Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs of London 1188-1274. Originally published by Trübner, London, 1863.
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A.D. 1256. Sheriffs.: William Eswy, Draper,; Richard de Ewelle,
Be it observed, that whereas in past times the new Sheriffs were wont, on the Vigil of Saint Michael in each year, to ride with the citizens to Neugate, to receive charge of the prisoners there, and then to all the Gates of the City, to exact fealty and trustiness of those who receive the City customs;—this year, all the servants who pertain unto the Shrievalty, came to the Guildhall upon the same day, and there, before the Mayor and citizens, plighted their faith (fn. 1) in the Sheriffs' hands, that they would be faithful, every one in his office, so long as in their service they should remain. This year, Ralph Hardel was again chosen Mayor, on the Feast of Symon and Jude [28 October], and, his lordship the King not being in London, was presented to the Barons of the Exchequer and there admitted.
In this year, on the Monday before the Feast of Saint Andrew [30 November], William de Munchanesey appeared at the Hustings, and had the testament read of Paulina his deceased wife, daughter of Reginald de Bungeye, by which she had devised all her tenements in London; and proffered to prove the same, as is the custom of the City as to testaments, touching any tenement, land, or rent. To which, answer was made by the persons who alleged that they were the heirs of the said Paulina, that it was not necessary to prove that testament, as it was not a reasonable one. For that she was not able to devise any tenement, seeing that she was under her husband's control. At length, after much altercation had taken place between the parties, the Mayor and citizens, having held conference thereon in the Chamber, came and said, that no married woman can, or ought to, devise any tenement of hers, and that if she does so, it must be revoked as void; for that no sale, gift, lease, or alienation, which a woman, having a husband, makes as to land, tenements, or rents, ought to stand good, unless she comes to the Hustings with her husband, and openly makes oath as to the same.
Be it remembered, that in the same year, at the Feast of the Innocents [28 December], in the Chapel of Saint Stephen at Westminster, before his lordship the King and his Council, Sir Richard, Earl of Cornwall, brother of the said King, gave assent to the election made by the princes of (fn. 2) Almaine, who had chosen him to be their King. At the same hour on that day, there was a great tempest, and thunder and lightning, at London and elsewhere.
It has usually been the custom, when wares which have to be sold by balance, are weighed, for the draught of the balance to incline on the wares side, the case of gold and silver excepted, which are always weighed with the pin standing midway, and inclining neither towards the weight nor towards the gold or silver; and consequently, that the weigher, who weighs in the City by the balance of his lordship the King, is able, by reason of such draught, to give a greater weight to one person than to another, through favour, may be, or through fear, or through a bribe passing between them, or perhaps inadvertence. It was therefore provided and enacted on the Saturday after the Feast of Saint Nicholas [6 December], in the one-and-fortieth year of the reign of King Henry, son of King John, that all wares which have to be weighed by the King's balances in the City, shall be weighed like gold and silver, the draught in no degree inclining towards the wares; and that, in lieu of such draught, the vendor ought to give to the buyer four pounds in every hundred. At the same time, it was provided that the weigher ought to receive, for his trouble, one halfpenny for every hundred pounds by him weighed; but where there are several hundred pounds, one farthing for every hundred, and in the same manner, for a thousand weight two pence halfpenny.
In the same year, Henry de Ba, the Justiciar, came to the Guildhall of London, bringing to the Mayor and Sheriffs a writ from his lordship the King; who thereupon summoned before him all the vintners of the City. The Justiciar wishing to amerce all of these for breach of the assize of wine, the citizens made answer, that the vintners who had broken the assize ought, and are wont, solely to be amerced at the Common Pleas of the Crown, and not before a Justiciar at the Tower. To whom the Justiciar made answer—that this will not satisfy his lordship the King, for that it does not seem just or right that they may break the assize for seven years or more with impunity, and only once be amerced for so many offences. To which reply was made, that his lordship the King both is wont to, and may, whenever he pleases, upon election by the citizens, appoint two wardens to keep that assize, in manner as heretofore; such wardens being now dead, and the citizens having had no precept since for the election of others. That the same wardens too, when any one is convicted of breach of the assize, ought to sell the wine found in the tun, in reference to which the breach has been committed, and to produce the money at the Pleas of the Crown holden before the Justiciars, the transgressor nevertheless being there also amerced. At length, after much altercation had taken place, the matter was postponed for conference thereon with the King. After this, the Mayor and citizens waited upon the King at Wyndlesore, who named for them a future day at London, at the holding of Parliament in Mid-Lent.
