The corporation of Coventry: Miscellaneous matters

Pages 154-158

The Manuscripts of Shrewsbury and Coventry Corporations [Etc] Fourth Report, Appendix: Part X. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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Miscellaneous matters

VI. Miscellaneous Matters.

The writings, described under this heading in the Catalogue of the Charters and Manuscripts, comprise the following records:—

Large Packet of "Final Concords."

Edward III.—Charles II.—Packet of eighty Final Concords from the time of Edward III. to that of Charles II.

The Great Riot on Whitley Common.

10 Edward IV. [1470].—Large membrance, displaying on one of its its sides copies of five several writings, to wit,

(a) The Bill of Complaint made to the King by William Briscowe (otherwise spelt Bristowe), who describes himself as having been "seisyd of the maners of Whittley with the appurtenances," against William Saunders mayor of the said city, and William Pere and Robert Orly citizens of the said cite, for having in the said King's 9th year "caused, stered, provokyd, and commaundyd many and dyvers rotys [riotous ?] personys of the seid cite, that is for to sey Henre Dabby, carpenter, Nicolaus Kent, sadeler, William Drew, wolman, and John Bordale, smyth, with many other rotys personeys of the said cite onto them accompeneyed, to the number of vc. personys and more, to your seid besechere oonknown, in manere of warre arrayed, that is to sey [with] byllys, launcegayes, jakkys, salettys, bowes, arrowes, and with mattokys, spadeys, sholles and axes, which by ther commaundment provocacion and steryng in souche riotis wyse came to the seid iiii closseys of your seid besecher and the other landeys parcel of his seid maner, and the same tyme caste downe his gatys and his dyches, cutte down his hegeys and his trees, the whiche dyches and hegeys have be ther continued and useyd tyme [out] of mynde, and money grete okeys beyng growyng in the hegeys and dyches &c." Praying the said King to grant his Letters of Privy Seale to be directed to the said William Saunders late mayor of Coventre and William Pere, commanding them to appear before the Privy Council, to answer for the matters charged against them by the complainant.

(b) "The Answere of William Saunders, William Pere and John Gauge, citizennys of the Citie of Coventre to the Bill sued ageyns them by William Briscowe."

(c) "The Replicacion of William Briscowe to the answere of William Saunders, William Pere and John Gange."

(d) "The Rejoindre of William Saunders, William Pere and John Gange to the Replicacion of William Briscowe."

(e.) The King's Writ, dated at Westminster on 18th July of his 10th year, and directed to the Prior of Mastoke, Sir Richard Byngam knt. and Thomas Lyttelton: requiring them to make enquiry, and by the examination of trustworthy witnesses to ascertain the truth and justices of the matters in dispute, as set forth in the said Bill, Answer, Replication and Rejoinder, and to make a return respecting the same, together with the examinations of the witnesses, to the King and his Council.

Affidavit respecting the Discord between William Briscowe and the city of Coventre.

12 Edward IV. May 24th [1472].—The Sworn Declaration of thirty men of various ages between 40 and 80 years inclusive, protesting against the trouble William Briscowe of Whitley has caused and is causing to the Mayor and community of Coventre by "claymyng the common grounde that lieth betweixt Baronfelde without the newe yate under the Kynges Park stretchyng to Whitby broke called Shirburne afferming hit to be his own lande," and certifying that the said claim is "open wrong." In conclusion, they say that, in consideration of their seals being little known, they desired "the reverend fadirs John Abbot of Kenelworth, Alexander Abbot of Combe, Riehard Abbot of Myryvale, John Abbot of Stonley, Symond Mountfort knyght, Robert Stretley knyght and William Hugford, in whose presence" they have sworn upon a book to the truth of their evidence, "to set their seals to these presents."

As this affidavit is sealed by all the thirty makers of the declaration, as well as by the four Abbots, two knights and one other person, who bore testimony to the credibility of the declarants, the instrument is fringed at the bottom with a remarkable show of seals.

The late Religious House of the Whitefriars in Coventre.

4 and 5 Philip and Mary [1557–8].—Copy (certified by William Berners and Thomas Mildmay) of the original Warrant, addressed by the King and Queen to their Commissioners William Barnes, Thomas Mildemay and John Wyseman, for the acquittance and discharge of the Mayor Aldermen and inhabitants of Coventrie, in respect to their action in taking and detaining the two bells and lead of "the late religious hous of White Friers in the said citie of Coventrie," which house "at the tyme of late dissolucion of Abbies, Priories, Monasteries, Chauntries and other religious houses within this realme of Englande . . . . was suppressed and pulled downe to the great defacing of the said citie," when "the tymber, tilles and other ornaments apperteyning to the said church . . . . was (sic) sold to the said persones."

The City of Coventry and St. John's College, Oxford.

7 Eliz. 1565—1681.—File of yearly Receipts from 7 Eliz. to 1681 in acknowledgment of a sum of £40, paid yearly by the Mayor and Community of Coventre to the President and Fellows of the College of St. John the Baptist in Oxford.

Address To Queen Elizabeth From Loyal Citizens.

