Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries. Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1868.
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Acquittance given by William de Beauchaumpe, on sale of his prisoner, Berard de la Bret.
49 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xxviii. (Norman French.)
"To all persons who these letters shall see or hear, William de Beauchaumpe, (fn. 1) greeting. Whereas Messire Thomas de Feltone is bound unto me, and obligated, in 4000 silver marks, by Statute Staple made, (fn. 2) and the Staple of Westminster, the same to pay at a certain term, as by the said Statute more clearly appears, by reason of the purchase (fn. 3) of Messire Berard de la Bret, my prisoner. And nevertheless, by a certain indenture made between the said Messire Thomas and myself, I have granted that if he shall pay, or cause to be paid, himself or by persons by him deputed, unto me, my heirs, or my executors, or to my attorneys ready to deliver sufficient acquittance for the same, in the Guildhall of London, in presence of the Mayor for the time being, 2000 marks, that is to say, at the Feast of Our Lord's Circumcision [1 January] in the 48th year of the reign of King Edward etc., 600 marks, at the Feast of Easter then next ensuing, 400 marks, at the Feast of St. Michael then next ensuing, 500 marks, and on the Day of Our Lord's Circumcision then following, 500 marks, then the said Statute Staple shall lose its force, as by the said indenture more fully appears:—I, the aforesaid William, do hereby make known unto all people, that I have received, on the last Day of Our Lord's Circumcision comprised in the said indenture, in presence of the Mayor and Recorder, 500 marks of Sir John Smel, Chaplain, and Thomas Wailand, citizen and draper of London, in the name of the said Thomas de Feltone, as the last instalment of payment of all the sum of 2000 marks aforesaid. And of the said sum of 500 marks, and of all other sums comprised in the said indenture, I do will and grant that the said Messire Thomas, his heirs, and his executors, shall be acquitted and discharged by these present letters; and that I myself, my heirs, and my executors, be ousted for ever hereby from all manner of action by reason of the said Statute, or by reason of the purchase of the said Messire Berard, my prisoner. In witness whereof, to these letters I have set my seal with my arms. Given in the Guildhall of London, the 8th day of January, in the 49th year of the reign of King Edward, after the Conquest the Third."
Ordinances of the Barbers. (fn. 4)
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xxviii. (Norman French.)
"To the honourable Lords, and wise, the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, shew the good folks, the Barbers of the same city, that whereas from one day to another there resort men, who are barbers, from uppelande (fn. 5) unto the said city, who are not instructed in their craft, and do take houses and intermeddle with barbery, surgery, and the cure of other maladies, while they know not how to do such things, nor ever were instructed in such craft; to the great damage, and in deceit, of the people, and to the great scandal of all the good barbers of the said city:—therefore the said good folks do pray that it may please your honourable Lordships, for the love of God, and as a work of charity, to ordain and establish that from henceforth no such stranger, coming to the said city from uppelande, or from any other place, of whatsoever condition he be, shall keep house or shop for barbery within the same city, before that he shall be found able and skilled in the said art and office of barbery, and that, by assay and examination of the good folks, barbers of the same city, whom out of the said craft it may please you to ordain thereunto. And that it may please you to ordain and establish, that from henceforth there shall always be two good men of their said craft chosen by their common assent to be Wardens of the craft; and that such two persons shall be presented unto the Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen, of the said city, and sworn before them well and lawfully, to the best of their power and knowledge, to rule their said craft; and that the said Masters may inspect the instruments of the said art, to see that they are good and proper for the service of the people, by reason of the great peril that might ensue thereupon; and that on the complaint of such two Masters, all rebellious persons in the said craft shall be made to come before you, and whosoever shall be found in default against this Ordinance shall pay to the Chamber 40 pence. And that from henceforth no man of their craft shall be admitted to the franchise of the said city, if he be not attested as being good and able, upon good examination before you made. And that no foreigner shall keep house or shop in their craft within the said city, or the suburbs thereof. And that this Ordinance shall be enrolled in the Chamber of the Guildhall of London, for all time to last."
