Register Book: 1605, January-June

Pages 14-26

The Spanish Company. Originally published by London Record Society, London, 1973.

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1605, January-June

92. [p. 27] An assembly held at Pewterers' Hall on Wednesday afternoon, 30 January 1605 in the presence of the right worshipful Mr. Thomas Wilford, president, Mr. Roger Howe, treasurer, and the following assistants:

93. John Newman, Nicholas Ling, Robert Bowyer, Arthur Jaxon, John Dorrington, John Bate, and Mr. Bostock one of the generality.

94. A letter was openly read out from the lords of the privy council.

95. It was addressed to the lord chief baron of the exchequer, Sir Daniel Dun master of the requests to his majesty, Sir Edward Coke the attorney general, and Sir Thomas Edmonds, secretary to his majesty for the French tongue, or to any three of them. Its contents were as follows.

96. After our very hartie commendations to your Lordship and the rest. Wheras upon his Majesty's Cominge to this Crowne and the ceasing of the trobles formerlie dependinge betwene this kingdome and the State of Spaine, the marchants of this Realme which use the trade of Spaine, and which have bine auncientlie made and Constituted a Corporation by the favor of former Princes, with the graunt of all priviledges therunto belonginge, did adresse themselves unto me the Lord Chancelor, and made suyte for [p. 28] the ratyfyinge of their Corporation by his Majestie, upon the knowledge which was taken that Aucthoritie was given by his majestie to me for the better ease of his Majestie, and for the expedition of the subiect, to renewe all Corporations of this Realme, according to their present forme. And accordinglie the said merchants obteyned the renewinge of their said Corporation, by aucthoritie whereof they pretend to have carefullie endevored the setlinge of their said trade, by establishinge such necessarie orders for goverment as are meete to be observed in the same, and to appoynte Consulls to reside for that purpose in the principall Portes of Spayne. But the said merchants doe complayne that they are ympeached and disturbed in their said proceedings by Certaine Retaylers and Shoppkeepers, which are prohibited by their charter to use the trade of merchandize and also by others not free of the said Company, which doe (as yt is informed) disable and discredit the power of the said Charter, pretending that the same is not sufficiently authorized and warranted by lawe, for that their Charter graunted by the late Queene became voyde by Non User, during the longe tyme of the Contynuance of the warr, which doth therfore dissolve the said Corporation, unles the same be restored againe by a new Creation. By reason of the which scruple (which is alleaged to be the opynion of some lawyers) the saide Company beinge doubtful how to proceede, and to governe themselves for the ordringe of their trade, have forborne to make any assemblies, and to putt their Charter in execution till our pleasures weare knowne, concerninge the validitie of the said Charter. And although wee holde the foresaide allegation of the non-user in this case to be a strict interpretation, Considering that ther was noe default in the merchant, but that the warres weare the occasion thereof: nevertheles we have thought good both for our owne better satisfaction, and likewise at the humble suyte of the said merchants, to recommend to your Lordship and the rest, to Consider of the validitie of their present graunt, prayinge you not only to certyfie us your opynions what you Conceave of the sufficiency therof in poynt of Lawe, but in case there be defect in the said graunt, and that it be needefull to obteyne a newe Charter from his Majestie, to advyse also how far forth yt is Convenient to yeelde to the enlargement of the said charter, in such farther matters as shalbe propounded unto you by the said merchants for the Comon good (as it is affirmed) of the said trade, and [p. 29] thereof lykewise to Certifie us your opynions as speedilie as you maie because it importeth that expedition be used therein. And so wee bid yow hartelie farewell from the Courte at Whitehall the 28 of January 1605.

97. Your lordships very loving friendes Thomas Ellesmere Cancellarius, Thomas Dorsett, Nottingham, Suffolke, Northumberland, E. Worcester, Devonshire, H. Northampton, Cranborne, (fn. 10) E. Zouche, Thomas Burghley, E. Wotton.

