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Memorials: 1415

Pages 601-624

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

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Imprisonment of John Gedeney, for refusing the office of Alderman.

2 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. clvii. (Latin.)

Forasmuch as a laudable custom which has hitherto prevailed in the City of London, has so prescribed and ordained, that the inhabitants of each of the Wards of the said city are at liberty to elect an Alderman whensoever they need one, to rule them in their own Ward; provided always, that the person so elected is presented to the Mayor and Aldermen, for the time being, and by them is deemed worthy to be admitted and approved.And whereas, on the 3rd day of January, in the 2nd year of the reign of King Henry etc., one Ralph Lobenham, late Alderman of the Ward of Farndone Without, having voluntarily resigned the rule of that Ward, the inhabitants of the Ward thereupon, according to the usual custom, met together at the usual place within the Ward, for the purpose of electing an Alderman thereof, and there unanimously chose one John Gedeney, citizen and draper, to hold the office of Alderman of the Ward aforesaid, and presented such choice to Thomas Fauconer, the then Mayor, and the Aldermen, in the Chamber of the Guildhall; the said Mayor and Aldermen, holding such election to be good and ratified, confirmed the same, and admitted the said John to the office, and approved of him as sufficient unto the same, and deserving thereof, as well as to worldly goods as to the requisite discreetness. After which, the said Mayor and Aldermen commanded John Pickard, Common serjeant-at-arms of the said city, whose especial office it is, according to custom, to attend to the performance of duties and services of that nature, to warn the said John Gedeney to appear before the Mayor and Aldermen on the 17th day of January then next ensuing, to take the oath, and to do such other things as upon him on behalf of the Court should then be enjoined.

By virtue of which warning, the said John Gedeney appeared before the Mayor and Aldermen, in the Chamber aforesaid, and after the reason for his being so summoned had been first stated to him, precept was given to him forthwith to take his seat there in Court, that he might take the oath that pertains unto the office and rank of Alderman. Whereupon, the same John Gedeney, after first setting forth his excuses on the ground of his inability, and his insufficiency for the office, wholly refused to accept it: upon which, he was informed by the Court that he could not refuse this office, to which, as being a fit person, he was admitted by the Court, without breach of his freedom, and of the oath which by him, when he was admitted to the freedom of the City, had been made; and this the more especially, as every freeman is bound to be a partaker in Lot, which is liability to hold office, and in Scot, which means contribution to taxes and other charges, by reason of such oath.

But all and singular the matters before stated notwithstanding, he altogether refused to accept the office, like a person who was utterly obdurate. And hereupon, the matter having been considered by the Mayor and Aldermen, because that it appeared to them that if any one, when elected to such office, should be at liberty at his own will and pleasure to refuse the post, and pass it by, not improbably the City before long would be left destitute, as it were, of all rule and governance whatsoever; the same John Gedeney was by the said Mayor and Aldermen committed to prison, there to remain until the Court should be better advised what to do as to the matters aforesaid. And in the meantime, precept was given to the Sheriffs of London to shut up the shops and houses of the same John Gedeney, and to sequestrate his goods and chattels, until the Court should be better advised thereon.

And afterwards, on the 18th day, (fn. 1) through the mediation of many reputable men of the said city, who intervened, word being brought that the same John Gedeney was willing, if the Court should think proper, to undertake the duties of the office aforesaid; he was therefore brought here on that day before the Mayor and Aldermen, and, having first obtained dispensation for breach of his oath made by him when he was admitted to the freedom of the City, he was admitted and sworn, as the usage is. (fn. 2)

Speech of King Henry on the contemplated invasion of France; and the seat of honour accorded to the Mayor, in presence of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the King's Brothers.

2 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. cl. (Latin.)

Forasmuch as it is the principal (fn. 3) solicitude of sound rule to be opposed to everything that is sinister and unlawful, and to make public the marks of honour that have been conferred in time that is past, that so the past and the present may more exactly trace (fn. 4) out the footsteps of the future; it is not befitting to disguise beneath an absurd silence the solemn acts of sound government that have been planned designedly and of purpose, and which are of a dignity that commends them to memory in the future. For among the most notable and most remarkable events that for long in London have happened or transpired, the event hereunder written deserves to be here entered, as being not the least.

Be it remembered,that on the 10th day of March, in the 2nd year of the reign of King Henry the Fifth, the same, our excellent and most gracious Lord the King, commanded Thomas Fauconer, the Mayor, and the Aldermen, and certain of the more substantial Commoners, to come to the Tower of his City of London aforesaid. Who being there assembled, he compendiously disclosed to them the purpose of his excellent intention, in these words.

"Well-beloved.We do desire that it shall not be concealed from the knowledge of your faithfulness, how that, God our rewarder, we do intend with no small army to visit the parts beyond sea, that so we may duly re-conquer the lands pertaining to the heirship and crown of our realm, and which have been for long, in the times of our predecessors, by enormous wrong withheld. But, seeing that we cannot speedily attain to everything that is necessary in this behalf for the perfecting of our wishes, in order that we may make provision for borrowing a competent sum of money of all the prelates, nobles, lords, cities, boroughs, and substantial men, of our realm, we, knowing that you will be the more ready to incline to our wishes, the more immediately that the purpose of our intention, as aforesaid, redounds to the manifest advantage of the whole realm, have therefore not long since come to the determination to send certain Lords of our Council unto the City aforesaid, to treat with you as to promoting the business before mentioned."

And hereupon, on the 14th day of March then next ensuing, the Reverend Fathers in Christ, and Lords, Henry, (fn. 5) by Divine permission, Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of all England, and Henry, (fn. 6) Bishop of Winchester, and the Princes of most illustrious dignity, John, Duke of Bedford, the Earl of , (fn. 7) and the Lord of, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, the Earl of, and the Lord of, brothers (fn. 8) of our most excellent Lord, the King, as also, Edward, (fn. 9) Duke of York, Earl of Rutland and of Cork, and the Lord, were sent to the Guildhall, on behalf of our Lord the King, to hold conference with the said Mayor and Aldermen as to promoting the matters aforesaid: upon meeting whom, the said Lords were saluted by the Mayor and Aldermen with all becoming reverence.