Punishment of the Pillory, for cheating with false tables and dice.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xxxii. (Latin.)
Nicholas Prestone, tailor, and John Outlawe, were attached to make answer to John atte Hille and William, his brother, in a plea of deceit and falsehood; for that the same John Outlawe, at divers times between the Feast of Our Lord's Nativity, in the 49th year etc., and the First Sunday in Lent, then next ensuing, came to the said John atte Hille and William, and asked if they wished to gain some money at tables, or at chequers, commonly called "quek"; to which they said "Yes"; whereupon, the same John Outlawe said that they must follow him, and he would shew them the place, and a man there, from whom they could easily win; and further said, that he would be partner with them, to win or to lose.
And they followed him to the house of the said Nicholas, in Fridaystret; and there they found the said Nicholas, with a pair of tables, on the outside of which was painted a chequer-board, that is called a "quek." And the said Nicholas asked them if they would play at tables (fn. 8) for money; whereupon the said complainants, knowing of no deceit or ill-intent, being urged and encouraged thereto by the same John Outlawe, played with him at tables, and lost a sum of money, owing to false dice.
And the said John then left them to play alone, and after that they still continued to lose. The said tables were then turned, (fn. 9) and the complainants played with the defendant Nicholas at quek, until they had lost, at the games of tables and quek, 39s. 2d. After which, the complainants, wondering at their continued losing, examined the board at which they had been playing, and found it to be false and deceptive; seeing that in three quarters of the board all the [black] points were so depressed, (fn. 10) that all the white points in the same quarters were higher than the black points in the same; and on the fourth quarter of the board all the white points were so depressed, that all the black points in that quarter were higher than the white. They inspected and examined also the dice with which they had first played at tables, and found them to be false and deceptive. And because that they would play no longer, the said Nicholas and John Outlawe stripped John atte Hille of a cloak, 16 shillings in value, which they still retained. Wherefore the said John atte Hille and William, his brother, made plaint etc.
[They are then accused, in legal terms, of cheating William Caboche and Robert Geffrone, at different times, with false dice.]
And as the said chequer-board was produced here in Court, the said Mayor and Aldermen enquired of the said Nicholas if it was his own; to which he said that it was not, but that it had been given to him in pledge for five shillings, by a man of the town of, together (fn. 11) with two spoons and a mazer; and that he did not know that it was false, and had never played with it etc.
Precept was therefore given to John Dyne, serjeant of the Chamber, to summon a jury of the venue of Frydaystret, for the Saturday following; and the said Nicholas and John Outlawe were committed to prison in the meantime.
And the jurors, by Robert Brymesford and eleven others, said upon their oath,—that the said Nicholas and John Outlawe are guilty of all the charges aforesaid, and of the deceits and falsities therein imputed to them. Therefore it was adjudged that they should satisfy the said parties complainant, in the said sum of 39s. 2d., and should restore the said cloak, or pay 16 shillings, as aforesaid; and that they should pay to the said William Caboche 13s. 4d., and to Robert Geffrone 40s., which they had fraudulently and deceptively won of them.
(fn. 12) Afterwards, on the prosecution of Ralph Strode, Common Serjeant of the said city, by another jury they were found guilty, of the fraud and deception so imputed to them. Therefore it was awarded that they should have the punishment of the pillory, to stand thereon for one hour in the day; and that the said false chequer-board should be burnt beneath them, the Sheriff causing the reason for their punishment to be proclaimed. And after that, they were to be taken back to the Prison of Neugate, there to remain until the Mayor and Aldermen should give orders for their release.
Imprisonment of a Scrivener, for making false indentures of apprenticeship.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xlii. (Latin.)
Be it remembered, that on the 30th day of May in the 50th year etc., William Grendone, called "Credelle," scrivener, at the suit of William Flourman, complainant, was interrogated before the Mayor and Aldermen as to whether he had made certain indentures between William Ayllesham, goldsmith of London, and one Nicholas Flourman, of London, son of William aforesaid, a minor; whereby he bound himself apprentice, to serve him as such, from the Feast of our Lord's Nativity in the 48th year, to the end of nine years then next ensuing; and in the said indentures had put down the Cross (fn. 13) at the North Dore as being the surety and pledge of the same Nicholas, that he would well and trustily serve him as such.
