As the growth of the population began to extend beyond the
City walls, about the middle of the XVth Century, and
to overflow into the surrounding districts, this area became
loosely called "London," the City of London in later years being
distinguished as "The City." This unorthodox nomenclature
continued until the passing of the Local Government Act in 1888,
which brought all the parishes surrounding the City together into
an orthodox "County of London." So accustomed have people
now become to this comparatively new state of affairs, that few
realize how much of the control of the greatest area of the new
County of London, up to the passing of that Act, had been in the
hands of the Justices of the County of Middlesex. When one
appreciates that the boroughs of Bethnal Green, Chelsea, Finsbury,
Fulham, Hackney, Hammersmith, Hampstead, Holborn, Islington,
Kensington, Paddington, Poplar, St. Marylebone, St. Pancras,
Shoreditch, Stoke Newington and Stepney were formerly situated
in the County of Middlesex, it is not difficult to realize how vastly
interesting to Londoners generally the old records of Middlesex are,
or ought to be.
The question naturally arises—why were the records of so populated
an area not handed over to the County of London on its formation?
The answer is that a difference of opinion having arisen between
the Courts of Quarter Sessions of London and Middlesex as to the
effect of the Local Government Act of 1888, a decision of the High
Court was sought, and by a judgment of Mr. Justice Bingham in
the Queen's Bench in 1900 (The Duke of Westminster as Custos
Rotulorum of the County of London v. the Duke of Bedford as Custos
Rotulorum of the County of Middlesex) it was held that all records
of the ancient County of Middlesex should continue to be in the
custody of the Custos Rotulorum of the County of Middlesex.
It will be agreed, I think, that the manner in which the parent
County has performed the trust thus imposed on it has been ample,
and the production of the present Calendar, the first to be printed
since 1905, is a proof of the interest which it continues to take not
only in its own history but also in that of its severed portion, removed
from its immediate control forty-six years ago.
Before the Local Government Act was passed, Middlesex had
already taken an interest in its Sessions Records, and, as early as
1882, a special Committee of Justices was appointed to "consider
and report to the Court whether any, and if any, what better accommodation can be provided for the old records of the County; and
as to the best means of sorting them with a view to the preparation of
an index and calendar."
At that date, some records were stored at Westminster and other
at the Old Sessions House at Clerkenwell, and the first step which
the Committee took was to see that all records were brought together
to Clerkenwell. The records were in no sort of order, having
been sadly neglected, and had little chance to recover from such
misspent energy as that which Mr. Harcourt, a Clerk of the Peace
in the reign of William III, bestowed on them when he removed
most of the records "to his Country House in Holborn."
The work of sorting, labelling and cataloguing was entrusted to
the care of the late Mr. A. T. Watson, and the late Mr. Cordy
Jeaffreson, F.S.A., was appointed editor of the Calendar which it
was intended to publish.
To those who know the collection of ancient documents now
at the Guildhall, it is almost impossible to believe that this prodigious
task could have been completed in 21 months, but in 1884 the
Justices were informed that "the Archives of the County were in
perfect order," and that a new muniment room had been completed
Shortly after this, the "Middlesex County Record Society" was
formed, with the primary object of "exhibiting in a series of printed
calendars, the purport and chief particulars of the more noteworthy
manuscripts of the collection," and in 1886 the first volume, dealing
with the records from the third year of the reign of King Edward
VI down to the end of the reign of Elizabeth, was published. The
second volume, covering the period down to the twenty-second
year of the reign of King James I, followed in 1887, and two further
volumes were published, bringing the Calendar down to the year
1688, one in 1888, and one in 1892 after the passing of the Act whereby
so large a part of Middlesex went to form the new County of London.
Under this Act it was arranged that Middlesex should retain the
Guildhall at Westminster, and that the Sessions House at Clerkenwell
should be handed over to the new County of London. This arrangement necessitated the transference of all the County Records from
Clerkenwell to Westminster and this, together with the general
upheaval caused by the new Act, made the work of dealing efficiently
with archives, one of difficulty. However, in 1900, my late father,
Mr. W. J. Hardy, F.S.A., was commissioned by the Standing Joint
Committee to continue the work where Mr. Cordy Jeaffreson's
calendars had ended, and in 1905 a Calendar to the Sessions Order
Books only, covering the period from 1689–1709, was published.
After that date the work was continued, but the Calendars were not
printed. Instead, they were typewritten and indexed, and copies
were presented to the Public Record Office and the British Museum
for the use of students.
The Great War and my father's death caused an interruption,
but in 1920 the Standing Joint Committee commissioned me to
complete the Calendar down to the year 1752.
When that work had been accomplished, it was considered by
the Committee that more useful purpose could be served if a fresh
and fuller calendar of all records from 1607 onwards were begun.
That date was selected because in that year both the Sessions Register
and Gaol Delivery Register were preserved, for formerly only the
Sessions Rolls had been kept for record.
Consequently, Calendars covering the period from 1607 to 1612
were typed and indexed in a manner similar to that adopted for the
later Sessions Order Books, and the information they contained was
made available to students.
The object of dealing with a period already reviewed by Mr.
Jeaffreson was not to cast any reflection on that author's most
scholarly work, but because, with the increase in historical research,
it was realized that no editor could fairly be asked to bear the burden
of selecting items of "interest," and that unless all subjects, persons
and place names appeared in the Calendar of the Court, the appetite
of all students could not be fully satisfied.
The new Calendars compiled from 1607 fulfil these conditions,
and the student, whatever his subject, may rest assured that, unless
he finds the object of his interest mentioned in the Index, no mention
of that subject occurs in any record preserved at the Middlesex
Guildhall of the period covered by the Calendar.
In 1933 it was decided that recourse should again be made to
printing this Calendar, and the present volume is the result. It
covers the nineteen months from December 1612 to June 1614,
and embraces (a) the Process Register Book of Indictments, which
begins in 1612, and is in addition to (b) the Sessions Rolls, (c) the
Sessions Register and (d) the Gaol Delivery Register. In proof
that many items are included in the Calendar, which were omitted
by Mr. Cordy Jeaffreson, it will be noted that this new Calendar is
contained in 462 pages, covering a period of nineteen months, while
Mr. Jeaffreson's Calendar, embracing upwards of twenty-two years
(including the period of the present Calendar) was contained in 187
pages. In other words, a year's business on an average occupied
8½ pages in Mr. Jeaffreson's Calendar, while in the present Calendar
24⅓ pages are given to each month.
The result of making mention of every record preserved, will no
doubt make this volume difficult for continuous reading; however,
it is hoped that the Index which has been compiled will direct
readers to the particular point of their interest.
It is not my object, nor, I believe, is it the object of the Custodians
of the Records, to make searches among the original records superfluous, and a student, having discovered from the Calendar that
some reference is contained to the object of his interest, is invited
to visit the Guildhall and there to study the original documents,
which will be produced, under supervision, to properly accredited
The method adopted in compiling the Calendar is to make the
indictment, where one exists, the main entry, and to add to this all
other references to it. Where there are no Sessions Rolls, or imperfect
Sessions Rolls only exist, it is obvious that information from the
three Register Books can only be given. The entries from these
appear in the order in which they are found in the original books,
and the method in which the case was disposed of always appears
above the entry, in italics. The page or folio numbers, also given
in italics in the left hand margin, refer to the page or folio of the
It is to be regretted that Sessions Rolls for the first two Sessions
in the Calendar are missing (i.e., December 1612, and January
1612–13), as well as that for June 1614.
