Memorials: 1377

Pages 405-415

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

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Ordinances of the Cheesemongers.

51 Edward III. A.D. 1377. Letter-Book H. fol. lxii. (Latin and Norman French.)

(fn. 1) Be it remembered, that on the Eve of Corpus (fn. 2) Christi in the 51st year of King Edward the Third etc., the reputable men of the trade of Chesemongeres presented in the Chamber of the Guildhall of London, before Nicholas Brembre, Mayor, the Aldermen, and the Commoners, in full Common Council, the Articles underwritten: which Articles were then accepted and approved by the same.—

(fn. 3) To the honourable Lords, the Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen of London, pray the Chesemongeres of London, that whereas our said Lord the Mayor has told them heretofore to devise and ordain how that the price of cheese and of butter may be amended, the said chesemongeres therefore, by their common assent, have well considered how that the said price may be well amended; if our said Lord the Mayor, and his good Council, will put their hand to, confirm, and enrol, the points underwritten.—

"First,—that foreigners who come to the City with cheese and butter for sale, in carts and upon horses, shall be charged to bring their wares into the market of the Ledenhalle, or the market between St. Nicholas Shambles and Neugate, and nowhere else, before Noon (fn. 4) rung at such place where the purchase shall be made: and shall be charged that they shall not put away in houses or in rooms, privily or openly, either after Noon rung or before, any cheese or butter, on pain of forfeiting the same that shall be so put away.

"Also,—whereas those who carry or bring cheese or butter to the City by water, do sell it in secret to hokesters and to others, against the ancient usage, whereas they were wont heretofore to bring it to, and sell it in, the same markets; they do pray that from henceforth all such dealers shall be charged to bring such cheese or butter to the markets aforesaid, and there sell the same; on pain of forfeiting the thing so sold; and also, on pain of imprisonment, and of making fine at the will and ordinance of our said Lord the Mayor.

Also,—divers bersters (fn. 5) of cheese, from Hamme, Hakeney, and the suburbs of London, are wont to go to divers markets, and to buy up and forestal such wares, which ought to come to the hands of the working-men in London; and such bersters then bring the same into London, and go about through divers streets in the said city, and sell it, to the great damage of the commonalty; saying and affirming that it is the produce of their own cattle, and of their own making; they do pray therefore that from henceforth such forestallers, regrators, and bersters, and all other vendors of cheese or of butter, foreigners or freemen, shall be charged to sell the same at one of the said markets, on the pain aforesaid.

"Also,—whereas strangers do come and bring to the City cheese of Wales, called 'talgar,' (fn. 6) and house the same in Fletstrete and in Holbourne, and other places, as well within the City as without, and there sell it in secret, against the ancient custom, in manner aforesaid; and also, whereas two or three persons from Wales have their serving-men (fn. 7) lying in wait in the City all the year through, and when any one from Wales brings talgar cheese to the City for sale, such men go and make false suggestions to the dealers in such cheese, and through such subtlety regrate (fn. 8) the cheese in private, and then sell it by retail to the commoners, without it coming to such market,—that they may be charged to bring their wares to the said markets, in form and on the pain aforesaid.

"Also,—whereas the hokesters and others who sell such wares by retail, do come and regrate (fn. 8) such cheese and butter before Prime rung, and before that the commonalty has been served; may it be ordained that no such hokesters shall buy of any foreigner before the hour of Prime, on pain of imprisonment at the will of the Mayor, and of the wares being forfeited to the prisoners of Neugate, or in such other manner as shall seem proper to our said Lord the Mayor to be done.

"Also,—that the good folks of the said trade shall be charged every year, at the Feast of St. Michael, to choose two of the most able men to oversee as to the points aforesaid, that they are well kept and observed in manner before stated. And that the persons so chosen shall have power to seize such manner of merchandize, so forfeitable, and to present the same before the Mayor; in amendment of the price aforesaid, to the great profit of the commonalty in time to come.

"Also,—that each one of the said overseers shall make due execution of his office, without laxity, or doing wrong to any one; and that no one of them shall forestal any thing to his own private profit, against the common profit and the Ordinances aforesaid; on pain of paying 100s. to the use of the Commonalty, on the first default found against him; on the second default, 10l.; on the third default, 20 marks; and that, without any remission of the same: and that he who shall make prayer for such person found in default, shall pay to the use of the Commonalty 20s., without any remission thereof, as above stated."

