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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ROLL A 30
Membr. 1 b
Margaret, widow and executrix of Roger de Beauchamp, knight, and Thomas Olyver, chaplain, her co-executor, brought an action against Thomas Newenton and Robert Upgate, executors of John Philippot, knight, for detinue of the sum of £80, which they alleged had been entrusted on 4 Nov. 1374 to John Philippot by Robert Wytherley, master of the college of St Lawrence Pulteney, on behalf of Roger de Beauchamp. In proof, they cited a deed of John Philippot, acknowledging receipt of the above amount.
The defendants, while protesting that they did not admit any of the facts alleged, pleaded that John Philippot had subsequently acted as executor of Roger de Beauchamp and had duly administered his goods and chattels to a value exceeding £80, and offered to verify their pleading.
The plaintiffs in turn did not admit the truth of the defendants' plea and prayed judgment on the ground that the defendants had put in no defence to their action. They were not bound, they said, by the law of the land, to answer the plea made by the defendants.
The defendants pleaded that the plaintiffs had not denied the truth of the matters advanced by them, which were a sufficient defence in law, and accordingly they prayed judgment that the plaintiffs be excluded from their action.
Membr. 2 b
Appointment by Adam de Foxleye, rector of St Andrew in Holbourne, of John Bygonet and Roger Hillom to let to lease and receive the rents from houses and tenements left by Avice, widow of William Edyman (fn. 1), for the support of a priest to say masses for the souls of those mentioned in her will, in accordance with the wishes of the testator, who directed that after the death of her executors, two of the better men of the parish should be chosen by the rector to receive the houses and rents for the said purpose. Dated in the said parish 3 June 1390.
Writ directed to the Mayor and Aldermen reciting a complaint of Francis de Conago of Milan, merchant, that Philip de Matuleano of Boloigne de Grace had impleaded him by bill in the Chamber of the Guildhall, in order to make him contributory to divers expenses incurred by Hugelin Gerard of Bologna, and although the complainant offered to answer the said Philip by competent counsel, the Mayor and Aldermen would not admit him to make this kind of answer. The king commands the Mayor and Aldermen to admit the said Francis to make his answer with competent counsel, or in person if he preferred, and to do justice in the matter. Dated at Westminster 25 Nov. 1390.
Return to the above that the Mayor and Aldermen for the time being had been accustomed, time out of mind, to hold and terminate plaints and pleas merchant brought before them in the Chamber of the Guildhall, as well by bill exhibited as without, where both parties were merchants, and on such bills and plaints to summon and" do justice to such merchants, foreign and native, whether dwelling in the city or resorting to it, who made complaint to the Mayor and Aldermen concerning mercantile matters and their merchandise, by the law merchant used within the city from of old, and further to examine such merchants of either party when they were present upon the matters and grievances specified in such bills and plaints. Moreover the Mayor and Aldermen and their predecessors had been accustomed, from a time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, to take the oaths of such merchants and to examine them and put questions to them and to use other means of eliciting the truth, and then to terminate and bring to a final decision such bills and plaints pending before them according to their discretion and the truth discovered by examination, without any counsel or any other form of plea. This was the reason why the Mayor and Aldermen did not admit Francis de Conago to make his answer with his counsel on the matter specified in the writ, but caused him to answer by the law merchant by way of examination and other methods according to the ancient custom of the city, because he and his adversary were both merchants resident in the city and the matter of the bill exhibited entirely concerned merchandise.
Richard Moris, hostiler, and John his servant were summoned, by virtue of a bill exhibited before the Mayor and Aldermen in the Chamber of the Guildhall, to answer John Prene, clerk, who complained that, whereas throughout England it was the custom for innkeepers, keeping common hostelries, and their servants to guard the goods and chattels which guests had in their chambers within the inns, he came and lodged with the said Richard in his inn in the parish of St Benet in Castle Baynard Ward with his horse and other things, viz. a trunk (mala) and two small boxes, and the innkeeper assigned him a room in the inn, in which he placed his things, and afterwards on 24 Nov. the plaintiff went on business of the University of Oxford to Westminster, and while he was away, evil men broke through the wall of his room and carried away the boxes, in which were 100s in silver coin and a bond of 100s made by a certain John Hore, and this came about by lack of good custody on the part of the innkeeper and his servants, to the plaintiff's damage £10, whereof he prayed a remedy.
