BHO

Memorials: 1412

Pages 580-589

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 that eels shall be sold by weight.

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxi. (Latin and Norman French.)

(fn. 1) Of all cities in the West, this City of London, the most ancient, is rendered praiseworthy and famous by the governors thereof, men known to be and to have been persons of experience, and refulgent by their discreetness; and, more especially, because that at the present day its rulers do unweariedly labour to put an end to what is for private advantage only, and to increase the public weal; nay, even more than this, it is their object that, in these modern times, it may not be for any one to rave about the supply of anything, and of victuals more especially, being largely brought to the said city, by reason of unsound governance as to the same.

But among these same matters there is one thing found to be very pernicious; namely, that all those aliens who come to this city with their vessels, called "eleshippes," for the sale of their eels, when they arrive at the City aforesaid, bring the various sorts of their eels, some the largest, called "stobelele," (fn. 2) some of middling size, called "shastele," and some of smaller size, called "pympernele," before the Mayor and Aldermen, to be assessed by them, and by fishmongers of the said city, having knowledge of the same, to be appraised, as to the price at which they are to sell the same, according to the custom of the City aforesaid; namely, each sort at its own rate, by them assessed and appraised; at which rates, according to their respective sorts, at the discretion of the said Mayor and Aldermen, and fishmongers, they are allowed to sell the same to whom they please; yet, immediately after this, contrary to the assessment and appraisal aforesaid, such eels of middle size, called "shastele," are openly sold by them as being of the largest size, and the smallest eels, called "pympernele," for eels of middling size; to their own private advantage, and to the loss of the public, and in deceit, and to the detriment, of the people.

Wherefore, Robert Chichele, the Mayor, with the assent and consent of the Aldermen of the said city then present, they desiring to provide a fitting and opportune remedy in this behalf, commanded the Ordinance under-written to be here entered.—

(fn. 3) The 18th day of February, in the 13th year of the reign of King Henry, after the Conquest the Fourth.—It is ordered by Robert Chichele, Mayor, and the Aldermen, to the pleasing of God, and for the common good and profit of the people of the City of London, and of all other persons repairing thereunto, that all eels that from henceforth shall be brought by any persons whatsoever to the said city in vessels called 'eleshippes,' for sale, shall be sold by weight. And that in every vessel there shall be certain weights provided, one pound, 2 pounds, 3 pounds, 4, 5, and 6, and more or less, for emptying (fn. 4) and making deliverance thereof, according as the King and his people shall need. And that the sellers and owners of such eels shall sell the large eels, called 'stobele,' (fn. 5) at 2d. per pound, the pound of middling eels, called 'shastele,' at 1½., and the pound of the least and smallest eels, called 'pymperneel,' at one penny; without selling by number, or otherwise against this Ordinance, on pain of forfeiture of all the eels to the use of the Chamber, to the contrary hereof sold."

Order for the early closing of Victuallers on the Eves of St. John and of St. Peter and St. Paul.

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxii. (Norman French.)

"Let proclamation be made, that no vintner, taverner, brewer, cook, pybaker, hosteler, or hukster, dwelling within the City of London, in the franchise thereof, shall keep his door open after ten of the clock at night on the Eves of St. John the Baptist [24 June], and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul [29 June], next to come, or shall sell wine, ale, fish, or flesh, boiled, roasted, or baked in pasty, [after that hour], before six of the clock on the next morning; on pain of imprisonment, and of paying to the Chamber 20 shillings for every default, without remission thereof. And that every man shall have without his house, in the high streets and lanes of the said city, upon the Eves of St. John the Baptist and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul aforesaid, a lantern hung, with a lighted candle burning therein, so long as it will last; on pain of paying to the Chamber four pence, without redemption."

Punishment of the Pillory, for forging a Bond.

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxiii. (Latin.)

Be it remembered, that on the 15th day of July, in the 13th year etc., John Rykone of London, cordwaner, was attached and brought before the Mayor and Aldermen, at the suit of John Dyce, citizen and wodemonger of London; for that he, the said John Rykone, in the house of Thomas Panter, scrivener, in the Ward of Chepe, in London, saying and affirming that he was John Dyce, citizen and wodemonger of London, did maliciously, falsely, and deceitfully, make, and cause to be there made, a certain false bond, in the name of such John Dyce; by which, so far as he might, he bound the said John Dyce to certain persons, William Walderne and John Blakberne by name, in the sum of ten pounds sterling. By reason of which bond, so falsely and deceitfully made and forged, the said John Dyce was in many ways vexed, to his no small loss and grievance, and in deceit, and to the manifest fraud, of all the people of our Lord the King.

