The city of Exeter: Commissions, pardons etc.

Pages 8-13

Report On the Records of the City of Exeter. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

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In this section

2.—Commissions, Pardons &c. 74 Documents numbered XLIX TO CXIX

XLIX. Aug. 20, 1344.—Edward III commissions the Mayor and Bailiffs of Exeter to enforce the Statutes of Winchester and Northampton for the keeping of the peace, reciting that there are many robberies and breaches of the peace in the city and suburbs. See also Transcripts, No. 2027. [For abstracts see Oliver, p. 283; Cal. Pat. Rolls, 18 Edward III, p. 403.]

L. Reading, March 25, 1347.—Writ of Edward III to the Bailiffs, probi homines and Commonalty of the city of Exeter and the towns of Topsham and Kenton, reciting an order of the council at Westminster that 120 large ships each manned with 60 mariners and 20 archers were to accompany the King to Calais, 60 of which were to be raised by John de Mountgomery, Admiral of the West. (fn. 1) The ships are to be at Sandwich by Easter Monday next, and three of them are to be supplied by Exeter, Topsham and Kenton. [See Oliver, p. 283; Rym. III, i., 112; Cal. Rot. Pat., 21 Edward III, p. 264.]

LI. Feb. 12, 1366.—Writ of Edward III to John Montague, William de Wychingham and others, commanding them not to enquire into a sedition said to have arisen in Exeter, as the King has been informed that the report is unfounded. [See Izacke, p. 58.]

LII. June 23, 1381.—A proclamation to repress possible disorder consequent on the rising of Wat Tiler is similer to those addressed to the Mayor of York and other towns. See Rym., iii, 123; Cal. pat. 5 Richard II, p. 69. See also Transcripts, No. 2030.

LIII. Jan. 25, 1401.—Pardon for all offences committed prior to Dec. 8, 1400.

LIV. March 27, 1437.—Pardon to Mayor, Bailiffs and Commonalty of Exeter for offences against the Statute of Liveries and other offences committed prior to Sept. 2, 1431. See also Transcripts, No. 2033.

LV. July 6, 1446.—Do. for all trespasses to April 9, 1446. Also in Transcripts, No. 2034.

LVI. July 6, 1509.—Do., do., prior to April 23, 1509 [i.e. the date of the accession of Henry VIII].

LVII. May 9, 1522.—Writ to the Mayor of Exeter to let no "Britons or other the Frenche King's subjettes" leave the country with their goods or writings.

LVIII. Feb. 18, 1523.—Commission of array in consequence of declaration of war by Francis I against the Emperor Charles V and the King of England.

LIX. Nov. 2, 1523.—Commission to collect subsidy [granted in Parliament, April 15 to July 31, 1523; Rot. Parl. vii,. pp. lxxvi-xc; Stat. iii, 230–241] reciting that the Duke of Bourbon and many captains of France "taking our partie" are pursuing the French King. [For similar commissions see Letters and Papers, Henry VIII, iii (2), p. 1456.]

LX. Jan. 12, 1537.—Order for proclamation regulating the price of Gascon and French wines in accordance with Stat. 23 Henry VIII, c. 7 [Stat. iii, 374, 422]. For a similar order to the authorities at Colchester, Dec. 1, 1537, see Letters and Papers, Henry VIII, xii (2), p. 411.

LXA. June 4, 1558.—Commission to enquire as to misdemeanors of French denizens, reciting Stat. 4, 5 Philip and Mary [Stat. iv, p. 326].

LXI. Feb. 23, 1569.—Appointment of Commissioners to make search in Exeter for "such as use unlawful games" and to see that all persons keep bows and arrows in their houses for themselves and their servants in accordance with Stat. 33 Henry VIII, c. 9 [Stat. iii, 833; see also Transcripts, No. 2060; Act Book, No. 3, p. 39]. (fn. 2)

In D. 1517 is a bond in 5 marks given to the Mayor by John Souther of Exeter, glover on May 21, 1560, from henceforth "not to playe or use at any unlawfull game prohibited by law."