The defendant, while protesting that he did not acknowledge that the plaintiff brought any boxes or that the goods were in the boxes or of the value alleged or that they were carried away, pleaded that long before the plaintiff entered the room or placed anything in it, he hired, by his servant John Shilyngton, a certain apartment (mansionem) from the defendant, viz. a hall, chamber, buttery and kitchen, at 6s 8d a week, on condition that neither the defendant nor his servants were to have anything to do with the said dwelling, or with the plaintiff or his servants, or with any goods brought in by them, and that the plaintiff was to buy his own victuals and other necessaries wherever he wished without interference by the defendant or his servants during his tenure of the apartment. By virtue of these conditions the plaintiff occupied the apartment until the day when the goods were alleged to have been carried away and long afterwards, during which time he bought his own necessaries outside the defendant's inn and the defendant and his servants did not interfere, nor did the defendant have any horse in his inn or buy any food for the plaintiff, nor did the plaintiff in any manner lodge with him, nor did any goods of the plaintiff come in any way into his custody, as he was prepared to verify, without that etc. He demanded judgment whether the plaintiff could impute any default of custody to him, and whether the plaintiff ought to have any ground of action against him for the loss of his goods.
The plaintiff did not admit the truth of these allegations and pleaded that the defendant was a common innkeeper, that the house which he, the plaintiff, occupied was a common hostelry and a part of the common inn kept by the defendant, and that the room in which the goods were placed was parcel of the hostelry and within it, and since the defendant did not deny that the goods were actually stolen, and since further every common innkeeper was bound by the law and custom of the realm to guard his inn, he claimed that he was under no necessity to answer the allegations put forward by the defendant [breaks off].
Membr. 3 b
Geoffrey Grigge, taverner, was summoned to answer Nicholas Benyngton, mercer, for arrears of rent due on two houses, the one called "le Bole on the Hope" and the other "le Caban," both being in the parish of All Hallows in Honeylane. The defendant pleaded that a certain John Oxenford had leased the former house to a certain John Blaunche for 60 years, who assigned the lease to the plaintiff who again assigned it to the defendant, whose wife Agnes had paid the arrears. As regards le Caban, he said it was part and parcel of the other house and was included in the lease. The plaintiff answered that not John Oxenford but Robert Turk, knight, had made the original lease. He denied that the two houses were conveyed by the same lease or that the arrears had been paid. A jury of Richard Brendewode and others found for him with separate damages on his two bills, of 20s and 6s 8d. Judgment accordingly.
Since in these days the scarcity of wheat and especially of corn has been greatly increased and since the Most High of His abundant grace has permitted a great part of the wheat, coming from distant foreign parts for the sustenance and aid of His common people, to be brought to the city of London, so that scarcity has in great part been diminished there and wheat is more plentiful and sold at a less price than in other cities and districts of England, Adam Bamme, the Mayor, and the Aldermen (fn. 2), noting that under God's providence there was a plenitude of wheat in the city, and being desirous, in their careful foresight for the common weal, to provide against any scarcity which might arise in the city in the coming summer, caused the good men of the city to be summoned for common counsel in the Chamber of the Guildhall on 8 Feb. 1391, when it was agreed and ordained that £400 of the goods of orphans in the custody of Richard Odyham, chamberlain, should be delivered to Adam Bamme for buying wheat therewith in case the commonalty of the city should have need of it, and since this money belonged to the orphans and had been entrusted to the chamberlain, the said Adam, under the style of "Adam Bamme, citizen and goldsmith," entered into a recognisance to repay the above sum to the chamberlain at Michaelmas following, as appears in Letter Book H, fo. 258, under the condition that if meanwhile any orphan claimed delivery of his goods, and the Mayor and Aldermen ordered payment, the said Adam should satisfy the orphan for the sum due to him and acquit the chamberlain and his successors and the commonalty thereof; and if no orphans so claimed, the said Adam should repay the whole amount as abovesaid, it being always understood that if any loss or damage occurred in the buying of the wheat, it should fall upon the commonalty of the city, and be charged upon the profits of the Chamber.
