The Common Paper: Petition to Mayor and Aldermen, Jan 1439/40

Scriveners' Company Common Paper 1357-1628 With A Continuation To 1678. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1968.

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'The Common Paper: Petition to Mayor and Aldermen, Jan 1439/40', in Scriveners' Company Common Paper 1357-1628 With A Continuation To 1678, (London, 1968) pp. 8-10. British History Online [accessed 29 February 2024]

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Petition to Mayor and Aldermen, Jan 1439/40

[p. 9 translation] Entered in the Chamber of Guildhall, London, book K, folio 182 (fn. 1)

13 January, 18 Henry VI [1439/40], there came into the Chamber of the Guildhall of the City of London, before Robert Large, Mayor, John Reynwell', John Gedney, John Welles, John Brokle, Henry Frowyk, William Milreth, Ralph Holand, Thomas Catworth, William Gregory, John Olney, John Sutton', William Combes and William Wetenhale, Aldermen of the said City, good men of the craft of writers of the court letter of London, and laid before the said Mayor and Aldermen a certain bill or supplication in the following words:

[Transcript] To the full' honorables lordes and sov[er]aignes Mair and Aldermen of the Cite of london'

Full mekely besechen the goode folk of the Crafte of Skrivens of Courte l[ett]re in the seid Citee That it plese unto yo' fulle wise discrecions tenderly to considre the grete p[er]els and myschiefs that oft tyme haue falle and yit dayly fallen by diu[er]s p[er]sones nat connyng ne experte in the seid Craft Whiche taken vpon' theyme for to make diu[er]s feates aswell touchyng inherytannces as other feates of charge soche as belong to the seid' Craft. Where as in dede thei ar neyther expert ne konnyng and so thurgh' theire ignorannce and vnkonnyng hurten' gretely and disceyuen' the Co[mmon]e peple aswel to theire disherityng as in other caas p[er]sonel[es] to grete hurt and disclanndre of the goode true folk of the seid' Craft And th[ere]vpon' g[ra]ciously to grannte in eschewyng of suche p[er]els & myscheves in tyme here after th[a]t the poyntes and Articles here after folowyng may be hadde' & admitted for ferme & Stable and to be entred & enrolled in the chambre of the Guyldehalle so that the gode rule may be obserued & kept in the Seyde Craft for theire p[ar]tie like as it is Wythin oth[er] Craftes of the seid' Citee.

First that no man[er]e [of] man of the seid' Craft of What condicion' so eu[e]r he be take vpon hym to make eny evidences or munimentes that sownen' to me[n]nes enheritannces ne oth[er]e grete charges soche as mygh[t]e falle to grete hurt of the kynges peple of lesse than he be first Duely examined and founden able by the Wardeyns of the seid' Craft for the tyme beyng and by. vj. or iiij p[er]sones enfrannchesied in the seid' Craft or by the Mair and Aldermen' of the seide Cite And also th[a]t no man' other than suche as haiv serued wethin the seyde Craft by way of app[re]nticialte from hens forward hold eny shop [?as] of the saide Craft wyth'in the seide Citee ne in the subarbes th[er]of lesse than he by the Wardeyns of the seid' Craft for the tyme beyng And by suche vj or iiij p[er]sones of the same Craft or els by the mair & Aldermen' of the seid' Citee haue been examined and founden' able and so for able by hem p[re]sented and th[er]vpon be enfranchised in the Craft of Screvens aboueseid'.

Item that no p[er]sone enfranchised in the seid' Craft from hens forward wtin his shop' ne in noon' oth[er] place occupie sette on werke ne Colour in the seid Craft and occupacion' of Skryvens ony p[er]sone lesse than the same p[er]son' so sette on' Werke be fore th[a]t tyme haue been' app[re]ntice or enfranchised in the seid' Crafte Wtoute Consent and speciall' licence of the Wardeyn[?es] of the seid' Craft And suche vj or iiij p[er]sones enfrannchised in the same craft or of the mair and Aldermen' of the seid' Citee for the tyme beyng vpon the payne of C s' to be arrered of eu[er]iche such' p[er]son' so founden' defectif in doyng the Contrarie of this orden[a]nce And that as ofte as he therof shall' be conuycte And the forseid' C s' to be devided in the fourme suyng that is to seie th[a]t on' half th[er]of to remayn' to the vse of the chambre of the Gildehalle And that other half to the vse of the companye of the seid' Crafte.

Item that from hens forward eu[er]y p[er]sone enfrannchised in the seide Craft that holdeth open Shop' wtin the seid' Citee ne subarbes therof paye yerely atte iiij pryncipall' termes of the yere to the supportacion' of the charges of the same Craft, xij d'. th[a]t is to seye eu[er]y quarter iij d' to be disposed and demened by the discrecion' of the Wardeyns and goode men' of the same Craft for the tyme beyng.

Item that from hens forth' no p[er]sone enfrannchised of the same Craft wtoute licence of the Wardeyns of the seid' Craft for the tyme beyng And of vj or iiij of the most sufficiannt p[er]sones of the same Craft occupie ne hold' open wtin the seid' Citee ne subarbes therof but onely 00 [sic, recte one] shop' for the grete p[er]els and myschefes th[a]t necclygently hau fallen' And here after may falle thurgh ignorannce and vnkonnyng of theire s[er]u[a]ntes or app[re]ntices the seid' Craft so occupying or kepyng any shop' under (fn. 2) his maister In whiche the maister atte all' tymes cannot be p[re]sent to the ou[er]syght and examinacion' of alle feates made be his s[er]u[a]nt (fn. 2) ne app[re]ntice in a Shop' so discen[c]ed from his maister opon' payn' of C s' to be arrered of eu[er]y p[er]sone doyng the contra[ry] of this Article [a word gone and two others illegible] th[a]t eny so be found' defectyf and to be devided in the fourme aforeseid'.

[p. 10] Item that eu[er]y p[er]sone of the seid' Craft holdyng opyn' Shop' in this seide Citee & subarbes from this tyme for Ward' when and as ofte as he there be warned by the Bedell' or s[er]u[a]nt of the seid' Craft in the name of the Wardeyns of the seid' Craft for the tyme beyng beredy and attendannt at houre & plase to hym assigned vpon' payne to paye at eu[er]y tyme that he th[er]of do the contrarie xijd' to be arrered and devided in the man[n]e[r] and fourme afore rehersed.

[Translation] Which said bill being read to the Mayor and Aldermen and fully understood by them, because it seemed to them that all the articles in the bill are reasonable, redounding to the welfare and honour of the public, unanimously consented to the ordering, decreement and sentencing of the said articles, here among others, to be entered of record in the manner and form in which they are prayed, for the future firmly to be observed, reserving to themselves power to add, diminish and correct according to changes in times and conditions as shall seem expedient, [pp. 11–14 blank.]


  • 1. For a summary of this document, see Sharpe, Letter-Book K, pp. 234–5; for another, but inaccurate, transcript, see City of London Livery Companies' Commission, Report and Appendix, vol. 3 (1884), pp. 754–5.
  • 2. Doubtful word; the manuscript is badly worn here.