A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 5. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1912.
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In spite of the tradition that the merchant gild of Winchester was created by Ethelwulf, father of Alfred the Great, in A.D. 856 (fn. 1) there is no authentic evidence of its existence until the reign of Henry I. (fn. 2) The early corporate existence of Winchester owed its first beginnings to its important geographical and political status (fn. 3) rather than to any deliberate trade organization. Whether the gild merchant existed before or only after the Conquest it was only a part, and at first not necessarily a vital part of the borough life. That it would become so was inevitable, but that this stage had not been reached in the 12th century is shown clearly by the two charters of Henry II, one granting to the citizens of Winchester all the liberties and customs which they had enjoyed during the time of Henry I, (fn. 4) the other granting quittance of toll passage and customs to those citizens who were members of the merchant gild. (fn. 5) It is shown again in the charter of Richard I given in March 1190, which was not a grant to the burghal community, but a special grant to those of the citizens who were of the merchant gild and their heirs. (fn. 6) By the time of John the men of the merchant gild are dealt with in the charter given pro fideli servicio to the citizens of Winchester (fn. 7); they were becoming identified with the burghal community, and the 'twenty-four' were to be drawn from their ranks. But, and this is the important point, 'that incorporeal thing the borough' had existed apart from any idea of a merchant gild; the gild was grafted into the existing trunk, but it had no root connexion with its existence.
Although it is thus necessary to clear away the theory that the pre-Conquest gild merchant was the centre round which the borough community was formed, gildsman being equivalent to burgess and the jurisdiction and government being in the hands of the gild, it is not easy to form any clear idea as to the actual early constitution of the borough. The light on its existence that should come from the Domesday Survey is not forthcoming, but its very absence from the Survey is, in the words of Mr. Round, 'a tribute to the greatness of its position.' (fn. 8) The only facts, apart from the mention of many 'haws' in the city, that Domesday provides, are that fourteen of the burgesses paid 25s. to the abbey of Romsey, (fn. 9) that the abbey of Wherwell held thirty-one messuages and a mill in the city, (fn. 10) and that four inhabitants of the suburb of Winchester used to pay 12s. 11d. to the king as of his manor of Basingstoke. (fn. 11)
The Survey of Winchester (c. 1103–15) to some extent supplements the absence of the Domesday Survey of the city. In the first place it shows that although Winchester was a royal and demesne borough in the latter middle ages, deriving all its liberties directly from the king, in the early 12th century it was, like nearly all the ancient boroughs of England and the Continent, an example of what Professor Maitland has termed 'tenurial heterogeneity,' (fn. 12) nothing but 'a juxtaposition or patchwork of fragments of great estates.' (fn. 13) In other words, although the king was the only lord of 'the borough,' he was only landlord of a greater number of the burgesses, while the bishop was becoming lord of a large part of the town and Herbert the Chamberlain, Ralph Basset, Geoffrey Ridel and William de Pont de l'Arche were keeping up their interest in the burgesses. The purpose of the Survey was to ascertain what 'gafol' (fn. 14) (Langabulum and Brug') had been received from the houses in Winchester in the king's demesne in the time of Edward the Confessor, 'for the king wished to have thence the full amount that King Edward had from it in his time.' The result shows, on the oath made by eightysix principal burgesses (de Burgensibus melioribus), that whereas the dues of King Edward had been paid by sixty-three burgesses within the High Street, now the king received his dues from eighteen of these only. Twelve of the original sixty-three had been evicted by the Conqueror to make room for the 'king's house' or palace (fn. 15); the remaining thirty-three paid nothing. (fn. 16)
In other streets in the city, in 'Snithelingastret,' 'Bredenestret,' 'Scowertenestret,' 'Alwarenestret,' 'Flescmangerstret,' 'Wongarstret,' 'Tannerstret,' 'Bucchestret' (where near the wall the abbess had two manses de terra regis), in 'Calpestret,' 'Goldstrete' and 'Gerestrete' or 'Garstret,' a total of 144 householders rendered their customary dues.
Outside Westgate fifty-six houses, twenty-seven of which had been built since the time of King Edward, rendered the due customs to the king. Four houses which had paid their fixed 'gafol' in the time of King Edward now rendered nothing. Five houses on the land of the abbot (of Hyde) rendered nothing, though they were de terra regis. (fn. 17) Within the city again seven householders in Snithelingastret, (fn. 18) nine in Bredenestret, eight in Scowertenestret, seven in Alwarenestret, (fn. 19) three in Flescmangerstret, and thirteen in Wongarstret rendered their customary dues. Under the sub-heading De terris Baronum under Bredenestret is a note to the effect that in this street in the time of Edward the Confessor there were ten burgesses de terra regis, now only eight. (fn. 20) Unfortunately it is impossible to gather from these facts any material information as to the borough and burgesses, not even the actual numbers being ascertainable; but, besides proving the variety of tenure of the city, they are useful as showing that the greater number of the burgages held by the king were on either side of the High Street. (fn. 21)
The second survey, that taken by order of Bishop Henry of Blois in 1148, has a special significance also in that, being a general survey of the lands and tenements in Winchester, it shows the size and population of the city.
The following table represents roughly the relative numerical strength of royal, episcopal and monastic holdings and the localities in which these influences were centred at the time of the survey (fn. 22) :—
The facts shown by this table determined much of the character of the later internal history of the borough when royal influence gave place to civic rights and civic rights were pitted against episcopal and monastic claims. Passing from the witness of the Surveys of Winchester, it is necessary to watch carefully the gradual change in the character of the borough community. Already in the latter half of the 12th century, as the early Pipe Rolls of Henry II show, the burgage rents in the city owing to the king were being farmed at a round sum (fn. 23); yet throughout the reign of Henry II and Richard I it was the sheriff, or a farmer under him, who rendered the farm, and in the eyes of the auditors of the Exchequer the borough was simply a part of the county which the sheriff farmed. The difficulties of Hubert Walter and of King John were the forces beyond all others which were to bring the borough, as a corporate community differentiated from the shire, into direct financial, judicial and political relations with the Exchequer and the Crown, and the outward and visible signs of this were the granting of the city at fee farm, the granting of rights and privileges which practically constituted the borough as a select self-governing community, and the growth of the right of separate elective representation in the Parliaments of the kingdom.
The Great Roll of the Exchequer of 1129–30 (31 Henry I) does not include any mention of the farm, the membrane on which it was probably entered being missing. However, the sheriff rendered, a was to be customary, 20 marks of silver blanched for the farm of the 'Chepemanesela,' £20 13s. of the £80 due from the city as an aid-paying borough, and £22 15s. 8d. arrears. (fn. 24) In the Pipe Roll of 1155–6 (2 Henry II) a certain Stigand (not the sheriff) rendered account of the farm of the city. The farm of the Chapman's Hall was also in private hands. Godfrey de Windsor and Alfwin Berd owed 20 marks of silver for the hall, and rendered account of the farm of the same, paying £8 into the treasury and having quittance. (fn. 25) Peter Merciarius rendered account of £100 for the king's peace, and, paying £63 into the treasury, remained with a debt of £36. (fn. 26) The next year Stigand also rendered the account for the farm of the city, paying into the treasury £45 3s. 2d. (fn. 27) The same Stigand also rendered account for 100 marks of his debts, of which he paid into the Exchequer £13 10s., and to the men of the royal ship (Snecca) £30 by royal writ, owing therefore £23 3s. 4d. (fn. 28) In the next year, 1157–8, the sheriff is found rendering account of the farm, while the men of the Chapman's Hall themselves accounted for their debt of 40 marks of silver for the last two years. Osbert the Linendraper (Lingedrapel) rendered account of 20 marks of silver of the new farm of the Chapman's Hall. (fn. 29) Throughout the succeeding years of the reign of Henry II the sheriff himself rendered account of the farm of the city, (fn. 30) paying into the Exchequer yearly sums varying from a few shillings to over £200, the low payments marking years of debt or excessive expenses and the high payments those of payment of arrears as well as the farm of the present year. The amount of the annual farm, as is definitely set out on and from the roll of 1177, was £142 12s. 4d. It had been raised from that figure in 1160, on the death of Sheriff Thurstin, by the addition of £80, but this remained in dispute under his son. (fn. 31) In 1171 and 1172 the sheriff rendered nothing into the Exchequer on account of large expenses, and only 4s. 11d. the next year. (fn. 32) Again in 1176 nothing was paid into the Exchequer, but there is a note to the effect that the former sheriff still owed £173 11s. 7d. 'de veteri firma …qui requirendi sunt a Willelmo fratre suo qui finivit cum rege de eodem debito reddendo per annum £20.' (fn. 33) The expenses incurred by the sheriff, apart from the settled alms, liveries and tenths, necessarily varied from year to year. Some peculiar payments occur only in special years, such as £20 given to Ailward the chamberlain in 1172 for a gown for the king's son bought at Winchester fair (fn. 34); 12s. 4d. paid in 1175 for blessing the ditches for the ordeal (by water) and cost of doing justice on those villeins who had burnt their lord (fn. 35); and £2 2s. spent in 1176 for dyeing 40 ells of canvas for the king's chamber and other small preparations when the king's daughter went to Sicily. (fn. 36) For the rest there usually occur sums for the conveyance of the treasury chest and treasure from Winchester to Portsmouth, Rochester, London or Southampton, &c.; sums for providing carts for the same, for building and repairing the treasure-house and mint-house; sums for the conveyance of prisoners from Winchester to London, &c., and for the maintenance of prisoners, as well as the large sums due to the royal castle works at Winchester and the repair of the royal houses. (fn. 37)
