Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries. Originally published by Longmans, Green, London, 1868.
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Leave to dig for sand for ballast, on either side of the Thames.
14 Henry IV. A.D. 1413. Letter-Book I. fol. cxviii. (Norman French.)
"To all those who these present letters shall see or hear, William Walderne, Mayor, and the Aldermen of the City of London, greeting. Know that we have given unto our dear and wellbeloved John Canone, John Rolf, John Bardolf, and Alisaunder Brian, common labourers in boats called 'lyghters,' serving for victuals coming to the said city, and unto each of them, and to all other men of the same city, full power to dig and take sand or gravel for ballast of ships, on both sides of the watercourse of the Thames, without making payment unto any one for the same: so always, that neither they, nor any of them, do damage to any part of the walles or embankments (fn. 1) of the said water. In witness whereof, we have hereunto set the Seal of the Mayoralty of the City aforesaid, on the 20th day of January, in the 14th year of the reign of our most dread Lord, King Henry, after the Conquest the Fourth."
Ordinance for the support of the New Work at the Guildhall.
14 Henry IV. A.D. 1413. Letter-Book I. fol. cxxi. (Latin.)
"Whereas of late, in the time (fn. 2) of Thomas Knolles, late Mayor of the City of London, the New Work (fn. 3) of the Guildhall of the said city was commenced, and the same has hitherto been continued, as well by the pious alms of citizens of the same city deceased, as by the helping hands of divers generous and benevolent persons therein; until that now, a thing to be lamented, there is a stop put to encouragement through pious alms and helping hands for continuing and completing, or finishing, the work so commenced as aforesaid; to the manifest scandal and disgrace of the said city, if it should be said—which may God forbid—that this, the most noble of cities, and one which has flourished with every kind of honour more than all other cities, could not suffice to continue, perfect, or finish, a work like this, when once begun.—Therefore, in order to provide a befitting remedy in this behalf, and an increasing fund in common, for the advantage of the public weal, and to the honour of the said city, on the 14th day of the month of March, in the 14th year of the reign of King Henry, after the Conquest the Fourth, William Walderne, the Mayor, and the Aldermen, together with very many of the more substantial and more discreet Commoners of the immense community of the same city, having been summoned to a Common Council in the Upper Chamber of the Guildhall, to treat upon this arduous business, and to make provision for the same, and duly appearing there, by their assent and common desire, the Articles that follow were ordained, for the six (fn. 4) years then next ensuing to be observed, and which they ordered to be rendered in form as follows, and here inserted.—
"1. In the first place, that every apprentice, male or female, shall pay on entrance, towards the support of the New Work aforesaid, over and above the old fee of the Chamber, 2s. 6d.
"2. Also,—that every apprentice, male or female, at the close of such apprenticeship, shall pay, over and above the old fee of the Chamber aforesaid, 3s. 4d.
"3. Also,—that every person who shall be made free by redemption, shall pay unto the Chamberlain, for the time being, such a befitting sum as shall between the said Chamberlain and such person willingly and reasonably be agreed upon; one half of which shall be applied to the use of the New Work before mentioned, and the other half shall remain unto the Chamber aforesaid.
"4. Also,—for every deed or charter to be enrolled, over and above the old fee of the Chamber aforesaid, there shall be charged, for the Work above mentioned, 3s. 4d.
"5. Also,—for every will to be enrolled, over and above the old fee etc., there shall be charged etc. at the least, 6s. 8d. sterling.
"6. Also,—for every Letter Patent, under the Seal of the Mayoralty to be sealed, there shall be charged etc., over and above the old fees of the Clerk and Esquire of the Mayor, 2 shillings.
"7. Also,—for every letter close, under the Seal of the Mayor alty to be sealed, there shall be charged etc. beyond the old fees accustomed, 12 pence.
"8. Also,—that all fines and amercements of bruers, huksters, hostillers, and victuallers, infringing proclamations made by the Mayor and Aldermen, shall be levied as before they have been wont to be levied, and shall yearly be delivered by the Chamberlain, for the time being, to the use of the Work aforesaid.
"9. Also,—that all fines and amercements of the Mayor's Court shall be levied, and shall go to the said New Work, during the six years aforesaid.
10. Also,—that every year during such six years there shall be raised 100 marks sterling, towards the said New Work, out of the revenues of the Bridge of the City of London aforesaid.
