Calendar of Letter-Books of the City of London: D, 1309-1314. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1902.
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CALENDAR OF LETTER-BOOKS OF THE CITY OF LONDON.
[At the commencement are six fly-leaves, lettered A-F, on which are entered the forms of oath taken by various officers of the City, some being in Latin, others in French, and others in English, written by various hands of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries The greater part of them are printed in the 'Liber Albus' (Rolls Series)].
The Oath of the Coroner (French).
Fly leaf A.
Ye shall swear that ye will well and truly serve the King and the City of London in the office of Coroner. And that ye will well and honestly entreat the people that shall come before you And that neither for gift nor for favour, for promise nor for hate, ye shall fail (lerrez) (fn. 1) but that ye shall do equal justice as far as in you lies to all manner of people, as well poor as rich, denizens (privez) as well as strangers, that shall have anything to do with you by force of your office, and that all the things that shall be done or said before you by force of your office ye shall truly record, and diligently cause them to be enrolled, and copies of the said Rolls ye shall cause to be written each year by a clerk, at the cost of the City, and to be delivered to the Common Clerk in the Chamber of the Guildhall, there to remain of record. And that no inquest, abjuration, or other great matter shall ye do or record without the presence of the Sheriffs or their substitute, according to the custom of the City. And ready shall ye be at the command of the Mayor and governors of the City at all times when necessity shall arise for coming and doing your office. And that ye suffer not to be put in inquests that shall be held before you any suspect persons nor partisans (procurez de partie), but good, true, and indifferent persons And that ye take nothing whereby the King incurs a loss or his right be prejudiced. And that the City, as far as in you lies, ye will preserve harmless, and all the customs and liberties thereof according to your power maintain. And in all other things to your office appertaining ye will well and truly have you (vous auerez) So God you help and the Saints.
(Marginal note.—Be it remembered that on 25 October, 11 Edward IV. [A.D. 1471], Richard Burton was admitted Coroner of the City by the Court, and sworn to well and truly observe all things in the present oath specified).
The Oath of those who are of the Common Council (Latin).
You shall swear (fn. 2) that you will be faithful to our lord the King N and his heirs, and readily come when you shall be summoned for the Common Council of the City (unless you be reasonably excused), and good and faithful counsel shall you give according to your sense and knowledge, and for favour of none shall you uphold private good against the public and common good of the said City, and after you shall have come to the Common Council you shall not leave without reasonable cause or licence of the Mayor before the Mayor and his fellows have left, and what shall have been said in the Common Council you will keep secret So God you help and His holy Gospels.
The Oath of Wardens of Crafts (French).
The same in English.
"Ye shall swere that ye shall wele and treuly oversee the Craft of N Whereof ye be chosen Wardeyns for the yeere And all the goode reules and ordynaunces of the same Craft that been approved here be the Court and noon other ye shal kepe and doo to be kept And all the defautes that ye fynde in the same Craft y don to the Chamberleyn of þe Citee for the tyme beyng ye shall wele and treuly presente Sparyng noo man for favour ne grevyng noo persone for hate Extorcion ne wrong under colour of your Office ye shall non doo nethir to noo thyng that shalbe a yenst thastate peas and profite of our sovereyn lord the Kyng or to the Citee ye shall not consente but for the tyme that ye shall be in Office in all thinges that shalbe longyng unto the same Craft after lawes and Franchises of the seide Citee welle and lawfully ye shall have you so helpe you god and all seyntes &c".
The Oath of the Under-Sheriff (fn. 3) (French).
Fly leaf A dors.
Ye shall swear that ye will well and truly serve your masters who shall be elected Sheriffs of London and of Middlesex for the year next to come in the office of Under-Sheriff, and that ye will not fail for gift nor for favour, for promise nor for hate, that equal law and right you will do to all manner of people, as well to poor as rich, denizens as well as strangers, who shall plead before you, without making maintenance of any quarrel. And that all the pleas that before you shall be pleaded ye shall truly record, and use your diligence to see that the said pleas are well and truly entered and enrolled at the suit and prayer of the party, taking reasonably for the entry. And no right shall ye disturb nor extortion do towards any one by colour of your office or the office of your masters. And no judgment shall ye delay without reasonable cause. Likewise the franchise of the said City ye shall keep and maintain to the best of your power, and be obedient to the Mayor and Judges of the said City, and good counsel ye shall give to them according to your power and discretion in all things touching the government of the said City and the common profit of the people, and their counsel you shall keep. And that no judgment shall ye give against any ordinances made by the Mayor and Common Council of the said City, unless they be by the said Council rescinded or amended. [And that the records of all the assizes taken before you when they have been engrossed ye shall surrender and deliver to the Chamber of the Guildhall of the said City yearly on the eve of St. Michael, there to remain on record. And that ye will not let (ne lerrez) (fn. 4) nor suffer any common attorney to answer for any one before you unless he be first accepted and sworn before the Mayor for the time being (fn. 5) ] And that in all other points that belong to the office of Under-Sheriff of London ye will govern you to do well and truly. So God you help and His Saints.
