Memorials: 1390

Pages 516-523

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

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Inquisition made as to putrid fish brought into the City.

13 Richard II. A.D. 1390. Letter-Book H. fol. ccxlvii. (Latin.)

Seeing that many salted fish, called "pykes," stinking and rotten, and an abomination to the people, were carted and thrown into a certain well near to Wallokesbernes, (fn. 1) without London; by reason of which, so great a stench arose that the people passing there were greatly offended thereby, to the great scandal of the citizens of the City of London, and especially the fishmongers thereof, to whom such default was commonly imputed; therefore, certain reputable men of the trade of fishmongers, knowing that they and all others of the same trade were in no way culpable therein, came before William Venour, the Mayor, and the Aldermen of the same city, and entreated that, for the saving of their own good name, and that of the said trade, they would have inquisition made as to who had caused the same to be carried and thrown in that place.

Whereupon, the said Mayor and Aldermen, making inquisition as to the same, so far as they might, at last sent for one John Waltham, common carter-serjeant of the City aforesaid, in reference to his carts and servants, who, as the Mayor and Aldermen were given to understand, had carried the said fish there. Which servants being examined as to the matter aforesaid, one of them acknowledged that Salamon Salamon, mercer, had hired him with a cart to carry two cartloads of the pikes aforesaid to that place, and that he accordingly carried them thither.

And afterwards, the Mayor was further given to understand, that Salamon aforesaid had caused 24 barrels of salted eels to be carted, which were lying in a certain cellar near to the Herber; (fn. 2) the same being rotten and unwholesome for the human body, but which he purposed selling to the commonalty. Whereupon, the said Mayor, whose duty it is, by virtue of his office, to inspect all victuals, so that nothing is sold that is unwholesome and rotten, had a sequestration put upon the door of that cellar, until he should have been truthfully informed by men having more knowledge thereon, whether or not the said eels were unwholesome for the human body; and caused to be brought before him twelve of the most substantial men of the trade of Fishmongers of London, namely, six of Briggestrete, and six of Oldefisshstret, on Friday the 18th day of the month of January, in the 13th year, etc.; of whom he chose six, namely, John Vautort, Nicholas Turke, and Umfrey, of Oldefisshstrete, Thomas Palmere, William Brydbrok, and Thomas Trig, of Brigstrete; and charged them, on their oath before him then made, that they should go the same day to that cellar, and examine all the barrels there found, and certify him on the Wednesday next, at the Guildhall of London, as to what they should think of the same.

Upon which day there came before him and the Aldermen, as well the said six men, as Salamon aforesaid. Which six men, having viewed and examined the said barrels, said upon their oath, that all the eels in eleven of the barrels and in one kilderkyn, lying in the cellar aforesaid, and the eels in one barrel lying in his house in Milkstrete, and no more, were rotten, abominable, and altogether unwholesome for the human body; and that the same Salamon, then present, knew of the same etc., and also acknowledged that he had caused the said pikes to be carried to the place above mentioned. Whereupon, with the sanction of the same Salamon, it was determined that the said twelve barrels and kilderkyn, with the eels therein contained, should be taken out of the City and buried in some place under ground, lest the air might become infected through the stench arising therefrom.

Punishment of the Pillory for Soothsaying, and false accusation.

13 Richard II. A.D. 1390. Letter-Book H. fol. ccxlviii. (Latin.)

On Tuesday, the first day of March, in the 13th year etc., John Berkyng, who was lately a Jew, as he said, was attached to make answer, as well to the Mayor and Commonalty of the City of London, as to William Shedewater, Serjeant of the Duke of York, (fn. 3) in a plea of falsehood and deceit; as to which the same William made plaint, that whereas, on the Monday next before the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary [2 February] last past, two silver dishes, belonging to the said Duke, had been stolen from his dwelling-house, in the Parish of St. Brigid in Fletestret, in the suburb of London, the Council of the same Duke, on the Friday then last past, asked the said John if he could tell by his magic art,—in which art he was skilled, as it was said,—what had become of such dishes, and who had stolen them. Which John thereupon, as saying that he well understood incantations and the art magic, made answer to the Council, that he was very well able to say where the said dishes were, and who had stolen them. And then he falsely and maliciously asserted that the said William had stolen them; owing to the which falsehood and malice, he was arrested and imprisoned, and in his body much injured, and on the point of being forced to swear that he would never come within ten leagues of the hostels of our Lord the King, the Duke of York aforesaid, or the Duke of Gloucester; to the great slander of his name, and to the grievous damage of his body etc.

