Londina Illustrata. Graphic and Historical Memorials of Monasteries, Churches, Chapels, Schools, Charitable Foundations, Palaces, Halls, Courts, Processions, Places of Early Amusement, and Modern Present Theatres, in the Cities and Suburbs of London and Westminster, Volume 2Wilkinson, Robert
Pie-Powder, otherwise Pied-Poudre Court.In p. 32, vol. iii. of Blackstone's Commentaries, he says, "The lowest, and, at the same time, the most expeditious court of justice known to the law of England, is the court of Pie-poudre, curia pedis pulverizati, so called from the dusty feet of the suitors;" or, according to Sir Edward Coke, "because justice is there done as speedily as dust can fall from the foot." Upon the same principle that justice among the Jews was administered at the gates of the city, that the proceedings might be more speedy as well as public. But by a learned modern writer, it derived its name from "pied puldreaux," a pedlar, in old French, and, therefore, signifying the court of such petty chapmen as resort to fairs or markets: the proceedings of the court being de hora in horam. Jenkins, 132, pl. 70, says, "The court is called, curia pedis pulverizati, because of the confluence of people, who, by their motion, raise pulverem vel lutum."
If we were to trace the origin of this court, we should be obliged to explore very remote authority; we might resort to Sacred Writ, and produce many instances of the judges administering justice in the gate, or without the City, where their decisions were summary and effective. It is not improbable such an open situation was preferred, that the administration of justice might be as public as possible.
There can be no doubt, but that the Greeks, and Romans, from the same motives, decided causes in the Areopagus, the Forum, &c.
The Britons had also their places of judicature in the open air, where the judges presided to minister
The Saxons, in imitation of their German ancestors, appointed of the most eminent and grave men, to ride different circuits, that justice might not be impeded to the meanest individual. Hence arose justices itinerant.
Stowe writes, that "opposite the Bishop of Coventry's Inn, in the (), stood a stone cross, where in the year , and divers other times, the justices itinerant sat without London."
Having glanced at the origin of courts of justice, it will be necessary to remark, that when luxury introduced covered places for deciding causes, the court of Pie-powder lost its ancient consequence, and, from being a court of general judicature, it diminished, though still maintaining its right, into a court of record for the speedy and sudden dispatch of differences arising in markets and fairs, for the sole benefit of merchants and tradesmen; for determining also all doubts and questions then and there arising, respecting sales and contracts made within, and during the time for which the market or fair is held, and not for matters arising out of the market or fair, or done before, or at any time after; but for causes happening and arising , or , agreeably to the act of parliment passed in the year of the reign of king Henry VII. and of Edward IV. cap. ii. .
A court of Pie-powder is of kinds; , either prescriptive, and an absolute jurisdiction; or, secondly, to be in a market or fair; and to this, a court of Pie-powder is incident.
In the latter, things are requisite: , this court is to be for matters arising in the market or fair: secondly, the cases to be determined in the court within, and during the continuance of the market or fair; and this practice is, when the court is annexed to such market or fair. It is, however, very different in a Pie-powder court by prescription, because there, causes, both before and after, may be heard and determined.
It cannot be irrelevant to our subject to state that a court, by prescription, may be held without any fair, from time to time, and from day to day. It was adjudged, Edward IV. in point of a writ of error, where the error was assigned to reverse a judgment given , there alleged to be held The error insisted upon was, "because it did not show, that the matter upon which the action was brought, was , or " It was considered as no error, because the court was held This proves that a Pie-powder court may be held, without either fair or market;[*] and the king may, with propriety, grant such a court to be held from day to day. A court of this kind may also be held , without any fair or market; and its proper denomination being , its jurisdiction, as held by prescription, may be extended to all contracts, bonds, actions of trespass upon the case, &c.
The difference between the courts of Pie-powder is thus defined: "If any person declares upon an injury received in a fair before this court, in such case there is a necessity that he ought to set forth, 'that the injury was sustained in full fair or market;' otherwise the plea is not good. Such is not the case in the court held by prescription; that court may hear and determine actions upon the case for words, which cannot be done in the ordinary court, during the fair."
