Memorials: 1383

Pages 476-482

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

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Sentence of the Pillory and Whetstone, for slandering the Mayor.

6 Richard II. A.D. 1383. Letter-Book H. fol. clxii. (Latin.)

"Inquisition taken in the Chamber of the Guildhall of London, before John Norhamptone, Mayor, the Recorder, the Aldermen, and the Sheriffs, on the 9th day of February, in the 6th year etc., to enquire whether or not one William Berham, of the County of Middlesex, did on that day go to Sir Robert Tresulian, (fn. 1) Chief Justiciar of our Lord the King, at his house in Aldermannebury, in London, and tell him that, upon the information of John Boseham, (fn. 2) of London, made to the said Mayor, he had been arrested by the Mayor; for that he ought not to have gone to Westminster to tell the truth in a certain assize in which he was empanelled, between John Page and his wife, demandants, and John Boseham and others, deforciants; as from the relation and testimony of the said Justiciar, as also, of Edmund Fraunceys, the said Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen, were given to understand; upon the oath of Thomas Yonge and eleven others.

"Who said upon their oath, that the said William Berham did utter the words to the said Justiciar, as above alleged. Whereupon, on the same day, after dinner, the said William Berham was brought here into the Chamber, before the said Mayor etc., and, being questioned as to the matters aforesaid, he said that he was in no way guilty thereof, and put himself upon the country as to the same. And the country (fn. 3) of the venue of Aldermannebury aforesaid appeared, by John Nicholle, Stephen Pettelee, Stephen Walpolle, and nine others; and they said upon their oath, that the said William Berham was guilty of having uttered the words aforesaid. And because that the same William Berham denied that he had uttered the words aforesaid, and was at his own mise convicted thereof, (fn. 4) in manner aforesaid; and also, because that the same Mayor well remembered that the said John Boseham gave no information to him as to the same William Berham, nor ever spoke to him about him; and that so, he was found to have spoken maliciously and falsely concerning the said Mayor, as well as John Boseham aforesaid; it was adjudged that he should be put upon the pillory on the same day, there to stand for one hour of the day, with one large whetstone hung from his neck, in token of the lie told by him against the said Mayor, and another smaller whetstone, in token of the lie told by him against the same John Boseham. And after that, he was to be brought back to prison, and so for the five following days to be taken to the said pillory, before noon on one day, and after noon on the next, and there be put upon the same, with the said whetstones hung from his neck etc."

Afterwards, on the 20th day of February following, the said William Berham was mainprised by John Scorfeyn, furbour, and Andrew Vyne, draper, as to his good behaviour towards the King and his people; they being bound to have him before the Mayor and Aldermen where and when etc., under a penalty of 100 pounds.

Ordinances as to the repair of Crepulgate; the City Barge; and the Watercourse of Walbrok.

6 Richard II. A.D. 1383. Letter-Book H. fol. clxiv. (Norman French.)

Be it remembered, that at a Common Council holden in the Chamber of the Guildhall of London, on Wednesday, the 6th day of May, in the 6th year etc., it was agreed that the points underwritten should be held and observed.—

"Forasmuch as the rooms and walls over the Gate of Crepulgate are so ruinous and infirm, that they cannot last for long without repair, it is agreed that so soon as any money shall come to the Chamber, over and above reasonable outlay upon the Conduit, the same shall be expended upon repairing the said rooms and walls; and upon nothing else, until they shall have been reasonably amended and repaired.

"Also,—whereas the Barge (fn. 5) of London is now lying in the Thames without any watch or ward thereof, in a likely way to rot; the which cannot without great charges be repaired and amended, and found in a fitting way for going to war or upon merchandize; let such person or persons come to the Mayor, between now and Saturday the Eve of the Trinity next ensuing, to make bargain with him, according as they may agree, as to the proportion of the profits, [upon the hire thereof,] to come to such person or persons, their outlay thereon being first allowed for; accident to the same by tempest, and by enemies, always to fall and be charged upon the Commonalty.

"Also,—whereas the watercourse of Walbrook is stopped up by divers filth and dung thrown therein by persons who have houses along the said course, to the great nuisance and damage of all the City; it is assented to, that the Aldermen of the Wards of Colemanstret, Bradstret, Chepe, Walbrok, Vintry, and Douegate, through whose Wards the said watercourse runs, shall diligently enquire if any person dwelling along the said course has a stable, or other house, whereby dung or other filth may fall into the same; or otherwise throws therein, or causes to be thrown therein, such manner of filth or rubbish, by which the said watercourse is stopped up; and let the Mayor and Chamberlain know the names of such persons, and the number and extent of such offences, the most truthfully that they may; that so, by advice of the Mayor, and Aldermen, and Commonalty, punishment may be inflicted upon the offenders who act against this Ordinance, and this nuisance be abated thereby.

