An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1810.
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A LIST OF BAILIFFS AND MAYORS OF YARMOUTH.
Reign of Henry III.
|A. D.||A. R.|
|1269||53||Thomas de Horseye. Oliver Wyth, Thomas Thurkyld, Will. de la Mawe|
|1270||54||Roger Talebot, William Alleyn, Robert Thurkyld, Richard Randolf|
|1271||55||William Gerbergh, John de Goseford, Henry Alleyn, John Beneyt|
|1547||1||William Welles, John Crowe|
|1548||2||William Byshop, Simon Moore|
|1549||3||John Myllicent, Nicholas Fenn|
|1550||4||Thomas Betts, William Garton|
|1551||5||William Mahowe, Nicholas Firmage|
|1552||6||Christopher Heylott, John Echard, Esqrs.|
|1553||1||William Denne, Thomas Hunt|
|1554||2||Robert Eyre, John Crowe|
|1555||3||Thomas Gardiner, Robert Drawer|
|1556||4||Cornelius Bright, William Harbrown|
|1557||5||Richard Oldryng, Matthew Wytt|
|1558||6||Thomas Nicholson, Ralph Woolhouse, Esqrs.|
Including the time in which Oliver Cromwell was declared Protector of the Commonwealth
A Mayor, by charter, instead of two Bailiffs.
Bailiffs Again By General Proclamation
To November 8, 1688 George Ward, Thomas Godfrey, Esqrs. thence
To September 29, 1689 Benjamin England, John Gayford, Esqrs.
William And Mary.
Mayors Again, By Charter
Benjamin Engle, Esq. this year, to September 29.
Of certain ancient Usages and Customs of the Burgh of Yarmouth, observed and kept by the Burgesses time immemorial.
These articles, extracted from the ancient records of the burgh, appear to be founded on the particular grants to, and privileges of the burgesses, who are strictly enjoined to as inviolable an observance of them, in every respect, as of any of the articles of their charters, without connivance or partiality to any person whatsoever.
Deeds enrolled in the court-roll of the burgh, to be valid, the same as if enrolled in any of the king's courts at Westminster.
"That every deed made and sealed for the conveyance and assurance of any houses, lands, or tenements lying with that burgh, by all and every person or persons having right and lawful interest to convey and assure the same, being of the full age of twenty-one years, with state and seisin executed by force thereof, and every bargain by indenture, with state and seisin so executed, the which shall afterwards be acknowledged by the parties, donors, or feoffors, before the bailiffs of the said burgh, for the time being, or before one of them, and this matter of acknowledgment shall appear of record, to be enrolled in the court roll of the said burgh, either with recital of such knowledge, made before one or both bailiffs, that every such deed and indenture so acknowledged and enrolled, shall be a good and perfect assurance in law, to the use expressed therein, and as strong and effectual in the donees and feoffees, as if the same had been done by deed acknowledged and enrolled in any of the king's courts at Westminster.
"And although the same deed or indenture be not afterwards extant, to be shewed forth, but be either burnt or lost, yet nevertheless the record of the said deed or indenture, in the said court-rolls, shall be accepted, and taken as good and perfect assurance in law, to the donees and feoffees, and their heirs, to the uses therein mentioned against the donor or feoffor, and their heirs, by the custom of the said burgh, for ever. And the use of the deed or indenture enrolled, shall be preferred before that which is not enrolled."
Examination of married women before one or both bailiffs, upon transferring their right.
"That every woman covert, having an estate of inheritance, or interest, for term of life, or in fee simple, either in her own right alone, or jointly with her husband, or with any other person or persons, in or to any houses, lands, or tenements, being within the burgh aforesaid, who shall pass a deed thereof, with her said husband, unto any manner of person or persons whatsoever, either with livery and seisin thereupon executed, or without livery and seisin; if that afterward the said woman covert, with her husband, shall come before the bailiffs of the said burgh, for the time being, or before one of them, and shall acknowledge the same to be their deed. And the said woman covert thereupon, being solely examined by the said bailiffs, or one of them, and that this matter of knowledge and examination taken, shall appear of record, to be enrolled in the court-rolls of the said burgh, either with recital of such knowledge and examination to have been taken before one bailiff or before both bailiffs, then by the custom of this burgh, if the husband and wife be of full age, the said record and enrollmeut shall be a good and perfect assurance in the law, for the parties, donees, and feoffees, and their heirs, to the uses expressed in the said deed and enrollment for ever. And that as well the said woman covert and her heirs; as her said husband and his heirs, shall from henceforth, by force of the said record and enrollment, be utterly excluded and debarred of all manner of interest, right, and title, of in and to the said lands, houses and tenements, and every parcel of them, by custom of the burgh, for ever. And this custom has always been used in the nature of a fine at common law."