The entries have been compiled as the information from various
sources comes to light, and it may seem to be out of sequence for
an entry to read "Not guilty, led to gaol." This is explained by
the fact that the "Not guilty" would be entered on the original
indictment, while the fact that the prisoner had been led to gaol
on his arrest would not be recorded until the Gaol Delivery Roll
had been reached, which was invariably the last document, and
used as a wrapper to bind up the completed roll. Readers, therefore,
must reasonably work out the chronology of events, which is generally
The date at which this Calendar opens is perhaps a fitting one,
for the first proceedings at a Sessions of the Peace to be recorded is
the last of those Sessions to be held at the Old Castle Tavern in
St. John Street, and in the records of that Sessions appears the resolution that "the Sessions house now standing in St. John Street, and
being there built by Sir Baptist Hicks and given to the Justices of
the county of Middlesex for a Sessions house should for ever hereafter be called by the name of Hicks Hall" (p. 11).
From this date, for a period of nearly 200 years, all ordinary Sessions
of the Peace were held at Hicks Hall.
Sir Baptist Hicks was a wealthy mercer of London, and his portrait
now hangs in the Guildhall at Westminster. A full biography
compiled by Mr. B. Woodd Smith, F.S.A., is to be found in Volume
IV. of the Calendars published by the Middlesex Record Society.
It appears that he was not only the King's Mercer, but also his financial
agent, and is known to have advanced large sums of money to the
monarch. In 1625 he was created Baron Hicks of Ilmington and
Viscount Campden, and died in 1629.
In 1782 the New Sessions House at Clerkenwell was opened,
and was regularly used by the Middlesex Justices until the removal
of the Sessions to the Guildhall at Westminster.
The building of Hicks Hall does not appear to have been universally
popular, and entries in the records show this:—
Grace, the wife of Peter Watson, an apothecary of St. John Street,
made "reviling speeches against Sir Baptist Hicks touching the
building of the Sessions house" (p. 9); James Ewer, an innholder
in St. John Street, was committed for "not carrying away his dung
from his door at Hicks Hall gate" and for insulting speeches (p. 69);
and Richard Weste of Golding Lane, a.scrivener, remarked that "he
wold build a cage and a paire of stockes before Hicks Hall in disgrace
of ye house" (p. 153).
The General Sessions, e.g., those held in April and at Michaelmas
1613 and in May 1614, were held at Westminster—probably, though
the records do not say so, at the Old Gate House. The Gaol Delivery
was always held in the Justice Hall in the Old Bailey of the City of
It must be remembered that all the Sessions Rolls, until quite a
late date, have now been ironed flat, repaired, numbered and bound
into volumes, so that I have been unable to deduce anything from
the order in which the rolls were originally bound up, but I have
found nothing which makes me disagree with what Mr. Jeaffreson
wrote in the preface to his first volume (pp. xxvii to xxx).
In the Calendar now before you, the recognizances belonging to
the Rolls of the Sessions of the Peace will usually be found placed
first, then the recognizances for the Gaol Delivery, followed by the
Indictments, Coroners' inquests, Lists of jurors, Jury writs, Gaol
Delivery roll, and, lastly, extracts from the three registers of entries
which have not already been incorporated in the Calendar to the
It is not surprising that during the course of centuries many
documents became detached from the rolls to which they originally
belonged, and a number of sacks of these are now being assiduously
sorted out by Miss Cameron at the Guildhall, and are being arranged
in dates and dealt with as the other Sessions Rolls have been. One
such bundle is included in the present Calendar (Sessions Roll 518).
Mr. Cordy Jeaffreson has dealt so fully with the procedure by
which the various cases passed to judgment, with the various punishments awarded and with the duties of the Court officials, that I can
do no more than refer my readers to the prefaces to the first and
second volumes of his Calendar, but, in order to assist those who
have not the opportunity of examining his works, I will deal shortly
with one or two points which will, I trust, make entries apparently
obscure to become a little better understood.
Every indictment, and the major part of every recognizance is
written in Latin, with English translations interposed of any obscure
words which it was unlikely that the Justices would understand.
The Clerk of the Peace wrote the punishments upon the top of the
indictments, and his remarks on the bottom of the recognizances.
In cases where he omitted to include the judgment, this generally
appears either in the Gaol Delivery Roll or in one of the other
Registers, and it will be observed that few indictments are eventually
left without any punishment being recorded.
The pleas open to a prisoner were "guilty," "not guilty," or he
might "stand mute."
In view of the horrible torture which resulted from standing
mute, it is somewhat remarkable that, in the brief period which is
covered by this Calendar, five persons should have chosen this
death rather than face the gallows.
The first case noted of a prisoner standing mute is that of George
Fisher, who was charged with breaking into the houses of Robert
Beeston, a yeoman of St. Leonard's, Shoreditch, and of William
Sybson of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, and stealing goods to the total
value of £6 15s. One woman aided him, and another was accused
of being a receiver of the goods stolen. Perhaps it may be stretching
the imagination too far to say that he chivalrously faced this death
by torture in order to save the women. Be this so or not, both
women were discharged "because the principal stands mute"
John Legg alias Pilkington, yeoman, of Paddington, and several
others, were accused of breaking into the houses of Matthew Smale
and of the above-mentioned William Sybson, and stealing a Bible
and some money. By standing mute he appears to have saved
many of the other prisoners from punishment (p. 165).
Anthony Kirlie of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, yeoman, was accused
with many others, of breaking into various houses and stealing
plate and clothes of some value. Kirlie by standing mute appears
to have saved the other prisoners, except one, who was respited to
prison after he had been condemned to death (p. 390).
Thomas Bond and John Ryder were two further victims, while
their two accomplices suffered the easier death by hanging (p. 415).
The peine forte et dure, which was the invariable punishment for
standing mute, consisted of the prisoner being taken to a dark room,
stretched naked on a stone floor, with weights placed on his back,
"as many as he can bear and more." He was given three morsels
of sour bread on alternate days and the "worst water" on the other
days, until he died. By enduring this torture he avoided the forfeiture
of his lands but not of his chattels. (See Jacob's Law Dictionary,
If a prisoner pleaded guilty of a major crime, he was hanged, or
claimed the benefit of clergy. In the latter case, he asked for the
"book" (i.e., the Bible), and was then ordered to read a passage
out of it. If he succeeded, his left thumb was branded with the
letter T (signifying that he had missed the gallows at Tyburn) and he
was discharged. It is clear evidence of the progress of education
which had been so greatly aided by the establishment of grammar
schools in the reign of Edward VI and subsequently, that while
during the twelve months ending December 1613 sixty-nine prisoners
went to the gallows (of whom twelve women successfully pleaded
pregnancy and after the birth of the child presumably suffered death
by hanging), as many as sixty-one prisoners successfully pleaded their
clergy. Twelve prisoners could not pass the test and were therefore
hanged, and four were found to have been branded before, and so
had forfeited the benefit.
