Chronicles of the Mayors and Sheriffs: 1265-6

Pages 81-93

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

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A.D. 1265. Sheriffs.: Gregory de Rokesle,; Simon de Hadestok,

On the morrow of Saint Michael, as the custom is, the Mayor and citizens proceeded to Westminster, to present them to the Barons of the Exchequer; but finding no one there, they returned home. And so, they were (fn. 1) not admitted Sheriffs. Be it remembered, that at the close of the Parliament before-mentioned, his lordship the King had summoned to Wyndleshores all the Earls, Barons, [and] knights, as many as he could, with horses and arms, intending to lay siege to the City of London, [and] calling the citizens his foes.

Then was all the City in great alarm. The fools and evil-minded persons, however, who had previously been adherents of the Earl of Leicester against the King, proposed fortifying the City against him; while the discreet men of the City, who always maintained their fealty to his lordship the King—although some part of them, but by compulsion, had given their adherence to the said Earl,—would not assent thereto; but, though they sent many letters, through men of the religious Orders, to his lordship the King, for the purpose of beseeching his favour, it was of no avail to them. At length, after holding counsel among themselves, the whole community gave its consent to throwing themselves on the mercy of his lordship the King, and made letters patent thereupon, sealed with the common seal; eight men being selected to carry and shew the same unto his lordship the King, and to present such letters to him at Windleshores. Upon the road, they were met by Sir Roger de Leiburne, who said that he, for the benefit and advantage of the City, had come to make arrangements for peace between his lordship the King and the citizens: upon hearing which, the men who had been so sent, returned home; and the said Roger took up his quarters in the Tower of London.

The next morning however, the said Roger went to the Church called (fn. 2) Berkinge Cherche; where the Mayor and a countless multitude of the citizens had met; and then, summoning the Mayor and more discreet men of the City, the said Roger said to them that if it was their wish to become reconciled with his lordship the King, they must wholly subject themselves unto the will of his lordship the King as to life and, limb, and as to all things moveable and immoveable. The citizens accordingly gave assent thereto, and caused letters patent to be made, sealed with the common seal; which letters the said Roger took with him to his lordship the King at Windleshores.

Afterwards, on the Friday next after the Feast of Saint Michael, the same Roger came to London, and on the morrow proceeded to the Church before-mentioned; the Mayor also and citizens met there, to whom the same Roger said, that it was the desire of his lordship the King, that all. chains which had been placed across the streets, should be removed, and that all the posts to which the said chains had been attached, should be rooted up, and carried, all of them, to the Tower; and so it was afterwards done.

It was also the wish of his lordship the King, that the Mayor and principal men of the City should come to him at Windleshores, to confirm what was said in the letters aforesaid. The said Roger also brought letters patent of safe-conduct of his lordship the King, for the Mayor and citizens, so that they might safely go to Windleshores, there to stay and thence to return, the same to last until the Monday then next ensuing, and throughout the whole of the Monday aforesaid. Wherefore, on the same day, the Mayor, and about forty of the more substantial men of the City, set out and arrived at Stanes. On the morrow, which was a Sunday, after the citizens had awaited the arrival of the said Roger until the (fn. 3) third hour, he came, and then the Mayor and citizens accompanied him to Windleshores; where he entered the castle, the citizens remaining without until evening. His lordship the King also then caused proclamation to be made, that no knight, serjeant, or other person, should presume to say or to do anything affronting to the citizens, seeing that they had been summoned to the peace of his lordship the King.

After this, there were sent on part of his lordship the King, the said Roger, and Sir Robert Walraven and others, to inform the Mayor and citizens that the King was not then advised in what form to make known his will unto them; but that they were to enter the Castle, and on the morrow should learn the same. Upon this, they entered, and all of them were lodged in the (fn. 4) tower in safe custody, the letters of safe-conduct granted by the King availing them nought. They also remained there throughout the whole of that night and the whole of the following day; but at a later hour, were separated and sent into the (fn. 5) bailey of the Castle, and there lodged, all of them, the Mayor excepted, Thomas de Piwelesdon, Michael Thovi, Stephen Bugerel, [and] John de Flete, whose bodies the King gave to Sir Edward; and they remained in the tower.

