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 37
On Thursday 27 Dec. 1397 Richard Hawtyn, glover, came to Newgate before the mayor and sheriffs, John Cokayn, recorder, and John Michel, coroner, and appealed John Sewale, carter, because that the said John on 15 Sept. 1397 in the church of St Martin le Grand said to him that there was no peace or love in England since the present king became king, and that he was not a right king (fn. 1).
Writ, directed to the mayor and sheriffs, reciting that among the liberties of Oxford (fn. 2) which the king had confirmed, it had been granted that the burgesses should be quit of toll, passage and every other custom throughout England and Normandy, bilande & bistrande, and that they and their heirs should have their liberties, laws, customs and tenures, with soch and sack, thol and theam and infangfthef, even as the citizens of London had them, and that if any one took toll or other custom, of which the burgesses were quit, the mayor and bailiffs at Oxford should take a pledge (namium) at Oxford until restitution was made. The citizens of London are commanded to permit the enjoyment of these liberties and to release any distress made for this reason, or show cause to the contrary. Dated at Westminster 1 Aug. 1397.
Return of the mayor and sheriffs that from time immemorial they and their fellow-citizens had held London and Middlesex to farm with divers liberties, customs, tolls, passages and lastages on merchandise coming to London, for a certain sum of money payable annually to the Exchequer, and that the sheriffs had been accustomed to take toll and passage as well from the burgesses of Oxford as others in aid of the farm aforesaid, which liberties, free customs, privileges, passages and lastages had been confirmed both by statutes and by charters with the clause licet, contrary to which the burgesses of Oxford had showed no cause why they should be exonerated. Since the mayor and sheriffs were bound by oath to observe the liberties of the city, they were unable to exonerate the burgesses of Oxford from payment of toll and passage, which were parcel of the aforesaid farm.
Membr. 1 b
Bond of Robert Broun, skinner, to pay Albright Brant, merchant of Almaine, the sum of £19 4s 8d, by half-yearly payments of 40s. In case of default it was agreed that the said Albright be at liberty to enter upon a tenement of the said Robert in Petywalys (fn. 3) in the parish of All Hallows Berkyng, of 2 marks annual value, 4s quitrent formerly belonging to William Talworth in the same parish, three shops in Porteslane in. the parish of St Dunstan by the Tower of 28s annual value, and 16s 8d quitrent from tenements in the parish of St Margaret Patyns in the occupation of Lady la Mortimer and Sir John Wilteshire, knight.
Writ of error to the Mayor and Aldermen with regard to the plea of trespass brought by Thomas atte Hay, brewer, against William Rothewell, chaplain, which plea was then being examined by Hugh Huls and his fellows, the king's justices, at St Martin le Grand. As the defendant William Rothewell had alleged error in the record and process of the plea, in that the plaintiff had not affirmed his bill of complaint by pledges, it is ordered that the bill be produced to the justices at St Martin le Grand. Moreover, immediately after the affirmation of the bill without pledges, the mayor's serjeant had been ordered to attach the said William, as a stranger, by his body. The justices required to know whether it was an ancient custom of the city thus to attach a stranger on the first day. Witnesses, William Thurnyng and Hugh Huls at St Martin le Grand 8 Nov. 1397.
Return of Richard Whityngton, Mayor, and the Aldermen, that they were sending the bill as duly affirmed by pledges, and that it was immemorial custom in the city that when any one affirmed a bill of trespass or debt with pledges against a stranger, the latter ought to be attached on the first day.
Writ of error to the Mayor and Aldermen with regard to the plea of debt of £40 brought by Salamon Salmon against Robert Dane, mercer, then under examination as above. As the defendant alleged error in the record and process, in that the plaintiff affirmed his bill without pledges, it is ordered that the bill be produced before the justices. Moreover, after the jury had been sworn on 21 March 1397 they had demanded a day till the morrow to give their verdict and this was granted to them by consent of the parties. As this was alleged to be contrary to custom, the justices required to be certified as to the custom on 13 Nov. Witness John Cassy at St Martin le Grand, 8 Nov. 1397.
Return that the Mayor and Aldermen were sending the bill as duly affirmed and that they were prepared to testify as to the custom by the mouth of the recorder, as was customary in the city, at the date and place mentioned.
Further return that it was immemorial custom for a jury in personal actions in the Mayor's and Sheriffs' Courts to demand and receive, by consent of the parties, a reasonable day to give their verdict, in order that meanwhile they might have more mature deliberation.