98. After the letters had been read out, 'and a good tyme spent in debating and considering of the same, with an expectation that a greater nomber of the Company wold have mett at this tyme and upon this occasion', it was finally agreed that 'all diligence should be used and care taken in prosecution of the honorable entent of the Lords'. For this purpose a committee was set up to confer together and to attend the lords' committee in order to expedite the business. It was composed of the president, Sir William Romeney, Mr. How the treasurer, Mr. Jaxon, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Bostock and the secretary, or any five of them. The company agreed to authorise the expenditure of any money that the committee should 'disburse or bestowe in gratuities touching or concerning the same'.

99. [p. 30] An assembly held at Pewterers' Hall on the afternoon of Friday 8 February 1605 in the presence of the following assistants:

100. Thomas Wilford, president, Roger How, treasurer, Sir William Romney, John Newman, George Collymere, George Hanger, Robert Cobb, Nicholas Lyng, Arthur Jaxon, John Bate, Robert Savage, Lawrence Greene, John Castlyn, Gyles Parslowe, Simon Furner, and William Jennings one of the generality.

101. A copy of a letter was read out from the lord chief baron, Sir Daniel Dun, Sir Edward Coke and Sir Thomas Edmunds, to the lords of the privy council in answer to their letter entered up in the proceedings of the last assembly.

102. It was endorsed as sent to the lords of the privy council, and its contents were as follows.

103. Our humble duties to your lordships remembred. Wee have according to your honorable letters considered of the Chartre made to the merchaunts trading into Spaine, and the confirmation thereof by his Majesty, and Doe fynde two imperfections or defects in their charter, first in the forme of the incorporation being incorporated, per nomen Presidentis assistentium et societatis mercatorum Hispanie et Portugalie, where they should have byn named of England or some parte thereof, trading into Spaine and Portingall, secondly by the charter they ought to have elected yerely a President for one yere to endure, which they have neglected [blank in ms.] yeres. Also the confirmation is insufficient for it is made, nunc Presidenti Assistenti et societati et cetera and there was no Presedent att the tyme of the [p. 31] Confirmation, wee thincke it fitt that a newe charter be made (with reformation of these errors and defects) for as without a charter good order (the only meanes to avoid confusion) cannot be observed, so is it necessary that the charter be so tempered and framed as nothing may be omitted necessary for the advauncement of trade and traffique, nor any thing inserted into it that may be repugnant to lawe, or preiudiciall to the comon wealth which being as much as was required of us, wee humbly take our leaves, and ever remayne, moast humbly att your Lordships Commandment.

104. Thomas ffleming, Daniele Dun, Edward Coke, Thomas Edmonds.

105. The above letter was read out in court in addition to the letter written by the lords and entered under the last assembly. It was then resolved that a new charter should be procured with all convenient speed, and a committee was appointed 'to conferr and consider of all things needefull to be incerted or added to the same charter for the good of the Company'. Its members were the president, the treasurer, Sir William Romney, Mr. Cockayne, Mr. Weech, Mr. Jaxon, and Mr. Dorrington.

106. It was also agreed that the sum of £100 in the hands of the treasurer, borrowed at interest some time earlier, should be disbursed by the treasurer in furtherance of the same business, at the direction of the members of the above committee or any four of them. If the original £100 had already been repaid then another £100 was to be borrowed. The members of the committee, or any four of them, should make out a warrant under their hands which would be 'a sufficient dischardg to the said Mr. Treasurer for payment thereof or any parte or parcell thereof'.

107. The copy of a letter from Viscount Cranborne, the principal secretary of his majesty, to the attorney-general.

108. Mr. Atturney. Whereas there was a graunt made att his Majesty's first commyng to the Crowne unto the company of merchaunts trading into Spaine upon my Lord Chancellour's [p. 32] generall graunt, which synce being viewed and perused by my Lord Chief Baron and others appointed Commissioners for that purpose, is found defective in some particulers, these are now to lett you knowe that it is his Majesty's pleasure you should draw a new graunt in due forme of lawe, whereunto hereafter no iust exceptions neede be taken for the satisfaction of the said merchaunts, towards whom his Majesty is graciously disposed to use all the favor that may be. And so I committ you to god. From the Court at Whitehall the [blank in ms.] day of ffebruary 1605. (fn. 1)

109.An assembly held at Pewterers' Hall on18 March 1605 in the presence of the following worshipful assistants:

110. Thomas Wilford, president, Richard Staper, Nicholas Ling, Richard Weech, John Bate, Robert Chamberlen, George Collymore, Andrew Banning, John Castlyn.