LXII. July 4, 1571.—Commission to levy a subsidy granted in the Parliament that met April 2, 1571. [Stat. iv, 562–581; 13 Elizabeth, c. 26, 27.] See also Transcripts, No. 2062. For similar commissions July 27, 1590, in regard to subsidy granted in 1588–9, see No. LXV; also No. LXXIII, July 30, 1607 [granted in Parliament which ended on July 4, 1607, Stat. iv, 1132]; also Nos. LXXVIII, LXXXI, March 22, July 16, 1621 [granted in Parliament of March 22, 1621, Stat. iv, 1208]; Nos. LXXXVIII, LXXXIX, XC, June 1, Sept. 1, 1624, and Jan. 17, 1625 [granted in the Parliament of Feb. 19 to May 29, 1624, on prospect of war with Spain after breach of the marriage treaty; Stat. iv, 1247]; Nos. XCI, XCIII, Aug. 15, 1625, Feb. 10, 1626 [on accession of Charles I; Stat. iv, 3–21]. For an order in Council, March 30, 1629 to the Commissioners for subsidies in Exeter, sending directions for payment of the subsidy [granted June 16, 1628; Gardiner, vi, 315], see L. 320. For undated note of charges for the subsidy account (temp. James I), see L. 192. For a large bundle of subsidy returns, assessments &c. (temp. Elizabeth, James I and Charles I), see Misc. Papers.

William Earl of Bath.

LXIV. Jan. 21, 1587.—Appointment of William [Bourchier] Earl of Bath as Lord Lieutenant of Devon and Exeter, with names of his deputies. Also in Transcripts, Nos. 2064, 2065, 2068, 2073; see also Nos. LXIVa (Nov. 14, 1587); LXVI (April 29, 1593); LXVIII (June 7, 1609); LXIX, LXIXa (July 6, 1599); LXX (Dec. 3, 1600); LXXI (June 10, 1601); LXXII (April 13, 1603); LXXIV (Feb. 25, 1609); LXXV, LXXVI (May 9, June 24, 1614); LXXVII (Sept. 8, 1616);LXXX (July 3, 1618). For letters to the Mayor From the Earl of Bath as Lord Lieutenant, see L. 621.

Popish Recusants.

LXXIX. April 6, 1621.—Recites a proclamation of July 1, 1607, forbidding all natural born subjects to leave the country, and commissions the Mayor of Exeter and others to examine all persons over 21 years of age who desire to pass over the seas, as to their casue of departure, trade, destination &c., and to administer to them at their disctetion the oath prescribed by the Act of 1605 (fn. 3) "for the better discovering and repressing of popish recusants."

Francis Lord Russell, afterwards Earl of Bedford.

LXXXII. July 18, 1623 [i.e. 21, not 20 James I, see Pat. Roll (2300), 21 James I, pt. 6, m. 15d.—Appointment of Francis Lord Russell of Thornhaugh as Lieutenant of Devon and Exeter. [He became Earl of Bedford on May 3, 1627.] For names of his deputies see Nos. LXXXV (Aug. 1, 1623), LXXXVI (Dec. 22, 1623), LXXXVII (Dec. 24, 1623) [also Izacke, 150]. In L. 263, dated Chiswick, Dec. 24, 1623, he write to Mr. Pearse in reference to the charges made for the patents of his deputy lieutenants, including 4l. at the seale and 40s. promised to Mr. Secretarie's man, and explaining that the increase was occasioned by "the Kinge reassuming the dormant warrant form may Lord Keeper and commaunding that noting should passe but by his owne signature." The charges alluded to will be found in an undated document (L. 191) signed by John Pearse, who a bailiff of Exeter in 1619. In L. 256 (Nov. 8, 1623) is a reference to Lord Russell's claim for allowance from the Chamber of Exeter in regard to his commission "to be forthwith disbursed accordinge to the ordinary proportion heretofore dispended upon such occasions." See also Nos. XCIV (June 17, 1626), XCVI (June 16, 1627). For his appointment and that of his son William Lord Russell [afterwards 1st Duke of Bedford] as joint Lord Lieutenants of Devon and Exeter, with their deputties, see No. XCIX, March 30, 1637, also Order in council to them jointly, L. 369 (Aug. 17, 1637); and a letter from them to their deputies, see L. 382 (dated Bedford House, July 2nd, 1639), referring to errors in their commission.

