The corporation of Shrewsbury: Municipal registers

Pages 9-25

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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IV.—Municipal Registers.

I. The first record of Acta is contained in a paper volume in folio, called Liber A., bound in thick oak boards, and consisting originally of about 112 leaves, but some of these are now wanting, and others are much mutilated. Its period extends from the latter part of the reign of Edward III. to that of Henry VII., and the contents are of a very miscellaneous character, and are not in chronological order. The following entries will give an idea of their nature.

1. "Ordinacio procescionis artificum ville Salopie in festo Corporis Christi." The companies were in the following order: Molendinarii, Pistores, Piscatores, Coci, Carnifices, Barcarii (Tanners), Cordewenarii, Fabri, Cellarii, Carpentarii, Flechers Cowpers and Bowers, Textores, [T]onsarii cum Barbitonsoribus, [Ci]rotecarii, [Sci]ssores. The name of one other company has been cut off. (fn. 1) f. 1.

On the same leaf is a list of the villages and hamlets included in the liberties of the town.

2. Ordinance, in French, of the gild merchant relating to the cordwainers and tanners; 1389. f. 1b.

3. Elections of bailiffs, coroners, and other officers. 1389–1508. ff. 1b, 9b–31b, 104b.

3. Enrolments of miscellaneous deeds and bonds; 1350–1506. ff. 1 (fn. 2) – 10, 32–37, 48b, 67, 69b, 76a, 78–83b, 87–8, 92b, 103b, 105b, 108, 112.

4. Ordinances regulating trade; 1502. f. 1 (fn. 2)b.

5. Composition in 1381 for the government of the town; Fr. f. 2. Transl. in Owen and Blakeway, I. 169.

6. Inventory of goods bequeathed by Cecilia late wife of Rich. Grafton to Cecilia wife of John Botonere of Coventry; 1404. f. 3. (Other inventories are at f. 77b.)

7. Letter to the King's Commissioners for the county pleading exoneration from taxes; 1491. f. 3b.

Ibid., 259.

8. List of plate received by Will. Pontysbury, bailiff, from Roger Mountgomery, 10 Oct. 1494, of the goods of four persons, being three standing cups, a saltcellar and two "litle masers"; pinned to f. 28b.

9. Articles for the government of the craft of weavers; 1450. f. 34.

10. Entries of recognizances under the statute merchant: 1372–1551. ff. 38–48, 49b–66b.

11. Lists of aldermen and assistants, c. 1502–5. ff. 68b–9.

12. Order that corn and malt shall only be sold publicly in the market; if sold privately, only in the form of bread and ale. f. 70.

13. Ordinance made by the Council of the Marches for the good government of the town; 10 Apr. 18 Edw. IV., 1478. ibid.

Owen and Blakeway, I., 231–2.

14. List of persons present at the sealing of a composition with the abbey of St. Peter, on the morrow of the Conv. of St. Paul, 26 Jan. 1513. f. 71b.

15. Ordinances made for the good rule and governance of the craft of carpenters and tylers, the Friday after the Nativ. of our Lord, 28 Hen. VI. (26 Dec. 1449). f. 72b.

16. Ordinance for the settling of disputes between members of different crafts and for enforcing obedience to the bailiffs; not dated. f. 74.

17. Two orders "touchant l'office des seriantz de la ville"; the second dated 25 Jan. 2 Hen. V. (1415). ff. 74b, 109b.

18. Privy seal warrant from Hen. IV. exempting Thomas Skynner for life from serving on juries; 3 Aug. an. 9, 1408. Ibid.

19. Exemplification by Rich. II. of a passage "in libro de Domesday," under the title of the land of Earl Roger, relating to the manor of Ford; 20 Nov. an. 9, 1385. f. 77.

20. Will of Richard Kent; Monday after the f. of St. Barnabas (16 June) 1399. Ibid.

21. Conveyance from Katherine Bonell, daughter of Richard Bonell, widow, to King Edw. IV. and Degory Watur, draper, of tenements, rent, &c. in the street called Mardevole, "ad sustentacionem Christi pauperum commorancium in domibus eleemosinariis de fundacione Regis predicti in cimiterio ecclesie beate Marie;" 8 Apr. 1464. f. 78b.

Mention occurs here of one John Knight as Master of the Gild of the Holy Trinity of the mystery of Pannars.

22. "Ordinaunce made touchyng the taske" i.e. tax, "of the toun of Shrosbury," made at a common hall, 11 Dec. 1418, for better assessment than has hitherto been made by the "quillours" for the King. f. 84.

23. Ordinances for the good rule and governance of the crafts of Flechers, Cowpers and Bowers, in which each man has hitherto used "to governe hym aftere his owne lust in gret hurt and hynderynge and cppressynge of the forseyde craftes"; Tuesday after the f. of the Nativ. of our Lady, 27 Hen. VI. (10 Sept. 1448). f. 84b.

24. Agreement between the preceding crafts on the one part and that of the Carpenters on the other, as to the order in the procession on Corpus Christi day of their banner, wax, and alderman respectively; Sunday before Corp. Chr., 1 Edw. IV. (4 June 1461). f. 86.

25. Ordinances for the governance of the craft of Vintners, hitherto accustomed to rule themselves after their own free will and lust; Thursday after the f. of St Michael, 14 Hen. IV. (6 Oct. 1412). f. 86b.

26. Ordinances for the craft of Tailors and Skinners; not dated f. 88b.

27. Orders forbidding the buying or bringing in by any draper or other person of any Welsh cloth; 12 Apr. 10 Edw. IV. (1470). f. 89b.

28. Orders restraining for one year buying and selling in any towns in Wales or in the county of Salop, except at common fairs, by the inhabitants of Shrewsbury, in order to renew the decayed trade of the town, with other regulations; 17 Jan. 15 Hen. VII. (1500). f. 91.