After this, his lordship the King departed from Windleshores and came to London, calling the citizens his enemies, and giving away more than sixty houses belonging to citizens; they, with all their families, being expelled. In like manner also, he gave away all such goods belonging to the citizens as they possessed without the City, as at (fn. 6) Lenne, for example, (fn. 7) Gernemue, and other sea-ports. He also took all their (fn. 8) foreign lands, into his hands, and destroyed and wasted all goods there found. At this time, Sir Hugh Fitz-Otes, Constable of the Tower, was made Warden of the City, and styled (fn. 9) "Seneschal," appointing under him two Bailiffs, John Addrien, namely, and Walter Hervi, who, in place of Sheriffs, were to have charge of the City.

After this, the citizens aforesaid, who were in the bailey at Wiridleshores, were liberated by leave of his lordship the King and of his son, and returned home, all of them, to London, on the Thursday next after the Feast of Saint Luke the Evangelist [18 October], with the exception of Richard Bonaventure, Simon de Hadestoke, William de Kent, Eadmund de Essex, and William de Gloucester, who remained.

At this time, his lordship the King had hostages taken for keeping the peace, from more than sixty citizens, who accordingly were put in the Tower; and at the same time the King had the citizens spoken to, to the effect that they must make fine to him for their offence. Upon this, after holding conference, they made answer that the citizens had not equally offended; for that some of them had always maintained the peace of his lordship the King, and whom in those times he used to call his friends. Others again had been adherents of the Earl of Leicester; but this, because compelled thereto. Many others again, evil-minded persons, had spontaneously sided with the said Earl and his accomplices, committing depredations both within the City and without. Wherefore it seemed unto the citizens, that they ought not equally to be punished; and they accordingly entreated the King and his Council, that each of them might individually be allowed to make fine in proportion to his offence, and that every one might be punished according to his transgressions. And this was granted them, though it was not carried into effect.

After this, on the Tuesday next after the Feast of Saint Nicholas [6 December], the King took his departure from Westminster for Norhamptone, and on the same day, John de la Linde, knight, and John Waleraven, clerk, were made Seneschals, the Tower of London being delivered into their hands. On the same day, there came to Westminster upon summons more than four-and-twenty of the most substantial men of the City; all of whom made oath before the Council of his lordship the King, that they would faithfully and safely keep the City in his behalf, Sir Roger de Leiburne telling them that his lordship the King had delivered his City into their keeping, under the Seneschals beforementioned.

Be it remarked, that at the time when the City submitted itself unto the mercy of his lordship the King, many persons in the City who had spontaneously sided with the Earl of Leicester, took to flight; having committed depredations and many mischiefs within the City and without, and, in the time of the aforesaid Mayor, styling themselves the "Commons of the City," having had the first voice there, the principal men thereof being but little consulted in reference thereto.

Be it remarked, that in the week of Our Lord's Nativity in the same year, in presence of Sir Roger de Leiburne and Robert Walraven, sent by his lordship the King, who was then at Norhamptone, the citizens made fine to his lordship the King in the sum of 20000 marks sterling, for all trespasses and excesses during the disturbances of the realm imputed to them; in consideration whereof, he granted unto them his Charter, in form under-written:—

Letters of his lordship the King, whereby he remitted his indignation unto the Citizens.

"Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, etc. to all men, etc. greeting. Know ye, that in consideration of a fine of 20000 marks, which our citizens of London have made unto us as their ransom, by reason of trespasses or excesses against us, and our Queen, and Richard the illustrious King of Almaine, our brother, and Edward our eldest son, by them committed, or unto them imputed, we do, for ourselves and our heirs, so far as in us lies, wholly remit and pardon unto the said citizens and their heirs all such trespasses and excesses, in form as follows, that is to say; that they shall have all issues of rents arising from houses and tenements as well in the City aforesaid as in the suburbs thereof, from the time of our Lord's Nativity last past, upon the understanding that from henceforth they shall, from such rents, satisfy all persons whatsoever in such manner as shall be right; and shall have all goods and chattels of such misdoers within the same City, as, in the disturbances aforesaid, have been against us and Edward our eldest son, and who thereof have been, or shall be, indicted; save and except the goods and chattels of those whose bodies we have granted unto our said son, and except the houses, lands, tenements, and rents, of the same citizens, which are and ought to be our escheats, by reason of the trespasses aforesaid; and shall have all goods and chattels of citizens of the same city in the parts of Flanders arrested, save and except the chattels and goods of those who by lawful inquisition may be found or convicted to have been our enemies. And that all prisoners of the same city, except those whose bodies we have given unto our firstborn son aforesaid, shall from prison be delivered; save also such prisoners as have by the same citizens been indicted and taken, and shall be indicted and taken. And that the hostages of the citizens aforesaid, for the safekeeping of the same city unto us delivered, save and except the hostages of the prisoners of our son aforesaid, and the hostages of those who have taken to flight, if any such there shall be, shall in like manner be set at liberty; and that from the goods of such citizens as have died in the city aforesaid, since the time that the said citizens have submitted themselves unto our will, a contribution shall be proportionally levied towards the said ransom, according to the means of the deceased, in the same manner as in regard to the means of the other citizens who are still living in the city aforesaid; and in like manner it shall be done as to the goods of all men of the same city who are there in our (fn. 10) Exchange. We have also granted unto them, that all goods and chattels of the reputable men of the City aforesaid, which have been taken from each and every of them, from the time when the citizens aforesaid submitted themselves unto our will, without our warrant aforesaid,—the goods of Richard de Walebrok excepted—shall unto them be wholly restored; and that the said citizens shall throughout all our territories and dominions, freely and without impediment on part of us or ours, as well by sea as by land, trade with their wares and merchandize, in such manner as they shall deem expedient, quit of all custom, toll, and (fn. 11) passage; and shall sojourn wheresoever they shall think proper, in the same our realm, for purposes of business, in such manner as in past times they have been wont to do, until such time as of our counsel it shall as to the state of the city afore- said be more fully provided. And that no one of the said city, as to whom it may manifestly be proved that in the disturbances aforesaid he has been our enemy, or the enemy of our eldest son aforesaid, shall in future sojourn or be harboured in the city aforesaid. In testimony whereof, we have caused these our letters patent to be made. Witness myself, at Norhamptone, this tenth day of January, in the fiftieth year of our reign."

By reason of this ransom, then were set at liberty William de Gloucester, Richard Bonaventure, William de Kent, [and] Simon de Hadestoke; Eadmund de Essex having been previously released.

After this, Simon de Montfort the Younger, while his lordship the King was at Norhamptone, threw himself upon his mercy, to abide by the award of the King of Almaine and the Legate of his lordship the Pope, then in England, and certain others, Barons of England. Afterwards, having come to London and made a stay for some time in the Court of Sir Edward, not awaiting his award, he escaped stealthily without leave and by night, making for Winchester, where he joined the pirates of the Cinque Ports; who then, as before, were seizing all the merchants they could, whether coming to England or departing from England, and either slaying them or plundering their goods. Still however, these pirates did not dare to attack any foreign prince or knight, coming in armed guise to England, or leaving it. This Simon however afterwards crossed the seas.

