Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries. Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1868.
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Exemption of Writers of court-hand and text-letters, Limners, and Barbers, from being placed on Inquisitions in the Sheriffs' Courts.
31 Edward III. A.D. 1357. Letter-Book G. fol. lxi. (Latin.)
On the 20th day of May, in the 31st year etc., it was ordered and agreed by Henry Pykard, Mayor, and the Aldermen, that the writers of court-hand and text-letters, the limners, (fn. 1) and the barbers, dwelling within the City of London, should not in future be summoned on Inquisitions in the Sheriffs' Courts between any parties pleading in the same. And if any amercement should by the Sheriffs' officers from them be taken, the same should immediately be restored to them, without any gainsaying thereof.
Saving however, that if they should be summoned to come to the Guildhall on any arduous business touching the City, then they were to come there, on the peril which awaits the same.
Royal order for cleansing the streets of the City, and the banks of the Thames.
31 Edward III. A.D. 1357. Letter-Book G. fol. lxiv. (Latin.)
"The King to the Mayor and Sheriffs of our City of London, greeting. Considering how that the streets, and lanes, and other places in the city aforesaid, and the suburbs thereof, in the times of our forefathers and our own, were wont to be cleansed from dung, laystalls, and other filth, and were wont heretofore to be protected from the corruption arising therefrom, from the which no little honour did accrue unto the said city, and those dwelling therein; and whereas now, when passing along the water of Thames, we have beheld dung, and laystalls, and other filth, accumulated in divers places in the said city, upon the bank of the river aforesaid, and have also perceived the fumes and other abominable stenches arising therefrom; from the corruption of which, if tolerated, great peril, as well to the persons dwelling within the said city, as to the nobles and others passing along the said river, will, it is feared, ensue, unless indeed some fitting remedy be speedily provided for the same;—We, wishing to take due precaution against such perils, and to preserve the honour and decency of the same city, in so far as we may, do command you, that you cause as well the banks of the said river, as the streets and lanes of the same city, and the suburbs thereof, to be cleansed of dung, laystalls, and other filth, without delay, and the same when cleansed so to be kept; and in the city aforesaid, and the suburbs thereof, public proclamation to be made, and it on our behalf strictly to be forbidden, that any one shall, on pain of heavy forfeiture unto us, place or cause to be placed dung or other filth to be accumulated in the same. And if any persons, after proclamation and prohibition so made, you shall find doing to the contrary hereof, then you are to cause them so to be chastised and punished, that such penalty and chastisement may cause fear and dread unto others of perpetrating the like. And this, as you would preserve yourself safe, and would avoid our heavy indignation, you are in nowise to omit. Witness myself, at Westminster, the 30th day of September, in the 31st year of our reign in England, and in France the 18th."
This writ was proclaimed on the Thursday next after the Feast of the Decollation of St. John the Baptist [29 August] (fn. 2) in the 31st year.
Narrative by the Mayor and Sheriffs as to proceedings consequent upon the theft of property belonging to a German Knight.
31 Edward III. A.D. 1357. Letter-Book G. fol. lxiv. (Latin.)
"To all and singular the persons who these letters shall see, the Mayor, Sheriffs, Citizens, and Council, of the City of London, greeting, and may they give full assurance to these presents.—To the end that truth may not succumb to falsehood, or fleeting report, varied by the relations of many persons, discolour the clear evidence of the matter that is underwritten, and in respect for justice and equity, we have thought proper in these our letters to set forth the pure and naked truth thereof; that so, the same being sufficiently understood, nothing may be otherwise thought or suspected as to the same, than as is contained in the tenor hereof.—
"Not a long time past then, a noble man, one Sir Nicholas de Babutz, a Teutonic Knight, was laid up with a severe and prolonged illness in the street commonly called Bruggestrete, (fn. 3) ' in the City of London, in the hostrey there of John de Bradegate, a common hosteler. And after that he had been favoured with a return to health, and as soon as the power of going about was restored to him, on the first day that he arose from his bed of sickness, the Monday, that is to say, next before the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary [15 August] now last past, he had only gone a very little beyond the confines of his chamber, when by certain, men, as to whose persons and names he is wholly in ignorance, 400 golden shield florins and moutons, (fn. 4) of the coinage of Philip and John, Kings of France, were taken away and stolen by daring theft from among the straw of his bed, a place where he trusted he had placed them in the greatest safety. As to the which the same knight, before us in Court making public complaint, entreated that we would ensure him every possible remedy in this behalf; and the more especially, as the theft, in his belief, had been committed by the domestic servants of his said host; and on probable conjecture he held some of them suspected as to the same.