Two of the orders are as follows:—

"Item, it is assented that all londs, lesons and pastures within the frauncheis of the seyd towne that be not sowen with corne yerly, shall lye open and be comyne pasture, to the relief of the pore people, from Myghelmas tyll Candylmas, as it hath ben accustomed.

"Item, it is ordeigned that thenhabitants of the seyd towne shall curtesly entrete all straungers that shall resort to the seyd towne and riztuesly demeane theym in byyng and sellyng, and yf eny of thenhabitants be complayned vppon for the contrary demeanure and by examynacion so proved, to be grevously puneshed."

29. Admissions of burgesses to the gild merchant; Jan., 19 Hen. VII. (1504)—Dec., 21 Hen. VII. (1505); 11, 12, 16 Hen. VII. (1496, 1501); c. 29–30 Hen. VI. (1450–2); 5 Edw. IV. (1465); 28 Hen. VI. (1449); 6, 8 Edw. IV. (1466–8); 13, 15 Edw. IV. (1473, 1476); 1, 7, 9 Hen. VII. (1486, 1492–3); 13 Hen. VII. (1498); 21 Edw. IV. (1482) &c. ff. 98–107b.

30. Oaths of the several officers of the town; ff. 100b–101, 104b.

31. Admission of Robert Bromley as recorder in 1508. f. 108.

32. Will of Thomas de la Clyve, clerk and burgess, containing many legacies; 6 Nov. 1336. f. 109.

Lying loose in the volume is a torn paper containing a representation made to the bailiffs and council in 1529 by the burgesses and commonalty "of the new fraunches," for the reformation of grievances.

II. This bound volume is followed by a series of four books, now stitched in brown paper covers, containing the record of the assembly of the Common Council (called "Assemblacio (fn. 2) Communis Consilii") from 7 Oct., 24 Hen. VII. (1507) to March, 31 Hen. VIII. (1540), but the years 1512–1520 are wanting. (fn. 3) They often afford little more than the lists of names of the persons present, lists of the gilds making annual payments, admissions of burgesses, and elections. Some original petitions and memoranda are occasionally pinned in the books.

1510, 8 March, 1 Hen. VIII. "Consilium precedens aggreati sunt quod si forte aliqua magna et periculosa affria pacis aut insurreccio riotosa facta [sit]," then all the inhabitants shall be bound to assist the bailiffs.

1525–6, 17 Hen. VIII. Statement of journeys made by Richard Atkys to London and other places on the business of the town, in some dispute with Worcester, "as yet unrewardyt for his labour." Four pounds are ordered on 12 Oct. 1526 to be paid to him. He is again employed afterwards.

1534, 16 Oct. Agreed that £20 be paid to the burgesses of parliament out of the common treasury.

1535, 13 Oct., 27 Hen. VIII. "They be aggreed that provision shalbe provyded; an oxe, a couple or ii of swannes, a dossen capones, a couple off calves, a hoggeshed of wyne." This (as appears from Owen's and Blakeway's Hist. 1. 317) was for the entertainment of the dukes of Richmond, Norfolk, and Suffolk.

1537, 26 Apr., 29 Hen. VIII. The waits hired for the year following, to have such livery as heretofore hath been used.

1537, 15 June, 29 Hen. VIII. A letter to be sent to Mr. Robert Dudley, burgess in parliament, to stay his suit against the bailiffs concerning the writs which he brought for his wages.

—18 June. Order to prepare for reception of the Commissioners of the Marches. (Owen and Blakeway, I. 321.)

—31 July. Mr. Newton's house to be bought for the Lord President.

1540, 9 Jan., 31 Hen. VIII. "They be aggreed that there shalbe suyte made unto the Kynge and his Counsell, by mediacion of my Lord President and Mr. Justice that the Abbey may stand and remayne, to receyve the prince's grace or any other nobilite of the realme that shall resorte to this towne, and also concernyng the franches called the Abbey franches in maner and forme as the same is now used, to be had and obteyned to this towne, to be used as the other suburbes be."

— 29 Jan. A reformation to be sought at London of the wrongful and excessive toll taken at Oswestry. (Further orders about this matter in March.)

III.—The stitched parcels are followed by a thick volume, bound in parchment (of which the flyleaves are fragments of a MS. breviary, doubtless from one of the destroyed monasteries) containing 397 leaves, and extending from 28 March 1553 to 5 Feb. 1584. Some entries relating to the reign of Philip and Mary, with many for the earlier years of Elizabeth, follow the 21st year of the latter; apparently from the business of the Court of Aldermen and assistants and that of the Common Council being entered separately.

1553. The news of the King's death on 6 July must have reached the town tardily, for the 12th of July is said to be in the 7th year of King Edward (or else the uncertainty as to his successor may have made the Town Clerk judge it safest to retain his name), when order was made that six householders from each ward should watch the towngates, with one of the aldermen or common-councilmen each night in turn as captain. Even the 23rd July is said to be in 7 Edw. VI., when it is ordered that 24 men should be in readiness to serve the King's grace if needful, according to the accustomed old use and ordinance; but here "king" has been struck out and "quene" substituted.

—, 29 Sept. Ordered that no burgess living outside the town, and not contributing to its charges, shall have any voice in the election of burgesses for Parliament; and that Mr. Reignold Corbet, recorder, shall be one of the burgesses for Parliament so long as he is recorder, if he will take it upon him, "for that it ys supposed to be incident to his office of recordarshipp." f. 5h.

—, 4 Oct. Suit to be made for the uniting of the East "Foriett" and the site of the monastery to the liberties of the town. f. 6.

—, 30 Oct. The recorder's opinion to be taken as to the lawfulness of electing any person who may be abroad for a burgess of parliament, and whether any person may lawfully "labour" any burgess, to gain his good will. f. 11.

