default of which he was committed to prison.
Margery, living at the Coppedhalle (fn. 31) near the Herber (fn. 32) in London, was summoned for refusing to give up to Richard Coventre, clerk, the following goods entrusted to her, viz. a locked chest containing a complete Corpus Legis Canoni (sic) of the value of £10, a coverlet (superlectulum) with a basin and ewer of the value of 13s 4d and other goods worth 20s, and also a bundle containing a box of deeds relating to the plaintiff's lands in co. Warwick, a basin and ewer of the value of 6s 8d, a pitcher (urciolus) worth 2s, and two brass pans and one of iron of the value of 4s.
The defendant appeared and said that she was ready to defend herself by her law as a freewoman of the city, whereupon the plaintiff prayed that she might be examined on oath and offered to stand peremptorily by the examination. As the result of the examination it appeared to the court that she had received no goods and chattels as alleged, and accordingly it was considered that the plaintiff take nothing by his bill, but be in mercy.
William Grenyngham was summoned to answer John Yerdele in a plea that he render account of 13 woollen cloths of the assize of length and width and of the value of 102 marks, received from the plaintiff on 22 May 1374 by the hands of Simon Gardiner, fuller, to trade therewith and to render account when required, which he refused to do, to the plaintiff's damage £40.
The defendant, while protesting (fn. 33) that he did not acknowledge either the quantity or the value of the cloth, pleaded that Isabella, wife of the plaintiff, was a common maker of woollen cloth (fn. 34), and that she delivered the said cloths to the said Simon to be fulled and after they were fulled she ordered him to take them to the defendant, which he did. He pleaded further that by the custom of the city (fn. 35) contracts made by married women engaged in a mercantile art were as effectual as contracts made by their husbands, that Isabella had always used the art of making woollen cloths and sold the same as a feme sole, and that on 20 May 1374 she came to his house in Lothbury and told him that she had sold the cloth to William Sutton and others for 102 marks, and he was to deliver the cloth to the said William, taking a bond from the said William, Geoffrey Sutton, William Chaloner and Thomas de Angyr, cordwainer, in the sum of 204 marks as security for the payment of the aforesaid 102 marks, and this was done because he was an officer of the city and better able to enforce payment than either Isabella or her husband. He said further that he had never received any part of the purchase-money for the cloth, and that on 24 June 1378 the said John Yerdele came to his house and asked him for the above bond, which was given up to him; nevertheless he, the defendant, had always been and was still willing to sue the debtors on the bond at the plaintiff's expense, and to give security that he would do nothing to prevent the money being recovered. Accordingly he prayed judgment whether any action lay against him.
The plaintiff pleaded that he had no knowledge of any such custom in the city as alleged, that he was himself continuously in possession of the cloth until William Grenyngham received it, and that even if there had been a contract [between the defendant and his wife] on Saturday 20 May, which he did not acknowledge, nevertheless the contract which he himself made with the defendant on Monday 22 May could not be less effectual. Since the defendant did not deny receiving the cloth, he prayed judgment and that auditors of an account be appointed.
Membr. 9 b
Be it remembered that good men of the mistery of Goldsmiths (fn. 36) came before John Norhampton, mayor, complaining that a certain Robert Betoyne, goldsmith, had made two hafts (manubria) of latten and gilded them so that they appeared to be all of gold, in deception of the people and to the scandal of the mistery. The said Robert, being questioned, admitted that the hafts were deceptive and said that a certain John Twyford, cutler, had asked him to make them in this manner for the use of the earl of Buckingham. William Tyngewyk, John Carbonel, Thomas Davy and John Bulstrode, wardens of the aforesaid mistery, together with Adam Bamme, John Fraunceys and John Forster, good men of the same, gave evidence that they had discussed the matter with the earl, who agreed that the hafts, being deceptively made, should be handed over to them for destruction. The court allowed the hafts to be delivered to the wardens, but as they had no knowledge of the matter beyond the wardens' evidence, the latter were warned not to break or part with the hafts without the earl's permission. The above-mentioned Robert was then sworn not to make any hafts of this kind or any deceptive work in future.