The same year, in the week before Palm Sunday, Sir Edward received into the favour of his lordship the King, his father, and of himself, all the men of the Cinque Ports, as well misdoers as others; and granted that they should have all their liberties, and possess all their lands and tenements. And in like manner it was granted unto knights, Serjeants, and all others who had been their adherents in the disturbances aforesaid, that they should freely have and hold all the possessions and lands, which they had before held; also, all acts of depredation and homicide by land or by sea were forgiven, whatsoever the same might be, which they had committed upon men of the realm of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Gascoigne; those lands namely, which belong to the dignity of his lordship the King. And if any person of a land other than the lands above-mentioned, should wish to proceed against such persons for depredations committed against them, or for homicide committed against their kinsfolk, he was to come into the Court of the Cinque Ports aforesaid, and there have justice awarded him. But for what reason or through what necessity all the concessions aforesaid were made unto them, I know not.

The Bishops who, for their disobedience, were sent to Rome, must not be past over in silence here. A year and a half before, when the Queen of England, Peter de (fn. 12) Sauweye, the Earl of Warenne, Hugh Bigot, and a countless multitude of knights and men-at-arms, together with a large fleet, were in Flanders and intending to cross over to England with a strong and armed force, against the Earl of Leicester and his accomplices; the Roman Legate, who is now (fn. 13) Pope, then being in those parts, pronounced sentence of excommunication against the said Earl and all who adhered to him in the disturbances of the realm of England before-noticed, and placed the City of London under ecclesiastical interdict, as well as all persons and places belonging to the said Earl and his adherents; and this he enjoined upon certain Bishops there, in order that they might publish his said sentence and the aforesaid interdict throughout all England. And because they failed to do so, (fn. 14) Ottoboni, who is now Legate from Rome, summoned them before him at London, and addressed them, pronouncing them contumacious. Wherefore, after much altercation had passed between them for the reason aforesaid, and because they had shewed themselves so luke-warm during the said disturbances in the realm, in not chiding or rebuking those evildoers who were striving against his lordship the King, the week before Palm Sunday in this year he suspended (fn. 15) Henry, Bishop of London, and (fn. 16) Stephen, Bishop of Chichester, from duty and benefice, sending them to Rome, to be punished according to their deserts by his lordship the Pope.

After this, on the Monday next after the quinzaine of Easter, for the same reason the same Legate suspended (fn. 17) John, Bishop of Win- Chester, from duty and benefice, naming a peremptory time for him to appear in presence of his lordship the Pope, there to receive penance according to his deserts.

About the same time, the Exchequer of his lordship the King was transferred from Westminster to Saint Paul's, so that the Pleas in Bank which used to be held at Westminster, were now held in the hall of the Bishop of London; the (fn. 18) Exchequer too being placed in the chamber of the said (fn. 19) Bishop. The Legate however was lodged in the Tower of London.

In the same year and at the same season, the persons who had been deprived of their possessions, as already mentioned, collected in bands, and fought by force of arms, in Norfolch, Suthfolch, and (fn. 20) Holand, as also in divers other places throughout England, plundering many persons; on which occasion, some of them entered Lincoln, certain persons of that city siding with them, and plundered many of the citizens there. The boroughs and vills also, through which some of them passed, made fine to them, in order that they might not be attacked. Those however who had entered Lincoln, on hearing news of the approach of Sir Edward, withdrew.

At this time, about the Feast of the Apostles Philip and James [1 May], his lordship the King held a Parliament at Norhamptone. To this Parliament were sent formal messengers from the City of London, begging his lordship the King that he would be pleased to reinstate them in their former position, and that they might elect Sheriffs from among themselves, who should be answerable to the King's Exchequer for the ancient ferm. Whereupon, returning from the Parliament, they came to London on the Vigil of our Lord's Ascension, and brought letters of his lordship the King, both close and patent, the tenor of which is as follows:—

Letters of his lordship the King as to leave to elect Bailiffs.