111. A letter, recently received from Viscount Cranborne the king's principal secretary, was read out. It was endorsed as sent to Thomas Wilford and the rest of the merchants trading to Spain, and was as follows:

112. After my hartie Comendations, fforasmuch as his Majesty hath appointed Sir Charles Cornwalleis knight, to be his Ambassadour resident with the king of Spaine, and that it is Convenient both for the good of his majesty's service, and for the Advancement of your trade into those parts, that he be fully enstructed and informed of the present state of your trade, which he cannot be better then from your owne relation, I have thought good to require yow, that yow will depute some persons amongste yow of sufficiency and understandinge in those busines, to resorte to the said Sir Charles Cornewalleis, and to Conferr with him about the same, as also to informe him what ancient rights and priviledges you doe Claime in those parts, what taxes or Impositions are exacted upon yow, [p. 33] Contrary to former treaties, and all other incidencies of Complaints or grievances, which yow shall thinke fitt for his knowledge, and his interposition, wherein I hope yow wilbe the more carefull and diligent to waite on him, seing it Concerneth wholy your owne good and benifitt. And so I Comend yow to god, ffrom Grenwich this 18 of March 1605.
Your Loving frende

113. It was therefore ordered that the president, the treasurer, Sir William Romeney, Mr. Cockayne, Mr. Robert Bowyer, Mr. Jaxon, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Bate and Mr. Lawrence Greene should attend the ambassador, to inform him of the matters mentioned in the letter.

114. A draft for the new charter was also read out, 'which the Company praie may be procured and dispatched with all Convenient speede'.

115.An assembly held at the house of Thomas Wilford the president, on Wednesday afternoon 20 March 1605 by the following worshipful persons, Mr. Wilford, president, Mr. Cokayne, Mr. Jaxon, Mr. Dorrington.

116. Although the meeting was called to consider some information to be given to the ambassador, and the speedy effecting of the charter, several of those who had been notified failed to attend.

Yet nevertheles it is thought fitt and so agreed that Mr. Presedent Sir William Romeney and the Secretary (who have promised to undertake the Jorney) and Mr. Bowyer and Mr. Greene yf there leyzure will permitt, shall tomorrow morning procure a Coach and undertake a present Jorney to Mr. Attorney, to his house in the Country, for the speedy dispatch of the charter, before my Lord Admirall the great Ambassador, and Sir William Cornewalleis the lidgeor Ambassador goe over, which is expected shalbe within few daies. And the said fyve persons present have sent a noate under their hands to Mr. Treasurer to deliver £4 towards the Charges of the Jorney.

117. [p. 34] It was also thought fit that a collection of documents should be drawn up and sent to the ambassador, including the ancient privileges granted to the English merchants by the kings of Spain and Portugal. The documents were to be procured by Mr. Dorrington from Portugal, 'where he saieth the same may be obteyned'.

118. [p. 35] A court of assistants held at Pewterers' Hall, 8 June 1605, in the presence of Thomas Wilford, president and the following assistants:

119. Sir Robert Lee, Sir John Watts, Sir John Swynnerton, Sir William Romeney, Robert Chamberlen, William Cokeyne, Nicholas Ling, Arthur Jackson, John Dorrington, Robert Savage, Edward James, Symion Furner, John Newton, William Towreson, Nicholas Stile, Thomas Owen, Richard Wych, Robert Cobb, George Hanger, Thomas Forman, John Whitson of Bristol, Richard Langley, secretary, Roger Howe, late treasurer, Percival Brooke of York.

120. First, the president announced that the king had been graciously pleased to grant the company a new charter which had been sealed with the great seal of England on the preceding Saturday and bore the date 31 May 1605. The charter was then read out in its entirety by Richard Langley the secretary.

121. After the reading it was resolved

that letters should be presently written by Mr. President to the severall port townes to intimate and make knowne unto them his Majesty's gratious favour in that behaulf, to th'end they may ioyne and advise with the company for the laying Downe of good orders and constitutions for the government of the societie.