The forced Loan.

XCV. Oct. 11, 1626.—Commission from Charles I to the Mayor and Alsermen of Exeter to raise a loan to enable him to continue the wae in Germany and relive his illustrious uncle [Christian IV] the King of Denmark, then reduced to great extremity. (fn. 4) For orders in Council, dated Feb. 21, May 12, June 30, Aug. 7, Oct, 31, 1627, urging quicker collection of the loan; see L.L. 291, 293, 294, 295, 299. For a receipt dated May 26, 1628, for 692l. received as a loan from divers inhabitants of Exeter, see D. 1745. For a list of persons in Exeter who contributed, see Misc. Rolls 75. In L. 286 (dated March 27, 1627) the Earl of Marleburage [i.e. James Ley, Treasurer] and Richard Waston [Chancellor and Under Treasurer of the Exchequer] order the collectors of the Loan Money in Exeter to pay the money collected to Sir George Chudleigh. In L. 295 (Strachleigh, Aug. 17, 1627) Sir George Chudleigh writes to the Commissioners for the loans in Exeter in answer to a letter from them of Aug. 14. In this he says; It seemes their lordships never heard from you in all this time of the state of this busynes which hath occasioned these letters to be written to you, being intended (if I guesse aright) to some countyes (rather then a cittye) which have bene slacke in this service to his majestye. He concludes: "Wherefore if it shall please you to give order to your collectors to pay over your second payment unto me as they have done the first I shall make no scruple to receave it nether to disburse it according to my directions. Only I shall pray you to certifye their lordships with all speede what you have done that they may not expect money from you which by themselves is otherwise disposed of. In L. 366 (Sept. 16, 1634) [Captain] William Jewell and John Unwoon, by virtue of Commissions dated May 19 and Aug. 2 last, send a warrant to the Mayor to bring before them "at the signe of the beare in this city" at 9 O'clock to-morrow morning all officers belonging to His Majesty's Customs, all merchants, masters of shippes, Barkes and other vessells belongeinge to sea affayers, all mercers grocers, dyers, woolcombers, fellmongers, chandlers and such as sell any grocerie ware or buy, sell, spend any dyinge stuffes dwellinge wthin your Citte and the liberties thereof to bee examined on his Maties. behalfe, to the end it may be knowne who they bee (if any such shall happen to bee) that contempne or sleight the authoritie of his Maties. said Commissions.

St. Paul's Cathedral.

XCVIII. Dec. 20, 1633.—Commission to the Mayor &c. to collect money in aid of the reparation of St. Paul's Cathedral, with a list giving the names of about 250 persons who contributed 17l. 18s. 3d. between them, besides 3l. 11s. 9d. raised by collections in the several churches of the city Robert Vilvaine, (fn. 5) Doctor of Phisicke, promising to pay 6s. yearly as long as the work shall last, if he lives. See also Transcripts, No. 2089.

Lands for Charitable uses.

C. May 1, 1638.—Commission to the Mayor, Bishop and others to enquire concerning lands given to charitable uses under statute 43 Elizabeth [cap. 4 (1601), Stat. iv, 968]. For similar commissions, see No. CVII (May 15, 1648), CVIII (Dec. 13, 1653), [issued by "the Keepers of the Liberties of England"], among the commisioners being John Desborow, (fn. 6) Major General, and Edmund Prideaux, Attorney General to the Commonwealth and Recorder of Exeter. (fn. 7) For another commission, dated July 11, 1666, see No. CIV, where the Bishop, to whom among others the commission is addressed, is called "Seth" [i.e. Seth Ward]. For writ of Charles II to the Mayor &c. to deliver the temporalities of the see to him, dated Aug. 25, 1662; see No. CX.

Emissaries of mischief.