And when they had thus met together, diligent council was held as to the order in which they ought to sit, and there being called before them, as is usually required, certain of the more substantial Commoners of the same city, the Lords agreed together among themselves, to the effect that the Mayor, in consideration of the reverence and honour due to our most excellent Lord the King, of whom he is the representative in the City, should have his place, when sitting, in the middle, and that the said Lords of Canterbury and Winchester should be seated on his right hand, and John, Humphrey, and Edward, on the left, upon seats arranged for them; there to make declaration on behalf of our said Lord the King.

Sentence of imprisonment, for insulting an Alderman.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. cxlv. (Latin.)

Seeing that all true policy dictates that the more securely and more liberally any city is governed, the more are the rulers and governors thereof beloved and duly honoured, their people with fitting obedience holding in dread their rule; and because that on the 21st day of March, in the 3rd year etc., it was related here in Court, before Thomas Fauconer, Mayor, and the Aldermen, by William Sevenok, Alderman of Tower Ward, in London, that one Thomas Maynelle, grocer, an inhabitant of his Ward aforesaid, having been summoned by the said Aldermen, and duly interrogated as to certain irregular and sinister doings and sayings, and as to divers damages, dissensions, disputes, and losses, by the same Thomas caused within the Ward aforesaid, for the purpose of reforming the same; upon such interrogatory made to him, caring nothing for the words aforesaid of the said William Sevenok, Alderman, despitefully and menacingly said to the same Alderman, that in all his actions it was his duty to conduct himself well and honestly, lest such an end should ensue upon his designs as befell Nicholas Brembre, a man lately of as high dignity in the City, and even higher than he was, who was afterwards drawn and hanged. (fn. 10)

Whereupon, the said Thomas Maynelle, being brought here in person, and interrogated as to the matters aforesaid, did not deny any of such matters, but submitted himself to the ordinance of the Court, though humbly asking pardon, as well of the Court as of the said William Sevenok, for his offences aforesaid. And because etc., it was adjudged by the said Mayor and Aldermen that the same Thomas should have imprisonment in Newgate, there to remain for a year and a day, unless in the meantime he should obtain an increase of favour from the Court etc.

And hereupon, the said William Sevenok then and there in Court shewed that such imprisonment would entail upon him the very utmost distress, for that, if he were put in jeopardy by such great personages, he would hardly ever be able to recover from the effects thereof; humbly entreating the said Mayor and Aldermen, that they would remit such imprisonment, on condition of his future good behaviour. Who accordingly, taking into consideration the matters aforesaid, and inclining to the earnest entreaties of the said William Sevenok, remitted the imprisonment; but on the following condition, namely,that the same Thomas should in future conduct and behave himself becomingly and properly, as well in word as in deed, towards the said William Sevenok, Alderman, and all other officers of the said city; under a penalty of 200l., to be paid to the Chamberlain of the City, for the time being, by way of recognizance, so often as of any of the things aforesaid he should be lawfully convicted etc. (fn. 11)

Masters appointed for the supervision of the Barbers of London, practising the art of Surgery; and proceedings thereupon.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. cxlix. (Latin.)

Be it remembered, that on the 10th day of April, in the 3rd year etc., it was intimated in a relation, and not without alarm, unto Thomas Fauconer, Mayor, and the Aldermen, how that some barbers of the said city, who are inexperienced in the art of surgery, do oftentimes take under their care many sick and maimed persons, fraudulently obtaining possession of very many of their goods thereby; by reason whereof, they are oftentimes made to be worse off at their departure than they were at their coming: and that, by reason of the inexperience of the same barbers, such persons are oftentimes maimed; to the scandal of such skilful and discreet men as practise the art of surgery, and the manifest destruction of the people of our Lord the King.

And the said Mayor and Aldermen, wishing to obviate an evil and a scandal such as this, as also, to provide a fitting remedy for the same, and considering first, (fn. 12) how that the said barbers by themselves, (fn. 13) without the scrutiny of any other persons of any other trade or craft, or under any name whatsoever, have supervision and scrutiny over all men following the craft of barbery, and within the liberty of the said city dwelling, as to all manner of cases touching the art of barbery or the practice of surgery, within the cognizance, or to come within the cognizance, of the craft of the said barbers;as by a certain Ordinance, made and ordained in the time of Richard Merlawe, (fn. 14) late Mayor, and the then Aldermen, and in the Chamber of the said city of London enrolled, of record fully appears;did determine and ordain that in future, by the more substantial part of all the barbers following the practice of surgery, and dwelling within the liberty of the said city, there should be chosen two of the most skilful, most wise, and most discreet men, of all the barbers following such practice of surgery, and dwelling within the liberty of the said city; seeing that oftentimes under their scrutiny and correction there would be found cases of possible death and maiming, where, if ignorant and indiscreet men should undertake the management thereofthe which might God forbidin their judgment grievous errors might unexpectedly ensue, by reason of such unskilfulness. And that the same Masters, so often as they should be thus chosen, on election should be presented to the Mayor and Aldermen, for the time being, there by the said Mayor and Aldermen to be accepted and sworn etc.

And lest perchance a difference of opinion might in future as to such election arise, therefore, the said Mayor and Aldermen, after taking counsel on the matter aforesaid, on Friday, the 3rd day of May, in the same year, caused to be brought before them the name of every barber who followed the practice of surgery and dwelt within the liberty of the said city, in order that, after enquiring into the duties and experiences of their practice and skill, in manner theretofore approved and customary, they might be the better able to accept such Masters. And hereupon, because that, among other names, Simon Rolf and Richard Wellys, citizens and barbers of the said city practising the art of surgery, as well for their knowledge and probity, as for the different kinds of difficult cures that had been sagaciously performed and effected by them, were by trustworthy testimony, upon sound and unblemished information, commended before any others, precept was given by the said Mayor and Aldermen to Baldwin Tettisbury, one of the Serjeants of the said Mayor, to summon the said Simon and Richard for Monday the 6th day of May then next ensuing, to appear before the said Mayor and Aldermen in the Chamber of the Guildhall aforesaid, there to make the oath to them by the said Mayor and Aldermen to be administered.