Which William acknowledged that such indentures had been by him made. And seeing that William, the father of the same Nicholas, was then, as he is still, dwelling in the City of London, and it was against his wish that the same Nicholas, his son, was thus bound, through the falsity and deceit of the same William Credelle, so making the said Cross his pledge and surety; whereas the same William, his father, of right ought to have been surety for his son, he not being put or named in the said indentures, or any other friend or kinsman, as pledge of the same Nicholas, as the usage is; and also, seeing that the same Nicholas, at the time of making the deed aforesaid, was of such tender age, and still is, that he could not put or bind himself as such;—it was adjudged that the said William Credelle should have imprisonment in Neugate; there to remain from the said 30th day of May to the morrow of the Holy Trinity (fn. 14) then next ensuing, without any redemption or pardon thereof. And that on his departure therefrom, he should pay, for the use of the Commonalty, to the Chamber of the Guildhall.
Imprisonment for silvering buttons and circlets of inferior metal.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xlii. (Latin.)
Richard Bor was attached to make answer to the Mayor and Aldermen, and Commonalty of London, for that he had silvered 240 buttons of latone, and 34 circlets (fn. 15) of latone, for purses called "gibesers," (fn. 16) and had maliciously purposed and imagined to sell the same for pure silver, in deceit of the people. Whereupon, he was questioned before the Mayor and Aldermen on the Friday next after the Feast of the Holy Trinity, in the 50th year etc.; when he said that one Michael Hakeneye had given him the said buttons and circlets to silver; and as the said Michael was not then present, John Baldoke, serjeant, was ordered to distrain him to be here on the Monday following.
On which Monday as well the said Michael as the aforesaid Richard appeared: and Michael, being questioned as to the matters aforesaid, readily acknowledged that the said buttons and circlets were by him delivered unto the said Richard to silver, and that he had intended to sell the same; and he put himself upon the favour of the Court. And enquiry was made of him if he had at any time before had any such buttons or circlets silvered, and had exposed them for sale. To which he said that he had not.
Wherefore, seeing that upon the oath of the said Richard (fn. 17) it was found and testified, that the same Michael had at other times caused such buttons and circlets to be silvered, which now he does not deny, whereas he expressly denied it before, for such his falsity, deceit, and concealment aforesaid, by award of John Warde, Mayor, William de Haldene, the Recorder, John Chichestre and other Aldermen, and William Neuport, one of the Sheriffs, it was ordered that the said Michael should be committed to the Prison of Neugate, there to remain for the three weeks then next ensuing, without any redemption or pardon whatsoever, unless some urgent necessity should arise. And the said Richard, for silvering the buttons and circlets aforesaid, was committed to prison, there to remain until the Monday then next ensuing. (fn. 18)
Prohibition of a Latoner from interfering with the trade of the Goldsmiths.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xliii. (Latin.)
Peter Randolfe was interrogated here, on the Wednesday next after the Feast of St. Botolph the Abbot [17 June], in the 50th year, before the Mayor and Aldermen, for that he had exposed for sale two circlets for mazers, (fn. 19) which were of mixed silver, and not good or pure; and had warranted them to be of pure silver, equal to sterling silver, in deceit of the people. And he did not deny the same, and put himself upon the favour of the Court etc.
And he, the same Peter, made oath that, as he was not of the trade of goldsmiths, he would not from thenceforth meddle therewith, or do any work that belongs to such trade, unless he should think fit to belong thereto. And that in future he would make no work except that which should belong to his own trade, namely, that of the latoners.
Penalty inflicted upon a Girdler, for harnessing a girdle with silver.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xliii. (Latin.)
