Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs
1273-4

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Centre for Metropolitan History

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Author

H. T. Riley (editor)

Year published

1863

Pages

166-178

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'Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs: 1273-4', Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London: 1188-1274 (1863), pp. 166-178. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=64841 Date accessed: 02 September 2014.


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1273-4

A.D. 1273. Sheriffs.: Peter Cusin,; Robert de Meldeburne,

These were chosen Sheriffs, on the Monday before the Feast of Saint Michael; and, on the morrow of Saint Michael, as the custom is, they were presented at Westminster to the Barons of the Exchequer, who were not then sitting at the Exchequer, but in the Small Chamber next the (fn. 1) Receipt near the Thames, and there admitted; but only remained such until the Feast of Saint Andrew [30 November].

The same year, on the Saturday after the Feast of the Translation of Saint Eadward [13 October], Friar Robert, the Archbishop of Canterbury, together with eight of his Suffragan Bishops, arrayed in pontificals, in the Great Hall at Westminster, confirmed the sentence which had been pronounced by Archbishop Boneface, his predecessor, and thirteen Bishops, in the same hall, as already stated in this Book; and again pronounced excommunicate all those who by deed, counsel, favour, aid, or assent, should secretly or openly disturb, or procure to be disturbed, the peace of the King and of the realm.

After this, the nets of the fishermen on the Thames were seized, and on the Monday before the Feast of Saint Luke [18 October] brought to the Guildhall, and there judicially examined; and because they were not lawful according to the statutes of the City, they were burnt in Westchep, being 27 in number.

In this year, before the Feast of Saint Michael, and after that Feast, by order of the Constable of Dovere, by reason of the injuries which the Countess of Flanders had inflicted upon the merchants of England, as already mentioned in this Book, the men of the Cinque Ports, with strong and armed force, sailed about the seas with many ships and galleys, and stopped all ships which they found sailing, with wool on board, towards Flanders, and seized all such goods belonging to the Flemings as they found upon the sea. After this, it was forbidden by his lordship the King that any wool should be taken out of the kingdom.

This year, on the Feast of Simon and Jude, Henry le Waleys was made (fn. 2) Mayor, and on the third or fourth day after was presented to the Barons at the Exchequer, admitted, and sworn.

About the Feast of Saint Michael in this year, the princes of Almaine, those namely unto whom belongs the election of an Emperor, chose a certain prince of Almaine, (fn. 3) Radulf de Hanesberuth by name; who in the same month was crowned in the city of Aix by the Archbishop of Cologne, and on the seat of (fn. 4) Charles the Great there enthroned.

Be it remembered, that on the Monday next before the Feast of Saint Andrew [30 November] in this year, the Mayor and citizens of London coming to the Guildhall, there to plead the common pleas, on the same day several bakers were seized for the purpose of examining their loaves, as to whether they weighed what they ought to weigh, according to the assize that had been made in the City; of whom, Peter Cusin, the Sheriff, allowed one to go free, for a bribe which he received of him, and did not produce him. Whereupon, this Peter, being accused thereof in full Hustings, confessed that he had received sixty shillings of the said baker, not to produce him with the other bakers; and accordingly he was deposed from his office, and the same was immediately promulgated throughout all the City, so that it became known to the Council of his lordship the King and the Barons of the Exchequer; who thereupon summoned the Mayor, Sheriffs, and all the Aldermen, before them at the Exchequer.