At the beginning of the 13th century, by 1201–2, as a result of King John's difficulties, the city was held at fee farm, rendering £142 12s. 4d. as annual rent. (fn. 38) In 1208 the king regranted the city, which had evidently been seized into the king's hands, to the citizens on condition that they paid all the debts they owed the king. (fn. 39) The list of 393 pledges given to the sheriff was headed by the mayor, who was responsible for 3 marks, as were also nineteen other citizens; the Prior of St. Swithun was responsible for 15 marks, Owen Palmarius for 4, Nicolas de Kiriel for 5, John de Stokes for 5, and Ernald Vinitor for 20. (fn. 40)
In June 1228 Henry III directed a writ to the barons of the Exchequer that whereas the citizens of Winchester were accustomed since the time of his father King John to render £142 yearly to the Exchequer for their fee farm, he now for the faithful service of the city both to his father and himself and because of the poverty and destruction of the city pardoned the citizens the whole of their arrears of the farm for each of the three years 1224–5, 1225–6, 1226–7. (fn. 41) Later in the year 1228 the king granted the city to the citizens for five years from Michaelmas 1227 for £80 annually. (fn. 42) In January 1232 the king pardoned the citizens £64 17s. 1d. owing to the Crown from the farm of the city since the year 1215–16; £40 0s. 3d. owing from 1214; 200 marks owing 'de veteri tallagio tempore ejusdem' and 10 dolia of wine owing 'pro defalta foreste de eodem tempore.' (fn. 43) Two years later he granted that the good men of Winchester should hold their city at farm for two years from Michaelmas next, rendering £80 annually as they were accustomed to do formerly. (fn. 44) When that term of years was ended in 1236 the king repeated the grant for three years. (fn. 45) In October 1242 it was made for one year. (fn. 46) Further in 1264, because 'through the impotence of the citizens and the poverty of the other inhabitants' the city was so impoverished that the buildings were destroyed and in ruin on every side, Henry III further reduced the fee farm from £80 to £66 13s. 4d. (100 marks) for a term of twenty-one years. (fn. 47) For like reasons Edward III in 1352 granted to the citizens the holdings which the Austin Friars of the city had lately acquired without his licence and forfeited on that account. (fn. 48)
In the meanwhile various charges had been made on the fee farm for purveyance, pensions, &c. (fn. 49) Further, the queens of England often obtained the fee farm in part dowry. In June 1290 Eleanor the king's mother was granted the farm for life in augmentation of her maintenance. (fn. 50) Queen Isabel was dowered by her son Edward III with the whole farm at 100 marks in 1327 (fn. 51) and confirmed in the same in 1344–5. (fn. 52) Queen Joan of Navarre, being endowed with the same by her husband Henry IV, held it throughout her widowhood and in 1422 appointed three conservators of her rights in the city. (fn. 53)
By the year 1410 the city was in great difficulties as to the collection of the fee farm, with the result that the mayor and citizens presented a petition to Parliament praying for licence under the Great Seal to purchase lands, rents, services, &c., to the value of 40 marks yearly. Permission was accordingly given. (fn. 54) However, the Hundred Years' War still continued to drain the city of money and inhabitants and in 1450 another petition was drawn up and presented to Henry VI. Already in May 1441 the king had granted the then mayor and commonalty in relief of their charges 40 marks from the 'ulnage and subsidie of wollen clothes' within the city and county, but now 'this annuyte' was 'voide to theym and hoolie resumed' by the king 'because of an Acte of Parliament.' Hence the mayor and citizens, being destitute of all relief and being 'charged to bere the fee ferme of the said citee which draweth yerlye to the sume of an cxii marcs, and bere also the maister of the Hospitall of Marie Magdalene, beside Wynchester, LXs, also when the 15th or taxe is granted …the some of £51 10s. 4d.,' were utterly undone and 'must cese and deliver uppe the citee and the kayes into the king's hand' unless his grace should be showed to them in this behalf, and he should grant them 40 marks 'to be hadde and taken yerelie to thym and their successors' for evermore from the aforesaid ulnage. (fn. 55) As a result in February 1452 Henry VI gave the mayor, bailiffs and commonalty 40 marks for 50 years. (fn. 56) Edward IV in 1462 inspected and confirmed this charter. (fn. 57) Henry VII inspected and confirmed both the charter and inspeximus in November 1486, (fn. 58) and at the end of the term of fifty years, in October 1504, renewed the grant to the city for sixty years. (fn. 59) Henry VIII confirmed the same in 1515. (fn. 60) In spite of this substantial relief, the city seems to have been still burdened with financial difficulties judging from the appeal made in August 1516 to Bishop Fox, 'the most excellent noblest kindest and loving bishop that was ever bishop of the see.' On account of 'the dekeying and desolacion of the city' and its consequent inability to bear the expense of clothing those 'sixteen or twenty honest persons' who were yearly bound to present the mayor elect before the barons of the Exchequer, the mayor and citizens petitioned that henceforth the mayor elect should be sworn at Winchester before the late mayor, the recorder and three or four aldermen, and a royal charter was obtained to that effect. (fn. 61)
Philip and Mary, because of the poverty of the city, granted the mayor, bailiffs and commonalty lands and houses in the city and soke inclusive of fee-farm rents amounting to 44s. 10d. a year. The whole ulnage of cloth seems to have been in the hands of the mayor and commonalty for the relief of their fee farm by 1559, in the September of which year they granted it to Robert Ryve of Basingstoke for a term of twentyone years. (fn. 62) In December 1604 King James I, again for the relief of their fee farm, committed the farm of the custody and ulnage of all vendable cloth in the city and county to the Mayor and bailiffs of Winchester together with 'the moiety of forfeitures of the said cloths put to seal not being sealed with the seal thereunto ordained.' Eight years later the mayor and bailiffs granted the ulnage to Ludovic Duke of Lennox at his earnest desire and request, and for £400 paid down and a yearly quittance of £29 18s. 8d. (fn. 63) However, he regranted it to the city in the same year. (fn. 64) The reign of Charles I with its financial difficulties brought new burdens on the city in the shape of ship-money, making the demands of the fee farm even more difficult to meet. Winchester was assessed for ship-money at the high sum of £170. In April 1638 the sheriff, Sir John Oglander, was ordered to free the city of £20 of the assessed sum, since it could not bear the burden, and suit had been made to the Lords to regard the poverty of the place. The sheriff thereupon wrote to the council that he had had no hand in assessing the city so high and saw no possibility of collecting the £20 and no reason why he should pay any part out of his own purse. (fn. 65) However, he evidently had to pay, as in January 1638–9 the council, noting the acquittance by the city of £150, thought fit that it should be discharged the other £20, which should be paid by the sheriff. The £150 already paid had evidently been mostly disbursed by the last mayor himself, and the present mayor was therefore required to give warrants of assistance to collect the sum owing to the late mayor from such as had not yet paid their rates. (fn. 66)
The sheriff's quietus for 1655, as for following years, shows £33 6s. 8d. (50 marks) delivered by the bailiffs as parcel of the fee farm of 100 marks, of which 60s. went 'to the infirm people upon the mount' (St. Giles' Hill). The other 50 marks went to the heir of the Marquess of Winchester, to whom and his heirs Edward VI had granted 50 marks from the fee farm on his creation in 1551–2. (fn. 67) Indeed, throughout the late 16th and early 17th centuries and later the Crown had little profit from the fee farm of Winchester, since this 50 marks went to the Marquesses of Winchester and the other 50 were practically covered by the grant of the ulnage. Even so, the city was reduced to a still worse state financially by the reign of Charles II. In February 1670 the mayor petitioned the king for a release of the payment of 50 marks of the fee farm, part of the 100 formerly paid, but reduced to 50 because of the decay of the town. The city had never been in so low a condition as then. The late castle was turned into rubbish during the troubles, many houses were burned, and the city treasure exhausted through loyalty, the citizens having presented their plate and a large sum of money raised on credit to the late king. (fn. 68) As a result of this petition the king in 1674 released 50 marks of the fee farm to the mayor and bailiffs for sixty years. (fn. 69) George II, on the petition of the mayor and bailiffs, renewed this grant for a term of twenty-eight years in July 1731, (fn. 70) and George III renewed the same in perpetuity in 1762. (fn. 71) Thus this connexion between the city and the Crown was practically severed. In the report made by the commissioners on the state of the borough in 1835 the fee-farm rental was set at £18 19s. 5d., but the arrears were heavy. In 1820 the sum collected was £12 19s. 6d.; in 1827 the sum collected was £16, and that entered as uncollected was £14 15s. 6d. (fn. 72) As a survival of this a few 'fee-farm rents' amounting to about £11 a year are still levied on houses and buildings which were originally Crown property. Also 100 nobles a year is still paid by the city to the Marquess of Winchester as his Tudor ancestors' creation fee.
