History of Norfolk/Volume 3/Chapter 23

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1401963History of Norfolk — Chapter 23Francis Blomefield

CHAPTER XXII. Of the city in the time of Henry the Seventh


Henry the Seventh began his reign August 22, 1485, and was crowned at Westminster the 30th of October following.

This year, John Hebbys, one of the sheriffs, died, and the undersheriff was sent to London for a writ to choose another in his place for the rest of the year, but none was granted, so that Curtis, his partner, served single for the rest of the time, but held no courts afterwards; and as soon as he was out of his office, sued the following sheriffs for 70l. for which he was disfranchised, and was to pay as a foreigner, if he continued trading in the city.

The next year a rebellion brake out; one Lambert Simnell counterfeiting Edward Plantagenet, then in the Tower, had carried his deceit so far, as to be crowned in the cathedral of Dublin, upon which the King began to look about him more than he did at first; for upon finding that the Earl of Lincoln joined Simnel, he plainly perceived that his kingdom must again be put to the stake, and that he must fight for it; and before he knew the Earl was sailed from Flanders to Ireland, he concluded that he would assail the east parts of England from thence, and that Simnell and his adherents would do the same on the north-west, out of Ireland, and therefore musters were made in both parts, Jasper Earl of Bedford, and John Earl of Oxford, were designed generals, though the King resolved to go himself in person, wherever affairs should most require it; in the mean time, expecting no actual invasion this winter, he took a journey to Suffolk and Norfolk, to confirm those parts.

And first of all he came to St. Edmund's Bury, and from thence to Norwich, where he kept his Christmas; at his entry, he was received by the mayor, sheriffs, aldermen, and all the masters or wardens of the crafts or companies, all new clad in scarlet, the mayor in the name of the city, made him a handsome present, and feasted him and his nobles grandly, the city having raised 140l. for that purpose; they made presents also to John Earl of Oxford and his lady, who lodged at the College of the Chapel in the Fields; to the Duke and Dutchess of Suffolk, who lodged at the Black-Friars; as also to the Lord Fitz-Walter, and the Chief Justice, who was lodged at the house of Sir John Paston, called Paston's-Inn or Place, the King keeping his court at the Priory.

From hence he went in pilgrimage to Walsingham, where he visited our Lady's chapel, so famous for miracles, and made his prayers and vows for help and deliverance; from thence he returned by Cambridge to London, and after he had quieted all things, by a complete victory, he sent his banner to be offered to our Lady at Walsingham, as an acknowledgment of his prayers and vows heard.

This year, according to Holingshed, (though some place it in 1485,) a new kind of sickness suddenly invaded this land, passing through the same from the one end to the other; it began about the 21st of September and lasted to the end of October, in which time many died in this city.

It seized them with a sudden burning sweat, (for which reason it was called the sweating sickness,) which so violently distempered their blood with ardent heat, that scarce one in an hundred escaped alive, upon which account it was also called the dead sweat: for all in a manner, as soon as it took them, or in a very short time after, yielded up the ghost; and what was worse, as it appeared afterwards, the same persons were liable to the same disease again and again; but by God's blessing, and observation made on the distemper, a remedy was found by a learned native of this city, who generously published it to all the world. Of whom I shall speak in his proper place.

This year there were no assizes held at Norwich, as usual, but the reason of it I do not find, though fancy it might be on account of the troubles in the realm, for the King sent a letter to the city, desiring them to send him a hundred horsemen well armed, and provide them pay for six weeks, assuring them, that as it had pleased God to give him the victory over his rebels, he designed to march further northward, to suppress any more making head against him.

But considering upon it, they found that all the city could raise, would scarce do it, and therefore applied to the Earl of Oxford, one of the generals, by the advice of Sir Rob. Brandon, Knt. Ralf Shelton, Ric. Southwell, and Rob. Clere, Esqrs. and James Hubert, the attorney-general, who at their request took 50l. in hand paid, in lieu of the soldiers, 40l. of which was assessed by a tax, and 10l. paid out of the city stock.

Soon after this, Curteys, the late sheriff, who had been disfranchised, joined John Bonewell Prior of Norwich, and revived the old suit, in relation to their several liberties; the beginning of which was, that by consent of assembly, the mayor and aldermen fixed two large oaken posts at the east end of Bishop's Bridge, as the boundaries of the city's liberties, including, by so doing, all the Prior's liberties of Holmstrete, &c.; in the night, the tenants of the priory pulled them up, upon which the city indicted them for a riot, and the Prior justified them, by pleading that the posts were set on his own ground, (as they really were,) and that he commanded them so to do, and insisted that the site of the priory, Holmstrete, Tombland, Raton-row, &c. were not in the jurisdiction of the city: which contest lasted many years, the city being at great expense about it all the time, as appears by the large sums raised in the several wards for that purpose.

An ordinance was also made, that all clothiers that were not freemen, should bring their cloths to the common-inn, and put up and keep there horses there, day and night, and if they did otherwise, or exposed their cloths any where else to sale, they should forfeit each time 6s. 8d.

In 1487, was an earthquake felt here, on St. Thomas's day; and this year the convent of the Carmelites or White-Friars, acknowledged the mayor and commonalty as their perpetual founders; and it was agreed, that the court should make a solemn procession every year, on the day of the Assumption of our Lady, which was their foundation day, to the said convent.

In 1489, a contest arose between the city, and master Rob. Tompson, master or preceptor of the commandry of the priory of St. John of Jerusalem at Carbrook, they being cited to appear before master Tho. Jan. deputy custos of the privileges of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England; upon which, Jeffry Spirleng appeared at his court held in St. Paul's church at London; and there it was objected against the city, that they had imprisoned one Tho. Baldewyn, cooper, for not serving the office of constable in Holmstreet, when the tenants of the hospital were not subject to the city, neither could they enter upon their fee, or concern themselves with any of their tenants, they and their tenants being exempted (as they pleaded) from serving offices, or answering to any actions otherwise than in their own court, but the plea, after an expensive suit, was set aside, and the city recovered, but were allowed no damages.