An inquest was taken before the Mayor and Aldermen to discover what evildoers and disturbers of the peace had molested foreigners bringing fish to the city for the use of the king, his magnates and commonalty, or what other persons had been molested on account of these foreigners, contrary to the ordinance made and proclaimed by the Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council (fn. 37). The jury said on oath that a certain Robert atte Wode, fishmonger, on Wednesday last struck a certain Alice Yonge on Cornhill, because she was talking there with a foreigner belonging to her own district, who had brought fish for sale, and because she brought water for him to wash his hands and invited him to come and have a drink with her. They said further that John Ditton, fishmonger, aided and abetted the said Robert.
When charged before the Mayor and Aldermen, the latter admitted his offence and put himself on the favour of the court. He was sent to prison until the court should be advised as to their judgment. The said John Ditton pleaded not guilty and put himself on the country. A jury was summoned for the following Saturday, on which day they found him not guilty. But since he was a man of bad character, as was testified by many persons of credit, he was committed to prison until further order. Afterwards on 10 Aug., on the ground that the offence confessed by Robert atte Wode was a great and enormous trespass against the king, his magnates and commonalty, and brought shame upon the Mayor and Aldermen and their ordinance, and in order that others might be prevented from committing similar offences, it was considered that the said Robert be imprisoned for a year and a day, to date from the eighth day of August, unless meanwhile he obtain the indulgence of the court.
John Hankyn, fishmonger, was attached to answer Richard Elme, baker, in a plea of trespass, wherein the latter complained that on 30 Sept. 1381 the defendant by force and arms (fn. 38), to wit swords, had taken, abducted and carried away the plaintiff's wife Alice, together with 6 woollen cloths of blanket worth £40, 4 mazers with silver bands worth 12 marks, 2 pieces of silver worth 30s and 8 gold rings worth 10 marks.
The defendant pleaded not guilty and put himself on the country. On 8 Aug. a jury of St Botolph's Bishopsgate found that as regards the mazers, silver pieces and rings he was not guilty, but guilty of eloigning the wife and carrying away the woollen cloths, to the plaintiff's damage 200 marks. Accordingly it was considered that the plaintiff recover the damages taxed by the jury, but that he be in mercy for his false claim concerning the mazers etc.
Robert Denton, chaplain, was summoned to answer Richard Stacener, chaplain, in a plea of deceit, wherein he complained that when he (the plaintiff) and others were intending to buy certain rents to the value of 17 marks for the purpose of founding a house of charity to receive persons who had lost their memory [existentes extra memoriam suam] and especially priests, the defendant came to him and gave him to understand that he had a good plot of ground in the parish of All Hallows, Berkyngcherche, which he was willing to devote to the purpose. Thereupon, on Monday before Christmas 1371, the defendant was paid £28, but he afterwards sold the ground, while retaining the £28, thus deceiving the plaintiff and causing him damage to the" extent of £40.
The defendant appeared and prayed leave to imparl (fn. 39) till Monday the 12th, which was granted to him peremptorily. On that day he did not come but left the court. Therefore it was considered that the said Richard recover the said £28 against him and that he be taken to satisfy the plaintiff thereof.
Membr. 10 b
Writ of protection in favour of Robert Aleyn of London, knight, alias Robert Aleyn of London, fishmonger, who was then on the king's service in Portugal in the company of John Fernande (fn. 40), knight. Dated at Westminster 23 Feb. 1382.