Turning to the long series of charters that record the growth of civic rights and liberties, the earliest extant is that of Henry II granting the citizens all liberties and customs which they had enjoyed in the time of Henry I. Any duties unjustly levied in the late war were to be quashed, and henceforth all merchants coming to the city should come and go in the king's peace and safety, rendering their right dues. (fn. 73) The charter of King John, marking the change in the character of the civic community, was given to both citizens and members of gild merchant, and confirmed the right of having moneyers and an exchange in the city, (fn. 74) together with all rights pertaining to the royal coinage and exchange. Further, the king conceded to the citizens the site of two mills within the city at Coitbury for the repair of the city, the right not to be impleaded outside the city or to answer for any debt except a capital debt or plea. Then comes what is practically a repetition of the charter of Richard I to the members of the gild merchant. (fn. 75) The charter was confirmed by successive sovereigns. (fn. 76) Philip and Mary granted various lands and houses in the soke, and houses formerly belonging to St. Mary's Abbey, to the mayor and citizens without adding any new privileges. The incorporation charter of Elizabeth was granted in January 1587–8, when at the petition of Sir Francis Walsingham, high steward of the city, the queen constituted Winchester a free city corporate, whose governing body was to be one mayor, one recorder, six aldermen, two bailiffs, two coroners, and two constables, with the 'twenty-four' to assist and aid the mayor. The aldermen might be removed and other inhabitants or citizens put in their place. The mayor, recorder and aldermen were henceforth to be justices of the peace for the city and liberty and precincts. The justices of the peace of the county were not henceforth to exercise any jurisdiction belonging to the justices of peace of the city. The mayor, bailiffs, and commonalty were to have all fines, issues, redemptions, &c., before the said justices, and to levy and collect the same. Every mayor from henceforth should be escheator for the Crown within the city. A Court of Record should henceforth be held in the Gildhall every Wednesday and Friday before the mayor, the recorder, or his deputy, and the bailiffs were to adjudge all actions in the ancient manner. The boroughmote should be held twice a year, also leets and law days and views of frankpledge. The citizens should have return of all writs, so that no sheriff or other bailiff should enter the city to execute such; they were discharged of suit at hundred and county court, of all tolls and lastage, pontage and pisage, stallage, murage and chiminage, and none should be empanelled with foreigners in any assizes or juries. Moreover, the queen pardoned to the mayor and bailiffs and commonalty all actions and suits de quo warranto whatsoever, and all unjust claims made against them, all saving the rights of the bishop. (fn. 77) Thus were summed up the results of the preceding centuries, the rights and liberties and historic growth of the civic community of Winchester, and the governing body of the city remained thus incorporated until the Municipal Reform Act of 1835. (fn. 78)
Under this Act the city was re-established under the title of mayor, aldermen and burgesses, and it was divided into three wards, each electing six councillors, the eighteen taking the place of the twenty-four, and one-third of the council going out of office annually. The six aldermen were to be in office under the old conditions; if a councillor should be elected to fill the office of alderman the vacancy in the council should be immediately filled up. No man was henceforth to obtain the freedom of the city by gift or purchase; the freemen's roll was to be kept by the town clerk. Every burgess enrolled was entitled to vote in the election of councillors and auditors and assessors. The courts and jurisdiction within the city remained practically the same, except that the bishop's jurisdiction of the soke finally disappeared.
The three wards into which the city was thus divided in 1835 were those of St. Maurice, St. John and St. Thomas. The commissioners who reported on the municipal boundaries in 1837 proposed a rearrangement of the parishes within these wards. (fn. 79) However, the wards remained the same (except that parts of the added area were added to each ward) until 1904, when the city was divided into six wards —St. Maurice, St. Bartholomew Hyde, St. John, St. Michael, St. Thomas and St. Paul—each returning three councillors. (fn. 80)
The idea of representation was one of slow but certain growth, developing on the smaller scale within the borough itself as the election of officers became part of civic responsibility, and extending to the wider scale as the borough became a financial and judicial unit in the conception of the Exchequer and the Crown. In 1283 the Mayor and citizens of Winchester and other chief cities were summoned to send two of the wiser citizens, chosen by the citizens from among themselves, to a national council at Shrewsbury for the discussion of the affairs of the nation with regard in especial to the difficulties of the Welsh war. (fn. 81) With the issue of the writs of the model Parliament of 1295 the normal representation of Winchester by two burgesses was begun and was continued until the second Reform Act of 1839 reduced the representation to one member. Up to the 19th century the electors were the mayor, recorder, aldermen, bailiffs and burgesses of the city. (fn. 82) The earliest extant Chamberlains' Rolls for the city note the expenses of the two burgesses delegated for Parliament. In the earliest compotus, that for 1354, 75s. is accounted for as paid to William Wynesflode and Roger Germayn for their expenses in Parliament. In that year 4s. was also allotted to Richard Wigge for the same cause. (fn. 83)
This representative system once in working, Edward I was not slow to see the value of it and to use it for other purposes. Thus in 1295 he ordered the men of Winchester to choose two citizens competent to dispose and order a new town for the greatest advantage of the king and of the merchants coming thither, and to cause the two citizens to come to the king at Bury St. Edmunds on the morrow of All Souls at the latest. (fn. 84) Such orders as these necessarily added new financial burdens on the city. The meeting of Parliament at Winchester involved the city in yet heavier expenditure, as may be seen from the accounts of the mayors as entered in the Chamberlains' Rolls. For example, in 1372, among the expenses of Ralph Forde, the mayor for that year, is £4 12s. for the enlarging of the mayor's house on account of Parliament and the coming of the lords. The sum of 109s. was also paid to minstrels for performing before the king, (fn. 85) the prince, the Earl of Pembroke and other great lords.
As early as the reign of Henry I there is mention of Godwine the alderman who heads the list of those present at a transfer of land and houses in 'Bukerestreta' (Busket Lane). (fn. 86) Mr. Round points out that this is strictly analogous to the London practice at the time and considers that it suggests an early division of Winchester, like London, into wards with their aldermen. But, looking backward, it is clear that from the 13th century at least the city had been governed by mayor, bailiffs and twenty-four freemen. The bailiffs, taking the place of the earlier reeves (prepositi), were part of the native growth and represented the power of the Crown; the mayor with his 'compares' represented Continental influence and the introduction of a commercial as against a territorial influence in the civic life. (fn. 87) The mythical first Mayor of Winchester, Florence de Lunn, whose office is said to have been created with that of a subordinate bailiff in 1184, (fn. 88) may be summarily dismissed. The first authentic reference to a mayor comes in October 1200, when King John directed a writ de liberate to the mayor to provide certain articles of clothing for Geoffrey the king's son. (fn. 89) The next mention of the mayor comes in 1207–8, when he heads the list of the pledges given to the sheriff for the payment of the debts of the city to the king. (fn. 90)
According to both the custumals of the city of the 13th and 15th centuries, the mayor was to be chosen, as the later document (fn. 91) has it, 'by the comunis gaderynge and gaderynge and grauntynge of the foure and twenty i. swore also of the comynes the pryncypals: the weche mayre shal be out put fro yere to yere; the weche mayre ne shal underfonge [undertake] no pleynte ne no ple meinteygne ne susteygne of thynges that toucheth the soule of the town.' (fn. 92) The election of the mayor thus made was confirmed by the king, to whom the mayor had personally to take an oath 'touching those things that pertain to the mayoralty.' (fn. 93) In the case of the death of a mayor during his term of office the 'good men' of Winchester had licence to elect a mayor 'faithful to the king and useful to the city.' (fn. 94) At a later date, in 1573, an ordinance was made to the effect that if a mayor should die during his mayoralty 'the party that was last mayor' should take the place for the remaining term of office, or, if he refused, the citizens should within twenty-one days elect one to serve for that remaining term. (fn. 95) The order for the election of the mayor as obtaining in 1520 is thus described in the First Book of Ordinances of the Corporation: 'the citizens bene assemblie for thelection of the mayor all thoes that hathe been mayors to name two such able men of the twenty four as they think most metes be.' These names were to be put in writing and delivered to the present mayor, who should put out one of them, the other remaining mayor-elect. If there should be any variance, then, unless there were a majority, the eldest ex-mayor's party should have the decision. No mayor need without his own consent be mayor again for five years, or his nominators should forfeit £10. (fn. 96) The Commissioners of 1835 (fn. 97) reported that the mayor was then elected by the common assembly from among the freemen, but in practice generally in rotation from among the aldermen, and, although not an alderman during office, resumed his seniority when the year expired. The same conditions hold now.