In proof of the justice which could be expected at the hands of
the Middlesex Justices during the same year, a hundred and three
prisoners were found not guilty, and seven were respited after the
judgment had been given. Many persons accused of grand larceny
or other serious crimes were found guilty of petty larceny or of
some minor offence, and got off with a whipping. This punishment
also served for prostitutes, brothel-keepers, or those who had
burdened the rates with bastard children. The punishment was
sometimes performed in the House of Correction, sometimes along
the street where the victim lived, and sometimes in a market-place.
It was such a common occurrence that the particular procedure was
seldom recorded in the records. In the case of Joan Lea, however,
the Clerk recorded that she was "to be openly whipped at a cart's
tail in St. John Street upon Saturday next until her body be all
bloody" (p. 188).
In all fifty-eight persons were condemned to a whipping during
hese twelve months.
On the other hand if the value of the goods stolen fell below a
shilling the charge was altered to petty larceny, and there can, I think,
be little doubt that where the Justices thought the penalty of death
or branding rather too severe, an arithmetical juggle took place,
whereby the value of the goods was reduced so as to bring the offence
within the bounds of the lesser crime. An obvious instance of this
is when Jane Baylie, a spinster of Golding Lane, who was charged
with taking goods to the value of at least 48s. from Lady Elizabeth
Welche, was found guilty of stealing goods to the value of only
4½d. and was discharged with a whipping (p. 167).
On the other hand two yeomen, who together were responsible
for the theft of a pair of scissors worth 6d. and a handkerchief worth
9d., were both hanged because the offence was classified as highway
robbery (p. 74); and Anthony Walter, a tailor of Westminster, who
assaulted Susan Lyle in Westminster Abbey and stole 3s. from her,
suffered a similar punishment (p. 162). Two other men who assaulted
Robert Morris and George Mosson "at a place called lee Mantles"
in Islington and stole goods to the value of is., were condemned
to the gallows, though one was afterwards reprieved (p. 210).
A person accused of manslaughter, who proved that he killed
his adversary in self-defence, was found "Guilty of defending
himself" and was handed over in bail until his pardon was obtained
(e.g., pp. 13, 107).
Some persons were found too ill to plead (pp. 13, 110), while
William Jones died in prison before his trial (p. 110).
In some cases, the Justices meted out a punishment which they
no doubt thought would fit the crime, as, for instance, when Thomas
Hall of Teddington [Tuddington] was ordered to confess before
"the vestry of the parish of Tuddington on Sunday next" that he
had said of the Justices "it is but in vayne to make complaynte of
anythinge before them" [i.e, the Justices] (p. 115).
This Calendar is noteworthy for providing the earliest reference
which exists, so far as I know, to the punishment of transportation.
This punishment, so freely awarded fifty years later and practised
down almost to recent times, was used instead of capital punishment, and was looked upon with favour as it provided persons,
almost in the nature of slaves, for our new colonies. The first Act
dealing with transportation was that passed in 1597 (39 Elizabeth,
cap. 4), entitled "An Act for the punishment of rogues, vagabonds
and sturdy beggars," under which Justices were empowered to send
persons convicted to the then newly-formed Colonies.
The case which appears in the present Calendar relates to Barnaby
Littgold, who was found guilty of burglary and "to be sent to
Greenland by order of the Lord Mayor" (p. 406).
Greenland had been discovered in 1576 by Frobisher, in the
search for the North-West Passage, though he mistook it for the
fictitious Frisland, and for some centuries great confusion existed
as to its exact location. At this date it cannot have been colonized
to any extent, and Englishmen who ventured to its shores did not
stay long. Littgold's story, had it been told, would have made
John West and his wife, who had committed "cozenage," were
ordered to be "carted" on two market days in Cheapside and "there
to stand on the pillory, and then to be carted to Fulham to the place
where the offence was done, and there to be set in the stocks with a
paper on their heads showing their offence" (p. 14). Ann Rowe
was condemned to sit in the stocks at Harefield for saying that her
mistress had ordered her to steal a turkey (p. 23). Humphrey
Mountaigue, a Smithfield butcher, was ordered "to be set in the stocks
two several days, one in Cheapside and another day in East Smithfield," with a paper on his head showing that he had assaulted Edward
Rotheram, a Sheriff of Middlesex (p. 60). Roger Williams and
Margaret his wife, of St. Andrew's, Holborn, who were charged
with being common barrators and disturbers of the peace, and for
keeping a bawdy house, were ordered to be carted from the Gaol
to their own house, "the said Margaret in a blue mantle like a bawd,
and there to be openly set in the stocks" (p. 162). Richard Darry
of Hillingdon and Nathaniel Ford of Uxbridge were ordered to be
set in the stocks at Uxbridge on market-day, for the space of two
hours, for poaching fish at night (p. 219). Charles Browne of
Whitechapel, and Jane his wife, were put in the stocks in Artillery
Lane "for emptying a great quantity of night-work into the common
sewer, to the general annoyance of all the inhabitants" (p. 190),
and from the records of the next Sessions we learn that they had
broken "out of the stocks in Artillery Lane" (p. 218), but the
punishment for the latter offence is not recorded. William Neeles
of Cowley also effected escape from the stocks at Uxbridge (p. 235),
and William Dawtrey of St. Dunstan's-in-the-West, gentleman,
allowed a felon to escape from the stocks (p. 83).
Three "wandering rogues" were to be set in the stocks by the
constable of Golding Lane, and then whipped and sent away (p. 457),
and two other men were set in the stocks in St. John Street on two
several days, for stealing lead belonging to Sir Michael Stanhope
(p. 461), a son, no doubt, of the famous Elizabethan politician.
An incorrigible rogue and dangerous beggar "wandering about
to the great danger of the inferior sort of people" was branded on
the left shoulder with a letter "R" (p. 208).
A curious expression is used when Sarah Woolridge, who picked
the pocket of Peter Wraxall, claimed to be pregnant and was "respited
to prison without judgment because [she] claims the benefit of the
stomach" (p. 289).
Another curious phrase is found when two men were "sent to
Bridewell to be whipped and shaved and kept at perpetual labour"
Peter Fenton and Edward Somner were accused of breaking open
the cages at Clerkenwell and Kensington respectively and allowing
prisoners to escape (pp. 126, 311), and John Battye of "breaking
the stocks in Aldersgate and carrying away the locks and hinges"
It must not be supposed that all records of Coroners' inquests
were enrolled in the Sessions files, but only those, I imagine, which
had, or might have had, some bearing on the work of the Justicess.
We find, in all, ten inquisitions enrolled, seven of which are held on
prisoners dying in Newgate of the "pining sickness" (pp. 112,
113, 302–3, 366–7). The other inquisitions were held on the death
of Adam Ersbie, who was killed accidentally when "a birdingpiece worth 5s. charged with hailshot" was fired in an affray at
Chelsea (pp. 150–151); on Robert Kilpatrick of St. Martin's who was
killed by his assailant after an argument in the Prince's Arms in
St. Martin's Lane (p. 416); and on a female child of Agnes Robinson,
who was found guilty of murdering it at Whetstone, and was hanged
(p. 398). In all these cases the inquisition has been used as an
In drawing an inference from these records as to the moral condition of London in these Jacobean days, one must remember that
the parish constables, who were responsible for bringing offenders
before the Justices, were mere laymen elected from year to year.
