Wisbech: Constitutional development of the corporation

Pages 258-259

A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 4, City of Ely; Ely, N. and S. Witchford and Wisbech Hundreds. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 2002.

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At the same meeting in 1568 it was laid down that the 'ten men' were to meet on the first Tuesday in every month, and once a year were to dine together 'at such place as shalbe agreed upon by consent'. The cost of the dinner was to be 4d. per head 'and no more', payable whether the burgess was present or not. (fn. 1) This resolution was signed by the thirty-two burgesses who had just elected the 'ten' for their year of office. There seems to have been some intention of making this dinner a kind of annual general meeting, intermediate between the meetings of the 'ten' and the election meeting on 1 November at which every householder was entitled by the charter to be present. There may also have been an intention to revive the annual feast of the Holy Trinity Guild, which had been dissolved only twenty years before, and of which some of the thirty-two burgesses may have been members. The following year (1569) it was enacted that any absentee refusing to pay his 4d. for the dinner should in future not be admitted. This was repeated in 1583 with the addition of a 2d. fine for a late arrival. (fn. 2) During the period up to about 1625 there were usually about twelve absentees each year-a number sufficient to prevent the dinner from developing into a business meeting in fulfilment of the apparent intention of 1568.


  • 1. Ibid. ii, 45.
  • 2. Ibid. 54, 157.