1554, 7 Nov. T. Mytton and George Lye elected burgesses for parliament. f. 234b.

1555, 6 Aug., 19 Sept. Orders respecting agreement with Mr. John Richemund for setting forward the conduit and bringing water to the town. ff. 14, 235. Further orders in 1557, ff. 23b, 24b; 28 March, 20 May, 21 June, 27 Dec. 1567, ff. 99, 92, 264, 93.

—, 4 Oct. Nicholas Pursell and Reignold Corbett, esquires, elected burgesses for parliament. f. 236.

1556, 16 May. The bailiffs to set forward the stage play this next Whitsontide for the worship of the town, and not to disburse above £5 about the furniture of the play. f. 18b.

—, 31 Oct. The bailiffs or others "to heare and bringe furth a honest able and discreate person which will and can serve the office and service of a head scolemaister of the Frescole, and that shalbe allowed and thought meate . . . . by the aldermen and counsaile"; and the bailiffs are then to "avoyd John Eyton now scolemr gyvinge hym one halfe yere's warnynge," and that he shall have for his stipend and wages from Michaelmas last not above £14 by the year.

1557. 23 Jan. The day bell to be "rongen" throughout the whole year at St. Julian's at 4 o'cl. f. 239.

—, 18 June. "Sessours" appointed for levying of the fee of Mr. Thomas Mytton, late burgess of parliament, being £8 13. f. 22b.

1558, 14 Jan. Nich. Pursell and George Lye elected burgesses of parliament. No person to labour, or cause or procure any labour to be made, to be burgess before the writ be read to the commons then assembled for election, [or else to be excluded from election.] f. 241.

—, 10 June. Order of the millers that no corn be ground for any man except they have also the grinding of his malt. f. 27.

—, 15 Oct. Roger Lewys, alderman, fined 6s. 8d. for making request to the bailiffs on behalf of one Thomas Clerke now remaining in ward for misdemeanour. f. 28.

—, 9 Nov. On account of the terrible fires that have happened of late within the town, by occasion of a great number of faggots of gorse and broom being piled and kept within or near houses, it is ordered that no baker keep in his house, or within 60 yards of any house, more than twenty such faggots, and no other person more than six. f. 29.

1559, 7 Aug. Agreed that the goods, stock, money and jewels of the four parish churches within the town shall be utterly employed, converted, and put to the use of the poor only from henceforth. f. 33b.

—, 27 Dec. Mr. Justice John Frogmorton, alias Throgmorton, to be chosen recorder in place of R. Corbet. f. 38b. Formally elected 16 Aug. 1560, f. 42b. Patent sealed 4 Aug. 1562, f. 54b.

1560, 26 March. Order for the furniture of 48 able men presently appointed to the Queen's service northward. f. 40b.

1560, 5 July. Order by the Council of the Marches in a suit heard before them upon a claim for an annual payment of 40s. from two pastures called Cow Leasow and New Land, part of the grange of Attincham in the county of Salop, and late parcel of the possessions of the abbey of Lilleshall, bequeathed by Alice Hosyer (the plaintiff's mother, to whom he was executor) to the poor folk of the Almshouse of St. Mary and St. Chad in Shrewsbury. f. 390. Followed by original receipts for quarterly payments from 10 Oct. 1568 to 7 Apr. 1571. ff. 392b, 393b.

1561, 21 June. Thomas Assheton with one other learned schoolmaster to enter [upon the School] at this Midsummer, and for stipend, until certain leases be expired, to have 40l., and for an usher 8l.; and when the leases fall in, Mr. Assheton, then finding another schoolmaster and usher, to have a patent of all the tithes belonging to the School, paying 8s. annually to the Queen for the chief rent, and keeping the schoolhouse in repair. f. 45b. Further order about the tithes, 24 June. ff. 46, 243b.

1562, 24 Nov. A collection to be made, partly "wherewith the sergyantes may be recompensed yn the stydde of the offerings they had yn churches." f. 57.

1562, 22 Dec. Robert Ireland, esq., and Richard Pursell, gent., burgesses for parliament. f. 249.

1563, 26 March. The house wherein the Council of the Marches lie when they come to Shrewsbury let to the Lord Stafford, but reserving the use for the Council and the justices of assize. f. 60.

—, not dated. Richard Hygons sent to London to endeavour the discharge of the town from the pressing of 36 soldiers. f. 61b.

—, 6 April. Sessors appointed to levy 30l. 14s. for the fee of George Leyghe, several times burgess for parliament. f. 249b.

—, 24 July. Wine and horse-meat to be provided for the Lord President of the Marches on his coming to the town. f. 62. Other orders, 18 Oct. 1567, f. 97; 1 Aug. 1568, f. 103; &c.

—, 16 Sept. Order about the refunding of 33l. collected for 21 soldiers who were impressed to go to Newhaven, but are returned. f. 63. Further order, 5 Dec. 1564. f. 74.

Not dated. Agreed that a proclamation be fixed upon the gates of the town, that if any inhabitant go to the city of London or any other place where the plague doth remain that he shall not return, or come within four miles of any part of the town or franchise, before two months be fully ended after his being there, and that no one shall receive any lodger, or take in any wares, apparel, or household stuff, from any place where the plague remains, upon pain of disfranchisement. f. 65b.

1567, not dated. Levy for three soldiers to serve in Ireland. f. 91b.

—, 22 Aug. Roger Lewys, alias Pope, degraded from his "room of aldermanship, for causes reasonable." f. 265.

1568, 8 Jan. Ordered that Mr. Asheton shall have the setting of the living appertaining to the Free School, when the leases are expired, according to his petition.

