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

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'Cloth', in Analytical Index to the Series of Records Known as the Remembrancia 1579-1664, (London, 1878) pp. 68-78. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]


I. 126. Letter from Edward Stafford, Esq., to the Lord Mayor, stating that Her Majesty, to recompense his services, had granted a Patent to him, giving him the penalties incurred by the Clothiers in England and Wales, for making kerseys contrary to the Statutes, and that several so offending had compounded with him and had been discharged, they had nevertheless been interfered with in the City. He therefore requested the Lord Mayor, after examining his Patent under the great Seal, to give such orders as would prevent them from being molested in the future.
24th August, 1580.

I. 127. Letter from the same to the same, thanking him for his favourable answer, and stating that the chartered rights of the City would not in any way be interfered with.
29th August, 1580.

I. 128. Letter from the Lord Mayor to Edward Stafford, Esq., stating that the matter respecting his Patent had been considered by the Court of Aldermen. By the Advice of Counsel, they found that the Letters Patent granted to him the execution of two Statutes, Viz., the 4 and 5 Philip and Mary (fn. 1) and the 14th of her present Majesty, (fn. 2) touching the search, survey, and benefit of forefeitures, limited by these Statutes to kerseys only, which had been, by Parliament, vested for London in such persons as had been appointed by the Mayor and Aldermen from time to time. The officers so appointed had exercised the office according to law, and Her Majesty had yearly received her part of the profits, which had amounted to more than all the rest of the Realm together. Moreover, long before his Letter Patent, the Queen had granted a Charter to the City, assinging to the Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens by express words the due execution of the Statute concerning the searching, measuring, sealing, and weighing of all kind of Cloths, and, by the same Charter, the same Law, touching kerseys and all other kinds of Cloth, had been put into execution in the City, and so, by reason of the priority of the City's Charter, the execution of that Statute could not pass from the City. As to the Statute 14th of Her present Majesty, concerning the excessive length of kerseys, a device invented by Foreigners Strangers to defraud the Customs, the complaint had been some time since reformed.
15th September, 1580.

I. 241. Letter from Sir Christopher Hatton, Knight, to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, informing them that Her Majesty had been informed of divers great abuses daily committed in the disorderly draing of cloth within her realm, and perceived the same to proceed chiefly from the want of Searchers and Alnagers, who ought to be chosen by the Court of Aldermen for their skill and experience in the trade. On Her Majesty's behalf he recommended the Court of Aldermen at their next meeting to admit William Parker to the place of Alanger, (fn. 3) Searcher, or Surveyor in the City of London, and such other persons as might appear to them expedient and needful, seeing they were not limited to any certain number of officers.
8th August, 1581.

Postscript.—The Lord Treasurer had also strongly recommended this man to Her Majesty as most fitted for that office.

I. 482. Letter from William Tenche and Edward Owen, Bailiffs of Shrewsbury, to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, informing them that a petition had been exhibited to the Lords of the Council, by the Citizens of Westchester, for the establishment of a Staple of all Cotton and Friezes made in North Wales to be settled at Chester, and from thence to be transported into foreign countries, which in their opinion would tend to the hindrance of all manner of traffic to and from London to those parts, and to the decay of the Hospitals belonging to the City of London, in respect of the Hallage weekly paid in Blackwell Hall, (fn. 4) amounting by estimation to about 100l. yearly. The Council had fixed Wednesday, the 27th of February, to receive their objections. The writers desired to know whether the Court of Aldermen would assist them in their resistance to the carrying out of the purposed project.
Dated Salop, 17th February, 1582.

I. 593. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer, stating that Mr. John Leak, one of the Deputy Alnagers, had informed him that Nicolas Spencer had complained to the Queen touching some wrong offered to him as to the office of searching woollen cloths, wherein he claimed a right with the said Leak and his follows. The controversy had been some time since submitted, by direction of the Court of Aldermen, to divers honest and discreet men to determine. Spencer had been called before the Court of Aldermen, when he utterly denied that he had exhibited any such complaint, and alleged that one of his sons had done so without his consent. With regard to the charge imposed upon Mr. Morgan, Her Majesty's Apothecary, who, to avoid the same, had declared that the did not keep a house within the City, it had been found that he had both a house and shop. He therefore begged him to call Mr. Morgan again before him, and to order him to make an immediate payment, or that proceedings might be taken against him.
28th June, 1592.

