CHAPTER XVII. Of The City In Henry The Fourth's Time.
King Henry the Fourth having assumed the crown, was proclaimed
King the last day of September, King Richard, who was then in the
Tower, having publickly renounced, the day before, at which renunciation Sir Tho. Erpingham, Knt. Warden of the Cinque-Ports, and
Lord Chamberlain, was appointed commissioner by the parliament, for
the bachelors and commons of the south part of the realm, and Dionise
of Lopham was one of the publick notaries that signed the instrument. (fn. 1)
This Sir Thomas was a Norfolk man, and a great favourite both of
King and commons, for in the 6th year of this reign, the commons in
parliament petitioned the King, that it would please him to remember
the service of Sir Thomas Erpingham, Sir Tho. Bempson, John Northbury or Norbury, and other valiant knights and squires, who adventured themselves with him at his coming into the kingdom, and
endeavoured as much as possible to confirm him on the throne: for I
find Sir Thomas was afterwards in great favour with the city, and kept
correspondence with the citizens for that purpose, and in order to
oblige them, sent them the King's charter of confirmation, (fn. 2) of all
their former charters, dated at Westminster, the 6th of February, 1399.
The witnesses to which are, Tho. Arundel Archbishop of Canterbury,
Ric. Scroop Archbishop of York, Rob. Braybrook Bishop of London,
John Fordham Bishop of Ely, Edm. Stafford Bishop of Exeter, Edmund Duke of York, the King's uncle, Henry de Percy Earl of Northumberland, and Constable of England, Ralph de Nevile of Westmorland, Marshal of England, John Earl of Somerset, Chamberlain, John
de Scarle, Clerk of the Chancery, and John Norbury, Treasurers,
Will. de Roos of Hamlak, Reginald Grey of Ruthyn, Will. de Willughby, Tho. Kempston, Steward of the Household, and Master Ric.
Clifford, Keeper of the Privy-Seal. In which we may observe, that
the Bishop of Norwich is not among the witnessses, the reason of
which was, because Sir Hugh Spencer, his nephew, was one of the
lords that conspired against the King with the Abbot of Westminster,
to dethrone him, and Bishop Spencer was suspected to be in that conspiracy with his relation, and Sir Thomas Erpingham and others were
then preparing an accusation against him; (fn. 3) for it appears in the acts
of the congregations or assemblies held in this city, that at an assembly
held on Sunday before the Feast of St. Valentine, at which the bailiffs
and seventy-four more of the principal citizens were present, there
were letters testimonial signed and sealed with the common seal of
the city, at Sir Thomas's request, to testify certain matters objected
against the Bishop of Norwich, the copy of which was left with the
town-clerk: so mutable were the citizens at that time, and ready to do
whatever was asked, whether right or wrong, that in order to oblige
the King and court, they were willing even to sacrifice the very man
that had so lately saved them, their houses, goods, and families, from
death and destruction: but the earnest desire they had entertained
for their new charter, which they now hoped to get, made them do
any thing that the court asked; but it was to no purpose, for notwithstanding their testimonial, the Bishop cleared himself, and was
not molested at all: but least any thing should be attempted, at an
assembly held on Thursday after St. Valentine, it was ordered that
one of the city serjeants, and two constables of each leet, should warn
all persons to be ready in their best armour, in the abbey yard called
the Green-Yard, every one being accoutred according to his degree,
on the day before St. Matthew next, at 11 o'clock, there to be mustered, and receive orders to be in a readiness at all times, and this
under penalty of the King's forfeiture. (fn. 4)
In 1400, Will. Blakehommore, Margery his wife, and Jeffry de
Bixton, gave the messuage which formerly they purchased of Hugh
Holland, with the lime kilns, garden, house, and shops, in the parishes
of St. Edward and St. Peter per Southgate, lying between Hildebrond's hospital north, St. Peter's churchyard and glebe land, south,
the street, east, and the Prioress of Carhow's land called Boteler'sHills, now Butterhills, west, to the city for ever, towards the repairs
of the banks of the river Wensum. (fn. 5)
In 1401, the King's letters patents were directed to the bailiffs,
commanding them to build him some new barges, towards prosecuting
In 1402, the grand affair of procuring the charter took up great
part of their time, assemblies being held at the Chapel in the Fields,
very often upon that occasion, and messengers were continually going
backward and forward to London about it, but all to no purpose, for
Bishop Spencer had so far convinced the King and court of his integrity, that without him they would do nothing; and he (as we may
rightly judge) had really no reason to comply with their requests, considering how basely he had been used by them; but nevertheless they
were obliged to send to him, and entreat his favour in the affair, and
for that purpose, two of the bailiffs, Roger de Blickling, and John
Yelverton the Recorder, were sent to wait upon the Bishop at his palace at North-Elmham, where he then resided, to solicit his favour,
and beg that he would not continue to oppose their charter, and by
their management he acquiesced; and it seems at that time, all the