Of this petition a copy, attested by Adam Mitton, the town clerk, is subjoined, in which Asheton desires to be allowed to "set" the property as he thinks good, his devise being allowed under the common seal when he has first been sworn not to alienate one penny from the use of the School, but that all shall be employed for the discharging the wages of the Schoolmaster and the reparations of the School, "which in few years will be no little thing," and for the sustentation of the children going from the School to Oxford and Cambridge, an account being yearly made to the bailiffs, aldermen, and common council. f. 266. 8 Oct. Further order, allowing the same, and specifying the tithes. ff. 110, 111.

1568, 26 Feb. On a bill of complaint from the Carpenters and the answer of the Joiners, it is ordered that the Joiners be made of the company of the Bowyers, Fletchers, and Cow[p]ars. f. 100.

—, 12 Aug. Decree of arbitration by the Lord President and Council of the Marches for the settlement of great disputes relative to the elections in the Corporation. To this the autograph signatures of all the members are attached. ff. 106–8.

—, 1 Oct. Order (with eleven signatures) respecting the disputed election of John Ap Owen as alderman. f. 109.

1569, 26 May. Ordered that every one who has been a bailiff shall wear his scarlet gown on Whitsunday, the Sunday after election day, Allhallows day, Christmas day, New Year's day, Twelfth day, Candle mas day, and Easter day, upon pain of 6s. 8d., and that all aldermen and common councilmen shall be ready in the street to wait upon the bailiffs on those days at one o'cl., upon pain for the former of 6s. 8d. and for the latter of 3s. 4d. f. 119b.

—, 9 July. Bequest to the town of 200l. by Robert Allen. f. 122b.

—, 7 Sept. The bailiffs, or their deputies, to wear on every Sunday, holyday, court day and fair day, and also at such time as they welcome any man of honour and worship coming to the town, a velvet tippet whereby they may be known, upon pain, on default, of 3s. 7d., and also to have an able man to wait upon him with a bill, who shall be called by the name of a bill-bearer. f. 123b.

—, 5 Oct. Every alderman within three months after his election shall buy and wear a scarlet gown at such times as are limited, for the worship of the town, and every bailiff shall buy and wear a scarlet gown both for himself and his wife. f. 124.

—, 5 Nov. A good and perfect survey to be made of all encroachments without license, and of all stoppages of ways and lanes. f. 125.

1570, 18 March. A certain chapel called St. Nicholas Chapel, with a parcel of ground adjoining, in a street called the High Pavement, to be let to Richard Onslowe (Attorney of the Court of Wards) at the yearly rent of 2s. 6d. f. 128. Confirmed 8 July. ff. 130, 272.

—, 19 April. The six Sessors "now commonlye called Sytters." f. 272b.

—, 18 June. Orders made by the Council of the Marches in a case heard before them at Shrewsbury between some of the shearmen and certain drapers, concerning the dressing of Welsh cloths called Welsh cottons, &c. f. 385. See infra, 8 Nov. 1571.

—, 8 July. The survey to be begun upon the 19th of this month. f. 130.

—, (8 July). Lease to be granted to three persons for ten years of a certain pasture called "Behind the walles, exceptinge the Quarrell where the plases [plaies (fn. 4) ] have bine accustomyd to be usyd," on condition that they bring by a lead conduit the water or spring called "Brodwalle" to the High Cross, there to remain in a cistern of freestone in such sort as may have continuance. f. 272. Further order about the conduit, 21 June, 1571. f. 274b. Other orders, 1573. ff. 165b, 166b.

—, 14 Sept. Lease to Rich. Onslowe of a piece of ground whereon the smith's forge stands adjoining the Chapel of St. Nicholas, and also a void piece of ground between the forge and a tenement called Knight's Place, at a rent of 3s. 4d. instead of 2s. 6d., and "agreeinge with the poore man." f. 273.

1571, 23 April. At the request of the Council of the Marches, 6l. 13s. 4d. granted to Serjeant Bodyley, serjeant-at-arms before the Council, in recompence of his good service in the Queen's wars. f. 138b.

A certificate to be made "unto the Parlyament house for the dyssolvinge of one braunshe of a statute [an. 8. concerning drapers] concernyng that all the burgesses of this towne and liberties myght be as fre as any other person of this realme to bye Walshe clothes in the towne of Oswestrye or elswhere out of this towne and fraunches, and so to carrye the same to the cytie of London or to any other place at there pleasure, as they have bene before thys tyme accustomed." f. 139. 1572, 24 April. The commonalty moved to agree to the "certificate" for the repeal of the statute, which is carried by a majority. ff. 153b, 277, 277b.

1571, 31 Oct. The town to have a lease from Rich. Onslowe for 60 years of the house commonly called "the Counsaile house," with the Chapel, paying yearly 53s. 4d. f. 146.

—, 8 Nov. Proceedings at Hereford before the Council of the Marches in a suit between the shearmen and drapers of Shrewsbury, with articles of agreement thereupon. f. 388.

—, 20 Dec. Payment of charges for obtaining the grant of the Queen's Majesty concerning the Free School. f. 276.

1572, 29 Sept. Two aldermen displaced for not being continual dwellers. f. 158b.

1573, 10 Feb. The arch of the Welsh bridge, commonly called the draw-bridge, to be made up either with free stone or timber. f. 166.

—, 26 March. Christopher Hanckehurst, clerk, to have a yearly stipend of £5. f. 282. 30 Oct. In consideration of his travail and service in the preaching and administration of God's word hereafter to be done as he heretofore hath done, to have an annual stipend or fee of 5l. in augmentation of his living, until he be promoted to some better living. f. 181b.

—, 3 April. Ordinance respecting election of aldermen. f. 168b.

