I. 126. Letter from Edward Stafford, Esq., to the Lord Mayor,
stating that Her Majesty, to recompense his services, had granted a
Patent to him, giving him the penalties incurred by the Clothiers in
England and Wales, for making kerseys contrary to the Statutes, and
that several so offending had compounded with him and had been
discharged, they had nevertheless been interfered with in the City.
He therefore requested the Lord Mayor, after examining his Patent
under the great Seal, to give such orders as would prevent them
from being molested in the future.
24th August, 1580.
I. 127. Letter from the same to the same, thanking him for his
favourable answer, and stating that the chartered rights of the City
would not in any way be interfered with.
29th August, 1580.
I. 128. Letter from the Lord Mayor to Edward Stafford, Esq.,
stating that the matter respecting his Patent had been considered by
the Court of Aldermen. By the Advice of Counsel, they found that
the Letters Patent granted to him the execution of two Statutes, Viz.,
the 4 and 5 Philip and Mary (fn. 1) and the 14th of her present Majesty, (fn. 2)
touching the search, survey, and benefit of forefeitures, limited by these
Statutes to kerseys only, which had been, by Parliament, vested for
London in such persons as had been appointed by the Mayor and
Aldermen from time to time. The officers so appointed had exercised
the office according to law, and Her Majesty had yearly received her
part of the profits, which had amounted to more than all the rest of
the Realm together. Moreover, long before his Letter Patent, the Queen
had granted a Charter to the City, assinging to the Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens by express words the due execution of the
Statute concerning the searching, measuring, sealing, and weighing of
all kind of Cloths, and, by the same Charter, the same Law, touching
kerseys and all other kinds of Cloth, had been put into execution in
the City, and so, by reason of the priority of the City's Charter, the
execution of that Statute could not pass from the City. As to the
Statute 14th of Her present Majesty, concerning the excessive length
of kerseys, a device invented by Foreigners Strangers to defraud the
Customs, the complaint had been some time since reformed.
15th September, 1580.
I. 241. Letter from Sir Christopher Hatton, Knight, to the
Lord Mayor and Aldermen, informing them that Her Majesty had
been informed of divers great abuses daily committed in the disorderly
draing of cloth within her realm, and perceived the same to proceed chiefly from the want of Searchers and Alnagers, who ought to
be chosen by the Court of Aldermen for their skill and experience
in the trade. On Her Majesty's behalf he recommended the Court
of Aldermen at their next meeting to admit William Parker to the
place of Alanger, (fn. 3) Searcher, or Surveyor in the City of London,
and such other persons as might appear to them expedient and
needful, seeing they were not limited to any certain number of
8th August, 1581.
Postscript.—The Lord Treasurer had also strongly recommended
this man to Her Majesty as most fitted for that office.
I. 482. Letter from William Tenche and Edward Owen, Bailiffs
of Shrewsbury, to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, informing them
that a petition had been exhibited to the Lords of the Council, by
the Citizens of Westchester, for the establishment of a Staple of all
Cotton and Friezes made in North Wales to be settled at Chester,
and from thence to be transported into foreign countries, which in
their opinion would tend to the hindrance of all manner of traffic to
and from London to those parts, and to the decay of the Hospitals
belonging to the City of London, in respect of the Hallage weekly
paid in Blackwell Hall, (fn. 4) amounting by estimation to about 100l. yearly.
The Council had fixed Wednesday, the 27th of February, to receive
their objections. The writers desired to know whether the Court of
Aldermen would assist them in their resistance to the carrying out
of the purposed project.
Dated Salop, 17th February, 1582.
I. 593. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer,
stating that Mr. John Leak, one of the Deputy Alnagers, had informed him that Nicolas Spencer had complained to the Queen
touching some wrong offered to him as to the office of searching
woollen cloths, wherein he claimed a right with the said Leak and
his follows. The controversy had been some time since submitted, by
direction of the Court of Aldermen, to divers honest and discreet men
to determine. Spencer had been called before the Court of Aldermen,
when he utterly denied that he had exhibited any such complaint,
and alleged that one of his sons had done so without his consent.
With regard to the charge imposed upon Mr. Morgan, Her Majesty's
Apothecary, who, to avoid the same, had declared that the did not
keep a house within the City, it had been found that he had both a
house and shop. He therefore begged him to call Mr. Morgan again
before him, and to order him to make an immediate payment, or that
proceedings might be taken against him.