This same year Will. Spynk Prior of Norwich indicted the mayor and coroners and commonalty, for a riot raised, in sitting on the body of Hen. Hammond, whow as killed in the Cley-Pits out of St. Stephen's-gates, the Prior alleging it was out of the city liberties, but the contrary being proved, before Will. Husye or Huse, Chief Justice, and Sir Rog. Townesende, Knt. one of the judges, the city recovered.

And now it was enacted, that no butcher, or butcher's servant, shall slay any beast within the walls of the city of London, nor in no other city, burgh, and town walled, in England, nor in the town of Cambridge, under the penalty of 12d. every ox, and 8d. every other beast; the towns of Berwick and Carlisle being excepted.

It was ordained also in common assembly, that all the companies should go in procession on Corpus Christi day, before the procession.

In 1490, the King following the example of Edward IV. desired a benevolence of the richer sort, towards the expense of the French war, intending to spare the poorer sort, whom he politickly desired to keep in favour, though at the same time, the chief men much grudged at the great sums which was got from them by the commissioners, under pretence that he that gave most should be judged to be his most loving friend, and he that gave little would be esteemed according to his gift; and in order to spur people on the more, it was given out, that his Majesty would personally visit all places of note, and among others, this city; on which, an assembly was called, where it was agreed, that the mayor and aldermen should all ride to meet him, in one sort of livery, or suit of clothes and gowns, and that the wardens of the several crafts or companies, should bring in a list of the principal men of every company, by which the mayor and aldermen were to appoint a sufficient number from each company to ride to meet him, in their suit, and the others that did not ride should bear their proportion of the charges of them that did: but I believe the King did not come this year at all, upon finding that the benevolence of the city answered his expectation; for besides a sum of money, they sent him twelve horsemen well armed, with an allowance of 12d. a day each, till they were entered his Majesty's service, and the next year they sent twenty foot soldiers, upon request so to do.

In 1491, the burgesses in parliament for the city acquainted the assembly, that they had been at great expense in getting an ordinance of parliament, to authorise them in a quiet manner to take John Estgate out of the Sanctuary; the said John having entered the church and churchyard of St. Simon and Jude, and remained there for a long time past, during which time the city being forced to keep a watch over him day and night least he should escape, was at great charge and trouble; upon which the expense was allowed, and the ordinance being passed, John Pynchamour, one of the burgesses, went to the Sanctuary, and asked Estgate whether he would come out and submit to the law, or no? and upon his answering he would not, he in a quiet manner went to him, led him to the Gild-hall, and committed him to prison.

The animosities between the city, Prior, and monks, increasing daily, it was represented to his Majesty, by Sir Rog. Townesende, Knt. Sir Rob. Shelton, John Hubberd, Robt. Southwell, Will. Grey, Sir Rob. Ratcliff, and most of the principal gentlemen of the county, joined by Hen. Spelman, the recorder, that if some way was not found, the consequences might be as bad as the former insurrection on the same account; upon which the King directs the following letter to the mayor:

'By the Kyng.

'Trusty and welle belovyd we grete you welle, and where as we be enformed that dyverse and many old grete grugges and maters of variaunce and debate, have ben hangyng by many yeres passed, betwixt the Pryour and churche of the cathedral churche of our cite of Norwych and ther predecessouris on the on partye, and you the Mayor, the Shirreves and Comynalte of our seid cite, and your and their predecessours on that othyr partye, wherin many communications and treatyse have ben made by diverse notable persons for th'appesyng of the same. But as we ben enformed have taken none effect. And therby gret inconveniens be lykly to ensue. We therefore wole and straytly charge you, that all manner excuses ceassyng, ye be, and personally appier a fore us and our counsayll at Westminstre, in the xvma of St. Mychell next, to th'entent that aftyr the seid matyr of variauns by us and our counsayl thorowly herde, we may sette therin, such direction as shal be consonant wyth oure lawes, reason, and good concyens, for the fynall appesyng of the same hereafter. Not faylyng herof on peyn of CCli. Latyng you wite, that we by oure other like letters have yeven in strayte commandment to the seid Pryour and hys Brethern, yeven at our manor of Shene, the first day of Juyn.


At the receipt of it, an assembly was called, and all expenses on account of the suit allowed by the city, the mayor, recorder, and Rob. Gardiner, alderman, were appointed to appear at the day, and accordingly did so, when the principal thing which occasioned this dispute was demanded of them; who answered, that the whole was, whether the site of the priory, Tombland, Raton-rowe, and Holmstreet, were in the liberty of the city, or no? which being agreed to be the chief thing in dispute by both sides, a trial was ordered, before Sir William Huse and Sir Roger Townesende, which was determined in favour of the city. Soon after this, the mayor was called before the privy council again, and commanded to go down to Norwich, and move the assembly to agree, that the priory and all its liberties might be formally exempted out of the county of the city, for which the Prior should either pay them five marks a year, or 80l. down; but they would not agree, but insisted on the King's charter: this was so ill taken, that they were commanded to appear before the council next term, and in the mean time to keep the city quiet, under 1000 marks forfeiture; at the set time, the mayor and Tho. Jenny (who was council to assist the mayor) went instead of the recorder, and then the council ordered the Prior and mayor to appear personally before the King; which they did in the council chamber on Wednesday before Candlemas day; when his Majesty peremptorily commanded them to acquaint Sir Hen. Heydon, Knt. and James Hobert, his attorneygeneral, with all affairs in dispute, and to let them know all they could say in relation to every thing, and then, that they should appear again before him, and in the mean time keep the city in peace, under 500l. penalty. Upon this the mayor returned, acquainted the assembly with it, and they chose Hen. Spelman their recorder, Tho. Hunston, John Jenney, and Hen. Wilton, to treat with Heydon and Hobart, and to show them, and inform them, all they could on the behalf of the city; and thus from time to time the affair was debated, and nothing done till

  • 1493, when Sir Henry, and the attorney-general, came to the Friars Minors at Norwich, and sat upon the affair, on Friday before Palm-Sunday, and there both parties chose twelve final arbitrators, viz. for the city, Hen. Spelman, their recorder, and John Jenney, being two lawyers retained for their constant counsel, Rob. Thorp and Hen. Wilton, alderman, Jeffry Steward and Rob. Large, commoners; and for the priory four monks and two lawyers: but when the assembly signed their bonds of award, they inserted a conditional clause, namely, that they should not enter into treaty on any point contrary to the determination of Huse and Townesende, which leaving the chief thing still in question, the whole matter came to nothing but continual suits, indictments, and animosities subsisted between them during this whole reign.