1574, 26 April. Agreement that Maderne Wysebecke shall, in consideration of his painful travail and pains taken with the inhabitants, have a yearly annuity according to promises of contributions made by the aldermen, &c., severally. A petition lies loose in the volume from Maderne Wysebecke, physician, setting forth that he and his wife have lived in the town for 22 years, and to the best of their powers and cunning have spent their time in such art and science as is well known, and in giving their advice to such patients as have required it of them, as well to the poor as to the rich, and in especial to the poor, they have sought little or nothing at all. Now being somewhat in age, and not so well able to travail for the getting of his and her living as before, but willing here still to remain to their best endeavour as before, and being charged with rents, and also greatly charged in buying of books for better knowledge and learning, which is a dead stock, they pray for some annuity, for God's love. The petition is endorsed with a list of subscriptions, amounting to 22s. from 28 persons. ff. 187–8.

—, 14 July. "Agreed that the occupation of millners shalbe maynteyned as an occupation, as they have bine accustomed, accordinge to there composition, in all things lawfull." f. 189b.

—, 26 [and 29 interlined (fn. 5) ] July. Eleven persons appointed together with the bailiffs to peruse the orders of the Free School, and to make relation what they think thereof, and if they doubt of anything, then to take the advice of Mr. Prince. f. 190.

1577, 15 Aug. Ordered that whereas there is a place set up in the High Street near the "Sexstrye" in the freehold of Mr. Thomas Mackworth, for the conduit ("conducte") to run there, it shall not remain but presently be pulled down, as being set up without the licence of the bailiffs and commons. f. 191.

—, 13 Oct. 6l. 13s. 4d. given to William Croft, gent., at the request of the President of the Council of the Marches, in consideration of his great losses; two new burgesses to be admitted in order to provide the money, and the surplus of their payments to be applied to the boarding and finishing of "the newe house." f. 192b.

—, 6 Nov. Mr. Hawkhurst to have 5l. more of yearly stipend until such time as better provision may be made for him. f. 193b.

—, 13 Dec. Order, signed by Robert Pigott, Arthur Maynwaring, E. Leighton, and Robert Nedham that the town of Salop furnish six armed men, viz., two harquebusiers, armed with burgonett, sword, dagger, and other necessaries, one pikeman and two billmen, armed with corslets, swords, and daggers, &c., and one bowman, with "skolle," bow and arrows, sword, dagger, &c. An acknowledgment by George Higgens, esq., one of the bailiffs, on 14 Dec. that he has received from Sir Andrew Corbet, knt., the following parcels of armour towards the furnishing of the six men, viz., three corslets complete, whereof one with pike and two with halberds, two calivers complete, with their furniture, with flasks, touchboxes, and two "murreyns," with one skull for a bowman. pinned to f. 195b.

1575, 12 Feb. The arch of the Welsh bridge to be repaired. f. 195b.

—, 3 June. Ordered that no business be entered upon at any meeting until the minutes of the last meeting have been read. f. 200.

—, 17 July. Five marks to be given to Mr. Churchyard for his pains taken in setting forth the show against the Queen's coming, being sent hither by the Lord President. f. 203b.

1576, 14 March. The walls, bridges, towers, and council-house to be repaired. f. 207. Again on 6 May, 1577. f. 213b.

—, 12 Oct. The bailiffs who shall henceforth have the disbursing of the legacy of Robert Allen, alderman, deceased, shall provide sureties for the same. f. 211. Further order 16 Aug. 1577, f. 215.

—, Country bakers, not being free with the bakers, to be restrained from selling bread within the town, provided that the town bakers serve the inhabitants according to their promise made in their petition, and according to the price of corn from time to time. f. 211b.

—, 9 Nov. Mrs. Hawkhurst to have 10l. in discharge of the fee due to her husband in his lifetime. f. 290b.

—, 13 Nov. (7 Dec. interlined). Order respecting the levying of a cess towards the relief of the diseased. f. 212b.

1577, 6 May. The book made for the benevolence towards the maintenance of a preacher to be looked up, and they that were appointed for that purpose shall take some pains for the finishing thereof, and thereupon to have the same collected for the good purpose it is given for. f. 214.

—, 16 Aug. Whereas it is requisite to have a court kept weekly, letters to be written to Mr. Thomas Owen for his advice herein. f. 215b.

1574, 17 Aug. Edward Clark, butcher, to be "disgrated" of his burgesship for the disorder and misusage that he hath committed against Mr. bailiff Dawes. f. 291b.

1578, 9 May (22 June interlined). Warning to be given to the aldermen and common councillors to assemble on 1 July for the displacing of such of the aldermen and councillors as are to be displaced for their "non resyancie" (non-residence), as also for defaults that shall seem reasonable cause. f. 221. (There is no entry of any business done on 1 July although a meeting appears to have been held.)

The bailiffs shall enter upon the castle-gates and prisoners, and "expulse" all the sheriff's prisoners, and take the keys into their possession, within three days after the next assize; and no sheriff shall hereafter have or keep any prisoners within the said gates and prisons at any time. Ibid.

The bailiffs shall take advice of Mr. Prince, or some one that is learned, what is the best course for suppressing the "inmattes," idle persons, drunkards, and others that, being men of occupations, give themselves to idleness, drunkenness, and all disorders. f. 221b.

—, 19 Aug. Robert Prebell, free-mason, lately in work with Edmund Cornwall, esq., offers to take in hand a piece of work for the covering of the fountain or cistern of the "conduct" at the end of the Fish Street, and the little conduit at the Wyld Cope, with free stone according to a plat or pattern by him now shewed. But forasmuch as he is a mere stranger and unknown to the bailiffs, and cannot, being a stranger, find the sureties they require, he offers to take the work in hand, and finish it before 20 Oct. next at the furthest, for the sum of 20l.; and for the payment of his workmen to take but twenty marks, after xxxiijs iiijd a week, until the work be finished, and upon the finishing to receive the residue, being twenty nobles; and enters into covenants for performance. f. 223.

—, 25 Aug. A letter read from Mr. Robert Corbett for the granting of the town's interest in the Council House; he is to be informed of the state thereof. f. 224b.