The Chamberlains' Accounts show that in the 14th century the normal payments to the mayor were about £10. (fn. 98) In 1554 'the twenty marks of old tyme accustomed for the mayor's office' were raised to £20, £10 to be paid at the first boroughmote and £10 at the second. But whereas the bailiffs had been accustomed to give the serjeants of the city livery gowns, the mayor was now to give the gowns of a specified length of 3½ yards. (fn. 99) In 1573 the order concerning the providing of the livery was rescinded, the salary of £20 confirmed, a rider being added to the effect that if the mayor should do or leave undone anything against Act of Parliament concerning rating and certain rates of wages of servants and artificers, or against the proclamation of the prohibition for eating flesh at Lent or any city ordinance binding him, the auditors might abate or deduct so much of the £20 as they should think right. (fn. 100)
The Commissioners of 1835 reported that the mayor had no salary, but emoluments from certain sums paid in the nature of quit-rents called 'chicken money,' then worth about £18 a year, but formerly worth about £40. (fn. 101) A former bequest to the mayor and aldermen of £1 a year for cake and ale was then paid to the mayor only. No hospitality was then expected of the mayor such as the former expensive entertainments at St. John's House, so frequently mentioned in the 17th and 18th-century coffer books and the borough ordinances. (fn. 102) The office, though its duties are heavy, is practically honorary at the present day. The earliest existing Chamberlains' Rolls for the city show that from the 14th century at least payments were made each year to the mayorelect for his expenses in going to London to receive his commission for office, and in each compotus of the mayors entered on the Rolls this item is included among his expenses. (fn. 103) In 1364–5 an instance arose of a mayor neglecting to appear to be sworn. (fn. 104) The citizens had chosen Richard Wygge as mayor, but, as he did not duly appear at the Exchequer, the city was taken into the king's hands and by him committed to four citizens. Two of the citizens, upon their petition, had a day to bring in the said Richard Wygge, and, on his appearance to be sworn, the city was restored to the citizens. (fn. 105) It was not until 1516 that the mayor-elect was permitted to take oath of office before his predecessor, the recorder and two or three aldermen instead of before the barons of the Exchequer. (fn. 106)
Some suggestion of restrictions placed on those holding the mayoral office is found in 1573, when order was made that Stephen Ashton, mayor, should be allowed to dwell in the east part of his house, provided that during his mayoralty that part of the house should not be used as an inn. His wife and servants, however, might use all the rest of the house as a common inn, provided always it should be lawful for him to receive any men of honour or justices of the peace of the shire for lodging and diet into the said east part of the house where he himself was to dwell. During his mayoralty he was not to sell fish openly in the streets or ride to the sea for fish except he should have great occasion and then not without an attendant. He was allowed to lodge any fishermen or 'Rippiar' (fn. 107) within his inn provided he did not buy any fish brought to the city to be sold or suffer the same fish to be sold in hulster out of the open market, but he might buy any fish in open market only for the provision of his house. (fn. 108) Special conditions were made for the protection of the mayors from slander and blasphemy. In April 1415, and again in 1428, the order that those who slandered the mayor were hereafter to be imprisoned and fined 120s. (fn. 109) is illustrated by the case of John Woodman, a justice of the peace and a sworn assistant of the mayor. During a meeting of the city council in 1650 he had spoken to the mayor, Edward Riggs, in a slighting and upbraiding manner. During the mayoralty of Thomas Muspratt in 1651 he had appeared at the head of a tumultuous company who in riotous manner had broken down the doors of St. Maurice Church. The mayor had gone in person to preserve the peace, but Woodman assisted the rioters and he and his companions had affronted the mayor with so many opprobrious terms that he was forced to retire 'to the great dishonour of magistracy and the destruction of the government of the city.' (fn. 110) In 1717 Richard Leversuch, mason, was forced to pay a fine of 5 marks and to make apologies in 'a most humble prostrate manner' for 'a very rude approach on Gilbert Wavell mayor to whom he had uttered contumelious, opprobrious scandalous words.' (fn. 111) Again in June 1679 John Reading, the organist of Winchester College, who set 'Domum' to music, was forced into an apology for having abused the mayor and aldermen of the city by publishing a scandalous libel against them, for which he acknowledged himself 'heartily sorry.' (fn. 112)
In 1561 provision was made that the mayors should henceforth wear scarlet robes on the great festivals if the mayor-elect shall have provided his gown. (fn. 113) In no case was any mayor to come into the High Street or common market 'except he be rydinge out of the town or going a shoting without a gown or cloak on pain of forfeiting 3s. 4d. for every conviction on the testimony of a citizen, provided always that he might walk before his doors or shop windows about his necessary business.' (fn. 114) In 1579 the mayor was ordered to provide his wife with a scarlet gown, 'according to the ancient order of the city,' so that she might wear the same on the first boroughmote day and all other days when her husband should wear his, under pain of £10 deduction from his fee. (fn. 115) Mr. Edward White in 1581 was excused providing his wife's gown for the first boroughmote on condition he should do so by Easter, (fn. 116) and Mr. Anthony Birde was given a similar extension of time in the next year. (fn. 117) The mayoress no longer wears a scarlet gown, but has recently been provided with a handsome jewel by the corporation. The mayor keeps his robe and wears with it the gold chain of office presented by the citizens in 1879. (fn. 118)
The early reeves (prepositi) of the city, the predecessors in position and authority of the bailiffs, seem to have been at least two in number. Ethelwold is mentioned in the first survey of Winchester (fn. 119) as having held under Edward the Confessor, while Richard (fn. 120) and Warine, (fn. 121) and apparently 'Gefordus' (fn. 122) also, were reeves at the time of the survey. In a document of the same reign (Henry I) the witnesses are Godwine and Geoffrey, reeves of Winchester, and William FitzOsbert, their clerk. (fn. 123) In the early years of the reign of King John royal writs were directed to the reeves concurrently with and separate from those directed to the mayor, (fn. 124) although in some cases writs are directed to the mayor and commonalty. (fn. 125) The early writs for confirming the election of the mayor were invariably directed to the bailiffs and good men of Winchester. (fn. 126) From 1274 at least (see infra) the election of the two bailiffs was shared by the commonalty of the city and the twenty-four. (fn. 127) In later centuries up to 1835 they were elected annually with the mayor, being selected by the retiring mayor and aldermen and proposed at the common assembly. Each served for two years, first as low and then as high bailiff. They were chosen from the community at large, with no preference as to seniority. (fn. 128) The office ceased with the Municipal Reform Act of 1835. The functions of the bailiffs in the city were similar to those of the sheriff in the county, the chief duties being the collection of the fee farm and the annual accounting and delivering up of the court rolls and rentals or tarrages of the city, (fn. 129) and during the Hundred Years' War the position was no easy one. Several times petitions occur for exemption from holding office, such as that of Thomas Hebbe, who in 1422–3 appeared before the mayor and the twenty-four and for a sum of 40s. was exempted from serving the office of high or low bailiff on account of his faithful service as serjeant for twenty years last past. (fn. 130) Among the lesser duties of the bailiffs was that of keeping the common pound, the duty devolving on them by a city ordinance of August 1516. (fn. 131) In 1553 they were ordered now and henceforth after every boroughmote at every half year to gather diligently all entries and estreats made by the town clerk of the presentments at every boroughmote. (fn. 132) In the 16th and 17th centuries some restrictions were made as to the dress of the bailiffs. An ordinance of 1584 forbids any bailiff or higher officer to wear bright-coloured hose, either white, green, yellow, red, blue, 'wegget' or 'oringe' colour, in the streets or at any assembly, boroughmote or sessions, or on Sundays or 'holydays' any white, green, yellow or red doublet, on pain of 2s. 6d. fine. (fn. 133) The order was not well obeyed, for in 1600, and again in 1656, it was ordered that every bailiff of the city should wear a 'citizen's gown,' such in fashion as the scarlet gowns worn by the mayor and aldermen, on solemn feast days and at every assembly and boroughmote and sessions. (fn. 134) An early instance of insubordination on the part of one of the bailiffs occurs in 1367, when one was attached to answer for contempt of court.