citizens that had signed the testimonial against him, were under excommunication; for at another assembly, orders were read directed to
John Derlington the Chancellor, to absolve all persons in the city of
Norwich from their excommunication: and now having no obstacles
to encounter with, they agreed to lend the King 1000 marks, by
which they so much obliged him, that it was signified to them, that
they might frame a charter, as large and ample as they could devise, and it should be passed, upon which it was resolved in assembly,
that the bailiffs and citizens should take the best advice they could,
in drawing the charter, at the common expense, and then Will. de
Crakeford, Rob. Baas, and John Clerk, were sent backward and forward, to and from London, concerning it, making what interest they
could among the great ones there; and I find, that Henry Lord
Peircy Earl of Northumberland, their great friend, was here this year,
to borrow the thousand marks for the King, who was then in great
want of money, for soon after, it appears, the city treasurers paid 6l.
for two pipes of wine given to the Earl of Northumberland, and for
90li. of wax, twenty-seven of weyk, five quarters of oats, and making
six large torches, for his retinue; and this very year, the Scots having declared open war, and the French being ready to join them, the
King was under some apprehensions of their landing on these coasts,
and therefore dispatched messengers to the bailiffs of the city, who
immediately mustered their forces, both hoblers (fn. 6) and archers, proclaiming, that if any of the principal persons were deficient in their armour,
they should forfeit 5 marks, and every archer not sufficiently arrayed,
20s. and every one should be sworn, that their harness or armour was
their proper own, and no one's else; this being done, they immediately
raised the city banner, on which the city arms were painted, and sent
20 armed men of their chief citizens, as Will. Sedman, John Copping,
Tho. Gerard, Rob. Brasier, &c. and 40 archers, to Yarmouth, where
they staid three days, and the citizens were paid 2s. a day, and the
archers 1s. and then the King's ships and forces coming thither, they
were discharged, with thanks for their care. (fn. 7)
In 1403, John le Latimer was dead, and left the city a legacy of
10l. several legacies being left towards procuring their charter,
with which, and other money, the expenses of the charter's passing,
were paid, as were also the 1000 marks lent the King, his Majesty
having assigned a part of the subsidy granted him, for that purpose,
which paid it all but 38l. and that was after paid by the subsidy of the
town of Lyn, which was assigned for that purpose, for Warine at Hall
and others were sent to the mayor and commons of Lyn, to know whether they would pay the subsidy levied upon them to the King's use,
to the citizens of Norwich, or no? which at first they refused, as also
a second time, but paid it the third time of going, to John Rippelay,
to the use of the city. (fn. 8)
And this year the King's writ came down, by which four citizens
were ordered to be returned to parliament for the city; but at that
time this was so far from being thought a privilege, that they paid
John de Alderford 3l. (fn. 9) to get it altered, for two only, as before;
whereas when the writ was issued, it was doubtless thought a further
addition to the honour of the city, upon their new charter, but being
expensive, (for at that time burgesses in parliament had daily wages
for their attendance,) the city got it altered, and they sent only two,
The city having obliged the King by the many signal services before mentioned, his Majesty, according to promise, granted them a
new charter, (fn. 10) in as ample a form as they desired. It is dated at
Westminster, Jan. 28, in the fifth year of his reign, and in the year of
our Lord 1403, and is witnessed by Thomas Arundel Archbishop of
Canterbury, Ric. Scroop Archbishop of York, Rob. Braybrook Bishop
of London, John Fordham Bishop of Ely, Henry Beaufort Bishop of
Lincoln, Chancellor, John Earl of Somerset, the King's brother, Ralf
Earl of Westmorland, Marshal of England, Will. Roos of Hamlak,
Treasurer, Will. de Willughby, Will. Heron Lord Say, Steward of the
Household, and Thomas Langley, Keeper of the Privy Seal. In the
preamble of which the King recites, "that by reason of the great
affection that we have and bear to our city of Norwich, and the
citizens and commonalty of the said city, and in consideration of
the good behaviour of the citizens of the said city towards us, and
of the voluntary service by them in time past often given us, being
desirous to advantage the said city, and in a special manner to provide for the profit of those citizens, their heirs and successours, of
our special grace we have granted,
That the city and all the land within the city, and the liberty of
the same, with the suburbs and their hamlets and their bounds, and
all the land round the liberty thereof, (the old Shire-house only excepted,) shall be, and are hereby separated from the county of
Norfolk, and be altogether exempt both by land and water, and are
hereby made a county of, and by themselves, which shall be for ever
called, The County of the City of Norwich." And by this
charter, the offices of the bailiffs were extinguished, and they had
power to elect a Mayor (fn. 11) yearly, which Mayor as soon as elected,
and his successours, on their election, always shall be the King's
escaetor, in the city and liberties thereof.