William Bonjohn, girdler, was attached to make answer to the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, in a plea of trespass and deceit, on plaint made by Ralph Strode, that he secretly made in his chamber a certain girdle, that was harnessed with silver; whereas to make or work any plate or girdles with gold or silver is in no way belonging to the trade of the Girdlers; or to make girdles or garretters (fn. 20) with any metal, except with iron, steel, or latone; as by the Ordinance (fn. 21) of the trade of Girdlers, granted at their request, more fully appears.
And being interrogated thereupon, before the Mayor and Aldermen, on the Thursday next after the Feast of St. Botolph the Abbot [17 June], in the 50th year etc., he admitted that the said girdle was so made by him, and put himself upon the favour of the Court. And seeing that if the girdlers who work with the metals aforesaid, and make girdles and garretters with the said metals, were to have them gilded or silvered, they might easily make, as well as girdles and garretters, other articles gilded or silvered, and sell them for gold or silver, in deceit of the people; and so, it is feared, might injure and deceive many persons having no knowledge of the same; it was adjudged by John Warde, Mayor, William de Haldene, the Recorder, John Chichestre and other Aldermen, and William Neuport, one of the Sheriffs, that for the whole time that the said William Bonjohn should wish to keep to the trade of girdlers, and not to belong to the trade of goldsmiths, he should find sufficient surety that he would make no girdles, or any other things pertaining to the trade of the goldsmiths,—except for his own use,—of any other metal than iron, steel, or latone; or any other work than such as the girdlers of right ought to make, under the penalty of paying, for the first offence committed, 40 shillings.
(fn. 22) Afterwards, on the 13th day of December, in the 10th year of the reign of King Richard the Second, the said William Bonjohn was brought here before Nicholas Extone, Mayor, and the Aldermen, and questioned for that, against the Ordinance and prohibition aforesaid, he had silvered a chape (fn. 23) and a loket (fn. 24) of latone for a baselard, in deceit of the people, etc.; which he acknowledged he had done, and put himself upon the favour of the Court as to the same.
Therefore it was adjudged that he should pay to the Chamber of London, to the use of the Commonalty, 40 shillings for this first offence, according to the penalty above stated. And he further forfeited the said chape and loket, to the use of the Commonalty: and was forbidden, under the said penalty, to employ such or any other deceit, against the Ordinance aforesaid.
Addition made to the Common Seal of the City.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xliv. (Latin.)
Be it remembered, that on the first day of August, in the 50th year, in presence of John Warde, Mayor, William Haldene, the Recorder, John Chichestre, William Waleworthe, Nicholas Brembre, John Tornegold, Adam Stable, John Norhamptone, John Maryns, Robert Hatfeld, Nicholas Twyford, Bartholomew Frestlynge, and John Haddele, Aldermen, and an immense number of the Commonalty, for certain reasons convened in the Chamber of the Guildhall of London; by common assent of the same, there was added to the Common Seal of the City of London, in their presence, a certain sign called a "molet"; (fn. 25) and the same stands, or is placed, in a small port, (fn. 26) which is in the same Seal beneath the feet of St. Paul.
Ordinances of the Fullers, and proceedings thereupon.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xlv. (Norman French.)
"To the honourable Lords, and gracious, the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, pray very humbly, and with all their heart, John Oliscompe, Geoffrey Suttone, and John Swift, for themselves and all other Fullers, (fn. 27) and all other good folks of the same trade, in the City of London, that whereas the said trade has for a long time past used urine (fn. 28) in the fulling of cloths; by reason whereof the said trade has been, and is always being, reproved by many folks of the said city; and certain persons of the trade of Dyers say that no cloth can be either properly fulled or dyed, when such urine is put thereupon in fulling: and the said trade of Fullers is of good desire that no urine shall be put upon any cloth in fulling, that so they may avoid reproach, and for the profit of all the commonalty:—may it please your very gracious Lordships, that the said point be accepted before you, and enrolled;—that no one of the said trade of Fullers shall be so daring as to allow urine any longer to be used from hence forth in their trade, on pain of paying 100s. to the Chamber of the Guildhall. And that it be ordained, that no one in the said trade of fullers shall be allowed from henceforth to work within the City, if he be not free of the same. Also,—the said fullers do pray, that, whereas the hurers (fn. 29) of the said city are wont to full their caps in the mills at Wandlesworthe, Olde Ford, Stratford, and Enefeld, where the said fullers full their cloths,—it may please your very benign Lordships, that the said hurers shall not be allowed from henceforth to full in the said mills; having regard that the said fullers cannot there full their cloths, by reason that when the caps are mixed with their cloths in fulling, such caps crush and tear the cloths, to the great damage and loss, as well of the said fullers, as of all the community."