Which John Rykone, being interrogated as to the matters aforesaid, openly, expressly, and of his own free will, confessed that he had caused to be made, and had forged, the said false bond, of his own falsity and deceit, in manner and form aforesaid. And to the end that others might beware of the like falsity and deceit, it was adjudged by the said Mayor and Aldermen, that the said John Rykone should be put upon the pillory for three days, there to remain for one hour each day, the said false obligation being in the meantime fastened and tied to his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs, to cause the reason for such judgment to be there proclaimed.

Punishment of the Pillory, for forgery of Papal and other seals and documents.

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxv. (Latin.)

On the 16th day of July, in the 13th year etc., Master Simon Flegge, notary public, and William Punchard and John Fossard, clerks, and servants of the said Simon, in whose possession was found a small chest with divers seals of our Lords the Pope and the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, and other great men of the kingdom of England, were brought here, before the Mayor and Aldermen, because that they were given to understand that these persons had counterfeited divers Bulls, sealed with lead, like unto the Seal of the most Reverend Father in Christ, and Lord, our Lord the Pope, and divers other letters sealed with the seals of other noble persons; as well the letters as the seals being falsely and deceitfully made and forged; and had sold the same to divers persons, lieges of our Lord the King, for no small sum, affirming that the said letters and seals were genuine.

And being interrogated as to various letters and seals, in the said small chest contained, they were asked whether they acknowledged them or not; to which they said, that they fully acknowledged them. And they were further questioned as to which of them wrote the letters found in the small chest before mentioned, and who had made the seals therein contained, and sealed the letters aforesaid. To which the same William Punchard and John Fossard made answer, that the said Simon Flegge wrote the letters, and that he counterfeited the seals, and had them counterfeited, and so forged them; and that with such seals he sealed the counterfeited letters, as before stated. Whereupon, the said Simon Flegge, being questioned as to the same, openly, expressly, and of his own free will, confessed that he had made, forged, written, and sealed, some of the letters, and had made some of the seals in the said chest contained. And the said William Punchard and John Fossard further confessed expressly before the Mayor and Aldermen, that they well knew and were aware of the deceits and falsities aforesaid; and that they were helpers therein, and carriers and exposers of the Papal Bulls and other letters, falsely forged, sealed, and counterfeited, as before stated.

And because that the same, for purposes of falsity and deceit, were by the said Simon Flegge deceitfully and fraudulently made and fabricated, and by the said William Punchard and John Fossard assented to and exposed [for sale], to the disgrace and scandal, as well as the manifest deceit and defrauding, of all Christian people; and to the end that in future others might beware of committing such falsities and deceits, or of aiding and consenting thereto, it was awarded by the said Mayor and Aldermen, that as well the aforesaid Simon Flegge as the said William Punchard and John Fossard should be put upon the pillory on three market-days, there to stand for one hour each day, each of them having in the meantime one of the Papal Bulls, so falsely and deceitfully made and counterfeited, hung about his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs, to have the cause thereof publicly proclaimed.

Punishment of the Pillory and Whetstone, for pretending to be a Hermit.

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxiii. (Latin.)

On the 20th day of July, in the 13th year etc., William Blakeney, shetilmaker, (fn. 6) who pretended to be a hermit, was brought unto the Guildhall, before Robert Chichele, Mayor, the Aldermen, and Sheriffs, for that, whereas he was able to work for his food and raiment, he, the same William, went about there, barefooted and with long hair, under the guise of sanctity, and pretended to be a hermit, saying that he was such, and that he had made pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Rome, Venice, and the city of Seville, in Spain; and under colour of such falsehood he had and received many good things from divers persons, to the defrauding, and in manifest deceit, of all the people.

And he was asked how he would acquit himself thereof. Whereupon, he acknowledged that for the last six years he had lived by such lies, falsities, and deceits, so invented by him, to the defrauding of the people, under the colour of such feigned sanctity; and that he never was in the parts aforesaid; which was also found out by the Court. And therefore etc. it was adjudged that the said William should be put upon the pillory for three market-days, there to remain for one hour each day, the reason for the same being there proclaimed; and he was to have, in the meantime, a whetstone hung from his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs to do execution thereof.

Sentence of the Pillory, for slandering a Sheriff and Alderman.

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxvi. (Latin.)