—, 27 Sept. Survey of the conduit ordered. f. 227b,

—, 28 Sept. Settlement of a suit which had been depending in the Court of Star Chamber for seven years respecting the election of George Proud as alderman on the death of Edward Hosyer, esq. f. 229. (Other suits about elections are noticed in several places.)

1579, 23 Jan. (1 Feb. interlined). Mr. Thomas Burnell commissioned to go to Dr. Bonckley to move him, by the desire of the bailiffs and the schoolmaster, to accept the cure of St. Mary's, which is now destitute of a curate. f. 232. [See under 21 March 1580.]

1 Feb. Forty pounds, bequeathed by Thomas Nicolls for the maintenance of a preacher in St. Chad's for ever, are paid to Thomas Burnell, gent., and he enters into a bond of 100l. for the making assurance of £4 6s. 8d. for ever to the use of a preacher out of his lands. f. 232b. 8 Sept. The indentures of the assurance to be sealed. f. 337b.

Agreed that Mr. Burnell take some pains at Coventry for the obtaining copies of orders and instructions for the laying out of the money bequeathed by Mr. Rob. Allen to the use of poor occupiers of the town. f. 232b.

Agreed that the councillors shall buy for themselves before Pentecost next a gown of "murrey in graine," and shall wear it on days appointed to wear scarlet, upon pain of 20s. f. 233.

—, 17 July. Order for sealing indentures with William Jones, William Hearing, and Richard Gardner, for the making of the conduit heads. f. 295.

—, 23 July. Agreement with Arthur Mackworth (admitted a burgess together with his father William) for the digging turf and stone in any of his lands for finishing the conduit head. f. 295b. See also f. 336b.

1580, 21 March. Agreed that a bond of 500l. be given to Dr. Bulkley to secure payment to him of 52l. yearly. f. 297. (Again entered at f. 340 and at f. 345b.)

—, 20 June. Sir George Bromley, knt., justice of Chester and of the Marches, elected Recorder, with the yearly fee of 4l. f. 347b.

—, 29 July. Four soldiers to be sent to Ireland at a cost of 6l. f. 358.

Whereas Thomas Blackwood, deceased, bequeathed 200l., or thereabouts for the purchasing of some living for the maintenance of a preacher within the parish of St. Chad, agreed that the said money shall be employed in the purchasing of the tithes of the parsonage of St. Chad's, in fee simple, for ever, viz., the Easter box of the said parish, the tithes of wool and lamb of Franckvill and other small tithes, the tithes of all the lands lying behind the walls, between the Welsh Freers and the other Freers commonly called Freer London, and the tithes of the great Mouncke Yee. And whereas the said tithes are leased to John Lewis, draper, for the term of ten years yet to come, it is agreed that the bailiffs with six other gentlemen shall deal with the said Lewis for the buying of his lease. f. 348b. See under 4 Apr. 1581.

—, 17 Oct. Whereas motion is made concerning the fines of the common councillors for not wearing their murrey gowns, and because objection is made that the said colour of cloth is not to be worn by the laws of this realm, therefore the most number are agreed that the advice of the Recorder shall be taken at his next coming whether the said colour of cloth may be worn by law or not, for want of ability according to the statute (fn. 6). . . . . And then order to be taken for establishing or disannulling of the former agreement. f. 349b.

Agreed that William Wilks, servant to Adam Mitton, gent., town clerk, shall, in respect of his pains taken in writing certain cases for the town, be admitted a free burgess, paying 20s. in hand, and 20s. yearly until the sum of 5l. be paid. f. 350.

The mixen in Rowsell let to John Dawes for 30s. yearly, on condition that the dung be not carried thence over any of the bridges with any iron-bound wain or cart. Ibid.

—, 28 Oct. Agreed that the bailiffs shall send for the wardens of the butchers, and take order with them that their company sell tallow after the rate of 10s. or 10s. 6d. a quarter. And if they refuse, then the bailiffs shall take their composition from them, and presently make proclamation that all foreign butchers shall come in and sell at their pleasure. And all the tallow chandlers to sell candles for 3d. a pound. And if the butchers stand obstinately in the said cause, then the bailiffs shall deal with them as extremely concerning their forfeitures by composition. f. 352.

—, 16 (30 interlined) Dec. Agreed that the bailiff shall take with the assistance of six of the best parishioners of St. Chad's and three from every other parish, a survey of all the poor people in the town and liberties, and shall assess what weekly charge will serve for their weekly relief; and then shall sess all the inhabitants what weekly charge each of them shall pay, and shall make a register book according to the form of the statute in that case provided; so that the bailiffs deal no further herein than the said statute will warrant them to do. f. 353.

And whereas there was gathered of certain occupations the sum of 6l. 5s. towards the furniture of Dr. Boulkley's house, the said money shall be presently given to him, and the other occupations that have not as yet given any money shall be sent for, and order taken for the payment of the residue according to their promise. f. 353b.

The Lord President at his coming with the Council shall have half a tun of Gascoyne wine "to pleasure them withal." Ibid.

There shall be given to the wayte-men new coats of broad cloth, of the colour of orange tawny, in respect of their pains-taking to play every morning. Ibid.

1581, 10 March. A dinner shall be made to the President and Council. f. 354b.

—, 4 April. 114l., together with Black[wood]'s money, to be paid to Thomas Owen, esq. [of Lincoln's Inn] for a grant to be made by him of the tithe of certain pastures, parcel of the late college of St. Chad, viz. a pasture called Behind the Walls, another pasture called Great Mounckeye, another called Sturnes Close, and all other pastures comprised in a lease whereby one John Lewis now occupies the same, together with the Easter book (sic) and all manner small tithes mentioned in the same lease. f. 355.

—, 4, 8 Apr. The pasture land Behind the walls to be ploughed, and sown, and the profits for the next three years to be employed towards the purchasing of all those tithes of the college of St. Chad contained in a lease of John Lewis, to the use of a preacher within the said parish of St. Chad. ff. 298b, 355b, 356.