Upon which Monday, the said Simon and Richard, by virtue of such summons, appeared before the Mayor and Aldermen in the Chamber aforesaid. And hereupon, the said Simon and Richard were then accepted by the said Mayor and Aldermen, and sworn upon the Holy Evangelists of God, well and faithfully to watch over and oversee all manner of barbers practising the art of surgery, and within the liberty of the said city dwelling; to maintain and observe the rules and ordinances of the craft or practice aforesaid; no one to spare, for love, favour, gain, or hate; diligently without concealment to present unto the Chamberlain of the said city, for the time being, such defaults as they might find; at all times, when duly required thereto, well and faithfully to examine wounds, bruises, hurts, and other infirmities, without asking anything for their trouble; and what they should find, at their discretion, when duly required thereto, distinctly to certify unto the Mayor and Aldermen of the said city, for the time being; as also, well and faithfully to conduct themselves from thenceforth in future; and all other things to do and perform, which of right are befitting or requisite for the masters or overseers of such practice to do.

(fn. 15) Afterwards, on the 4th day of July, in the 4th year etc., before Nicholas Wottone, Mayor, the Recorder, and the Aldermen, in full Court, upon truthful information of certain trustworthy and discreet men of the craft of Barbers, practising the art of surgery aforesaid, as of other able and substantial men of the said city, it was stated how that, notwithstanding the Ordinance aforesaid, very many inexperienced men of the said craft of Barbers, indiscreetly practising the art of surgery, did presume, and in their presumption pretend, that they were wiser than the Masters inspecting, and, as to certain infirmities-indiscreetly excusing themselves therein, on the insufficient grounds that they are not liable to the peril of maiming or of deathdid altogether disdain to give notice of the same to the said Masters inspecting, according to the Ordinance aforesaid, or to be discreetly examined by them as to the same, or diligently to be questioned thereon. Upon which pretence, they did not hesitate daily to take sick persons, in peril of death and of maiming, under their care, without shewing such sick persons, or such infirmities and perils, unto the same Masters inspecting; by reason of which presumption or unskilfulness, such sick persons were exposed to the greatest peril, either of maiming or of death. Wherefore, the said Mayor and Aldermen were prayed that, for the common advantage of the whole realm, and the especial honour of the said city, they would deign to provide some sure remedy for the same.

And accordingly, the Mayor and Aldermen, assenting to the said petition, as being just and consistent with reason, having taken dili gent counsel as to the matters aforesaid, and considering that very many of such persons in these times are more in dread of loss or payment of money than amenable to the dictates of honesty or a safe conscience, did ordain and enact, that no barber, practising the art of surgery within the liberty of the said city, should presume in future to take under his care any sick person who is in peril of death or of maiming, unless he should shew the same person, within three days after so taking him under his care, to the Masters inspecting, for the time being, by the barbers practising the art of surgery within the liberty of the said city to be elected, and to the Mayor and Aldermen presented, and by them specially to be admitted; under a penalty of 6s. 8d., to the Chamber of London in form underwritten to be paid, so often as, and when, against this Ordinance they should be found to act; namely, 5 shillings to the use of the Chamber of the Guildhall, and 20 pence to the use of the craft of the Barbers.

The Journeymen Tailors forbidden to occupy dwelling-houses apart, or to wear an especial suit, or livery, without the supervision and permission of the Masters and Wardens of the Trade.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. cli. (Latin.)

Be it remembered, that on the 19th day of April, in the 3rd year etc., it was intimated, in a relation not unattended with alarm, unto Thomas Fauconer, Mayor, and the Aldermen of the City of London, that some serving-men and journeymen of the tailors of the said city, called "yomen taillours," (fn. 16) dwelling with one another in companies by themselves, did hold and inhabit divers dwelling-houses in the City, against the will of their superiors in the said city, and of the masters of that trade. The inhabitants of which dwelling-houses had in past times, like unruly and insolent men without head or governance, oftentimes assembled in great numbers, and had held divers assemblies and conventicles in various places, both within the said city and without; and now of late had grievously, and of their malice and imagining aforethought, wounded, beaten, and maltreated, many lieges of our Lord the King, and especially, one Thomas Trepenelle, one of the Masters of the trade aforesaid; and had perpetrated, and did then daily endeavour to perpetrate, many rescues against the Serjeants and officers of the said city, on the arrest of misdoers and disturbers of the peace of our Lord the King, as also, many other evils and enormities; in breach of the peace of our Lord the King, and to the manifest disturbance of his people, etc.

Whereupon, the said Mayor and Aldermen, having held careful deliberation on the matters aforesaid, and having determined to repress such malignity and such enormities etc., summoned to appear before them, in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the said city, on the 25th day of April then next ensuing, Thomas Whityngham, the then Master, and the Wardens, of the trade aforesaid, to speak to them on the matters before mentioned; why that, whereas they, under the Mayor, and Aldermen, and other governors of the said city, had especial governance in the trade aforesaid, they allowed their serving-men and journeymen to occupy such dwelling-houses, so as to live together in companies, by themselves, without any superior to rule them, and to commit and perpetrate so harmfully such evils and misdeeds.

Which Master and Wardens, having first obtained leave to address the said Mayor and Aldermen, notified them with grievous complaint that they were exceedingly sorrowful at there being such offenders and such misdeeds; seeing that through their insolence very many scandals and inconveniences were daily ensuing unto the Masters and reputable men of the trade aforesaid; and, unless checked, were likely to ensue-and might it not be soin time to come. But it was as to the companies of them that held together apart in dwelling-houses, that they made most grievous complaint; because that, although, by reason of their misdeeds through such their fellowship in living together in the dwellinghouses aforesaid, they had been frequently warned by the Masters of the trade to vacate such dwelling-houses, they, setting such warnings at defiance, did not choose to vacate the dwelling-houses aforesaid, but had expressly refused so to do, and did still refuse: and with all due urgency they requested of the said Mayor and Aldermen, that they would deign to send for David Brekenhok and John Stanbury, and others, who were then dwelling together in company in a certain dwelling-house in Garlykhythe, for the reasons before mentioned.