Whereas, as well through divers petitions and supplications as by many reputable and trustworthy men of the City of London, Robert Chichele, the Mayor, and the Aldermen, had been given to understand that one Thomas Derlyng, a serjeant with Walter Cottone, then one of the Sheriffs, had caused and promoted at divers times, since he had been an officer in the City aforesaid, various broils, dissensions, and disputes, among divers persons in the same city; to the great disturbance of the peace, and to the disgrace of the ministers of the City; and, what might be still more dangerous, the resentment of the people in future against the officers of the said city—and might such not be the case;—the said Thomas Derlyng, on such accusation, on the 8th day of August, in the 13th year etc., was brought before the Mayor and Aldermen in the Greater Chamber of the Guildhall of the City aforesaid, and interrogated upon the matters before mentioned.

To which he made answer, that he had many enemies; of whom, one John Penne, an Alderman, and late Sheriff of the same city, then and there present in the Chamber aforesaid, was the greatest; because that, when he, the said Thomas, lately held the office of serjeant with the said John Penne, in the time of his Shrievalty, on receiving precept from the same John, he refused to seize certain horses belonging to William Bourchier, Knight, for a debt which he owed to the said Sheriff; but replied that he would not arrest him, or seize any goods or chattels of his, seeing that he himself was one of his suite and livery. For which reason, the said John Penne, of enmity and malice aforethought, imagining how to undo him, became his greatest enemy, as he asserted.

And John Penne aforesaid, making the oath that was befitting for the occasion, then and there swore that he never was his enemy, and that he never gave any precept to the said Thomas Derlyng, or to any one of his serjeants, to seize the said horses, or any goods, of the aforesaid William Bourchier, Knight. And the said Thomas was thereupon committed by the said Mayor and Aldermen to the Prison of Neugate, there to remain until they should be more fully advised as to what should be done therein.

And afterwards, on the 20th day of August, the said Thomas was brought here, into the Inner Chamber, and interrogated as to the matters aforesaid, before Robert Chichele, Mayor, John Prestone, Recorder, Richard Whityngtone, Henry Bartone, Thomas Fauconer, Nicholas Wottone, William Nortone, John Penne, John Lane, and Ralph Lobenham, Aldermen, and John Reynwelle, one of the Sheriffs of the same city, as to the words aforesaid spoken of the said John Penne, whether they were true or not. Who thereupon, openly, expressly, and of his own free-will, acknowledged and confessed that he had falsely lied against the said John Penne, Alderman, in all that he had said of him; and he put himself upon the favour of the Court. And to the end that so grave an offence might not pass unpunished, and so be a pernicious example in future for other false lies against the rulers of the city, it was adjudged by the said Mayor and Aldermen, that on that same day he should undergo the punishment of the pillory for one hour of the day, a whetstone being in the meantime hung and tied about his neck; that others might in future be cautious as to telling such false lies of their superiors.

And immediately, then and there the said John Penne entreated the said Mayor and Aldermen that they would deign to remit execution of the judgment aforesaid. Whereupon, at the prayer and intercession aforesaid, the Mayor and Aldermen remitted execution of such judgment; at the same time awarding that the said Thomas Derlyng, by reason of such judgment, should in future hold no office (fn. 7) within the City.

Punishment of the Pillory, for pretending to be a Collector for the Hospital of Bedlem.

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxiv. (Latin.)

On the 12th day of August, in the 13th year etc., William Derman, laborer, was attached and brought before the Mayor and Aldermen, because that they were given to understand by the Warden of the House, or Hospital, of the Blessed Mary of Bedlem without Bisshopesgate, in the suburb of the same city, that the said William Derman, at divers times between the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist [24 June] and the Feast of St. Laurence [10 August], pretended to be, and called himself, a domestic and serjeant of the House or Hospital aforesaid, for colecting alms and other works of charity for the said Hospital. And so, under such false colour, he walked about the City with a box bound with iron, during the whole of the time aforesaid, and collected many alms therein; whereas, during the whole of that time, he was neither serjeant nor domestic of such house, nor had any authority, power, or command, to collect such alms; which alms, or any part thereof, were not delivered by him to the use or profit of the House or Hospital aforesaid, but he converted the same to his own use; to the no small loss and grievance of the said House, and to the defrauding, and in manifest deceit of, the people of our Lord the King.

And the said William Derman, being interrogated as to the matters aforesaid, confessed that he, of his own falsity and deceit aforethought, had pretended to be a serjeant and domestic of such House, or Hospital, and had begged and taken divers alms by means of such false lies from various persons among the people of our Lord the King. And because that it was found by the Mayor and Aldermen that he was able to labour for earning his food and raiment;. and to the end that others might beware of such falsity and deceit; it was adjudged by the said Mayor and Aldermen, that the same William Derman should be put upon the pillory, there to remain for one hour of the day, the said box being in the meantime placed and tied to his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs, to have the reason for such judgment publicly proclaimed.

Punishment of the Pillory, for forging Papal Bulls.