Releases enrolled debar the releasor.
"That every release of houses or tenements, being within that burgh, made by every person or persons being men or women unmarried, and being of full age, acknowledged and enrolled in such manner, and form as is above declared, shall be of the same force and effet in law, for debarring the right and title of the releasors and of their heirs, as the said deed enrolled, and the record thereof, by custom of the burgh, for ever."
A woman's release of dower &c. enrolled, debars her for ever.
"Every woman covert, having only her title of dower in any houses, lands, or tenements, within the said burgh, who shall come with her husband, in his lifetime, before the bailiffs of the said burgh or, before one of them, and shall make her release of in and to the said houses, lands, or tenements, either by writing sealed, or without writing, so as the same release, solely examined, before the bailiffs, for the time being, or before one of them; and that this matter and act shall afterwards be enrolled in the court-rolls of the said burgh; then this said woman shall from henceforth be utterly excluded and debarred by the said record, to have her said title of dower therein for ever. Yea, although at the time of such examination taken, she be not of the age of 21 years, by the ancient custom of this burgh.
"And Moreover the custom is, that if a woman, being a widow, only for her title of dower, shall in her widowhood come before the bailiffs, for the time being, or before one of them, and shall make her release of any lands or tenements within the said burgh, wherein she clarmeth only by force of her dower, and this act of hers being enrolled of record in the court-rolls of the said burgh, although at the time of her making her release, as aforesaid, she be not of the age of 21 years, yet in this case, for her said dower, she shall be utterly excluded and debarred from all interest and title to be claimed for ever, by force of the said record and enrollment."
A wife to have her thirds, enfeoffed in houses, &c. by her husband, if not released.
"By the custom of this burgh, although the wife before her marriage be enfeoffed in any houses, lands, or tenements, by the husband, or that after the marriage between them, the husband doth purchase any houses, lands or tenements, and cause the same to be assured to him and his wife jointly, or to his wife and others; yet notwithstanding feoffments or assurances whatsoever; if the wife outlive her said husband, she shall not be barred by reason of any such feoffments or assurances, to claim and recover the third part of any other lands, houses, or tenements within the said burgh, whereof her husband was sole seized in his demesne, as of fee, during the time of her marriage between them. Provided always that for so many thereof as the wife, by examination taken before the bailiffs, for the time being, or before one of them, has released to any other person or persons, the same matter remaining of record, to be seen in the court-rolls of the said burgh; that then she shall be utterly debarred, and excluded of her said title of dower therein, by the custom of this burgh for ever."
A will enrolled within a year and a day is a good title to all the claimants, the widow having her dower.
"The custom of this burgh hath of so long continuance been, that every person being sole seized of any houses, lands, or tenements, within the burgh, by an estate in fee simple, may, by his testament and last will, give and devise the same, he being of full age and perfect memory at the time of making the same testament and last will. And moreover, the custom of the burgh is, that if such a testament and last will be, within one year next after the death of the testator, brought before the bailiffs, by the executor, or by any other creditable person, which shall have such testament and last will in keeping, and it be required of the bailiffs that the said testament and last will may be enrolled of record in the court roll of the said burgh, that then the said bailiffs shall, upon the oaths of two creditable witnesses, to the said testament and last will, at the least, cause the said testament and last will, to be enrolled by the steward amongst the court-rolls of the said burgh, together with the testimony of the witnesses to the said will to he produced before them; and that by force of the said testament and last will, enrolled and recorded, as is abovementioned in the said testament and last will, shall be used, enjoyed, possessed, and recovered, according to such uses and intents, as are mentioned and expressed in the said testament and last will, according to the true meaning of the testator. And further, that the said testament and last will, being recorded and enrolled in manner and form aforesaid, shall be a good and lawful assurance to all persons claiming by the same, for the possessing and enjoying of all the houses, lands, and tenements, lying within the said burgh, according to the true meaning of the said testator, by the custom of this burgh, for ever, saving always to the wife, after the death of her husband, her title of dower of and in the same, except she hath released the same before, or until she shall release the same."