In 1559 the local authorities attached Stephen Ashton, (fn. 135) bailiff, for infringing the liberties of the city by serving a writ of a justice of the peace upon one of the citizens. He was ordered in punishment to make two long mats, the one for the high bench in the town hall, the other for the lower bench. (fn. 136)
The twenty-four 'jurates' existing as the 'compares' or peers of the mayor, 'eider e conseiller le …mere a fraunchise sauver et sustener,' (fn. 137) conclusively link the civic constitution of Winchester with that of the communities of the Continent. Like the twenty-four councillors of London, they were identical in character and function with the twelve skivini and the duodecim consultores of the établissements of Rouen, in whose hands the administration of justice in that city remained. (fn. 138) Commercial need had primarily decided the nature of the Continental communities, and commerce brought Winchester, like London, into touch with the Continent. It was natural, therefore, that the twenty-four nominally elected by all the freemen, 'de plus prudes hommes et des plus sages de la ville,' (fn. 139) should in effect be the sworn men of the merchant gild, whose rights and liberties were already so well protected (see supra). These twenty-four peers of the mayor held office for life or during good behaviour, and aided and assisted the mayor in the council house until the Municipal Reform Act of 1835, when their place was taken by the eighteen councillors (see supra). In October 1507, under the mayoralty of John Butler, an ordinance was made to the effect that 'no manner of man' of the twenty-four should 'bare himselff in woordes in the king's courte or any assemble or in counsell house uppon pain of 6s. 8d. to be levied to the use of the cytie,' also every one of the said twenty-four was 'to kepe sylence uppon the mayor's commandment upon the same paines.' (fn. 140) For breach of this ordinance William Brexton, one of the twenty-four, was expelled the council in March 1559. (fn. 141) The twenty-four were also bound to practical duties in the life of the city, as appears in 1556, when eight members of their body with four other freemen were appointed to view the houses in the city for watch thenceforth to be 'kept and, such houses as they shall appoynt to watch, the tenants of the said houses shall yerely watch from thensforth.' (fn. 142) In 1574 it was agreed that 'for the avoiding the peril and danger of fire …every one of the twenty-four …shall have ready at his house one leather Bucket' on pain of forfeiting 6s. 8d. (fn. 143) Another obligation, still binding on the councillors, dating at least from 1538, was that of attending the mayor every Sunday and principal feast at the cathedral. In 1575 this 'attendance' was defined as not only presence at the church, but accompanying the mayor to and from the same. (fn. 144) Gowns were also compulsory for the twenty-four, as for the other officials. (fn. 145)
The aldermen of the city, strictly speaking, had no part in the ordinary civic government until the later charters of the 15th century interposed new officials, under the old name, between the mayor and the twenty-four. The aldermen of earlier centuries were distinct officers, whose chief functions related to the police and sanitary systems within their several limits. For example, the earliest existing Court Roll among the city archives is that of a boroughmote held in 1417–18, before John Atte Oke, mayor, when the alderman of the city presented that John Prat, butcher, had four hog sties near the Chequer Inn, to the injury of John Collet. The alderman of Tanner Street presented Walter Hore for selling ale below the statutory price, and John Coldstone for having a trough in Wongar Street, near the house of John Stacey, to the injury of the latter. (fn. 146) In the same year the same alderman presented John Blake for having broken stalls (stallagium) in Tanner Street, and Simon Pikestaff for selling a flagon of ale for 2d. (fn. 147) Later in the Court Rolls the 'bedells' present similar cases. They seem to be subordinate officers acting for the aldermen and carrying out their routine police duties; and it is significant that the title 'alderman' was in 1424 to gain a different connotation (see infra). They present not only cases of nuisance, but also cases of petty larceny, &c. Thus the bedell of Colebrook Street in 1417–18 presented Margaret Godard for stealing one salmon, price 12d., from John Edwards (fn. 148); the bedell of Jewry Street presented Richard Denmead for having unjustly carried away wool of various colours to the value of 25d., (fn. 149) and Margery Bat as a common scold and disturber of the peace. (fn. 150) By the 16th century such presentments were made through the jury, not personally by the bedells. (fn. 151)
The aldermen occur in another capacity in the Chamberlains' Accounts for the city. Thus in the earliest roll—that for 27 Edward III (1353–4)— in the compotus of the taxes for the mending of the staple house in the city, John Lacey, alderman of Tanner Street, accounted for 28s. 9d. as a result of five weeks' collection; Henry Rende, alderman of the city, for 47s. 8½d.; Richard Crawelie, alderman of Jewry Street, for 7s. 3d.; Walter le Eir, alderman extra Northgate, for 3s. 6½d.; William le Lues, alderman of Gold Street, for 13s. 4d. (fn. 152) Two years later the aldermen accounted for £18 4s. 3d. towards the repair of the city walls, £8 10s. 9d. from the aldermanry of the city, 28s. 6d. from that of Jewry Street, 51s. 9d. from that of Gold Street, 18s. 9d. from that of Northgate, £4 14s. 6d. from that of Tanner Street. (fn. 153)
The character and functions of the aldermen were changed in 1424. Alderman was no longer to be the title of a ward official, but of an important member of the city government. Henry VI in that year granted the mayor and commonalty the right to elect four aldermen from among themselves. The mayor, with two or three of these, was to form a court with full power over all causes within the city, and in times of emergency to act as justices of the peace. (fn. 154) Henry VIII confirmed this charter in June 1515. (fn. 155) Elizabeth in her charter of 1587–8 (see supra) changed the number of aldermen who now might hold office for life to six. In 1835 the conditions of Elizabeth's charter still held good, and the Municipal Reform Act of the same year left them untouched.
In the 16th century the aldermen, like the mayor, were guarded against slanderous attacks, and in January 1558 Thomas Colye, one of the twenty-four, was sentenced to mend one pane of the glass window in the council house and two 'quarells' in the other pane of the same window for divers unseemly words spoken by him against Alderman Hodson. (fn. 156)
The office of high steward occurs in Elizabeth's incorporation charter, when the office was first held by Sir Thomas Walsingham (see supra). The office, to which formerly a fee of £6 13s. 4d. was attached, is now honorary, the election being made by the common assembly.
The recorder—though undoubtedly the office existed earlier (fn. 157) —first appears by name in Elizabeth's incorporation charter, Thomas Fleming being then appointed by the queen for life. His election has always been by the freemen, the nomination being made in a meeting of the mayor and aldermen. The holder of the office must be a barrister, and the office is held for life. An exception to the latter condition was made in the suspension during the Commonwealth of Cornelius Hooker, 'pretended recorder,' for loyalty. One Goddard was substituted in his place, on whose death in 1666–7 Cornelius Hooker was restored on his petition to the king. (fn. 158) The duties of the recorder are now regulated under the Consolidating Act of 1882 and the appointment is made by the Lord Chancellor.
The town clerk is mentioned in the earliest Chamberlains' Accounts of the 14th century, when his wage for the year was 40s. (fn. 159) In 1476–7 provision was made that he should have yearly 'one gown of the lyverie of the Bayliffes of Winchester or 10s. in readie monie at thelection of the same clerk for his labors and attendance and speciallie for the actes of the court yerelie there holden to be wrytten.' (fn. 160) Six shillings and eightpence was added to his fee for his good service in 1562. (fn. 161) In 1835 his salary was £6 13s. 4d. with perquisites, including £6 8s. on every enfranchisement of corporation property to lessees. (fn. 162) The charter of Elizabeth either installed or confirmed the town clerk of the city as deputy recorder, and as such the office practically remained. Later in the 16th century he was allowed to plead at the bar 'where counsel shall lack in the city.' (fn. 163) John Pottinger, town clerk, was ordered to have his place next to the last bencher in the boroughmote of 1564. (fn. 164) In 1566–7 John Pottinger and John White were appointed joint town clerks. (fn. 165) There were still two clerks as late as 1611, when the town clerks of the city were ordered to make a tarrage book once in every ten years. (fn. 166) As late as 1834 two clerks were holding the office jointly for life. Since the Municipal Corporation Act of 1835 one town clerk has held office with a deputy.
The two chamberlains of the city were elected from among the freemen at the common council, and were generally re-elected. Their main function was the collection of the quit-rents from lessees of the mayor and commonalty, and their Account Rolls among the city documents date from 1353–4. The chamberlains were also bound to see to repairs of the city buildings. Thus, for example, in 1556 they were ordered to repair all decayed houses and stores, and in 1585 John Pottinger and Harrie Crewe, chamberlains, were presented at the boroughmote because they had not 'sufficiently repayred the washynge place but doo suffer the same to grow ruinous and in decaie in default of plankes and bordes under foote.' (fn. 167) The office ceased in 1835.
Two coroners were elected in the 13th century to do duty 'as well in the Sook as in the city.' (fn. 168) Their election was by the mayor, bailiffs, and aldermen and the twenty-four, and, after the charter of Elizabeth, without need of royal licence (see supra). Such they remained up to 1835, when they received £1 for each inquest, being always freemen and being usually re-elected annually. (fn. 169) Since 1835 one coroner for the city holds office for life. The constables of the city were two in number, appointed by the commonalty in the 14th century (fn. 170); but the number varied, the 17th-century constables' returns showing that there were then six constables in the city, (fn. 171) while in 1834 the commissioners reported they were four in number. (fn. 172) Their chief function was necessarily to execute the warrants of the city magistrates. They also presented cases before the city magistrates. In a typical 17th-century return they are found presenting forty-two alehouse keepers for licence, thirteen recusants, thirty-two newcomers into the city, five married soldiers, six cases of dangerous fireplaces, eleven cases of lodgers taken into houses as inmates, Widow Norcott 'for giveinge entertaynment on the Sabbath day,' Henry Coish 'for selling beere on the fast day at sermon time.' (fn. 173) One other duty they shared with the beadle in the 17th century was that of bringing before the magistrates disorderly and idle children who much profaned the Lord's day by 'unlawfull exercises and pastimes in the great churchyard and the streets.' (fn. 174)
As early as the 13th century there were four serjeants of the city who were to bear swords 'for to do the hestes of the maire and of the baylives,' (fn. 175) their functions in the city answering to those of the sheriff's officers. One seems to have been the mayor's serjeant, who bore the mace; the other three were general town serjeants. By ordinance of 1563 the mayor's serjeant was to have the sessions fees, the eldest serjeant of the other three those of the boroughmote. (fn. 176) In 1573 'the three serjeants and the bedell' were to have yearly before the first boroughmote a livery gown of three yards and a half of broad Kentish cloth at the charges of the chamber of the city at 7s. the yard and not under. This order rescinded that of 1554, whereby the mayor had been bidden to provide these gowns. From the middle of the 15th century at least the serjeants were bound to wait on the mayor on Sundays and holy days, going before him 'towards St. Swithun's Church (the Cathedral) and home agayne under payen of lossinge 3s. 3d. as often as anyone was absent.' (fn. 177) They were also bound to attend the mayor on the occasion of royal visits or ceremonies in the city. This in September 1723 gave rise to an amusing presentment made at the boroughmote by Robert Tarleton, serjeant-at-mace. He declared that on 31 August last 'about one houre after his Majesty passed through the said citty he saw Anthony Newman junior carry in procession upon his shoulder a large cabbage with stem and the roots on to it before George Todd of the said city victualler on the middle Brooks,' and that he saw it 'brought out of the red Lyon ale house and carryd before the said George Todd towards his own house and he verily believes it was carried before the said George Todd by the said Newman with an intent to ridicule the mayor and aldermen of the said city who had just before caryd their mace before His Majesty.' (fn. 178) One of the offices devolving on the serjeant-at-mace from 1716 was 'to attend att the Westgate att the four fairs to prevent waggons, wains and carriages dragging down the town,' and to levy a fine of 6d. on every person so offending. (fn. 179) John Winall, one of the serjeants, was expelled from office in July 1553, (fn. 180) but as a general rule the serjeants, who were never freemen, although nominally elected annually by the common council, were retained in office for a long term of years. No serjeant might be a victualler or publican. In 1834 one of them was keeper of the city bridewell, a customary office in many cities for the serjeant. (fn. 181) At the present day there is a town serjeant who is a mace-bearer and there are three other mace-bearers.