28th June, 1592.
II. 174. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council,
acknowledging the receipt of their letters concerning bad and false
making of cloths, and reporting the steps taken in compliance
24th June, 1601.
II. 179. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor
and Aldermen, ordering that, on account of the abuses existing in the
Cloth trade, all cloths brought to the City should be tried by skilful
searchers, and sold at Blackwell Hall; and that all ropes, rings,
wrenches, and the lower bars of the tenters should be abolished.
31st May, 1601.
II. 182. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lords
Mayor and Aldermen, complaining of their neglect in not carrying
out of the orders of the Council concerning the abuse of stretching
cloths on the tenters, which was practised in no other country in
Christendom, but here and in the Low Countries, by tradition from
here, and commanding them, without further delay, to see their
former directions in this matter absolutely performed; and also to
appoint a person on behalf of the French merchants, to search the
cloths at Blackwell Hall.
16th August, 1602.
II. 198. Letter from Richard Powlett, Francis Palmer, and
others, Justices of the Peace for Basingstoke, to the Lord Treasurer, Thomas Lord Buckhurst, (fn. 5) complaining that cloths searched
in that town by officers appointed by the Council were again searched
in London, to the great hindrance of business; and requesting his
Lordship to appoint some one, if necessary, to search the cloths, and
to certify the results to the bailiffs of the town, in order that if there
were any defects, the same might be remedied.
19th January, 1602.
II. 199. Letter from John Tey, Her Majesty's Alnager for
London, to the Lord Treasurer, in answer to the complaint of the
Justices of Basingstoke, as to the unlawful searching of cloths.
13th February, 1602.
II. 200. Letter from Lord Buckhurst, Lord Treasurer, to the
Lord Mayor, upon the complaint of the Justices of Basingstoke, and
the answer of Her Majesty's Alnager thereto, and requesting his
advice upon the whole matter.
14th February, 1602.
II. 209. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the
Council, enclosing a petition from the Clothworkers of London, complaining that the reformation of tenters was not general throughout
this realm, and that cloth sent to the City rough was sent back to the
country to be dressed, to the great impoverishment of the petitioners.
6th September, 1601.
II. 230. Letter of the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer, in
answer to the complaint of the Justices of the Peace of Basingstoke,
and stating that he had called before him the searchers, and inquired
fully into the charge, and, further, that he found by the Statute 39 of
Elizabeth, (fn. 6) it was provided that all cloth coming to the common
market at Blackwell Hall should be searched and sealed, notwithstanding it might have been so examined in the country.
II. 284. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer, as
to the want of room for the cloths at Blackwell Hall; and informing
him, that the remedy this ill-convenience, it had been decided to remove
the linen, cloths, and to enlarge the hall as much as possible.
20th April, 1607.
II. 356. Letter from Lord Salibury (fn. 7) to the Lord Mayor
complaining of the quality of the cloth lately sent to France, also
informing him of a treaty made between the two countries, and of His
Majesty's desire to establish a company of merchants for carrying on
trade with that country, and directing him to hold a conference with
the governors of the several companies of merchants in this City
upon the subject, and report thereon.
3rd August, 1609.
III. 5. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor,
with respect to the laws and orders for the true and orderly making
of cloths, and requiring him to aid and assist the King's Alnager and
his deputies in the City of London, for remedy of abuses, especially
in procuring all saleable cloth and woollen commodities coming to the
City to be sold in the public market, and to bar all private receipts
and sales thereof; to cause the markets to be kept at their times
and hours, according to the orders of the Courty of Aldermen and
Act of Common Council, and to take order according to the Act,
that one hour in the forenoon and one hour in the afternoon, on every
market-day, the Alnager or his deputies might peaceably search in
every hall or market before the opening thereof, so that the due
execution of the office of Alnager might be performed without offence
to any, or the disturbing of the market.
31st Janurary, 1610.