Eldest son to be heir, or daughters coheirs, if no son.
"The custom of this burgh is, that the eldest son shall inherit the houses, lands, and tenements within the said burgh, whereof the father died sole seized in fee-simple, at the time of his death, if he hath not declared and made his will of the same. But if he hath no sons, but daughters, then his daughters shall be coheirs unto their father, in such cases, saving to the wife the third part thereof, for her dower, unless she hath before released therein, or afterwards shall release the same."
A woman may sue for dower in the burgh court.
"In case where the woman claimeth her dower in any houses, lands or tenements, within this burgh, after the death of her husband, which are kept from her possession, by the custom of this burgh, she may bring her action by writ of dower in the burgh court, before the bailiffs, and shall have trial, recovery, and assignment thereof, by such manner of plea, process, and judgment, as in such cases are used for recovery of dower at the common law, and those processes shall be returned by the serjeants at mace, or by one of them, into the court before the bailiffs, there to remain of record, by the custom of the said burgh, for ever."
Burgh-court to be kept once a week, and adjourned at the bailiff's will.
"As well by the custom of this burgh, as also by point of charter, the court called the burgh-court, is to be holden and kept before the bailiffs, for the time being, only once in every week, or at their pleasure to be adjourned from week to week, for a further time, upon any occasion. In which court are holden all manner of pleas of land, debt, detinue, covenant broken, trespass, and trespasses upon the case, (fn. 4) and all other actions whatsoever they be between party and party, according to the order and proceedings of the common laws of this realm."
The bailiffs in court may take recognizances for debt from one person to another.
"The ancient custom of this burgh is, and hath been, that the bailiffs, for the time being, in open court, may take cognizance for the payment of debts due from one burgh or inhabitant there, to another burgh or inhabitant there, or from a burgess or inhabitant to a stranger, which recognizance, being so acknowledged by the debtors to the use of the debtees, the said bailiffs shall cause to be recorded in the court-rolls of the said burgh. And if the debtor do make default of payment, at the day mentioned in the record, then, upon complaint of the said debtees, or his executors, unto the bailiffs, for the time being, they shall award against the debtor a scire facias, returnable the next court day, and if the debtor come not into the court the next court day, and plead good matter of discharge and payment of the said debt, then the bailiffs at the request of the debtee, shall give judgment for the debt, and award a scire facias against the goods and chattels of the debtor. And if the process, at the suit of the debtor, be returned, that the debtor hath not goods and chattels within the burgh, then, at the charge of the debtee, he may have a capias ad satisfaciendum against the body of the debtor, to satisfy the mere debt and costs of suit, to be adjudged by the bailiffs."
Upon action for debt, judgment to be for the debt only, and 12d. per pound to the town.
"The custom of this burgh is, and always has been, that upon any bond, or bill of debt, entered for the payment of any debt, upon which action is brought within this burgh and court, before the bailiffs, that judgment shall be given, and execution for the mere debt only, and not for the forfeiture of any such bond, or bill, although by the law, the plaint must be entered by and upon the penalty. And further, the custom is, that in every action of debt, upon bond or bill, or without, the with draft of 12d. in the pound shall be paid to the town, of the mere debt only, by those who shall be overthrown in any such action or actions, or by their pledges and sureties in those actions, provided that the attorney for the defendant, by plea, desires that the mere debt be enquired of by the country, according to the customs of this burgh.
Of the Foreign court.