Consequently, their individuality must be taken into account, and
while one might be over-officious in carrying out his duties, another
might err in the other direction. Enormous powers were put into
their hands, and it is probable that many usurped their privileges.
To quote one instance which helps one to understand the many
references found in the Calendar to what appears to be unwarranted
interference into domestic matters, a constable had the right to enter
any house where he suspected that adultery or fornication was being
committed, and to carry the offenders before a Justice without first
having obtained a warrant.
Such powers must have given an over-zealous constable opportunities for abusing his authority. He would, of course, be faced
with no difficulties in dealing with well-known women such as
Margery Gardiner, "a noted and common whore commonly called
Scotche Mage," who called a minister a "knave" (p. 225), but in
other cases more tact must have been required, as, for example,
when Mary Apple, a widow, and Thomas Attawell, a gentleman of
Westminster, were found "lodging together in a chamber by the
watche, and she is charged by the officers to be a common whore"
(p. 192); when Thomas West and Margery Gibson "were taken in
a chamber together alone at eleven of the clock in the night by the
officers" (p. 385); or when William Sowth of Cow Cross and
Isabel his wife were had up for allowing misrule in their house, the
wife being charged "for using the sinful lust carnally on the Sabbath
day" with one John Shercoe, who confessed that he had the "use of
the said Isabel's body on the Sabbath day at divine service time"
(p. 20); when Thomas Lane of Turnmill Street was accused of living
incontinently with Joan Carter, knowing her husband to be alive
(p. 281); or when Susan Browne, a spinster of Holborn, was "taken
in bed with a Scotsman in a common bawdy house" kept by
Christopher Thwaytes, described as a "gentleman," in Holborn
Persons adjudged to be "common whores" were whipped or
carted. Papers were put on the heads of the culprits, and a bell was
rung before them when being taken to the houses where they lived
The offence of Joan Baker of Shoreditch, who was seen by the
wife of Thomas Wraye "in carnal copulation in the street with a
strange man," somewhat naturally led to her being reported by the
officers "to be a common whore" (p. 308).
Two cases of unnatural offences are noted when Alban Cooke of
Hoxton assaulted "a boy of not more than twenty years" and committed "sodomy called buggery" with him (p. 110), and when
Gabriel Pennell of Islington was bound over for the same offence
Eight cases of bigamy came before the Justices, but we find no
information as to the punishment awarded (pp. 37, 94, 172, 176, 189,.
309, 335, 403).
William Hyecocks was found not guilty for a rape on Joan Wyatt
(p. 2), but Robert Murkye, a gentleman of the City of Westminster,
(having been charged with rape, effected his escape from justice (p. 2)
Alexander Myles, a tailor of Harrow-on-the-Hill, was accused or
assaulting and ravishing a girl "aged fourteen years and more,
contrary to her will," but was acquitted (p. 62); and Robert Thacker
committed "a ravishment upon the body of Finnett, wife of Roger,
Long" (p. 182).
Brawling between women was frequent enough, but in some
cases feminine cruelty appears to have outstretched the bounds of
common humanity, as, for instance, when Joan Best attacked Elizabeth
Hide, who was "quick with child," but since the assault she alleges
that "she has not felt it stir" (p. 226).
John Taylor, a servant to Sir Gervase Helwys, who was Lieutenant
of the Tower of London, and Richard Dale of Chancery Lane, were
accused of publishing a libel against Sir Robert Leighe (pp. 7, 11 6).
Sir Gervase conducted the torture of Edmond Peacham and was
subsequently hanged for complicity in the murder of Sir Thomas
Overbury (vide D.N.B.).
Alice Edwards of Charterhouse Lane was accused of "speaking
divers scandalous speeches against the late Queen" (p. 193); two
women were charged with being common barrators (pp. 5, 203),
and two others with being common scolds (pp. 375, 419). Of two
cases of perjury reported, in one a woman was the culprit (p. 27).
Many persons were summoned for insulting the Justices, also the
constables and other parish officers, and a number of private insults
was made the subject for the Justices' consideration. Several persons
were accused of insulting "Mr. Holt," the headborough of Stepney
and one of them for turning to him and saying "I charge you in the
Kinges name to kisse my tayle." For this, he was put in the stocks
During the period covered by the Calendar, eleven women and
forty-seven men were tried for homicide, murder, manslaughter or
fatally wounding. Of these, nine were condemned to death, six were
branded and twenty acquitted, while for eighteen the punishment is
not recorded or they were respited further. One of the women
prisoners successfully pleaded pregnancy. Seven were cases of
child murder, and thirteen were affrays with weapons (pp. 2, 3, 12,
13, 15, 45, 58, 63, 65, 69, 107, 118, 145, 150, etc.). William Hollis
was ordered "to be hung in irons at Hounslow Heath at a place
called the two Bakers in the parish of Heston for the murder of
William Pavin" (p. 12).
The entry relating to five women who were committed to prison
without bail for "goinge a pilgrimage to Tyburne" seems obscure,
unless it was an action on the part of the Justices to put a stop to
such morbid curiosity (p. 70).
Assaults and duels were common occurrences, and it is interesting
to note in how many cases persons described as gentlemen were
A gentleman assaulted Richard Parker of Smithfield with his
rapier and wounded him in his left breast, whereby he died (p. 58).
Henry Maynard, gentleman, of Harefield, was bound over for beating
and wounding John Mathew (p. 131). Henry Thomas, a gentleman
of Barbourne in Worcestershire, was accused of shooting his pistol
at William Coward and wounding him in the face (p. 95).
Edward Ayleworth of Aylworth in Gloucestershire, esquire, was
bound over for wounding Samuel Bray in Holborn, to which affair
Oliver Braye, a Master of Arts of Christ Church, Oxford, was a
witness (p. 101).
William Atkinson, a servant to the Earl of Sussex, was charged
with wounding John Palmer "somewhat dangerously in the arm."
Robert Brunskill of Westminster and Edward Southill of St.
Clement Danes, assaulted a bailiff at Cow Cross and wounded him
in the head, of which wound he "still remains languishing" (p. 418);
while William Penson and Elizabeth his wife, of St. Clement Danes,
assaulted Richard Clarke and caused "a great quantity of blood to
flow from divers parts of his body" (p. 418); and Thomas Davies
of Grandborough in Warwickshire, gentleman, was charged with
" breaking the leg of Bennett Jones" (p. 6).
Edmund Anderson of Gray's Inn, gentleman, was accused of
assaulting Thomas Bayford with his sword. His sureties were
Francis Nevell of Gray's Inn and Henry Grindon, gentleman, "servant
to Lady Anderson" (p. 138). There are certain indications that
the prisoner in this case was a son of the famous Chief Justice of
Common Pleas, who bore the same christian name. The judge had
died in 1605.
The groom of the famous judge, Lord Coke, was attacked by
Thomas Rawlins of Fleet Bridge in the parish of St. Bride's (p. 135).
It may be observed that the name is spelt "Cooke" in the original
document, as it is pronounced to-day.
John Muscott, a vintner, bound himself to bring "forth the
persons who maimed Geoffrey Pewe and to seeke out ye persons yt
did cutt of ye hande of the said Geoffrey" (p. 14).