William Bretford brought a bill complaining that William Goryngg, citizen and weigher of lead of London, on 12 Nov. 1390 under colour of his office had arrested a wooden balance and certain leaden weights weighing 8 cwt. i qr., of the value of 100s, claiming them as forfeit, against right and reason, and to the plaintiff's damage 40s. He prayed the Mayor and Aldermen to have the balance and weights brought into court, so that they might discuss whether they were forfeitable or not. [French]
The defendant appeared on summons on 18 Feb. and pleaded that the plaintiff had no ground of action against him, because from time immemorial all balances, used by persons weighing lead between merchant and merchant, which were not sealed with the seal of the city, were forfeitable to the use of the sheriffs and went towards the payment of the king's farm. Further the present sheriffs had committed the weighing of lead to the defendant in virtue of their office. The plaintiff having weighed lead with balance and weights which were not sealed, the sheriffs had arrested them as forfeitable and sold them to the defendant, who was in possession of them for that reason; without that (fn. 3) he was an official of the sheriffs or by colour of his office had arrested them, as the plaintiff supposed by his bill.
A jury of the venue of St Dunstan in the East, viz. Walter Coupere and his fellows, said on oath that the defendant arrested the balance of his own ill-will, to the plaintiff's damage 10 marks. Therefore it was considered that the plaintiff recover etc.
Grant from Hugh Fastolf, citizen of London, to John Hadley, William Cressewyk, citizens of London, Robert Houtoft, Geoffrey Somerton, James Billingford and Sir Nicholas, perpetual chaplain of la Charnell in Great Jernemuthe (Yarmouth), of all his goods and chattels. Dated at London 21 Aug. 1391.
Membr. 4 b
Action of account by the abbot of Rewley near Oxford against Hugh Talbot, tailor, with regard to moneys received by the latter to trade therewith by the hands of William Wynferthyng, William Isbrond, Thomasina Hukstere, Hans Clokkemaker and other tenants of the abbot in London [breaks off].
John Holmton of Sleaford, merchant, brought a petition claiming from John Walworth, vintner, the sum of £120, which the complainant's attorney overseas, John Feryour, had lent to John Walworth's apprentice and attorney, Richard Edmund, at Middelburgh two years before for the purchase of wines, under condition that the money should be repaid in England. He prayed that John Walworth and his apprentice be examined in court according to the law merchant, in order that a reasonable end might be made to the matter. [French]
John Walworth having denied on 1 Dec. that the loan had been made for his use, the parties agreed to put themselves on an examination of the apprentice, Richard Edmund, and to accept his testimony. The said Richard on 7 Jan., having sworn to tell the truth without concealment, favour or fear, said that his master had in his keeping certain charters and muniments relating to his (Richard's) lands and tenements, and being afraid that his master might treat him unjustly in the future, he had borrowed the money in dispute for his own use and profit, and that none of it ever accrued to the use and profit of his master, as by the petition of John Holmton was supposed.
Acquittance from Alice, widow of William Ancroft, mercer, to William Hyde, grocer, John Pountefreit, saddler, Robert Sewale, fishmonger, and John Drew, executors of her late husband's will, for the sum of 500 marks, being her third part of her husband's goods and chattels coming to her as dower and purparty, and for the clothes belonging to her chamber (fn. 4), to wit, linen and wool for the beds and all the clothing for her body, as appeared more fully in her husband's will. Given under her seal 1 May 1391. [French]
Report of Simon Hoke and Henry Godard, the sworn masons, and Richard Bornham and Walter Wiltshire, the sworn carpenters of the city, with regard to a stone building called the "Fermory (fn. 5)" at Austin Friars. They found that one gable-crest (fn. 6) had fallen and another was in danger of falling, owing to bad work on the part of Richard Salyng, mason, whom they charged with the renewal thereof at his own cost and expense. [French]
Membr. 5 b
Writ of certiorari demanding the tenor of a letter under the signet from the king to John Norhampton, late mayor, ordering him to arrest Hugelin Gerard, Lombard, with all the goods and chattels, papers and letters found in his lodging, and to deliver him to Sir Thomas Murreux, late constable of the Tower. Dated at Westminster 8 May 1391.