The court of Pie-powder cannot take cognizance of any words that do not concern any matter touching the market; but if person slanders another respecting his trade or merchandise in the market, in that case the cause is cognizable by the court.
In this court the steward is sole judge, for there are no suitors; therefore, as no writ of false judgment can lie, it must be a writ of error; and where the claim is to hold this court by prescription, and also by charter, if the charter be not contrary to the prescription, this shall be held good as a confirmation
In this court, no steward or other minister shall hold a plea upon an action, at the suit of any person, unless the plaintiff, or his attorney, in the presence of the detendant, do swear, "that the contract in the declaration, &c. was had and made during the time of the fair, and within the jurisdiction of the fair."
The steward in this court being the sole judge, can have no deputy; because, as before, there are no suitors. The trial is by merchants and traders in the fair, and the judgment against the defendant shall be what the court adjudges by the way of amercement.
Having thus given an abstract of the history and the practice of the Pie-powder Court, we shall subjoin a brief description of that annually held during Bartholomew Fair, in .
After Rahere, in the reign of Henry I. had founded the priory of St. Bartholomew, he contracted many enemies, whose rancour was so venomous, that they conspired to take away his life; the plot was discovered to Rahere by of the conspirators, in time for him to apply to his sovereign for protection. The monarch not only granted that protection, but, to evince his good opinion of the persecuted prior, he granted to Rahere the prior, the canons of the church, and to the poor of the hospital, great privileges and immunities; and, among other, a fair at Bartholomew-tide for days: the eve of the feast of St. Bartholomew, St. Bartholomew's day, and the day following. This charter was granted in the year , and confirmed by succeeding sovereigns.
To this fair the clothiers and drapers of London, and other parts of England, constantly repaired to dispose of their commodities, and they exposed them on booths and standings in the churchyard within the priory, which, with its precincts, was enclosed on all sides by a strong wall, and gates which were locked and watched every night; the south part contained a large cemetery, with a spacious court or yard, now denominated , in which the fair was formerly held; the north and east sides of the convent were occupied by the priory garden; but when, upon the increase of inhabitants, after the dissolution of the priory those precincts and the garden were converted into streets, the fair[*] was removed into the more open space of Smithfield. Part of the beautiful cloister still remains on the south side; but it is degraded by being converted into livery stables for horses.
Edward IV. in the year of his reign, by a beneficial charter to the city of London, granted, among other things, "that a fair might be held for days in the year, viz. the , , and days of September; and that they might, from time to time, have a court of Pie-powder, with all summons, attachments, &c. belonging to the same; also that they might have a view of frankpledge, with all that thereunto appertaineth, &c."
King Henry VIII. by letters patent, gave and granted to Sir Richard Rich, Knight, his heirs and assigns for ever (among divers other lands and hereditaments), the site and capital messuage and mansionhouse of the late monastery or priory of St. Bartholomew in , in the suburbs of the city of London, then dissolved; and also the close of the said late monastery or priory, called Great St. , and all the limits and precincts of the said close; also all those closes, houses, and edifices, called the fermary, the dorter, the brother, the cloisters, the galleries, the hall, the kitchen, the buttery, the pantry, the old kitchen, the wood-house, the garnor, and the prior's stable, of the said late monastery within the churchyard; and all those houses, edifices, curtilages, gardens, void grounds, land and soil whatever, within the said Close of the said site of the late monastery or priory belonging; and also all that water, and the aqueduct and water-course, coming and running from a certain place called the Conduit Head of St. Bartholomew, within the manor of Canbery, in the parish of , in the county of Middlesex, unto and in the said site and close of the said late monastery or priory of St. Bartholomew; and all the cisterns and pipes of lead in which, and through which, the same water and watercourse was carried and led; and the chief and principal origin and spring of the same water in aforesaid, unto and in the said site of the said late monastery and priory, with liberty to cleanse and amend the same."