—, 13 Apr. Further agreement that eight persons named shall have the said lands for two years rent-free, with the tithes for their own use, on condition of paying down at once 114l. for the purchasing of the tithes of St. Chad's. ff. 299, 356b.

—, 15 Apr. The charges of the bailiffs in a suit brought against them "before Mr. Controller at London for matters touchinge two lewd fellows that had aucthoritie together [to gather ?] for the Quene's Bench and Marshallsie," to be borne by the town. f. 357.

Whereas the Lord President intends to keep St. George's feast in this town, a fat ox shall be given him. Ibid.

—, 25 July. A letter to be written to Mr. Thomas Owen requesting the assurance of the tithes of St. Chad's, and that as John Lewis will not yield to reasonable order or agreement the corporation look to have the bargain made with Owen. f. 357b. An order relating to this assurance dated 15 Aug. 1587 is at f. 395 (loose).

Whereas Richard Shurlow, mercer, was bound in 10l. for the good order and rule of the house of John Bushop who was admitted to sell ale, and has forfeited his recognizance by means of evil servants, it is agreed on his submission that the bailiffs and the six [men] shall take such fine as they think reasonable, and that he be discharged. f. 358. [Several other fines are also partially remitted.]

Richard Purcell, gentleman, ordered to pay 20l. for arrears of a sum of 40s. due from him yearly to the poor people of the town. Ibid. Bond to be given for payment of 5l. half-yearly. f. 360.

—, 26 Aug. 5l. to be given to Sir George Bromley, knt., and to Edward Leighton, esq., in respect of a marriage now solemnized between their children, in such things as they shall best like of. f. 359. The bailiffs and the six men shall likewise bestow such sums as they shall think meet upon Mr. Henry Bromley, being son and heir to the Lord Chancellor, and other gentlemen of W[orship] coming to the town. Ibid.

—, 14 and 22 Sept. Dr. Bulkley to have 10l. given him in respect of his pains taken in preaching, and to be admitted a free burgess, paying the ordinary fine. ff. 299b. 360.

Five pounds to be given to the parishioners of St. Mary's towards the repairing of the decayed windows. ff. 299b, 360b.

—, 4 Oct. 15l. to be paid to Mr. Robert Ireland, esq., in full discharge of 42l. 8s. due to him as burgess of parliament in the first, fifth, and fourteenth years of her Majesty's reign, to be paid as follows: 10l. to Mr. Ireland, 50s. to Dr. Bonckley's eldest son, and the other 50s. to employed upon the pavement in "Mardwall." f. 300. A writ dated 13 Jan. an. 10 [1568] summoning the bailiffs to pay 10l. for his expenses, at 2s. per day, in attending the parliament in the fifth year, lies here loose.

1582, 20 Apr. "Articles for the quieting and stay of some varians and division like to have insued in the election of counsellors," agreed upon "by the mediation of Mr. Dr. Bulkley and Mr. Richard Barker"; with twenty-three original signatures. Lying loose in the vol.

—, 3 Aug. A cessment to be made of all the inhabitants for levying of 200l. for a stock to remain for the corporation for the maintenance of the public preacher, if Mr. Justice Bromley shall think well thereof. f. 363.

—, 9 Sept. John Tomkis, M.A., elected preacher in the room of Edward Bulkley, D.D., who recommended him; having held the place since the f. of St. John Bapt., he hath showed himself to be a faithful pastor and profitable teacher in the church of God. It is agreed that he receive the stipend of 52l. partly depending upon voluntary contributions and partly upon the raising of 300l. out of the town funds, together with the 20l. paid from the Free School as yearly stipend to the minister of St. Mary's, now held by Mr. Tomkis and his curate. He is not to be absent for more than a week at a time without licence of the bailiffs, nor to give over the place without reasonable cause allowed by them, f. 365; (or give half a year's warning, f. 366b).

—, 12 Sept. Twenty-six persons to be admitted free burgesses, each of them paying 5l. besides all fees; and none hereafter to be admitted except on payment of 6l. 13s. 4d. besides all fees. The money now received to be applied to no other use but the maintenance of the public preachers and further money to be raised in some way to make up the amount to 300l.; f. 300b. Payment to be made to Mr. Tomkys, the public preacher, of 52l. yearly, until further order be taken by Sir George Bromley, recorder, and Thomas Owen, esq., for the raising the payment by the disbursing of the above 300l.; and in the mean time the particular contribution to be gathered. f. 301.

"The six men called the vi sitters shalbe cessors" for admittance of the twenty-six burgesses. Ibid.

—, 20 Sept. Fourteen more burgesses to be admitted, to make up the above 300l. for the preacher. ff. 301b, 367.

—, 29 Sept. Twenty more burgesses to be admitted, whose payments are to be added to the 300l. received "for the last sixty burgesses" for the maintenance of the public preacher. ff. 302, 367b.

—, 9 Oct. The nine attorneys now in the court of the town to hold their places for life, and not to be displaced without reasonable cause; but in future the number is not to exceed eight. f. 368b.

—, 11 Oct. Any person who shall abuse or misuse any bailiff, magistrate, alderman or councillor, shall be punished at the discretion of the bailiff for the time being. f. 369.

Thomas Backhouse, a prisoner now remaining in ward for fines of divers frays and bloods and other misdemeanors, shall be set at liberty with a lock on his foot, and to work at his house or other places for maintenance of himself, and to pay weekly twopence toward the discharge of the said debt, if the debt may by this means be levied; otherwise to be pardoned. Ibid.

—, 12 Oct. 400l. to be lent out by the bailiffs for one year at the rate of 10 per cent. f. 369b.

—, 10 Nov. Richard Gardner to have 5l. yearly to keep the conduit in repair. f. 370.