Wherefore, the Mayor and Aldermen, consenting to their entreaty, as being just and consonant with reason, commanded Otes (fn. 17) Bris, a serjeant of the said Mayor, to cause the said David and John, and two or three others of the company aforesaid, to be here upon the 29th day of April then next ensuing, in presence of the said Mayor and Aldermen; to make answer for themselves and other their companions on the matters aforesaid, and other things by the said Mayor and Aldermen to be objected to them.

Upon which 29th day of April, there came, in virtue of the summons so made, into the Chamber of the Guildhall of the said city, before the said Mayor and Aldermen, as well David Brekenhok and John Stanbury before mentioned, as etc, (fn. 18) to make answer for themselves and their companions. Who, being interrogated as to the matters aforesaid, could not gainsay or well deny the same, etc. Therefore, by the said Mayor and Aldermen then and there they were commanded, they and their companions, occupying the dwelling-house aforesaid, or else the same David and John, for themselves and their companions, to be there, before the said Mayor and Aldermen, on Thursday the 2nd day of May then next ensuing, to do and fulfil whatsoever the said Court might award in that behalf.

Upon which day appeared here the aforesaid David Brekenhok and John Stanbury, and others, for themselves and the others of the company so dwelling together, as before stated. And the Mayor and Aldermen, after holding careful council and conference thereon, considering that as well the livery, or suit, which the said journeymen and serving-men-like a race at once youthful and unstable,so dwelling by themselves without any rule or supervision by their superiors in the trade aforesaid, or by any other persons, annually adopt when they hold their assemblies and covins together, both within the said city and without, as such dwelling-houses, so inhabited by them at all times, living together without any stable governance whatever, did expressly imply, and redound manifestly to, breach of the peace of our Lord the King, and, very probably, to commotion among his peopleand might it not be so;did therefore award and adjudge, that the serving-men of the trade aforesaid should in future be under the governance and rule of the Masters and Wardens of the trade, the same as other serving-men of other trades of the said city are, and are bound to be; and that for the future they should not adopt any such livery or suit of vestments, or hold assemblies or covins, or any such unlawful thing, on the peril that awaits the same.

And further, then and there, injunctions were given by the said Mayor and Aldermen to the same David Brekenhok, John Stanbury, and others there present, that they and all their companions inhabiting the dwelling-house aforesaid at Garlikehythe, and other such dwelling-houses within the said City, must quit and vacate the same, by Sunday, the 6th day of May then next ensuing; and must not re-take them or any other houses, by themselves alone, for dwelling together therein, or in future in any way presume to re-take them, on pain of imprisonment, and of making fine, at the discretion of the Mayor and Aldermen for the time being.

Ordinance that in future no Officer of the City shall receive livery or vestment from any other Craft or Fraternity than his own.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. cliii. (Latin.)

(fn. 19) "Seeing that the exigencies of sound government, and the happiness that results therefrom, even when the advantages thereof have been well weighed, hardly seem to suffice to allay the singular impressions and the tendency to obloquy on the part of some people; so it is, that at the present day even, there is no old usage, sanctioned though it be by the path of laudable prescription, but that the same path is so choked up by the dust of obloquy, that it is prejudiced, contrary to all expectation, by having the worst construction put upon it, rather than the better. And for this reason it is, more especially, that whereas it has been consistent with venerable usage for each of the rulers and officers of the City of London, in support of the honour of the said city, to receive either a hood or a vestment each year from the different crafts of the same city, the custom is hardly able now to get a good word even said in its behalf.

"Wherefore now, Thomas Fauconer, Mayor, and the Aldermen, of the City aforesaid, on the 13th day of May, in the 3rd year etc., desiring so far as, with the help of God, they may, to put an end to the injustice and obloquy of this description, after holding careful conference on the matters aforesaid, and maturely deliberating thereon, have finally determined among themselves, no one dissenting therefrom, and have ordained, that for the future, no Mayor, Alderman, or Sheriff, or any other officer or servant of the said city, for the time being, or any officer of the said Mayor, the Sheriffs, or the Commonalty of the City, shall take any livery or vestment from any craft or fraternity within the said city, save only that one craft of which he has been made free. But that, so often as any Mayor, Alderman, or Sheriff, of the said city shall presume in any way to contravene the tenor of this ordinance, and be lawfully convicted thereof, he shall faithfully make due payment of 100 shillings sterling to the use of the Chamber of the Guildhall of the said city, without any remission thereof. And if any other officer or servant shall make any attempt against the tenor and affirmation of this present ordinance, he is to know that he shall wholly lose his office."

Deposit with the Mayor and Commonalty of a Collar of gold, as security for a sum of money lent to the King.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. clviii. (Norman French.)

"This indenture, made between Richard Courtenay, Bishop of Norwich, Treasurer of the King's Chamber, and Keeper of his jewels, of the one part, and Thomas Fauconer, Mayor, and the Commonalty, of the City of London, of the other part, witnesseth, that the said Bishop, by virtue and under command of a Privy Seal thereupon unto him addressed, has delivered unto the said Mayor and Commonalty one great collar of gold, made of workmanship in crowns and beasts called 'antelopes, enamelled with white esses, (fn. 20) and the beasts surcharged with green garnets; (fn. 21) the charge (fn. 22) being of two pearls, and each beast having one pearl about the neck. And each of the crowns is set with one large balass and nine large pearls; and in the principal crown, which is in front, there are set, in addition to the balass and the pearls, two large diamandes in the summit; and besides the crowns, there are other balasses therein, eight in all, the collar weighing 56 ounces in the whole. And the said collar is enclosed in a case of leather, and sealed under seal of the arms of the same Bishop; and is put in pledge, by command and desire of the King, with the same Mayor and Commonalty, as a security for the sum of 10,000 marks, by them lent to the same our Lord the King. And the day for repayment of the same sum, and upon which the King desires, and is bound, to redeem the collar and pledge aforesaid, shall be the Day of the Circumcision [1 January] in the year of Grace 1416, according to the style and computation of the Church of England. Provided always, that the said Mayor and Commonalty are bound well and lawfully to keep the collar aforesaid until the same day, as they shall be answerable for the same unto our Lord the King, his assigns, or his executors. In witness whereof, the parties aforesaid have interchangeably to these present indentures set their Seals, on the 16th day of the month of June, in the 3rd year of the reign of our said Lord, King Henry, after the Conquest the Fifth."