II. 174. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council, acknowledging the receipt of their letters concerning bad and false making of cloths, and reporting the steps taken in compliance therewith.
24th June, 1601.

II. 179. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, ordering that, on account of the abuses existing in the Cloth trade, all cloths brought to the City should be tried by skilful searchers, and sold at Blackwell Hall; and that all ropes, rings, wrenches, and the lower bars of the tenters should be abolished.
31st May, 1601.

II. 182. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lords Mayor and Aldermen, complaining of their neglect in not carrying out of the orders of the Council concerning the abuse of stretching cloths on the tenters, which was practised in no other country in Christendom, but here and in the Low Countries, by tradition from here, and commanding them, without further delay, to see their former directions in this matter absolutely performed; and also to appoint a person on behalf of the French merchants, to search the cloths at Blackwell Hall.
16th August, 1602.

II. 198. Letter from Richard Powlett, Francis Palmer, and others, Justices of the Peace for Basingstoke, to the Lord Treasurer, Thomas Lord Buckhurst, (fn. 5) complaining that cloths searched in that town by officers appointed by the Council were again searched in London, to the great hindrance of business; and requesting his Lordship to appoint some one, if necessary, to search the cloths, and to certify the results to the bailiffs of the town, in order that if there were any defects, the same might be remedied.
19th January, 1602.

II. 199. Letter from John Tey, Her Majesty's Alnager for London, to the Lord Treasurer, in answer to the complaint of the Justices of Basingstoke, as to the unlawful searching of cloths.
13th February, 1602.

II. 200. Letter from Lord Buckhurst, Lord Treasurer, to the Lord Mayor, upon the complaint of the Justices of Basingstoke, and the answer of Her Majesty's Alnager thereto, and requesting his advice upon the whole matter.
14th February, 1602.

II. 209. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council, enclosing a petition from the Clothworkers of London, complaining that the reformation of tenters was not general throughout this realm, and that cloth sent to the City rough was sent back to the country to be dressed, to the great impoverishment of the petitioners.
6th September, 1601.

II. 230. Letter of the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer, in answer to the complaint of the Justices of the Peace of Basingstoke, and stating that he had called before him the searchers, and inquired fully into the charge, and, further, that he found by the Statute 39 of Elizabeth, (fn. 6) it was provided that all cloth coming to the common market at Blackwell Hall should be searched and sealed, notwithstanding it might have been so examined in the country.
Sans date.

II. 284. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer, as to the want of room for the cloths at Blackwell Hall; and informing him, that the remedy this ill-convenience, it had been decided to remove the linen, cloths, and to enlarge the hall as much as possible.
20th April, 1607.

II. 356. Letter from Lord Salibury (fn. 7) to the Lord Mayor complaining of the quality of the cloth lately sent to France, also informing him of a treaty made between the two countries, and of His Majesty's desire to establish a company of merchants for carrying on trade with that country, and directing him to hold a conference with the governors of the several companies of merchants in this City upon the subject, and report thereon.
3rd August, 1609.

III. 5. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor, with respect to the laws and orders for the true and orderly making of cloths, and requiring him to aid and assist the King's Alnager and his deputies in the City of London, for remedy of abuses, especially in procuring all saleable cloth and woollen commodities coming to the City to be sold in the public market, and to bar all private receipts and sales thereof; to cause the markets to be kept at their times and hours, according to the orders of the Courty of Aldermen and Act of Common Council, and to take order according to the Act, that one hour in the forenoon and one hour in the afternoon, on every market-day, the Alnager or his deputies might peaceably search in every hall or market before the opening thereof, so that the due execution of the office of Alnager might be performed without offence to any, or the disturbing of the market.
31st Janurary, 1610.