"Henry, by the grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Acquitaine, to his well-beloved and trusty, the (fn. 21) Barons and citizens of London, greeting. Whereas we have granted unto you, that you may elect one of your fellow-citizens, a trusty and discreet person, who has heretofore constantly adhered unto his fealty to us and to Edward, our eldest son, the same to attend to the duties of Sheriff of Middlesex and of Warden of the City of London; such person by you to be presented at our Exchequer, and there to take the oath of fealty, as the usage is, and to be answerable unto us at the Exchequer aforesaid for the ferm thereof; for which ferm the Sheriffs thereof respectively from of old have been wont there to be answerable; all which things we have granted unto you of our own free will; provided however that the said Sheriff and Warden shall with the liberties of the Abbey of Westminster in no way interfere:—we do command you that of your fellow-citizens you elect such a person thereunto, and make known unto us his name. Witness myself, at Norhamptone, this first day of May, in the fiftieth year of our reign."

"Henry, by the grace of God etc., to all to whom these present letters shall come, greeting. Know ye, that we have granted unto our well-beloved Barons and citizens of London, that they may elect one of their fellow-citizens, a trusty and discreet person, who has heretofore constantly adhered unto his fealty to us and to Edward, our eldest son, the same to attend to the duties of Sheriff of Middlesex and of Warden of the City of London; the name of such person to be made known unto us, that so he may be presented at our Exchequer, and there take the oath of fealty, as the usage is, and be answerable unto us at our Exchequer aforesaid for the ferm thereof; all which things we have granted unto them of our own free will. It is our will, however, that the said Sheriff and Warden shall with the liberties of the Abbey of Westminster in no way interfere. In testimony whereof we have caused these letters patent to be made. Witness myself, at Norhamptone, this 30th day of April, in the fiftieth year of our reign."

Accordingly, on the morrow, being the day of Our Lord's Ascension, which on this occasion fell upon the Feast of Saint John Port Latin [6 May], the citizens met at the Guildhall, and William Fitz-Kichard was elected by them and sworn, to attend to the office of Sheriff of Middlesex and the Wardenship of the City of London, in form in the aforesaid letters contained: and on the morrow was presented to the Barons of the Exchequer at Saint Paul's, and there admitted and sworn.

Be it remarked, that many of the common people, on the day that the aforesaid election took place, gainsayed the same, crying— "Nay, nay," and saying,—"We will have no one for Mayor, save only Thomas Fitz-Thomas, and we desire that he be released from prison, as well as his companions, who are at Windleshores." Such base exclamations did the fools of the vulgar classes give utterance to, on the previous Monday, in the same Guildhall. Wherefore his lordship the King, on hearing rumours to this effect, fearing an insurrection of the populace against the principal men of the City, who maintained their fealty towards him, sent to London Sir Roger de Leiburne; who, on the Saturday next ensuing, came into the Guildhall with a great retinue of knights and Serjeants, with arms beneath their clothes; whither a countless multitude of the City had already resorted, and that without summons. And the same Sir Roger gave orders, on behalf of his lordship the King, that all who were suspected, should be seized and put in arrest, lest they might enter into some confederacy with the enemies of his lordship the King. Wherefore, on the same day there were taken more than twenty persons, no one of the populace making any opposition thereto.

Be it remarked, that those who adhered unto his lordship the King had frequent conflicts with their adversaries; for example, on one occasion in the County of Derby, where John de Eyvile, Baldwin Wake, and the Earl of Ferrers, (who two days before had withdrawn from his allegiance to the King, and had given in his adherence to them upon oath), with many others, had met together, with horses and arms, in the vill that is known as (fn. 22) Cestrefeld. Here Sir Henry of Almaine, Sir John de Baliol, and others who maintained their fealty to his lordship the King, surprised and attacked them, on the Vigil of Pentecost, many of them being taken prisoners and many slain. The Earl of Ferrers also was taken, and carried to the Castle of Windleshores, As to John de Eyvile and Baldwyn Wake, they took to flight.