122. [p. 36] It was agreed in the meantime to set up a committee composed of the president, Sir John Swynnerton, Sir William Romeney, Mr. Cokayne, Mr. Wyche, Mr. Howe, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Jaxon, Mr. Whitson of Bristol, Mr. Newton, Mr. Brooke of York, Mr. Owen, Mr. Towreson and Mr. James or any seven of them. They were entreated to meet at Merchant Tailors' Hall the following morning,
to consider of the oathes and ordinances for the government of the company, and to prepare the same in all readines against the next court of Assistaunts, to th'end Mr. President, Assistents and other officers and freemen may then be sworne, and so to proceed for the establishing of goverment in the company with speed, and to take order with the Customers that no entries be made of the goods of any but only of such as be free of the company.

123.An assembly held at Merchant Tailors' Hall on Saturday 8 June 1605 by the following worshipful persons:

124. The president, Sir John Swynnerton, Mr. Cokayne, Mr. Wyche, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Newton, Mr. Howe, Mr. Owen, Mr. James, Mr. Whitson of Bristol, Mr. Brooke of York, Mr. Chaple of Exeter.

125. In accordance with the order made at the last court of assistants the abovenamed persons

spent the forenoone in perusing the awncient oathes and divers of the old ordynaunces awnciently made for the goverment of this Company and according as tyme and occasion did require did alter some few thinges therein, and did defer the consideration of the residue of the said ordynaunces untill some other tyme.

126. [p. 37] A general court held at Pewterers' Hall on the morning of Wednesday 12 June 1605 in the presence of Thomas Wilford, president and the following assistants:

127. Sir Robert Lee, Sir William Romeney, Mr. Staper, Mr. Chamberlen, Mr. Cokayne, Mr. Newman, Mr. Ling, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Savage, Mr. James, Mr. Bowyer, Mr. Newton, Mr. Towreson, Mr. Cobb, Mr. Hanger, Mr. Sweene, Mr. Forman, Richard Langley, secretary.

128. Also present were Sir Thomas Pullison, Mr. Howe the former treasurer, Mr. Brooke of York and divers of the generality.

129. ffirst at this generall court the King's Majesties moast gracious charter under his highnes greate seale of England conteyning fyve skyns of vellam and bearing date the 31 day of May last being in the Third yeere of his Majesty's Raigne of his Realmes of England ffrance and Ireland, and of Scotland the eight and thirteth was openly redd in the presence of the Assistants and generality here present.

130. After reading, Thomas Wilford the president named in the charter took his oath of office.

131. Richard Langley as the secretary named in the charter also took the oath appointed for his office.

132. [p. 38] The eighteen assistants who were present at the court, as before named, 'did also receive and take the oath for th'execution of the said places'.

133. Sir William Romeney, named in the charter, took the oath of a freeman by ancient trade, 'and paied the fine due upon such admission, viz. to the use of the said society 6s. 8d., and to the Secretary 12d. and to the Beadle 6d.'.

134.A general court held at Pewterers' Hall on Thursday 13 June 1605 in the presence of Thomas Wilford, president, and the following assistants:

135. Sir William Romeney, Robert Chamberlen, John Harby, Nicholas Ling, Robert Savage, Symion Furner, William Towreson, Thomas Owen, Robert Cobb, George Hanger, Laurence Greene, Thomas Forman; the secretary of the company and divers of the generality.

136. It was agreed by general consent

that the names of Mr. Thomas ffarington, Thomas Bostock and William ffreeman (being meere marchaunts by auntient trade) are omitted out of the newe charter lately graunted by the king's Majestie, yett by the generall words they are made as capable of the freedome as any other that is named in the charter. Neverthelesse for the better manifestation of their right to posterity for the benefite of their servaunts and children it is thought fitt that some mention be thereof made in the [p. 39] books and records of this company, and some indorsement thereof to be made upon the back of the charter, and that all others that be in the like case shall receave the like favour and have the like entry and endorsement as aforesaid.

137. John Harby, Symion Furner, and Thomas Owen, three of the assistants who have been absent from the previous court, took their appointed oaths of office.