They are always every year to elect two Sheriffs for the city and
its county, the citizens and commonalty being to elect both Mayor
Every Escaetor, as soon as Mayor and entered upon his office,
shall take his oath to perform the office of escuetor, before some person
assigned by the King's writ to receive it, but shall not be compelled
to go out of the city to take such oath.
The Sheriffs are to be sworn by the Mayor, in the Gild-hall,
and their names returned into Chancery.
The escaetor and sheriff of Norfolk, are not to enter the city or
county of Norwich.
The Sheriffs of Norwich, like other sheriffs, are to hold their
county court from month to month, on Monday, (fn. 12) and have the same
liberties and privileges as other sheriffs of counties and escaetors have,
and are to receive all profits thereof, as the bailiffs of the city heretofore used to hold the courts and recive the profits. (fn. 13)
No citizens are to plead or be impleaded, for or concerning any
lands in the city or its county, neither before the King or any of his
justices, in any court out of the bounds of the city and its county, nor
for any bargain made, or transgression done in those bounds, neither
are the King's justices to enter, or concern themselves in any thing
thereto belonging, but all shall be done before the Mayor and Sheriffs, according to the law and custom of the city.
The Steward and Marshal of the King's Household are not to intermeddle, either in his Majesty's presence or absence, unless in
cases of transgressions, bargains, contracts, and debts, in the King's
household, or those which are members of the household. (fn. 14)
The citizens and commonalty are to have cognizance of all pleas,
assizes, novel disseisin, (fn. 15) and mort de aunceter, (fn. 16) of all lands and tenements
in the city and its county, as well those pleas that are triable before
the justices of both Benches, as justices of assize or justices itinerants,
all which shall be tried before the Mayor and Sheriffs in the
The deputy of the escaetor and sheriffs, who must be deputed under
the city seal, is yearly to account in the Exchequer for the profits, but
shall not be compelled to go out of the city to account.
The Mayor, Sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty, have full power
and liberty to appropriate and make the best of all gates, bridges and
waste-grounds, both by land and water, in the whole liberties, to enable
them to repair the gates and walls.
The Mayor is to try all causes, where the Sheriffs shall any
way be charged with doing wrong, and hath power to relieve the oppressed, by punishing the sheriffs according to the offence.
The Mayor for the time being is always a justice of the peace by
his office, and shall yearly choose four others, to be justices for his
assistants, and no justice of the county of Norfolk, or any other justices of peace whatever, are to exercise their office in the city or its
county, either by land or water.
The Mayor is not to determine any case of felony, without the
King's special mandate.
The Citizens are to have all fines, issues, forfeitures, and amerciaments, accruing by virtue of the office of justice of the peace.
The Mayor, Sheriffs, &c. are to have all victuals forfeited by
law, as bread wine, and ale, and all other things not belonging to
The Mayor, Sheriffs, &c. are to have the sword which the King
gave them, or some other, (fn. 17) carried before them, with the point erect,
in the presence of all lords or nobles of the realm, whether they be of
the royal blood or no, "our presence only excepted." (fn. 18)
The serjeants at mace belonging to the mayor and sheriffs are to
carry gold or silver maces, gilt or ungilt, with the King's arms thereon,
both in the King's presence, as also in the presence of the Queenconsort, or Queen-mother, in the city and its county, as their proper
serjeants at arms.