(fn. 9) Afterwards, on the 17th day of June in the 51st year etc., William Sparke and Robert Whyte were here sworn well and trustily to oversee the Articles above-written, and here to present the defaults, if any such they should find.

RICHARD II. A.D. 1377–99.

Punishment of the Stocks, for selling sacks of charcoal, deficient in measure.

1 Richard II. A.D. 1377. Letter-Book H. fol. lxii. (Latin.)

On the 4th day of August, in the first year of the reign of King Richard the Second etc., before the Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen, John Edwarde and John Naylere, servants of Thomas Hasemere, of Croydone, were questioned for that they had brought divers sacks of charcoal to the City for sale, intending to sell each sack as being one quarter; whereas six sacks in the charge of the same John Naylere, being measured before the Mayor and divers Aldermen, were found to be deficient by one bushel each, at the least. And because that the said John Edwarde confessed that he and John Naylere were fellows, and were dwelling together in the same household, with their said master, and that the sacks aforesaid, and charcoal, belonged to such their master; and that the same sacks, and the sacks which the same John Edwarde brought to London and sold, were almost of the same measure, and they had filled them together at home; and it was so acknowledged that he was partaker in the falsity and deceit aforesaid; it was adjudged that they should both be put in the stocks upon Cornhulle, there to remain for one hour of the day, and that the said six sacks should be burnt beside them.

And precept was further given to John Whitloke, serjeant of the Mayor, that he should seize the three horses found in the charge of the said John Naylere, and have them safely kept until their said master should come and make answer as to the falsity and deceit aforesaid.

Unsound Wines condemned.

1 Richard II. A.D. 1377. Letter-Book H. fol. lxii. (Latin.)

Be it remembered, that on the 21st day of August, in the first year of the reign of King Richard etc., it was presented by Ralph Strode, Common Serjeant, before the Common Council of the City, in the Chamber of the Guildhall for certain causes assembled, that, whereas the franchise and custom of the said city did not allow any victuals, putrid and unsound for human use, to be housed within the City, but that the same should be publicly condemned, certain putrid wines, unsound and unfit for human use, were there housed in the cellar of William Anecroft, upon Botulveswharf; whereof he asked examination to be made by the Commonalty, through vintners, as to whether such wines, according to the custom aforesaid, were unsound or not.

And hereupon, by assent of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, there were assigned John Cloptone, Nicholas Rote, Geoffrey Grygge, vintners, William de Skames, John de Bome, and Peter de Cornelione, merchants of Bordeaux, to survey and examine whether the said wines were corrupt or not, and here to certify as to the truth thereon. Which vintners and merchants came here on the same day, and said upon their oath, that there were in the same cellar 8 vessels of one tun each, of which some were half full, and some less, but that no one of them was full of wine. All which wines were putrid, corrupt, and altogether unsound for human use. It was therefore adjudged by the Mayor, and by John Grantham and other Aldermen, and John Norhamptone and Robert Launde, the Sheriffs, that all the said wine should be poured out in the street and thrown away, and wholly made away with, according to the custom of the City. And they also said, that there were no more wines in the same cellar, but there were 10 empty tuns there, in which no wine was found; the whole of the wine that had been in them now lying on the floor of the said cellar, having escaped, etc. And hereupon, all the vessels aforesaid were adjudged unto John Watlyngtone, the Common Crier, as his fee. And precept was given to the same John Watlyngtone, to do execution of the judgment aforesaid.

And be it remembered, that all the wines before-mentioned were part of those that had been lately taken by the Barge (fn. 10) of London at sea, and were housed there by Adam de Bury, late Mayor.

Ordinance made for the safe-keeping of the Shipping in the Thames.