"By the custom of this burgh, there is a court called a foreign court, appertaining to this corporation, for speedy expedition and dispatch of merchants and other strangers coming to the said burgh, for the recovery of debts, promises, bargains, and contracts, which court hath always been holden, and is to be holden before the bailiffs of the said burgh for the time being, from day to day, or otherwise, at the will of the said bailiffs, having respect to the equity and truth of the case, in this manner and form; viz. that is to say, after that upon the arrest and attachment made, and that the action and matter be first entered of record in the court called the burgh-court; and after the declaration be put into that court by the plaintiff, against the defendant, if that the defendant will, upon the demand of the foreign court aforesaid, confess that action so entered and declared against him in the burgh-court, that no such foreign court shall be granted unto any such plaintiff, but the bailiffs shall proceed to grant judgment and execution in that action. But if the defendant shall seek to use delays against the plaintiff, in that action and suit, and will not confess the same, then the bailiffs, upon request and payment for the same court, shall grant such foreign court against the defendant in every action aforesaid, which court is to be holden before them de die in diem (from day to day) at the discretion of the said bailiffs, or else to be adjourned by them untill some longer time, either for knowledge of the truth, or to be advised and resolved in matters doubtful. And so the action and cause shall proceed in that court, untill the same be determined in due form of law. Now, by the ancient custom of this burgh, a free burgess may have this court granted against a stranger, or merchant, being no free burgess. And the same also may be granted between two strangers, or more, being plaintiffs or defendants. But the custom of this burgh always hath been, and still is, that this court shall not be granted between two burgesses, or freemen of the burgh, for any manner of cause. And moreover the custom of this burgh always hath been, and yet is, that no writ of certiorari, habeas corpus, or writ of error, will lie in this court, to be allowed, to the lett or hindrance of justice, execution to be done, according to the judgment given."
Of the declaration, condemnation, appraisement, disposal, &c. of goods attached.
"The ancient custom of this burgh is, and always hath been, that upon all manner of actions brought within the burgh, attachment shall be made of all manner of goods and chattels, upon pleas of debt, detinue, covenant-broken, trespass upon the case, and all other pleas determinable at the common law, at the suit of all manner of plaintiffs which shall require the same. And this attachment shall be made, of all such goods and chattels whereof the possession may be lawfully taken and obtained within the burgh, or within the liberties of the same, in this form following; that is to say, that the four serjeants at the mace, upon warrant given unto them, shall make such attachment upon the land, within the liberties thereof, as the officer, called the water-bailiff, shall do the like upon the waters, from the mouth of the haven, as far as the liberties do extend; that is to say, as far as St. Olave's-bridge, Hardly-cross, and Weybridge, and that after attachment made of any manner of goods and chattels, as is aforesaid, the same shall remain under the attachment, in the custody and safe-keeping of the officers who shall so make the said attachment, which officer then at the next court following, upon entering of the action or actions, shall present and give in an inventory of all and singular the said goods and chattels into the court, before the bailiffs, there to remain of record, to the intent that every part and parcel of the said goods may be forthcoming, to satisfy the debt and damages which shall be adjudged by the court, in every such action brought by the said attachment or else the plaintiff, having no good cause of action, that upon trial thereof, the owners may be restored again to the possession of their said goods and chattels, whereupon such attachments were made. And the custom is, that if attachment be made, and the action entered, and declaration be put into the court, that then, if none do appear for the defendant, there shall be awarded four several defaults, upon four several court-days, upon the said attachment; and if within these four court-days, there come not any in for the defendant, that the bailiffs shall award judgment and condemnation against those goods and chattels on the behalf of the plaintiff, and thereupon, at their discretions, shall appoint and assign two, three, or four honest burgesses, by their oaths, to make appraisement of the said goods and chattels attached in manner and form aforesaid, which appraisement so made, the said burgesses shall certify unto the court before the bailiffs, there to remain of record. And if the defendant come not to make satisfaction to the plaintiff of the debt and damages demanded and adjudged, that then, at some other court-day, at the request of the plaintiff, the bailiffs shall award out of the court, a venditioni exponas, (fn. 5) to be directed to the officer or officers who made such attachment, to sell the said goods and chattels so attached or condemned, to the utmost value; and the money thereof coming, to bring into the next court before them, to make satisfaction to the parties, plaintiffs, of the debt and damages recovered and adjudged, if so be that the goods