The corporation of Lincoln: Registers, vol. 1 (1411-1610)

The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1895.

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Historical Manuscripts Commission, 'The corporation of Lincoln: Registers, vol. 1 (1411-1610)', in The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII, (London, 1895) pp. 21-24. British History Online [accessed 26 May 2024].

Historical Manuscripts Commission. "The corporation of Lincoln: Registers, vol. 1 (1411-1610)", in The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII, (London, 1895) 21-24. British History Online, accessed May 26, 2024,

Historical Manuscripts Commission. "The corporation of Lincoln: Registers, vol. 1 (1411-1610)", The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII, (London, 1895). 21-24. British History Online. Web. 26 May 2024,


The Registers, extending from 1421 to the present time (with the blank hereafter noted), are contained in thirteen folio volumes, in good preservation. But the actual continuous record of municipal proceedings only commences at the year 1511.

I. The earliest Register is contained in a thick folio volume consisting now of 320 vellum leaves, (of which ff. 235–40, 260–73, and 306– 16 are blank) which is called (from its once white leather binding), on the last fly-leaf, the "Whyt Boke." This begins at the year 1421, and its contents, extending to 1729, are as follows:—

"Ordines [sc. ordinationes] feriæ" f. 1b.

Extract from the episcopal register of bishop Grosteste of the admission of Robert de Hanney to the vicarage of Hanslape with the chapelry of Castlethorpe, with specification of its endowment; 8 Feb. an. 18 f. 2.

"Ordinatio pro bona gubernacione sigilli communis; 13 Nov. 1421, with the names of all the burgesses, in number 238, who attended the "communis congregacio totius communitatis" f. 2b. Followed by a proclamation that all writings sealed henceforward contrary to this ordinance were to be cancelled.

Ordinances made 21 Apr. 1422, with like list of names, f. 3b. Amongst these orders is one that no mercer should sell any boots ("caligas"), under the heavy penalty of ten marks; no doubt, to prevent interference with the trade of the cordwainers. That the mayor should have allowance for only two servants, viz., his macebearer and clerk, and livery for three minstrels at eight shillings each, and eight shillings for a common messenger should such an one be employed. Another order is about the enrolling of apprentices.

1423, 14 Sept.—Orders regulating the election of mayor, and that no common carter should carry anything in iron-bound carts over the city pavement under a penalty of 3s. 4d., f. 5.

1436. Extract from the Plea-rolls of a trial at Westminster involving a question of jurisdiction, in Hilary term, 1436, respecting a strange riot in the Cathedral, f. 6b.

"— extitit præsentatum quod Thomas Cokayne, capellanus, Nicholaus Bradborne, gentilman, Thomas Atkyn, notary, Laurencius Marsshall, yoman, Petrus Marsshall, yoman, Ricardus Knyght, yoman, Ricardus Ireton, grome, et John Bosse, clerke, servientes Johannis Makeworthe, decani ecclesiæ cathedralis beatæ Mariæ Lincoln., cum multis aliis ignotis, riote congregati et modo guerrino arraiati, per mandatum, consensum et preceptum ipsius decani, vicesimo octavo die Junii, anno terciodecimo [Hen. VI., 1435] in Petrum Partryche, cancellarium ejusdem ecclesiæ, in choro ecclesiæ prædictæ apud Lincoln. hora vesperarum tunc et ibidem super divina servicia intendentem vi et armis insultum fecerunt, et male tractaverunt, in affraiacionem ejusdem Petri et omnium divina tunc et ibidem ministrancium, ita quod de vita ejus desperabatur, et ipsum Petrum a stallo suo in choro predicto violenter extraxerunt, et [h]abitum suum laceraverunt totaliter et ruperunt."

The indictment was quashed on technical grounds, and the issue of the case does not appear.

1438, Sunday, 14 Sept.—The order made in 1423 about election of mayor is annulled, and letters patent from K. Hen. VI. dated 6 Sept. are enrolled, strictly enjoining that in future only the more influential, discreet and worthy persons shall be elected to that office. f. 9b.

1440, 18 Jan.—Ordinance respecting barbers, f. 10b. Amongst other rules are some regulating prices: e.g. a farthing for shaving a poor person and a halfpenny for a priest, and if they go to the houses of mayors and sheriffs and other leading citizens, or to conventual houses, then according to agreement. Sunday shaving is forbidden.

1441, 21 and 26 Feb.—Letters patent and warrant from Hen. VI. permitting the mayor and citizens to export to Calais annually for three years sixty sacks of wool free from the tax on wool lately imposed for a subsidy by Parliament, ff. 11b, 12. This is followed by an extract from the Memoranda in the Exchequer of the exoneration of the collectors of customs at Kingston-upon-Hull from the amount which would otherwise have been due for the wool thus exported.

Following this, at f. 14, comes an entry of an agreement between the Chapter and the City, upon a complaint made by Master John Brasbryge, master of the grammar schools of the city, against the schools for the choristers and for others the kindred of members of the cathedral body; allowing that the latter may be freely taught grammar at any days and hours, but that yearly at Michaelmas, Christmas and Easter they shall go down once to the general grammar schools of the city, and there at the accustomed hour be "sub regimine" and "sub doctrina proprii magistri." This agreement is headed, "Compositio . . . . . pro scola grammaticali invent. per Thomam Grantham."