1 Richard II. A.D. 1377. Letter-Book H. fol. lxxiii. (Latin.)

Ordinance for the safe-keeping of the shipping in the Thames, from the First day of September to the Feast of St. Michael [29 September], in the first year etc., by the Aldermen, and the men of their Wards, from day to day, in rotation.—

Be it remembered, that on the 29th day of August in the year aforesaid, there were summoned to the Guildhall, before Nicholas Brembre, Mayor, and the Aldermen, about two hundred in number of the more reputable men of the whole city of London: with whose assent and counsel, by the said Mayor and Aldermen it was ordained, in order to avoid perils from the enemy, which very probably might ensue unto the said city, and the shipping lying in the Thames, to the irreparable loss and damage of the whole realm, unless better watch should be kept against them; that every day and night four Aldermen, from noon to noon, should be on board the said shipping, having with them at least 100 men-at-arms of their Wards, besides archers; and then on the next day, other four Aldermen, with the men of their Wards; and so in rotation, to the Feast of St. Michael, in the order (fn. 11) there written. Which Aldermen, with their people, in case the enemy should come to set fire to the shipping, and invade the City, were to keep them in check, until succour from the City should reach them and the ships, in greater force.

Also,—it was ordered on the same day, that certain arbalesters should be hired by the City, and receive wages to remain continually in the outer ships, (fn. 12) until the said Feast; all such ships being moored between Le Redeclyf (fn. 13) and London Bridge.

Deposit of royal jewels and plate with the City, as security for a loan of five thousand Pounds.

1 Richard II. A.D. 1377. Letter-Book H. fol. lxxvi. vii. (Norman French.)

(fn. 14) "—For the greater surety of repayment of the said sum of 5000 pounds, we have ordained and assented, by advice of our Council, and of other great men of our realm, as well those named executors of our grandsire, as others, that certain jewels, stones, and plate, to the value of 5000 pounds, which are contained in 21 coffers and purses, locked and sealed with the seals of the very Reverend Fathers in God,William, (fn. 15) Bishop of London, and Thomas, Bishop of Excestre, our Treasurer of England, our very dear and trusty cousin, Esmon, (fn. 16) Earl of La Marche, and our very dear and trusty, William, Lord de Latymer, and Roger de Beauchampe, shall be placed as surety in the hands and keeping of the Mayor and Commonalty aforesaid, etc."

"This indenture, made between our Lord the King, Richard, of the one part, and his trusty subjects, the Mayor of his city of London, and the Commonalty of the said city, of the other part, witnesseth that, whereas it has been agreed, as well with the assent of our said Lord the King, and of his Council, as the assent of those who are named executors in the testament of King Edward, grandsire of our said Lord the King, if and so far as unto the said executors it may relate, that certain jewels and plate, to the value of 5000l., shall be delivered in pledge unto the said Mayor and Commonalty, as their security for 5000l. sterling, which the said Mayor and Commonalty have lent unto our said Lord the King, between now and the Feast of the Annunciation of our Lady [25 March] next ensuing, in a certain form more fully contained in Letters Patent made thereon, under the Great Seal of our said Lord the King;—the Mayor and Commonalty aforesaid do acknowledge by these presents that they have received from our said Lord the King, for the reason aforesaid, the jewels and plate underwritten, in 21 coffers and purses sealed, as the said Letters Patent do purport; to hold the same in pledge for the value aforesaid of the same sum, until the same shall be repaid, according to the purport of the Letters Patent aforesaid, that is to say;—two hoods, one scarlet, embroidered with rubies, balasses, (fn. 17) diamonds, sapphires, and large pearls; and the other of murrey, (fn. 18) embroidered with large pearls, without any stones. Also,—one hat, (fn. 19) made of blue satin, embroidered with stones and pearls. Also,—two hats of beaver, embroidered with pearls. Also,—two coronets for the King's bacinet, with a nouche of five pipes, (fn. 20) to set in the middle of one of the said coronets. Also,—one girdle of gold. Also,—one coat of cloth of gold, with a green ground, buttoned with bells of gold, and embroidered with large pearls around the collar and the sleeves. Also,—one doublet of tawny satin, the sleeves embroidered with stones and pearls:—the which things aforesaid were found in the keeping of Master Richard des Armes. Also,—two large circlets with rubies, balasses, diamonds, sapphires, and other stones and pearls; the which circlets were in the keeping of Messire Philip la Vache. Also,—in silver plate, which was in the keeping of Sir William Sleford, 1511 pounds, 8 ounces, by goldsmiths' weight. The which jewels and plate aforesaid the said Mayor and Commonalty shall be bound to render unto our Lord the King, in the said coffers and purses so sealed, in the same plight (fn. 21) in which they have received them, so soon as they shall be repaid the 5000l. aforesaid. And in case they shall not be satisfied by payment of the said sum of 5000l. on the said day of our Lady, or before, in manner in the said Letters Patent contained, our said Lord the King has granted unto them, that they may freely, without impeachment, make their profit of the said jewels and plate, in manner contained in the Letters Patent aforesaid. In witness whereof, unto the part of this indenture remaining with the said Mayor and Commonalty, our said Lord the King has caused to be set his Great Seal; and unto the other part, remaining with our said Lord the King, the said Mayor and Commonalty have set their Common Seal. Given at London, the 5th day of October, in the first year of the reign of our said "Lord the King." (fn. 22)