Among the other officials in the city whose offices date at least from the 14th century were the four auditors of the twenty-four, the four common auditors, two weighers of wool, two 'cadaveratores,' two testers of woad, wardens of corn and poultry and wardens of tanned leather. (fn. 182) There were also two town cellarers (in 1417 these were Agnes Sadler and William Sadler), a town carpenter, a town blacksmith, one tailor, two corvisers, one tiler, two skinners, one chandler, three 'scrotesarii.' (fn. 183) At the 16th and 17th-century elections of officers there also appear three 'scrutatores' and one sealer (fn. 184) of skins and wool, two testers of ale, five porters of the five gates of the city, the beadle, the town crier and the bellman. (fn. 185) In the 14th-century Chamberlains' Accounts a bagman also appears, from whom William Haselwood mayor in 1360 received 40s. (fn. 186) Later accounts of the bagman exist from Michaelmas 1535. (fn. 187) For the rest, the town chandler calls for most notice, since he so often appears in the boroughmote proceedings and the ordinance books of the 16th century and later. In November 1552, for instance, it was agreed that 'the talowe chandelar which is and shalbe admitted to serve the inhabitants of the city of tallow candles shall serve them of good and well made candles and not above the price of 2½d. the pounde and the countrye not above 3d. the pounde uppon payne to forfet for every pound sold contrary to the act 3s. 4d.' (fn. 188) In the 14th century the yearly sum paid for ringing the 'Briggesbelle' was 2s. (fn. 189) The later bellman of the 17th century was provided with a bell and a lantern, a coat costing £1 6s., and a salary of £8 yearly, for which a rate was levied in 1664, together with an additional £1 a year for ringing the eight o'clock and four o'clock bells. (fn. 190) In December 1716 the bellman was provided with a new bell, the other not being loud enough. (fn. 191) The cofferers do not occur among the officials until the 16th century, (fn. 192) and the scavenger does not appear until the beginning of the 17th century.
The ordinance books and boroughmote proceedings show effort after effort on the part of the mayor and council to improve existing sanitary conditions, but the very character of the efforts tells its own tale. Constant orders appear in the 16th century for the stopping, scouring and letting go of the brooks. In 1558 the stopping was to be dispensed with 'for the great sickness in the city, so that the Brook called St. Kenetts Brook be drawn and scoured.' (fn. 193) Glovers were ordered not to wash their skins in the common washing place, (fn. 194) hogs and weanling pigs were not to be allowed about the streets, (fn. 195) and no dead horses, dogs or carrion of any kind thrown in the road. (fn. 196) Butchers were forbidden in 1513 'to throw or cause to be thrown intrayles or other vile things into the river or elsewhere to the annoyance of their neighbours but only in the place accustomed called Abbies Bridge.' (fn. 197)
Frequent presentments for the infringement of this order occur throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1583 orders were issued to avoid the infection of the plague. Every inhabitant of the city was 'to ridde and make clean and cary away all rubble dust and filth before any of their doors both back and front' before the Wednesday following the ordinance; to cause every morning and every evening until the next Michaelmas 'five buckets of water to be drawn and cast down in the cannell' and to 'take out and cary away the filth of the Cannell.' No dust or filth was to be swept into the canal and every alderman was weekly to view the making clean of the streets within his aldermanry. Every inhabitant of an infected house was to keep his dog at home and not suffer him to go at large. Any person finding such was empowered to kill the animal and fine the owner 3s. (fn. 198) Similar orders were made in 1601. (fn. 199) Contumacy in the matter of scavenging was the subject of an ordinance of January 1630. Past orders for the 'sweet and clene' keeping of the city had been made, but still the principal streets were found to 'lie verie dustie and unseemlie more like a contrie village than a citie and thereby noisome and infectious sickness doe often growe to the imparing of health.' John Rouse, one of the serjeants-at-mace, was to take distress of those who refused to pay the scavenger his appointed wages. (fn. 200) Another scavenging order to the same effect followed in 1655. (fn. 201) William Brice and Jonas Page of Weeke, the two scavengers of the city and suburb, received £6 yearly salary in 1665. By 1761 the salary of the city scavenger had increased to £21. (fn. 202)
Temporary officers were necessarily appointed on certain occasions. Such were the six taxers or assessors appointed by the mayor in 1566 to assess every person in money or work, or both, and collect money for the amending and repairing of the highways of the city, 'vastly incumbered by the casting out of wood, rubble and dirt as well of the Brooks of the city as gardens and safferon grounds so as the Queen's liege people in winter time cannot conveniently pass through them.' (fn. 203)
Undoubtedly the original freemen of the city were members of the gild merchant, but in later centuries the membership was extended to honorary members also. The 16th-century ordinances have much to say of the freemen. In 1514 it was ordained in the inn of John Butler, mayor, that every man, presented as able, who refused to enter the liberty of the city should pay 6s. 8d. to the fee farm. (fn. 204) This fine was raised to £5 in 1595. (fn. 205) In the same year it was ordained that three days before any common assembly all freemen should be summoned by the serjeants to attend the same. (fn. 206) Evidently the summons was grudgingly obeyed, for in 1515 John Butler, mayor, ordained that every freeman neglecting it should forfeit half a pound of wax. (fn. 207) In 1581 the penalty was 2s., to be levied if necessary by distress. (fn. 208) An ordinance of 1519 settled that any discharged or expelled freeman who did not sue to be readmitted within three months should, if an ordinary freeman, pay a fine of 20s.; if one of the twenty-four, he should pay a fine of 40s., and should only be readmitted with the consent of the whole assembly. (fn. 209) This latter point was emphasized in 1584. (fn. 210) The usage of the city concerning the punishment of freemen was that no freeman should be committed to Westgate except upon action of debt, trespass or any other action for default of sureties. Otherwise it was agreed in 1575 he should be committed to St. John's House, and, being so committed, should abide there for the appointed term or else be disfranchised. (fn. 211)
The Commissioners of 1834 reported on the exclusiveness of the freemen, no Dissenters or Roman Catholics being able to gain admission. In 1833 one hundred and seventy-two freemen had been created in order to render the system more liberal, but very few of these were likely to take up their freedom. The fees on entry amounted to £8, of which £3 3s. went to the town clerk, 5s. 6d. to his clerk, £1 1s. to the serjeant, 2s. 6d. to the bellman, 2s. 6d. to the beadle, 2s. 6d. to the town crier and £3 3s. for a stamp on the roll of admission.
Apart from the freemen one other class of inhabitants of Winchester, the Jews, must be noticed. Their memory still remains in the city in Jewry Street, where they were settled by William the Conqueror. When the general outcry against the Jews was raised in 1189 and, as Richard of Devizes puts it, they were immolated 'to their father the Devil,' Winchester alone 'spared her vermin being prudent and foreseeing and a city of unceasing civility.' 'For Winchester was for the Jews the Jerusalem of England; here alone they enjoyed continual peace …. here men were men …. the monks were so pitiful and wise, the clerks so wise and free, the citizens so civil and faithful, the women so fair and pure' . . . . . (fn. 212) Only once was there a Jewish massacre in the city, and that not by the citizens, but by Simon de Montfort the younger when he sacked the city in 1265 and slew the Jews, since they were the king's good friends. (fn. 213) The Patent Rolls of the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries contain frequent appointments of two officials for the scrutiny of the chests of the Jews in the city. In 1234 the king directed the Constable of Winchester to make known to the Jews of the city that they should henceforth answer to Robert Passelewe as they had answered before to Peter de Rivallis. (fn. 214) For the rest, except that they were thus evidently under a royal official, little is definitely known of their organization in the city. (fn. 215)
One of the ordinary murder charges occurs in 1232. The king then ordered the Sheriff of Southampton to set free the Jews who had been imprisoned in the royal prison for the murder of a boy, on condition that the said Jews would be ready to answer before the king on his command. The mother of the boy, who was also imprisoned on the charge, was to be still kept in safe custody. (fn. 216)
There is one seemingly isolated case of the admission of a Jew as a freeman of the city. In 1268 Simon le Draper, the mayor, admitted Benedict the Jew son of Abraham into full membership of the gild merchant. (fn. 217)
Of the borough courts, the ancient local criminal court held twice a year and confirmed by Elizabeth's charter, together with leets and law days and views of frankpledge, was held before the mayor and his 'compares' until the 15th century, when the aldermen also were endowed with jurisdictionary powers and shared with the mayor and the twenty-four. From September 1551 two of the quarter sessions were held yearly with the boroughmotes and law days— namely, at the first boroughmote between Michaelmas and Christmas and at the second between Easter and Whitsuntide. (fn. 218) Evidently the great corporate assemblies were always held concurrently with the two leets or boroughmotes at Hocktide and Michaelmas, and the latter was the occasion on which the annual corporation officers were elected. The duties of the court were those of a court leet.