attached amount to that value. And if so be that the goods attached will not amount to the value of the debt and damages recovered, then no further than the value of the goods shall be liable to the parties, plaintiffs, by that action or actions, for appraising, and also the charges of suit, and withdrafts of the court. But if the goods and chattels attached, as is aforesaid, shall by the said appraisement and sale, amount to a more sum than the debt and damage recovered and adjudged, that then the residue of the money proceeding of the said goods and chattels, by the said appraisement and sale, after satisfaction made to the party, plaintiff, for his debt and damages, with costs of suit, and withdrafts of the court, shall remain in the custody of the said bailiffs, to the use of the parties defendants, or any other person or persons having rightful and lawful authority to demand the same. And whereas, divers times many goods and chattels being attached are supposed to be the goods and chattels of others, and not of those parties upon whose names the actions are entered in the court, as defendants. In those cases, the party or parties, which claimeth to have property to those goods and chattels, to defeat the attachment made, and the actions and recoveries had by force thereof, it he be present in the court, shall there in open court, before the bailiffs be sworn, that the property which he or they so claim, in and to the said goods attached, is only upon good cause and consideration, without fraud, covin, or deceit. And further, the bailiffs shall cause the same party claiming such property, to put in his plea into the court, that at the time of the attachment made, the goods were not the goods and chattels of the defendants, but did belong to him at that time, as his proper goods. Upon which plea, if the parties who caused the attachment to be made, will not be satisfied and discharge their actions, then these same parties, plaintiffs in that attachment, shall join issues upon the said plea of claim, that the said goods and chattels, at the time of the attachment made, were the proper goods and chattels of the supposed defendant in those attachments; whereupon a jury shall be then returned and impannelled, against the next court, or at some other court, at the discretion of the said bailiffs, upon their oaths, to enquire and try the property aforesaid, according to the proofs on either part. And if it be found, by the verdict of the said jury, that the property of the said goods, at the time of the attachment made, was in him or them so claiming the same, according to his or their plea, put into the court, then those goods and chattels shall be released of those attachments, and re-delivered up to him or them, that be so found to be the right owners thereof. Provided alalways, that if the party claiming be not present in court, to be sworn in manner and form aforesaid. yet nevertheless his attorney shall be received to put into the court his piea of claiming property, to be tried by the verdict of the jury, in manner and form aforesaid. And if it be found by the verdict of the said jury, that the property of the said goods and chattels attached, at the time of the attachment made, was in him or them, supposed to be defendants, in the action or actions brought and entered upon the said attachments, and not in him or them so making claim thereto; that then those goods and chattels so attached, shall remain liable for the satisfaction of the debt and damages of the plaintiff which caused the said attachment to be made. And the custom of this burgh is, that if a stranger to the attachment and action, being no party therein, shall be supposed owners of the goods and chattels attached, if so be, he comes not by himself, or by his attorney, into the court, and maketh his claim and trial unto the said goods and chattels attached, in manner and form aforesaid, within one year and a day next after the making of the said attachment, or next after judgment given upon the fourth default at the furthest, that then every such proprietor or owner, and his executors, to be utterly excluded and debarred from having or claiming any right or interest in or to the said goods and chattels attached, or in or to any parcel thereof, by custom, for ever. And moreover, the custom of this burgh is, and hath been, that if any goods or chattels be attached and condemned by four several defaults made upon any action brought against their goods and chattels, as the proper goods and chattels of the supposed defendants in those actions, so as by the judment of the court, those goods and chattels are to be delivered to the plaintiffs in satisfaction of the debt and damages recovered and adjudged, that although no title of property or right be supposed in any other persons, but only for the defendants to those actions, yet nevertheless for equity and justice to be done, the bailiffs shall bind the plaintiffs in those actions, to whom those goods and chattels are delivered, as is aforesaid, with two sufficient sureties, being freemen of the burgh, to deliver the goods and chattels aforesaid, into the court, or the value of them, according to the appraisement thereof made and certified into the court, if that any other persons, other than the supposed defendants in the action or actions upon the attachment aforesaid, shall come into the court, within the year and a day aforesaid, and there shall make his claim and lawful trial, to have just and true property in and to the said goods and chattels, in such manner and form as is afore declared, according to the custom of this burgh.
