Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries. Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1868.
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Ordinance made as between the Cutlers and the Sheathers.
9 Henry IV. A.D. 1408. Letter-Book I. fol. lxxi. (Latin.)
Be it remembered, that on the 16th day of August, in the 9th year etc., there came here, before the Mayor and Aldermen of London, as well the Masters of the trade of Cutlers of the said city, as many other reputable men of the same trade, shewing unto the same Mayor and Aldermen, with all due urgency, how that they and their predecessors, cutlers of the said city, were wont to sell knives fully prepared and decorated, to all buyers whatsoever; but that every knife is prepared separately by three different crafts, first, the blade by smiths called "Bladsmythes," the handle and the other fitting work by the cutlers, and the sheath by the sheathers; and that if the articles are good, commendation is the result, but if bad, then blame and scandal falls and is charged upon the said trade of the Cutlers. And seeing that for any default in the sheaths, being not properly made, no little blame and scandal falls upon the said trade of the Cutlers, and manifest damage ensues therefrom, as well to the whole realm as to the community of the City aforesaid; therefore, the said Masters and reputable men of the trade of Cutlers, with all due urgency, represented unto the said Mayor and Aldermen, that as well the said sheathers, as many of the trade of Cutlers, applied themselves to making sheaths, of which the supervision, correction, or liability to forfeiture, had been entirely seen to or taken in hand by the crafts aforesaid, and no presentation whatever made thereof to the Chamberlain, as it ought to be; to the common loss, and to the manifest scandal, of the said trade of the Cutlers.
And hereupon, the said Mayor and Aldermen, considering the matters aforesaid, sent for the Masters of the said trade of Sheathers, notifying unto them the matters aforesaid; who, after mature deliberation, determined and ordained that in future, for the proper making of sheaths, two of the Masters of the Cutlers, for the time being, should at due and fitting times warn two of the Masters of the Sheathers, for the time being, to make scrutiny of sheaths, by themselves only, as well in the trade of the Cutlers as of the Sheathers aforesaid, or in the hands of any other makers thereof within the kingdom of England, and in the said city exposed for sale; and to correct, oversee, sufficiently examine, and prove the same; and such defaults, if any, as they should find, to present without delay to the Chamberlain of the City, under a penalty by the Mayor and Aldermen for the time being to be imposed; and that by the same Mayor and Aldermen due punishment should be inflicted for default found, according to the extent thereof.
Joint Petition of the Cutlers and the Bladesmiths.
10 Henry IV. A.D. 1408. Letter-Book I. fol. lxxi. (Latin and Norman French.)
(fn. 1) On the 12th day of October, in the 10th year etc., the Masters and reputable men of the trades of Cutlers and Smiths, called "Bladesmythes," citizens of the said city, came here, before the Mayor and Aldermen, and presented a certain petition, containing the words that follow.—
(fn. 2) "Unto the honourable Lords, the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, shew all the good folks of the trades of the Cutlers and the Bladesmythes, freemen of the said city, how that foreign folks, from divers parts of England, do sell unto the cutlers and others of the same city as well knives as blades, marked with marks resembling the marks of the bladesmythes free of the said city; the which knives and blades are faulty and defective, to the very great scandal of the said trades of the Cutlers and the Bladesmythes, and to the common danger.—May it therefore please your very wise discreetnesses to ordain, that no one of the said trade of Cutlers shall buy of any other person from henceforth any such knives or blades made in the country with marks forged in resemblance of such, as well for the honour of the said trades, as for the common profit of the City. And that the price of blades made, or to be made, within the said city, shall not from henceforth be increased by the said bladesmythes, except by advice of the Masters of the Cutlers and the Bladesmythes jointly; on pain of paying to the Chamber 6s. 8d. each time; the trades of the Cutlers and the Bladesmythes to have one half thereof, to be divided between them, for their trouble."
(fn. 3) Which petition having been read and fully understood, to support the common and public advantage, and to avert damage to the public, as also, for preserving the character of the two trades, it was agreed by the said Mayor and Aldermen that the petition aforesaid should in the form presented be observed.
Articles of the Bladesmiths.
10 Henry IV. A.D. 1408. Letter-Book I. fol. 1xxiii. (Latin and Norman French.)
(fn. 3) On the 26th day of October, in the 10th year etc., the Masters and reputable men of the trade of Smiths, called "Bladesmythes" citizens of the City of London, came here, before the Mayor and Aldermen of the same city, and presented a certain petition, containing the following Articles.—
(fn. 4) "In the first place,—whereas many persons of the said trade, as well freemen as foreigners, who dwell in foreign lanes, do send their work for sale secretly in some private place, and not in an open place, because that the said work is not avowable and proper; so that the commonalty is deceived and greatly damaged thereby:—it is ordained, that no one of the said trade shall cause any false work to be carried through the streets for sale within the said city, or in the suburb thereof; and that no one shall go wandering about with such false work, within the said city, or in the suburb thereof. But those who shall wish to send their work for sale out of their own houses or shops, are to send the same to, and to stand openly with such work for sale at, Greschirche, or on the Pavement near to St. Nicholas Flesshameles, or near to the Tun on Cornhille; on pain of forfeiture of such work, that is to say, one half to go to the use of the Chamber of the Guildhall, and the other half to the use of the said trade; and of paying, the first time that a person shall be so convicted thereof, 6s. 8d.; the second time, 10s.; the third time, 13s. 4d.; and so, 13s. 4d. every time that he shall be so convicted; one half thereof to go to the Chamber aforesaid, and the other half to the said trade.
"Also,—that every person of the said trade, who is a worker and maker of lance-heads, swords, daggers, or knives, must make the points and egges (fn. 5) thereof hard throughout; and also, the egges and heads of axes so as to stand the assay; on pain of forfeiture thereof, in manner and form as before stated.
"Also,—that every master of the said trade shall put his own mark upon his work, such as heads of lances, knives, and axes, and other large work, that it may be known who made the same, if default be found therein; on the pain aforesaid.
"Also,—that no one of the said trade shall counterfeit the mark of another maker upon his own work; but let him use and put his own mark upon his own work, on the pain aforesaid.
"Also,—that the Masters of the said trade, chosen for the time being, shall cause to be brought to the Guildhall such false work as they shall find to be made in the trade, to be there adjudged upon, in the hands of whatsoever person the same shall be found.
"Also,—that no one of the said trade shall teach his journeymen the secrets of his trade, (fn. 6) as he would his apprentice, on the pain aforesaid.
"Also,—that no one shall be made free in the said trade, before that it has been by the Wardens of the trade, and the other good folks thereof, attested and recorded that he is able to follow and take up the said trade, on the pain aforesaid.
"Also,—that no one of the said trade shall withdraw or entice away the apprentice of another, during his term, from the service of his master, on pain of paying 20 shillings; nor yet any journeyman from the service of his master, within his term, on pain of paying 6s. 8d.; one half thereof to go to the said Chamber, and the other half to the trade aforesaid."
(fn. 7) Which Articles having been read and fully understood, to support the common advantage, and to avert damage to the public, it was agreed by the said Mayor and Aldermen that the same should in future, in the form in which they were presented, be observed.