06 November, 2011

Vagrant Pigs, The Price Of Ale And Re-dyed Caps

Some details from ordinary people's lives in London during Edward II's reign, from the Letter Books of London 1314-1337.

- 13 October 1313: "...came Laurence de Hanyngtone, skinner, and found security for the goods left by the above William de Hanyngtone [who had recently died] to John his son, whose guardian he had been appointed.  And forasmuch as complaint had been made to the Mayor and Aldermen that the said John had not been decently maintained, the said Laurence was ordered to provide him yearly whilst at school with a furred gown, a coat of 'Alemayne' [Germany] with tunic to match, four pairs of linen cloths, sufficient shoes and a decent bed, and every week give him tenpence for his commons."

- 15 August 1314: "Precept to the Sheriffs to deliver to Alice, late wife of John de Harwe, her free-bench* in a tenement which belonged to her late husband, viz., the hall, principal chamber and cellar beneath, and also common easement in the kitchen, stable, common privy, and courtyard."

* The note says "The estate in copyhold lands which the wife had for dower on the death of her husband according to the custom of the manor."

- 27 June 1314, three days after Edward II's privy seal was captured at the battle of Bannockburn and the day he reached safety at Berwick-on-Tweed (he used Isabella's seal instead): "Writ to the Sheriffs notifying the loss of the King's Privy Seal, and ordering that proclamation be made that no attention be paid to any command that may appear under that Seal without further orders from the King, unless the command be to the King's benefit and honour."

- Uncertain date in late 1314: "William de Mortone attached [i.e. arrested] to answer a charge of having forcibly extracted various articles of jewellery, silver plate, linen and woollen cloths, also certain bonds and deeds of acquittance, from two chests lying near the church of St Magnus in the Ward of Bridge."

- Monday before Christmas, 1314: "The same day came good men of the Ward of Bradestrete and prayed that a certain elm tree growing near London Wall by Bisshopesgate, which by reason of its age and dryness was dangerous to the shops of Roger Poyntel, might be cut down and sold, and the proceeds of the sale devoted to the purchase of a cord for le Wardehoke."  (Whatever that is.)

- 21 September 1316: "Proclamation that no brewer nor brewster [female brewer] nor any one else sell a gallon of ale for more than three farthings, and the best at three halfpence.  Any one convicted of doing the contrary shall at first lose his brew, at the second offence abjure the trade, and at the third abjure the City forever."

- 30 May 1315: "Writ to the Mayor and Sheriffs for proclamation to be made that all vintners and taverners selling wine by retail in the City and suburb shall take no more than threepence a gallon, under heavy penalty...Proclamation made accordingly on Sunday before the feast of St Barnabas [11 June]."

- "Henry de St. Antonine, taverner, to answer a charge of having sold a gallon of wine at Christmas, 10 Edward II [1316], for sixpence, contrary to the ordinance which declared that no taverner of the City should sell wine by retail for more than fivepence per gallon.  The said Henry came, confessed his guilt, and put himself on the mercy of the Mayor and the Aldermen.  Judgement given that, inasmuch as the said Henry had sold a gallon of wine out of a cask at a penny more than was lawful, he should sell the remainder of the cask at fourpence a gallon and bring the money into court to be dealt with as the court should decide."

There's a discrepancy of twopence there between the price of a gallon of wine stated in the proclamation and the price stated in the judgement against Henry.

- Letter from Edward II to the mayor and sheriffs, 15 March 1318: "We have understood that certain cappers of the city fraudulently make from day to day, and expose for sale in the City, diverse caps of flocks, and and wool and flocks mixed, and of other wool not suitable for caps, and that they redye old and used caps and sell them as new, and many merchant strangers bring caps deceitfully made elsewhere into the City...".  He ordered the men to search for such caps and burn them.  :-)

- 4 March 1316: "Writ to the Mayor and Sheriffs, enjoining them to see that the pavement of the City is repaired, the streets cleaned and freed of vagrant pigs."

- 23 February 1320: "Writ to the Mayor and Sheriffs for the punishment of bakers, taverners, millers and diverse others guilty of committing assaults with swords, bucklers, and other arms by night."

- 12 March 1320: "Seventeen pieces of hide belonging to John de Portesmuth were seized in the house of Robert de Gloucestre by Richard Lussher and his fellows, sworn to survey hides in the City, who say that the aforesaid hides are not tanned nor fit for making shoes, and that the aforesaid John brought them to the City for the purpose of making shoes...The jurors say that the aforesaid hides are false and badly tanned to the deception of the people."

- Undated, c. Easter 1320: at the end of a long schedule about taxation: "Be it known that in this taxation of goods in the City and suburbs there shall be exempted one gown for the man and one for his wife, and a bed for both; a ring and a bracelet of gold or silver, and a girdle of silk for daily use, and also a hanap of silver from which they drink."

- 17 June 1320: "a certain John le Chaundeller was summoned at the Guildhall to answer for that he, being the tenant of a certain small house outside Alegate, adjoining the churchyard of St Botolph, for which tenancy he ought to clean the gate of Alegate within and without and under the same, had not cleaned the gate."

- July/August/September 1320: at the Hustings for Common Pleas, men named William le Clerk of Higham Ferrers, Nicholas Schyngel and Warin de Waldene were found guilty of selling putrid meat unfit for human consumption and condemned "to stand in the pillory and the meat to be burnt under him."

- 3 June 1321: "Letters patent granting the City a royal pardon for neglecting to keep watch on those taking sanctuary in churches, provided that in future such fugitives be safeguarded in the City according to law and custom, in the same manner as in other parts of the realm.  Witness the king at Westminster."


Satima Flavell said...

Damn! That lurk with the caps was a nice little earner until the reeves stuck their noses in.

Oh well, at leat the burning wool didn't smell as bad as the burning meat they put under poor old Nick Shingle.

Elizabeth said...

Honestly, maybe if justice were carried out the same way today we wouldn't have such issues. I like burning putrid meat under the noses of the men - excellent idea. The Medieval folks were quite creative.

Anerje said...

They seem to have a thing about putrid meat - it was cited as an attempt to kill off Edward at Berkely.

Gabriele Campbell said...

So that's to where we can trace the beginning of fake Gucci bags. :)

And how dare Edward use Isa's sigil. He surely must have had some malevolent intent there. ;)