Order made for the rebuilding of the Little Postern in the City Wall; the laying out of the City Moor; the piling of the banks of the Foss of Walbrooke; and the improvement of the Water-course at Oystergate.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. clii. (Latin.)

Because that from default of provision for the proper safety and due management and charge of a certain watery and vacant piece of land, called The Moor," situate beneath the walls of the City, and lying to the North thereof, as also, of a certain common latrine there situate, on the Moor aforesaid; by reason thereof, as well very many cellars and dwelling-houses were overflowed, in divers streets and lanes to the said moor near and adjoining, and many sicknesses and other intolerable maladies, arising from the horrible, corrupt, and infected atmosphere proceeding from the latrine aforesaid, from time to time were often prevalent; therefore, Thomas Fauconer, the Mayor, and the Aldermen, together with an immense congregation of very many reputable men of the said city, met together in their Common Council, in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the said city, on the 2nd day of July, in the 3rd year etc., to take measures and determine as to the said matters, and other arduous business of the City aforesaid.

And as it was there stated that at divers periods, and in the times of divers Mayors, for the public good of the said city, as it was said, the Moor aforesaid had been at one time changed into a garden, and at another time into a vacant piece of land, and so, repeatedly altered and changed; the said Mayor and Aldermen, with the sanction of the Common Council aforesaid, being now of opinion that if only the said Moor should be allotted and divided into different gardens, as well the common advantage, in the way of rental paid to the Chamber of the said city, would be ensured thereby, as easement to the cellars and dwelling-houses aforesaid, by reason of the immunity which they so greatly stood in need of from the overflow of the water-course before mentioned;did therefore order and determine, as a thing for ever to endure, that the Little (fn. 23) Postern, built of old in the wall of the said city, should be pulled down, and made larger on the South side thereof, so soon as it could conveniently be done, for increasing the common advantage, and also the especial honour, of the said city, by adding a gate thereto, the same to be shut at night and at all other fitting times. And that upon the Moor aforesaid there should be laid out divers gardens, to be let at a proper rent to such persons as should wish to take them, alleys being made therein lengthwise and across; as more plainly depicted and set forth on a certain sheet of parchment, made by way of pattern for the plans aforesaid, and shown to the said Common Council, and exhibited.

And to the end that the horrible, infected, and corrupt atmosphere, arising from the latrine aforesaid, for the saving of the human body, as people go, return, and pass along that way, might be wholly got rid of, and excluded therefrom, it was ordered by the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, that such latrine, together with the entrance to the same, should be removed, and that another latrine should be built, or made anew, on the other said, within the walls of the said city, and upon the Foss of Walbrooke; it being understood that all laystalls and other kinds of filth whatsoever, usually discharged into the said Foss, so often as it should be necessary to be done, should, by means of the interception of a watergate, called a "scluys," (fn. 24) or a "speye," and the flow of the waters from the Fosses without the walls of the City, which discharge into the Foss of Walbrooke aforesaid, be carried off and got rid of. And further, by the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, it was ordered and agreed, that all inhabitants upon the margin of the Foss of Walbrooke, near to the water of Thames, should pile the banks of the same, and cause it to be piled, or else walled with walls; taking due care that by the breaking or sinking of such walls there should be no impediment to the water, so running into the Foss as aforesaid, having its free course and protection until it reaches the Thames.

Also, by the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Common Council, it was there mooted and discussed, and also, order was given thereon, that a certain other latrine, situate in the Wall of the said city, between the Church of All Hallows (fn. 25) the Less and the Gate of Bysshopesgate, in London, which was so choked up by means of dung, laystalls, and other filth, that persons resorting thereto, and going, returning, and passing along that way, by reason of the foulness and infectious nature of the odious and horrible atmosphere arising therefrom, suffered no small inconvenience thereby, and manifest perils to human life frequently thence ensued, should be removed and done away with for the future; seeing that the new latrine that was to be made, as before stated, would be sufficiently near to that spot for the convenience of the commonalty of the City.

Also,because that many men dwelling about the gate called "Ebgate," otherwise "Oystergate," near to the end of London Bridge, had repeatedly stated before the Mayor and Aldermen, with loud expostulations, that the blood from the raw flesh slaughtered by the butchers of Estchepe, and the water in which fish, both fresh and salt, was washed daily, and all other kinds of filth that had been thrown out of the houses of all sorts of persons, situate to the North of them, into the kennels of the said city, usually made their way into a certain gutter, called "The Swolne," at the end of the said bridge, and near to the door of the Church of St. Magnus, until at last the said course had become choked up; and then, by reason of some works lately begun by Thomas Fauconer, the then Mayor, was turned out of its course to discharge itself and fall [into the Thames] at the gate of Ebgate aforesaid, to the very great nuisance of the neighbours dwelling around the said gate of Ebgate:upon their expostulation, in order to appease their murmurs, the said Thomas Fauconer, while the work aforesaid was going on, had oftentimes, in presence of his fellow-Aldermen of the said city, and of those making plaint as to the grievance aforesaid, agreed and promised that if, when the works so begun by him as aforesaid should be completed, it should then appear to the commonalty of the said city that the water-course was more advantageous, more seemly, and in better condition, than it was before, then it should remain in the same plight in which it was when the works were so completed. But if otherwise, then he, the same Thomas, at his own costs and expenses, would have the same put anew in the same condition in which it was before.