Membr. 2 b
Writ of error to the Mayor and Aldermen with regard to the plea of trespass brought by John Neel, gardener, against John Sewale, carter, in the court of Thomas Wilford, sheriff, which was removed into the Chamber before the Mayor and Aldermen and was then under review by the king's justices at St Martin le Grand, the said John Sewale having complained that there was manifest error in the record and process and the rendering of judgment, namely, that whereas Adam Bamme, late Mayor, and the Aldermen ordered the sheriff to bring the plea before them in the Chamber on 1 Feb. 1397 and to warn the parties to be present, there was no mention in the record and process of the sheriff's having warned the parties and the complainant was not so warned, to which John Neel had replied that the sheriff did in fact warn the parties and that the said John Sewale, being warned, appeared, although both the warning and appearance were omitted from the record as sent to the justices—the Mayor and Aldermen are required to send the full record and process before the justices on 17 Nov. 1397. Witness William Thirnyng, 4 Oct. 1397.
Return of Richard Whityngton, Mayor, and the Aldermen that the sheriff did not certify them that he had summoned the parties, but that it was immemorial custom, when they caused an action pending in the Sheriffs' Court to come before them, for the sheriffs or the mayor's serjeants to warn the parties to appear on a certain day, and on this occasion Richard Jargeville, the mayor's serjeant, warned the parties to appear, and in obedience to this warning they appeared and pleaded as appears in the record already sent.
John Barker, haberdasher, and Margaret his wife, widow and executrix of Roger Crane, were summoned to answer William Crane, haberdasher, in a plea of debt of £32; pledges of prosecution, John Deux and Robert Northflete.
The sheriffs' serjeant was ordered, according to custom, to summon the said John and Margaret for the next court of the king, to wit, Wednesday 13 March, on which day the said John came. The sheriffs' serjeant testified that he had summoned the said John and Margaret. Thereupon the court ordered the said John to bring his wife to answer with him according to the custom of the city. Both defendants appearing on 15 March, the plaintiff made his declaration, in which he complained that the late Roger Crane was found to be in arrears to him in the sum of £32 by an account made before John Broun, auditor, on 28 Aug. 1394, which sum the said Margaret his executrix refused to pay, to his damage £20.
Membr. 3 b
Upon this, in accordance with the custom whereby the Mayor and Aldermen at their pleasure could cause a plea pending in the Sheriffs' Court to come before them at the request of either party and could terminate it after examination of the parties, or in any other due manner according to the law merchant and the custom of the city, Richard Whityngton, mayor, instructed his serjeant to order the sheriff to bring the plea before him and to warn the parties to appear the same day, which was done. The said William Crane and John Barker appeared in person and the said Margaret by John Barker as her attorney. A day was given to them, by their consent, on Friday 22 March, when the parties appeared. The mayor then asked the defendants whether, if the plaintiff together with John Broun and John Deux would swear that the said John Broun heard the account and that the sum of £32 was due, they would be willing to be condemned in £32 according to the law merchant and the custom of the city and to be committed to prison. The defendants peremptorily agreed, and the plaintiff for his part agreed to be excluded from his action if he and the said John Broun and John Dreux were unwilling to swear.
Thereupon the plaintiff, John Broun and John Dreux being examined, swore as abovesaid. And because it is and has been the custom of the city of London from a time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary, that when the defendant in any bills or plaints before the Mayor and Aldermen in the Chamber of the Guildhall or before either of the Sheriffs is willing to put himself peremptorily on the oath of the plaintiff that the matter contained in the bill or count is true, if the plaintiff is unwilling so to swear, he ought by the law merchant and the custom of the city to be excluded from his action and demand, but if he so swears, the defendant ought to be condemned in the plaintiff's action and demand, and because it is also the custom that when the defendant offers to put himself peremptorily on the oath of the plaintiff and other good men with him (fn. 4), as upon the oath of the plaintiff alone upon any point, matter or thing contained in such bill or count, the same consequences ensue—therefore it was considered that the plaintiff recover against the defendants the said sum of £32. The plaintiff remitted the damages. The defendant John Barker, being present in court, was committed to Ludgate until he paid.