138. William Harrison, named in the charter,

was recommended to the Company by certen Lords of his Majesty's privie counsaill and for other causes the company moving, he had therefore administred unto him the oath of a freeman by auncient trade, and only paied the fine and sommes due upon such admissions viz. to the use of the Society 6s. 8d. and to the Secretary 12d. and the Beadle 6d.

139. James Flesher, who was named in the charter, had previously paid Mr. Howe the former treasurer £10 to the use of the society in return for his inclusion in it. Similarly Robert Brooke, Henry Peyton, Humphrey Slany, Francis Olyver, Thomas Eaton 'also Heaton', and Daniel Hills had each paid £10 to the president for the inclusion of their names, which were accordingly inserted into the charter on his instructions. 'Nowe at this court after some debate and discourse whether they should take the oath of freemen by auncient trade or by redemption in th'end it was concluded and resolved, and they had all administred unto them the oath of a Redemptioner'. Each paid 6d. to the secretary and 12d. to the beadle. (fn. 2)

140. [p. 40] A court of assistants held at Pewterers' Hall on Friday morning 14 June 1605, the following being present:

141. Mr. Thomas Wilford, president, Sir William Romeney, William Cokayne, John Newman, Nicholas Lyng, Arthur Jackson, John Dorrington, Edward James, Symion Furner, John Newton, William Towreson, Thomas Owen, Richard Wyche, Robert Cobb, George Hanger, Laurence Greene, Thomas Forman; the secretary of the fellowship.

142. First, the claims of several persons 'who pretended right and interest to the freedome of this society' were heard and examined, but 'it was resolved and held fitt to deferre their freedome untill a generall court which is appointed this afternoon for the same purpose'.

143. Nicholas Dickins, a ship's master,
praying his freedome by Redemption was Denyed the same, by reason that it was neither thought fitt nor allowable by the charter to admitt of any master of a Shipp or common Marryner because they are speciallie excepted out of the charter.

144. A letter from the lord chief baron was read out requesting the freedom of the company for certain merchants of Southampton.

But forasmuch as some of them are shopp keapers, and some officers of the custome house, and that his Lordship desireth to have them all to be admitted free without paying any money for the same, therefore Mr. President is entreated to take some of the Assistents with him and to attend my Lord chief Baron and to informe his Lordship howe Dangerous a president it were and how inconvenyent for the company to yeld to his lordship's request. (fn. 3)

145. [p. 41] It was agreed that a committee should be appointed to attend with all convenient speed upon the honourable lords who had furthered the granting of the charter, to convey the humble thanks of the whole company. Moreover the committee was 'to desire their honourable patronage and ayd in the using maynteyning and enioying of the liberties which the king's moast Excellent Majestie by the advice of their Lordships hath graunted unto the company'. The members designated were the president, Sir John Swynnerton, Sir William Romeney, alderman, Mr. John Jowles, Mr. Cokayne, Mr. Wyche, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Jaxon and Mr. Towreson, or any four of them.

146. It was also ordered and agreed that Roger Howe the former treasurer should hand over to the president the sum of £50 to be used presently in the affairs of the company. The money was to be allowed him when he presented his account. Mr. Howe was also asked to bring in his account with all convenient speed, and a copy of this order would be delivered to him by the secretary for his discharge.

147.A general court held at Pewterers' Hall on Friday afternoon 13 June 1605 in the presence of

148. Mr. Thomas Wilford, president, Mr. Newman, Mr. Harby, Mr. Ling, Mr. Jaxon, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Savage, Mr. James, Mr. Furner, Mr. Newton, Mr. Towreson, Mr. Owen, Mr. Hanger, Mr. Greene; the secretary and divers of the generality.

149. [p. 42] Eleven persons claimed their freedom by apprenticeship to merchants who were ancient traders. Their cases were examined and found valid, whereupon each of them paid 6s. 8d. to the use of the company and was admitted, taking the oath of a freeman by ancient trade. The claimants were Richard Stephens by service with Richard Hale, Thomas and Phillip Honnyman by service with William Dawks, William Walton by service with Sir John Spencer, Edmond Traves by service with Sir Thomas Blanck, John Wormell by service with Nicholas Bond, Edmond Peshall by service with William Villars, Robert Jenny by service with Robert Brooke, Thomas Hukeley by service with William Bond, John Strachey by service with Sir John Spencer and Henry Ball by service with Sir George Bond.