III. 56. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor, informing him that a complaint had been made to them by John May, servant to the Duke of Lenox, (fn. 8) that having taken a lease from the City for the erection of a market for strained cloths, with Bayes Sayes and other stuff of the new drapery, for the sale of which no market was provided, as there was for broad cloth and other cloths of the old drapery, and bestowed great charges in fitting and preparing the said hall (marginal note says, "in Leadenhall"), he could neither enjoy his lease nor receive satisfaction for the moneys expended, They had referred the hearing of the complainst to the then Lord Mayor and two Aldermen for remedy; but the poor man now complained that there was no end made of the matter, and that he was indebted to the King and others, and was unable to pay until he had been relieved. They therefore required the Lord Mayor, with the assistance of Sir Thomas Cambell (fn. 9) and the two Aldermen who formerly had the examination of the matter, to hear and finally determine the controversy, or to certify the state of the case, that the Council might take further order for his relief.
20th July, 1612.

III. 125. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, forwarding a Petition from Merchants and Traders of the City, Complaining of the conduct of the Deputy Alnagers, who entered their shops and demanded extraordinary duties and payments, not warranted, as they believed, by the Laws of the Realm, and recommending the Petition to their consideration.
9th January, 1613.

III. 129. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the Lords of the Council, stating that whereas the Merchants and Drapers of London had always exercised the trade of buying and selling Welsh Cloths at Oswestry in Salop, and other towns and places in North Wales, being free by Charter to trade in all places and markets, in the kingdom, the Court had been informed that the Drapers of Shrewsbury and Oswestry were endeavouring to abridge them of that liberty, which difference had been by the Council referred to Lord Evers (fn. 10) and others, who it was believed were that ready to certify their opinions. The Court of Aldermen, conceiving that by being silent the Council might be led, by untrue suggestions (not hearing the City), to give way to that which might prejudge the Citizens, therefore submitted for their consideration the inconveniences which would ensue from such restraint (which are set out at length).
1st February, 1613.

III. 165. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to the Lord Chief Baron, (fn. 11) informing him that they had, in the August preceding, acquainted the Privy Council with the complaint of many Treadesmen of London against the demands of the Deputy Alnagers, that all cloths dyed with Cochinelo should pay after the rate of cloths in grain under the Statute 27th Edward III. (fn. 12) when the Deputy Alnager, being sent for, cited in his behalf a Decree made in the Exchequer, 33rd Elizabeth, whereupon the Privy Council made an order, a copy of which was enclosed. The Court of Aldermen had been given to understand that his Lordship had since called before him some Drapers of London, and perusing the former Decree, had passed another to the same effect. The former order of the Privy Council was that a legal decision upon the question should be obtained, which all subjects must obey; but in the mean time they denied that to be included within the law which was not known two hundred years after the law was made.
20th July, 1614.

Note in Margin. "Notwithstanding this Letter, the Citizens being exposed to the danger of the said late Decree, and likely still to be vexed by the Deputy Alnagers, being slight persons of no worth, consulted together, and petitioned the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen thereon."

The Petition of the several Companies of Merchant Adventurers, Drapers, Merchant Tailors, and Clothworkers of the City of London then follows. It recites that the City were for a long time farmers of the alnage, view, and search of all cloth within the City and Liberties, when all things were well and peaceably carried out; that the Duke of Lenox, the present farmer, would willingly pass it over to the City, and prays them to contract with him accordingly. A marginal note adds,—"Upon this Petition, Sir Thomas Midleton, Lord Mayor, took upon him, and was intreated by the Court, to confer and treat with the Duke of Lenox for a lease of the Alnage to be granted to the City."

IV. 74. Letter from the Attorney General, Thomas Coventrie, to the Lord Mayor, informing him that the King, upon due consideration of the misdemeanours committed by the use of the Hot Press, (fn. 13) had given a Patent to Sir George Dowglas, (fn. 14) his ancient servant, and one of the gentlemen of his Privy Chamber, for the reform of that abuse, and had instructed the Council to further the matter. It appeared, upon a perusal of the Statute (fn. 15) upon which the Patent was grounded, that it gave power to the Lord Mayor, and other Mayors of Cities and Corporate Towns, to appoint searchers for the undue pressing of cloth. He had, therefore, thought good to request the Lord Mayor, if it could be done without inconvenience to the City, to appoint two additional searchers to be nominated by Sir George Dowglas.
Gray's Inn, 25th May, 1617.