The Oath of the Secondary (fn. 6) and Keeper of the Paper (French). (Translation.)
Ye shall swear that ye will well and truly serve your masters who shall be elected Sheriffs of London and of Middlesex for the year next ensuing, and that ye will not fail (ne lerrez) for gift nor for favour, for promise nor for hate, but that equal law and right ye will do to all manner of people, as well to the poor as to the rich, denizens as well as strangers, who approach before you, without making maintenance of any quarrel. And that ye will not suffer according to your power other people to be summoned in inquests nor sworn of them who be not good, true, and not of affinity nor procured by party. Likewise the franchise of the said City ye will keep and maintain to the best of your power, and be obedient to the Mayor and Judges of the said City, and good counsel ye shall give to them according to your discretion and power in all things touching the government of the said City and the common profit of the people, [and] their counsel ye shall keep. No man shall ye amerce higher than is by the Common Council (fn. 7) ordained, and ye shall not suffer the fermers to take any other customs than those due and reasonable and anciently used in the said City. And that the writs which come to you touching the estate and franchise of the City ye will not return before ye shall have shown them to the Mayor for the time being and to the Council of the said City, that ye may have advice of them. And the issues, fines, and amercements that may come to you under the Green Wax or the Pipe (fn. 8) ye shall cause to be truly levied, and no part of them shall ye increase, and those that have paid ye shall well and truly discharge, and not demand the same again. And that ye charge the yeomen (vadletz) of the Serjeants by oath, who take carriage (cariage) in the City, that they take no more carriage than they ought to do, and grieve not the people coming to the City with their victuals by way of carriage to have anything of theirs (pour auoir de lour). And that all the exigents proclaimed in the "Hustenges" (fn. 9) of the said City ye shall duly and without con cealment enrol, and the same rolls ye shall to the Common Clerk of the said City without delay (fn. 10) surrender and deliver. And that in all other points that to the office of Secondary and Keeper of the paper of the said City appertain ye do well and truly......
Fly leaf B.
The Oath of Attorneys (French).
Ye shall swear that ye shall well and truly do your office of Attorney and well and truly examine your clients and their quarrels without champarty, (fn. 11) and without procuring any jurors in any inquests to embrace (en ascuns enquestes enbracer). (fn. 12) And that ye will not change any quarrel out of its nature (fn. 13) (ne chaungerez nulle querele hors de sa nature) wittingly (solonc votre sen). And that ye will not plead nor allege, nor suffer to be pleaded or alleged, by your consent any foreign release, acquittance, payment, arbitration, full account, nor other matter whatsoever to oust the Court of Jurisdiction except such matter as ye shall be able to find right and true by information and oath made by your clients, (fn. 14) and that ye shall not enform nor enforce any man to sue falsely against any one by false or forged action, (fn. 15) and that well and truly ye shall do all those things that appertain to the office of attorney to do So God you help and His Saints.
'The Oth of the Baillies of Quenhith and Billyngesgate.
'Ye shul swere that wel and treuly ye shal serve youre mastres that are chosen Shereves of London and Middelsex for the yer next comyng (fn. 16) in the offices of Baillie of Quenhithe and Billyngesgate takyng of euery persone as the olde custume (fn. 17) hath be and is write ther yn a table [and in þe bokes of yeldhalle (fn. 18) ] and no newe custume arere on peyn to paye ten sithe so mochel half to the Chambre and half to hym at whos suyt ye schal thereof be atteynt (fn. 19) And that wel and treuly ye shal enfourme and do the mair to wyte of alle maner vitaille fre and forein that cometh yn youre Baillishippe at euery tyme or hit be put to sale° on peyne to lese your offices and make"......