Neither the steward nor marshal of the King's household, nor the
clerk of the market of the King's household, shall ever enter or sit
within the city or its county, or exercise any jurisdiction there, or
draw or force the citizens to answer them any where out of their
No purveyor or taker of victuals, (fn. 19) or other officer, shall purvey or
take any victuals of the citizens, (fn. 20) without their free will, unless they
take them at full price, and for the King's own use, and pay down
the money at the delivery.
The city coroners are to exercise in the liberties the same privileges
as other coroners, in the King's presence or absence, as they immemorially did.
And lastly, no damage is to come to the city by reason of this
alteration of the bailiffs, to a mayor and sheriffs, but the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty, by this charter have, and may use, and
enjoy, as confirmed to them, all things, the same as the bailiffs,
citizens, and commonalty, their predecessors, had, used, and enjoyed,
before this alteration.
The Charter being finished, it was brought down, with the sword
that the King presented them with, and was received with great joy
by all the city; and in pursuance thereof, on the first of May 1403,
they chose William Appleyerd their first Mayor, the Bailiffs
bolding their office till Michaelmas following, which then expired,
and they chose two Sheriffs, according to their charter.
Bailiffs of Norwich.
1400, Roger de Blickling,
Barth. de Blakeney,
Tho. Garard or Gerrard,
Hugh Skeet or Skeyt.
1401, John Daniel,
1402, Rob. de Hunworth,
John de Harleston,
1403, Rob. Brasier,
Tho. Leveriche, and these
were the last bailiffs of Norwich, the two first of which were chosen
the first sheriffs of the city.
In 1404, there was an assembly called to settle the manner of
elections of sheriffs, and it was then ordained, that for the future,
there should be 80 persons elected yearly, to be at all common assemblies in a place by themselves, and that the majority of them should
name three persons yearly for sheriffs, and declare their names to the
commons in a place by themselves, who should refuse any they pleased
of the three, and if they liked none of them, the 80 were to retire and
name three more, till they named three the commons approved of, and
then the town-clerk and some of the 80 were to carry the three names
approved by the commons, to the mayor and chief men, (fn. 21) in another
place by themselves, and the mayor was to name one of them for sheriff,
and the chief men the other; and accordingly at this election,
Sampson Baxter, (whom Nevile by mistake calls Barker,) John Skye
and John Bylawe, were chosen by the 80, confirmed by the commons
and returned to the mayor and chief men, and the mayor named Baxter, the chief men Skye; and this was the constant form of elections
for some years, by which we may observe, that in the lists of the
sheriffs, the mayor's sheriff is always first named,
And this year, Henry Lomynour, John Daniel, and eighteen more
were chosen by the commons, to agree upon and settle all the articles
and ordinances made by the court or chief men of the city, in relation
to the election and oath of the mayor, and good government of the
In 1405, there was an act made, that no man or woman of what
estate or condition they be, shall put their son or daughter to serve as
apprentice, to any craft or other labour, within any city or borough
in the realm, except he hath land of 20s. per annum at least, but they
shall be put to other labour, as their estates doth require; (fn. 22) by which
this city was so much damaged, that they got it repealed in Henry
the Seventh's time, as appears in that King's reign.
And for the safety of the city, the tenement Geywood's, was let for
a publick inn or reception for all foreigners staying to work here, and
a penalty of 5l. was laid upon all others that took in strangers to
lodge for any time. (fn. 23)
This year is also remarkable for being the first time that ever a
cannon was used in England, which was against the town of Berwick,
and battered down the walls, so that the King immediately took it. (fn. 24)
In 1406, his Majesty vouchsafed to visit this city, as appears by the
Assembly Book, in which the money raised against the King's coming
ismentioned. (fn. 25)
At this time, the citizens claimed four acres and an half of ground
which belonged to the Chapel in the Field, but they were made easy in
that respect by John Rekynghale, dean there, who on the 4th of July,
came before John Daniel, mayor, Edm. Warner and Richard Drewe,
sheriffs, in open court, Will. Sedman, and Robert Dunston, the supervisors of the city revenues, being present, and produced the grant of
Hugh Prior of the canons at Old-Bukenham, in which he and his
convent granted and for ever released, four acres and an half of
arable land, lately given to that monastery, by Richard le Fraunceys,
lying in Chapel-feld Croft, within the city ditch, on which it abutted
south, for an annual pension of 10s. payable by the dean to that
monastery for ever, William le Cunte, Roger de Swerdeston, &c. being
bailiffs; (fn. 26) so that it was made about 1267.