And because that now, at this present Council in general, upon mature consideration of the matters aforesaid, it appeared in many ways and manners that that water-course was in much better condition, and more seemly, than it was before,for which very many thanks were given to him by the Commonalty,it was therefore by them in common agreed and ordered, that the course for the water descending and falling at the Gate of Oystergate aforesaid, should in future remain for ever in the same plight in which it was then carried and constructed.

Ordinance as to the use of the Pipes of the Great Conduit in Chepe.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. cliv. (Norman French.)

"Whereas the Mayor and Aldermen are given to understand that the brewers near to the Great Conduit in Chepe, and others, who rent the fountains and the great upper pipe of the same Conduit, do draw their water for their brewing out of the pipes that run below in the said Conduit; whereby the common people are oftentimes greatly impeded:on the 21st day of August, in the 3rd year etc., it is ordained thereon, by Thomas Fauconere, Mayor, and the Aldermen, that no one of the said brewers or other persons who rent the fountains and the great upper pipe of the said Conduit, shall from henceforth draw any water from the said small pipes below; on pain of paying to the Chamber of the Guildhall 6s. 8d., every time that he shall be lawfully convicted thereof."

Letter from the Mayor and Aldermen to the King, giving an account of the conviction of John Cleydone, a Lollard, accused of heresy.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. clv. (Latin.)

"To the most victorious and most excellent Prince, and their most gracious Lord, Henry, by the grace of God, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland, the Mayor and Aldermen of his City of London, his unworthy servants, with willing obeisance, wishing him boundless might, wisdom ineffable, and, after he shall have finished the good fight, (fn. 26) a reception in the realms of bliss. Forasmuch as the King of all might and the Lord of Heaven, who of late graciously taught (fn. 27) your hands to fight, and has guided your feet to the battle, has now, during your absence, placed in our hands certain persons who not only were enemies of Him and of your dignity, but also, in so far as they might be, were subverters of the whole of your realm; men commonly known as 'Lollards,' who for long time have laboured for the subversion of the whole Catholic faith and of Holy Church, the lessening of public worship, and the destruction of your realm, as also, the perpetration of very many other enormities horrible to hear; the same persons, in accordance with the requirements of law, we have unto the Reverend Commissaries of the Reverend Father in Christ, and Lord,Richard, (fn. 28) by Divine permission, the "Lord Bishop of London, by indenture caused to be delivered. Whereupon, one John Cleydone by name, (fn. 29) the arch-parent of this heretical depravity, was by the most Reverend Father in Christ, and Lord, Henry, (fn. 30) by Divine permission, the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate of all your realm, and other Bishops, his brethren, as well as very many Professors (fn. 31) of Holy Scripture and Doctors of Laws, in accordance with the canonical sanctions, by sentence in this behalf lawfully pronounced, as being a person relapsed into heresy, which before had been by him abjured, left in the hands of the secular Court; for the execution of whose body, and the entire destruction of all such enemies, with all diligence, to the utmost of our power we shall be assisting. But (fn. 32) whereas the exalted wisdom of heaven has decreed that we should give this support in aid of the high dignity of your majesty, as we are bound to do, in the matters which have been here set forth, may the same please your exalted Highness, and, a thing that cannot be displeasing unto us, may your said Excellency deign to cause word to be written to us in answer, signifying the prosperous progress of your gracious dignity; to the end that we and other faithful subjects in your City, hearing that, by the gift of God, such successes may finally result in peace, may be enabled to taste of the pleasures of a more tranquil life, and may have it in our power promptly to comply with the signification of your will. To fulfil the which, may the magnificence of your Majesty deign to hold us as fully committed and prepared. And may that King who establishes (fn. 33) the thrones of Kings with justice, command that the utmost intent of your purpose may be fulfilled. Written there, (fn. 34) on the 22nd day of August."

Letter from King Henry the Fifth, announcing the capture of Harfleur.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. cxliii. (Norman French.)

"On the King's behalf.

"Very dear and trusty, and well-beloved.We do greet you oftentimes, in signifying unto you, for your consolation, that we are in very good health as to our person, thanks be to God who grants unto us the same, and that, after our arrival on this side, we came before our town of Harefleu on Saturday, the 17th day of August last past, and laid siege thereto, in manner as we have written heretofore in our other (fn. 35) Letters sent to you. And by the good diligence of our faithful lieges at this time in our company, and the strength and position of our cannon, and other our ordnance, the people who were within the town made great urgency to have divers parleys with us; yet this notwithstanding, it was our full purpose to make assault upon the town on Wednesday the 18th day of this month of September; but those within the town had perceived it, and made great instance, with means which they had not employed theretofore, to have conference with us. And to avoid the effusion of human blood on the one side and on the other, we inclined to their offer, and thereupon we made answer unto them, and sent to them the last conclusion of our will; to the which they agreed, and for the same we do render thanks unto God, for we thought that they would not have so readily assented to the said conclusion. And on the same Wednesday there came by our command out of the said town the Sieurs de Gaucourt, d'Estouteville, Hankeville, and other lords and knights, who had the governance of the town, and delivered hostages; and all those, as well the lords and knights as the hostages, of whom some are lords and knights, and some notable burgesses, were sworn upon the body of Our Saviour that they would make unto us full deliverance of our said town, and submit the persons and goods therein to our grace, without any condition, if they should not by the Sunday then next ensuing, at one of the clock in the afternoon, have been rescued by battle given to us by our adversary of France, or his eldest son, the Dauphin. (fn. 36) And thereupon, we gave our letters of safe conduct to the said Sieur de Hankeville and others, to the number of twelve persons, to go to our said adversary, and his son, to declare unto them the treaty so made. The which Sieur de Hankeville, together with the others of his company, returned on the day, (fn. 37) at eight of the clock in the forenoon, into our said town, without any rescue being offered by our said adversary, his son, or any other of their party; and the keys of the town were then fully delivered and rendered into our hand, and all those within were submitted to our grace without any condition, as above stated; praised be our Creator for the same; and we have put in our said town our very dear uncle, the Earl of Dorset; (fn. 38) and have made him Captain thereof, with a sufficient staff of people, (fn. 39) as well of the one rank as the other. And we do will that you render humble thanks unto our Lord Almighty for this news; and do hope by the divine power, and the good labour and diligence of our faithful people on this side, to do our duty still further in gaining our right in these parts; and we do desire also, that by those passing between us you will certify us from time to time as to news as regards yourselves. And may Our Lord have you in His holy keeping. Given under our Signet, in our said town of Harflu, the 22nd day of the said month of September."