Upon which prayer, as the Mayor and Aldermen desired to be fully certified whether the said petition was profitable or not, and to be certified as to the wishes and consent of other fullers thereto, there were summoned all the sufficient folks of the said trade within the franchise of the City; that is to say, Richard Dyer, John Oliscompe, William Doder, and thirty-eight others; who, in presence of Adam Stable, Mayor, the Aldermen, and the Sheriffs, assented to the Ordinances before-mentioned, and prayed that they might be granted to them and their successors in manner aforesaid.
(fn. 30) And to have still more information and notice thereupon, and to learn the truth thereof, on the Thursday next after the Feast of St. Katherine [25 November], etc., the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriffs held inquisition before them of the good folks of the said trade, that is to say, Walter Denyas and twelve others; who said upon their oath, that to full cloths with earth and water is a thing very advantageous to all the community; but that to full with syge, that is, urine, is deceitful and damaging to all the community. Therefore, at the request of the good folks of the said trade, and for the causes and profit aforesaid, the said Ordinances were granted unto them, for ever to hold good. And in case any one of the said trade, or any other person, should full with syge, and be convicted thereof, he was to pay to the Commonalty 20 shillings, the first time, and to him at whose suit he should be so convicted, half a mark; and the second time, to the Commonalty 40 shillings, and to him etc., half a mark; and the third time, to the Commonalty 60 shillings, and to him etc., half a mark; and so always, when he should be so convicted, increasing by 20 shillings each time to the use of the Commonalty, and paying to him at whose suit he should be so convicted, half a mark.
Royal Order for the Arrest of William de Wyndesore.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xlvii. (Latin.)
"Edward, by the grace of God etc., to the Mayor and Sheriffs of London, greeting. We do command you, strictly enjoining, that you will cause William de Wyndesore, (fn. 31) Knight, to be taken, for a certain quarrel that arose between him and other our lieges, in our presence, at the House (fn. 32) of the Brethren of the Order of St. Mary of Mount Carmel, in the suburbs of London, wheresoever in your bailiwick he shall be found; and if in the same bailiwick he may not be found, that then, wheresoever he may be found, you will follow, arrest, and take him, any liberty notwithstanding, and in our prison safely keep him, until you shall have had other orders from us hereupon. Witness myself, at Westminster, the 16th day of August, in the 50th year of our reign in England, and in France the 37th." (fn. 33)
Ordinances of the Hurers, as to fulling at Water-mills.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. xlix. (Norman French.)
"At the grievous complaint of all the community of Hurers, of the City of London, men of low degree and simple, on their re presentation it is set forth, that whereas they have been apprenticed and enfranchised in the said trade, and know not how to do any other thing by which to support themselves, and the fulling (fn. 34) of caps and of hures is the chief duty of the said trade; the which, to the advantage of the people, cannot be properly and lawfully fulled, save through the support of persons skilled in the said trade;—some of those of the trade have provided a watermill for fulling their said caps and hures, in the same manner as cloths; whereby such caps and hures are not so good and so profitable for those who buy and use them, nor of such good fashion, as they were wont to be, to the great damage of the common people; and that the said simple folks of the said trade have no work to maintain and aid them; insomuch that they are so greatly impoverished, that they are at the point of perishing, if they be not succoured; the same being in deceit of the people, and to the annihilation of such trade."