Custance Somerset, prioress of the house of St Helen, London, was summoned to answer John Chamberleyn, chaplain, and John Norffolk, executors of the will of Cecilia, widow of Thomas Rose, clerk, on a demand for payment of arrears of rent, they saying that a certain Elianora de Wyncestre, prioress of the said house before Custance, had by deed granted to the late John de Shene, saddler, certain rents in Ivylane in the parish of St Faith for a term of 400 years, that the said John did afterwards bequeath the same to Alice his wife, who afterwards married Richard de Kyghtele of Kersaultone (fn. 41), cook, and they granted the same to the above Cecilia, and that as executors they had frequently applied to the said Custance for payment of the arrears of rent, but in vain, to their damage 100s. They produced in court the deed of the said Elianora, which also contained a lease of premises in Philippeslane charged with quitrents to the prior of Newerk by Rippele and the heirs of Robert Fouke, the deed of the said Richard de Kyghtele and Alice his wife, and the will of the said Cecilia.
The prioress by her attorney, Gilbert Meldebourne, pleaded that her predecessor Elianora had nothing in demesne or in reversion in the above-mentioned tenements except an annual quitrent of 40s which had always belonged to the convent, that the tenants after the supposed grant had not attorned (fn. 42) to John de Shene, and further that the annual payment was only a pension chargeable on the person of the late prioress and was not by law chargeable on the person of the present prioress. She prayed judgment. The executors pleaded that the grant by Elianora had been made by consent of the convent and that the defendant had not denied that John, Alice, Richard and Cecilia had afterwards successively had seisin of the rent, and they prayed judgment thereon.
A day was given that the court might be advised as to their judgment, when the prioress made default, and though order was given to distrain her for a further day to hear judgment, she again made default. Therefore it was considered that the executors recover the arrears and that the prioress be in mercy.
Membr. 11 b
Henry Cauntebrigge brought a bill before the Mayor and Aldermen to the following effect: In the year 1364 he had borrowed, by way of chevisance (fn. 43), from Geoffrey Puppe and William Brampton a quantity of merchandise, viz. stockfish called "gricoks," saltfish, tables (fn. 44), pitch and tar amounting to £26, the loan being effected by a broker. As security he had given a bond for a sum of money and an annuity of £10 for eight years on property in the parish of St Christopher on Cornhill, and furthermore he had entered into a recognisance of £88 12s 8d in the Chancery. It was agreed that for every year the creditors held the above property they should allow a rebate of £10 on the debt. They had actually held the property for four and a half years, when the plaintiff repaid the debt of £26 and a further sum of 20 marks. But the creditors would only allow him a rebate of 10 marks (£6 13s 4d) each year for the four and a half years, so that in addition to the repayment of their debt, they obtained from him £15 (the difference between the £10 and 10 marks per annum) and the above-mentioned 20 marks (£13 6s 8d), making £28 6s 8d. The creditors had given him back his deeds but had not cancelled the recognisance in Chancery, which he was afraid might cause loss to himself or his executors. [French]
The defendants pleaded that the plaintiff had given them an acquittance on condition that the recognisance should be withdrawn and they had in fact immediately afterwards withdrawn it. Thereupon the mayor took the parties into the Inner Chamber of Guildhall, where the defendants agreed to return the recognisance to the plaintiff and give him an acquittance.
John Mountagu, alias Hatfeld, was summoned to answer Thomas Hatfeld his brother for payment of the sum of £40 under a bond. He made four defaults and it was reported to the court that he had fled to the priory of St Mary Southwark outside the liberty of the city and that he had no goods and chattels in the city, but only tenements and rents in the parishes of All Hallows Graschirchestret and St Margaret Patyns. The plaintiff prayed that these might be assigned to him by way of foreign attachment until his claims were satisfied, in accordance with the custom of the city observed in the like case from of old. The court consented and after summoning the tenants inquired from them what rents were in arrear and warned them not to pay any moneys to the defendant until the plaintiff had been fully satisfied. One of the tenants, Robert Broud, who was rented at 14 marks, informed the court that the defendant had undertaken to keep the tenement in repair against wind and rain and until this was done he could make no profit from, it. The court then ordered a report from the sworn masons and carpenters of the city (fn. 45), who certified that the necessary repairs could be made for 40s, which the plaintiff was told to charge against the arrears due from that tenement. But the tenant refused to pay the workmen more than 2 marks or to pay the plaintiff anything, contrary to the order of the court. He was committed to prison till he should pay and find security for future payments of rent.