Procession on foot by the Mayor and citizens, to Westminster, to return thanks for the Victory gained at Agincourt.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. clix. (Latin.)

On Sunday the Feast of St. Edward, the King and Confessor, [13 October], in the 3rd year etc., after the Mass of the Holy Spirit devoutly and with due honour celebrated, with solemn music, in the Chapel of the Guildhall of the City of London, according to the Ordinance (fn. 40) thereon made and approved in the time of John Wodecok, late Mayor of the same city, in presence of Thomas Fauconer, Mayor, John Bartone, Recorder, Sir William, Prior (fn. 41) of Christ Church in London, Richard Whityngtone, Drew Barantyn, Thomas Knolles, Richard Merlawe, Robert Chichele, William Walderne, William Crowmer, Nicholas Wottone, Henry Bartone, William Louthe, William Nortone, William Chichele, John Penne, Thomas Pyke, Walter Cottone, William Sevenoke, and John (fn. 42) Gedeney, Aldermen, and of William Cauntbrigge and Alan Everard, Aldermen and Sheriffs of the said city, and an immense number of the Commonalty of the citizens, summoned for the election of a Mayor for the following year, by their common assent, Nicholas Wottone was chosen Mayor for such year; and afterwards, on the Feast of the Apostles Simon and Jude [28 October], was sworn in the Guildhall of London aforesaid, as the usage is.

And on the morrow of the Apostles Simon and Jude, the said Nicholas Wottone, Mayor, and the Aldermen, together with an immense number of the Commonalty of the citizens of the city aforesaid, going on pilgrimage, went on foot to Westminster, and, having first made devout thanksgiving, with due solemnity, in the Minster there, for the joyous news (fn. 43) that had then arrived, the said Nicholas Wottone was by the said Aldermen and Commonalty presented before the Barons of the Exchequer of our Lord the King, at Westminster, admitted, and sworn.

And lestand may it not be sosuch journey on foot may come to pass for a precedent, when others succeed to the office of the Mayoralty of the said city, in manifest derogation of the laudable customs of the said city hitherto followed; and seeing that if the principal cause for the same should be veiled beneath an absurd silence, it would never reach the knowledge of posterity; be it known, that about Friday, the 25th day of October last past, a lamentable report, (fn. 44) replete with sadness, and cause for endless sorrow, had alarmed the community throughout all the City, in the boundless grief that it caused; it being to the effect that, as to the army of our Lord the King, who was valorously struggling to gain the rights of his realm in the parts beyond sea, and in which all our affections lay centred, all particulars lay shrouded here in mystery. But however, after thus being ardently athirst, in expectation to hear some encouraging news of the success of the royal expedition, it was not long before a trustworthy report of the truth arrived to refresh the longing ears of all the City; how that our said Lord, our illustrious King, the Lord giving His aid therein, had by such grace gained the victory over his enemies and adversaries, who had united to oppose his march through the midst of his territory of France towards Calais; and the more especially, as the greater part of them had either been delivered to the arbitration of death,or had submitted (fn. 45) to his gracious might, praised be God for the same.

And because that, in the course of events, such sorrows and apprehensions of adversity had been succeeded by the joyous news which gave the first notification of this victory, therefore, the said Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty, in presence of our Lady the Queen, (fn. 46) and very many other lords and peers of the realm, and in company of the more substantial men, both spiritual and temporal, for the thanksgiving that was due unto God, and His Saints, and especially, unto Edward, the glorious Confessor, whose body lies interred at Westminster, went like pilgrims on foot, (fn. 47) as before stated.

Inquisition held, and sentence of the Pillory pronounced, for swindling; the punishment being remitted for a fine, payable to the New Work at the Guildhall.

3 Henry V. A.D. 1415. Letter-Book I. fol. clxii. (Latin.)

"Inquisition for our Lord the King, as to whether or not Thomas de Albertis, falsely and fraudulently compassing how to deceive and defraud William Bury, of London, mercer, on the 27th day of November last past, did send one Michael Petyn, an alien and corrector, (fn. 48) to the house and shop of the same William, situate in the Parish of St. Pancras, (fn. 49) in London, to say that he wanted to get certain cloths of gold for the use of our Lord the Duke of Bourbon. (fn. 50) And the said William then and there shewed to the same Michael such cloths as he required; whereupon, the corrector chose four cloths of gold, 150l. in value. After which, when the said Michael had agreed with the same William Bury as to the price thereof, in conformity with a conspiracy between him and the aforesaid Thomas made etc., he said and affirmed to the same William, that if he would send with him one of his servants, together with the cloths, to the dwelling-house of the said Thomas de Albertis, in the Parish of St. Swithun, in London, for the purpose of shewing the cloths to the said Thomas, immediate payment for them would be made. Whereupon, the said William Bury, then knowing nothing at all as to their conspiracy, falsities, and deceits, so before imagined etc., sent one John Chirche, his servant, with him to the dwelling-house of Thomas de Albertis, together with the cloths aforesaid, to shew them to the said Thomas. But in the meantime the said Thomas, to fulfil and carry out his malice and deceit, withdrew himself, while the same Michael Petyn and John Chirche, the servant, were on their way thither. And upon their coming there, Thomas de Albertis not being in the house, as it was asserted, as the said Michael ordered John Chirche to leave the cloths there in the house of the said Thomas, in the charge of one George, his butler; and said that when he came home, he would pay him for the same. Upon which, the said John Chirche, putting faith in the words of the said Michael etc., left there the said cloths, as Michael had ordered him, and departed. And forthwith after his departure, then and there, the said Thomas de Albertis and Michael Petyn conspired etc., that the said Michael should deliver the cloths to the same Thomas, and then, after such delivery, betake himself to privileged places and sanctuary, there to abide, no satisfaction being made to the same William Bury for such cloths. Whereupon, to carry out their deceit and falsity aforesaid, the said Thomas retained possession of the cloths, and Michael fled to the House of the Minoresses without Algate, in London, there demanding sanctuary for the falsities and deceits aforesaid etc."