"11. Also,—it has been ordained by the said Mayor, and Aldermen, and Common Council, that in future, each year during the six years aforesaid, every Alderman shall present here in Court all the names of those who shall make default in their Wardmotes; and that for every default so made there shall be levied 4 pence, towards the New Work aforesaid."
HENTRY V. A.D. 1413–1422
Exemption of Carts employed upon the New Work at the Guildhall.
1 Henry V. A.D. 1413. Letter-Book I. fol. cxxiv. (Latin.)
On the 2nd day of May, in the first year of the reign of King Henry, after the Conquest the Fifth, precept was given by the Mayor to the Sheriffs of London, that they should not take, (fn. 5) or allow to be taken by their officers, the two carts belonging to Henry Cook, carter; as the same were engaged upon, and belonging to, the service of the New Work (fn. 6) at the Guildhall of London; nor were they to allow them in any way to be retarded.
Punishment for cursing and slandering an Alderman.
1 Henry V. A.D. 1413. Letter-Book I. fol. cxxiii. (Latin.)
On the 19th day of May, in the first year of the reign of King Henry, after the Conquest the Fifth, there was brought here, before the Mayor and Aldermen, in the Chamber of the Guildhall, Geoffrey Lovey, citizen and mercer of London, for that at divers times, in the Parish of St. Mary Colchirche, and elsewhere, in West Chepe in London, he had cursed Thomas Fauconer, Alderman, his late master; praying openly before the people that hell might devour him, and uttering many disgraceful and opprobrious words against the same Thomas; habitually calling him a false man, and saying that the said Thomas had almost utterly destroyed him.
Which Geoffrey, upon being interrogated as to the matters aforesaid, did not deny that he had uttered such scandalous and disgraceful words, but expressly, in presence of the said Mayor and Aldermen, repeated, maintained, and upheld them, and there openly cursed the same Thomas; to the dishonour of the said Thomas Fauconer, and to the manifest scandal and disparagement of the estate of Aldermanry. And the said Mayor and Aldermen having held conference and counsel among themselves thereon, because that the said Geoffrey was before (fn. 7) convicted, on his own confession, before Thomas Knolles, late Mayor, and the Aldermen, of the like cursing, offences, and false lies, against the same Thomas Fauconer, for which he was adjudged to have the punishment of the pillory for one day, there to remain for one hour of the day; execution of which judgment, at the prayer and intercession of the said Thomas Fauconer, had however been respited, on condition of his good behaviour thereafter to the same Thomas; and to the end that so grave an offence might not pass unpunished etc., the said Geoffrey was committed by the Mayor and Aldermen to the Prison of our Lord the King at Neugate, there to remain until they should be more fully advised what should be done as to the matters aforesaid. (fn. 8)
Letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury, enjoining that the Barbers of London shall close their shops on Sundays.
1 Henry V. A.D. 1413. Letter-Book I. fol. cxxv. (Latin.)
On the 24th day of July, in the first year etc., the Reverend Father in Christ, and Lord, Thomas, (fn. 9) by Divine permission, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all England, and Legate of the Apostolic See, sent here, to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, certain Letters Close of his, containing words as follow.—
"Sons in Christ and dearest friends.—We know that you do seek for the things which are of above, and that you will the more readily incline to our desires, the more surely that the things as to which we write are known to tend to the observance of the Divine law, the maintenance of public propriety, and the rule of the Christian profession. We do therefore write unto you on this occasion, to intimate that when we were presiding of late in our Provincial Council, holden at London, with our venerable brethren, the Suffragan Bishops, and our clergy of the Province of Canterbury, it was publicly made known unto us with universal reprobation, that the Barbers of the City of London, over the governance of which city you preside, being without zeal for the law of God, and not perceiving how that the Lord hath blessed the seventh day and made it holy, and hath commanded that it shall be observed by no abusive pursuit of any servile occupations, but rather by a disuse thereof, in their blindness do keep their houses and shops patent and open on the seventh day, the Lord's Day, namely, and do follow their craft on the same, just as busily, and just in the same way, as on any day in the week, customary for such work. Wherefore we, with the consent and assent of our said Suffragans and clergy, in restraint of such temerity as this, have determined that there must be made solemn prohibition thereof in the City aforesaid, and that, of our own authority, and that of our said Provincial Council; and not there only, but also throughout the Diocese of London, and