150. Three other persons claimed their freedom by apprenticeship to merchants who had been redemptioners. Their cases were examined and found valid, each paying a fee of £5 to the company, 'being asmuch as their severall Maisters paied at the tyme of their severall admittances', and taking the oath of a freeman by redemption. The claimants were Christopher Cardinall of Ipswich, named in the previous charter and formerly apprenticed to Robert Lymer of Ipswich, who was admitted by redemption within a year after the granting of the charter of 1577; Thomas Burge, formerly apprenticed to George Hanger who paid £5 to be admitted into the freedom on 14 August 1577; and lastly Francis Dent, salter, formerly apprenticed to John Dent who was similarly admitted for £5 by redemption on 14 August 1577.

151. [p. 43] Two further persons claimed the freedom by patrimony 'in the right of their fathers who were auntient freemen well knowne to the company'. They were William Wilford son of Thomas Wilford the president, and Hugh Bourman son of Simon Bourman. (fn. 4) Their claims were allowed, whereupon they took the oath of freemen by ancient trade and paid 6s. 8d. each to the use of the company.

152. Also William Palmer and Richard Waltham were admitted as redemptioners, taking their oaths accordingly, since each had formerly paid £10 to the president to have his name included in the charter, 'which Mr. President caused to be performed accordingly'.

153. It was agreed and enacted

that every person and persons, that is or shalbe free of this society which hath already ioyned with any partener or parteners not being free of the Company shall presently make relacion thereof in wryting to the Secretary of the Company, signifying with whom, and in what manner he hath so ioyned, upon payne that every one that shall not performe the same (besides the infringing of his oath) shall pay such fyne, as by a generall Court shalbe agreed. Moreover yt is enacted and agreed that every person and persons not free of this Company, which hath adventured any marchandizes into Spayne or Portugale, or any places Comprehended within our priviledges, and also all such as have ioyned with [p. 44] any freeman, shall have the favour and liberty of sixe moneths (viz) between this and the feast of Christmas next ensuing for retorning of their wares and merchandizes from the said places. Provided alwaies, that no such person or persons, not being free, nor any who have ioyned with freemen shall at any tyme or tymes from hensforth, adventure any wares or merchandize outward unto any the said places before mentioned. And moreover that after this day no person or persons free of this fellowshipp shall ioyne or deale as parteners in occupying with any person or persons not free of the Company, nor with any retailor artificer Inholder farmor Common Marryner or handycrafts man of or for any goods wares or merchandize, to be transported or brought to or from Spayne or Portugall or any place or places comprehended within our priviledg upon payne to forfeyt twenty in the hundred, to the use of the said fellowshipp. Provided alwaies, that this acte, shall not extend to any person, that doth occupy with any other being beyond the sea, that may at his retorne enjoy the freedome.

154.A general court held at Pewterers' Hall on Friday 28 June 1605, there being present Thomas Wilford, president, and the following:

155. Sir Robert Lee, Sir John Watts, Sir John Swynnerton, Mr. Staper, Mr. Chamberleyn, Mr. Newman, Mr. Lyng, Mr. Jackson, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Savage, Mr. Bowyer, Mr. Furner, Mr. Newton, Mr. Towerson, Mr. Owen, Mr. Wyche, Mr. Cobb, Mr. Hanger, Mr. Greene; the secretary, and also divers of the generality.

156. [p. 45] After the confirmation of the business concluded at the last general court, a letter was read out which had been procured from the lord high treasurer to send to the customers, ordering them not to take entries for any cargoes to be sent to Spain or Portugal unless their owners were free of the company. The letter was as follows.