III. 56. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor,
informing him that a complaint had been made to them by John May,
servant to the Duke of Lenox, (fn. 8) that having taken a lease from the
City for the erection of a market for strained cloths, with Bayes
Sayes and other stuff of the new drapery, for the sale of which no
market was provided, as there was for broad cloth and other cloths of
the old drapery, and bestowed great charges in fitting and preparing
the said hall (marginal note says, "in Leadenhall"), he could neither
enjoy his lease nor receive satisfaction for the moneys expended, They
had referred the hearing of the complainst to the then Lord Mayor
and two Aldermen for remedy; but the poor man now complained
that there was no end made of the matter, and that he was indebted
to the King and others, and was unable to pay until he had been
relieved. They therefore required the Lord Mayor, with the assistance
of Sir Thomas Cambell (fn. 9) and the two Aldermen who formerly had the
examination of the matter, to hear and finally determine the controversy, or to certify the state of the case, that the Council might take
further order for his relief.
20th July, 1612.
III. 125. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen,
forwarding a Petition from Merchants and Traders of the City, Complaining of the conduct of the Deputy Alnagers, who entered their
shops and demanded extraordinary duties and payments, not
warranted, as they believed, by the Laws of the Realm, and recommending the Petition to their consideration.
9th January, 1613.
III. 129. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen
to the Lords of the Council, stating that whereas the Merchants and
Drapers of London had always exercised the trade of buying and
selling Welsh Cloths at Oswestry in Salop, and other towns and places
in North Wales, being free by Charter to trade in all places and
markets, in the kingdom, the Court had been informed that the
Drapers of Shrewsbury and Oswestry were endeavouring to abridge
them of that liberty, which difference had been by the Council
referred to Lord Evers (fn. 10) and others, who it was believed were that ready to
certify their opinions. The Court of Aldermen, conceiving that by
being silent the Council might be led, by untrue suggestions (not
hearing the City), to give way to that which might prejudge the
Citizens, therefore submitted for their consideration the inconveniences
which would ensue from such restraint (which are set out at length).
1st February, 1613.
III. 165. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to
the Lord Chief Baron, (fn. 11) informing him that they had, in the August
preceding, acquainted the Privy Council with the complaint of many
Treadesmen of London against the demands of the Deputy Alnagers,
that all cloths dyed with Cochinelo should pay after the rate of cloths
in grain under the Statute 27th Edward III. (fn. 12) when the Deputy
Alnager, being sent for, cited in his behalf a Decree made in the
Exchequer, 33rd Elizabeth, whereupon the Privy Council made an order,
a copy of which was enclosed. The Court of Aldermen had been given
to understand that his Lordship had since called before him some
Drapers of London, and perusing the former Decree, had passed
another to the same effect. The former order of the Privy Council
was that a legal decision upon the question should be obtained, which
all subjects must obey; but in the mean time they denied that to be
included within the law which was not known two hundred years
after the law was made.
20th July, 1614.
Note in Margin. "Notwithstanding this Letter, the Citizens being
exposed to the danger of the said late Decree, and likely still to be
vexed by the Deputy Alnagers, being slight persons of no worth,
consulted together, and petitioned the Lord Mayor and Court of
The Petition of the several Companies of Merchant Adventurers,
Drapers, Merchant Tailors, and Clothworkers of the City of London
then follows. It recites that the City were for a long time farmers of
the alnage, view, and search of all cloth within the City and Liberties,
when all things were well and peaceably carried out; that the
Duke of Lenox, the present farmer, would willingly pass it over to the
City, and prays them to contract with him accordingly. A marginal
note adds,—"Upon this Petition, Sir Thomas Midleton, Lord
Mayor, took upon him, and was intreated by the Court, to confer and
treat with the Duke of Lenox for a lease of the Alnage to be granted
to the City."
IV. 74. Letter from the Attorney General, Thomas Coventrie, to the Lord Mayor, informing him that the King, upon due
consideration of the misdemeanours committed by the use of the
Hot Press, (fn. 13) had given a Patent to Sir George Dowglas, (fn. 14) his ancient
servant, and one of the gentlemen of his Privy Chamber, for the
reform of that abuse, and had instructed the Council to further the
matter. It appeared, upon a perusal of the Statute (fn. 15) upon which the
Patent was grounded, that it gave power to the Lord Mayor, and
other Mayors of Cities and Corporate Towns, to appoint searchers
for the undue pressing of cloth. He had, therefore, thought good to
request the Lord Mayor, if it could be done without inconvenience to
the City, to appoint two additional searchers to be nominated by Sir
Gray's Inn, 25th May, 1617.