V. 71. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Duke of Lenox, requesting him to grant a Deputation for the office of Alnager and Collector of the subsidy and alnage of Cloths and new Draperies in the City of London, the County of Middlesex, and that part of the Borough of Southwark within the liberties of the City, to the persons named, according to his convenant made by a former grant thereof to the then Lord Mayor and Commonalty of the City.
29th April, 1620.

V. 105. Letter from the Duke of Lenox to the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, enclosing a Petition presented to the House of Commons by divers Merchants and Citizens of London, and by Makers of Fustians, alleging that a subsidy and fees for sealing of fustians had been demanded, by virtue of his Patent of the new draperies, and charging the Deputy Alnagers with divers abuses. When he granted a lease to the City of the subsidy and alnage of the old and new draperies, in which fustians, amongst other things, were mentioned; he granted it only in as ample a manner as the King had granted it to him, and they had covenanted that the Deputy Alnagers, by them nominated to him, should execute the office lawfully, without prejudice to his Patent or his Alnagers in other Counties; he therefore prayed them forthwith to call the Petitioners and the Deputy Alnagers for London before them, and give such satisfaction to the Complainants as should appear just. If any of his Deputies in the Country had misgoverned themselves in their office, he would take order for righting the parties grieved.
Whitehall, 16th May, 1621.

V. 121. Letter from the Duke of Lenox to the Lord Mayor, stating that, upon a Petition presented to him by the Clothiers of Suffolk, complaining of the re-search of their cloths at Leadenhall, and of seizures made contrary to law and to the Orders of the Privy Council for tolerated cloths in Suffolk, Essex, &c., in the year 1608, and also contrary to a convenant in the grant made by him to the City, which provided that the City's deputies, should do nothing prejudicial to his Deputies in other counties, he had sent his cousin, Sir Robert Napier, (fn. 16) and his servant, Langford, to the Lord Mayor, hoping to have had some speedy order taken for redress, and the City's Deputies had been enjoined to answer the Clothiers' Petition in four or five days, which had not yet been done. He therefore requested the Lord Mayor to direct that the Order of Council for tolerated cloths might be hung up in Leadenhall, and that the City's Deputies should not intermeddle with such tolerated cloths if previously searched in the country.
Whitehall, 4th December, 1621.

VIII. 204. Order of the Inner Star Chamber concerning the recent Proclamation, directing that, for the prevention of abuses, all cloth brought to the City to be sold should be taken to Blackwell Hall to be searched, requiring the Lord Mayor, upon occasions when the quantity was so large as not to be able to be received there, to appoint Leadenhall, or some other convenient place in the City, for the like service.
13th April, 1638.

IX. 59. Order from the Lords of the Council, reciting that they had received a Petition from the Clothiers, their factors, agents, &c., residing in Blackwell Hall and Leadenhall, complaining that the Order of the Council of the 14th of January last, directing the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to take the matters therein contained into their serious consideration, and to return a speedy answer thereto; that the Petitioners had attended the Court of Aldermen, and delivered in copies of their Petition and the Order of the Council, to which no return had yet been made, and they had been put to great charges and damage in consequence; the Petitioners had requested the Council to suspend the Acts of Common Council against them until the question had been legally determined. The Council therefore order the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to return their answer to the Board on or before Wednesday, the 25th of February.
(Signed "Richard Browne". (fn. 17) ) 19th February, 1662.

IX. 63. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to the Solicitor-General, (fn. 18) stating that they had understood that the Parliamentary Committee would bring in their Report to-morrow upon Blackwell Hall, which would be very important to the City; further intimating that a few of the Clothiers of the meanest sort were urged on by some superior, who desired to stir up discontent, and requesting his attendance in order to protect the just interest of the City.
24th March, 1663.

