Memorials: 1355

Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries. Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1868.

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, 'Memorials: 1355', in Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, (London, 1868) pp. 275-280. British History Online [accessed 23 May 2024].

. "Memorials: 1355", in Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, (London, 1868) 275-280. British History Online, accessed May 23, 2024,

. "Memorials: 1355", Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, (London, 1868). 275-280. British History Online. Web. 23 May 2024,

In this section

Process against Roger Torold, for abusing the Mayor.

28 Edward III. A.D. 1355. Letter-Book G. fol. xlii. (Latin.)

On Tuesday, the Feast of our Lord's Epiphany [6 January], in the 28th year etc., one Roger Torold, citizen and vintner of the City of London, in the house of William Brangwayn, in the Ward of Langbourne, in presence of John de Draytone, John Warender, and Thomas de Same, and other trustworthy men of the city aforesaid, quite losing his senses, shamefully reviled Thomas Leggy, the Mayor of the same city, with abusive and horrible words, saying thus,— "I, Roger Torold, do defy (fn. 1) the said Mayor, the whole of this Feast-day, and the whole of the year next to come, and, what is more, the whole of his life;" and further said, in the way of divers threats, that if he could only catch the said Mayor outside of the city aforesaid, he, the Mayor, should never return to the City alive; which words being thus foolishly uttered by a tongue that had run oose, the aforesaid John de Draytone, John Warender, and Thomas de Same, on the Wednesday following came to the Mayor, and related to him all the foregoing in form aforesaid.

And accordingly, the said Mayor came to the Guildhall on the same Wednesday, and calling together the Aldermen and Sheriffs, related to them all the matters before stated; and after conference and discourse had been held among them thereupon, by common assent, precept was given to Thomas de Guldeford, serjeant to Richard Smelt, one of the Sheriffs, to attach the said Roger Torold by sureties, to be at the Guildhall on the Thursday following, to make answer as well unto our Lord the King as to the said Mayor on the matters aforesaid.

Upon which Thursday, the same serjeant testified that the said Roger had been attached, by William Brangwayn (fn. 2) and William de Thame, to be here etc., and further to do what the Court should order etc.

And thereupon, the said Roger appeared; and, in presence of Andrew Aubrey, Simon Fraunceys, and other Aldermen, William de Tudenham and Richard Smelt, the Sheriffs, and many other reputable men of the said city, being questioned how he would acquit himself of the matters aforesaid, the said Roger Torold acknowledged that he had said all the things as above imputed to him by the said Mayor, and put himself upon the favour of the Mayor and Aldermen, to do their will of him in all ways in this behalf. And because that the said Mayor, Aldermen, Sheriffs, and Commonalty, wished to consult more fully as to the judgment to be rendered thereon, for chastising and punishing the said Roger, that so his chastisement and punishment might inspire others with dread of so offending in future, a day was given to the said Roger for hearing his judgment, the Wednesday after the Feast of St. Hilary [13 January] then next ensuing; and in the meantime he was to be committed to prison, etc.

Upon which Wednesday the said Roger was brought before the Mayor, Aldermen, Sheriffs, and an immense multitude of the Commonalty; and there, in their presence, of his own accord, he offered to the said Mayor 100 tuns of wine for the contempt and offence aforesaid, that he might be restored to his favour; which the said Mayor then forgave to the same Roger Torold, on the understanding that he, the same Roger, should make a certain recognizance in the Chamber of the Guildhall in 40 pounds sterling, to the Aldermen and Commonalty of the city aforesaid to be paid; on condition that if he should thereafter inflict any damage or grievance upon the person of Thomas Leggy, in deed, or opprobrious and horrible words, or in any other way, or if the same Roger should shew contempt to any Mayor, Aldermen, Sheriffs, or officers of the city aforesaid, by abusive, slanderous, and outrageous words, or by any threats, and be in due manner convicted thereof before the Mayor and Aldermen by good and trustworthy persons of the city aforesaid, then his recognizance of 40 pounds should remain in its full force, and execution be done upon him, etc.

Ordinances of the Braelers.

29 Edward III. A.D. 1355. Letter-Book G. fol. xxxii. (Norman French.)

These are the Articles and Ordinances of the Braelers (fn. 3).—

"In the first place,—if any stranger shall come to the City, and shall wish to work and follow the trade of the Braelers, the good folks who are sworn to rule the said trade for the common profit, are to come to the Mayor and Aldermen, and shew them the name of such person; and forthwith, the Mayor and Aldermen shall cause the said person to appear before them; and there he shall be examined by the good folks of the said trade, as to whether he is proper and skilled in such trade, for the common profit; and whether he is of good standing for dwelling in the said city.

"Also,—that no one of the said trade shall entice, or cause to be enticed, privily or openly, serving-men or journeymen from the service of another; and if any one shall do so, and be convicted thereof, let him pay to the Commonalty 40 shillings; and further, let the journeymen or serving-men be delivered to their master, to serve him for all the term between them before agreed.

"Also,—if any serving-man of the said trade, who has behaved himself well and loyally towards his masters whom he has served, shall fall sick, or be unable to help or maintain himself, he shall be found by the good folks of the said trade, until he shall have recovered, and be able to help and maintain himself.