The Oath of Valets of Serjeants (fn. 21).
"Ye shull swere that ye shull be good and trewe to the Shirreves of London and Middelsex and be colour of your office none extorc'on doo to no persone ne take more cariage whan ye be assigned þerto than nedyth ne noman greve þt comyth to the Cite with vitaill be wey of cariage for to have of theire (fn. 22) And also that ye shull no man arrest for no notable dette trespas no none othir contracte personell but in presence of a Sergeant and all thing that are acordynge with the Kynges pees and comune profyt of the Cite ye shull kepe and mainteigne and that ye your wyfes no none for yow shull selle no maner vitaill to retaill enduryng your office but wel and treuly have yow in alle thinge that longeth to yow so helpe yow god and holy doms.
["Ye shall swer that ye schal be good and trewe to the Cite of London Also the cowncell of the Cite ye schall kepe and the harme of the Cite ye schall not knowe but ye schal opyn hit to the cowncell of the Cite And all that comyth to yor Warde as wel recordes as oþr thynges of the Cite ye schall do yor diligence safly to kepe.
"Ye schal schew no recordes of the Cite...... but in forme þr of ordeynyd ye schal nat consile maliciously no personel record neyther muniment but in alle...... ye schal wel and trewly have yow as god yow helpe and alle the Seyntes". (fn. 23) ]
Fly leaf B dors.
The Oath of Searchers of Vintners (French).
Ye shall swear that ye will well and truly survey all the wines cellared for sale within the franchise of the City of London, and them prove and assay in the presence and survey of the Serjeants to you committed and deputed by the Mayor and Aldermen of the said City that they [i.e., the wines] be wholesome and able (ables) for man's body, (fn. 24) and what ye shall find stinking (puantz) or unsound ye will without concealment present to the Mayor and Aldermen, to be adjudged according to the ancient custom of the said City. And that ye will certify to the Mayor and Aldermen the number of vessels containing old wine lying in the cellars aforesaid, neither sparing nor aggrieving any one for favour or hate. And that all the pots of tin (destayne) (fn. 25) that ye shall find not sealed in taverns ye will without concealment present to the Chamber. These things aforesaid ye shall well and truly do, so God you help and His Saints.
The Oath of Brokers (fn. 26) (French).
Ye shall swear that ye will neither buy nor sell (marchanderez), by yourselves or any other person, any merchandise to your own use or for your own profit. And that ye will not make any bargain unless ye bring the vendor and purchaser together and truly shall testify the bargain between them. And if ye receive money from the purchaser to carry to the vendor, truly ye shall do it, and shall make no bargain of any goods between alien and alien. (fn. 27) And all the bargains which ye shall have to make ye shall transact as well for the benefit of the poor (fn. 28) as the rich, and shall not take for brokerage (correctage) more than is and shall be ordained in the Guildhall. And all the ordinances touching brokers (correctiers) made in the time of William Staundon, Mayor, in the ninth year of King Henry [the Fourth], (fn. 29) ye shall well and truly keep. And ye shall make no bargain of usury, exchange of usury, nor contract for usury (ne ferrez null bargayn de usure eschaunge dusure ne cheuance dusure), (fn. 30) upon pain of paying 100 livres to the Chamber, and further to incur the penalty ordained for brokers of usury before this time. And if ye know any man to meddle himself in any brokerage within the franchise of the said City who is not accepted by the Mayor and Aldermen and sworn to the said City, ye shall cause it to be known to the Mayor and Chamberlain of the said City for the time being. These things aforesaid ye shall well and truly observe, so God you help and His Saints.
Fly leaf C.
The oath of the Chamberlain of the Guildhall (fn. 31) (French).
The oath of the Wardens of the bridge of the City of London (fn. 32) (French).
Fly leaf C dors.
The oath of Constables (fn. 33) (French).
The oath of "Scawageours" (fn. 34) (French).
The oath of "Bedelles" (fn. 35) (French).
Fly leaf D.
The oath of those who shall be under Frank-pledge (fn. 36) (French).
A rough copy of the oath of Brokers.
The oath of "Alekunners" (fn. 37) (French).
Fly leaf D dors.