157. After my harty comendations. Although yt hath pleased his majesty by his letters patents under his greate seale of England, to graunt a large Charter unto his highnes subjects, the mere marchaunts of England trading into Spaine and Portugal, and thereby inhibiting all others to use any trade, to those two Realmes or either of them, other then such as may lawfully Clayme by vertue of the said Charter, or be admitted by the true meaning thereof, and by the same letters patents hath graunted that they and such only as shalbe of the said Incorporation shall have the whole entier and sole trade to and from thence, straightly prohibiting all others from trading to those parts, and also thereby requiring all Customers Comptrollers and other officers, that neither they their Clarcks or substitutes shall take any entry of any merchaundizes to be transported into Spaine or Portugall, or make any agreement for Custome, but only with such as are or shalbe free of that Company, and thereby excluding all retaylours Artificers Inholders ffarmors, Comon Marryners, and handycrafts men, out of the said society, as by the said charter may fully and at lardg appeare. Yet neverthelesse I am informed that diverse persons not being free of the said society, doe presume and adventure to trade thether, contrary to the tenour and effect of the said charter, and to the manifest Contempt thereof. Wherefore these are to will and requier you to have due and speciall care for the true observance of his Majesty's gratious pleasure in that behalf. And for the better performance hereof, I require you [p. 46] not to take entry for any merchaundizes to be transported as aforesaid nor make any agreement for custome with any person other then of and with such as shall produce, and have sufficient testymony under the hand of the President or his deputy that they are of that fellowshipp, and are neither Retailours or Artificers, and by their orders allowed to use trade thether as meere merchaunts, inhibiting and refrayning all others that shall attempt any thing to the contrary. And thereof fayle yow not; ffrom Dorset howse this 27 of June 1605.
Your loving freind
T. Dorset.

158. Since the form of the letter was well liked, it was agreed that twenty copies of it should be procured and sent out to the following places: London, Bristol, Bridgwater, Chichester, Ipswich, Chester, Gloucester, Sandwich, Lynn, Yarmouth, Poole, Boston, Hull, Plymouth, Exeter, Newcastle, Southampton, Barnstaple, Cardiff, Milford Haven.

159. The company then proceeded to the election of deputies for the following port towns,
and putting two in election for every severall place the election (being made by lifting up of hands according to usuall manner) did fall upon these worshippfull parsons following, who were elected to supply the said place or office of Deputie to the president of this Company for the severall places whereof they are severally and respectively chosen as hereafter followeth and also for all those places which in former tymes were allotted to be under their severall Jurisdictions.

160. John Barker for Bristol 'cum membris ut supra'; Richard Dochester for Exeter etc.; Nicholas Downe for Barnstaple etc.; John Hassard the elder for Lyme etc.; (fn. 5) James Bagg for Plymouth etc.; Fulk Aldersey for Chester etc.; [p. 47] Alexander Jones for Bridgwater etc.; (fn. 6) John Clynch for Ipswich etc.; William Harebrowne for Yarmouth etc.; (fn. 7) John Lister for Kingston upon Hull etc.; William Nevey for Southampton etc.; Thomas Higgins for Rye etc.; Thomas Sendall for Lynn etc. (fn. 8)

161. The election of deputies for Sandwich and Newcastle was deferred for the time being 'for want of names and understanding who are fytt men for such a service'.

162. It was not thought proper to appoint deputies for Totnes, Taunton and Chard, 'because they are members, and under the devision of the Cytties and townes before mencioned'.

163. It was agreed that the president and the secretary, assisted by Mr. Howe, Mr. Wyche, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Jackson and Mr. Towrson, or any four of them, 'shall presently consider of fytt and convenient letters to be written to the severall deputies before mentioned and to cause the letters to be procured from my Lord Treasurer to be sent and conveyed awaie with all speed'.

164. Another letter was read out from the king's principal secretary the earl of Salisbury, urging the appointment of one Bertrand Crosmer as consul in Valencia.

165. It was endorsed as sent to the president, assistants and other members of the company trading to Spain, and its contents were as follows:

166. [p. 48] After my harty comendations. This bearer Bertrand Crosmer, being well knowne, as I am informed, to diverse of you, hath entreated my recomendation, in a suite of his, which he makes unto you, for the Consullshipp of the Province of Valencia. How fitt he may be for it, and of what use he may prove to our nation in that place, being a stranger, I leave to your owne considerations, onely my intent being to afforde him this favorable recomendation that he is reported unto me to be both an honest man and of good discretion and experience in those places. And so I leave you to god's protection, from the Courte at Greenwich this 11 of June 1605.
Your loving freind

167. After the letter had been read out, the company resolved

to take further tyme to advise and consider what is fitt to be doen concerning the same. And yf any sufficient Englishman may be fownd out, to undertake the service, they rather hold it fitt to preferre one of our owne nation then any stranger whatever.