"And the custom of this burgh is, that whereas attachments are made in one man's name, or more, asdefendants in any action brought, and others do claim to be owners of the goods and chattels attached; if that this case be informed to the bailiffs, and that great loss may grow, being no parties to those actions, and that this information shall, in the judgment of the bailiffs, appear to be true, without any deceit or fraud to be supposed in the persons so claiming, being no parties to the said action or actions; that then the bailiffs, by their discretion, may receive the said party, with two sufficient freemen to be bound by recognizance in the court, before them, to try his property of and in the said goods and chattels attached, within certain time to be limited unto him, by the discretion of the said bailiffs, in manner and form as afore declared, for trying property in goods attached, or else that in default of making trial of the said property, by the time limited, the said two freemen shall, by their recognizances, stand and become bound, as sureties and pledges to the action or actions, whereupon the said attachment was made; and then the bailiffs, having regard unto the loss that may grow upon the goods attached by their discretions, upon the recognizance aforesaid, may cause the same goods to be released of and from the said attachment, and delivered unto the supposed owner thereof. But this manner of trying property is not generally to be used upon any attachment, but only by the discretion of the said bailiffs, in such case where great loss is like to grow to the persons being no parties to the actions, whose property is supposed to be without fraud or covin; for the custom of this burgh is, when goods be attached upon any action, which do appear to be the goods of the parties defendants to those actions, those goods shall remain under attachment liable to those actions, and shall not be released without two sufficient sureties or pledges to the action or actions, being freemen; for default of such sureties to be put in, those goods attached shall proceed to condemnation by judgment of the court, in manner and form as is above declared. Nevertheless, if the party defendant, who owneth the goods, be present, having his goods attached, called in default, and if he be not able to put in sureties to the action or actions, according to the custom aforesaid, and if he shall alledge in court before the bailiffs, that the parties, plaintiffs, have no cause of such action or actions against his said goods; then the bailiffs shall receive him by himself, or by his attorney, to plead and join issue with the plaintiff, and then, according to the verdict given up by the jury, if the plaintiff have no cause or action, those goods shall be released and delivered to the defendant; otherwise the same goods shall be liable to the satisfaction of the debt and damages of the plaintiff in that action or actions, according to the judgment to be given. Also by the custom of this burgh, all attachments of goods and chattels whatsoever, by virtue of any action made as aforesaid, shall upon recognizance of two freemen of this burgh, acknowledged before the bailiffs, or one of them, to become sureties and pledges to those actions presently before the fourth default, entered against those goods, be released and discharged; and the said pledges shall be recorded in court, to be answerable to the said actions, whereupon the said actions were made; but after the fourth default entered, no sureties shall be received."
Strangers being masters or owners of vessels trading here, if they contraet a debt with a towns man, and it be not discharged on the bailiffs application to the magistrates of the place where the vessel belongs, the next vessel from thence may be seized.
"Also the custom of this burgh is, that if any freeman or inhabitant within this burgh, shall deliver to any stranger dwelling in France, Zealand, Holland, or in any other parts beyond the sea, being owners or part owners of any ship or vessel or master thereof, any manner of victuals, ropes, cables, anchors, or other necessaries for the said ship or vessel, making a bill of debt between them, or taking the hand or mark of the said owner, or master, or of both, to his book, or else making tallies between them, for the knowledging the receipt of such things. In this case, if the said freeman or inhabitant shall come before the bailiffs, and make his complaints, that he is unpaid for the things delivered, according as was promised and agreed between them, and shall, by his corporal oath before the bailiffs, avow this to be true; then the bailiffs, at the charge of the complainant, shall write their letters, under the town seal, unto the magistrates, or headofficer of that city, town, or place, where the said debtor or debtors do dwell, that order may be taken for the payment and satisfacfaction of the debt aforesaid. And that if reasonable answer be not made unto the said bailiffs within three months next after the delivery of the said letters, whereby the parties complainants shall stand contented, then the bailiffs shall in like manner write their second letter, for satisfaction to be made of and for the debt, if the debtors be able to pay it, then to do justice upon their bodies and goods, according to law and equity, so as if their goods be not sufficient, that their bodies be committed to prison, to answer the said debt; and if that the magistrates and head-officers shall fail in the doing thereof, according to the contents of the said letters, and that complaint be again made to the said bailiffs, by the said freeman or inhabitant, that the said debt is yet unpaid, and this being avowed by their corporal oaths to be true, that then the bailiffs shall, at the suit of the said parties complainants, award an attachment to be made against the next ship and goods of any inhabitant of that city, town, or place, to which the said letters were directed, that shall come next within the liberties of this burgh, for satisfaction to be made of the said debt. And the said bailiffs, having the said attachment returned into the court before them, shall proceed to judgment condemnation, and appraisement of the said ship and goods, according to the custom of this burgh, for the satisfaction of the debt aforesaid."