"Also,—if any serving-man of the said trade shall be of bad be haviour and accustomed to do evil, and will not be adjudged upon and chastised by the good folks of the said trade, and shall before the Mayor and Aldermen be convicted thereof, let him go to "prison, there to remain until he shall have found good surety for his good behaviour; and further, let him pay to the Commonalty 40 pence.

"Also,—that no man of this calling shall take an apprentice, if he be not himself free of the City; or any journeyman, if such person be not first proved and assayed by the Masters of the same trade, as being skilled in his trade. And if there be any journeyman in such calling, who does not know his trade, let him be ousted therefrom, if he will not be apprenticed to learn his said trade. And let him who takes an apprentice, not being a freeman himself, pay to the Commonalty 40 shillings.

"Also,—if any one of this trade shall be found working within the franchise, privily or openly, or dealing in things touching the said trade, against the form and Ordinances above written, let such work or merchandizes be forfeited to the use of the Commonalty.

"Also,—if any one shall be found making false work, let the same work be brought before the Mayor and Aldermen, and before them let it be adjudged upon as being false and forfeited; and let such person go bodily to prison.

"Also,—that no person shall work in the same trade with sheepleather, on pain of forfeiting the work.

"Also,—that no one shall take an apprentice, if it be not testified by the good folks of the said trade sworn, that he is a man proper and sufficient to keep, inform, and teach, his apprentice; and that, for a term of seven years, according to the usages of the City, and for not less; and if any one shall do so, let him lose his freedom.

"Also,—that no one of the said trade shall be so daring as to work at his trade by night; and that, on pain of losing, the first time, 40 pence; the second time, half a mark; the third time, 10 shillings; and the fourth time, 20 shillings; and let all work be forfeited to the Chamber, that is found by the sworn folks of the said trade to have been made against the points aforesaid.

"Also,—that no one of the said trade shall be so daring as to set any woman to work in his trade, other than his wedded wife, or his daughter.

"Also,—that no one of the said trade shall work on Saturday, or on the Eve of a Double Feast, after None rung in the Parish in which he is residing. And if any person shall be found acting against any one of the points aforesaid, let him pay, the first time, 40 pence to the Chamber of the Guildhall; the second time, half a mark; the third time, 10 shillings; and the fourth time, 20 shillings; and let all the work be forfeited to the Chamber, that shall be found by the sworn folks of the said trade to have been made against the points aforesaid."

Writ enjoining Inquisition to be made as to obstructions in the Foss surrounding the Prison of Flete.

29 Edward III. A.D. 1355. Letter-Book G. fol. xxxix. (Latin.)

"The King to his well-beloved and trusty, Simon Fraunceys, Mayor of the City of London, Hugh de Appelby, and Robert de Charwaltone, greeting. Whereas we have been given to understand that the Foss by which the mansion of our Prison of Flete is surrounded, and which for the safety of the said prison was lately made, is now so obstructed and choked up by filth from latrines built thereon, and divers other refuse thrown therein, that there is cause to fear for the abiding there of the persons therein detained, by reason of the same; and because that, by reason of the infection of the air, and the abominable stench which there prevails, many of those there imprisoned are often affected with various diseases and grievous maladies, not without serious peril unto them;—We, wishing a befitting remedy to be applied thereto, and that the said Foss may be restored to its former state, in which it was when it was first made, and so improved, and, for making provision thereon, desiring upon the matters aforesaid more fully to be informed; have assigned you, and any two of you, to survey the Foss aforesaid, and the defaults that are imminent there, and to enquire, upon the oath of good and lawful men of the City, and the suburb thereof, by whom the truth thereon may be best known, as to the names as well of those who, from the time of the making thereof, have built latrines upon the said Foss, as of those who have thrown such refuse and filth into the same, and still are wont so to do, and from what time, and how, and in what way; and whether they ought of right to have such latrines there, and to throw such refuse filth into the same, or not etc. (fn. 4) Witness myself, at Westminster, the 16th day of December, in the 29th year of our reign in England, and in France the 16th."

[The above is followed, (folio xl.) by the report of the Inquest, a document of very considerable length. The Inquisition was held in the Church of St. Brigid, (or Bride) Fletestrete, on Tuesday, the 9th of January, 1356, on the oath of Richard le Cok, Nicholas le Sporiere, Thomas le Glaswryghte, and nine others. From it we learn, that the "Foss of Flete" ought to be 10 feet in breadth all round the Prison; that it ought to be so full of water, that a boat laden (fn. 5) with one tun of wine might easily float round it; and that the shelving banks of the Foss were then covered with trees. Also, that there were three tanneries established close to the margin of it; that it was quite choked up with the filth of laystalls and sewers discharging into it; and that no less than eleven necessary-houses (or "wardrobes," as they seem very generally to have been called in the 13th and 14th centuries) had been illegally built over it,—to the corruption of the water in the Foss aforesaid; and to such an extent is the flow of water obstructed and impeded thereby, that the said Foss can no longer surround the Prison with its waters, as it used to do."]


  • 1. Pravo.
  • 2. As sureties for his appearing.
  • 3. Makers of braels, or braces. See pages 134 and 250 ante.
  • 4. The remaining portion, which is merely formal, orders that the finding of the Inquisition shall be returned in the Court of Chancery.
  • 5. In other words, of one tonnage.