168. The assembly was then notified of 'the greate chardge disbursed and to be paied about the procuring of the Companies charter'. A committee consisting of the president, Mr. How, Mr. Newman, Mr. Wych, Mr. Lyng, Mr. Dorrington, Mr. Jackson or any five of them was formed, 'to consider of the charge alreddy disbursed and what payments or gratifications are fyt to be made or bestowed uppon all such as have taken paines in and about the same'. The company agreed to approve whatever decisions the committee should reach.

169. [p. 49] John Newman, Nicholas Ling and Lawrence Greene all stood as candidates for the post of treasurer in the coming year,

and by full election by hands Mr. Lawrence Greene was chosen Treasurer, who being here present in open Court did receave and take the Oath for the due execution of the said Office and hath promised against the next Court to nomynate his suertie according to the auncient order.

170. It was ordered that Roger How the former treasurer should prepare his accounts for the next court, so that auditors for them might be appointed. In the meantime Mr. How hath promised to satisfie the said newe Treasorer the some of Forty pownds to be ymployed in the Companies affaires, uppon the Companies promise that he shalbe allowed the said some in his Accompt and that the Companie will have hym harmlesse concerning the same.

171. Four persons claimed their freedom by patrimony in the right of their fathers who were all ancient freemen: John Newton, mercer, son of John Newton, William Hill, grocer and Edmond Hill, draper, sons of Edmond Hill, grocer, and George Whitmore son of William Whitmore. They were all admitted, taking the oath of a freeman by ancient trade, and each paid 6s. 8d. to the use of the society.

172. [p. 50] Eight other persons also claimed their freedom by apprenticeship to merchants who were ancient traders: Edward Collyns, clothworker, by service with Jon Symcotts, (fn. 9) John Cage, grocer, by service with Augustine Fulke, John Barnaby, draper, by service with John Combes, Richard Howse, mercer, by service with Robert Wincoll, Thomas Stokeley, merchant tailor, by service with John Stokeley, Thomas Hanson, ironmonger, by service with Sir Thomas Cambell, Bartholomew Holland, clothworker, by service with Richard Stapers, and Edward Cox, mercer, by service with Leonard Harward. The claims were examined and found valid, whereupon each claimant paid his fine of 6s. 8d. to the use of the fellowship and was admitted, taking the oath of a freeman by ancient trade.

173. After the above oaths were administered and received,

and the contents thereof being fully weyed, and considered and to th'end every one of this society may be the more carefull to performe and fulfill the same, it is agreed and ordered that the Secretary of this Company shall deliver to every freeman of this society the true copy of the oath mynistred unto every such freeman, at his admission into this society, for which copy it shalbe lawfull for the Secretary to demaund and take the some of six pence of every such freeman of this society.


  • 10. Cecil had been created Viscount Cranborne on 20 Aug. 1604, and earl of Salisbury on 4 May 1605.
  • 1. 8 Feb. 1605 (Cal. S.P. Domestic 1603–10, 193).
  • 2. Presumably a mistake for the usual sums of 12d. to the secretary and 6d. to the beadle.
  • 3. See above, p. xli.
  • 4. Simon Bourman was one of the best-known English factors in Seville before 1585. He married a Spaniard and on his return to England the Inquisition made several attempts to prevent his wife and children from accompanying him. The half-Spanish Hugh Bourman was later elected consul for Seville and San Lucar, and the Simon Bourman who stood for Malaga may have been his brother (see below 351; Cott. Vesp. C. vii f. 375; Madrid, Archivo Historico Nacional, 2946, 16 July 1577).
  • 5. Margin note, 'under Excetor'.
  • 6. Margin note, 'under Bristoll'.
  • 7. Margin note, 'Aunciently under Lynn'. In the right hand margin is written 'Leonard Holmes', presumably inserted after the latter had succeeded William Harebrowne as assistant for Yarmouth (see below, 231).
  • 8. The name 'Henry Ball' has been crossed out.
  • 9. 'John' has been crossed out and 'Jon' written above.