Upon whose appearance, it was said that such a trespass as this is against the royal dignity, and they expressed a desire to know the truth of this matter. Whereupon, answer was made by the citizens, producing their Charters, that they are not bound to plead without the walls of the City, and that the Sheriffs of London ought to enjoy the same liberties which the other citizens enjoy; and that the citizens may remove the Sheriffs when necessary, and appoint others in their place, but must pre- sent them at the Exchequer of his lordship the King. And this at last was conceded to them, and a day was given them at Saint Martin's le Grand in London; whither the Justiciars of his lordship the King came on the Feast of Saint Andrew [30 November], as also, the Mayor and Sheriffs, and the citizens. Upon which day it was found before them as to Peter Cusin, as already mentioned; and it was also found, upon inquisition made by certain great men of the City, charged by their faith in God and by the oath which they had made unto his lordship the King, that the other Sheriff, Robert de Meldeburne by name, had given his assent to taking the sixty shillings before-mentioned, and had been there present in form aforesaid; and therefore, the same as his fellow-Sheriff, he was deposed, and they were both amerced unto his lordship the King. Also, on the day after the Feast of Saint Andrew [30 November], the citizens elected Henry de Coventre and Nicholas Fitz-Geoffrey of Winchester to be Sheriffs for the remainder of that year: and they were presented at the Exchequer, and there admitted. But when the aforesaid Peter Cosyn and his fellow-Sheriff appeared at the Exchequer, the Barons found mentioned in their rolls a certain Sheriff of London, namely, Simon Fitz-Mary, who for only a single amercement had paid twenty pounds of silver; whereupon, certain of the citizens, bringing their Charters, challenged this, and said that the two Sheriffs ought not to be amerced for one offence in more than twenty pounds in all. Accordingly, the matter was postponed, until it could be more correctly ascertained as to the King's right therein. Peter however was enrolled as a debtor in the sum of twenty pounds.

Be it remembered, that by procuring of the Mayor and certain principal men of the City, several of those who had been banished from the City four years before, by order of his lordship the King, as already stated in this Book, were taken and imprisoned in Neugate, until it should be known by what warranty they had returned to the City and taken up their abode therein; afterwards however, they were set at liberty, upon abjuring the City until the arrival of his lordship the King.

On the Feast of the Innocents [28 December] this year, John de Burgh, the elder, entered the Tower of London, with all his household; his lordship the King, who was still in Gascoigne, having granted him the custody thereof. He had previously however bestowed upon his lordship the King all the lands and tenements which he possessed in the kingdom of England, and had made him his heir to the same; upon condition that his lordship the King should find him all the necessaries of life, so long as he should live, and should also discharge his debts.

Be it remembered, that when it was made known to the Dean and Chapter of Saint Paul's at London, by the royal letters sent to them through their messengers, who had crossed over to his lordship the King in Gascoigne, that they had leave to elect a Bishop:—on the morrow of Saint Nicholas [6 December], John de Chishelle, Dean of that Church and Provost of Beverley, was elected Bishop; who, on the fourth day after, set out for the purpose of crossing the sea, that he might be presented to his lordship the King. After being admitted by his lordship the King, he returned to England, and on the Tuesday after the Feast of Saint Gregory [12 March] came to Lambhethe, and was confirmed by the Official at Canterbury, because the Archbishop was not then in England. Afterwards, on the day but one before the Feast of the Apostles Philip and James [1 May] in the year of Our Lord 1274, he was consecrated by the Bishop of Saint Asaph, in the Chapel of the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambhethe; and after being so consecrated, crossed the Thames in a boat, and on landing, proceeded unshod to the Church of Saint Paul, and there on the same day was enthroned.

Be it remembered, that in this year, on the Tuesday next before the Feast of Saint Thomas the Apostle [21 December], the Mayor and citizens meeting in the Guildhall, there came one of those persons to whom Walter Herevy had granted charters, while Mayor; who made complaint to the Mayor and Sheriffs, that a certain person of his trade had worked in contravention of the statutes contained in the charter which he and the men of his trade had obtained. Upon this, enquiry was made of him from whom they had had this charter; whereupon, producing a copy of such charter, he said that they had had it from Walter Herevy, while Mayor. Walter also was present, and acknowledged it, as also, all the charters which he had executed during his Mayoralty. Upon this, answer was made by Gregory de Rokesle, one of the Aldermen, on behalf of the Mayor and other more discreet citizens of the City, that such charters ought not to have any force beyond the Mayoralty of the said Walter; both because this Walter had executed them at his own will, without the assent of the Aldermen and discreet men of the City, as also, because such charters were solely made for the benefit of the wealthy men of the trades to which they were granted; and to the loss and undoing of the poor men of those trades, as also, to the loss and undoing of all the other citizens and of the whole realm. Upon his saying this, there arose between the aforesaid Gregory and Walter a wordy and most abusive dispute, in presence of all the people. But afterwards, the said Walter, on leaving the Guildhall, went to the Church of Saint Peter in Chepe, and convened there a great multitude of the people of those trades to which he had granted charters; telling them that the Mayor and others wished to infringe their charters, but that if they would only adhere to him, he would maintain them all in their integrity. And after this, throughout the whole of that day and the next, he went through the streets and lanes of the City, preaching and enticing the populace, if possible, to become adherents of his against the Mayor and discreet men of the City. As soon however as this became known to the Barons of the Exchequer and the Council of his lordship the King, they were greatly moved thereat, and fearing lest the King's peace in the City might next be broken by the said Walter and his accomplices, held a conference among themselves; and a writ of his lordship the King was sent to the Mayor and Sheriffs in form under-written.—