In 1407 Jeffry Bixton, citizen, gave a moiety of a messuage, &c.
in Norwich, to the honour of God and the profit of the city, to repair
the banks of the river Wensum.
In 1408, on the third Sunday after Easter, on which day the mayors
were then usally chosen, according to the custom of the city, the 80
named Roger Blickling, and Edmund Warner, and notified their
nomination by the coroners and town-clerk, to the chief men, or 24, of
the mayor's counsel, and they appointed Edm. Warner mayor for
In 1409, at the request of the commons, (fn. 27) it was granted, that the
mayor, sheriffs, and commonalty of Norwich, shall for certain years,
have the aulnage and survey of measuring all manner of worsteds made
in Norwich or Norfolk, and none shall be sold without their seal, for
which they shall take a halfpenny for each piece sealed, and such as
are not measure shall be forfeited, half to the King, and half to the
city; in which grant, all the terms, makings, and quantities of
worsteds may be seen: this aulnage and seal was let this year to two
citizens at 20 marks rent.
It appears, their old friend Sir Tho. Erpingham procured them this
grant, for which they presented him with 10 marks, and Robert
Dunston and Will. Ampulford, who were sent to London to solicit,
were allowed 25 marks for the grant and their expenses. This answered so well, that in 1448 they got Henry VI. to renew it.
This year, to oblige the King, they let him 500 marks, which,
according to the King's commission directed to the Bishop of Norwich, and Sir Thomas, who were good friends, the city raised out of
their common stock, all but 200 marks, to make up the sum, which
was assessed by a common tax. This was afterwards repaid, and in
1410, the city paid Richard Kolys, serjeant at arms to the King, all
his expenses, and five marks reward, for coming from London to
Norwich, and for riding to Yarmouth to Northwalsham, Thetford,
Wigenhall, and Lyn, to make proclamation of the late statute concerning worstede clothes, and of the aulnage granted to the city, that
nobody might pretend ignorance, and so sell without being sealed.
And this is all that I have found of the remarkable transactions
that happened in relation to the city in this King's reign, which
ended on March the 20th, in the year of our Lord 1412, when he
died at Westminster, and was buried at Canterbury.
When the charter first came down, the seal of the bailiffs was
disused, and a new city seal made; in the midst is our Blessed Saviour
arising from his tomb, with a glory about his head, his right-hand
is held up towards heaven, and in his left hand is a mound or globe,
with the cross on its top; he stands in the portal of a Gothick building,
having over it the arms of France and England quartered, on the
right hand of him is a shield of the city arms, viz. a triple towered
castle, and under it, a lion passant guardant, and on his left-hand in
another shield, is a plain cross, the arms of St. George, or the English
flag, the circumscription is this:
Sigillum officii maioratus (fn. 28) Siuitatis normici.
The Seal of the Office of Majoralty of the City of Norwich.
Mayors and Sherifs of Norwich.
1403, William Appleyard, mayor. Robert Brasier, John Daniel,
sheriffs. John Yelverton, Esq. recorder.
1404, Will. Appleyard 2. Sampson Baxter, John Skye.
1405, Will. Appleyard 3.
1406, John Daniel 1.
1407, Walter Daniel 1.
1408, Edm. Warner.
1409, Walter Daniel 2.
1410, Robert Brasier.
1411, Will. Appleyard 4.
1412, Will. Appleyard 5.
John Harleston, Rich. Spurdaunce.
Edm. Warner, John Drewe.
Tho. Garrard, John Wurlich.
Tho. Parlet, John Bixley.
Walt. Mosely, John Manning.
John de Shottesham or Scotham,
John Leverich, John Wake.
Rich. White, John Crownthorp.
Burgesses in Parliament.
1 Hen. IV. Parl. at Westm. Henry Lomynour, William de
2 Parl. at York, Edm. Warner, Wil. de Crakeford.
2 Parl at Westm. Edm. Warner, Walt. Eton.
3 Ditto, William Appleyerd, William de Crakeford.
5 Parl. at Lond. Will. Everard, Walt. de Eton.
7 Parl. at Westm. Walt. de Eton, John Alderford.
8 Parl. at Gloucest. Walt. de Eton, Rob. de Dunston.
10 Parl. at Westm. Rob. Dunston, Will. Ampulford.
13 Ditto. Tho. Gerard, Barth. Appleyerd.
14 Ditto. Barth. Appleyerd, J. Alderford.
14 Ditto. Will. Sedman, John Biskelee.