Punishment of the Pillory, for forging a bond.

1 Richard II. A.D. 1377. Letter-Book H. fol. lxv. (Latin.)

John Roos, Esquier, was attached to make answer to James de Pekham, in a plea of conspiracy and falsehood; whereby, by Gilbert de Meldeburne, his attorney, he made plaint that the said John, and one John Ormesby, on the Tuesday next after the Feast of our Lord's Nativity [25 December], in the 50th year of the reign of King Edward the Third, grandsire of our Lord the King now reigning, in Neugate, in the Parish of St. Sepulchre, in London, conspired between them to make a certain false bond, bearing date in London; by which it was alleged that Lora, now wife of the said James, before her marriage, had acknowledged that she owed to the said John Roos, and was bound unto him, in the sum of 1200l. sterling, to be paid to him at the Feast of Easter then next ensuing; and on the same Tuesday wrote the bond in form aforesaid, and sealed the same. And by force of the said bond, the same John Roos, on the Thursday next before the Feast of St. James the Apostle [25 July], in the first year of the reign of King Richard, in the Parish of St. Martin Vintry, in London, caused the said James bodily to be arrested by John Dyne, serjeant of one of the Sheriffs of London, in virtue of a certain plaint of debt against the said James, and Lora, his wife, in the Court of John de Norhamptone, one of the Sheriffs of London. And upon the said arrest, he was imprisoned in the Compter of the same Sheriff in Milkstret, in the Parish of St. Mary Magdalen, in London, and was there in prison detained for the three weeks then next ensuing. And at the end of the said three weeks the same John Roos did not prosecute upon his said false plaint; the said James having been falsely imprisoned in form aforesaid, and to his damage to the amount of 1000l., etc.

And the said John Roos, being questioned and examined upon the matters aforesaid, before Nicholas Brembre, Mayor, and the Aldermen, on the 19th day of October, in the first year etc., here in full Husting, acknowledged the conspiracy, falsity, making, and sealing of the said bond. And because that the said false bond was not then here in Court, that the same John Roos might be put to acknowledge or repudiate the same, but was in the hands of Walter (fn. 23) Sibyle, as it was said, the same John Roos was committed to the Prison of Neugate, until the Court should be more fully advised as to rendering judgment in this behalf.

Afterwards, on the 27th day of October in the year aforesaid, John Aubrey produced here in Court a certain bond, which he said was the same that had been made in form aforesaid. Whereupon, the same John Roos, who had been brought here on the same day by the Keeper of the Gaol of Neugate, being asked if the said bond was the same that he had acknowledged, as having been made by conspiracy between him and John Ormesby, said that he was a layman, (fn. 24) and in no way literate, and knew not whether it was the same or not. Wherefore, precept was given to John Botelesham, serjeant of the Mayor, to summon here twelve reputable men of the venue of the Parish of St. Sepulchre aforesaid etc., on the Wednesday next after the Feast of St. Lucy the Virgin [13 December].

And the jury, so summoned, appeared by Thomas Kyngesbrugge, John Kanynges, (fn. 25) and ten others, who said upon their oath, that the said bond, produced here by the said John Aubrey, was the same bond that the said John Roos and John Ormesby made by conspiracy and falsehood between them aforethought etc.

Afterwards, on the Thursday next after the Feast of St. Lucy the Virgin, the said John Roos was brought here, in presence of the said Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen; and it was awarded that the same James should recover, as against him, his damages, taxed by the Court at 10 pounds. And further, for the conspiracy, deceit, and falsehood aforesaid, in order that the great and other persons resorting to the City might not see forgery, so detestable and so horrible, unpunished; and also, that those who came after might beware of such forgery and the like, and according to the custom of the City of London in like cases provided, it was adjudged that the same John Roos should be put upon the pillory, with the said false bond, cancelled, tied about his neck. And he was afterwards to be sent back to prison, until he should have satisfied the party complainant as to the damages aforesaid.