For making and revoking bye-laws, ordinances, &c. and for the observance and penalties for non-observance thereof. Also what constitutes a common council and assembly.
"The custom of this burgh is, and time out of mind hath been, that the bailiffs, burgesses, and commonalty of this burgh, in their common-council and assemblies, may from time to time make ordinances, laws, and constitutions for the common weal of the said corporation; and again may revoke and repeal any such ordinances, laws, and constitutions made at their pleasures, if the same be found hurtful to the state and common weal of the said corporation; and according to the time, upon consideration, may revive and renew any of the said ordinances, laws, and constitutions.
"And the custom of this burgh hath always been, ever since it was made and incorporated to be a free burgh, that not only all and singular the freemen of the said burgh, but all and singular the inhabitants within the said burgh, ought to maintain, keep, uphold, and obey all such ordinances, laws, orders, and constitutions, as from time to time have been, be, or at any time hereafter shall be made, ordained, and established, by the common-council of the said burgh, under the pains and penalties limited and appointed by the said laws, orders and constitutions. And that all the said freemen and inhabitants, being the breakers and disobeyers of the said laws, ordinances, and constitutions, or any of them, have always been, and may be, and ought to be committed unto the gaol or prison of the said burgh, by the bailiffs of the said burgh, for the time being, or by one of them, there to remain and abide, until they have paid the penalties and forfeitures of all such laws, ordinances, and constitutions, as by them have been broken and disobeyed. For which imprisonment, in manner and form aforesaid, none of the freemen or inhabitants of the said burgh, shall at any time after be allowed or received to have any action, actions, suit or suits, within the said corporation, against the bailiffs, or against any of them that did so commit the said freemen or inhabitants, to ward or prison, as is abovesaid."
"Also, the custom of this burgh is, and always hath been, that no manner of law, ordinances, order, or constitution, which is made, ordained, or established by any common council or assembly, that the same shall not be revoked or repealed, but by another common-council or assembly called and convened: which common-council consisteth, by the ancient custom of this burgh, upon the two bailiffs, or one of them, at the least, and their two and twenty brethren, being termed by the name of the four and twenties, or of the greater part of them, and also of the eight and forties, or the more part of them. In which common-council consisteth the whole body and state of the whole corporation of the burgh, that is incorporated by the name of the bailiffs, burgesses, and commonalty of the burgh and town of Great Yarmouth; the representation thereof is in the bailiffs, or one of them, for the bailiffs; in the four and twenties, for the burgessses; and the eight and forties, for the whole commonalty of the said town. The meeting or appearance of whom, or the more part of them, in manner and form aforesaid, maketh and establisheth a common council and assembly, so as one of the bailiffs, for the time being, be always present And then whatsoever ordinances, laws, orders, and constitutions, are in such manner made and ordained, established and agreed unto, and every of them being written and recorded by the clerk of the assembly, are to be observed and put in execution; and the offenders against the same, are to be punished according to the same, without any manner of favor or affection, by custom of this burgh for ever."
On these articles we shall only remark, that the 14th is the only one which has entirely grown into disuse. The custom there claimed is certainly very extraordinary, and subject to many objections, with respect to the eligibility of such foreign claims, and the difficulties the town might possibly have been embroiled in by such as might be refractory, and refuse an implicit obedience to their privilege, which on a deliberate view, seems to be not altogether unnecessary to its being enforced, in some circumstances. However, the burgesses found their end in it, and did frequently put it in execution, as appears by the court rolls.
In the reign of Edward I. Edward II. Edward III. &c. we find it in use. In the 26th of the former, there is a roll, intitled Rotolus de diversis titeris directis, &c. &c. missis sub sigillo ballivorum; from which it is to be observed, that the bailiffs were sometimes obliged to write a third and fourth letter, ere the desired effect was produced. Amongst these we find a first letter sent to Berwick, Colchester, Dort, Middleburgh, Husflet, Sangate, Calais, &c. a second to Ardenburgh, Colchester, and Flixing; a third to Ardenburgh, and Flssing; a fourth to Dort, &c.
Sometimes copies of these letters (which were written in Latin) were inserted at large in the court-rolls, and sometimes only the purport was entered, as under:
Litera directa ballivis et schabinis de Munke-rode, ad justificand' Cleys Betteson ad reddend' Thome le Nurthern viiili. iiis. vid. quos ei deb' pro sale per duas tall' et similiter xiili. quos ei debet pro pisce sine tall."