Luke Bragadyn, merchant of Venice, was summoned to answer Richard Morell and Henry Pensehurst, partners and merchants of London, in a plea for the payment of the sums of £566 15s and £341 9s, on the ground, as set forth in two bills, that by the immemorial custom of London and the law merchant a principal was bound to satisfy debts incurred by his recognised agent for merchandise bought on his behalf, where such merchandise accrued to his use and profit, and that the said Luke at Calais on 1 Jan. 1380(1) in the house of Paul Fraunceys, a common broker of the Staple there, inquired from the plaintiff Henry as to divers sorts of Coteswold wool which he and his partner had in Calais, and then showed him his signet and requested him, when his son Nicholas or some other agent should arrive bearing the signet, to deliver the wool to him and to take from him bonds for payment under the said signet, and that on 8 Jan. the said Nicholas arrived and took delivery of the wool, giving bonds for payment of the above amounts on 7 March 1381 and 12 Jan. 1382, and that afterwards the said wool accrued to the use and profit of the defendant at Bruges, a merchant town in Flanders, but nevertheless the defendant refused to pay the above sums, to the plaintiffs' damage £1000.
After process continued, the defendant appeared on 8 July and admitted the debt. He informed the court that he had sued a certain Peter Gracian to render account of business dealings between them, including the matter of the wool, on which the present claim was being made. He was willing, if the auditors found that he had not paid to Peter the abovementioned sums of money, that he would himself pay them immediately to Nicholas Brembre, knight and merchant, to whom they had been assigned by the plaintiffs in satisfaction for debts owed by them to Nicholas. But even if it were found that he had paid the money to Peter, he was willing to satisfy the said Nicholas, on condition that he received acquittances for the bonds and was not troubled as regards any other debts of Peter, and on condition that the latter remained in prison until he (Peter) had reimbursed him.
Thereupon the court appointed Walter Silyle and John Shadeworth, Englishmen, and Gulstan Pynel or Gerard Bek and Gautron de Bardes, Lombards, as auditors, who on 19 Aug. produced the account. They found that Luke owed Peter £91 12s 8d, and that Peter ought to perform the following matters, viz. deliver to Luke a barrel of Inde Bakade (fn. 46), pay him 103s on behalf of John Swyft, mercer, deliver two sarplers (fn. 47) of wool, which he had arrested at Calais, or £40, pay £161 5s due from certain Brabantine merchants for the wool of William Grevel, deliver a quantity of goods belonging to Matthew Dony which he had pledged with the company of Arige (fn. 48) of Bologna for £150 gros (fn. 49), give him a fourth part of the profits on 73 sarplers of wool on a bargain made with William Grevel, account for the sum of £26 19s paid as costs to Henry Pensehurst on the wool, and withdraw an action for £1800 which he had brought against Luke in the Sheriffs' Court. [French]
On this the court committed Luke to prison for his debt of £91 12s 8d and ordered that Peter be confined in fetters in the Bocardo (fn. 50) of Newgate till he had satisfied Luke on his claims. The latter then, in accordance with his undertaking, agreed to pay Nicholas Brembre the sum of £908 4s claimed and a further sum of £341 16s, and he and Peter were committed to prison.
Finally on 2 July 1385, Nicholas Brembre, who was then mayor, appeared in court with Luke and Peter, who were both at large, and announced that they had come to an agreement. All parties prayed that each might be exonerated against the others. And thus the court was quit of the matter.