In 1493, wheat was sold at 6d. a bushel in London and Norwich.

In 1495, it was enacted, that no man shall be a worsted-shearer in Norwich, unless he hath been seven years an apprentice, or be allowed by the mayor and masters or wardens of the company: and the worstedshearers in Norwich shall make no ordinances, but such as the mayor and aldermen shall think necessary; and no inhabitant in Norwich, not being a shearman, shall keep a shearman in his house; and henceforward the citizens of Norwich may take for an apprentice the son or daughter of any person, notwithstanding the statute of the 7th of Henry IV.

But upon information to the parliament that this statute was craftily obtained, to make the worsted-shearers a different craft or trade from the shearman's craft, which included the whole, that part of the statute touching worsted shearing was repealed, and the rest confirmed.

The same year was the statute made appointing what towns should keep standard weights and measures to seal others by, in which it was ordained that no person shall buy or sell but by such sealed weights and measures; the officers of every city, burgh, or market town having power twice in a year to examine the weights and measures, destroy such as are found defective, and fine the party offending, the first time 6s. 8d. the second time 13s. 4d. and the third time 20s. and set him upon the pillory. It was also enacted, "that there be but onely viij bushels rased and stricken to the quarter of corn, and xiv li. to the stone of wooll, and xxvi. stone to the sack." And among others, this city was one of the places limited for keeping the standard weights and measures.

The Lent assizes were held here this year, and not at Thetford, but it being an unusual thing, and contrary to common practice, it was agreed by the assembly, that the city should not feast the judges as they always do at the summer-assizes, but the chamberlains were ordered to present them with two of the largest pikes, and a fine dish of fish.

On the third day of Nov. died John Wellys, the mayor at seven in the evening, and on the 7th of the same month, Richard Ferrour, his deputy, summoned all the aldermen and sheriffs to consult about choosing such a mayor as would exercise the office and take no fee of the city, it being justly due (as they thought) to the executors of Wellys, and on the 9th of Nov. Tho. Caus was elected, who not only relinquished all claim to the mayor's fee, but to the 10l. per annum paid to the mayor for exercising the office of the King's escheator; but after he was chosen, they were forced to procure a writ of dedimus potestatem, to authorise them to swear him, their charters not having given them authority so to do in this case.

In 1496, the son of sheriff Pythood, who was young, and for that reason locked into his saddle, as was usual at that time, was killed by a fall off his horse as he rode the bounds of the city.

The city sent 20 soldiers to the King, and 40l. to maintain them, 11 of which were raised by the aldermen, and 9 by the commons, they were all well equipped, and had new harness and armour, and on the 7th of June, they mounted their horses in the city, in their brigandines, over which each had a jacket of white and green, and the mayor having viewed them, brought a cheker roll and entered every man's name in it, and then gave them this charge:

'Sers, ye that be soldeours, I charge in the Kingys our Sovereign Lordys name, that ye kepe governauns amongs you by the weye. And that ye be ruled and governour'd by Thomas Large, your Capteyne assigned unto you, he beyng present Chaumberleyn of this cite, tyll he shall make delyverauns to my Lord of Oxford. And he over to the Kyng of you, in discharge of the cite ageyn the Kyng. And I charge you Thomas Large, and you John Gowre assistyng to the said Thomas in his conduccion, and also you soldeours, that if ony of you make ony frayes, stryves, or variaunces with his felaship, that he so mysdemened be taken out of hys harneys, and leyde in pryson tyll the Kyng have seid hys will. and another hyred in his stede, what so ever it cost. And that ye Tho. Large make such delyveraunce of thes soldeours, so as the cite be discharged ageyn the Kyng and also my Lorde of Oxford.'

Then they all drank at the Gild-hall door, and the mayor gave each 2s. and they went and lodged that night at Thetfords on the 9th of June, the messenger sent to the Earl by the city, returned, and acquainted them that the Earl would set out for Ware next night, and that he came by Bury to acquaint all the soldiers of that part; upon which Captain Large went to Newmarket, overtook the Earl, delivered his men to him, and returned home; and Will. Yelverton, Gent. was made their captain: the next day after their delivery, they were in the battle of Blackheath by London, where the Cornish rebels were defeated, with the loss only of 300 men on the King's side, and none of these men, who were sent home with thanks for the good service they had done.

On the 16th of Sept. comes another letter from the Earl to the city, in which he acquainted them, that

'He was ascerteyned that Parken Warbek with other rebells be londed in Cornwall, and therefore desyred the cite to prepare and send forth ther company formerly appoynted.'

Which plainly demonstrates they had behaved well, he being desirous of the same again; but the city on application, were excused for 12 of them, who were conducted by Captain Large to the Earl, and staid with him till Perkin was taken, and were then dismissed with thanks.

In 1497, on the 6th of Aug. an assembly was called, in which 80l. was assessed on the city, to bear the expenses at the coming of the King, Elizabeth, Daughter to Edward IV. his Queen, and his mother, the Countess of Derby, who came hither about the 18th of this month, when the following speech was made by the mayor at their entrance, as I find it in the Court Book of that time:

'an Oracion.