"But it shall be fully lawful for those persons who have houses on the said watercourse, to have latrines over the course, provided that they do not throw rubbish or other refuse through the same, whereby the passage of the said water may be stopped. And every one who has such latrine or latrines over the same, shall pay yearly to the Chamberlain, for the easement thereof, and towards cleansing the said course, 2 shillings for each of the same. And the said Aldermen are to make enquiry how many latrines there are upon the said course, and to whom they belong, and to certify the said Mayor and Chamberlain as to the same."

Punishment of an Impostor, for circulating false reports from the War in Flanders.

7 Richard II. A.D. 1383. Letter-Book H. fol. clxv. (Latin.)

Hugh de la Pole, of Wales, was brought here, before John Norhamptone, Mayor, and the Aldermen, on the 24th day of July, in the 7th year etc., and examined before them, for that on the day before he came into the Street of St. Laurence in the Old Jewry, in London, begging alms, and asserting and saying that he, together with other fifteen comrades of his, had come from the parts of Flanders, namely, from the town of Ipres; which the Lord Bishop (fn. 6) of Norwich had taken by assault, and was in it with his men; and that the French and other enemies who had held it, had withdrawn to a certain castle in the town, and held the same. And further, that within the same town the Bishop and his men had three barrels full of gold; and that in the assault those fifteen comrades of his were so badly wounded and bruised, that not one of them can now help himself.

And he further said, that a dissension (fn. 7) had arisen between the Lord Bishop and the other English knights who were there with him. And that the people might the more readily give credence to his words, he shewed them his hand, anointed with oil and swathed in cloths, to appear as though it were wounded; when in truth there was no hurt upon it, as before the said Mayor and Aldermen was plainly shown; thus falsely and maliciously lying, and making himself out to be poor and feeble, in deceit of the whole people, and to the manifest scandal of the City of London; the more especially as the same city, by such lies so fabricated therein, might very easily be everywhere defamed, as being the planner and inventor thereof, and the whole kingdom might readily be disturbed and disquieted thereby etc.

It was therefore adjudged, that the same Hugh should be put upon the pillory, there to remain for one hour of the day, with a whetstone hung from his neck, in token of his being a liar. And he was forbidden to conceal himself afterwards, or to remain within the liberty of the city aforesaid, on pain etc.

Warrant for the apprehension of certain alleged offenders within the City.

7 Richard II. A.D. 1383. Letter-Book H. fol. clxxi. (Latin.)

"Richard, by the grace of God etc., to the Sheriffs of London, greeting. We do command you, as heretofore we have commanded, that you take John Colbrond, of Wylmyngtone near Weygh, and Alice Longe, his concubine, dwelling in Southamlane Temesestret, in London, Thomas Culpyn, of London, corsor, (fn. 8) and Elena, his wife, dwelling in a hostel with the sign of the Lion on the Hoop, near to St. Tauntelyne, (fn. 9) and John Hosiere, of London, if in your bailiwick they shall be found; and keep them in prison in safe custody, so as to have their bodies before us on the Octave of St. Hilary, wheresoever in England we then shall be; to make answer unto us as to certain felonies, of which, by an approver, now in the prison of our Marshalsey, they have been accused. And have there this Writ. Witness, R. Tresilian, at Westminster, the 12th day of October, in the 7th year of our reign."

Proclamation against Congregations, Covins, and Conspiracies.

7 Richard II. A.D. 1383. Letter-Book H. fol. clxxii. (Old English.)

"The Mair, (fn. 10) Shirreues, and Aldermen, and alle othere wyse wyth hem, that habbeth the gouernaille of the Citee, (fn. 11) under oure lige Lord the Kyng, by vertue of the Chartre of oure franchise, comaundeth on the Kynges bihalf, and on hire owene also, that noman make none congregaciouns, conuenticules, ne assembles of poeple, in priue nen apert, (fn. 12) ne no more than other men, with oute leue of the Mair; ne ouer (fn. 13) more in none manere ne make alliances, confederacies, conspiracies, ne obligaciouns, forto bynde men to gidre, (fn. 14) forto susteyne eny quereles in lyuingge and deyengge to gidre; upon peyne of enpresonement, vche (fn. 15) man that is yfounde in swych defaute, and his bodi at the Kyngges will, and forfaiture of al that he may forfaite a yens oure Lord the Kyng, (fn. 16) as wel in tenementz as in catel. And ouermore, (fn. 17) the Mair, Shirreues, and Aldermen, willeth and graunteth power to euery fre man of the Citee, as wel as to officers, that yef eny man of hem may aspie eny (fn. 18) swich congregaciouns or covynes in gaderyng, or ygadred, to areste hem and eche persone of hem; and brynge hem als blyne (fn. 19) to fore the Mair, yef he is at leiser, or elles to Neugate, in to tyme that the Mayr may attende ther to."