Membr. 13 b
Mandate under the privy seal, informing the mayor and sheriffs that the king had pardoned Reginald Neuport alias Reginald de la Chambre for certain words which he was alleged to have spoken against the king's person and other trespasses and misprisions for which he had been committed to Newgate. Whereas the said Reginald was indebted in divers sums of money on loan at the Receipt of the Exchequer, the mayor and sheriffs were commanded to send him before the treasurer and barons of the Exchequer with the causes of his detaining, in order that they might deal with him according to the laws and usages of the realm. [French]
Return of the mayor and sheriffs that long before the receipt of the mandate, the said Reginald had been arrested for trespasses and misprisions touching the king and the city, likewise for a debt of £16 which John Bonne, saddler, recovered against him for detinue of a horse, and another debt of 18s 6d claimed against him by John Kendale, tailor, and further, that he might render account to the Mayor and Aldermen (fn. 51) of £72 and other goods and chattels received by him for the use of Walter, John and Jacomina, orphans of Giles de Melyn, late citizen, the Mayor and Aldermen by the custom of the city having the custody of the goods and chattels of orphans. Nevertheless they would send the said Reginald before the barons of the Exchequer as demanded, praying that after satisfaction had been made to the king he might be returned to prison according to ancient custom.
Membr. 14 and 15
Membr. 16 and 17
John Jewell, attorney of Thomas Gisors, merchant, made a complaint as follows: On 27 Nov. 1381 a certain John Colshull, late servant and attorney of Thomas Gisors, brought an action for debt against his late master in the Sheriffs' Court before John Hende, sheriff, claiming from him three several sums of £105, £165 and £110 8s 8d, and the said Thomas having made default, his lands, tenements and rents in the city were delivered to the plaintiff as a foreign attachment until his claims should be satisfied, unless the said Thomas should submit himself to justice within a year and a day. Afterwards the said Thomas appeared before John Sely, sheriff, and prayed that John Colshull be summoned to appear on 5 Nov. 1382 to show cause why the lands and tenements should not be restored to him, since he was now ready to submit himself to justice and to prove that he owed nothing. Nevertheless, the plea had for a long time been left pending, neither discussed nor terminated, because the sheriff favoured John Colshull; for which reason, and because the matter concerned the law merchant, the attorney now prayed the Mayor and Aldermen to cause the record and process of the action to come before them, in order that they might make an end of the matter.
The Mayor and Aldermen granted the request and ordered the parties to appear and the sheriff to bring the record and process on 27 Feb. 1383, on which day the sheriff brought the record and process of the proceedings held before John Hende, sheriff, on 27 Nov. 1381, and before John Sely, sheriff, on 5 Nov. 1382 [as summarised above in the attorney's complaint].
Membr. 18 b
The said John Colshull, after citing a power of attorney of 24 Aug. 1372, whereby his master empowered him to receive debts, give acquittances, trade with his goods and enter into bonds for payments, declared that afterwards his master wrote to him at Bruges, asking him to pay 1000 crowns (fn. 52), at the rate of £105 sterling, to a creditor named John van Putten, Esterlyng, which payment the plaintiff made out of his own money, and so, by the law merchant, an action accrued to him to demand that amount from his master in reimbursement. As regards the sum of £165 claimed, he declared that he made an exchange with William Ancroft, attorney of Adam Fraunceys of London, of 1500 crowns, at the rate of £165 sterling, for his master's use, and therewith he paid divers sums to his master's creditors, viz. £100 Flemish gros (fn. 53) to John Fermer and £49 17s 6d Flemish gros to John van Assen, making a total of 1500 crowns (fn. 54). In order to raise this money he had entered into a personal bond to the said William Ancroft and a certain John Ussher, and he had subsequently redeemed his bond by paying the amount due out of his own moneys. And as regards the sum of £no 8s 8d, he declared that he had made another exchange with William Ancroft of 1000 crowns, at the rate of £110 8s 8d sterling, and had paid that sum to a creditor of his master, Peter Arnauld of Vines, Gascon (fn. 55), and that he had afterwards redeemed his bond out of his own moneys.
