Petition to Mayor and Aldermen, Jan 1439/40
[p. 9 translation] Entered in the Chamber of Guildhall, London, book K, folio
182 (fn. 1)
13 January, 18 Henry VI [1439/40], there came into the Chamber of
the Guildhall of the City of London, before Robert Large, Mayor, John
Reynwell', John Gedney, John Welles, John Brokle, Henry Frowyk, William Milreth, Ralph Holand, Thomas Catworth, William Gregory, John
Olney, John Sutton', William Combes and William Wetenhale, Aldermen
of the said City, good men of the craft of writers of the court letter of
London, and laid before the said Mayor and Aldermen a certain bill or
supplication in the following words:
[Transcript] To the full' honorables lordes and sov[er]aignes Mair and Aldermen of the Cite of london'
Full mekely besechen the goode folk of the Crafte of Skrivens of
Courte l[ett]re in the seid Citee That it plese unto yo' fulle wise discrecions
tenderly to considre the grete p[er]els and myschiefs that oft tyme haue falle
and yit dayly fallen by diu[er]s p[er]sones nat connyng ne experte in the seid
Craft Whiche taken vpon' theyme for to make diu[er]s feates aswell touchyng inherytannces as other feates of charge soche as belong to the seid'
Craft. Where as in dede thei ar neyther expert ne konnyng and so thurgh'
theire ignorannce and vnkonnyng hurten' gretely and disceyuen' the
Co[mmon]e peple aswel to theire disherityng as in other caas p[er]sonel[es]
to grete hurt and disclanndre of the goode true folk of the seid' Craft And
th[ere]vpon' g[ra]ciously to grannte in eschewyng of suche p[er]els & myscheves in tyme here after th[a]t the poyntes and Articles here after folowyng
may be hadde' & admitted for ferme & Stable and to be entred & enrolled
in the chambre of the Guyldehalle so that the gode rule may be obserued
& kept in the Seyde Craft for theire p[ar]tie like as it is Wythin oth[er]
Craftes of the seid' Citee.
First that no man[er]e [of] man of the seid' Craft of What condicion'
so eu[e]r he be take vpon hym to make eny evidences or munimentes that
sownen' to me[n]nes enheritannces ne oth[er]e grete charges soche as
mygh[t]e falle to grete hurt of the kynges peple of lesse than he be first
Duely examined and founden able by the Wardeyns of the seid' Craft for
the tyme beyng and by. vj. or iiij p[er]sones enfrannchesied in the seid'
Craft or by the Mair and Aldermen' of the seide Cite And also th[a]t no
man' other than suche as haiv serued wethin the seyde Craft by way of
app[re]nticialte from hens forward hold eny shop [?as] of the saide Craft
wyth'in the seide Citee ne in the subarbes th[er]of lesse than he by the
Wardeyns of the seid' Craft for the tyme beyng And by suche vj or iiij
p[er]sones of the same Craft or els by the mair & Aldermen' of the seid'
Citee haue been examined and founden' able and so for able by hem p[re]sented and th[er]vpon be enfranchised in the Craft of Screvens aboueseid'.
Item that no p[er]sone enfranchised in the seid' Craft from hens
forward wtin his shop' ne in noon' oth[er] place occupie sette on werke ne
Colour in the seid Craft and occupacion' of Skryvens ony p[er]sone lesse
than the same p[er]son' so sette on' Werke be fore th[a]t tyme haue been'
app[re]ntice or enfranchised in the seid' Crafte Wtoute Consent and speciall'
licence of the Wardeyn[?es] of the seid' Craft And suche vj or iiij p[er]sones
enfrannchised in the same craft or of the mair and Aldermen' of the seid'
Citee for the tyme beyng vpon the payne of C s' to be arrered of eu[er]iche
such' p[er]son' so founden' defectif in doyng the Contrarie of this orden[a]nce And that as ofte as he therof shall' be conuycte And the forseid' C
s' to be devided in the fourme suyng that is to seie th[a]t on' half th[er]of to
remayn' to the vse of the chambre of the Gildehalle And that other half to
the vse of the companye of the seid' Crafte.
Item that from hens forward eu[er]y p[er]sone enfrannchised in the
seide Craft that holdeth open Shop' wtin the seid' Citee ne subarbes therof
paye yerely atte iiij pryncipall' termes of the yere to the supportacion' of the
charges of the same Craft, xij d'. th[a]t is to seye eu[er]y quarter iij d' to be
disposed and demened by the discrecion' of the Wardeyns and goode men'
of the same Craft for the tyme beyng.
Item that from hens forth' no p[er]sone enfrannchised of the same
Craft wtoute licence of the Wardeyns of the seid' Craft for the tyme beyng
And of vj or iiij of the most sufficiannt p[er]sones of the same Craft occupie
ne hold' open wtin the seid' Citee ne subarbes therof but onely 00 [sic,
recte one] shop' for the grete p[er]els and myschefes th[a]t necclygently hau
fallen' And here after may falle thurgh ignorannce and vnkonnyng of
theire s[er]u[a]ntes or app[re]ntices the seid' Craft so occupying or kepyng
any shop' under (fn. 2) his maister In whiche the maister atte all' tymes cannot be
p[re]sent to the ou[er]syght and examinacion' of alle feates made be his
s[er]u[a]nt (fn. 2) ne app[re]ntice in a Shop' so discen[c]ed from his maister
opon' payn' of C s' to be arrered of eu[er]y p[er]sone doyng the contra[ry]
of this Article [a word gone and two others illegible] th[a]t eny so be found'
defectyf and to be devided in the fourme aforeseid'.
[p. 10] Item that eu[er]y p[er]sone of the seid' Craft holdyng opyn'
Shop' in this seide Citee & subarbes from this tyme for Ward' when and as
ofte as he there be warned by the Bedell' or s[er]u[a]nt of the seid' Craft in
the name of the Wardeyns of the seid' Craft for the tyme beyng beredy and
attendannt at houre & plase to hym assigned vpon' payne to paye at
eu[er]y tyme that he th[er]of do the contrarie xijd' to be arrered and devided
in the man[n]e[r] and fourme afore rehersed.
[Translation] Which said bill being read to the Mayor and Aldermen and
fully understood by them, because it seemed to them that all the articles in
the bill are reasonable, redounding to the welfare and honour of the public,
unanimously consented to the ordering, decreement and sentencing of the
said articles, here among others, to be entered of record in the manner and
form in which they are prayed, for the future firmly to be observed, reserving to themselves power to add, diminish and correct according to changes
in times and conditions as shall seem expedient, [pp. 11–14 blank.]