"Therefore, at the requisition and instance of the said Sir Nicholas, we caused two servants of the same hostrey to be arrested and committed to prison, together with an old woman, who, while the said knight was sick, had performed the offices of humanity for him, as being held greatly suspected by him of the theft; and to the end that the truth as to these matters might be the more easily discovered, we advisedly persuaded the said knight, that he should give in charge his own servant, together with the servant of Sir Nicholas de Tour, Knight, his companion in the house, to whom in all likelihood a deed of this sort could not be unknown; it being our disposition to do him speedy justice therein. And he himself would very readily have given his own servant in charge to us, for the sake of so doing; but as to the said Nicholas de Tour, on being often pressed with much urgency to give his servant to us in charge, he would not do so, by reason that, by so doing, there would be the greater presumption of criminality against him.
"And after this, at the multiplied instances of the said Nicholas de Babutz, requesting that justice should be done to him according to the laws and usages of this realm, we summoned before us in our Hall twelve good and lawful men of the city aforesaid, by whom the truth of the matter might be best known and enquried into; who, being sworn and diligently examined thereon, said upon their oath, that the servants of the hostrey and the old woman, so imprisoned, as before stated, were guiltless of such theft, and wholly innocent thereof, and were altogether ignorant as to the theft, and who it was that took the said gold; further adding, that the said Sir Nicholas de Tour and his servant, and one Hermann de Sydewytz, knew all about this theft. Whereupon, command was given that the said Nicholas de Tour, together with his servant and Hermann aforesaid, should be arrested and arraigned for the same; whereas the aforesaid Sir Nicholas de Babutz with earnest importunity insisted to us, that the said knight, his companion, should not be charged with the same, or even taken into custody. And because that, after all this, the same Nicholas de Tour asserted that this Nicholas de Babutz, himself had secretly stolen from him 50 florins mouton, and then, before us, and in presence of the same Sir Nicholas de Babutz, failed in substantiating such accusation, he publicly contradicting the same; justice persuading thereto, we pronounced that the said Sir Nicholas de Tour, even though against the will of Sir Nicholas de Babutz, he protesting against the same, should be condemned to be imprisoned, we performing the duties of our office therein. All which unto all of you we would have known. Given in the city aforesaid, under the testimony of our Common Seal, the 4th day of October, in the year of our Lord, 1357."
Proclamation for the preservation of order and cleanliness in the City; and for the regulation of the Poultry-market at Ledenhalle.
31 Edward III. A.D. 1357. Letter-Book G. fol. lxxi. (Latin and Norman French.)
(fn. 5) Proclamation made, and cried, in the time of John de Stodeye, Mayor; namely, on the Monday next before the Feast of St. Lucy the Virgin [13 December], in the 31st year etc.—
(fn. 6) "We do command you, on behalf of our Lord the King, that no one, on pain of imprisonment, shall go wandering within the City, or the suburb thereof, after the hour of curfew rung out at St. Martin's le Grand, unless he be a man of good repute, or the servant of such, for truthful cause, and that, with light.
"Also,—that no Fleming, Brabanter, or Selander, (fn. 7) shall go armed, or carry any manner of arms, or knife, small or great, with a point, either privily or openly; on pain of forfeiture of the same, and imprisonment of his body (fn. 8) etc.
