Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs: 1269-70

Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274. Originally published by Trübner, London, 1863.

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'Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs: 1269-70', in Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274, (London, 1863) pp. 120-131. British History Online [accessed 13 April 2024]


A.D. 1269. Sir Hugh Fitz-Otes still continued to be Constable of the Tower of London and Warden of the City, and the aforesaid Robert and Thomas to be (fn. 1) Bailiffs of the City, without any new election or presentation ; and so continued until the 16th day of July following.

Be it remarked, that in ancient times, it had been enacted and provided as to nets, used for fishing in the Thames, that in the body of such nets the meshes should be woven of such a size that a man's thumbnail might be able wholly to pass through them; and that, if in any net there should be found a single mesh otherwise woven, the whole of such net was to be condemned. For which reason it was, that before the Feast of Saint Michael in this year, as also after that Feast, there were many nets seized and brought to the Guildhall, and there by twelve sworn men of the City, who had no share in the said nets, adjudged to be in contravention of the statutes aforesaid. But as to this decision, some of the citizens thought differently ; and in fact, there were some who said, that that part only ought to be burnt which was faulty and unfair, and that the other parts, which were good and lawful, ought to be saved; while on the other hand, the City, in meeting of its commons, pronounced that the net, a part of which is bad, is bad all over, for that the net could not be of any avail for fishing as to the part which is bad, unless the other parts before-mentioned were attached to it; and that therefore it was proper that the whole net should be burnt; the same way in fact, that if a man's right hand committed felony, his other hand, together with the whole of his body, is wont to be punished; and so likewise, where a man has committed felony, all his adherents, and other consenting parties, would be punished. And further, in accordance with the precedent that on (fn. 2) another occasion such nets had been wholly burnt, the citizens agreed in common that these should in the same manner be condemned ; and accordingly so it was done, for on the third day after the Feast of Saint Michael, all those nets, about twenty in number, were burnt in the middle of Westchepe ; so that nothing whatever of them was saved.

Also, be it remarked, that at this time many of those nets were taken at a distance from the Thames and without the liberties of the City; but this was done by authority of the Constable of the Tower of London, who was Warden of the City.

Be it remembered, that in this year, after the Feast of Saint Michael, as also, five weeks before the said Feast, his lordship the King sent his writ unto the citizens of London, commanding them that, as they loved him, they should hold themselves in readiness to do him the service of the Butlery on the Feast of Saint Edward [5 January] then next ensuing; upon which day he had purposed to translate the body of that Saint, and, himself and his Queen, to wear the crown. The citizens accordingly, although at that time they were not bound as a matter of duty to such service, for the purpose of gaining his good-will gave their assent thereto, and made preparation, at great outlay and great expense, with noble vestments of scarlet and of silk, and other raiment duly befitting. But when all had been now prepared, and the citizens were ready to perform the said service, behold! on the Vigil of Saint Edward, his lordship the King caused proclamation to be made in the King's Hall at Westminster, as also in Chepe in London, that he was not advised that he should wear his crown on that occasion. For that it ought to suffice for him once to have worn his crown; and that no person, Londoner or others, was on the morrow to take part in doing any service before him, but only those of his own household. Any person however who should wish to come to the dinner, would be admitted thereto gratuitously. And thus was this noble service on part of the Londoners left out. However, on the morrow, the citizens, who had made all due preparations, set out for Westminster, carrying neither goblet nor cup, but offering their prayers in presence of his lordship the King, together with their oblations, to the Saint. After Mass too, those who wished, remained to dinner, while the others returned home.

On the same day, the King had the body of the Saint before-mentioned translated from the spot where it had been placed, when first translated in the time of King Henry the Second ; the shrine in which it lies, together with the body, being transferred to another spot, where it now lies. He also had a new (fn. 3) basilica made over the Saint, all covered and adorned with the purest gold and costly gems.