CIII. Feb. 7, 1642.—Commission to the Mayor &c. to administer the oath of supremacy and allegiance to suspected persons passing through Exeter. [See Act Book vii (i.e. viii), f. 199, quoted in oliver, p. 114.]

Invasion of the Scots.

CVI. Oxford, March 30, 1644.—Charles I commissions Sir John Berkeley, knight, Governor of the City of Exeter, the Mayor (Huge Croker, esquire (fn. 8) ) and other to raise Exeter's share of 100,000l. granted by the Commons [i.e. at Oxford] to resist the invasion of the scots. (fn. 9)

General Monck.

CIX. July 4, 1662.—Commission to George [Monck] Duke of Albemarle as lord Lieutenant of Devon and Exeter to appoint his deputies; see also Transcripts, No. 2097.


CXIII. Nov. 22, 1679.—Charles II commissions the Mayor and Aldermen of Exeter to administer the oath of supremacy. (fn. 10) See also Transcripts, No. 2104.

Deputy lieutenants.

CXIV. April 4, 1687.—John [Grenville] Earl of Bath, Lord Lieutenant (fn. 11) of Devon and Exeter, appoints John Snell [see L. 15] as Deputy Lieutenant for the City of Exeter. In No. CXV (June 13, 1696) Thomas [Grey] Earl of Stamford &c., as Lord Lieutenant of Devon and Exeter, appoints the Mayor as his deputy for Exeter. In CXVII (May 13, 1708) John [Poulett] Earl Poulett, as Lord Lieutenant, appoints his deputies for Exeter; also CXVIII (March 9, 1717) John [Carteret] Baron Cartaret [of Hawnes], as Lord Lieutenant, appoints his deputies. With signatures "Bathe," "Stamford" (also his seal), "Poulett," and "Cartaret" (with seal) respectively.

Sir Edward Seymour.

CXVI.—Sir Edward Seymour, Baronet, resigns his office of Recorder of Exeter, with signature "Edw. Seymour" and seal.


  • 1. * Who was appointed on March 16, 1347. Cal. Close Rolls, 21 Edward III, p. 245.
  • 2. * This subject was set down for the consideration of Justices of Assize in Nov. 156, and again for Commissioners for Musters on June 19, 1569. Cal. State Papers, Dom., Addenda, pp. 20, 80, and instructions were prepared for enforcing it in Aug., 1571. Cal. Dom., 1547–1580, p. 421.
  • 3. * i.e. State. iv., p. 1074, 3 James I, c. 4. For an order issued by magistrates in session (Easter, 1605) to the High Constable and petty constables of Ottery St. Mary, to make privy search in the houses of recusant Papists in accordance with divers directions from the Lords of the Council. See Oliver, Collections illustrating the history of the Catholic Religion in Devon &c., p. 9, from the Record Office in Exeter Castle.
  • 4. * i.e. since the battle of Lutter, Aug. 27, 1626, news of which reached England in Sept., 1626. Cal. Dom., 1625–6, p. 422.
  • 5. * See L. 172. He was buried in Exeter Cathedral, Boase, Reg. 88. For epigram written by him in 1640, see Izacke, 156.
  • 6. † For his connection with Exeter Castle, April 14, Oct. 17, 1654, see Cal. Dom., 1654, pp. 100, 376. On March 12, May 28, 1655, he was Major-General in charge of the Militia of Devon, Dorset, Somerset and Wilts. Thurloe, State Papers, iii, 221, 468.
  • 7. ‡ Appointed Recorder May 2, 1643. Oliver, p. 236.
  • 8. * He was knighted on July 27, 1644. Shaw, ii, 218.
  • 9. † Who surrendered at Newark, March 22, 1644.
  • 10. ‡ i.e. To enable those who had been born abroad before the Restoration to become naturalised. See Stat. v, 840 (i.e. 29 Car. II, c. 6, 1677).
  • 11. § Appointed Dec. 7, 1685. Pat. 1 James II, pt. 10, m. 1; Duckett, Penal Laws, p. 20. 1990