And also, Robert Mysdene and John Geyte (fn. 4) severally made plaint against the same John Berkyng, for that, whereas a scarlet mantle of Lady Le Despencer, with fur of cleansed minever, had been stolen from the hostel of that lady, in the Parish of St. Mary Bothawe, in London, on the 18th day of January in the year aforesaid, the said John Berkyng, pretending that he knew who had stolen it, whereas he falsely and maliciously lied therein, said that the aforesaid Robert and John Geyte had stolen it; through which they were arrested and imprisoned, and suffered, each of them, very great injury in his body, and were on the point of being forced to swear in form before mentioned; to the great slander, as well of the name of each of them, as of the whole Commonalty of the city aforesaid.

Wherefore, the same John was severally questioned before the Mayor and Aldermen, in the Chamber of the Guildhall, at the suit of each of those persons, how he would acquit himself thereof; who thereupon acknowledged that the falsehood and deceit aforesaid had been so committed by him, and that he had falsely and maliciously defamed the said William, Robert, and John Geyte; as to the which he begged for mercy, and put himself upon the favour as well of the Court as of the parties aforesaid. And hereupon, he was committed to prison, by order of the Court, until Friday, the 4th day of March etc.

Upon which day, by assent of the Mayor and Aldermen, deliberation having been held thereon, because that such soothsaying, art magic, and falsities, are manifestly against the doctrine of Holy Writ, and a scandal and disgrace to the whole Commonalty of the city aforesaid, and through such doings murders might easily ensue, and good and lawful men be undeservedly aggrieved and defamed in their name and reputation etc., it was awarded that the said John should on the same day be put upon the pillory on Cornhulle, there to stand for one hour of the day. And precept was given to the Sheriffs of London, to have the cause for the same punishment proclaimed. And afterwards, they were to take him back to prison, there to remain until the said Mayor and Aldermen should give other orders as to his release.

Afterwards, on Saturday the 19th day of March, the said John Berkyng was sworn that he would depart from the liberty of the City, and would never return to the same: and that such soothsaying should not be practised by him for the future.

Admission and oath of Master Surgeons of the City.

13 Richard II. A.D. 1390. Letter-Book H. fol. ccxlviii. (Latin.)

On Monday, the 10th day of April, in the 13th year etc., Master John Hynstok, Master Geoffrey Grace, Master John Brademore, and Master Henry Suttone, surgeons, were admitted, in the Chamber of the Guildhall of London, before William Venour, Mayor, and the Aldermen, and sworn, as Master Surgeons of the city aforesaid, well and faithfully to serve the people in undertaking their cures, taking reasonably from them etc.; (fn. 5) and faithfully to follow their calling, and faithful scrutiny to make of others, both men and women, undertaking cures, or practising the art of surgery; and to present their defaults, as well in their practice as in their medicine, to the aforesaid Mayor and Aldermen, so often as need shall be; and further, that they will be ready, so often as they shall be warned thereto, to examine persons hurt or wounded, and others etc.; (fn. 5) and to give faithful information to the officers of the City aforesaid as to such persons hurt, or wounded, and others, whether they are in peril of death or not; and all other things touching their calling faithfully to do.

Punishment for burglary, by hanging.

13 Richard II. A.D. 1390. Letter-Book F. fol. ccxxiv. (Latin.)

Delivery of Infangthef, made in the Guildhall of London, before William Venour, Mayor, and John Tremayn, Recorder, of the City of London, Adam Bamme and other Aldermen, and the Sheriffs, and John de Scardeburghe, Coroner of the City aforesaid, on the Saturday next after the Feast of St. Botolph the Abbot [17 June], in the 13th year etc.