26 Elizabeth, November 14th [1584].—Duplicate of the Address offered to Queen Elizabeth by 201 of Her Majesty's loyal and faithful citizens of Coventre, who declare their abhorrence of the wicked designs and practices whereby certain of her enemies seek to deprive her of her crown and life, and who inform Her Highness that they have formed themselves into an association, each member of which is bound by his oath to do his utmost to frustrate the detestable efforts of her said enemies, to discover their plots, and "pursue as well by force of arms as by all other means of revenge, warranted by the laws of this realme, alle manner of persones of what estate soever they shalbe, and their abetters, that shall attempt by any act, counsaile or consent, anything that shall tend to the harme of her Majestie's royal person." In the last line of their address, the two hundred and one members of the Society declare themselves "most reddie to accept and admitt any other hereafter to this our Societie and Association," for the maintenance of the Queen's throne, the preservation of her life, the welfare of her kingdom, and the confusion of her enemies. The address is followed on the same parchment by the wafer-seals and signatures of the "ten scoore and one" members of the Society. Each of the seals is placed between the signatory's christian and surname, and besides being impressed upon the parchment is attached to it by a thread.

Papers &c. of the Company of Carpenters, Tilers, and Pinners.

16th to 19th century.—Collection of miscellaneous writings,—to wit, Petitions to the Mayor of Coventre, Bonds, Docquet Books, Freemen's Certificates &c., including a noteworthy Order of General Sessions of the Peace respecting a colourable and fraudulent apprenticeship—formerly belonging to the Company of "the Craftes of Carpynters, Tilers and Pinners."

The City of Coventry and the Duchy of Cornwall.

1620–1642.—Packet of receipts, in acknowledgment of half-yearly payments of 33s., made by the Mayor, bailiffs, and comynaltie of the City of Coventre to successive Receivers-General of the Duchy of Cornwall, by way of rent due from the said Corporation for the mansion house, park, mill, &c. of the manor of Cheilesmore.

Hawkesbury Coal Mines.

1621–1664.—Large packet of leases, granted by the Mayor and Corporation in the years 1621, 1631, 1633, 1664 of lands in and about Hawkesbury in the parish of Sowe to divers tenants, who were empowered by their respective leases to dig raise and sell coals commonly called "ston-coale, sea-coale or pit-coale" from the "coale mynes, delphes and veynes of coale" in the said land.

These indentures should be examined by any writer who would produce a perfect account of the mines and mineral industries of the Midland counties.

Thomas Denne's Draft Plea on a quo Warranto.

13 Charles I., 1637, February 12th.—Draft plea upon a Quo Warranto prepared for the city of Coventry on 255 sheets of paper by Thomas Denne, and "perused and approved" on the aforesaid day "as good in lawe and a sufficient answer" by the same Counsel: With copy of the Quo Warranto. Also, in the same packet, an Exemplification of "The Discharge in the Exchequer of the Quo Warranto, 1637."

Lord Chancellor Macclesfield's Decree respecting Sir Thomas White's Charity Estate.

11 George I. [1724–5].—Writ (on eleven large membranes) for the execution of a Decree, made by Lord Chancellor Macclesfield, ordering a reconveyance of Sir Thomas White's Charity Estate to the Mayor bailiffs and commonalty of the city of Coventry, together with all the said Corporation's rights in the said estate. Opening with a statement of the particulars of the grant of lands, tenements and rents, &c., formerly belonging to Guilds and Chantries in the city of Coventry, made to the said Corporation 19th July, 34 Henry VIII.

As the Letters Patent of Henry the Eighth's grant have passed from the hands of the Corporation, the student of the Coventry muniments should make a careful examination of the earlier portion of this lengthy document.

Bill and Papers of the Eighteenth Century, touching Cheylesmore Park and Coventry Charities.

1747–1780.—A collection of bills and documents touching Cheylesmore Park, and papers touching divers of the Coventry Charities.

Papers touching the Frankland Foundation at Catherine Hall, Cambridge.

1831.—Briefs, Affidavits, and other papers, in the matter of the Frankland Fellowship at Catherine Hall in the University of Cambridge. Founded by Mr. Frankland, for a person educated at Coventry school.

Ten Volumes of Dr. Troughton's Drawings.

19th Century.—These volumes of sketches of the picturesque antiquities of Coventry by one of the most notable of the city's recent worthies must not be left unnoticed. Dr. Troughton, an eminent physician in his native city of Coventry, was also an amateur artist and a zealous antiquary, who spent all his leisure gained by habitual early rising in delineating the antiquities of the place.

The new Muniment Room of St. Mary's Hall is not only a beautiful work of architecture, but in respect to space, light, ventilation and furniture is so fine an example of what muniment rooms should be that it might well be regarded as a model for imitation in like cases.

In conclusion, the present reporter may observe that, whilst he was reducing the Coventry MSS. to order at the charges of the Town Council, he made a catalogue of them for the convenience of the cusdians and the searchers of the multifarious evidences. Printed copies of this classified catalogue, which contains many matters that are unnoticed here, may be obtained from the Assistant-Curator of the muniments.
John Cordy Jeaffreson.