And hereupon, the said Thomas, being interrogated as to all and singular the matters before mentioned, asserted that he was not guilty thereof, and put himself upon the country as to the same etc. Therefore, on the first day of December, in the 3rd year etc., by Nicholas Wottone, Mayor, and the Aldermen, precept was given to John Uptone, one of the Serjeants of the said Mayor, to summon twelve good and lawful men of the venue of the Parish of St. Pancras aforesaid, to be here, in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the said city, on the 7th day of December then next ensuing etc. And the said Thomas was in the meantime committed to prison. Upon which day, came here a Jury of the venue aforesaid, namely, Robert Horwode, James Lagage, Richard Grove, Thomas Shragger, John Chadde, and Richard Harvey, Englishmen, and Mark Mercate, Louis Valerys, John Mercate, James Bele, Nicholas de Molyns, and John Pountadoure, aliens. Who upon their oath pronounced the said Thomas guilty of the deceit and falsity aforesaid. Therefore, in order that other persons might beware in future of such falsities and deceits, it was adjudged by the Court that the said Thomas should be put upon the pillory on three marketdays, for one hour each day, and that the cause thereof should be proclaimed. And precept was given to the Sheriffs, to do execution of the judgment aforesaid.

And afterwards, at the instance of very many reputable merchants, interceding on behalf of the said Thomas, execution of the judgment aforesaid was remitted to him for 20 pounds; which he, the said Thomas, paid towards the New Work of the Guildhall, for his redemption in this behalf.

Footnotes

  • 1. Probably, of January, is meant.
  • 2. John Gedeney afterwards became Sheriff, in 1417, and Mayor in 1427. He did penance for marrying a widow, who had made a vow of chastity.
  • 3. principata sollicitas.
  • 4. This is apparently the meaning of the passage; which has no pretension to grammar. It is probably from the pen of John Carpenter; supposing him to have been the writer of the Introductory Chapters to Books I. and IV. of the Liber Albus. See page 580 ante, Note 3.
  • 5. Henry Chicheley.
  • 6. Henry Beaufort.
  • 7. These omissions occur in the MS.
  • 8. The Dukes of Bedford and Gloucester, namely.
  • 9. Cousin of King Henry the Fifth. He was now no longer Earl of Rutland, as that title was limited to him during his father's life only, who died in 1402. He was slain at the Battle of Agincourt, in this year.
  • 10. At Tyburn; see page 499 ante, Note 1.
  • 11. The names of his four sureties are then added, with the terms of their suretyship.
  • 12. attendentesque prius.
  • 13. See page 394 ante, Note 2.
  • 14. Chosen Mayor in 1409.
  • 15. In another hand, and of later date, July 1416.
  • 16. See page 542 ante, Note 3.
  • 17. Or Otho.
  • 18. A name has been inserted, but is now erased.
  • 19. The same crabbed, ungrammatical Latin, that has been noticed in p. 580 ante, Note 3, and p. 603 ante, Note 4, It almost sets translation at defiance.
  • 20. This, no doubt, is the meaning of assis," figures of the letter S.
  • 21. Colophonite garnets, of emerald green.
  • 22. That which is borne upon the colour, or the escutcheon.
  • 23. In Cripplegate Ward. Its site is still remembered, under the name of the "Aldermanbury Postern", leading towards Moor Lane.
  • 24. A sluice.
  • 25. All Hallows, London Wall.
  • 26. In allusion to 2 Tim. iv. 7.
  • 27. 2 Sam. xxii. 35, and Psalm cxliv. I.
  • 28. Richard Clifford.
  • 29. This John Cleydone was a currier by trade, and was tried before the Archbishop of Canterbury and others for heresy, 17th August, 1415, in St. Paul's Church; Thomas Fauconer, the Mayor of London, bearing evidence against him, as to the nature of the heretical books found in his possession. According to Fox (Acts and Monuments) he was burnt in Smithfield in the same year. His execution is also mentioned by Thomas Walsingham (Hist. Angl.), who adds, with his usual bitterness against the Lollards, that he went so far as to make his own son a priest, and have Mass celebrated by him in his own house, on the occasion when his wife "should have gone to church, after rising from childbed."
  • 30. Henry Chicheley.
  • 31. Otherwise, "Doctors of Divinity."
  • 32. The whole of this passage in the original, down to the end of the Letter, is written without any regard to grammar, and its meaning is doubtful in the extreme.
  • 33. Isaiab, ix. 7.
  • 34. ibidem.
  • 35. These Letters are not to be found in the Letter-Books.
  • 36. Daubfyn in the MS.
  • 37. The day of final surrender, probably.
  • 38. Thomas Beaufort, youngest natural son of John of Gaunt, by Katherine Swynford.
  • 39. estuf.
  • 40. See page 566 ante.
  • 41. Alderman of Portsoken Ward, by virtue of his office as Prior of Christ Church, or the Holy Trinity.
  • 42. See page 601 ante.
  • 43. Of the Battle of Agincourt, fought on the 25th of October, four days before.
  • 44. relatio.
  • 45. This is no doubt the general meaning of the passage; which is written in Latin as inflated as it is incorrect.
  • 46. Johanna of Navarre, second wife of Henry IV. She died in 1437.
  • 47. It being the usual custom to go to Westminster in procession, on horseback, on the 29th of October.
  • 48. Or broker.
  • 49. In Soper Lane, now Queen Street, Cheapside.
  • 50. John I.; taken prisoner at Agincourt.