each of the cities both of our own Diocese and of our Province of Canterbury; to the effect, that such barbers must not keep their houses and shops patent or open, or follow their craft, on such Lord's Days for the future, on pain of the greater excommunication; in the same manner as it has been enacted and observed of late in our time as to the City and Diocese of York, as we do well recollect (fn. 10). But, dearest children, seeing that so greatly has the malice of men increased in these days—a thing to be deplored—that temporal punishment is held more in dread than clerical, and that which touches the body or the purse more than that which kills the soul, we do heartily entreat you, and, for the love of God and of His law, do require and exhort you, that, taking counsel thereon, you will enact and ordain a competent penalty in money, to be levied for the Chamber of your city, or such other purpose as you shall think best, upon the barbers within the liberty of your City aforesaid, who shall be transgressors in this respect; that so at least, those whom fear of the anger of God does not avail to withhold from breach of His law, may be restrained by a scourge inflicted upon their purse, in the way of pecuniary loss; knowing that we in the meantime, after taking counsel hereon, will devise measures for the prevention of this, and for the due publication of our Provincial enactment aforesaid. Fare you well always in Christ. Written at Ikham, (fn. 11) on the 13th day of the month of July.—Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury." (fn. 12)
Imprisonment for assaulting a Sheriff and Alderman.
1 Henry V. A.D. 1413. Letter-Book I. fol. cxxvi. (Latin.)
Because that, on Tuesday the 20th day of September, in the first year etc., by the reputable men of the Ward of Faryngdone Without, William Sevenok, one of the then Sheriffs, and an Alderman of the City of London, was given to understand that John Askwythe, citizen and scrivener of the said city, of his own concealment and imagining had let escape a certain Sir John, one of the two priests in the Church of St. Brigid (fn. 13) in Fletestret, lately celebrating Divine Service there, and which two had been taken in adultery with two women; therefore, the said William, after taking counsel thereon with William Walderne, Mayor of the City, summoned before him the said John Askewythe, to speak to him about the matters aforesaid.
Which same John Askewythe came on the same day to the said William, at his dwelling-house in St. Dunstan (fn. 14) Est, in London, and being interrogated upon the said matters, maintaining and sustaining his imagining and falsity aforesaid, he maliciously went up to the said William, and violently laid hands upon him, and against the peace made assault upon him, taking him by the breast, and in a threatening manner addressing to him the following words,—"Thou shalt do me lawe, maugre yn thyn hert"; (fn. 15) as well in contempt of our Lord the King, as to the manifest dishonour of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Sheriffs, and other officers of our Lord the King, and of the said city. Which John was therefore committed to prison by the said Sheriff, namely, to the Compter of Robert Lobenham, the other then Sheriff of the said city; there to remain, until the Mayor and Aldermen should be more fully advised what as to the matters aforesaid should be done.
And hereupon, on Wednesday, the 27th day of September next ensuing, the said William Sevenok came here into Court, before the said Mayor and Aldermen, and related to them all the facts above stated: and because that the Court for certain urgent reasons could not then give attention to the matter, the said John was committed to the Prison of our Lord the King at Neugate, there to remain until the Court should be advised what to do as to the matters aforesaid.
And afterwards, on Friday, the 6th day of October, in the same year, the said John Askwythe was brought here, before the Mayor and Aldermen, in the Inner Chamber of the Guildhall of the said city, and the matters above stated having been recited before him, he was asked how he would acquit himself thereof; whereupon, he acknowledged that he had done all the things aforesaid, and that he was guilty of the whole thereof etc.; and he put himself upon the favour of the Court. And because that the Court desired more fully to take counsel as to the judgments that had theretofore been usual in such cases, the said John was committed to the bail of George Cressy goldsmith, John Haddone draper, John Hylle pynnere, Thomas Nortone tailor, and John Coby pelterer, citizens of London etc.; and a day was given to them to have him before the Mayor and Aldermen, namely, Friday, the Feast of the Translation of St. Edward [13 October], then next ensuing.
Upon which day came the aforesaid John Askewythe, and because that the Court for certain urgent reasons had not been advised as to the matters aforesaid, a day was given to him to be here, before the Mayor and Aldermen, namely, Tuesday the 17th day of October, to hear judgment thereupon.