John Godolf, son of William Godolf, late citizen and currier, brought a bill praying to be exonerated from his apprenticeship to Richard Essex, draper, who had left his trade and was residing outside the liberties of the city. [French]
The said Richard was summoned four times at his house in the city and also by favour at Southwark, where he was living, to show cause, but did not appear. Accordingly on 26 June the apprentice was ordered to find security to serve the remainder of his term if Richard Essex within a year and a day came and proved that before his departure he had transferred his apprentice to an honest man of the same trade, or had assigned any one to provide for him and teach him his trade.
Letter of attorney from Naveryna, widow and executrix of John Thornbury, knight, reciting that on 30 March 1398, she had, together with Philip, son of John Thornbury, and Thomas Eston, recovered against Matheu de Magnane of Bologna, moneychanger, and Gerard de Ferrar, executors of the will of William Gold, Englishman, the third part of 6000 marks sterling and of other goods and chattels to the value of 2000 marks, belonging to William Gold at the time of his death, and that in part execution of the recovery, they had received three chests containing silk cloth of gold, silk kerchiefs and other silk, a coffer containing jewels of gold and precious stones, to wit, rubies, sapphires, balaces (fn. 5), diamonds and pearls, and a paper with divers letters and accounts, which had been arrested by the mayor's serjeant in the house of Thomas Fortebras, merchant of Lucca and factor and attorney of the "companye" of Guynyse, and in the hands of Jacob Manyan, son of the said Matheu, as being the goods and chattels of William Gold, which goods had been appraised at the value of £1200. She grants the above goods to Balduche, son of John Parghia de Intermenell of Lucca, with power to sell and dispose of them as his own, and at the same time she appoints him her special attorney to execute the remainder of the recovery. Dated at London 1 May 1398. [French]
Membr. 4 b
Naveryna, widow of John Thornbury, knight, Philip, son of the above John Thornbury, and Thomas Eston, executors of the will of the said John, brought a bill of complaint by Balduchius Parghia of Lucca, their attorney, in their own names and that of William Grevell, their co-executor, against Matheu de Magnane of Bologna, moneychanger, and Gerard de Ferrar', executors of the will of William Gold, Englishman, for the detinue of the third part of 6000 marks and of other goods and chattels to the value of 2000 marks, viz. horses, harness, jewels, pearls, rings etc., which was due to the executors in accordance with an indenture of 24 Nov. 1379, whereby the late Sir John Thornbury and William Golde had agreed that the survivor of them should have a third part of the goods of the other, and they claimed further 2000 marks damages. [French]
The remaining plaintiffs alleged that Matheu and Gerard were foreign merchants dwelling outside the realm, but had certain goods in the house of Thomas Fortebrace, factor of the society of Guynes, merchants of Lucca, and in the custody of Jacob Magnane, merchant of Bologna, which belonged to William Golde, and they prayed that these goods might be arrested as a foreign attachment. Order was given to attach the goods and summon the said Matheu and Gerard to appear on 12 Nov. The latter having made four defaults, judgment was given for the plaintiffs on 30 March 1398 and the goods were valued at £1200. The plaintiffs then agreed that the goods should remain in the custody of the said Jacob Magnane in case the defendants should appear within a year and a day to defend the action, and the said Jacob and Thomas, being at that time in London, entered into a bond to deliver the goods and chattels if the defendants Matheu and Gerard made no claim to them.
Membr. 5 b
Inquisition post mortem taken before Richard Whityngton, Mayor, and the Aldermen by oath of Richard Mustell and others as to the lands and tenements whereof Richard Cok died seised. The jurors said that he died seised in fee tail of certain lands and tenements within the city by virtue of the will of Robert Cok, glover, his father, enrolled in the Husting (fn. 6) Ao 11, Ric. II, viz. certain tenements with an adjacent wharf called "Dryngwatereswharf" in the parish of St Magnus by the Bridge of £16 13s 4d annual value, a bakehouse with dwellings above in the parish of Holy Trinity the Less in Knyghtriderstrete in the ward of Cordwanerstrete of 6 marks annual value, and also of a tenement called "Litellondon (fn. 7)," with houses built above and gardens adjacent, in the parish of All Hallows atte Wall in Bradstrete Ward of 5 marks annual value, but charged with an annual rent of 12s to the new hospital of St Mary without Bishopsgate. As the last-named rent had been in arrears for four years, John Mildenhall, prior of the hospital, had entered into the property and had occupied it until 23 Nov. 1393, when he and his convent by a deed enrolled in the Rusting demised it to the said Richard Cok and Ellen his wife and his heirs, which Richard died jointly seised, with his wife, of the said property in fee tail. The date of his death was 19 June 1397, when all the rents issuing from the properties were arrested in the hands of the tenants by one of the serjeants of the Chamber. A certain Agnes, his daughter, was Richard's next heir, being over the age of two years, and a certain Thomas Peroun, since his death, had been in occupation of Litellondon.