Justices did not look with favour upon the Playhouse, and,
although these places of entertainment were patronized by many
persons of high social standing, they were ever watchful for any
disturbance of the peace. In the present Calendar we find two
such incidents arising at the "Fortune" in Golden (or Golding)
Lane in Cripplegate, and two at the "Curtain" in Holywell Street.
The Fortune was built for Philip Henslowe and William
Alleyn and opened in 1601. It was burnt down in 1621, but was
rebuilt, and in the year 1649 the interior was again burnt out. After
this, no attempt appears to have been made to rebuild it. The
profits arising from the theatre helped to provide the funds by which
Alleyn was able to found Dulwich College. The incidents referred
to in the Calendar occurred in June 1613, when Richard Bradley of
Clerkenwell assaulted Nicholas Bestney, a gentleman, and stabbed
him in the "right pap" and near the navel "so that he was in danger
of death" (p. 141); and in February 1613–4, when Christopher
Blether was bound over "for making an affray and tumult at the
Fortune Playhouse" (p. 376).
The date at which the Curtain was first opened has not been
definitely fixed, but it was built on land called the Curtain, which
had formed part of the Priory of Holywell. It closely adjoined
" The Theatre" which had been pulled down in 1599, at the time
when the Burbages had built their new theatre—the Globe—in
Southwark. It was also owned by Henslowe and Alleyn. It is
known that Shakespeare took a keen interest in the Curtain, and it
was here that "Henry V." was first produced. It is also probable
that "Rare" Ben Johnson's "Everyman in his Humour" was first
Edmund Chambers, who is described in the records as being "of
Hollywell Street" and of St. Olave's, Southwark, assaulted Martin
Slater of All Hallows the Great "at the Curtayne Dore" on 27 July
1613 (p. 156), and William Holdaye of St. George's, Southwark,
was charged with picking a purse "out of the pocket of William
George att the Curten" on 13 August 1613 (p. 195). Cuthbert
Burbage of Shoreditch was sworn on the jury in March and September
1613, and in January 1614 (pp. 67, 211, 332.)
Two serious riots by apprentices occurred—the first on Shrove
Tuesday 1613, when a number of them attempted to make a disturbance in the house of Mistress Joan Leake at Shoreditch Church;
and the second a year later, when apprentices were brought up for
"pulling down" the same house. It is unfortunate that we learn so
few details of these occurrences from the records (pp. 31–32,371,389),
as it is well known to have been the custom for apprentices to riot
on Shrove Tuesday, though the significance of Mrs. Leake's house
is quite unknown to me.
Several persons of Stepney found themselves in a riotous assembly
in Petticoat Lane, and assaulted the headborough of Artillery Lane
in the hamlet of Mile End when attempting to serve a warrant.
The crowd appear to have been a desperate lot, for one was charged
with committing foul outrages against his wife, and another with
attempting to rape a servant girl (p. 287). Another riot in Thames
Street is briefly mentioned (p. 308).
Highway robberies were frequently reported. Richard Westall,
Robert Spencer and William Blackwell, aided by William Fortescue,
a gentleman, all of South Mimms, assaulted some carriers of Warwickshire in the highway at South Mimms and stole over £70 worth
of goods. All but Robert Spencer were found guilty and hanged
(pp. 35–36). John Ireland "was taken uppon the high way wher
robberies had bene latelie before committed in a suspiciouse manner
with a great greene batt in his hand" (p. 47).
Two yeomen of St. James', Clerkenwell, obviously notorious
highwaymen, were hanged for assaulting John Knight, John Hownsell
and Anthony Bate, servant to Sir Henry Bartlett, all described as
gentlemen, in the highway at Clerkenwell, and for robbing them of
valuable clothing and jewelry, including "a gold ring with a stone
called a moonstone," worth £3 (p. 108).
Elizabeth Lassells was taken to gaol for treason for "clipping
gold coin," but her case was respited by order of the King (p. 286).
Housebreaking was a common crime, and it is interesting to note
that the houses of courtiers and the nobility suffered equally with
those of rich city merchants.
Between August 1613 and March 1614, the King's Palace at
Whitehall was broken into on five occasions. By far the most
important of these was when Thomas Mundaye and Thomas Mason,
who was more familiarly known as "Humming Tom" or "Bacon Tom,"
broke into Whitehall and stole four curtains of crimson velvet laced
with gold lace worth £40, five curtains of checked velvet lined with
taffeta worth £20, "the whole toppe and vallance of a bedd of clothe
and silver" worth £20, five curtains of carnation and white damask
silk worth £15, and many other curtains, cushions, and sheets, all
belonging to the King. No wonder that Humming Tom went to
Tyburn; but his accomplice had fled before capture could be effected.
One of the sureties for Thomas Williamson, who was suspected to
be privy to the burglary, was William Ryley of St. George's, South
wark, described as a "mapmaker" (p. 296).
Richard Cowper, a merchant-tailor of Long Lane, stole five yards
of green velvet out of "His Majesty's Wardrobe at Whitehall"
(p. 313). Robert Dennye of St. Martin's was hanged for "breaking
into the household of the Lord the King called Whitehall" (p. 361)
and stealing £80 worth of plate belonging to Edward, Lord Wotton,
who was comptroller of the household to both Queen Elizabeth and
James I, having been created Baron Wotton of Marley in 1603.
Three other men of St. Martin's were hanged for breaking into
" the house of the most Serene Lord the now King James at Whitehall" and stealing a collar of gold set with pearls and diamonds
worth £300, a silver warming-pan worth £5, and other plate and
linen belonging to Lewis, Duke of Lennox (p. 393). Lewis, or
Ludovic, as he is more correctly called, was the second Duke. He
was a great favourite of King James in Scotland and held many
important posts in that country. He came to England with the
King, and was made Gentleman of the Bedchamber. Dudley
Goodridge, a surgeon of St. Clement Danes, was charged with stealing
a "sumpter clothe" out of the King's Wardrobe (p. 272)—presumably for use on a saddle.
Others whose property was stolen or whose houses were burgled
include Edward Somerset, Earl of Worcester, a Commissioner of
the Treasury at the time (p. 43); Robert, Earl of Sussex, who had a
house in Charterhouse Lane (p. 168); William, Lord Petre of
Writtle, at Hadley (p. 297); Lady Walsingham (fn. 1) (p. 312); Thomas
Viscount Fentoun, an intimate associate of King James and Captain
of the Yeomen of the Guard (p. 327); Sir Horace Vere, subsequently
created Lord Vere of Tilbury (p. 330); Charles, Earl of Nottingham (fn. 2)
(p. 362); Robert Burleigh, Earl of Salisbury (p. 257); and Gilbert,
Earl of Shrewsbury (p. 386).
Thomas Chappell of Cow Cross was acquitted of a charge of receiving
goods stolen from Lord Chandos (fn. 3) (p. 14); George Houne was
branded for stealing silver goods belonging to Lord Clanrickard (fn. 4)
Nine ewe sheep, each worth 13s. 4d., belonging to Sir Thomas
Pope Blount of Tittenhanger Park, near St. Albans (grandfather
of the famous politician and essayist of the same name), were stolen
at Islington, and the culprit, a butcher, was hanged (p. 366).