1448–9.—Ordinances respecting the common seal. f. 15.

1450–1729.—Enrolments of numerous deeds relative to conveyance of property in Lincoln, recognizances, and a few pleas in civil cases in the city court. ff. 15b, 18, 19, 20b–31, 34–46, 81b–305.

1452.—Record of a case in which the sheriff Thomas Boyvyle is compelled to make a public confession and apology (in English) to the mayor Robert Bright for disobeying his order to make an arrest, and for violently assaulting him. f. 16.

1461.—Lease for 99 years by Alex. Prowet, precentor, of the site and churchyard of the destroyed church of St Peter at the Skin-market ("ad forum pellium") which belongs to his dignity, and is now annexed to the church of St Michael-on-the-hill; in order that the said churchyard may be decently kept and no longer used for the deposit of filth.

1471, 26 Sept.—Enrolment of a grant of privileges and exemptions made by Hen. III., 20 Apr. 1235, to the abbey of Tupholme. f. 33.

1480.—"Her after ensuyth the custemare of the cite of Lincolne of old auncien tyme acustomyd and usyd and be speciall poynt of chartyr be the Kynges nobulle progenitours grauntyd, and be Kyng Edward the iiiite confermyd, that ys, to ocupie and injoye Omnes libertates et consuetudines concessas civibus Londoniarum et leges Lincoln., wych custemare ys compyled and drawn owte of Franch into Inglysh be Thomas Grantham that hathe beyn Mayr of the same cite, and Mayr of the stapulle at Cales in the tyme of Robert Hodylstone Mayr and William Long and Henricus Higdoyn scheryffes, the yeyr and (sic) reygne of Kynge E. iiiite xxo, at the costys and labur and wrytyng of the sayd Thomas. And be the hole commeute admittyd to be perpetuall os weyll in the tyme of Wylliam Chambyr beyng Mayr os in the tyme of Robert Hodylston." f. 46b. This collection of the civic rules and customs is very clearly written by Grantham in a large hand, with ornamented initial letters and marginal rubrics. The pages have been much rubbed and slightly injured by the wear and tear of continual use. There are some alterations and additions, and at f. 58 one paragraph has been entirely scraped out and another substituted. Grantham's compilation ends at f. 59 with the following section.

"Homo recedens non atachetur in solempnitate natalis Domini.

"Off sent Thomas day the apostylle befor Crystemes. When the Mayr of the Cite be his officers hathe proclamyd the prewalege, gyrthe, and the solempnite of the fest of the byrthe of oure Lord, that then after the sayd proclamacion made evere franchest man and denyssen inhabite within this Cite schalle have free liberte and sayffegarde in honeste mirthe and gam sportis to goo or doe what hym pleys. And nogth to be attachyd or arrestyd be any officere of this Cite for any accion personelx withowt the kyng be parte or servyd be the Kyngis wryt. And this to be observyd and kept to twelff day callyd the fest of the Epyphany be past, and then evere man take thayr awantage in the law."

1466.—Copies of the charter of Hen. VI. in 1424 and that of Edw. IV. exemplifying and confirming it in 1466, from the Memoranda Rolls: "Et scripta sunt ex exspencis et costagiis Thome Grantham." ff. 60b, 70b.

1447, 31 Aug.—Settlement by arbitration of a dispute between the city and the Prior (John Busseby) and Convent of St. Katherine, respecting encroachments by the latter in building. f. 77.

1511, 12 Feb.—Articles of agreement between the dean and chapter, the prior of St. Katherine, the Master of Burton Lazars, and others, of the one part, and the city, of the other part, respecting the laying open of certain unauthorized enclosures. f. 79b.

1459, 11 June.—Letters patent of Hen. VI. certifying that the tenants of the manor of Chirchetoun [Kirton-in-Lindsey], which is of the ancient demesne of the Crown, are by virtue thereof free from tolls and taxes throughout England. f. 86b.

In 1486 there are similar letters from Hen. VII. as to Blideburi in Suffolk. f. 91.

1492, 25 July.—Will of John Eylestone, of Lincoln, esq. f. 87. His body to be buried in the cathedral "in illo scanno petrino in quo corpus Roberti Bedale requiescit humatum, viz. ad pedes ejus." The following legacies amongst many others deserve special notice: to the fabric of the church of Eylestone 3s. 4d..and to the chapel of St. Edmund ["Edi."] the King in the same village, xiid.; to the prior and convent of Nocton Park "unum ciphum de argento cum pede et cooportorio swaged [a loose cover ?] ad exorandum pro animabus magistri Nicholai Wymbysshe et mei"; to Thomas Wymbyssh, esq., his girdle harness with silver, his gilt sword, "et meum librum de campo Lincoln," and to John Wymbyssh, son of Thomas, "librum de picturis armorum;" to the guild of the clerks of Lincoln "meum coleriam quod Edwardus Rex quartus michi dedit."

1498, 12 Dec.—Will of Hugh Weston, of Braunstone. f. 90b.

1502, 16 June.—Mention occurs of Robert Clerke of Lincoln, "belfownder." f. 91.

1505, 10 June.—Will of Alice Sympson alias Taverner, widow. f. 93.

1505, 10 Oct.—Will of Ralph Hodylstone, merchant.