"Edward, by the grace of God, King of England etc., to the Mayor and Sheriffs, and other his faithful citizens of London, greeting. Whereas from the information of you, the Mayor aforesaid, as also of Henry Coventre, Nicholas de Wyncestre, William de Durham, John Adrian, Arnold Tedmar, Gregory de Rokesle, Philip le Taylur, John de Gysors, John Horn, William de Hadestok, Robert de Meldeburn, Luke de Batyncurt, Reginald de Suffolch, [and] Gilbert de Dunton, we have understood that Walter Herevy, and certain others of divers trades of the same city, do manifestly threaten them, because that they, together with other trusty persons of our city, have wished to annul certain statutes, contrary to right, made by certain men of the trades aforesaid, for their own gain and against the common advantage; to the which statutes the same Walter, at the time when he was Mayor, caused [his seal] to be set, it is said, contrary to the assent and consent of the aforesaid our faithful subjects, who expostulated against the same, and without consent of the commonalty aforesaid; and also, do hold covins and conspiracies with certain of their adherents of suspicious character, at divers places and hours, as from the information aforesaid we have been truly certified; we do command you, that from all and singular such persons you do take good security and sufficient mainprise, that through them, or others of their people, peril may not unto the said city, or to our aforesaid faithful subjects, arise, nor disturbance of our peace in the city aforesaid, in such manner as, there and elsewhere, by reason of such conspiracies and covins, the same has oftentimes been wont to happen. Given by the hand of Walter de Merton, our Chancellor, at Saint Martin's le Grand in London, on the twentieth day of December, in the second year of our reign."

By virtue of this writ, the aforesaid Walter was attached, on the second day before the Nativity, and upon the surety of twelve men of the City released. Soon after this, after the Feast of Our Lord's Circumcision [1 January], the Mayor and citizens meeting in the Guildhall, the men of the trades before-mentioned who held charters from the said Walter, brought those charters before the Mayor; to which only one part of the seal of the Commonalty of London was appended; all these being given into the hands of the Mayor, that he might keep them until some other provision as to the same should be made.

Afterwards, on the Monday after the Octaves of Saint Hilary [13 January], the Mayor had these charters brought into the Hustings before all the people; whereupon, they were distinctly and openly read, and many articles contained in them expounded, which are manifestly to the injury of all the City and all the realm; and it was therefore ordered, with the assent of all the commons of the City there present, that those charters should be held as of no weight, and that the men of the several trades should follow their crafts in such manner as before they had been wont to do, at such hours and such places as they should think proper, and carry their [wares] to sell, within the City and without, wherever they might think proper; but that their work must be good and lawful, under pain of loss thereof. And this was accordingly cried throughout all the City.

(fn. 5) "Edward, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Acquitaine, to the Mayor, Sheriffs, and Commons, of his city of London, greeting. For that in our absence, after that we had departed from England, you have conducted yourselves well and faithfully towards us and ours, we do give you especial thanks; and do feel especially gratified for that, as we have heard, you do greatly desire our arrival in England. Wherefore we do request and ask of you, that, as in past times you have well behaved yourselves, so in future, to the increase of the honour of us and of you, you will endeavour so to conduct yourselves, that honour and advantage may unto us thence accrue, and we may be bound to return you especial thanks therefor. Given at Boret, this 28th day of December, in the second year of our reign."