The clerk to the Privy Council, Sir Anthony Ashley, a well-known
sailor, who had accompanied Drake to Spain, and author of "The
Mariners Mirror of Navigation," was also a victim (p. 405).
John Danvers, described as a gentleman, was hanged for burglary
The value of the goods stolen, which is set out in the indictment,
gives the economist some, though not very reliable, insight into the
value of articles at that date, but in most cases the description of the
property is too meagre to allow accurate conclusions to be based.
The student interested in dress and ornaments of the period fares
better, and should obtain some important data from the entries in
The description of some of the items stolen from the house of
Sir Thomas Vachell, Knight, in St. Martin's is interesting, e.g., a
petticoat of crimson velvet laced with silver laces worth £40, a pair
of silk stockings worth 30s., a pair of velvet mittens laced with gold
worth 50s., a dress with buttons of goldsmith's work, diamonds,
rubies and pearls, worth £50, and a "rebatoe" [= rebato, i.e., a
kind of stiff collar], set with pearls, worth 20s. (pp. 328–9).
A gold ring with a diamond and five rubies, worth £10, a coral
worth 10s., a "taffetay kirtle" worth 6s., two "bezar" [beyour] (fn. 5)
stones worth £5, four pieces of gold, called "spurryalls" [a coin
worth 15s.] were all stolen together (pp. 32–3); and eleven pieces
called "King James Unites" worth £11 were alleged to have been
stolen from the house of John Beard in St. Clement Danes (p. 38).
Three round silver basins worth £40, ten silver salts worth £60 14s.,
two silver trencher plates worth £4, three silver candlesticks worth
£45 10s. and much other valuable plate, were stolen from Thomas,
Earl of Suffolk (fn. 6) (pp. 295–6). Six pieces of gold called Rose
Nobles worth £10 16s., forty pieces of gold called Angels, worth
£22, ten pieces of gold called double sovereigns worth £11, and a
gold ring with a Death's Head worth 20s., were alleged to have
been taken from the house of Walter Allaley at Hackney (pp. 396, 413);
while a gold-finch and a cage valued at 2s. were included in the
"bag" taken at a chandler's house in Ratcliffe (p. 59).
Jasper Lynson and John Forebeeste, both described as strangers,
were bound over to give evidence against Philip Halce, for "robbing
their ship of £500 in coin," and one wishes that further details of
this piratical adventure were available (p. 124).
Deer stolen from Marylebone Park and Hyde Park, partridges
from Hendon and Hampstead, and pigeons from Marylebone (pp.
7, 8, 24, 25, 130), show the sporting possibilities of the county—
but only for those owning land to the value of £100 who were
allowed to possess guns. This accounted for William Crane of Acton
getting into trouble for killing three pigeons with a handgun charged
with gunpowder and hailshot, which he was not entitled to possess
A curious accusation is made against Thomas Grenewood, of
" taking away the ymbassadors dogge." He was ordered to return
it, which he did, "to the ambassadors man," but we do not learn
which Ambassador it was (p. 457). Whether this had any connection with the case against Ann Straunge for robbing the Spanish
Ambassador, I do not know. In this case, Ascanias Lawrenzey of
the Spittle, "a stranger," gave evidence (p. 448).
Lead being scarce was then a valuable commodity, which was, no
doubt, what Henry Brookes of Rose Alley in St. James', Clerkenwell, feltmaker, and Roger Beton of Blue Anchor Alley in Turnmill
Street, had in mind when they were taken by night near the White
Lion in Islington "digging near the lead pipes leading from the old
conduit heads to London, with intent to carry the same lead pipes
away" (p. 342). It will be remembered that the New River had
just been completed, and the leaden pipes of the old conduit would
probably have been superseded.
John Butterworth was accused of stealing a "green velvet pulpit
cloth worth 20s., a Bible worth 5s., and ten yards of green fringe
worth 13s. 4d., belonging to the parishioners of St. Faith's under
the Cathedral Church of St. Paul." He was sent for trial to London,
"because it was sacrilege there," but he was allowed the benefit of
clergy for the stolen goods which he had brought into Middlesex
An unusual case came before the Justices when a yeoman of
Enfield was charged with taking out letters of administration of the
estate of Thomas Brewtye with the intent to defraud the children of
the deceased. As there was danger that the children might become
chargeable to the rates, the Justices naturally took an interest in the
case, which was, of course, really a matter for the Ecclesiastical
Courts (p. 398).
Five cases of arson, or alleged arson, are reported (pp. 46, 97, 214,
Owners of savage dogs were brought up to answer for the misdeeds of their animals, as in the cases of a shipwright of Wapping,
because "his savage dog bit a boy" (p. 115), and of Ann Fisher of
Saffron Hill, who was accused "for not reforming a Curste Mastie
Dogge wch hath thrice bitten one Thomas Dallyn in the bodye and
in other places aboute him, and whoe goeth still in greete danger
of the said Mastie dogge" (p. 185).
The Justices, like those of to-day, took pains to prevent road
accidents. A carman of Baynards Castle, for instance, had to answer
for "negligently letting his horse go at large whereby a young
child of Robert Story was hurt with the cart," while a porter was
brought up for flinging a pulley into the cart "so negligently that he
hit the cart-horse, which thereupon ran away and hurt the said child
somewhat dangerously" (p. 100). Another carman, of Whitechapel, was bound over for leading "his cart over the neck of a
young woman child about the age of eight years, so that the said
child is thought to be in danger of death" (p. 198), and two others
" for hurting and maiming" Nicholas Aveley and Mary Powell
with their carts (pp. 272, 438). A servant of Henry Bannester of
Hackney, esquire, and a gentleman from Worcestershire were fined
6s. 8d. and 2s. respectively for "riding over" Walter Kidd with a
horse (p. 454).
Joy-riding is no new fashion, as we learn from the entry relating
to John Davys, who took the horse belonging to Humphrey Thomas
of Westminster, esquire, from a door where it was tied, "rideinge
him abroade the streetes" (p. 279); and parking regulations were
apparently in existence, for William Wright of St. Martin's, a
"tombmaker," had to appear for "annoying the street near Charing
Cross with loading carts and turning the Judges and all other
passengers into the channel" (p. 266).
The number of persons brought up for not attending church is
significant as showing how many inhabitants of Middlesex refused
to accept the Established Church. Many of these, no doubt,
abstained because they favoured the Church of Rome, while others
had more puritanical leanings. The names of those appearing in
the various lists indicate that most of the defaulters were persons of
some social standing. Some of the offenders (e.g., George
Jerningham) were members of families who throughout postreformation history have remained true adherents to Rome, and many
of them were women (pp. 4, 68, 84, 85, 86, 106, 143, 246, 451–2).
Thomas Bateman, an embroiderer of Saffron Hill, who was charged
with recusancy, brought a certificate of his conformity under the
episcopal seal of the Bishop of London, and was discharged (p.85).
John Parrishe of Stepney, who had not been to church for three
years, and persuaded "divers of the King's subjects to deny, withstand and impugn the power and authority of the King in causes
ecclesiastical," was required by the Court to accept the Oath of
Abjuration, but refused to do so, and the Lord Chief Justice ordered
that one of the Justices should offer the oath again; but we hear no
more of the case in this Calendar (p. 291).