1583, 8 March. 10l. to be given to the Lady Sidney, to be employed upon such necessaries at the discretion of the bailiffs, as shall be to the worship of the town. f. 373b.

—, 18, 27 Apr. Ordered that 23l. borrowed for the charges of a suit before the Privy Council concerning the stapling of cottons and frizes at West Chester be repaid to the lenders, and that twenty marks be bestowed upon a piece of plate to be given to the Lord Chancellor in recompence of his good will to the corporation in the said suit. f. 374b.

—, 11 July. No one to be hereafter admitted to the office of town clerk but such a one as hath proceeded to the degree of an outer barrister at Inns of Court; he shall be continually resiant, and not to serve the office by any deputy without special licence. f. 375.

1583, 19 Sept. Order that the 400l. raised for the public preacher be yearly lent out by the bailiffs together with eight others. ff. 303b, 376b.

The great house called the Council House granted to Roland Barker, esq., for such term and interest as the bailiffs and burgesses have in it, he keeping it in repair and paying all such rents and duties as are payable, and removing when the Council of the Marches shall come here, and returning on their departure. f. 301.

ff. 305–327 are blank.

1584, 5 Feb. "The most numbar of this assembly be agreed that Mr. Bayliffes shale write there letters to the L. Presydent for the ansureringe of his 1. letter conserninge the vyadge into the land of America [the expedition of Raleigh to Virginie] in suche sorte as the same is nowe written by the advice of Mr. Prince." f. 379b.

1560–1614. List of burgesses specially made in compliment, from 19 Sept. 2 Eliz. to 6 Oct. 12 Jac. I. f. 397 (loose).

1623, 21 Apr. Sir William Herbert, knt., Sir Percy Herbert, his son and heir, bart., and Sir Basil Brooke, knt., to be admitted burgesses without paying any fine or fee, on account of their love and goodwill to this corporation, expressed in the cause lately depending before the Privy Council between this town and the town of Oswestry concerning the freedom of market for Welsh cottons. f. 396 (loose).

IV. Upon this volume there follows such a gap in the records of the proceedings of the Corporation that it seems hardly possible that the missing books can be altogether lost, but that some portion at least may be lying perdu elsewhere, unless they were burned in a fire that occurred in 1881 at the Shire Hall where the records are kept. (fn. 7) For the next volume begins at the year 1736. There appears to be very little in it, or in the subsequent volume, that is of more than purely local interest.

1744, 31 Aug. A decree recites the ordinance of Edw. VI. that the scholars of the Grammar School should attend church every Sunday, particularly any church where there should be a sermon, and goes on to state that in course of time in consequence of the inconvenience caused by the great increase of numbers, the Schoolmaster applied to have a chapel at the School, and that two decrees in Chancery in 11 and 21 James I. provided for the application of 20l. per an. from the revenue of the School as a stipend for some sufficient person, who was to be appointed by the bailiffs and chief schoolmaster to read divine service in the Chapel and catechize the scholars on all Sabbath days, holy-days, and half holy-days. But whereas it appeared that no person had of late been appointed to this office, it was ordered on 7 March that the mayor apply to the Schoolmaster, Rev. Leonard Hotchkis, to join in a nomination, which he had refused to do, alleging that he himself was the catechizer, having been appointed some years ago by Edward Twiss, esq., then mayor, and himself. Such appointment, however, not being conformable to the orders and decrees above mentioned, and Mr. Hotchkis not pretending to have performed the chief duty of the catechizer in reading divine service, it is ordered that the stipend of 20l. be not henceforth paid to him or any other for his use, but be retained until a proper person shall be appointed. (On 7 March Mr. Hotchkis had been called upon to resign the living of Uffington, which he had accepted contrary to the regulations of the School.)

1775, 6 Oct. Address to the King on the rebellion in America.

V. The next volume begins on 3 Oct. 1788 and ends in 1820.

1803, 30 Sept. 500l. voted for the repair of "the venerable and magnificent building called the Market House," and for building a new staircase in the recess on the east side. f. 139.

1805, 10 Dec. Address to the King on the naval victories, and on the death of Nelson, "which alone could add a ray of glory to his transcendant merits." f. 146.

1814, 9 June. Presentation of the freedom of the town to General Lord Hill, in a gold box, and to his five brothers, with his reply to the address. ff. 186b, 188b.

1814, 15 July. Petition against the clause in the treaty with France sanctioning continuance of the slave trade for five years, with vote of warmest thanks to Will. Wilberforce, and to others. f. 190.

1820. In this year gas was introduced into the town 6 Oct. A petition to the Prime Minister on behalf of Lieut. James Atcherley, of the Marines, a burgess of Shrewsbury, who served at Trafalgar, &c., asking for his appointment as tide surveyor or coasting waiter, with copies of certificate from Sir Israel Pellew and Adm. M. de Courcy. ff. 230b, 231.

VI. The next volume extends to the year 1835.


  • 1. Probably "Pannarii." Other companies in the town were the "Vintenarii," "Alutarii," "Merceri," and "Petiliarii."
  • 2. This word is usually written in a wrongly contracted form as "Assiliaco," but when written at length is "Assemblacō," and even "Assumulacō."
  • 3. The elections in these years are, however, found in the book of admissions of burgesses marked B.
  • 4. See infra, in the Bailiffs' Accounts for 1515–16.
  • 5. Occasional alterations of date appear to have been caused by the town clerk's writing out beforehand under the days on which the meetings were supposed to be going to be held, the list of names of those entitled to be present, and then by correcting the date when the days were altered.
  • 6. The latest statute regulating apparel, which repealed preceding statutes, was 24 Hen. VIII.. cap. 13.
  • 7. A "Book of Orders" is often referred to by Owen and Blakeway during the Civil War period. It must have been lost, therefore, since they wrote.