It ought not here to be past over in silence, that the Archbishop of York, still persisting in his pretensions, had his cross borne before him, to the prejudice of the Church of Canterbury, and he himself upon this day took precedence in the celebration of divine service ; upon which, not one of the Bishops, who were there present arrayed in their pontificals,—having come by the King's command, about thirteen in number, from various parts of England and the parts beyond sea,—would follow the said Archbishop in the procession when the body of the Saint was carried round the exterior of the church ; but remained, all of them, within the church. In like manner, when the body was deposited where it now lies, he was the only one who censed it, all the other Bishops remaining seated on the sedilia in the stalls of the monks. At this time in fact, and so long as he remained in the neighbourhood of London, the interdict continued, both in all places and in just such manner, as in this Book is before set forth.

Be it remembered, that according to the custom of the City, all merchant-strangers, coming into London, were wont to be harboured, to gether with their merchandize, in hostels belonging to citizens ; and their wares, which are sold by the hundredweight, such as wax, alum, and the like, to be weighed by the balance of his lordship the King. Other wares again, which are valued by the pound, such as pepper, ginger, (fn. 4) brasil, (fn. 5) grains, and the like, used to be weighed by various balances at the (fn. 6) hosts' places, or else [valued] by the basket of them, the buyer having upon every hundredweight four pounds for the draught; the commodity being weighed with the pin standing midway, the same as gold and silver are weighed. Afterwards, the Italians, the people of Quercy, and the merchants of Provence, (who at first however were but few in number), coming to the City with their merchandize, transacted business in a similar manner; but in process of time, when a great number of merchants from the parts aforesaid, who were extremely rich, had brought into the City a very great quantity of merchandize, in order that the amount of such wares might remain unknown to the citizens, they declined to be harboured in the hostels of the citizens, but built houses in the City, and abode therein by themselves, housing there their goods. And then too, weighing by balances of their own, they sold their wares contrary to the custom of the City; and even went so far as, themselves to weigh by their own balances certain articles which were sold by the hundredweight, and which ought to be weighed by the King's balance ; to the prejudice of his lordship the King, and to the loss and subtraction of his (fn. 7) pesage; and this they did for many years.

Afterwards, when his lordship the King gave unto the citizens a new Charter as to their liberties, in which it is set forth that no merchantstranger shall buy or sell any wares that ought to be weighed or troned, except by the beam and tron of his lordship the King, under forfeiture of the whole of such wares,—and this too had been proclaimed throughout all the City—these merchants, nevertheless, continued to weigh as they had previously done. But when the King and his Council were given to understand this, his bailiffs, in accordance with his command, took all the balances and weights of the said merchants, and, upon good sureties, (fn. 8) attached the persons themselves. Afterwards, in this year, on the Thursday next ensuing before the Feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude [28 October], his lordship the King summoned the said merchants to appear before himself and his Council at Westminster; and because they were convicted of having weighed by their balances against the King's prohibition, and after proclamation had been made in the City, and because their balances and weights, when examined in the King's Exchange, were found, it is said, to be untrue, they were adjudged to be amerced and committed to prison; immediately upon which, being about twenty in number, they were taken to the Tower and there imprisoned. On the morrow too, their balances and weights were burnt in (fn. 9) Westchep; and such parts thereof as could not be consumed by fire, were broken to pieces with iron hammers, and wholly destroyed: this too was done in the absence of the Warden and Bailiffs of the City; and solely by Walter Hervi. Then the said merchants made fine to the King in the sum of one thousand pounds sterling; and this under compulsion, as it were, they being in dread of being thrust into a most noisome prison.

In this year, about the Feast of Saint Nicholas [6 December], a writ of his lordship the King was sent unto the Warden, Bailiffs, and Aldermen of the City; in which it was set forth that he commanded, that all those who, after the City had been restored to him, had withdrawn themselves from it through fear of losing life or limb, and had since returned, should be expelled from the City, that so by them the venom might not again be diffused throughout the City: whereupon, after the Warden, Bailiffs, and all the Aldermen, had met together, and the aforesaid writ had been read and understood, the Warden produced a certain roll which he had received in the (fn. 10) Wardrobe of his lordship the King, in which were written the names of many persons who, during the commotions in the kingdom, voluntarily adhered to the Earl of Leicester, committing depredations within the City and without; which roll was drawn up upon inquisition made by certain of the more lawful citizens of the City, and, being sent to the King's Wardrobe, was immediately afterwards delivered to him. This roll being read and understood, and duly examined, the persons [therein mentioned] were subjected to enquiry, and their names entered in a certain roll. After this, on the fourth day before Our Lord's Nativity, a countless multitude of people of the City meeting together in the Chamber of the Guildhall, this matter was made known, and the aforesaid writ was read, of his lordship the King, the names also being read, of those who were to be removed from the City; to which matter the whole populace gave its assent.