William Davies was sent to gaol for High Treason "viz. [being]
preiste" (p. 68).
John Haynes (fn. 7) and William Surbye were sent to the gaol at
Hertford as "Brownistes" (p. 213), and William Atterbury of
Grub Street was bound over "for an obstinate browniste" (p. 85).
These references to members of the sect of separatist puritans founded
by Robert Browne are particularly interesting, as it is known that
by the end of 1591 Browne, driven by persecution, had accepted
episcopal ordination and cure of souls at a parish in Northamptonshire. The fact that the persons named above were charged before
the magistrates show that the followers of this founder of Congregationalism remained steadfast, in spite of their leader adopting more
Jasper Collins of St. Giles'-in-the-Fields abused the constables of
the parish, calling them "Puritane knaves" and threatened to
beat them (p. 284).
The fear of witchcraft was ever present, and we find some interesting incidents in the present Calendar.
Margaret, wife of William Bailey of Smithfield, was accused of
bewitching John Varnam, who died (p. 190).
William Hunte of Hampstead and Joan his wife were indicted,
but proved their innocence, "for practising evil and diabolic arts
called witchcraft, enchantments, charms and sorceries" on Alice
James so that she "has been wasting away in her whole body" and
"scarcely now can live." Joan was also accused of practising her
arts on Robert Hill so that he died. In this case, the Coroner's
inquest had brought a verdict of murder against her, and it is therefore
the more surprising that the Justices of Middlesex, in their levelmindedness, acquitted her. They were further charged with killing
a bay gelding and were acquitted on similar charges at a later Sessions
(pp. 365, 409).
Dorothy Magick, well-named apparently, and Mistress Susan
Poole, wife of Thomas Poole, a gentleman, were charged with
"practising" to destroy Susan's husband and mother-in-law by
witchcraft, but the case was not proved (pp. 376–7).
John Wheeler of Grub Street, an apothecary, was bound over
"for seducing the Kings subiects by making them beleeve that by
erecting a figure he cann helpe them to find stolne goods." He was
ordered to "bring his book of Ephemerides" (p. 199), and was
afterwards accused of being "a wissard, and tells where stollen
goods are" (p. 372).
Mary Wood appeared for cozening Elizabeth Barnes to give her
money "for a little powder in a paper," which she undertook would
give her "her purpose of musicon" if she carried the powder about
with her (p. 264).
Francis Knight of Holborn was bound over for "selling forbidden
herbs" (p. 215).
Cheating at cards or at other unlawful games was fairly common
and in many cases the victim was a man up from the country. One
may imagine that such persons would, of necessity, be carrying a
certain amount of money on them, and not being versed in the
methods of the more cunning cockney, were easy prey. Henry
Jefferys, for example, was charged with "cheating a Derbyshire
gentleman with counters instead of silver" (p. 268), and Edward
Maze and Robert Hodnoll for "cheating and cozening" William
Hollasse of Great Marlow at cards (p. 267). On the other hand,
Robert Fuller of the Strand, described as a gentleman, was accused
of cozening an apprentice "at dice with false dice" (pp. 102–3);
William Dodge, a gentleman of Stockport in Cheshire, cozened
John Barnett of £5 (p. 454); and Philip Strachey, a gentleman of
Fenchurch Street, was accused of being a common decoyer (p. 428).
When Cornelius Vanderberge of Whitechapel was charged with
stealing some clothing, it was ordered that the bill should "be
verified by a jury of the middle tongue." I can only imagine that
this can mean a jury who understood the language of the accused,
or one that had the aid of an interpreter (pp. 294, 304).
It was evidently an offence to buy, sell, or "cry" old iron, and
several people were bound over for doing so (pp. 22, 23, 46).
A pawnbroker who charged 2d. in the shilling by the month as
interest on pawns was reported to the Justices for "extreme usury"
Selling flesh during Lent (pp. 49, 399, 418, 426), or on a Sunday
(pp. 222, 322), engrossing the market (p. 386), by buying up a quantity
of one commodity for re-sale—the precursor of "cornering,"—
selling pork at unreasonable seasons (p. 199), selling "old muttons
for lambe" (p. 241), selling poultry during Lent (pp. 424, 437),
selling beer and ale at excessive prices (pp. 203, 319, 375, 420), and
selling bread of inferior quality (p.203) were all matters with which the
Justices had to deal. In most cases an informer reported the offence,
and, for so doing, was entitled to have the fine imposed.
A common informer must have been an unpleasant sort of fellow,
and blackmailing was one of the temptations open to him. It was
easy for him, where he discovered an irregularity or a supposed one,
to go to the offender and demand money from him to prevent an
information being laid. The case of John Harper is one example of
this, for he went to two butchers of Chobham, co. Surrey, who were
appropriately named Pigge, and obtained 25s. from them as the price
of his silence (pp. 246–7).
Although tobacco had only been introduced into this country
fifty years before the date of the Calendar, and the smoking of it
was only started in 1584, the popularity of the habit must now have
become general, if we are to judge from the number of persons who,
lawfully or unlawfully, sold it. The constables of Holborn, in
September 1613, presented nine persons in that parish alone (pp. 29,
202, 203, 215).
Another task with which the Justices were burdened was the
control of masters and apprentices, and we find many disputes being
brought before them. In the case of Benjamin Capps, a sailmaker
who refused to serve his master, the Court decided that he must be
discharged from his apprenticeship, as "a sailmaker cannot have an
apprentice by the statute" (p. 23). Thomas Norton, a gentleman
of Drury Lane, was brought up "for his uncivil behaviour in drawing
one Anne his servant out of a barn and putting her into a cellar of
water whereby she is in great danger of death, she being delivered
of a child and the child dead" (pp. 333–4). Apparently Norton
was acquitted, for we hear no more of the case. A Harrow man
was bound over for "enticing away another man's apprentice" (p. 273).
Informers were active in presenting persons who carried on trades
other than those to which they had been apprenticed, or who had
not been apprenticed at all (pp. 55, 86, 118, 197, etc.).
The rates for servants' wages were passed by the Justices each
year, but these are not set out in the present Calendar, as they are
stated to be the same as those for the previous year.
Sanitation, such as it was, required the control of the Court,
though to aid them in this respect a special commission, known
as the Commission for Annoyances, had been set up to deal with a
variety of petty offences. It is quite clear from the information
contained in the Calendar that this Commission was not generally
popular with the inhabitants of Middlesex. This body apparently
was inaugurated under a private Act (37 Elizabeth, cap. 17), entitled
"An Act for the good government of the city and borough of
Westminster in Middlesex." Its object was to prevent any annoyances in the City, while its powers appear to have been wide and to
have included the prevention of undesirable buildings or the turning
of houses into tenements, the closing of brothels, and the cleaning
of the streets (pp. 5–6, 25, 103, 199, 245, 398, 432, etc.). Although
I can find nothing which extends the province of this Act, there can
be no doubt that Commissions were established in other parts of
the County, e.g., one for Holborn (p. 439).
The "horrible smell" in the yard of two butchers of St. Clement
Danes, who kept a slaughter house and yard "lying towards a
messuage called Lincoln's Inn Grange," near the boundaries of the
City of London and Westminster, was considered to be harmful to
"the inhabitants and residents" and to "all those coming thereto
and conversing in the garden," and it was ordered to be removed
by the Commissioners (p. 57).