"A Letter directed to the bailiffs and schabins (chief magistrates) of Monk-road, to justify Cleys Bettson to pay unto Thomas le Northern £8. 3s. 6d. which he owes him for salt, by two tallies; and also 12l. which he owes him for fish without tallies."
Such bills or acknowledgments of debts as were entered in court, before the bailiffs, had generally annexed a clause, empowering the bailiffs to levy the debt upon the goods and chattels of the debtor, if the conditions of those obligations were not performed. The clause ran in this manner; "Et nisi fecerit, concedit quod ballivi Jernemu"thæ fieri faciant predictum debitum de bonis et catallis suis, &c." (i. e.) And unless he perform the agreement, he grants that the bailiffs of Yarmouth do cause the aforesaid debt to be levied of his goods and chattels, &c.
An instance of the execution of this article, we find in a memorandum in the 12th of Edward I.
"Johannes Gerberge attach, fecit homines de Ostend, pro defectu justic. in partibus illis de quodam debito &c." i. e. "John Gerberge caused to be arrested the men of Ostend, for a default of justice in those parts, for a debt of £4. 1s. in which debt Hankyn Tallard and William his brother, and others, were bound to him, for which some of that society, and of those parts, entered into payment of the said debt; viz, Boyding Kelyng for 3s. Bondyn Fitz Havyn for 3s. Walter Noy for 3s. John Wynkard for 3s. Williard Hawke for 3s. John Walke for 3s. Lambkin Ermund for 3s. Walter Peridan for 3s. &c. &c."
A similar use of this prerogative was attempted to be made in the 27th of the said king, by authority of the king's writ, in a matter in which the burgesses of Yarmouth were not in any wise concerned; and its failure was only owing to the irregularity or the proceedings, as will appear in the subsequent relation.
During the time the king was in Flanders, one of his servants named Nicholas de Montpehers, had his ship robbed and carried off by four Zealanders, with some other unknown accomplices, which being laid before the king, this extraordinary mode, of restitution, or satisfaction, by reprisal, was recommended to be adopted by his writ, as follows;
"Edward, par la grace de Dieu, roi d' Englterre, seigneur d'Irlaunde, et duc d' Aquitaine aux bailiffs de la ville de Jernemue, saluz, &c." i. e. "Edward, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, and duke of Acquitain, to the bailiffs of the town of Yarmouth, greeting. Whereas we have understood, by sufficient witness, that our beloved valet, Nicholas de Montpeliers, was robbed in Zealand of a ship, by the people of the same country, while we were in Flanders, to the great damage of the said Nicholas, as he can inform you We command you that this plaint be truly examined on that behalf; that you cause the matters to be redressed in the best manner and at the most expence that you can, so that right and reason be done him. Given under our privy seal at Westminster, the 25th day of October, in the 27th year of our reign."
Upon receipt of this writ, twelve Zealanders, then at Yarmouth fair, were arrested and committed to prison, though none of them were actually concerned, or had any interest in the said robbery, or connection with the robbers. Upon the trial of this matter, the plaintiff produced several similar instances of attachment, in support of the proceeding; viz. two at St. Botolph, and one at King's Lynn, at the time of the fairs there, upon certain inhabitants of Westchapel, and pleaded, in consequence, that he ought to recover his goods &c. against the peers and commoners of Zealand. The defendants, in answer, alledged, that though they were of Zealand, they were not peers and commoners of Westchapel, in which liberty the robbery was committed; and further, that according to the custom of Yarmouth, and the law current betwixt Yarmouth, and that place, (inter nos et vos) three letters ought to have been sent from that town to the count of Zealand, and there processes ought to be for him before the bailiffs and schabins of the town, or liberty, of whose dominion the offenders were; and because no letter was sent from that town to the earl of Zeland, nor to the bailiffs and schabins of Westchapel, as is proved by the bailiffs of Yarmouth, they desire judgment, if the said Nicholas have any action or complaint against them, who are not guilty of the said trespass, nor have letters passed, as is customary.
Upon this the defendants were acquitted, principally, as is evident from the pleas of the defendants, on account of the irregularity of the proceeding, in not having first applied for redress to the "magistrates or head officers of the place, &c." as the said 14th article enjoins.