Afterwards, on the day of the Apostles Philip and James [1 May], in the Guildhall there were read letters of his said lordship the King, in form as follows:—

"Edward, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Acquitaine, to his well-beloved, the Mayor, Barons, and reputable men of London, greeting. From the relation of certain of our faithful subjects, we have more fully understood that for the solemnization of our Coronation, you are in divers manners making preparations, in such way as unto our royal dignity and honour you do consider most conducive; for the which, as we are bound to do, we do return you many and grateful thanks. But forasmuch as, on our next arrival at Paris, which will be in three weeks after the Feast of Pentecost, we do wish to hold a special conference with some persons of our city aforesaid, we do command that you then send thither four of your more discreet citizens unto us. For we do purpose, after arranging our affairs there, to return, God willing, unto our land. We do further command you, that you cause peace and tranquillity, and sufficient justice, within the city aforesaid strictly to be observed. Given at Bordeaux, this third day of April, in the second year of our reign."

In this year, both before and after Pentecost, all the measures were broken to pieces by the Mayor of the City, by which corn used to be sold in the City, and new ones made of larger dimensions; each of which measures was bound in the upper part with an iron hoop, fastened on with iron nails, that so they might not at any time be falsified. Each measure also, that is to say, each quarter, half quarter, and bushel, was sealed with the Alderman's seal.

At the same time, the same Mayor had removed from Chepe all the stalls of the butchers and fishmongers, as also, such stalls as had been let and granted by the preceding Sheriffs to any persons, to have and to hold the same in fee all the days of their life; such persons having given to the Sheriffs a great sum of money for the same. Hence it is manifest, that this Mayor unjustly disseised them of their freehold. He however affirmed that he did this, in order that no (fn. 6) refuse might be found remaining in Chepe on the arrival of his lordship the King, who, it was said, was shortly about to come into the City from the parts beyond sea. He also commanded other commodities to be removed from Chepe, which used to be sold there, because, as it seemed to him, the marketplace was too much crowded by such wares; and he gave orders that those wares should be sold in other places.

Afterwards, on the morrow of the Holy Trinity, the Mayor and citizens coming into the Guildhall, to plead the common pleas, there came certain fishmongers, and more especially those who had been removed from Chepe, setting forth their plaints, how that they had been disseised of their freehold in Chepe. To whom answer was made by the Mayor, that this had been done by the Council of his lordship the King, in order that there might be no refuse remaining in Chepe on his arrival there. Walter Hervi however, to the utmost of his power, supported the complaints of the said fishmongers against the Mayor and Aldermen; by reason whereof, a wordy strife arose, in presence of all the people, between the said Mayor and Walter aforesaid. Hereupon, the Mayor, moved to anger, together with some of the more discreet men of the City, went to the Council of his lordship the King at Westminster, and shewed them what had then taken place in the Guildhall.

Accordingly, on the morrow, when the Mayor and citizens had come to the Guildhall, to determine the pleas which had been begun on the preceding day, a certain roll was shown and read before the said Walter and all the people, in which were set forth many articles as to the presumptuous acts and injuries, of most notorious character, which the said Walter had committed, while Mayor, against all the commons of the City, and in contravention of his oath; whereupon, the said Walter was judicially degraded from his Aldermanry, and for ever excluded from the Council of the City. Command was also given to the men dwelling in that Aldermanry, to choose a fit and proper man to be Alderman of Chepe, in his place, and to present him at the next Court in the Guildhall; which was accordingly done.

In the first place, this Walter had unrighteously attested that a certain person had by writ of his lordship the King been admitted attorney in the Court of his lordship the King as to Pleas of Land; whereas it was afterwards ascertained at Gildeforde that no writ thereupon had ever been issued from the Chancery; and so it is notorious, that he falsely gave testimony as to that attorney, against his oath, and against his fealty to his lordship the King, and to the disherison of the adverse party.

Also, in the time of his Mayoralty, he received a writ of his lordship the King, commanding him to appear at Westminster on a certain day, there to shew by what right the citizens were to give seisin of the (fn. 7) Moor to Walter de Merton. Whereupon he, who was the head of the City, and ought to be the City's defender, made default, and did not return the writ; by reason whereof, the said citizens are in danger of losing the said moor.