Whereupon, by the Mayor and Aldermen, on the 16th day of September in the 50th year, command being given to the complainants to certify them as to the names of those who fulled at the said mill, that they might be informed as to their opinion thereon, the said commons presented certain names, that is to say, Philip atte Vyne, Edmund Fakenham, William Crom, and Richard Crom, submitting that these were the principals in the said fulling at the mill aforesaid. Wherefore, command was given to John Baldok, serjeant, to summon the said Philip, Edmund, William, and Richard, before the said Mayor and Aldermen here on the 17th day of September then next ensuing.
Upon which day the complainants, and the said Philip, Edmund, William, and Richard, came; and these last acknowledged the deceit and damage in the things aforesaid alleged against them, and conceded that they would not from thenceforth full at the said mill. Wherefore, by assent of them and of all others of the said trade, by common accord it was prayed, that neither they nor any of the said trade should from thenceforth full any caps or hures at any mill; but only by the hands of those skilled in the said trade, as the same had theretofore been wont to be worked; on pain of forfeiting, the first time, all the work so fulled at mills, and of paying half a mark to the use of the Commonalty, etc.
The which Ordinance, by assent of the Mayor and Aldermen, seeing that the said caps and hures were not so profitable for the community when fulled by mills as when by the hands of the said trade, but were falsely wrought and deceitful, as was testified by men skilled in the said trade; and also, because that it was testified by John Norhamptone (fn. 35) and other trustworthy drapers, that if the said caps and hures were fulled in such mills among their cloths, it would be to the great deterioration (fn. 36) and damage of the said cloths,—the said Ordinances were thereupon granted unto them, and accepted, for ever to be observed.
Punishment of a Lombard by the Pillory, for forging a bond.
50 Edward III. A.D. 1376. Letter-Book H. fol. liv. (Latin.)
Bette Bosan, a Lombard, was attached to make answer to John Stowe, of Coventre, in a plea of deceit and falsehood etc., for that the said Bette did maliciously and deceitfully, of malice aforethought, make, forge, and fabricate, a certain false bond, in the name of the same John Stowe, by which he bound, so far as he might, the same John to one John Burwelle, citizen and fishmonger of London, in 60 pounds sterling; and which obligation he delivered to the same John Burwelle, in part payment of a larger sum to him by the same Bette owed etc. Which 60 pounds the same John Burwelle, in virtue of the said false bond, so delivered to him by the said Bette, demanded of the same John Stowe, as a debt owing to him; and, by reason of non-payment thereof, in many ways disquieted, molested, and oppressed the same John Stowe etc.
And the said Bette, on the same day, here before Adam Stable, Mayor, William Cheyne, the Recorder, John Chichestre, John Pyel, William Waleworthe, and other Aldermen, and an immense number of the Commonalty, as the Council of the City here summoned and assembled, being asked whether he was free of the City or not, said that he was not. And being further questioned, how he would acquit himself as to the matters aforesaid, without any coercion, duress, or inquisition held, he openly, expressly, and voluntarily acknowledged, that the same bond of his own falsehood and deceit, and by his own false imagining, had been made, and given to the same John Burwelle, as before mentioned. And command was then given to the same John Burwelle, here in Court, to deliver up the said bond, so falsely made, and to him by the said Bette, as aforesaid, deceitfully given: who here delivered the same, and, by assent of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, it was cancelled and annulled. And it was further adjudged, that the said John Stowe, for his grievances, losses, and expenses, should have his damages against the aforesaid Bette, taxed by the Court at the sum of 10l. And for the horrible falsehood and deceit aforesaid, and for imagining the same, in making the said bond, and delivering it to the said John Burwelle; and in order that he might afford an example to all thereafter; it was adjudged that the said Bette should be put upon the pillory, there to remain for two hours of the day, with the said false bond, so cancelled, tied about his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs to do execution of the judgment aforesaid, and to cause proclamation to be made of the reason for the same.
And hereupon, the same John Stowe spontaneously, and of his own free will, remitted unto the same Bette all his damages taxed to him by the Court, 40 shillings only excepted. And the Sheriffs were instructed not to liberate the said Bette, until he should have satisfied the said John Stowe in the 40 shillings aforesaid.