Monday next before the Feast of St. Michael, 35 Hen III. [A.D. 1251], there were elected Sheriffs of London by the common counsel and assent of good men of the City, to wit, Nicholas Bat and Laurence de "Frowich," who the same day found pledges, to wit, Nicholas Bat [found] Geoffrey de Winchester, and Thomas Adrian, "peverer", (fn. 38) and Laurence de "Frowik" [found] Edward Blund, and John de St. Edmund, "parmenter," (fn. 39) under this form, viz., that the aforesaid pledges mainprised the Sheriffs aforesaid to acquit the ferm of the City Moreover, they will keep the City harmless of all damages and losses which may happen by reason of the Shrievalty and of fines (de-misericordia), if they should incur any. And each pledge is bound for the whole (in solidum).
The oath of the Sheriffs of London (fn. 40) (French).
Fly leaf E.
Another copy of the above oath, with a final clause inserted between the lines : "Et qe tout les ordeignances par les Maii Audermans et comune counseill faitz bien et loialment garderes et ferres garder, si Dieu," &c.
The Oath of the Sheriffs' Serjeants (fn. 41) (French) (Translation).
Ye shall swear that ye will well and truly bear yourselves in your office, and due execution make of things wherewith ye shall be charged on behalf of the Mayor, Sheriffs, and Aldermen, and of judgments delivered in the Husting or in the Court of the Sheriffs, and in inquests good men and true shall ye return, and not men procured with your assent. And the things which are ordained for the peace of our lord the King and also for the common profit of the people ye shall maintain and keep according to your wit and your power And [that ye will not sell any manner victual by retail—to wit, bread, beer, wine, fish, nor flesh, by yourselves, your apprentices, hired servants, nor by any one else, nor profit shall take of any such manner victual sold during your office, and in all other matters appertaining to your said office to do ye shall well and truly have yourselves So God you help and the Saints (fn. 42) ].
Fly leaf E dors.
The oath of the Mayor (fn. 43) (French).
The oath of the Recorder (fn. 44) (French).
Fly leaf F.
The oath of the Aldermen (fn. 45) (French).
Be it remembered that on the Feast of St. Gregory the Pope [12 March], the twelfth year of the reign of our lord the King Richard the Second [A.D. 1388-9], by assent of Monsieur Nicholl Twyford, then Mayor, and the Aldermen, it was ordained and agreed that the article following should be added yearly to the aforesaid oath of the Aldermen, viz., "And that ye shall sell no manner of victual by retail—to wit, bread, ale, wine, fish, or flesh, by you, your apprentices, hired persons, servants, or by any other, nor profit shall ye take of any such manner of victual sold during your office of Aldermen".
Diceste matire veriez plus el livre des custumes le foille cciiij. (fn. 46)
Fly leaf F dors.
The Oath of Sheriffs' Clerks (fn. 47) (French) (Translation).
Ye shall swear that ye will well and truly serve your masters who are elected Sheriffs of London and of Middlesex for the year next to come, and that you will not let for gift nor for favour, nor for promise nor for hate, but that ye will do equal law and justice to all manner of persons, as well to the poor as to the rich, denizens and strangers, who shall plead before you, without making maintenance of any quarrel. And that ye will not suffer, according to your power, other persons to be summoned on inquests nor on juries than such as are good and true and of no affinity to nor procured by party. And all pleas that before you shall be pleaded ye shall truly record, and shall use your diligence to oversee that the said pleas be well and truly enrolled. And no right shall ye disturb and no judgment shall ye delay without reasonable cause. Also the franchise of the said City ye shall guard and maintain to the best of your power, and obedient be to the Mayor and Judges of the said City, and good counsel shall ye give to them according to your power and wit in all things touching the government of the City and common profit of the people, and their counsel ye shall keep. And reasonable fines and amercements ye shall take, having regard to the cause and the estate of the persons. And that ye suffer not your fermors to take any customs that are not due, reasonable, and of ancient usage in the said City. And that the writs which come to you affecting the estate and franchise of the City ye shall not return before ye shall have shown them to the Mayor for the time being and to the Counsel of the City, and that from them ye shall have advice. And that ye charge the Serjeants' yeomen (garsouns) by oath who take carriage (cariage) in the City that they take not more carriage than they ought to take, and that they aggrieve not the people coming to the City with their victual by way of carriage to have of theirs. And that in these things and in all others touching your office ye will well and truly have and bear yourselves. So God you help and the Saints.