'Most excellent, most gracious, and most Xpien Kyng, our naturall, our undoubted, and rightfull sovereyne leige Lord. Her be your true feightfull and most humble subyietts maisters, the Meire, Shiriffs, and Aldermen, of this your citee of Norwich, which as wele for themselff as in the name of all the commonailte, and inhabitants of the same, thank your Heighness, as humbely, as reverently, and as hertyly, as any subgiets may do their sovereigne Lord, for this, that it hath lekid you, of your most speciall grace, to be personally present, and to shewe your most riall persone here among them in this your cite, to ther grettest erthly joy and comforte. And for a pleyn and oppen recognicion that ye sovereigne Lord be hertily welcome to them all, And that all they be your feithfull lovyng subgiets in worde, will, and dede, according to ye duty of ther alligeans, and how be it, that they ar more pore, and not of such welth as they have ben afore thes dayes. Yet sovereigne Lord they offer, geve and bringe here onto your Heighness a present. that is to say, a cope, with a hundred pounds of riall golde conteyned in, the same; hertily beseeching you sovereigne Lord, of your most habundaunte grace and goodnesse, yat it may be by your heigh comaundment benyngly so admitted, accepted, and receyved, not for the quantite or value of it, but for that it is goven and presentid of very good and hertily affection. And moreover thei specially besech your heighnesse, sovereign Lord, to be to this your said citee, and of the libertees of the same, speciall protector, bounteowse adjutor, and gracious sovereigne at all tymes. And all thei, daily shall prey Almighty God hertily for the prosperous, good, and gracious encresse, conservacon, long contynuaunce, and magnificence of your most riall estate and persone. Amen.'

In 1499, in July, one Babram, a constant martyr of Jesus Christ, was burnt in Norfolk.

In 1500, there was a great plague in this realm, of which in London only, died 30,000, but I do not find that it was here, by any thing that I have as yet seen.

In 1501, John Rightwise, mayor, began the cross in the Market, and finished it in 1503. It was a commodious handsome building, but being somewhat in decay, was sold by the tonnage and city committee in the year 1732, for 125l. and was begun to be taken down on the 29th of August, and the place on which it stood is now paved over.

The 40 soldiers of the city's company were by request sent to the King, I suppose to attend Arthur Prince of Wales, after his marriage with Catherine, daughter to the King of Spain, into his principality of Wales.

In 1302, died Nic. Cowlych or Colich, late mayor, and gave 10l. to the city.

In 1503, Sir John Windham, Knt. was beheaded on Tower-hill; and now was the statute made, that no wardens of crafts, or rulers of gilds or fraternities, should make any ordinances to be binding, unless they be examined by the chancellor, treasurer of England, or chief justices of either Benches, or three of them, or before both the justices of assize in their circuit in the shire where the ordinances are made, under 40l. penalty: but notwithstanding this, they continued to make ordinances, by which every prentice at their entry into the commonhall was forced to pay some 20s. some 30, &c. according to the pleasure of the company, for which reason an act passed 22d Henry VIII. that no apprentice should pay above 2s. 6d. for their entry into the common-hall, nor above 3s. 4d. at the end of their term, for the freedom of the company; to avoid which, the companies demanded no more than the statute allowed, for their freedom, but before they admitted them, made them swear they would not trade without the license of the company, for which they were to pay at the company's pleasure, to prevent which, an act was made 28th Henry VIII. that no one should act contrary to the former statute, nor require any such oath, under 40l. penalty.

This year was 40l. assessed on the city, and sent to London to John Burgh, alderman and burgess in parliament, for the expense of writing the new Charter, and getting it confirmed.

It is dated at Westminster, March 7, in the 19th year of this King's reign, and contains by inspeximus all the former charters whatever, which are confirmed thereby.

In 1504, Mathew Parker Archbishop of Canterbury was born here, of which great man an account may be hereafter seen in its proper place, he being a great friend and benefactor to the city.

In 1505, the King and Prince went in pilgrimage to Walsingham, but did not visit the city, as was expected by some.

This year (or as some say, in the next) was Rob. Adams, clerk, burnt here for heresy: and much damage was done by fire, as the London Chronicle informs us in these words, "this yere was grete parte of the cyte of Norwych brent," which I thought might have been a mistake, for the two following fires in 1507, but upon search, find there was a great fire this year according to the Chronicle, for in the Almoner's account to the Prior of Norwich, made in 1505, is this, "Received this year from the rents belonging to the almoner's office, which were formerly 10l. a year, and after that 5l. a year, only 33s. because many tenements are burnt," and after the great fires, they were reduced to 19s. 4d. a year.

In 1506, was the second sweating sickness, but not so raging as the first.

In 1507, on the 31st day of March, one Tho. Norrice, condemned by Richard Nix Bishop of Norwich, was for the true profession of the Gospel burnt in this city: which soon after felt the violence of flames in a great degree, for on the 25th day of April following (being St. Mark's day, and Easter Tuesday) a fire broke out, which burnt with continual violence four days. And it was not long before the same fate attended the city again, for on the 4th of June following (being Ascension day) happened another lamentable fire, which burnt two days and a night, both which, as an old roll in the Herald's Office informs us, burnt above 18 score houses, "Norwich was byrned with fire at twey times, to the noumbir of xviij score howsholdys and mo and most parte of their goodys." But I find by the evidences, that the city was almost utterly defaced, that there were 718 houses burnt, in the parishes of St. Peter of Mancroft, St. Giles, St. Gregory, St. Laurence, St. Margaret in West-Wymer, Little St. Mary, St. Cuthbert, St. Buttolph, All-Saints in Fibrigge, St. George of Tombland, St. Simon, St. Michael at Plea, St. Andrew, St. Saviour, St. George in Colgate, St. Martin in the Bail, &c. And by what I have seen, it seems to have begun near the Popinjay, which was then burnt, and to have made the greatest havock on the river side from the bottom of Tombland through St. Andrew's, &c. up the city; for the river was so stopped up with rubbish, that the first thing the court did, was to publish an order for it to be forthwith cleared, and then they chose Tho. Aldrich, Rob. Browne, and Henry atte Mere, to go to the King's privy council to inform his Majesty of their misfortune, and implore his aid and advice, to maintain the sufferers in their present extremity, and rebuild the city: and soon after they sent Tho. Aldryche, John Clerk, John Marsham, and Henry atte Mere, to the King, for his Majesty's answer.

The second fire (as Holingshed says, though he hath placed it in the wrong year) began in the house of a French surgeon, named Peter Joknson, in the parish of St. George in Colgate, I suppose by accident; the former, as I learn from the History of Yarmouth, which says, 'The citye of Norwiche was set on fyer, and a great parte thereof was brente,' seems as if it was supposed to have been done purposely; but however it was, the city of London and the rest of the country raised large sums, which joined to what the court and other private subscriptions raised, soon re-edified part of it again.