The court seems generally to have been held in St. John's House in the early 16th century, but before the beginning of the next century at the Gildhall in the High Street.
Players and the 'drama' found scant welcome in Winchester at any time. In 1618 the court decided 'for the further avoiding of future dangers' to allow no fee to a certain James Beale, a musician, and his company, whose presence in the city was thought to conduce to immorality. (fn. 219) Yet in June 1620 the coffer books show a fee of 40s. paid to the same James Beale as 'gratuity given to him and his companie at the request of Sir R. Tichborne knight,' (fn. 220) evidently a patron. An undated and unsigned petition belonging evidently to the 18th century requests the bench 'that the Acters of the play at the Market House may be ordered to leave this city and act no more for we conceive by their so long continuing here it will prove very prejudiciall and corruptive to the youth, servants and other inhabitants of the said city.' (fn. 221)
The law of fencing between properties in the city was several times laid down in the boroughmote. The ancient custom of the city was that the south should inclose and repair against the north, and the east against the west. This, however, did not bind anyone dealing with lands of the outbounds and ditches of the city. (fn. 222)
The Town Court of record was the ancient court of civil jurisdiction. Its existence is of course indicated in early charters and confirmed by the charter of Elizabeth (see supra).
In few cities in England were the elements of government more diverse, or interests more clashing, than in Winchester. As we have seen above, king, bishop and religious communities were pitted against one another, and the municipal authorities had to struggle against each in turn. The full and living record of the connexion of the early Kings of England with Winchester belongs rather to political events than here; yet the wide-reaching effects of the frequent personal residence of the early kings, especially of the Angevins, must not go unnoticed. While on the one hand royal patronage meant the commercial and political prosperity of Winchester, on the other hand royal rights and privileges were little likely to escape unfulfilled, or to be successfully challenged, while the royal castle dominated the city. The Pipe Rolls of the 12th and 13th centuries, indicating the heavy demands made on the city for the royal castle and works, as well as the constant drain of the fee farm, have already been noticed (see supra). Moreover, the mayor and bailiffs were responsible for royal prisoners, and many times fell under heavy amercements for their escape. An instance of this occurs in the case of Bernard de Perers. (fn. 223)
The latter half of the 13th century was marked by discords between the citizens themselves, showing the early growth of a tendency towards attempted oligarchy on the part of the twenty-four. In September 1274 the king ordered the Sheriff of Hants to attach Simon le Draper, Henry de Durngate, Walter de Valle (afterwards mayor) and others to answer to the community of the city of Winchester and the king concerning the trespasses committed by them upon the community, 'as the king learns they have committed enormous trespasses upon the whole community after his peace was proclaimed.' The sheriff was to summon twelve of the more discreet citizens to prosecute the suit of the commonalty. (fn. 224) The accused, it is clear from other documents, were the twenty-four, who were trying to deprive the other citizens of their rights. In October the king, 'seeing that there were discords among the citizens, and being unwilling that they should meddle with the election of mayor or bailiffs or the custody of the city until peace is re-established,' committed the custody of the city to Adam de Winchester in place of the mayor until the king should come or send commissaries to settle the matter. The said Adam was in the meanwhile to make bailiffs of the better men of the city who had taken no part in the contentions. (fn. 225) Roger de Mortimer and Nicholas de Stapelton, justices itinerant, coming to Winchester, made inquiry concerning the disturbances. Several, having been found guilty, were taken and imprisoned. (fn. 226) Henceforth the method for the electing of the bailiffs was to be that the twenty-four should choose four out of their number, of whom the community should choose one; and the community should choose four from themselves, from whom the twenty-four should choose one; and the two chosen should remain bailiffs for that year. (fn. 227) But dissensions evidently continued for the next two years, resulting in 1276 in an injunction from the king insisting on peace. (fn. 228) However, staying his wrath, the king decided to deliver the city again to the citizens, (fn. 229) issuing a mandate to that effect to Hugh de Dunyenston, king's clerk, late keeper of the city of Winchester. (fn. 230)
Another discord, probably illustrating the same tendency of the twenty-four to assume extraordinary powers, arose in 1312, when a commission of oyer and terminer was issued concerning the allegation that Peter le Mercer, Nicholas le Osfevre, William le Canevacier, Seman le Skinner, Walter le Parchemyner and others, disturbers of the city of Winchester, had prevented Peter de Nutley, mayor of the city, and his ministers, both clerks and laymen, from exercising his office in the city, from doing justice there, from punishing rebels, from executing the king's mandates and from keeping the peace. They also held conventicles and meetings, notwithstanding the prohibition of the mayor as king's minister, and did not allow themselves to be brought to justice by him or his bailiffs. Moreover, they deprived certain citizens of the liberty of the city, of their own authority; without the assent of the mayor admitted strangers to that liberty, and further made and imposed at their own will certain tallages on the citizens which were not only to the prejudice of the mayor, the king's minister, but also in derogation and contempt of the king's mandates and the impoverishment of the city. (fn. 231)
Discords with the Prior and convent of St. Swithun resulted at an early date in definite action on the part of the citizens. On 4 May 1263 they rose against the prior and convent, and burnt the gate of the priory and the gate called Kingsgate, with the church of St. Swithun over it, together with many buildings near the priory walls. They also 'iniquitously slew' several members of the priory within the precincts. (fn. 232)
Possibly as a continuation of the same quarrel, there is notice in 1266 of a dispute which had arisen as to the custody and repair of the Southgate and Kingsgate of the city, and in regard to the use and right of the same, and 'in regard to certain damages in default of their defence incurred, as it was said, by the city in consequence of the malice or connivance of the Prior and convent in time of the late war.' In that year an agreement was made between Brother Valentine, Prior of St. Swithun's, and Simon, mayor, and the commonalty of the city. The prior and convent were to 'make sustain and repair at their own costs as often as may be necessary,' as they were 'accustomed and bound to do from ancient times, the said Southgate and Kingsgate and outside the Southgate a bridge complete with a drawbridge and on both sides of both gates three crenellated battlements agreeing with the wall facing the same.' Also they agreed to shut and open the said gates at the order of the mayor or one of the bailiffs of the city, and to guard them both in time of war and peace with their posse, together with the posse of the citizens, and to defend them for the protection and safety of the said city in contingencies of peril, necessity or utility, and if the citizens should be in anything endamaged by their default they would answer reasonably for the same. The mayor and commonalty on their part recognized that 'the said gates with their use pertain and anciently pertained to the right and liberty of the said Religious.' (fn. 233)
The prior and convent's liberty of Godbiete, (fn. 234) within the very heart of the city, independent of the city and independent of king or mayor until 1541, was of necessity another thorn in the flesh of municipal organization. Its liberties are defined for the last time in a Court Roll of 1538–9 declaring that within the manor of 'Goodbeat' the prior and convent may hold their court from week to week and from three weeks to three weeks as often as they will by their steward. They were also to have all amercements for breaking the assize of bread and ale within the manor, all goods, waifs and strays, and goods of fugitive felons, and all other profits arising from the claiming of sanctuary in the manor, dwelling safe there 'from eny maner officer.' Moreover, and this was the condition that tantalized the municipal authorities, 'no mynyster of ye Kynge nether of none other lords of franchese shall do eny execucon wyth yn the bounds of ye said maner but all only ye mynystours of ye seid Prior and hys Convent.' (fn. 235) Such was the independence of the liberty of Godbiete from 952 to 1541. The municipal authorities were bound to respect the right of sanctuary in the manor, but they did their best as far as was within their power to narrow down the benefits of dwelling in the liberty. In 1291, during the mayoralty of John Spragg, the ordinance and statute made of old times concerning 'those who remain within the limits habitations or mansions called "in la Goudbeyete" who take and make themselves "de dict' la Goudbeyete" either by their own will or the coercion of others and wish to be excluded from the liberty of the said city and from merchandise and works' was entered on the town Court Rolls of the city. Such inhabitants, except they were 'taken and held in the said la Goudbeyete on account of felony,' should be subject to certain stated penalties if they should thus attempt to free themselves from customs, burdens, services, suits at court, amercements and other customs pertaining to the liberty of the city. Those of them who were sworn freemen of the city should be expelled from the franchise and liberty, and should not be readmitted except on fine of 10 marks. No one remaining outside the liberty of the 'Goudbeyete' and remaining in the city, whether sworn freeman of the city or not, should openly or in any way maintain that he was accustomed to be within the liberty of the 'Goudbevete' on pain of one year's imprisonment or fine of 100s. Moreover, all those artificers and merchants who should remain within the said liberty should be prevented by all the freemen of the city of Winchester from selling or buying commodities or victuals under pain of 51 marks levied on the goods and chattels of the freeman so offending. If anyone under correction of the mayor should be allowed to hold dealings for two nights with men of the Godbiete, then they must pay 40d. for such dealings to the mayor to the use of the city. Moreover, if the mayor should permit any of these things to be done without correcting them, according to the ordinance he should forfeit 20s. from his own goods to be levied by the twenty-four. (fn. 236) In later years, when, after the Reformation, the dean and chapter assumed something of the position of the prior and convent towards the city, the struggle between the two forces still continued. In the 17th century more especially the relations between the two reached a climax. In June 1637 the dean and chapter procured an order from council declaring that the cathedral church, the bishop's palace, the churchyard and the close were without the limits and precincts of the city and power and jurisdiction of the officers of the same, and the mayor and bailiffs were enjoined not to carry any mace or ensign of authority before him or them within the cathedral church or the liberties thereof but by courtesy of the dean and chapter. (fn. 237) This order was afterwards cancelled.
