Aldermen, Maiors and Shiriffes

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Centre for Metropolitan History

Publication

Author

C. L. Kingsford (editor)

Year published

1908

Supporting documents

Pages

187-192

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'Aldermen, Maiors and Shiriffes', A Survey of London, by John Stow: Reprinted from the text of 1603 (1908), pp. 187-192. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=60063 Date accessed: 01 August 2014.


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Aldermen, Maiors and Shiriffes

There bee in this Citie, according to the number of Wardes 26. Aldermen, whereof yearely, on the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangell, one of them is elected to be Mayor, for the yeare following, to begin on the 28. of October, the other Aldermen his brethren, are to him Assistants in Counsails, Courtes, &c.

Recorder of London.

More, there is a Recorder of London, a graue and learned Lawyer, skilfull in the Customes of this Citty, Also assistant to the Lord Maior: Hee taketh place in Counsels, and in Courts before any man that hath not beene Mayor: and learnedly deliuereth the sentences of the whole Court.

Shiriffes of London.

The shiriffes of London, of old time chosen out of the Commonalty, Commoners, and oftentimes neuer came to bee Aldermen, as many Aldermen were neuer shiriffes, and yet aduanced to bee Mayor, but of late (by occasion) the shiriffes haue beene made Aldermen, before, or presently after their election.

Nicholas Faringdon was neuer shiriffe, yet foure times Maior of this Cittie, and so of other, which reproueth a bye worde, such a one will be Maior, or he be shiriffe, &c.

Then is there a Chamberlaine of London.

A Common Clarke, or Towne Clarke.

A Common Sergeant.

Officers belonging to the Lord Mayors house.

Sword bearer.Esquiers. 4.
Common Hunt.
Common Crier.
Water Bailiffe.
Coroner of London.
Sergeant Caruers. 3.
Sergeants of the Chamber. 3.
Sergeant of the Chanell.
Yeoman of the Chanell.
Yeomen of the water side. 4.
Vnder water Bailiffe.
Yeomen of the Chamber. 2.
Meale weighers. 3.
Yeomen of the Wood wharefes. 2.
The Sword bearers man.Gentlemens men 7.
Common Hunts men. 2.
Common Criers man.
Water Bailiffes men. 2.
The Caruers man.

Whereof nine of these haue Liueries of the Lord Mayor, viz. The sword bearer and his man, the three Caruers and the foure Yeomen of the water side. All the rest haue their Liueries from the Chamber of London.

Thus farre after my notes deliuered by an Officer of the Lord Maiors house, but vnperfect: for I remember a Crowner, an vnder Chamberlaine, and foure Clarkes of the Maiors Court, and others.

The Shiriffes of London their Officers

The Shiriffes of London, in the yeare 1471. were appointed each of them to haue 16. Sergeants, euery Sergeant to haue his Yeoman. And 6. Clarkes, to wit, a Secondary, a Clarke of the Papers, and 4. other Clarkes, besides the vnder shiriffes Clarkes, their Stewards, Butlers, Porters, and other in household many.

Of the Maiors and Shiriffes Liueryes somewhat.

To follow president of former time, the Clarkes of Companies were to enquire for them of their companies that would haue the Maiors Lyuery, their money as a beneuolence giuen, which must be xx s. at the least put in a purse, with theyr names that gaue it, and the Wardens to deliuer it to the Mayor by the first of December, for the which euery man had then sent him foure yeardes of broade Cloath rowed or striped thwart, with a different colour to make him a Gowne, and these were called rey Gownes, which was then the Liuery of the Mayor, and also of the Shiriffes, but each differing from others in the colours.

Of Older times I reade, that the Officers of this Cittie ware Gownes of partie colours, as the right syde of one colour, and the left syde of an other: as for example, I reade in Bookes of accountes in the Guildhall, that in the 19. yeare of Henrie the sixt, there was bought for an Officers Gowne two yeards of Cloath, coloured Mustard villars (a colour now out of vse) and two yeardes of Cloath coloured blew, price two shillinges the yeard, in all eight shillings. More, paied to Iohn Pope, Draper, for two Gowne clothes, eight yeards of two colours eux ambo deux de roug(or red) medley brune and porre (or purple) colour, price the yeard 2. s. These Gownes were for Piers Rider, and Iohn Bukles, Clarkes of the Chamber.

More, I reade that in the yeare 1516. in the seuenth of Henrie the 8. it was agreed by a common Councell in the Guildhall, that the shiriffes of London should (as they had beene accustomed) giue yearely Reyed Gownes, to the Recorder, Chamberlaine, common Sergeant, and common Clarke, the Sworde bearer, Common hunt, Water Bayly, common Crier, like as to their owne Officers, &c.

1525. More, in the 16. of Henrie the eight, sir William Bayly then being Maior, made a request for that clothes of Ray (as hee alledged) were euill wrought, his Officers might bee permitted (contrarie to custome) for that yeare to weare Gownes of one colour, to the which in a common Councell one answered and said, yea, it might be permitted, and no man said nay, and so it passed. Thus much for partie coloured, and Ray Gownes haue I read. But for beneuolence to the Maior, I find that of later time, [that] each man giuing fortie shillings towards his charges, receyued foure yeards of broade cloath to make him a Gowne, for Thomas White performed it in the first of Queene Mary, but sir Thomas Lodge gaue in stead of foure yeards of broad cloth, three yards of Satten to make them Dublets, and since that the three yeards of Satten is turned into a siluer spoone, and so it holdeth.