After this, on the second day before Our Lord's Nativity, proclamation was made throughout.all the City, that those whose names had been read before the people, in manner already stated, should, if then in the City, betake themselves away from it, never to return; while those who were then sojourning without the City, were for the future never to return to it, under pain of life and limb. And then, the names of the aforesaid persons were published, and by the crier openly specified, being as follow :—

Thomas de Piwelesdone.

William de Heywode.

Richard de Coudres.

Richard le (fn. 11) Cofferer.

Robert de Dereby.

Albin de Dereby.

Ivo le (fn. 12) Linge-draper.

William le (fn. 13) Flauner.

Guido, his servant.

William May, Mercer.

Richard le Bret.

William de Basinges, Mercer.

Robert Baynard, Draper.

Henry de Hauvile.

Philip de Halstede.

(fn. 14) Coc le Afeyte.

John, his brother.

Conrad, the Goldsmith.

Eadmund de Exeport.

John Fitz-Patrick, Goldsmith.

Henry, his brother.

Alexander le (fn. 15) Ferun.

Hubert, the Goldsmith.

William Makerel.

Everard le (fn. 16) Batur.

Geoffrey de Ruhinges.

Roger Luveday.

Hawkin le (fn. 17) Plumer.

William de Bixle, Stockfishmonger.

John de (fn. 18) Oistregate.

Master Guido, the Tailor.

Henry Saunnays.

John de Cumbe.

Henry de Capelestone.

John de Coventre, Broker.

Richard Ayswy, Broker.

Hudde le Bereman.

Hobbe Lok.

John de Flete, Barber.

William the Clerk, Deacon.

Walter de Mulsham.

Richard Wombestrong.

Peter de Haywode, Fishmonger.

Eadmund, who was with Stephen Bukerel.

Colin Briante, Butcher.

Roger de Piwelesdon.

Richard, his brother.

Thomas de Clavill.

Roger de Lydgate, Mercer.

Ralph de Dudington.

Robert Stor.

John, who was with John Heirun.

Gilbert le Armerer.

William Snacard.

Adam de (fn. 19) Ysemongere Lane.

Henry de Hudendene, Taverner.

John de Lanfare, (fn. 20) Chaluner.

The names of these persons remained in the hands of the Warden and Bailiffs.

In this year, the pillory that stood in Chepe was broken through the negligence of the Bailiffs, and for a long time remained unrepaired; wherefore, in the meantime no punishment was inflicted upon the bakers, who made their loaves just as they pleased; so much so, that each of their loaves was deficient in one third of the weight that it ought to weigh, according to the award that had been made upon the assay of the Feast of Saint Michael preceding: and this lasted for a whole year and more.

In the same year, all the free men of the kingdom of England, as well of vills as of cities, and boroughs, and elsewhere, gave unto his lordship the King one twentieth part of all their moveable goods, towards payment of his expenses on his expedition to the land of Jerusalem. But afterwards, Sir Edward undertook that expedition, on behalf of his father and himself.

In this year, Louis King of France, son of King Louis, son of Philip, set out for the Holy Land, on the 14th day of March, which in this year fell on a Friday. Shortly before this, Sir Edward had had one of his sons taken to the King of France, in accordance with the covenants in (fn. 21) writing that had lately been made between them. The King however, feeling sufficient confidence in the said Sir Edward without any hostage, sent his son back to England.

Be it remembered, that about Hokeday, almost all the Bishops, Earls, Barons, Knights, and freeholders of the whole realm of England, by command of his lordship the King, met together in London; and then was held a Parliament at Westminster, upon many articles of the customs of the realm of England, and more especially upon a dispute that had taken place between Sir Edward and the Earl of Gloucester. Whereupon, Sir Edward and the Earl, to put an end to the said dispute, wholly submitted themselves to the award of the King of Almaine; which award the said King of Almaine pronounced, in manner set forth in the next leaf hereof.