13 Henry IV. A.D. 1412. Letter-Book I. fol. cxv. (Latin.)

"Inquisition taken before Walter Cotton and John Reynwell, Sheriffs of the City of London, on the Wednesday next after the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary [15 August], in the 13th year etc., to enquire as to divers falsities and deceits, and other misprisions, in the City aforesaid, and the suburbs thereof, done and perpetrated, upon the oath of Thomas Frythe and eleven others etc.—

"Who say upon their oath, that Laurence Neuport, on Tuesday, the 3rd day of November, in the year (fn. 8) aforesaid, within the Sanctuary of St. Martin le Grand, in the Parish of St. Michael at Cerne, (fn. 9) in the Ward of Farndone Within, in the City aforesaid, did deliver a Bull of Dispensation, with a seal of lead, resembling the Seal of the most Holy Father in Christ, and Lord, the Lord John, the Pope, of that name the Twenty-second, unto one Robert Heremyt, Chaplain, of the County of Norfolk, made and directed, by him, the said Laurence, fraudulently and deceitfully counterfeited and sealed; he affirming to the same Robert Heremyt that the said Bull was genuine, and faithfully in the Roman Court sued for and obtained: and that under colour of the Bull aforesaid he took of the said Robert Heremyt, and carried away, then and there, ten marks in gold and silver, ready money, falsely and deceitfully, and against the peace of our Lord the King. Which Bull, so sealed, he falsely, fraudulently, and deceitfully counterfeited.

"They say also, that the said Laurence, at divers times between the Feast of All Hallows [1 November], in the 13th year of the reign of the King before mentioned, and the Feast of Easter then next ensuing, in the place, Parish, and Ward aforesaid, did procure and cause to be made a Bull of Plurality, for one John Neuport, brother of the same Laurence, made, and to him directed; as also, another Bull, called a 'Corody,' (fn. 10) for the said Laurence made, as issuing from the House of the Abbot of Maumesbury, in the County of Wiltshire, fraudulently and deceitfully, in form aforesaid.

"They say also, that the aforesaid Laurence is a common carrier and exposer of various Bulls falsely and fraudulently counterfeited; and that he has offered the same to divers persons, lieges of our said Lord the King, to the no small loss, and in deceit, of the people of the same our Lord the King."

Upon which indictment, the said Laurence was brought here, before the Mayor and Aldermen, and was interrogated and arraigned upon such indictment, as to how he would acquit himself thereof. Whereupon, he said that he was in no way guilty thereof, and put himself upon the country as to the same. Therefore, command was then and there given to              , (fn. 11) one of the Sheriffs' serjeants, to summon twelve good and lawful men of the venue aforesaid, on Saturday, the 20th day of August, then next ensuing, for making a Jury thereon. Upon which day the jurors appeared, by Thomas Clerc, John Hertwell, John Fox, and nine others etc. Who, upon their oath, pronounced him to be guilty of the articles in the said indictment set forth. Therefore it was awarded by the Court that he, the said Laurence, should be put upon the pillory on three market-days, there to remain each day for one hour of the day, one of the Bulls, so fraudulently and deceitfully counterfeited, being in the meantime fastened and tied around his neck. And precept was given to the Sheriffs, to have the reason for the same there publicly proclaimed. (fn. 12)

Footnotes

  • 1. In Latin. From the peculiar nature of the language, which is more florid than grammatically correct, the composition of this article may in all probability be ascribed to the pen of John Carpenter; then probably a clerk in the Guildhall, and who became Town Clerk about five years after this date.
  • 2. It seems not improbable that these names were given by alien, perhaps Dutch, importers of eels; whose eel-scouts are still to be seen on the Thames.
  • 3. In French.
  • 4. pur oultrer.
  • 5. Called "stobeiele" before.
  • 6. Shuttlemaker.
  • 7. He seems however to have been 647, afterwards restored to office: see page Note 9.
  • 8. Meaning the 13th year of the then reigning King.
  • 9. More generally called "e Qurn," from the ancient Quern, or Corn-market held in its vicinity.
  • 10. A Bull directing payment of a Corrody, or allowance in money, food, or clothing, from the funds of a Monastery to a certain person, as being one of the King's servants.
  • 11. The name is omitted, with a vacant space.
  • 12. This offence of forging Papal Bulls seems at this period to have been by no means uncommon. In 1430 forged transcripts of alleged Papal Bulls of Honorius I. and Sergius I., were produced in a case as to spiritual jurisdiction between the Bishop of Ely and the University of Cambridge, and, with forged Charters of Arthur and Cadwallader, were inscribed on the Great Register of that University.