Memorials of the Guild of Merchant Taylors of the Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London. Originally published by Harrison, London, 1875.
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AS TO LIVERY CLOTH GIVEN TO SOVEREIGNS.
It is not easy to determine by what right or rule of courtesy cloth was given by the Company.
Richard II. and his Queen were both of the Livery, being admitted like other members at that period by a payment of 20s. to the Company on their admission.
The earliest entry in this Account Book is as follows:—
"Allowance of cloth by the Company.—First for the King 6 (yards or ells) of cloth of 8s. and 1 piece of Tartain 30s.—3l. 18s. To the Queen 6 yds of cloth of 8s. and 1 piece of Tartain 30s.—3l. 18s." But whether these were supplied to this Sovereign and his Queen as being members of the Company, or as a matter of courtesy, is uncertain.
The entries in the text relate to Henry IV. and his son, who were both members of the Company, and similar entries are contained in the account to 1404, when the allowance of cloth to the Prince ceases. The allowance as regards the King is entered throughout the reign, though the quantity and price of cloth vary occasionally.
In the entry of the admission of members in 8 Henry IV., a.d. 1407, is the following one of the King's son,—"Monsr John, fitz au Roy Henri quarte, xxs."; from which it is clear that the members of the royal family paid for their admission like any other member, as in the same list in which this entry is contained, are the admissions of noblemen and tradespeople at the same price of 20s. each.
In 10 Henry IV., a.d. 1409, another son of this King was admitted, as appears by the following entry,—"Monsr Thomas, fitz au Roy, xxs."
It is believed, although her name is not contained in the Roll presented to James I., that the Queen of Henry IV. was free of the Company, for in the year 1408 is the following entry. "To our lord the King, 8 yards of coloured [cloth] of 5s. 8d., and 1 piece 'tarteryn' of 23s. 4d.,—3l. 8s. 8d. The Queen, 8 yards of cloth of 5s. 8d., and 1 piece of tarteryn of 23s. 4d.,—3l. 8s. 8d.," being the only year in which the Queen had cloth.
Henry V. ascended the throne in 1413, and was admitted to the Freedom in 1414, but he had cloth the first year of his reign.
The following entry in the second year of his reign shows his admission to the brotherhood or "confrères":—"Nostre tres excellent Sr. le Roi Henri Quinte"; but in the last three years of this reign no cloth seems to have been given to him, though the Queen had 9 yards of green cloth at 6s. 8d. in the 9th year.
Henry VI. commenced his reign in 1422, and was admitted to the Company between the years 1436 and 1437; but in the statement of cloth allowed by the Company in the second year of Henry VI. (1424) is the following entry:—"Our Lord the King, 3 yards of colored cloth of 6s. 8d. the yard, xxs. For Tartaryn Robe, 12s."
The entry of the allowance of cloth to the King is regularly made up to and including 1445; but in 1446 (23 Henry VI.) there is no entry of cloth to the King, but an entry as follows:—"First for the Privy Seal 5 yards of colour of 4s. 6d., sum 22s. 6d."
There is a lapse in the Company's account from 1445 to 1453 in 31 Henry VI.
The allowance of cloth appears to have been discontinued after 1453, for there appears no entry upon the subject in the account after that year nor in subsequent reigns.
The substance of this note is taken from memoranda of a former Clerk, Mr. De Mole.