The said Thomas Gisors, while not acknowledging the above allegations, pleaded that the plaintiff, at the time when he alleged these payments to have been made, was under obligation to render account to his master for certain sums of money, as set forth in a roll produced in court; and by the custom of the city and the law merchant, if any servant or agent made payments on behalf of his master, he had no right of action against him for reimbursement, so long as he had in his hands moneys of his master sufficient to cover those payments, which moneys the plaintiff at that time had. Wherefore he prayed restitution of his lands and tenements.
The plaintiff, in reply, produced a quitclaim, dated 6 July 1373, whereby the defendant had released him, under the name of "John Colshull, late apprentice of Thomas Gisors," of all claims, debts, accounts and trespasses, subsequent to which he had received no moneys from his master save a free gift of £10.
The defendant prayed judgment on the ground that the plaintiff had not denied having received the moneys set forth in the roll produced, while the plaintiff likewise prayed judgment because his quitclaim freed him from the necessity of answering to the roll.
After process continued, on 23 Oct. 1383 it was considered by the court that John Colshull recover his debts, and that the execution of the judgment in the Sheriffs' Court stand, in accordance with the custom of the city and the law merchant.
Record and process in the Sheriffs' Court 18 Dec. 1381, when Thomas Gisors made his fourth default, having fled to sanctuary at Westminster, and on 4 Nov. 1382 when the said Thomas appeared in court and prayed that John Colshull be summoned to show cause why the lands and tenements of the said Thomas should not be restored to him, as set forth in the court.
[The property, of an annual value of £44 12s 8d, consisted of cellars, apartments (mawiones), wharves, shops, chambers, a brewhouse and a stuhous (fn. 56) in Grantham Lane, an inn in the Ryole and a quitrent in Grenewichlane. Among the tenants, were William van Hulst, Lucebet Frowe, John Walworth, William Strangsell, John Peres, Geoffrey Waldern, John Hane, William, servant of Thomas Moreaux, knight, Thomas Feltwell, John Salkyner, Thomas Symbleby, Richard North, Peter Berynge, Roger Ronner, Richard Garlond, Laurence van Hulst, Giles van the Brok, Geoffrey Maynard, Nicholas Thame, Richard Herlegh, Thomas Sypsey, Gilbert Bonet and Reginald atte Pole.]
[According to this list, John Colshull, while trading for his master, had received £5954 5s 5d, which had been exchanged for Flemish crowns at rates varying from 2s 1d to 2s 7d the crown and for nobles at par, i.e. 6s 8d the noble. The names of the money-changers were as follows: Philip Lose, Lombard, Gerwyn Smythous, Esterlyng, Bertyn Rest, Silvester Nicholas, Michel Scrose, Tideman Skof, Esterlyng, Herman Lange, Nicholas Mundel, William Anecroft, Reyner Domynyk, Christopher Fidelis, Anselyn Scrose, Matthew Vyleyn, Lambright Bosworth, Simond Reynes, Fraunceys Daffiano, Segher Onyn, John Welde, attorney of Richard Norton, Thomas Wight, John Priour, Conrod Bosworth, Henry Whitstrate, Nicholas Amenate, Robert Peper, Gregory de Feat, Dyne Blanchard, William Wyght, John Brisele, Peter Rundenell, Gerwyn Trappe, Everard Whitstrate, John Wale, John Shadeworth, Huberd Andrewe, Lawrence Frose, Robert Perham, Symkyn Syryngham, Thomas Stokton, Antoigne Raimonde, Sesar Hinkestebergh, Henry Whitstrate, John Hedyngham, Edmond Halsted and Dyne Sanouche.]
A further list of the exchanges as set out on membr. 22, with notes of additional sums paid to the said John Colshull on a voyage to Flanders in the 43rd year of Edw. III, and at Durdreght (fn. 57) in the same year, at St Edmundsbury for another voyage to Flanders the next year, on a third voyage to Flanders and on a voyage to Brittany in the company of Sir Robert Nevyll, together with divers tuns of wine received by him in the ships of Henry Wankynthorpe and Herman Tidemanson and in the cog of Clays van Saunten, of all of which Thomas Gisors prayed that an account be rendered.