Also, whereas he, in the time of his Mayoralty, was bound to maintain and cause to be observed all assizes made by the Aldermen and discreet men of the City, and proclaimed throughout the whole City, he allowed ale to be sold in his Ward for three halfpence the gallon, and confirmed such sale, setting the seal of his Aldermanry to a certain unfair measure made against the statutes of the City, which contained only the sixth part of a gallon.

Also, whereas he ought not in any way to take any part or receive any salary, contrary to his oath he takes fees throughout all the City, and receives yearly a certain sum of money from the community of the fishmongers, upon the understanding that he shall support them in their causes, whether just or unjust.

Also, as to the letters patent which certain persons of the trades made, ordaining new statutes to their own proper advantage only, and to the loss of all the City and all the realm; to such letters, while he was Mayor, he set a part of the seal of the community, which was in his own hands, without assent of the Aldermen and other persons, for a great sum of money which he received from the members of such trades; a matter which has been clearly set forth, and at sufficient length, in the (fn. 8) fourth and third preceding leaves of this Book. It has also there been written, for what reason he was attached on the security of twelve sureties.

Also, whereas corn, wine, and the like, when brought into the City for sale, ought not to be taken back out of the City, but be sold in the City, according to the law and custom of the City, he, taking a bribe, such, for example, as from one merchant a tun of wine, from another a pipe, and from another twenty shillings, allowed more than a thousand tuns to be taken out of the City, in contravention of his oath and to the great loss of the City.

Also, at the time when there was a dispute between the higher and lower orders in the City as to the election of Mayor, he, without the assent of his lordship the King and the principal men of the City, caused to be assessed among his accomplices, and those who then adhered to him, a tallage to the amount of forty marks and more; which money was intended by them for the prosecution of their common interests. And the whole of it was converted by him to his own use.

Also, by his procuring, certain persons of the City, of Stebney, of Stratford, and of Hakeneye, came into full Hustings, bringing with them a certain pleader, and made unjust complaint against the Mayor, who had warranty sufficient for what he had done, namely, the Council of his lordship the King. This Walter however sided with them, and supported their complaint, as set forth in the preceding leaf of this Book.

On the 14th day of June in this year, which then fell on a Thursday, the son of his lordship the King, (fn. 9) Aunfurs by name, who had been born about the preceding Feast of All Saints [1 November] at Bordeaux in Gascoigne, came to London from the parts beyond sea. The King had had two daughters also born in the Holy Land, one of whom died, and the other came with him and the Queen to Gascoigne; and was afterwards given to the Countess of (fn. 10) Puntif to rear, the mother of the said Queen, and the former (fn. 11) Queen of Spain.

Afterwards, on the day before the Feast of Saint Botolph [17 June], the citizens selected in the Guildhall Henry le Waleis, the Mayor, Gregory de Rokesle, John Horn, and Luke de Batencurt, to cross over to his lordship the King, in manner as he had lately requested by his letters, already written in this Book; who accordingly set out, with all due honour, on the Monday next ensuing. They also chose William de Dureham, Philip le Taylur, and Henry de Fruwyk, on the day aforesaid before the Feast of Saint Botolph, to be Wardens of the City in the absence of the Mayor. There were also appointed by the Mayor, Walter le Poter, Peter Cusin, and Robert de Meldeburne, to hear at the Fair of (fn. 12) Saint Botolph all complaints against citizens there made, and to determine the same, without interference of any Bailiff of the Fair; in such manner as the King had formerly granted unto the citizens, when peace was restored between them, after the disturbances in the realm that took place in the time of Sir Simon de Montfort.

Afterwards, at the end of one month after their departure, on the 17th of the Calends of August [16 July], that is to say, the said citizens returned to London. After this, on the Vigil of Saint Margaret [20 July], Gregory de Rokesle and certain other citizens, as Jiad been enjoined upon them by his lordship the King, set out to cross the sea, for the purpose of treating of peace between the said King and the Countess of Flanders, at (fn. 13) Musteroil, on the third day after the Feast of Saint Magdalen [22 July] at the latest.