John Prentys and John Markyngtone were taken at the suit of Thomas Provendre, citizen and mercer of London; for that they, on the Thursday next before the Feast of St. Botolph the Abbot, in the 13th year aforesaid, in the Parish of St. Michael Bassieshawe, (fn. 6) in the Ward of Bassyngeshawe, in London, feloniously broke into the dwelling-house of him, Thomas Provendre, about midnight, with a certain instrument of iron, called a "pynchone," (fn. 7) and entered the same, and there feloniously stole and carried off divers goods and chattels of the same Thomas Provendre; namely, one silver gilt cup, with a covercle of silver gilt, value 100s.; 5 pieces of silver, (fn. 8) with 3 silver covers, 15l.; 2 silver saltcellars, 40s.; one silver box, called a poudre box, (fn. 9) 20s.; 12 silver spoons, 30s.; and one cup of mazer, bound with silver gilt, 20s. etc.

And the Jury, by Walter Godman and eleven others, say that the said John Prentys and John Markyngtone are guilty of the felony aforesaid. Therefore they are to be hanged. Chattels of the same felons there are none etc.

Grant of leave to build a Conduit near the Church of St. Michael le Quern.

14 Richard II. A.D. 1390. Letter-Book H. fol. cclii. (Latin.)

Forasmuch as the substantial men of the Ward of Farndone Within, and other citizens of the City of London, for the common advantage and easement of the same, at their own costs and charges intended to make and build a water-conduit near to the Church of St. Michael le Quern, (fn. 10) in the Westechepe of London, supplied by the great pipe of the Conduit opposite to St. Thomas of Acon, in London, to serve the people for their easement; they therefore asked of William Venour, the Mayor, and the Aldermen of the said City, leave to do as above stated, etc. Whereupon, the said Mayor and Aldermen, desiring the common advantage and easement of the City, granted unto the same reputable men leave to build, as before stated, and so to do, provided that the same work should not be injurious or harmful to the Great Conduit aforesaid.

And hereupon, on the 14th day of July, in the 14th year etc., came before the said Mayor and Aldermen, in the Chamber of the Guildhall, Thomas Pantone, goldsmith, Bartholomew Castre, goldsmith, John de Doncastre, copersmyth, Thomas Bonere, Leonard Nortone, and William atte Gate, and gave security, that if it should be found by the Mayor and Commonalty, at any future time, that the pipes in the said Conduit, near to the Church of St. Michael, to be ordered, raised, and made, should be injurious or harmful to the Great Conduit, opposite to the Church of St. Thomas aforesaid, then the said pipes should be removed, and, at the expense of the persons aforesaid, the whole should be restored to its former state; so that the entirety of the great pipe of the Great Conduit should be renewed and restored, the same as it was on the day of this license being obtained; and that the said pipes near to the Church of St. Michael aforesaid should then cease altogether to convey any water therefrom.

Order that due Watch shall be kept, during the approaching jousts and revels.

14 Richard II. A.D. 1390. Letter-Book H. fol. cclii. (Norman French.)

A bill sent to each of the Aldermen, on the 23rd day of September.—

"For the safe-keeping and maintenance of the peace of our Lord the King, and for saving the honour of this city, we do command and charge you, strictly enjoining, that you shall order in your Ward that sufficient watch be made by persons able for defence, well arrayed, every night during the time that the revels and jousts, (fn. 11) now approaching, shall be continued: and this, in such manner that by your default no danger or disgrace shall befall the city aforesaid."

Punishment of imprisonment, for assault on a Ward Constable.