Return giving a letter under the signet dated at the king's manor of Shene on 29 Jan. (fn. 7), ordering that Ogolyne Gerard be delivered to Thomas Morrieux, constable of the Tower, and his papers be sent to the continuel conseil in London. [French]
Appointment of Thomas Davy, John Hunte, Thomas Lamport and William Harper, wardens of the mistery of Goldsmiths, William Louthe, John Lyncoln, Stephen de Thorpe and John de Luton, goldsmiths, as arbitrators in an action between Henry Bamme, plaintiff, and Hervy Rokhawe, defendant, with regard to lands in Fulham, Braynford and Illyng (fn. 8).
Membr. 6 b
John Fraunceys, one of the sheriffs, brought a bill of complaint setting forth that a certain John Gentyll had been condemned in the court of his predecessor, John Loveye, and in his own court in several actions for debt brought against him by John Hayne, tailor, John French, prior of the Carmelite Friars, and John Denys, jeweller. On 20 June he was allowed to escape to the sanctuary of St Martin le Grand through the negligence of Thomas Clerc, who was servant of the sheriffs' serjeant, John Starlyng, without having paid the debts recovered against him, in consequence of which the plaintiff became chargeable for those amounts. Although every sheriffs' serjeant was responsible for the misdeeds of his servants, the said John Starlyng had refused to find security to save the plaintiff harmless against the abovementioned claims. [French]
John Starlyng was brought before the Mayor and Aldermen and was asked if he could give any reason why he should not exonerate the sheriff against the plaintiffs in the said actions. He pleaded that John Gentyll had been handed over by the court to his servant, Thomas Clerc, without his knowing anything about it, and therefore he was not responsible for his escape.
As it seemed to the court that, according to the custom of the city, sheriffs' serjeants were bound to answer to their masters not only for their own offences but also for such misdeeds of their servants as concerned the sheriffs, and since the serjeant's servant, who had been ordered by the court to take the prisoner to Newgate, had allowed him to escape, it was considered that John Starlyng find sufficient security to indemnify his master against any claims of the plaintiffs in the aforesaid actions, and since John Starlyng could not find such security, he was committed to Ludgate until he could do so.
Writ of protection in favour of Henry Tamworth, esquire, who was then on the king's service in the company of Thomas, earl of Nottingham and earl marshal, captain of the town of Calais. Dated at Westminster 6 Sept. 1391.
John, son of William Shynguler of Bermyngham co. Warwick, brought a bill showing that his master, Roger Grymston, draper, to whom he had been apprenticed at Easter for eight years, had absconded for debt on Tuesday after Michaelmas, leaving him destitute and homeless and without food and drink except what was given to him by good people for the love of God. He prayed to be exonerated from his apprenticeship. [French]
The master, on being several times summoned, failed to appear, and since evidence was given by the neighbours that he had left no goods and chattels in the city to carry on his trade and had not put his apprentice to any one else to learn the trade, the latter was exonerated, on condition that if the master returned within a year and a day and had any action against his apprentice, he should be allowed to sue it.
Membr. 7 b
Letter under the mayoralty seal to the duke of Gyene and Lancastre (fn. 9) and to all royal and other lords. Whereas a certain Robert Ospreng, claiming to be executor of Thomas William, had complained to the duke that William Venour, during his mayoralty, had given him a letter under the mayoralty seal confirming the impression of the seal used by the testator during his lifetime, but had afterwards sent for him to bring to Guildhall a bond of £200 made by William Page to the testator, and had imprisoned him and taken away from him the letter under the mayoralty seal, in consequence of which he could not have execution of the bond—the real truth was as follows: The said Robert had come to the mayor saying that he had been appointed administrator of the goods and chattels of Thomas William by the abbot of Westminster, whereupon the mayor had given him a letter witnessing that a lease of a shop in Bokelersbury (fn. 10) from Thomas Medelane, vintner, to the testator, bore the seal used by the testator in his lifetime, but afterwards the Mayor and Aldermen were advised that this testimonial letter might turn to the prejudice of other persons, since they had no full information or knowledge of the seal of the testator and did not truly know whether it had been used by him in his lifetime or not, except on the word of the said Robert and other insufficient persons, and accordingly, with the assent of the aldermen and the city's counsel, the mayor had taken back the letter. It was not true that the said Robert had been in any way imprisoned or grieved or molested in his person, as he alleged. They begged the duke to give credence to this explanation and to hold the said William Venour excused. [French]