The dayes of attendance that the fellowships doe giue to the Maior at his going to Paules were seuen, as followeth.

1. Alhallowen day.
2. Christmasse day.
3. Saint Stephens day.
4. Saint Iohns day.
5. New years day.
6. Twelfe day.
7. Candlemasse day.

The 23. of Henrie the eight, these companies had place at the Maiors feast, in the Guild hall in order as followeth, I speake by president, for I was neuer feast-folower.

1. Mercers, the wardens and 17. persons, fiue messe.
2. Grocers, the wardens and 16. persons, foure messe.
3. Drapers, the wardens and 12. persons, foure messe.
4. Fishmongers, the wardens and 12. persons, three messe.
5. Goldsmiths, the wardens and 10. persons, three messe.
6. Skinners, the wardens and 8. persons, three messe.
7. Marchant Taylers, the wardens and 9. persons, three messe.
8. Vintoners, the wardens and 6. persons, two messe.
9. Ironmongers the wardens and <1>4. persons 4. messe & a halfe.
10. Marchant Haberdashers, the wardens and 14. persons, foure messe and a halfe.
11. Saltars, the wardens and eight persons, two Messe and a halfe.
12. Dyars, the Wardenes, and 6. persons 2. messe.
13. Lethersellars, the Wardens, and 8. persons, 3. messe.
14. Pewterers, the wardens, and 5. persons, 2. messe.
15. Cutlers, the wardens and 5. persons, 2. messe.
16. Armorers, the Wardens and three persons, one messe.
17. Waxechandlers, the wardens and 6. persons, two messe.
18. Tallow Chandlers, the wardens and three persons, two messe.
19. Sheremen, the wardens and 5. persons, 2. messe.
20. Fullars, the wardens and 9. persons, 2. messe.
21. Sadlers, the Wardens and 4. persons, 2. messe.
22. Bruers, the wardens and 12 persons, 4. messe.
23. Scriueners, the wardens and 6. persons, 2. messe.
24. Butchers, the wardens and 7. persons, 3. messe.
25. Bakers, the wardens, and 4. persons, 2. messe.
26. Poultars, the wardens and one person, one messe.
27. Stacioners, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
28. Inholders, the wardens, and 4. persons, 2. messe.
29. Girdlars, the wardens and 4. persons, two messe.
30. Chirurgions, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
31. Foundars, the wardens and one person, one messe.
32. Barbars, the wardens, and 4. persons, two messe.
No Clothing. Vpholders, the wardens and 2. persons, one messe.
34. Broyderars, the Wardens and two persons, one messe.
35. Bowiers, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
36. Fletchers, the wardens and 2. persons, one messe.
No Clothing. Turnars, the wardens and 2. persons, one messe.
38. Cordwainers, the wardens and 4. persons, 2. messe.
39. Painters stayners, the wardens and 5. persons, 2. messe.
40. Masons, the wardens and one person, one messe.
41. Plummers, the wardens, and two persons, one messe.
42. Carpentars, the wardens and 4. persons, 2. messe.
43. Powch makers, the wardens and 2. persons, one messe.
44. Joynars, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
45. Coopers, the wardens andone person, one messe.
No Clothing. Glasiars, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
No Clothing. Linnendrapers, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
No Clothing. Woodmongers, the wardens, and two persons, one messe.
49. Coriars, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
No Clothing. Foystors, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
No Clothing. Grey Tanners, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
52. Tilars, the wardens, and one person, one messe.
53. Weuers, the wardens and one person, one messe.
54. Blacksmithes, the wardens, and one messe.
No Clothing. Lorimars, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
56. Spurriars, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
57. Wiresellars, the wardens and one person, one messe.
No Clothing. Fruterers, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
No Clothing. Ferrers, the wardens and two persons, one messe.
60. Bladesmithes, the wardens and two persons, one messe.

These Companies seuerally at sundry times purchased the kinges fauour and licence by his Letters Patentes, to associate themselues in Brotherhoodes with maister and Wardens for their gouernment, many also haue procured Corporations with Priuileges, &c. but I reade not of licence by them procured for Liueries to be worne, but at their Gouernours discretion to appoint as occasion asketh, some time in triumphant manner, some time more mourning like, and such Liueries haue they taken vppon them, as well before as since, they were by licence associated into Brotherhoods or Corporations. For the first of these companies that I reade of to bee a Guild, Brotherhoode or Fraternitie in this Cittie were the Weauers, whose Guild was confirmed by Henry the second. The next Fraternity, which was of saint Iohn Baptist, time out of minde called of Taylors, and Lonnen Armorers of London, I find that king Edwarde the first, in the 28. of his raigne, confirmed that Guild by the name of Taylors and Linnen Armorers, and gaue to the Brethren there of authority, yearely to chuse vnto them a Gouernour or Maister with Wardens, &c. The other Companies haue since purchased licence of societies, Brotherhoodes, or Corporations in the raignes of Edwarde the thirde, Richard the second, Henry the fourth, Henry the fift, Henry the sixt, and Edward the fourth, &c.