And afterwards, on the day aforesaid came here the said John Askwythe, before William Walderne, Mayor, John Prestone, the Recorder, Thomas Knolles, and other Aldermen, and John Suttone, one of the Sheriffs of the said city, and because that it was found that the punishments usual in such cases, according to the custom of the said city, would be too heavy for the said John Askwythe to bear; therefore, thinking to modify their sentence, as taking into consideration his debility through old age, but still, in order that, for default of chastisement, no cause or inducement to offend might be afforded to other such misdoers thereafter, but rather, that they might beware of, and refrain from, such misdeeds, for his trespass and contempt against the aforesaid William Sevenok, Alderman, and then Sheriff, as well, as against the whole City aforesaid, by reason of his office, who was, and is, one of the judges and rulers of the said city, and, after the Mayor, of the highest rank in the same; it was adjudged that the said John should be removed and discharged from the freedom of the said city, and should be committed to the Prison of our Lord the King at Neugate, there to remain for a year and a day then next ensuing.
Barrels burnt, as being deficient in measure, and made of unsound wood.
Henry V. A.D. 1413. Letter-Book I. fol. cxxvi. (Latin.)
Be it remembered, that on Monday, the 9th day of October, in the first year etc., came here the Masters and many other reputable men of the trade of Coupers of London, making grievous complaint that, whereas by the Ordinance made in the time of Drew Barentyn, late Mayor, in the Chamber of the Guildhall enrolled, it was ordered that no one dwelling within the liberty of the said city should make, or cause to be made, any wooden vessel, for any liquid to be placed therein, of other than pure and sound wood, and without there being any sappe in the same, one Richard Bartlot, fishmonger, had caused to be made in his dwelling-house, in the Parish of St. Michael Crokedlane, about 260 vessels, called barrels and ferdkyns, (fn. 16) of wood that was not pure or sound, but sawn from the middle, and also, full of sappe. And further, whereas every one of the said barrels ought to be 30 gallons in measure, and every one of the said ferdkyns 7½ gallons, there were many of the said barrels wanting in their true measure by two gallons at the least, and every one of the said ferdkyns by one gallon, in deceit and fraud of the people of our Lord the King.
Wherefore, precept was given to John Bletchele, serjeant of the Chamber of the said city, to seize all the vessels aforesaid, and to bring them here to the Guildhall, in order that, after due deliberation upon the matters aforesaid, a determination as to the same might be more advisedly come to. And hereupon, on Tuesday, the 17th day of October then next ensuing, as it appeared that the vessels aforesaid, measured here by the standard of our Lord the King, were wanting in their just measure, as before stated, and that the vessels also were made not of pure or sound wood, but of wood that was sawn from the middle, and full of sappe, against the Ordinance aforesaid, it was awarded by the Mayor and Aldermen that the said vessels should be burnt.
The Freedom of the City withdrawn, as having been fraudulently obtained.
1 Henry V. A.D. 1413. Letter-Book I. fol. cxxxi. (Norman French.)
Be it remembered, that on the first day of December, in the first year etc., by the Wardens and good folks of the trade of Cutlers of the City of London, information was given unto the Mayor, Aldermen, and Chamberlain, of the same city, that one William Wysman, of Waltham, in the County of Essex, a foreigner, (fn. 17) had been admitted to the freedom of the said city by folks of the trade of Coursers, (fn. 18) as one who followed their calling; whereas the same William was at that time, and before and since, of the craft of the Cutlers, and not of the said trade of Coursers.
Whereupon, the said William, by summons on him made, came before the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Chamberlain, in the Chamber of the Guildhall of London, on the 4th day of December following; and confessed that at the time of his being admitted to the said freedom, and before and after, he was following the craft of cutlery, and not the said trade of a courser. Wherefore, because that the said William obtained the freedom in manner aforesaid, not duly, but in a deceitful manner, and against the custom of the said city, by the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Chamberlain, it was awarded that such admission to the freedom should be held as null, and that he should pay for his wares and merchandizes from thenceforth custom and all other things, the same as one who is a foreigner, and enjoys no freedom of the said city. And further, that he should bring back to the said Chamberlain the writing (fn. 19) that he had had of his freedom: which the said William accordingly did, on the same day.