"Also,—that no one shall go to the Pole, (fn. 9) or elsewhere, to meet wines on board and coming to the City, or bargain for the same, until they have come to the quays, and been unladen and brought to land; on pain of imprisonment, and forfeiture of the wine.
"Also,—whereas a grievous and great abomination is commonly inflicted upon all the great people, and all others, as well foreigners as natives, who repair to and go within the City, and the suburb thereof, by reason of dung, and other filth and nuisances, boxes, empty tuns, and other articles, lying and placed in the streets and lanes, before the doors of divers folks;—it is ordered, for avoiding such corruptions, and for the decency of the City, and of all who pass therein, that all manner of such nuisances shall be wholly and entirely removed; and that every time after, that such filth and nuisances shall be found, the person before whose door the same shall be, shall pay an amercement of two shillings to the City; and, that he may comply with the same, there shall be levied a good and sufficient distress upon any person so found in default; and further, such things shall be removed at his own proper costs.
"Also,—it is ordered, that no man shall take, or cause to be carried, any manner of rubbish, earth, gravel, or dung, from out of his stable or elsewhere, to throw and put the same into the rivers of Thames and Flete, or into the Fosses around the walls of the City: and as to the dung that is found in the streets and lanes, the same shall be carried and taken elsewhere out of the City by carts, as heretofore; or else by the rakyers (fn. 10) to certain spots, that the same may be put into the dongebotes, (fn. 11) without throwing anything into the Thames; for saving the body of the river, and preserving the quays, such as Douuegate, Quenhethe, and Castle Baynard, [and] elsewhere, for lading and unlading; as also, for avoiding the filthiness that is increasing in the water, and upon the banks, of the Thames, to the great abomination and damage of the people. And if any one shall be found doing to the contrary hereof, let him have the prison for his body, and other heavy punishment as well, at the discretion of the Mayor and of the Aldermen.
"Also,—that no man belonging to the Sheriffs' serjeants, assigned to take cartage, shall take any one of the carts or horses that are provided for carrying dung and filth out of the City, on pain of imprisonment and of losing his office.
"Also,—that no poulterer or other person, a freeman of the City, shall stand at the Carfukes (fn. 12) of the Ledenhalle, with rabbits, fowls, or other poultry, on sale; but let such persons stay within their own houses with their poultry for sale; or otherwise, let those who wish to carry out their poultry to sell, stand and expose the same for sale along the wall towards the West of the Church of St. Michael on Cornhulle; and let them be found nowhere else, either going or standing, with their poultry for sale, on pain of forfeiture of all such poultry; that so, all the foreign poulterers and others, who bring poultry to the City for sale, may stand by themselves and expose their poultry for sale at the said corner of Ledenhalle, without any freeman poulterer coming to, or meddling with, them.
"Also,—that no poulterer, a freeman, himself, or by his wife, or by any other person on his behalf, shall come to buy any manner of poultry of any one of such foreign poulterers aforesaid, privily or openly, either for himself or for any one else, until the hour of Prime rung out; when the great and other the common people shall have bought what they need for their own use. And that no person, of whatsoever condition he be, shall bring or expose any poultry for sale, that is rotten or stinking, or not proper for man's body; on pain of forfeiting the same poultry, and of imprisonment of his body.
"Also,—that no foreigner who brings poultry to the City for sale, shall lodge in, or carry his poultry to, the house of any free poulterer; on pain of forfeiting the poultry, and of imprisonment of his body, as well as to the buyer and receiver of the same poultry, as the seller thereof; but let such persons carry their poultry to the said corner, for sale in full market there.
"Also,—that no poulterer, or other person in his name, shall go anywhere to meet any manner of poultry coming towards the said market, to make any bargain or purchase, in forestalment of the same; under the penalties as to forestallers heretofore ordained."