It appears, that now the Market-place was not paved, for there was an order that nobody should dig holes in it to get sand, without the mayor's license.

This noble Prince died April 22, 1509, and was royally interred in his own chapel at Westminster, under a most sumptuous monument of brass, which still [1742] remains perfect, and is a very great curiosity, as well as the chapel itself, which now retains the name of this monarch, being called Henry the Seventh's Chapel.

In the last year of this King was a writ directed to the sheriffs commanding them, as they loved themselves and all that belonged to them, to appear at the Exchequer, and satisfy the fee farm of 113l. 8s. and 40s. increase, and 40s. of new increased rent, and 3s. to be received of Nic. Pigot, for the yearly reserved rent of the houses belonging to the mintmasters here, which Martin Pateshull, itinerant justice, granted in fea, in his circuit or iter, at the said rent. And also for the castle-ditches and leet 54s. 4d.

At the latter end of this King's reign, and in the beginning of the next, the following oaths were settled and agreed upon, to be administered to the several officers, at their admission into their respective offices, and were entered into the white book of the court, as follows, viz.

'The Maires Charge of the Mairalte.

'Ye shall swer, that well and lawefully to your cunnyng and power, ye shall susteyn executen and mayntene, the lawes, libertes, fraunchises, gode customes, and ordenaunces, of the cete of Norwich, and the pes, and tranquillite in the same cite, as moche as to yowe be vertu of your office apperteneth, and that ye shall make dewe serche of all vytayll, and of all other thinges, that longen to your Office as often tymes as it is nedefull to be don, be your discrecon, or whan ye be required, for the common profite of the cite, and the cuntre, and that ye shall done, dewe, and open, and discrete correcon, and redresse, upon the defauts founden, after the forme of th'ordenaunces thereuppon made, and to be made, and that ye shall do justice and egall right, aswell to the pore, as to the riche.

So God yowe helpe, and all seyntes.

The Maire's Charge for the Eschetrie.

'Ye xall swere, that wele and truly ye schall serve owre Lord the Kyng in the office of Meiralte in the cite of Norwych, and the same cite ye xall kepe sewyrly and saufly to the profight of owre Lord the Kyng, and of his eyres Kingis of Ingelond, and the profight of the Kyng, ye schall doo in alle thingis that longith for yow for to doo, and all the rightis of the Kyng, as moche as longith to the Coroun in the same citee, truly ye schall kepe, ne ye schall not assentyn to distresse, ne to non coucelementis of rightis, of fraunchise of the Kyng, and querof ye may knowen the rightis of the Kyng, or of the Coroun, be it londys, or in rentes, or elles in fraunchises, or in sewtes conceled, or restreyned, your peyne ye schall puttyn, to that, to repelyn, and yif ye knowe nought don, ye schull tellen ower Lord the Kyng, or ellys to sume of his councel, of qwich ye'arn certeyn that schull telle the Kyng, and that truly, and rightfully, ye schall trete the peple of your bailie, and do right to iche man as well to a straunger, and to the poore, as wele as to the riche, in as myche as longith to yow for to done, and that for heynesse, ne for richesse, ne for povere nesse, ne for favour, ne for havere, [hatred,] wrong ye schall doon to no man, ne no mannys right disturblyn, ne no thing taken qwerefore our Lord the Kyng schall lese, or be qwich, right schuld be destroied, and in alle thing that longith to the Meyre of the same cite to be doon, as well in governaunce of vetaile, as in all other thingis, well and truly, ye scall have [behave] yow.

So God yow helpe atte the holy dome.'

Sacramentum Recordatoris. [The Recorder's Oath.]

'Ye shall swere, that ye shall in the offyce of Recorder withinne the cite of Norwich and liberte of it, as well as in th'office of justice of pes with in the same cite, lawefully to your power behave you, and good, trewe, and holsom counsell geve, to the Mair and Aldermen of the cite, in use and execucon of governaunce of common right, aswell in offices of Mairalte, justice of pes, and eschetrie, accordyng to the lawes of the lond, and lawes and gode customes of the cite, after your witte and connyng, with oute favour or affection of any persone, and that, ye shall on your behalve duely kepe.

So help you God and his seynts.'

The Schreves Charge.

Ye schall swer, that ye schall well and truly servyn the Lord owr Kyng, the office of Schrevehood in the cite and counte of Norwych, suburbes, hamelettis, procinctis, and circuites of the same cite and counte. And truly, buxumly, and rightfully, ye xall trete the peple of the same cite and counte, and alle other peple in that that touchyth your office. And ye schall do right as wele to the pore, as to the riche, and ben indeferrent betwixt partye and partye, in all that longith to your office, and ye schall ne for promyse ne for favour, he hate, don ony thing to ony man, that myght ony right disturble or letten, and ye schall truly servyn the wretys of owre lord the Kyng, upon your wyt and power, and the comaundments, precepts, and warrentys, of the Meyr of the citee, and in that touchyth your office, ye schall servyn and obeyn, and alle pleyntes that the Meyr sendith for, ye schall delyver to him, and non witholden, accordyng to the ordinaunces thereuppon made, and alle manner of ryghtis of the Kyng and cite, gwych ben appurtenaunt to your office, and alle other thingis dew to the Kyng, and the cite, ye schall susteyn, kepin, and mayntene, as it hath ben susteyned, kepid, and mayntenyd, before this, in old tyme. And non of hem losen be yowre defautys, as ye will answer therfore to the Kyng, and qwyte the comons agene the Kyng, and no man lete owte of preson, qwych is sent into preson be the Meyre, wyth owtyn assent, or specyall commaundement of the Meyr. And ye schall well and truly, the lawys, lybertes, and good custumes, and ordinaunces of the seyd cite kepen, and susteynen, in as moche as to you longyth. And ye schall truly doon, or make to be don, judgementis, and execucyons, of the verdytes of your court, without sparing of ony man, and that ye schal holden yowr schrevis-turnes opynly, in the gyldehalle, as the schreve of Norff, and other schreves doon in her countees wyth inne the reme of Inglond, upon the fourme of statute, and that ye schall no men putten upon the enquestis, that xall be taken for the schrevis-turn, but good men, and sufficient, that ben men of good name, and good fame, and that ye schall make proclamacyon for your turn, in divers placis wyth inne the wardis owt of qwom the enquestis xall be taken, atte leste iiij dayes beforn, undir this fourme, that all manner of men that have for to done atte the schrevys-turn, and ther ony thing wil seyen for our lord the Kyng, or for hymself, that they ben atte the gyldehalle suche a day, as yowr turn is set to be holden, and he schall ben herd, and that ye schall seen, that the enquestis that arn for to be taken betwixt the Kyng and the partye, and betwixt partye and partye xall ben taken endeferently wyth owtyn ony denominacion of eyther partye, be mowthe or be bylle, by the partyes, or any other in her name, and ye schall your underschreve and all your other officers, make suche othe, as to hem longyth, that well, and truly, they schall don her office. wythowtyn extorcyon, or wrong doyng to ony man, and in especiall for the enquestis that arn to be taken betwixt partie and partie, that they maken enquestis, ne put non names in non enquests, atte denomination of partye, be mouthe ne be bylle, ne no men but suche as he supposeth xuld ben indeferent men, and that the ferm of owr lord the Kyng for yowr tyme ye xall payen, and aquyten the aforseyd citee, and the comunalte of the same, and that in your propre person ye schall be abydyng upon your baylewyk, duryng the tyme of your being shreve of the seid citee, and theise poyntis aforn rehersed ye schall deuly and truly observyn and kepyn, and ye schall doo youre deuty.

