Pages 28-29

Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664. Originally published by EJ Francis, London, 1878.

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IV. 91. Letter from the Lords of the Board of Green Cloth to the Lord Mayor, stating that they had observed that great abuses were committed by the Brewers, in and about the City, in brewing Ale and Beer at extraordinary rates, as 12s., 14s., and 16s. a barrel, which had produced continual increase of drunkenness. Since the Brewers alleged as an excuse the composition lately made with the King, the Board desired the Lord Mayor to understand that their allegations were frivolous, and that they thought it fit they should be restrained to 10s. per barrel, and that he should cause proclamation to be made to that effect. The Board intended to take steps for suppressing all private brewhouses not free of the Company, and all such as brewed or retailed Beer or Ale in their private houses.
Whitehall, 15th December, 1617.

IV. 92. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the Board of Green Cloth, in reply, stating that not only were the Court of Aldermen directed by Statutes as to the restraint of the brewing and sale of Beer and Ale of immoderate strength and price, but they had received sundry directions from the Privy Council, requiring them to be careful in the execution of such Statutes, and to see the Assize of Beer (fn. 1) and Ale from time to time made reasonable and agreeable to the prices of grain. At a Session held at Michaelmas last, the Assize was made in open Court, and the Brewers rated at 8s. the best and 4s. the smallest. The Brewers, for their private lucre, so replenished the tippling-houses with headstrong Beer, that great scarcity of bread corn was occasioned; and if they were allowed to brew at 10s. per barrel, the Alehouse-keepers could not sell a full Ale quart of Beer of that strength for a penny, and a full Ale quart for a halfpenny, as required by the Statute, 9th James I., to which law the Sessions had always had special regard; they had therefore rated the best beer at 8s., and the smallest at 4s.
16th December, 1617.

VII. 12. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the Lords of the Council, forwarding a petition from the Brewers of London, complaining that their Beer and Ale was taken from them for the use of His Majesty's House; their drays, horses, and servants were forced to carry and deliver the same by the appointment of certain purveyors for that purpose, and, in case they failed, they were committed to the custody of Pursuivants, to their great charge and hindrance. They could get neither present payment nor other content for the same; by reason of which most of them would be forced to give over their trade, leaving the City to seek for their provision of that kind. The Court of Aldermen could do no less than submit the complaint to the Council, beseeching that the Brewers might, according to the Charter of King Edward, enjoy the privileges granted to the City, and thereby with comfort serve His Majesty's occasions, when they knew their services were required; and, for their Beer and Ale so taken, should be contented according to the rates, grants, or Charter in Parliament.
Dated in margin, the 3rd of November, 1629.


  • 1. The Assize of Brewers was regulated by 51 Henry III., Statute VI., and subsequent Statutes. Early instances of the process of setting the Assize by the Mayor will be found in the 'Memorials of London in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Centuries,' 'Liber Albus, &c. A printed Proclamation by the Mayor for setting the Assize of Ale and Beer, issued in 1557, printed by John Day, was entered at Stationers' Hall. See Arber's 'Registers of the Stationers' Company.'