Proclamation for the free sale of fish within the City; and against Nightwalkers.

7 Richard II. A.D. 1383. Letter-Book H. fol. clxxii. (Old English.)

(fn. 20)For as moche as rumour and spekyngge is amonges some men of the Citee, that vitaillers foreins, (fn. 21) bringyngge fissh to the Citee of Londone to selle, shulde be restrained and ylet (fn. 22) of hire comyngge to the Citee wyth hire forsaid fissh, to selle it freliche; (fn. 23) which thyng uas neuer the Maires wille, ne the Aldermens, ne hire entente, as semeth openliche in dede, but that alle swiche vitaillers foreins that bryngeth fissh or other vitailles to the same citee to selle, mowe (fn. 24) come and selle hire forseid fisshe and vitailles to the comunes of the same citee, to lordes, and to alle other thedir repeiryng, freliche with oute destourbaunce or lettyng of eny man in priue or apiert. (fn. 25) Wherfore, the Mair and Aldermen comandeth on the Kyngges half, and on hire owene half also, that noman, of what condicioun or degree that he be, prive ne straunge, with ynne the franchise of the Cite ne with oute, ne destourbe, lette, ne greue (fn. 26) in dede ne in word, ne in non other manere, no maner straunge vitailler bryngynge fissh or eny other vitaille by land or by water to the Citee to selle, wherby eny swych vitailler straunger be destourbed that he ne mowe nought selle his fissh or other vitaille freliche to whom he mowe, up on peyne of enprisonement at the Maires wille, and forfaiture of al that he may forfaite a yens the Kyng. And also, that no denzeins, ne non other, ne bigge no manere fissh, (fn. 27) ne other vitailles, forto selle a yen, forto (fn. 28) ten of the clokke be smyte, (fn. 29) up on peyne forsaid. And yef eny man fynt hym (fn. 30)y greued in eny poynt forsaid, come and pleyne hym to the Mair and Aldermen, and he shal haue right and resoun.

"The Mair and Aldermen comandeth, as wel for oure Lord the Kyng as for hem selue, (fn. 31) that noman, of what astat or condicioun that he be, be y founde goyngge or walkyngge with ynne the Citee, ne with ynne the fraunchise of the same citee, by nyghte after ix of the clokke be ysmyte, up on peyne of al that hir mowe forfaite a yens oure Lord the Kyng, and a yens the Citee, in body or in godes; outtake (fn. 32) the Mair and his ministres, and hir that haueth leue in special by the Mair. (fn. 33) And yef eny other be y founde, that he be arest als so swithe, (fn. 34) and y lad to prisone bi whom þat he be y founde."


  • 1. Tresilian, more generally.
  • 2. Alderman of Chepe.
  • 3. Or jury.
  • 4. Or issue; challenge of the opinion of a jury.
  • 5. No doubt, "the Paul"; which has been mentioned pp. 368, 373, 374, 380, 409, ante.
  • 6. Henry le Spenser. This martial Bishop led a so-called Crusade, in support of Pope Urban the Sixth, against the French supporters of Clement, the AntiPope. After taking Gravelines and Dunkirk, he was compelled to raise the siege of Ypres, and the expedition ended in disaster.
  • 7. This was the fact, as we learn from Thomas Walsingham, Hist. Angl. vol. ii. pp. 98, 99.
  • 8. Or horse-dealer.
  • 9. St. Antholin's; probably, the Church in Budge Row; and not the House in Three-needle Street.
  • 10. This extract is worthy of remark, as being the earliest entry in English in the Letter-Books.
  • 11. "governance."
  • 12. "in private nor openly."
  • 13. "nor further in any manner make."
  • 14. "together."
  • 15. For ucbe, "each."
  • 16. "against."
  • 17. "further."
  • 18. "espy."
  • 19. "without delay."
  • 20. Written in a different hand from the preceding.
  • 21. "foreign victuallers;" i.e. non-freemen.
  • 22. "hindered in their coming."
  • 23. "freely."
  • 24. "may."
  • 25. "privily or openly."
  • 26. "aggrieve."
  • 27. "buy."
  • 28. "until."
  • 29. "struck."
  • 30. "find himself aggrieved."
  • 31. "themselves."
  • 32. "except."
  • 33. "leave."
  • 34. "immediately."