In this year, eight days before the Feast of Saint John the Baptist [24 June], because the Mayor was then absent on his journey to the King in the parts beyond sea, the Sheriffs, together with certain discreet men of the City, appeared before the Council of his lordship the King at Westminster; whereupon, the members of the Council, before certain Jews there present, questioned them, thus saying:—"It is notorious that the Jews kill with their own hands all beasts and fowls, whose flesh they eat. But some beasts they consider of their law, and some not; the flesh of those which are of their law they eat, and not the flesh of the others. What then do the Jews do with the flesh of those which are not of their law? Is it lawful for the Christians to buy and eat it?" To which answer was made by the citizens, that if any Christian should buy any such flesh of a Jew, he would be immediately expelled; and that if he should be convicted thereof by the Sheriffs of the City or by any other person, he would lose such flesh, and it would be given to the lepers, or to the dogs, to eat; in addition to which, he would be heavily amerced by the Sheriffs.—" But if it seems to you that this punishment is too light a one, let your discreetness make provision that such Christians shall be visited with a more severe punishment." Whereupon, the members of the King's Council said;—"We will not have such persons visited with any more severe punishment, without his lordship the King; seeing that this matter concerns the Jews, who belong to his lordship the King. But we do strictly command you, in virtue of the fealty in which you are bound unto his lordship the King, that you cause this custom throughout the City rigidly to be observed."

Of the (fn. 14) Synod held at Lyons by Pope Gregory the Tenth, in the year of Our Lord 1274, in the months of June and July.

In the first place, ordinance was made as to giving aid to the Holy Land.

Also, ordinances were made and enacted in the aforesaid Council, as to elections, petitions, and provisions.

Of the noble provision made against the (fn. 15) Coronation of his lordship King Eadward, son of King Henry, son of King John.—

Be it remembered, that all the vacant ground within the enclosure of his palace at Westminster, was most nobly built over with houses and other offices, so that no part thereof could be found vacant. On the South side of its old palace there, were built many palatial edifices in every quarter, as many in fact as could be built there; within which were erected tables, firmly fixed in the ground; and at these tables the great men, and princes, and nobles are to be refreshed on the day of his Coronation, and for fifteen days after the same; that so, all persons, poor as well as rich, coming to celebrate the solemnities of his Coronation, may there be gratuitously received, and no one rejected.

There are also erected within the said enclosure as many kitchens, in which the victuals are to be prepared for the said solemnity; and these indeed without number. And lest these kitchens might not suffice, so as not to admit of sufficient victuals being prepared therein, there have been placed there numberless leaden cauldrons without the kitchens, in which the flesh is to be boiled. It should also be remarked, that the great kitchen, in which fowl and other victuals are to be roasted at the fire, is uncovered at the top, so that all smoke may escape thereby.

As to the other utensils, which are requisite for serving so large a Court, no one can take an account of them in writing. And as to the tuns of wine which have been got in readiness for this occasion, no person even knows how to number them. And indeed, to embrace everything, never in times past has so great a plenty of delicacies and all good things been prepared, which pertain to the entertainment of a most noble Court.

Also, the Great Hall and the Lesser one have been whitened anew and painted; so that the eyes of those who enter them and survey such great beauty, must be filled with joyousness and delight. And if there has been anything within the enclosure of the Palace of his lordship the King, broken or damaged through age or in any other way, the same has been repaired and restored to good condition.

Footnotes

1 Or Counting-house, of the Exchequer.
2 He was again Mayor of London from a.d. 1280 to 1283, and Mayor of Bordeaux in 1275.
3 Meaning Rodolph de Hapsburg.
4 Or Charlemagne.
5 From a marginal Note, we learn that this Letter was in answer to Letters sent by the citizens to the King, and was read in the Guildhall on Septuagesima Sunday.
6 It was in a similar spirit probably that the same Mayor, Henry le Waleys, founded the Stocks Market, for butchers and fishmongers, A.D. 1283.
7 Finsbury Moor.
8 The third and second, according to the notation of the present day.
9 Intended for 'Alphonso.'
10 Ponthieu.
11 Being the wife of Ferdinand III. King of Castille.
12 Boston, in Lincolnshire.
13 Montreuil, in the Pas de Calais.
14 The 14th General Council, from the 14th f May to the 14th of July.
15 The date is not given here, 19 August A.D. 1274. This description appears to have been written at the moment when the preparations had been made.