IX. 87. Petition from the Mayor, Commonalty, and Citizens of the City of London to the House of Commons, complaining, of the conduct of the Factors and others trading at Blackwell Hall, and of their misrepresentation of facts, and reciting that a suit was pending in the Court of Common Please between the Petitioners and the Factors as to the legality of the Act of Common Council complained of, and praying that the House would leave the matter to be adjudged and determined by law in the said Court.
Sans. date.

IX. 88. The answer of the House of Commons to the above Petition, approving of the City's proceedings, and consenting to leave the case to the Court of Common Pleas as prayed.
30th April, 1664.


  • 1. 4 and 5 Philip and Mary, c. 5, 1557.
  • 2. 14 Elizabeth, c. 10, 1572.
  • 3. A sworn officer, whose duty was to inspect, measure, and seal woollen cloths. The name is derived from the measure used by him, called in French "Aulne," in English and ell. The officer had his authority by the Statute 25 Edward the Third, St. 4, c. I, and other Statutes. The office was abolished by Statute 11 and 12 William the Third, cap. 20, 1700.
  • 4. Appointed as a weekly market for woollen cloths, 20 Richard the Second, 1397; destroyed in the fire of 1666; rebuilt, 1672; removed, 1820.
  • 5. Sir Thomas Sackville, second cousin to Queen Elizabeth, educated at St. John's College, Cambridge, afterwards of the Inner Temple. The Tragedy of Gorbodue, the earliest regular drama in blank verse in the English language, was written jointly by him and Thomas Norton, afterwards Remembrancer; it was performed before the Queen at Whitehall, January 18th, 1561–2. His town residence was Dorset House, Fleet Street, now Dorset Square. (See also, note 1, p. 45.)
  • 6. 39 Elizabeth, c. 13, 1597.
  • 7. Robert Cecil, eldest son of Lord Burghley by his second wife, Mildred, daughter of Sir Anthony Coke or Cooke; Principal Secretary of State, 1596; created Viscount Carnbourn, August 20th, 1604, and the first Earl of Salibury, K.G., May 4th, 1605; died, May 24th, 1612.
  • 8. Ludovic Stuort, eldest son of Esme, first Duke of Lexnnox, by Catherine, youngest daughter of William de Balsac, Seigneur d'Entragues and Marcoussis, Governor of Havre de Grace. Born September 29th, 1574; succeeded to the Earldom on the death of his father, May 28th, 1583. He attended James the Sixth to England on his accession in 1603. Made Earl of Richmond, October 6th, 1613; Duke of, May 17th, 1623; died, February 16th, 1623–4. Buried in Westminster Abbey, April 19th, 1624.
  • 9. Ironmonger; elected Alderman of Bridge Without, November 15th, 1599; chosen Sheriff, June 24th, 1600; Lord Mayor, September 29th, 1609; removed to Bread Street, April 23rd, 1610; Coleman Street, October 11th, 1611. Sir Thomas Middleton removed to Coleman Street Ward, loco Sir Thomas Cambell, deceased, March 22nd, 1613. He was the son of Robert Cambell, of Fulsham in Norfolk, and descended from a Scotch family of that name. He married Alice, daughter of Edward Bright, of London. He served the office of Master of his Company in 1604, and again in 1613. By his Will, dated 1st September, 1612, he left a sum of money for the purchase of coals by the Corporation, to be distributed to the poor of certain parishes in London and Southwark, which is still carried into effect. Sir James Cambell, Knight, Lord Mayor in 1629, was one of his sons, (See Pedigree in Nicholl's History of the Ironmongers' Company, p. 536.)
  • 10. Ralph, third Barond Evre of Eure; Succeeded to the title in 1594; created Lord Lieutenant of Wales, 1607. He married 1st, Mary, only daughter of Sir John Dauncy, of Capay, Yorkshire; 2nd, Lady Hunsdon, Window of George, second Lord Hunsdon. He died in 1618–9. (See Bank's Dormant and Extinct Baronage,' vol. iii., page 285.)
  • 11. Lawrence Tanfield.
  • 12. 27th Edward III., stat. I., c. 4, 1353.