So help yow God atte the holy dome.' 'All saynts and the holy evangelists' (in a later hand.)

The Oth of the Common-Council.

'Ye schall swere, that ye schall be trewe to the Kyng ouer soveraign Lord, and to his heirs, and redely come at the houre, whan ye be summoned to the common counsell of the citie, but ye ben resonablye excused, upon peyn therupon ordeyned, and good, and trewe counsell, ye schall geve after your wytte and cunnyng, and for no mannys favor, ye schall not maynten non singler profite ageynst the common profite of the cite, and after ye be come to the comon counseil, thens ye schall not go, without a resonable cause, or ells maister Mayers license, untill master Maier, and his bretheren depart, and that is seid in the common counsell, and ought to be kepte counsell, ye shall kepe it secrete, and non parte therof disclose.

So help you God and all seyntes.

The Othe of the Comon-Speker.

'Ye shall swere, that you indifferently, without eny affeccion, favour, or corrupcon, shall execute your office of common speker, as well in all assembles, as in the eleccon of the Mayer, or shireffs, ffor the yeere next ensuing, accordyng to your knowlege, witte, and conyng, and by non covyn, male-engyn, or collusion, shall make no manner off mean to the comons in the tyme of the eleccion, wherby the ffrank or ffree eleccion of the commoners, there beyng presente, may in any wise be violat, altered, or chaunged, contrary to the true ordinaunce of the seid eleccion.

So helpe you God, &c.

The Charge of the Under-Shirreve.

'Ye shal swere, that ye shal the office of under shirreve withinne the cite of Norwich, and the libertees of the same, well, duely, and truly, to your power, do, and execute, without extorcon, or wrong doyng, to eny persone, true entrees, recordes, and retornes, to your witte and connyng, ye shall make, the libertes, fraunchises, and customes of this cite, to your power, mayntene, and susteyne, the profites of youre maisters the shirreces of this cite diligently awaite, and entende, and in alle other thyngg apperteyning to your office, ye shal truly byhave yow.

So God help yow, and alle seyntes.

The Tresorers (now Chamberlain's) Charge.

'Ye schall swere, that ye xall be trewe to the commons, and that ye schall truly chargen yow, and dischargen yow, of all parcells by yow receyved, and ye schall overseen, all manner thing that longith to the comowns to have of right, and that ye schall make dewe serche twyes in the quarter, with the surceours, or on of the surveyours, or atte the leste wyth the clerk and the common serjaunt, and ye schall don entren aboven in the Gyldehalle, on the Saterday, all the costis don in the weke beforn, and that ye schall no cost don in no place, wyth owten assente of the surveiours aboven xls. and that alle artificers, and laborers, xull be payd aboven on the Gyldehalle, on the Saterdy, in morn, but in no manner of chaffrare, as it hath ben afore tyme, and this ye schall, as deuly, and as truly don, as ye xuid don for your own goodis.

So help yow God atte the holy dome.'

The Coroners Charge.

'Ye schall swer, that ye xall with inne the liberte of the cite of Norwych, as well in water, as in lond, qwer any persone, man, woman, or child, is founden ded, that is to seye, drowned, slayne, murdred, or sodenly dede, or otherwise by infortune, upon lawfull knowynge unto yow to be made, unto the same dede persone approche, and eighen, and upon the sight of the dede persone, deligent enquerre for to make, and in appelis exigendis and outlawries wyth inne the same liberte, to ben hadde, as well as of the seyd inquerres, trewe recordes to make, and the recordes of inquerres, to the chaumberleyns of the cite delyver, and in all that apperteyneth to the office of coroner with in the seid liberte, ye xul truly do your dever to your power, without fraude of the Kyng, and of the citee of Norwych; So help yow God atte the holy dome.'

The (Oath of the) Comon-Clerk.

'Ye schall swere, that ye schall in the office of comown clerk wyth in the cite of Norwich, and the liberte of it, as wele as in the office of clerk of the pees, and eschetrie, wyth in the cite, onestly and treuly to your power, wythowtyn parcialte, yow behave, and governe, trewe warrantis, entreis, and recordes, upon your connyng make, the profight of the Kyng and of the Meir, for the tyme beynge, as wele as of the comonalte of the seyd citee, wayte, and entende, and her councell kepe upon your myght.

So help yow God atte the holy dome.'

The (Oath of the) Meastres of the Craftes.