After this, on Friday in the week of Pentecost, Sir Edward attacked Adam Gurdan and his accomplices in the wood of Aulton, where many were slain and captured, and lost their all. Afterwards, on the fourth day of June, Boneface, Archbishop of Canterbury, came to London from the parts beyond sea, where he had been staying all the time of the aforesaid disturbances in the kingdom of England.

In the same year, after the Feast of the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist [24 June], his lordship the King laid siege to the Castle of Kenelworthe, having with him a countless army of Earls, Barons, knights, men-at-arms, and others who adhered to their fealty. The same year, on the second of the Ides of July [12 August], at night, the wife of Sir Edward was delivered of her first-born son, at Windleshores; on hearing news of which, the citizens of London caused proclamation to be made in the City, that on the morrow the whole community should celebrate the same by doing no handicraft, for joyousness at the birth of the said child. Accordingly on that day, all (fn. 23) selds and shops being closed, all the men and women, clergy as well as lay, went on foot and horseback to Westminster, to give thanks unto God for the birth of the child, and to offer prayers for its safety. Also, throughout the streets of the City there was dancing and singing of carols for joy, as is the usual yearly custom upon the Feast of Saint John the Baptist [24 June]. The name that was given to the child was "John."

Be it observed, that on the Vigil of Saint Michael a writ of his lordship the King was read in the Guildhall before all the people; in which was set forth, that he had given orders that the Charter of liberties which he had granted unto his Barons of England, in the ninth year of his reign, should be read before all the people, and that all the articles therein contained should throughout the whole realm of England be strictly observed. Also, in the same manner, at this time a writ of his lordship the King, in like form, was sent to all the Sheriffs of England.

Also, on the same day there were immediately read certain letters patent, setting forth that the King had delivered the City into the custody of William Fitz-Richard, who before had been elected by the citizens Bailiff of the City; as also, the Sheriffwick of Middlesex, he making payment, according to the ancient ferm, at the Exchequer. But these letters were contrary to the aforesaid Charter, by which the City is entitled to have all its franchises and free customs, and by virtue whereof the citizens ought to elect their own Sheriffs and Mayor. For which reason, the citizens sent to the Court of his lordship the King envoys on their behalf; though the same William continued to be Warden of the City and of Middlesex ; as the citizens declined to elect any one, in contravention of the letters aforesaid, without leave of his lordship the King. Still however, they sent envoys to the Court, as already mentioned.


  • 1. "They were not admitted, because his lordship the King had then taken the City into his own hands; because that the citizens had been adherents of the Earl of Leicester in the disturbances of the realm; and he retained the same for nearly six years."—Marginal Note.
  • 2. Allhallows Barking, near the Tower.
  • 3. Nine in the morning.
  • 4. Or Keep.
  • 5. See page 66 ante.
  • 6. Lynn, in Norfolk.
  • 7. Yarmouth, in Norfolk.
  • 8. I.e. lands without the liberties of the City.
  • 9. Or, Steward.
  • 10. At the Tower, and acting as moneyers at the Mint, or their assistants.
  • 11. A toll levied for passing over ferries.
  • 12. Savoy.
  • 13. Guy le Gros or le Foulques -, previously Archbishop of Narbonne and Cardinal Bishop of Sabina. As he died in November 1268, the present passage tends to shew that the latter part of this Chronicle is by the hand of a writer previous to that date.
  • 14. Ottoboni di Fresco; Cardinal of Saint Adrian, and Pope (for about five weeks) as Adrian V., in 1276.
  • 15. Henry de Sandwich.
  • 16. Stephen de Barksteed.
  • 17. John Gernsey.
  • 18. The table so called, at which the officers of the Exchequer sat.
  • 19. Who was now in disgrace, and on his way to Rome.
  • 20. Holland, or Hoyland, in Lincolnshire.
  • 21. The Aldermen and tenants in capite were so styled.
  • 22. Now Chesterfield.
  • 23. Or warehouses.