Several troublesome liabilities were placed on the inhabitants of
the County, and perhaps the most irksome of these was the repair
of the highways, for which every freeholder had to provide men or
wagons for so many days, according to the proportion laid down by
the Justices. Those failing or refusing to provide the necessary
quota were naturally brought before the Court, and either bound
over or fined. The lists of defaulters include members of the
nobility, knights, esquires and gentlemen, and as many as twenty-five
of them appear at one sitting (pp. 5, 140, 183, 215, 261).
When a road was in an unusually bad state of preservation, anyone
was entitled to report the matter to the parish constable, who made
a presentment to the Sessions, e.g., when "the highway in Fulham
leading from the same up to and through the vill of Hammersmith
and up to the town of Brentford" was presented as being in great
decay, "to the danger of all the King's liege people" (p. 138).
The parish raker was responsible for seeing that the streets were
kept clean (p. 421), and that drains and ditches were properly scoured
Paving, though not generally used, was a task which was imposed
upon the inhabitants of some parishes, and in 1614 six persons,
including Katharine, Lady Cornwallis, were bound over for neglect
of this duty in Holborn (p. 451).
The inhabitants of Staines were ordered to repair Longford Bridge
and those of Greenford, Greenford Bridge (p. 452).
When the constables of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields complained
that "divers knights and gentlemen, being inhabitants there, do
refuse to watch and ward according to the law," it was ordered that
the constables should repair to the houses of the offenders and require
them to do so or to answer the Justices (p. 306–7).
The lists of Coroners, Bailiffs, Chief Constables and Sub Constables,
appear in the Michaelmas Sessions (pp. 247–252), and the May
Sessions (pp. 441–6), and lists of licensed Badgers, Kidders and
Drovers appear on pages 81–2, 255–7 and 449.
No reference is made to a plague, but we find that the City of
London had a Pesthouse in the parish of St. Giles'-without-Cripplegate,
over which the Justices of Middlesex appear to have had no control
An expression, common in the XVIth and XVIIth Centuries, for
a victualling house, i.e., an "ordinary," is found in regard to a place
in St. Martin's-in-the-Fields (p. 382). At such hostelries, a meal
at a fixed price was provided, and many of the most fashionable
eating houses were thus described. In these days, one would be
regarded askance if one was to refer to such a place otherwise than
as a table d'hote restaurant, but presumably an "ordinary" was
very similar to it.
A large proportion of the County came within the "Verge,"
that is to say the area within twelve miles of a Royal residence, e.g.,
Whitehall, the inhabitants of which had to provide carts for baggage
and provisions for the royal household. This duty was exceedingly
unpopular, and it would appear that the purveyors appointed by
the Board of Green Cloth who controlled the Verge were not always
too punctilious in the methods they adopted or the prices they
paid. Complaints were made by the Board to the Justices in regard
to Mr. Gawen, one of the purveyors, and another purveyor was
ordered to be appointed (pp. 254–255). A servant to Sir John Lea,
who was responsible for the provision of carts, corrupted a warrant
and then took bribes from persons for freeing them from the duty of
providing carts. Mention is here made of Mr. Evans, "the Prince's
Cart taker" (p. 458).
We may judge from the number of foreigners who are mentioned
that London was becoming cosmopolitan in character. Scipio
de Rozanna, a gilder of St. Giles'-without-Cripplegate (p. 8), Anthono
Cristian, a "foreigner," and Charles de Villiers, a Frenchman (p. 174)
Elias de Buke and Francis Barroult, two Frenchmen (p. 267), are names
chosen at random. Outricke Parkinson, a servant to Lord Veere
accused John Percifall, a Cheshire gentleman, of "conveying away
an Italian boy from him" (pp. 235–6).
Some people followed unusual trades—for instance, a "tierwoman" [a milliner] (p. 28), a birdcatcher (p. 202), a "horsquorser"
(p. 427), a minstrel from Wiltshire (p. 5), and two minstrels or
musicians of Clerkenwell (p. 18); an aquavitae-stiller (pp. 160, 347),
a picture-maker (pp. 213, 268), a picture-drawer (p. 225), and a
trumpeter (pp. 51, 426).
An assault at the Fair at Brentford on 10 August 1613 is recorded
(p. 244). This fair was granted by Edward I to be held on St.
A house called "Cockefosters" in the parish of Enfield is mentioned when Edward Kendall of Lincoln's Inn had goods belonging
to him stolen out of it (p. 172). If Londoners had no knowledge of
this place a few years ago, travellers by tube to-day cannot fail to
know the name.
Turnagain Lane in St. Sepulchre's is a name which still survives
near Farringdon Street (p. 228).
Shacklewell, a manor house in Hackney, reputed to have been
once the house of Giles Heron and Cecilia his wife, a daughter of Sir
Thomas Moore, is mentioned when Stephen Thergoe, a gentleman,
was charged with drawing his sword upon an officer who attempted
to serve him with a Justice's warrant (p. 318).
A disorderly house in "Britaynes Burse" was suppressed by
order of the Justices. Britain's Burse in the Strand, near Durham
House, was erected by Robert, Earl of Salisbury, in 1608, and opened
by James I in 1609, who gave it its name (p. 277).
In drawing my preface to a close, I must proffer my apologies
for extending it to such a length, and yet omitting so much. It has
been my endeavour to lay before my readers the type of information
which they are likely to obtain on the heterogeneous subjects which
came before the Justices. I trust that the Index will lead students
quickly to the information they seek.
A few words on the composition of the Calendar and Index are
(1) The date given before each entry on the Sessions Roll is the
date when the action leading to the document occurred. That is
to say, in the indictments it is the date when the offence was committed; in the recognizances, the date when the bond was entered
into; in the writs, the date when the sheriff issued his writ: and so on.
(2) All place names have been given in modern spelling where
there is no doubt about identification. Where any doubt exists,
or where the spelling, as given in the original, is considered interesting, the original spelling has been copied. In the Index modern
spelling is given.
(3) Christian names have been given in modern spelling, except
in the case of very unusual names.
(4) Surnames have been copied from the original, and where
alternative spellings appear in other documents, the alternative
spelling is given in square brackets.
(5) Where alternative residences are given these are shown in
(6) A single page reference only to places and subjects has been
given in the Index. No indication is made where more than one
reference occurs on the same page.
This work could only have been accomplished with the sympathetic aid and assistance of members of the Standing Joint Committee
which has always been at my disposal, and I wish to record my deep
gratitude for the help which they have so readily given.
Especially are my thanks due to Sir Montagu Sharpe, K.C., for
his never failing encouragement, and to the Clerk of the Peace, Sir
Ernest Hart, for the patient manner in which he has always dealt with
my troubles. To his son, Mr. E. E. Hart, my thanks are also due.
I would also like to record my appreciation of the great help I
have received from Miss Cicely Baker, who has not only undertaken
most of the "spade" work in the compilation of the Calendar, but
has also assisted me considerably in compiling the Index. And last,
but not least, I have to thank the Staff at the Guildhall, especially
Miss McEwen and Miss Cameron, for all the assistance they have
WILLIAM LE HARDY.