In the same year, during Lent and in Easter week, there came several princes of Almaine to London, namely, the Archbishop of Cologne, and other Bishops, Dukes, and Counts, who all did homage to his lordship Earl Richard, in presence of his lordship the King, his brother, they having elected him King of Almaine. After this, on Thursday in the same week, he took his departure from London, journeying towards the sea, his wife being with him, as also his son Henry, by his first wife, mother of the Earl of Gloucester; and putting to sea at (fn. 3) Gernemue on the 27 th day of April, on the Feast of Philip and James [1 May] they landed at (fn. 4) Thurdrakt, which is situate on the water called "Musele." Afterwards, on Our Lord's Ascension, he was crowned, as set forth in the Letter underwritten:—
"Richard, by the grace of God King of the Romans, ever August, to the Mayor and citizens of London, health and all blessings. We do the more joyfully andin especial retainin our heart the more propitious and marked events that attend our elevation, inasmuch as we do believe that the pleasures thereof are doubled by congratulation; and the more especially do we find a threefold degree of exhilaration in our joyousness, when we feel assured that the same has reached your ears, confident as we are that the same are always ready, in the purity of your good faith and the zeal of your warm affection, attentively to listen to news of our well-being; while at the same time, in our own affection towards you, we do feel a longing regret which tells us how much more rejoiced we should have been rather to converse with you personally hereon, and upon certain other festive matters, than give you information thereof through the agency of writing, acting as our interpreter. To the end, however, that a full and certain knowledge may be imparted to you of all the joyous events that have befallen us since we took our departure from among you, we have deemed it proper that the present page, indicative of the events aforesaid, should unto you be directed; intimating thereby, as matter for your congratulation, that on the Sunday next after the Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist [25 April], attended by our suite, we took ship at (fn. 5) Jernemue. On the Tuesday following, the day, namely, of the blessed Apostles Philip and James [1 May], all, as well ourselves and our family as our suite, being well alike in person and in effects, we reached the town of (fn. 6) Durdreych, situate in the midst of the dominions of the Count of (fn. 7) Hoyland; and, after staying there two days to take some repose after our fatigues, on the third day we took our departure therefrom, and then continuing our progress, through the countries of Hoyland and Gelderland, on the Friday before the Feast of Our Lord's Ascension arrived at Aix; the more illustrious and more worthy of the men thereof, clergy, that is to say, as well as laity, nobles, knights, and all other the citizens, meeting us at our entrance into the said city, and receiving us magnificently and honourably amid the greatest joyousness and jubilation, glad and rejoicing, without any obstacle or difficulty whatsoever intervening. And it is our belief, so far as in these lands the testimony bears witness of general and wide-spread report, that for the last two hundred years, no one of the Roman Emperors or Kings, upon newly commencing his rule, has ever without grave offence, or opposition and gainsaying thereon, entered the city of Aix. And while after so entering the said city, it was necessary for us to make a somewhat long sojourn therein, behold! certain rumours,—cherished by our warmest desires,—reached us, joyously making known unto us that the Archbishop of Treves, the enemy of our advancement,—who, to the detriment of our name and honour, with a vast multitude of armed men had laid siege to our Castle and Palace of Bopardt, and had prepared many engines for the capture thereof— had been attacked by our beloved prince, the venerable Archbishop of Mentz; who, with the aid of a great body of warriors from among our faithful subjects, out of respect for our name had hastened to the relief of the said Castle, and to the assistance of the people there besieged, and on the Wednesday next after the (fn. 8) Feast of Saint John Port Latin [6 May] had manfully engaged the said Archbishop of Treves; not without slaughter of his partisans, while many of his knights and other accomplices were made prisoners, the Archbishop himself, at the close of the battle, by the aid of a disgraceful flight avoiding the punishment of death, or at least the peril of being taken captive. And thus, our said Castle being, by the aid of the aforesaid Archbishop of Mentz and other our faithful people, happily relieved from the blockade of the besiegers and the assaults of the foe, and excellently well supplied with provisions and such other valiant defenders as were needed, the same Archbishop of Mentz at Aix presented himself before us. Where, on the Feast of Our Lord's Ascension, himself and the Archbishop of Cologne being present, as also many other Bishops, Dukes, Counts, and Barons, peers and nobles of our realm, and faithful subjects of ours, we did, upon the throne of (fn. 9) Charles the Great,with all befitting solemnity, in the name of Him (fn. 10) 'Who resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble,' receive the sceptre of the Holy Roman Empire, and the crown thereof; our most dear consort beingin like manner on the same day solemnly crowned together with us, as was befitting. At length, the feast of our coronation having been celebrated with great solemnity and rejoicing, and the counsels of our well-beloved princes and other our faithful subjects as to our own affairs having been communicated to us, it seemed unto ourselves and to them, that it would be most in accordance with the elevation that had by vote been conferred upon us, that we should immediately, without loss of time, proceed to the humbling of those who were rebelling against us, and more especially, and first thing of all, turn all our endeavours towards breaking the horns of him of Treves who had raised them against us; that so, as he was the first of all, in our matters, to shew himself not so much a just and a reasonable [opponent] as a willing embroiler, he may be the first to experience and to learn what and how much to his detriment our hand both can and may effect. As to this however we would especially have you informed, that we do now trust that so great is our power in Almaine, through the aid of our faithful subjects and supporters, that, while they continue to cherish their fealty towards us, and remain zealous in their devotion in our behalf, the power of no man living will be an object of fear to us. Given at Aix, this 18th day of May, in the first year of our reign."
In this year, about the Feast of Saint (fn. 11) Peter's Chains [1 August], the King of England fought, with a great army, against Llewellin, son of Griffin, the Prince of Wales, and against other Welshmen who had risen against the King, because that Sir Edward, the King's son, would not treat them in accordance with their customs. Accordingly, coming with his army to the castle that is called (fn. 12) "Ghennok," he remained there until the Nativity of the Blessed Mary [8 September], awaiting his men from Ireland, for whom he had sent; but as they did not come, his lordship the King seeing that he could not crush the Welsh, unless with a great multitude of foot-soldiers accompanying him, he withdrew, having placed garrisons in his castles.
This year, about the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Mary [8 September], peace was made between the citizens of London and the Abbot of Waltham, who before had been at variance, because that the Abbot would exact (fn. 13) stallage of them in the Fair of Waltham; for which reason all the people of London withdrew, refusing to resort to the said Fair of Waltham for three years and more. And the agreement so made was to the effect, that the Abbot returned to the citizens of London all the distresses that had been taken for the said stallage, and for such distresses as had been lost and had become spoiled, the value thereof in money ; and he further granted that in future the citizens might resort to the said fair, and there stand acquitted of all stallage for ever.