Thomas Somersete, brother and heir of John Lylleston, brought a bill of complaint against John Skete that whereas John Lylleston devised to Joan his wife, her heirs and assigns a shop with solar and yard in Shytbournelane (fn. 8) in the parish of St Mary Abbechirche, which he bought of William Tapyser, and the said Joan afterwards married John Skete and died, and the complainant thereupon entered as heir, on the ground that a man by the custom of the city could not devise to his wife more than a life interest in his tenement, the said John Skete on 9 Jan. 1397 entered forcibly into the tenement, breaking two doors to the value of 20s and carrying away four locks to the value of 4s. [French]
The defendant, after three defaults, appeared on 9 July and pleaded not guilty of force and arms, but admitted entering the tenement, for which he alleged that the plaintiff had no action against him, because men of the city could by the custom of the city devise their tenements to their wives in fee simple, and the said Joan became seised of the tenement after her husband's death, and she, together with the defendant, granted the tenement to John Cappe and Walter Hoper and others, whose status he, the defendant, now possessed.
Both parties offered to verify their pleadings as to the custom of the city. On 8 July a jury of the venue was summoned and brought in a verdict that the defendant entered into the tenement in the manner and form alleged by the plaintiff (fn. 9), and taxed the damages at 3s 4d.
Membr. 7 b
Writ to the mayor, sheriffs and recorder, appointing them, with the assent of the king's council, to inquire by a jury into the matter of a complaint made to the king by Donyna (fn. 10), widow of John Haucwod, knight, who asserted that certain persons enfeoffed with lands to the use of her husband, for the purchase of which he had from time to time sent sums of money, were detaining these lands and other goods and chattels, and had rendered no account of the profits thereof either to her husband or herself, and further that they had removed from St Paul's church a box of muniments belonging to her husband and relating to these transactions. A return was required to the council before the quindene of Easter. Dated at Westminster 24 Feb. 1398.
Inquisition taken before Richard Whityngton, mayor, William Askham and John Wodecok, sheriffs, on 11 April 1398 by oath of John Byle, John Mogoun, John Bret, Peter Mason and Nicholas Cros of the parish of St Peter on Cornhill; Laurence Bakoun, Thomas Somerton, Walter Pope and Peter Briklesworth of the parish of St Christopher; Robert Cauntbrigg, Morice Archer, Thomas Drake, turner, and Henry Anketil, shearman, of the parish of St Benet Fynk; John Deux, Richard Lambard, Roger Horsley and John Bussh of the parish of St Michael at Corn, who said on oath that John Haucwod, knight, sent certain sums of money to John Serjeant, Robert Rikedon, Thomas Coggeshale, Robert Lyndeseye and John Sampson, who bought a tenement called "Ledenhalle" in the parish of St Peter with a part of the money, viz. the sum of 1200 marks, to the use of John Haucwod, which tenement was of an annual value of £28 3s 8d, and that since John Haucwod's death these persons had received the issues of the property, but to whose use the jurors did not know. They said further that the said John and the others had taken a chest to St Paul's church for safe custody and had afterwards removed it, but the jurors knew nothing of its contents. Sealed with the seals of the jurors and dated as above.
Writ of error to the mayor and sheriffs, demanding that the record and process of the action of trespass brought by Margery, widow of Richard Godard of London, and Thomas Sybseye, tailor, against John Godard, goldsmith, before the mayor, be brought into the next Court of Husting, and that the execution of the judgment against the defendant be suspended if he could find sufficient security to answer for the damages adjudged against him, in case the judgment were affirmed. Dated at Westminster 20 July 1397.
Writ ordering the mayor and sheriffs to return the former writs to Chancery, since they had been issued thoughtlessly (improvide (fn. 11)) from the king's court, in order that other procedure might be taken. Dated at Westminster 16 Nov. 1397.
Membr. 8 b
Grant from Adam Profete of Canterbury to William Parker, stockfishmonger, of all his goods and chattels, for better evidence of which he puts the said William in possession thereof by delivering to him a baselard plated with silver (stipatum argento). Witnesses, John Osbern, Robert Frankleyn, John Combe, William Rouchestre, John Walsingham and others. Dated at London 22 Nov. 1397.