'Ye xull sweren, that ye schall with alle your myght and your power, kepen pees, and reste, and tranquillyte, wyth in your crafte, and all manner good governaunce, and ordenaunce, with in yow, ye schall holden, and ye schall make good and trewe serche in your crafte, during this yer next comyng, and alle manner notable defautes that ye findyn in your crafte, well, and truly, ye schall presente them up, on to the Meyr, and if ye make eny ordenaunces in your craft, ye shal not put hem in execucion, til thei be confermed by the comon counsell of thes cite, and that ye schall not suffren no man of your crafte, to engrosen, ne forstallen, no manner of vetaile, in hindring of the comowns of the citee, and also yif ony man of your crafte, that take excesly for his crafte, ye schall truely presenten him unto the Meyre, be him to be redressed, and corected, and make fyn after the quantyte of the trespas, and if ony maner man of your crafte wille not be serched, ne governed by yow, in all right and reson, qwilis ye be maistres of your crafte, ye schall certifie him unto the Meyr, and he schall be chastyced, as good ordenaunce of the citee wele. And that ye concele nought, these defautes afforseid, sparing no man, for love, hate, ne drede, upon peyne of grevous ponyschement, be avyse of the Meyre, and mo sufficient men of the same crafte. But that ye xull soo governe your crafte in all thing, that may be encrese, profit, and worschip, unto alle the citee, and well, and truly, yee schall don alle that longith to maistres of the crafte for to doo.

So helpe yow God atte the holi dome.'

The Constables Charge.

'The Meyre of the cite, chargeth yow on the Kyngis behalve of Ingelonde, that ye schall sekyrly (unto your power) kepen the pees with inne youre warde, and that ye schall not suffren with inne your forseid warde, any congregacionis, ne insurrecyonis, be day, ne be night, with owtyn speciall byding of Mr. Meyre, qwich that may turnen in derogacyon of the Kingis estate, and of his regalte, and if eny man presume himself to doon the contrarie of this charge, that ye heve arested him with alle your power, as rebell agens the Kyng, and the good pees of the cetee, and bringyn him to the Kyngis preson, and if ye be nought myghti to maken this areste, ye xull comyn, and compleynen yow to the Meyr for to strenthe yow agens all suche rebellis with inne this citee, and that ye don denly this charge, upon peyn of forfeture of your goodis, and your bodies to preson, to be atte Kyngis will, and that ye arresten, alle manner of nyght-walkers, baratoors, and mysdoers, comune tenyse pleyers, and hasardowris, bowlers, valyant and mighty beggers, agens the Kingis pees, as welle as be vertu of your office, as be sewte of partye, and bring them to prison, or elles giff Master Meyre knowledge thereof, and that ye geve men charge, for to kepen wach, in your warde, in all the haste ye may at this tyme, as hath ben acustumed, upon peyne therupon ordeyned in the cite, and that ye shall execute all comandements, and precepts given you by Mr. Maier, as well for the peace, as for every other thing, and that ye schall deuly, and truly, perfourm all these pointis affornseid, ye schall doo yowr dever.

So helpe yow God, atte the holy dome.'

The Othe of the Attorneis in the Shreves Court, within the Cittie of Norwiche, before the Mayour.

'You shall swere, that you shall well and trewly execute the office of an attorneye, within this cittie and court, without taking excessive ffees, ye shall be trewe and give trewe counsaill unto your clyaunts, according to your witte, and connyng, ye shall not pleade noo false, ne deletarye pleas, ne plead any pleas to put the courte out of jurisdiction, otherwise thenne the trewthe of the mattier, and cawse, will serve, according to your witte and conning, you shall not gyve any evidens to enquests taking betwixt partie and partie, in any cawse or accion, otherwise thenne you shall be enformed by your clyaunts, or by suche other persone or personnes, as shall witnes the truthe of the mattier, to your knowledge, you shall be obedyent to the shreves, and courte, in all things that be lawful, and ye shall give your attendaunce at the Kings courts of oyer and termyner, the gayle delyvereye, and the quarter sessions, to be holden within the seide cittie, without cause resonable, and also ye shall use and exercise your seide office of attorneye within the seide courtes, in all other cawses and mattiers, perteyning to an attorneye, well and trewly, according to your witte and knowledge, and upholde, and mayneteyne, the jurisdiction of the same courte, to your best power.

'So healpe you God and all saincts, and by the contents of this booke.'

The Charge for the Meirs Sergeants.

'Ye shall swere, that ye shall weel and truly serven the Mayr in the office of sergeaunt, and truly, diligently, and besily, attenden to hym at all tymes, for his wurshipp, and wurshipp of the cite, ye shall also overseen the markets of corn, fflesh, ffysh, pulterie, and other vitayll, and alle manner of forstallers, of any manner vitayll, freshly founden, ye shall arresten, and bringe hem to prison, or atte leste enform the Mayr of suych forstallers, ye shall also suffren no bakers to bye whete beforn x of the belle, ne cook, no flessh, fyssh, ne wilde foule, beforn ix of the belle, as the ordenaunce of this cite is, and alle other things wurshipfull to the Mayr, and profitable to the cite, ye shall don, with all your cunnyng and power, with oute favour or rygour, ye shall also do truly your offys, in takyng of bred, whan ye be sent therfore, with oute favour, or informacon, or warning to the bakers, in any wise, whan thei shall be serched, and that ye shall due summonys make, unto the personys chosen for the comon-counsell, and to any officers of the cite, or to any other persons, whan it be assigned yow, and trewe certificat to the Mayr, or his depute thereof returne, and the counsell of the Maire, aldermen, and of the assemble, ye shall kepe, and well, and truly, all these articles befor rehersed, and alle other things apertenaunt to your office, ye shall duely and truly observen and peformen.

'So help yowe God and all seyntes.'

Servientes Vicecomitum. The Charge of the Shirreves. Sergeantes.