14 Richard II. A.D. 1390. Letter-Book H. fol. cclvi. (Latin.)

On the 7th day of November, in the 14th year etc., Walter Cliftone, taillour, who before was detained in the Compter of John Fraunceys, was brought here by a serjeant of the same Sheriff, before the Mayor and Aldermen; for that, when a certain John Hayne, taillour, one of the constables of the Ward of Bredestrete, on Saturday the 5th day of November last past, together with his fellows, constables of the same Ward, went to collect the quarterage from the said Walter and other persons for the rakery (fn. 12) of that Ward, on his coming to the house of the same Walter for that purpose, this Walter abused the said constable with unseemly words, and made assault upon him, against the peace of our Lord the King; and struck him on the head with a staff, so that the constable fell to the ground. And one John Gest, pelterer, seeing this, arrested the said Walter for the same; but the servants of Walter released him from the arrest of the said John Gest, until he was again arrested by the serjeant of the Sheriff aforesaid.

The said Walter being questioned before the Mayor and Aldermen as to all and singular the matters aforesaid, he publicly acknowledged the truth thereof, and put himself upon the favour of the Court as to the same. And because that the said Walter did this in contempt of our Lord the King, and of his servants in the City aforesaid etc., it was adjudged that he should be imprisoned in Neugate for 40 days, without redemption; and that on his departure therefrom he should pay a fine of 100 shillings to the Chamber for such contempt.

Afterwards, by assent of the Mayor and Aldermen, he was mainprised by Robert Ascowe and John Stokke.

Sentence of the Pillory pronounced, for insulting the Recorder.

14 Richard II. A.D. 1390. Letter-Book H. fol. cclvi. (Latin.)

On Friday next before the Feast of St. Nicholas the Bishop [6 December], in the 14th year etc., William Overtone was interrogated before Adam Bamme, the Mayor, and the Aldermen of the City of London, in the Inner Chamber of the Guildhall, for that on the same day, in the Chamber aforesaid, he publicly said to John Tremayn, Recorder of the same city, that he would not let him, William, or his counsel speak, or produce his evidence, in a certain plaint of debt of 100 pounds against him by Benedict Lomelyn before the same Mayor and Aldermen sued, nor would hear the same in the matter aforesaid; and that he did not give him law and justice in this behalf; to the disgrace and dishonour as well of the said Recorder, as of all other officers of our Lord the King in the city aforesaid.

Which William acknowledged that he did say the words above imputed to him; and he put himself upon the favour of the Court as to the same. And deliberation having been had hereupon between the said Mayor and Aldermen, seeing that the said words redounded expressly as well to the dishonour of the King, as to the manifest disgrace of his officers in the city aforesaid etc., it was adjudged that the said William should be put upon the pillory, there to remain for three hours of the day, the cause thereof being publicly proclaimed; unless he should meet with increased favour in the meantime. Whereupon, the Recorder asked and entreated the Mayor and Aldermen to shew favour to the said William as to the execution of such sentence. At whose urgent entreaty and request, and because that the said William humbly submitted himself to the favour of the Court, asking its mercy therein, execution of the said judgment was remitted unto him; on condition that he, the said William, should never in future abuse the Recorder, or any officer of the City, for the cause aforesaid, or for any other cause whatsoever. And if he should do so, and be convicted thereof, then execution of the judgment aforesaid was to be carried out upon him, without any remission or pardon being granted as to the same.


  • 1. Or "Wenlokesbarn;" the name of a district lying without the walls, and near Cripplegate. It gave name to one of the Prebends of St. Paul's; see Newcourt's Repertorium, vol. i. p. 219.
  • 2. Probably the Could Herbergh, named by Stow, situate in Dowgate Ward.
  • 3. Edmund de Langley, fifth son of Edward III.
  • 4. John the Wait.
  • 5. So abbreviated in the MS.
  • 6. This passage goes far to shew that "Bassishaw" has its name from the Bassets, and "Basinghall" from the Basings.
  • 7. A punch. See p. 283 ante, Note 17.
  • 8. Or cups.
  • 9. Either for perfumed powder for the clothes, or perhaps for seasonings for food.
  • 10. See page 417 ante. It was on this occasion that the Earl of Gloucester's Cross, lately known as the "Brokyn Cros," was removed.
  • 11. These jousts and tournaments are described by Froissart; they commenced on the Sunday after Michaelmas Day.
  • 12. The cleansing of the streets by the rakyers.