29 March, 2012

London Sheriffs Court Roll, 1320

The London sheriffs' court roll for 1320 has recently gone on British History Online, and here are some nice extracts from it...

Alice de Stockyngge accused John de Cornhulle, a surgeon, of trespass and theft: She claimed that on 'Wednesday before the feast of St. Barnabas the Apostle', 10 June 1320, John came to her at Fleet Street ('Fletestrete'), and declared that he would cure her "of an infirmity of the feet from which she was suffering, for the sum of half a mark, and applied diverse medicaments against the said infirmity."  Sadly, the medication failed to work, and as a result of it, Alice said that she "was within six days unable to put her feet to the ground and her malady became completely incurable."  On 23 June, she said that John "entered her house with force and arms and carried off a blanket, two sheets and a super-tunic worth 20 shillings....".  John indignantly denied the charged of trespass and theft, and also claimed that he had never undertaken to cure Alice's ailment and "did not infect her feet with his medicaments," but the jury found against him, and awarded Alice £30 16s 8d damages.

Hugh of Worcester complained that on 'Thursday before the feast of St. Margaret the Virgin, 14 Edward II', i.e. 18 July 1320, Benet of Feribi, chaplain, Henry of Farenbergh and Bartholomew le Cotiller came to his house in the parish of St Mildred in Poultry and carried off 'two escaped swans' against his will, to his damage of ten pounds.  The defendants claimed that they were legally entitled to enter Hugh's house and take the swans, as one Saloman le Cotiller had left ten marks in his will to pay for two chaplains celebrating Mass for his soul in the church of St Mildred, to be provided from the rent from the house where Hugh lived, and the amount had fallen into arrears and they were collecting it.  A jury was summoned to hear the case.

Items taken from Robet le Keu and his wife Margery as pledges for a debt of twenty-four shillings they owed to a woman named Emma, last name missing:  a chest,worth 18d; a chequer-board worth 12d; eight hard stockfish worth 8d; an old pot with two feet broken, worth 18d; an old brass pan holding two gallons, worth 6d; three old small pans, worth 12d; three [missing] of which two are broken, worth 18d; two [missing] of which one is broken, with a basin worth 9d; one little old iron pan worth 3d; one old and broken grid iron, worth 1d.

On 'Friday next before the feast of St Margaret the Virgin, 14 Edward II', 19 July 1320, John Clerk of the church of All Hallows Hay was accused of assaulting one Warin le White and was said to have "wounded him with a certain lute and inflicted other enormities upon him contrary to the peace and to the damage of the said Warin to the value of £40, as claimed by Warin."  On 18 September that year, a jury found him guilty and decided "that John is to be imprisoned until he makes satisfaction concerning these damages, and he is also to make fine to the lord king."

John of Bromptone, chaplain, complained that 'on the Tuesday called Hokeday' (?) in 1319, he had taken a knife and razor to the shop of Simon le Fourbour to be sharpened, and handed them to Robert, Simon's servant, and that Simon later refused to return the items.  Simon denied it.

I love this bit: "Gerard le Barber, Nicholas Hurle, Sabine of Hendone appear v. Richard of Redyngge in a plea of debt. The said Richard made default four times, and was attached by two chests and other household utensils."

John of Eye was charged with coming to the house of William of Toppesfelde in the parish of St Bride, Fleet Street, on 9 June 1319, "assaulting him and carrying off night firewood to the value of 100s."  The jury found him guilty and awarded William forty shillings damages, and John was committed to prison.

Alexander le Mazerer was convicted of stealing numerous items from William Broun, goldsmith, and others: four cups, valued by Thomas of St Botulph's and John of Caustone, goldsmiths, at 14s; a robe with a hood of murrey, for a woman, value 14s; two hoods of black stuff, 2s 6d; a woman's robe of green motley, with a cape, 16s; a red tunic, 6s; a green tunic, 6s; a blanket, 4s; a blanket, 18d; a carpet, 2 s. 6d; a blanket, 8d; a cooking vessel, a brass pot, a dish, value 9s; two copper mortar, 20s. 2d; a covelet of green cloth, furred with miniver, valued by Richard Lonekyn, Nicholas of Santone and John of Thorpe at 50s.

- And from the London Assize of Nuisance, also from British History Online:

Friday 9 August 1314: "The mayor and commonalty, by John Dode, chamberlain, complain that Walter le Benere has a house in the parish of St. Lawrence Jewry of which the stone wall extends from the outer gate of the Guildhall to the middle gate of the entrance of which part is ruinous, to the great danger of the passers-by, and although warned by the mayor he has not troubled to repair it. Judgment that he repair it within 40 days etc."

Friday 4 February 1317:  "Hugh de Garton complains that the rainwater from John de Sudington's tenement in the parish of St. Peter the Less in Bradestrete falls upon his land and floods it, and that he has windows and other apertures in his party-walls overlooking his tenement. The defendant comes and says that he and all the tenants of the tenement in question have been seised of the easement of the fall of rainwater and the apertures from time out of mind."

Friday 1 December 1318: "Perambulation by the mayor, sheriffs and aldermen of the land of the dean and chapter of St. Paul's in the parish of St. Dunstan, on complaint of Thomas de Neusom, clerk of Sir Ralph de Monthermer, that because the tenement of the dean and chapter adjoining that of Ralph is not built up along the street, vagabonds crossing the tenement by night break down Ralph's party-walls and enter and do damage there. The dean and chapter do not come and are not represented. Judgment that they be compelled to build a wall on their property, along the street, to a height of 16 ft."

Friday 8 December 1318: "Assize of nuisance brought at the instance of Henry le Palmere, who complains that William de Hallyngburi has made a gutter upon a stone wall on his land in the parish of St. Michael de Paternostercherch into which he and his household throw water and all kinds of refuse, which flows out on to the plaintiff's land, so that his timber and all his other property are rotted; and that by reason of the same gutter he cannot build on his land adjoining the same wall; and that the defendant has made windows therein 16 ft. from the ground. The defendant says that the gutter has been in situ for sixty years, and was not therefore made by him, and he puts himself upon the view of the mayor and aldermen."


Anerje said...

I love these little anecdotes. Just imagine being attacked with a lute!

Kathryn Warner said...

My favourites are the lute and the escaped swans. :-)

Carla said...

These are terrific - every one could be the starting point for a story :-)

Kathryn Warner said...

I agree, Carla! :)

Tiggywinkle said...

"Hokeday" is otherwise known as Hocktide, and is the 2nd Tuesday after Easter.

Love these little glimpses into everyday life. There are some Fine Rolls of Henry III online, also, which make interesting reading. But they are mostly concerning the upper classes, with upper class problems concerning things like transfer of property and suchlike, and fines figured in pounds and marks. This shows more how the "little people" live.

Although I did notice that Ralph de Monthermer (or his clerk, anyway) made an appearance in the one item!

Kathryn Warner said...

Oh, thank you for the info, Tiggywinkle - I was really puzzled about that! :-)

I love these glimpses too, and hope to post more of them in the future. As you say, the calendared rolls mostly feature the upper classes, though I have seen more 'common' people there too, and will post more about them as soon as possible. I love seeing, for example, that people had troubles with their neighbours 700 years ago too. ;) In case you missed them, I wrote two posts about 'Proofs of Age' a while back which featured lovely details of common people and how they remembered dates, and a couple on 'Law and Order' which also had some fascinating details.