V. 71. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Duke of Lenox,
requesting him to grant a Deputation for the office of Alnager and
Collector of the subsidy and alnage of Cloths and new Draperies in
the City of London, the County of Middlesex, and that part of the
Borough of Southwark within the liberties of the City, to the persons
named, according to his convenant made by a former grant thereof to
the then Lord Mayor and Commonalty of the City.
29th April, 1620.
V. 105. Letter from the Duke of Lenox to the Lord Mayor and
Court of Aldermen, enclosing a Petition presented to the House of
Commons by divers Merchants and Citizens of London, and by
Makers of Fustians, alleging that a subsidy and fees for sealing of
fustians had been demanded, by virtue of his Patent of the new
draperies, and charging the Deputy Alnagers with divers abuses.
When he granted a lease to the City of the subsidy and alnage of
the old and new draperies, in which fustians, amongst other things,
were mentioned; he granted it only in as ample a manner as the
King had granted it to him, and they had covenanted that the
Deputy Alnagers, by them nominated to him, should execute the
office lawfully, without prejudice to his Patent or his Alnagers in
other Counties; he therefore prayed them forthwith to call the
Petitioners and the Deputy Alnagers for London before them, and
give such satisfaction to the Complainants as should appear just. If
any of his Deputies in the Country had misgoverned themselves in
their office, he would take order for righting the parties grieved.
Whitehall, 16th May, 1621.
V. 121. Letter from the Duke of Lenox to the Lord Mayor,
stating that, upon a Petition presented to him by the Clothiers of
Suffolk, complaining of the re-search of their cloths at Leadenhall, and
of seizures made contrary to law and to the Orders of the Privy
Council for tolerated cloths in Suffolk, Essex, &c., in the year 1608,
and also contrary to a convenant in the grant made by him to the
City, which provided that the City's deputies, should do nothing prejudicial to his Deputies in other counties, he had sent his cousin, Sir
Robert Napier, (fn. 16) and his servant, Langford, to the Lord Mayor, hoping
to have had some speedy order taken for redress, and the City's
Deputies had been enjoined to answer the Clothiers' Petition in four
or five days, which had not yet been done. He therefore requested
the Lord Mayor to direct that the Order of Council for tolerated
cloths might be hung up in Leadenhall, and that the City's Deputies
should not intermeddle with such tolerated cloths if previously searched
in the country.
Whitehall, 4th December, 1621.
VIII. 204. Order of the Inner Star Chamber concerning the
recent Proclamation, directing that, for the prevention of abuses, all
cloth brought to the City to be sold should be taken to Blackwell
Hall to be searched, requiring the Lord Mayor, upon occasions when
the quantity was so large as not to be able to be received there, to
appoint Leadenhall, or some other convenient place in the City, for
the like service.
13th April, 1638.
IX. 59. Order from the Lords of the Council, reciting that they
had received a Petition from the Clothiers, their factors, agents, &c.,
residing in Blackwell Hall and Leadenhall, complaining that the
Order of the Council of the 14th of January last, directing the Lord
Mayor and Court of Aldermen to take the matters therein contained
into their serious consideration, and to return a speedy answer thereto;
that the Petitioners had attended the Court of Aldermen, and
delivered in copies of their Petition and the Order of the Council, to
which no return had yet been made, and they had been put
to great charges and damage in consequence; the Petitioners had
requested the Council to suspend the Acts of Common Council
against them until the question had been legally determined. The
Council therefore order the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to
return their answer to the Board on or before Wednesday, the 25th of
(Signed "Richard Browne". (fn. 17) )
19th February, 1662.
IX. 63. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to the
Solicitor-General, (fn. 18) stating that they had understood that the Parliamentary Committee would bring in their Report to-morrow upon
Blackwell Hall, which would be very important to the City; further
intimating that a few of the Clothiers of the meanest sort were urged
on by some superior, who desired to stir up discontent, and requesting
his attendance in order to protect the just interest of the City.
24th March, 1663.
IX. 87. Petition from the Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens of the
City of London to the House of Commons, complaining, of the
conduct of the Factors and others trading at Blackwell Hall, and of
their misrepresentation of facts, and reciting that a suit was pending
in the Court of Common Please between the Petitioners and the
Factors as to the legality of the Act of Common Council complained of, and praying that the House would leave the matter to be
adjudged and determined by law in the said Court.
IX. 88. The answer of the House of Commons to the above
Petition, approving of the City's proceedings, and consenting to leave
the case to the Court of Common Pleas as prayed.
30th April, 1664.