Be it remembered, that after this, on the 13th day of May, there came to Saint Paul's Cross nine Bishops, arrayed in their pontificals, namely, Nicholas of Winchester, John of Hereford, Godfrey of Worcester, Roger of Norwich, Laurence of Rochester, Roger of Chester, Walter of Salisbury, [William] of Bath, and Anian of Saint Asaph in Wales; who caused to be read a certain Bull of Pope Innocent, confirmatory of the Charters of the Liberties of England and of the Forest, which the King had executed unto the Barons of England, in the ninth year of his reign; and caused to be read, openly and distinctly before all the people, the sentence which, in the year of Our Lord 1253, had been pronounced in the Greater Hall at Westminster, before the King and many nobles of England, by thirteen Bishops arrayed in pontificals, against all transgressors of the said Charters. Which being read and by the people understood, these nine Bishops pronounced excommunicated all persons who since the sentence aforesaid had done, or procured to be done, anything in contravention of any articles in the aforesaid Charters specified. They also pronounced excommunicated all persons who, during the continuance of the commotions in the realm, had laid violent hands upon rectors or clerks, and who had taken and carried off goods deposited in sacred places, to whomsoever they might belong; unless, within the quinzaine after the day aforesaid they should come to make amends, and make satisfaction at the award of the Diocesans of those places. And this sentence was afterwards published in every church in London by the parish priests thereof.

On the Tuesday before Pentecost, which then fell on the 27th day of May, the King of Almaine pronounced his award, in form as follows:—that if Sir Edward shall in the month of September cross the sea for the Holy Land, then the Earl of Gloucester shall cross the said sea in the month of March following. And if the said Earl shall be willing to undertake that expedition in behalf of his lordship the King, who has assumed the Cross, in such case his lordship the King shall pay him 8000 silver marks, one half at the Feast of All Saints [1 November] next ensuing, and the other half in the month of March following. But if he shall think proper to undertake that expedition in his own behalf, then his lordship the King shall pay him 2000 marks. And as security that he will observe the award aforesaid, the said Earl shall deliver the Castle of Tunbrigge, and the Castle of Henlege in the Marches of Wales, into the hands of his lordship the King; upon the understanding that, when the King shall have been certified that he is in the Holy Land, the King shall without delay have those castles delivered to such person as the Earl may think proper; but the Earl shall then repay to the King the outlay which he shall have expended upon the keeping of the said castles, while in his hands:—which award however was not carried into effect.

About the same time, that is to say (fn. 22) Pentecost, at the instance of Sir Edward, his lordship the King granted unto the citizens that they might have a Mayor from among themselves in such form as they were wont to elect him. He also granted unto them, that they might have two Sheriffs from among themselves, who should hold the Sheriffwick of the City and of Middlesex to ferm, in such manner as they had previously been wont; upon the understanding however, that whereas in past times they had only paid yearly 300 pounds sterling of (fn. 23) blanched money, in future they should pay yearly 400 pounds sterling counted out.

Accordingly, in the same week the citizens chose John Addrien, Draper, to be Mayor of the City, and Philip le Taillour and Walter le Poter, to be Sheriffs of the City. But because, after this had been done, Sir Edward was not in the vicinity of London, they were not at once presented unto his lordship the King, or before his arrival; upon which, Sir Hugh Fitz-Otes being no longer Warden of the City, the aforesaid John was presented unto his lordship the King, and admitted; that is to say, on the 16th day of July following, which in that year fell on a Wednesday. And on the Friday following, he was sworn before the King; and on the same day Philip and Walter before-named were pre- sented as Sheriffs at the Exchequer, and admitted. And then were delivered unto the citizens all their ancient Charters of liberties which were in the King's hands; and it was granted unto them by his lordship the King and by Sir Edward that they might fully enjoy the same, save that, for the ferm of the City and County they were to pay 400 pounds yearly, as already stated.