  • 13. See an interesting petition from "the Hot Pressers of London to the House of Commons against the Patent, and also reasons in support of their Petition, in volume entitled "Petitions and Parliament Matters, 1620–1, Beta 6 and 7, in the Guildhall Library.
  • 14. Kinghted at Whitehall, 1607; a grant of denization conferred upon him by James the First, January 6th, 1612. The King, on the 20th July, 1616, granted to him and his two sons, George and James, the moiety of fines for offences against the Statute of 5th of Edward Vi., cap. 6, 1551–2, passed to prevent the hot-pressing of cloths; offenders to be prosecuted at the charge of Sir George and his sons, certain powers being reserved to the Court of Exchequer. This Grant being defective, a new Grant was made to them, November 8th, 1618. Articles drawn up by the Attorney-General and the Recorder of London regulating the use of the Hot-press by persons allowed of by Sir George, to whom, and to his son George, the granting of the Licenses for its use for certain classes of goods was accorded, received the King's Sign Manual on the 9th March, 1620,—'State Papers (Domestic),' 1611–1623.
  • 15. 5 & 6 Edward VI; c. 6, 1551–2.
  • 16. This Sir Robert Napier was the son of Alexander Napier (called, for distinction, Sandy), son of Sir Alexander and brother of Sir Archibald Napier, of Merchistoun, who claimed descent from the ancient Scottish Earls of Lennox, raised to that dignity by Malcom the Third about 1057, vide certificate of Sir Archibald Napier, Knight, of Merchistoun, DeputyTreasurer of Scotland, and of the Privy Council to King Charles the First, in Burke's History of the Commoners,' vol. ii., page 639. Alexander, the father of Sir Robert, came to England temp Henry the Seventh, and settled at Exeter. Sir Robert, who was his second, son, purchased an estate at Luton Hoo, Bedforshire, of which county he was High Sheriff in 1611. He was knighted by King James in 1612, and created a Baronet, November 25th in the same year. He died in 1637. Sir Robert was thrice married; his second wife was Margaret, daughter of Richard Baron or Barne, Citizen and Mercer. His second son, Sir Richard Napier, of Linford, Bucks, married Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Viner, Lord Mayor in 1653. The Linford estate remained in their family until 1679, when Thomas Napier, Esq., sold it to Alderman Sir William Pritchard, Lord Mayor in 1682. Mary, daughter of Sir Robert Napier, married Sir Thomas Middleton, of Chirk Castle (videnote I, page 3). Sir Robert Napier, by his will dated April 15th, 1637, left certain charities to the poor of Luton. (See Lysons's 'Bedforshire,' Douglas's' 'Peerage of Scotland,' Burke's 'Extinct Baronetage,' Lipscombe's History of Bucks,' &c.)
  • 17. Sir Richard Brown, of Sayes Court, Deptford, born 1605; father-in-law to John Evelyn, the Diarist; Ambassador to France in 1647; was in exile with king charles the Second, and returned with him in 1660. His correspondence is to be found in Evelyn's 'Diary.' He held the Office of Clerk of the Council, which he resigned January 23rd, 1672; he was Master of the Trinity House in 1662; he gave to the Trinity House, land upon which to build almshouses for twenty-four widows of seamen; he died 12th February, 1683, and was buried at Deptford.
  • 18. Sir Heneage Finch, afterwards Lord Keeper and Lord Chancellor. He was the son of Serjeant Heneage Finch, Recorder of London, who died in 1631. Educated at Westminster School and Christ College, Oxford; called to the Bar, Jan. 30th, 1645; M.P. for Canterbury, 1660; Solicitor-General knighted and created a baronet April, 1660; M.P. for Cambridge University, May, 1661; LL.D, 1665. He resided in a house at Kensington, which afterwards became the palace; Attorney-General, May 10th, 1670; Lord Keeper, November 9th, 1673; created Lord Finch of Daventry, January, 1673; Lord Chancellor, December 19th, 1675; created Earl of Nottingham, May 12th, 1681. Died, December 18th, 1682.