'Ye schall swer, that ye schall truly this yere, serve the Meyr, and the schrevys in ther courtes, in the office of sergeauntre, truly all manner of pleyntes to yow havyn, longing to the courte, entren, and executyn, as hastly as ye may, and as many pleyntis as ye may rescyeve, truly bringyn to the seid courte, and no pleint consele, ne beselyn, taken be yow or in yowr name; alle somonys, attachementis, distresses, preceptis, warrantis, and grene wex, and alle manner processe, and execusyons, of the seid courte, truly servyn, and executyn, and certifien, and non endes make between partye and partye, withowtyn the seid courte. Also non panell maken, atte non nomination of partye, ne non man impanell between partye and partye, but they that ben endefferent men, in no wyse, ne no man, woman, ne childe, aforn xal waren, of no pleynt, ne processe, that is, or xall be, ageyne hym or them, in the same court, but be autorite, and comaundement of the seid court, ne non disceyt doon, of non processe longyng to the seid courte; at alle the courtes holden in the Gyldehalle, ye xull ben present in yowr propre persone, but if ye be comaunded otherwise, be yowr maistres, or be the undirsherece, also no man leten owt of yowr warde to meymprise, after ye have arrested hym, but forthewyth ledyn him to the gayle, or to yowr meystris, or to the underschereve, and ye xall at alle tymes necessarie, be present and redy to do servyce to your meystres, and truly wayte and attende, and kepe the avayls, and councell of the courte, at alle tymes, in all that ye can or may, and alle these poyntes aforn rehersed, ye xall deuly and truly kepen and performen.

'So help yow God atte the holy dome.'

The Charge of the Common Serjeante.

'Ye schall swere, that ye schall make trewe leve of alle the summes owying to the comowns, in the ende of every quarter of the yere, or wythinne iiii weeks next foluyng every quarter of the yer, and the summes unto the tresorers of Norwich wyth owtyn long tariong, or wythinne iiij wekes after the ende of every quarter of the yere, ye schall deliveren and paien; and yif there be any tenaunt unto the comowns, that be suspecte of evill payment of his ferme for a quarter, not havyng sufficient plegis or valu for to paien his ferme, then ye schall in the ende of every quarter of a yer, as often as it nedith, or wyth inne iiij wekes after the ende of every quarter, wythowtyn more tarieng, suche a tenaunt distreyne, and the distress so taken, to wythholden to the behoofe of the comowns, to the tyme that the seid ferme with the arerages, be fully payd, and the comons fully satefied, and yif ye of such a tenaunt or persone have not a sufficient distres, than ye schall at the ende of ony quarter of the yere, or wythin iiij wekes foluing, that persone taken, and attechen be the body, and him leden to the preson of our lege lord the Kyng, ther to abyden, til the tyme the comowns be satified. Also that ye schull ben buxom and obedient, as well in worde, and in dede, to the Meir, surveyoures, and tresorers (chamberlains) of the citee, in all lefull commaundementis, and that ye schall non harm done to the comons, but that ye schall restoren, ne non knowen, he purposed to don, of non other persone, ne persones, but that ye schall of the persones or persone, geve unto the Meyr, surveyours, or tresores (chamberlains,) warnyng and knowyng, and the goodis of the comowns besily ye schall gadren, and truly kepen, and truly therof them answer, and ye schall not lete to ferme, non stalle, non howse, longing to the comunalte, ne ye schall not encresen, ne distresen no tenauntis in her fermys, wyth owtyn assent of the surveyours, and tresorers, (chamberlains) and alle these aforseid, deuly and truly ye schall fulfillen, and don.

So help yow God, atte the holy dome.'

The Charge of them that ben made Citezens, (or Freemen.)

'This here ye Maire, shereves, and commune-counsell, that I xall from this day forward, the fraunchise, and liberties of this cite of Norwich, mayntene, and sustene, with my body, and goods no mannys goods avowe, but myn owyn, wher thorowe the Kyng, or the comoners, myght lese, tol, or custome, or any other right. Buxum ben to the Maire, and all other governours thereof, for tyme being; truly payen my taxes, and talliages, alle offices, to the which I xall be chosen in the cite, or in my crafte, them, and iche of them, accepten diligently, and non refusen; all other charges, leffully leyde uppon me, and alle ordinances made, or to be made within this cite, or in my crafte, confirmed by the counsell of the cite, obeyen and perfourmen from this day forward.

So help me God, atte holy dome.'

Mayors and Sheriffs

  • 1486, John Aubry 3, died. Tho. Bukenham 2.
  • 1487, John Welles 2.
  • 1488, Tho. Bewfield.
  • 1489, Rich. Balles.
  • 1490, Rob. Gardiner.
  • 1491, Will. London 2.
  • 1492, Rob. Aylmere 2.
  • 1493, Ric. Farrour 4.
  • 1494, Stephen Bryan.
  • 1495, John Welles 3, died, Tho. Caus.
  • 1496, John Reed.
  • 1497, Nic. Cowlyche.
  • 1498, Ric. Farrour 5.
  • 1499, Rob. Gardiner 2.
  • 1500, John Waryns or Warnes.

Tho. Wilkyns, John Jowell.

John Jenney, Esq. of Intwood, deputy recorder, and counsel, always retained in the city's behalf.

John Pyncheamor, John Castre.

John Reed, Rich. Hayward or Howard.

Tho. Caus, Nic. Davy.

Tho. Woortys or Woorts, John Thompson, coroners.

Nic. Cowlych or Colich, Will. Gogeon.

Stephen Bryan, Tho. Cock.

Henry Spelman, Esq recorder.

John Waryns, John Rightwise.

Rob. Long, Barth. King.

John Horsley, Rob. Burgh or Burrow.

Richard Brasier, Robert Beast or Best.

John Fraunceys or Francis, John Pythood.

James Hobart, Esq. recorder.

Greg. Clerk, Tho. Aldrich.

Will. Ramsey, Tho. Hennyng or Hemyng.

John Randolf, Rob. Pyncheamor.

Jeffry Steward, John Crome.

Burgesses In Parliament


1 Hen. VII. Parl. at Westm. John Paston Esq. Philip Curzon.

4 Council at Westm. Rob. Thorp, Tho. Caus.

4 Parl. at Westm. Tho. Jenney, Rob. Thorp.

7 Ditto. John Pyncheamor, Philip Curzon.

11 Ditto. Stephen Bryan, Rob. Thorp.

12 Council at Westm. James Hobart, Esq. recorder, Tho. Caus, alderman.

12 Parl. at Westm. Rob. Thorp, Rob. Burgh. They were allowed 4s. a day for their wages in parliament, and were paid for 60 days attendance, but Burgh abated 10s. and Thorp 30s.

19 Ditto. Rob. Burgh, John Rightwise. They received wages at 2s. a day each, for 65 days attendance.