As early as 1349 a question had arisen as to the power of the mayor and commonalty within the cathedral precincts. The bishop claimed in right of his cathedral church to hold the land within the city where the abbey of St. Peter was first situated by the cathedral church and the spacious graveyard adjoining, 'severed and distinguished by walls, dykes and other enclosures from the commune of the city.' Yet the mayor and commonalty, 'striving to usurp to themselves great part of the land site and graveyard to make markets and fairs and other injurious occupations there,' had prevented the bishop from 'having burials of bodies of the dead there especially in the time of that deadly pestilence; from removing such occupations and other disgraceful things which are done there; from keeping the land site and graveyard enclosed and from exercising his other rights there.' They had, moreover, assaulted 'in warlike array and with din of arms' his men and servants, the monks of the cathedral church and men bearing bodies of the dead to the graveyard, and when these fled followed them with noisy threats of burning the cathedral church. They had also made dykes in the graveyard for the purpose of building houses, and had built such houses after digging up the bones of Christians buried there and casting them into vile places without the graveyard. (fn. 238) The pleas on this case were held at Winchester before justices. The bishop defined the inclosure claim as the right of the church as 'from a gate called "la Munstreyate" towards the High Street as an ancient wall called "Constable's Wall" extends to "la Giehalle" by the church of St. Lawrence and thence to the church of St. Maurice and thence by the ancient dyke called "Templedych" to the stream of "la Posterne."' The mayor and commonalty declared that there was a 'great plot of land adjacent to the graveyard to wit from a cross placed in the graveyard as far as the church of St. Maurice and from the same cross as far as the wall by the house late of Walter de Helle [house later called Hell, see supra] towards the city,' which was their soil as parcel of the city and had been so for all time and had held fairs and markets there. The bishop 'would have dug in the same soil and had burial of dead and divers others mainours done there' if they had not lawfully impeded him. The bishop maintained that this plot was within the limits of the land contained in the charter. Judgement was given on the case by twelve jurors 'chosen by consent of the parties,' who found that 'within the limits and bounds named by the bishop they have several houses and there are buildings made of ancient time adjoined to an ancient wall between "le Munstre yate" and "la Giehalle" and between "la Giehalle" and the church of St. Maurice, and as to the plots whereon the buildings are whether of the bishop or mayor and commonalty they know not but the whole plot void and not built on without the said houses towards the monastery, namely from the corner within the gate of "Munstre yate" to the house of William le Ismongre and thence to the building of "la Wolleselde" and thence towards the High Street as far as the gate called "Thomes yate" and thence in a straight line as far as the dyke called Templedych by church of St. Maurice and so along the dyke to the river of "la Posterne" is the bishop's soil.' The mayor and commonalty were fined £40 as damages, and the bishop was granted licence for inclosure. (fn. 239) The close and precincts were thus secured to the cathedral from mayoral interference in the 14th century, but in the 16th century the custom of the mayor, bailiffs, aldermen and freemen attending the cathedral in state brought the difficult question of the meaning of the bearing of the mace within the precincts into practical significance, and gave rise in the 17th century to the order in Council in favour of the dean and chapter quoted above. The immediate cause of the petition of the dean and chapter in 1637 had been the levying of ship-money. The mayor and commonalty had assessed members of the cathedral body, judging them to be within the city for such purposes. The king in the May of that year ordered the money levied from any persons belonging to the church to be repaid, and the £20 paid directly by the dean and chapter to the sheriff to be taken off from the city. (fn. 240) The difference thus started involved the whole question of the limits of jurisdiction. The king heard that the city went about to renew their charter to the prejudice of the church, and ordered the attorney-general to see that the charter for the city should not be renewed until that for the church had passed the Great Seal. (fn. 241) However, the mayor and citizens were not to be balked by the order of June 1637. In 1640 they presented a counter petition to the king claiming that the cathedral church, the bishop's palace of Wolvesey and the cathedral churchyard and close 'are and ought to be part of the city of Winchester and within the power and jurisdiction of the same.' (fn. 242) The dean and chapter were thereupon summoned to appear before the committee of the court of the Star Chamber to answer to the complaints of the mayor, bailiffs and commonalty. (fn. 243)
In June 1640 the king ordered the mayor and his successors to be replaced 'in the antient seat from which he hath been put out.' the archdeacon, who had been put into the same seat, being placed in 'some other stall fitt for him.' (fn. 244) In July 1641 the king rescinded his order of 1637 to the dean and chapter, and entirely disannulled his letter of that date to the mayor and bailiffs declaring the cathedral, bishop's palace, churchyard and close outside the city jurisdiction, and forbidding the mayor to have his mace borne within the choir or any part of the cathedral. (fn. 245) Finally the Municipal Reform Act of 1835 brought the cathedral close and precincts for rating purposes within the bounds of the city.
Apart from the Prior and convent of St. Swithun, the municipal authorities of the middle ages also had to reckon with the Abbot of Hyde. The conflict of jurisdiction between the city and Hyde liberty, eventually settled in favour of the abbey, lasted many years. (fn. 246) The plea brought before the twelve jurors of Winchester in about 1279 on behalf of the Crown and citizens was directed not only against the bishop but against the Abbot of Hyde. The coroners of Winchester had come to the Abbot of Hyde wishing to view a dead body, but the abbot would not permit them to do so, summoning instead the county coroner, making him come 'through a certain postern gate which leads to Barton in the hundred of Micheldever to carry out his office,' to the prejudice of the city of Winchester. Moreover, the abbot appropriated to himself the whole abbey and his court, which rightly belonged to the precincts of the city, in order to appropriate the same to his hundred court of Micheldever, so that the coroners and bailiffs of the city could not perform there their offices as regards felons and malefactors as they had done and should do. Also the abbot had appropriated several places and tenements held by tenants bound to suit and service to the king, and inclosed the same in his power, to the damage and detriment of the Crown. (fn. 247)
In July 1282 complaint was made that the mayor and citizens had during a vacancy encroached upon the jurisdiction of the abbey of Hyde, which was claimed to be within the abbot's liberty of the hundred of Micheldever. (fn. 248) Similarly in 1340 the abbot complained that, although the king had lately taken the abbot and his possessions, &c., under his protection, nevertheless certain citizens had broken violently into his manor of Barton. (fn. 249) Further in November 1335 the abbot complained that, although the abbot and his predecessor time out of mind had had seisin of certain lands adjoining the wall of the city from the bridge to the north to the dyke towards the east called 'Gunnuledich' between the garden and meadow of the abbot there, the mayor and citizens now asserted these lands belonged to the king and hindered the abbot from inhabiting and making his profit in them. (fn. 250)
Outside the city itself Winchester had its great rival, London. On the occasion of the second coronation of Richard I at Winchester a dispute arose between the two cities as to the right of acting as cupbearers. The citizens of London finally purchased the privilege of the king for a sum of 200 marks, and those of Winchester performed the service of the kitchen. (fn. 251) However, in 1269, on the occasion of the translation of Edward the Confessor, when Henry III wore his crown at Westminster, the men of Winchester won a nominal victory over those of London. A contention again arising as to the right of cupbearers, the king, to avoid the discord and danger which seemed imminent, refused to allow either to serve him, but ordered both parties to sit down. The men of London indignantly withdrew, but those of Winchester remained, eating and drinking, until at last the king gave them leave to withdraw and they returned home again. Several times it was necessary for the men of Winchester to defend their charter rights against London. In 1299 three citizens of Winchester claimed freedom from pontage, pavage, murage and other customs from the Mayor and Sheriffs of London, (fn. 252) which rights were confirmed to the citizens of Winchester by an agreement between the parties in 1304. (fn. 253) A similar question arose in 1403, when the composition of 1304 was confirmed. (fn. 254)