At this time, the citizens gave unto his lordship the King 100 marks sterling, with which was bought gold for repair of the (fn. 24) basilica of Saint Edward. They also gave unto Sir Edward 500 marks, towards his expenses on the expedition to the Holy Land.

In this year, about the Feast of Saint Margaret [20 July] died Boneface, Archbishop of Canterbury, in the (fn. 25) land of his birth.

Be it remembered, that in the Parliament held at Winchester in this year, in the month of July, by assent of the Bishops and nobles of the realm of England there present, the King delivered his cross, which he had borne, unto Sir Edward, his son, that he might take his departure, in behalf of himself and of his father, for the Holy Land. The King also then granted unto him all the monies forthcoming from the twentieth penny collected throughout all England from all free men of that realm, of which mention has previously been made in this Book. And then Sir Edward himself took his departure for (fn. 26) Portesmue, in order that he might cross over from that place; he intending to pass through Grascoigne and Spain, in order to hold a conference with the King of Spain, his wife's brother; but for want of a fair wind, after waiting nearly fifteen days, he took his departure thence for Dover, and there he put to sea, with his wife and all his retinue, on the 20th day of August, and with all speed made for land beyond sea; and so, giving up the aforesaid journey into Grascoigne and Spain, in haste he set out straight for the parts where he might find the King of France.

Be it remembered, that in this year, about Easter last past, it was provided by the common Council of his lordship the King, that cloths coming into England from the parts beyond sea should contain at least 26 ells in length, and an ell and a half in breadth, under forfeiture of the whole piece of cloth. And at the same time, orders were given to the merchants that, after the Fair of (fn. 27) Saint Botolph then next ensuing, they should not bring any cloths into England, under the penalty aforesaid, unless they should be of the said length and breadth, (fn. 28) burels of Normandy excepted.


  • 1. Or Sheriffs.
  • 2. See the printed Liber Custumarum, p. 39, the 21st year of Henry III.
  • 3. The word basilica does not seem to have any English equivalent, it meaning the upper portion of a tomb of elaborate workmanship, fashioned like a miniature church. See Parker's Glossary of Architecture, I. p. 65.
  • 4. A kind of dyeing wood, the juices of which were of a red colour.
  • 5. The kermes, or Coccus ilicis and arborum, which was taken to be, not an insect but a seed. See the printed Liber Custumarum, Glossary, p. 805.
  • 6. Or keepers of the hostels, where the foreign merchants were lodged.
  • 7. The duty charged for weighing goods by the King's balance, tron, or beam.
  • 8. I. e. arrested and bound over.
  • 9. West Cheap; the present Cheapside.
  • 10. An office in the English Court, in which the Royal Charters and the accounts of the King's expenditure were kept.
  • 11. Maker of coffers, or small boxes.
  • 12. The Linendraper.
  • 13. Probably, Maker of flauns, a kind of light cakes.
  • 14. This name not improbably means 'Coc (or Cook) the Dandy,' or ' the Affected.'
  • 15. Probably meaning the 'Ironmonger.' This person was pardoned in the 13th Edward I.: see Letter-Book A. folio 74 b.
  • 16. Perhaps meaning, the 'Beater' or 'Fuller' of cloth.
  • 17. I. e. the 'Feathermonger,' or Seller of feathers.
  • 18. A watergate on the Thames, the lane running to which was a great mart for shellfish. The north end of the present London Bridge occupies its site.
  • 19. Ironmonger Lane, in the City; from the A. S. isen, iron.
  • 20. Meaning perhaps, a dealer in chalons, or shalloons, so called from Chalons, in France, where they were extensively manufactured.
  • 21. See page 116 ante.
  • 22. Or Whitsuntide.
  • 23. Silver melted down, or blanched, to ascertain its fineness and freedom from alloy. Hence a payment in 'blank' or 'blanched' money, meant a payment of so many pounds of tried and genuine silver.
  • 24. See page 122 ante.
  • 25. I. e. Savoy.
  • 26. Portsmouth.
  • 27. Botolph's Town, Botulstone, or Boston, in Lincolnshire.
  • 28. Coarse red or grey cloth, known in France as bureau. Hence the ' borel man' of Chaucer; a person of the humbler classes, who wore this cloth.