Vestment granted to the Serjeants of the Chamber.

1 Richard II. A.D. 1377. Letter-Book H. fol. lxvii. (Latin and Norman French.)

(fn. 26) Be it remembered, that on the 19th day of October, in the first year etc., by precept of Nicholas Brembre, the then Mayor, all the Aldermen, and Commoners deputed for the Common Council of the said City, together with the other more reputable men of the City, were summoned to be on the same day in the Upper Chamber of the Guildhall, to consult there on arduous business touching the City. Before whom, being fully assembled in the Chamber aforesaid, Ralph Strode, the Common Serjeant, among other things, propounded and read a petition presented to the said Common Council, in these words.—

(fn. 27) To their very honourable lords and sovereigns, the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, of the City of London, pray your simple servants, the Serjeants of your Chamber, that as they have now from one day to another greater duties and labours than they or their predecessors, serjeants, have ever had heretofore, whereas their salaries and their fees are so small that they will not suffice to find their shoes; (fn. 28) and that, besides this, when your said serjeants at great assemblies ought to go before the Mayor, they are not arrayed all in the like suit, but are clad, each of them, differently from, and disparagingly (fn. 29) as compared with, the other serjeants, so that they cannot be known for officers of the City, by reason of the diversity that there is in their vest ments:—may it therefore please your very wise Lordships, for the honour of the City, to add to their salaries and customary fees, and to grant that your said serjeants shall be arrayed from year to year in the like suit to that of the serjeants of the Mayor, the Chamber paying for their vestments, if so it please you; for although this thing would be but a small expense to the Chamber, it would be a great reward, and a profitable, unto your said servants, and would redound much to the honour of every Mayor in time to come, and of all the City; and would give greater reason to your said servants for endeavouring to do well in all things that unto their office pertain."

(fn. 30) Which petition, so read and fully understood, was by the whole Common Council approved and granted.


  • 1. In Latin.
  • 2. The Thursday after Trinity Sunday.
  • 3. In French.
  • 4. Probably high noon, the present noon; and not the older None, at 2 to 3 P.M.
  • 5. Hucksters, male or female; more generally called "birlsters," or "burlsters."
  • 6. Perhaps so called from Talgarth, in Brecknockshire; a place which had no less than six yearly fairs.
  • 7. garsons.
  • 8. Sell or buy in small quantities;though here it seems to imply "forestal."
  • 9. In Latin.
  • 10. The "Paul"; see pages 368, 373–4 ante. See also, as to other wines, that were given for the naval services of the Barge, page 380 ante.
  • 11. The rotation, giving merely the names of the Wards, is entered in the MS.
  • 12. As being more exposed to attack.
  • 13. Ratcliffe. See page 345 ante, Note 1.
  • 14. Extract from the Letters Patent of the same date; preceding the following deed.
  • 15. William Courtenay, and Thomas Brentingham.
  • 16. Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March. He married Philippa, daughter of Lionel, Duke of Clarence.
  • 17. A variety of the spinel ruby, of a pale rose colour, or inclining to orange.
  • 18. A dark red colour.
  • 19. chapeu.
  • 20. cynk pipes. A brooch with, probably, five vertical flutings.
  • 21. plit.
  • 22. By Letters Patent, given in fol. lxxxiii., dated the 12th April following, we learn that the said jewels and plate had been fully redeemed by repayment of the sum borrowed.
  • 23. One of the Aldermen.
  • 24. I.e., the converse of a clerk, or one who could read.
  • 25. This perhaps was the same John Canynge, or Canynges, who is afterwards mentioned in this Letter-Book (fol. 120) as being a citizen of London, but resident at Bristol, A.D. 1379, 1380. A John Canyng, of Aldersgate, is also mentioned in the same book (fol. 287).
  • 26. In Latin.
  • 27. In French.
  • 28. Each of them would of course follow his own trade or calling, the duties of serjeant being only occasional.
  • 29. dissemblablement.
  • 30. In Latin.