And by the said letters patent, His said Majesty further gave and granted unto the said Sir Richard Rich, Knight, his heirs and assigns, "all that fair and markets commonly named and called Bartholomew Fair, holden and to be holden every year within the aforesaid Close called Great St. , and in aforesaid, to continue yearly for days, viz. on the eve of the day of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, and on the day of St. Bartholomew the Apostle, and on the morrow of the same day of St. Bartholomew the Apostle; and also all the stallage, piccage, toll, and customs of the same fair and markets; and also all our courts of Pie-powder within the fair and markets aforesaid holden and to be holden every year, at the time of the same fair and markets; and all our rights, jurisdictions, authorities, privileges, offices, commodities, profits, and emoluments whatever, of such court of Pie-powder, or in any wise belonging, appertaining, incumbent, or appurtenant: and also all the scrutiny, amendment, and correction of weights and measures whatsoever, in the fair and markets aforesaid, at the time of the same fair and markets, every year occupied and to be occupied; and also the scrutiny of other things whatsoever, exposed to sale in the fair and markets aforesaid, at the time of the same fair and markets; and also the assize and assay, and the amendment and correction of bread, wine, and ale, and other victuals whatsoever, in the fair and markets aforesaid, at the time of the same fair and markets, exposed to sale; and all and singular fines, amerciaments, forfeitures, issues and profits, and other rights, commodities, and emoluments whatever, within the said fair and markets, and of and in the aforesaid court of Pie-powder, and of the stallage, and piccage, and scrutinies aforesaid, from time to time happening, coming, arising, or growing; and also all other rights, jurisdictions, privileges, franchises, liberties, free customs, offices, authorities, exemptions, acquittances, commodities, profits, and emoluments whatsoever, to the said fair and markets in any wise belonging or appertaining, or by reason or pretence of the same fair and markets
|heretofore being enjoyed or used, as fully, freely, and entirely, and in as ample and the like manner and form as William Bolton, formerly prior of the said late monastery or priory of St. Bartholomew, or any or either of his predecessors, priors of the same late monastery or priory, in right of the same late monastery or priory, at any time before the dissolution of the same late monastery or priory, or before the same late monastery or priory came to our hands, have or hath held or enjoyed, or in any wise ought to have, hold, and enjoy, such markets and fair, and stallage, piccage, tolls, customs, courts of Pie-powder, scrutiny, assize, assay, amendment, correction, fines, amerciaments, forfeitures, privileges, franchises, liberties, free customs, offices, authorities, exemptions, exonerations, acquittances, commodities, profits, and emoluments, in the aforesaid Close called Great St. , and in aforesaid, or in either of them, by reason or pretext of any charter, gift, grant or confirmation, or of any charters, or letters patent, or confirmations, by us or any or either of our progenitors, kings of England, to the aforesaid William Bolton, formerly prior of the said late monastery or priory of St. Bartholomew, or any or either of his predecessors, priors of the same late monastery or priory, and the convent of the same late monastery or priory, in any wise made, or granted, or confirmed, or by reason or pretext of any prescription or custom heretofore had or used, or otherwise, by whatsoever means, and as fully, and entirely, and freely as all and singular the premises came to our hands by reason or pretext of the dissolution of the said late monastery or priory of St. Bartholomew, or by reason or pretext of any charter, or grant, gift, confirmation under the conventual seal of the said late monastery or priory, or otherwise to us in any wise made of the fair aforesaid, and other the premises, or by reason or pretext of any act of Parliment, or in whatsoever other manner, right, or title, have come, or ought to come, and in our hands now are, or ought to be."|
It appears by the above charter that there were fairs: for the priory, and for the city; and it is very probable, that, at the dissolution of the priory, the fairs were consolidated[*] under the city of London ,[*] which domain was taken into the city jurisdiction from the following circumstance:
On the , James I. dined at Merchant Taylors' Hall; on which occasion his eldest son, Prince Henry, was made free of that company. On that day, the King discharged a debt of contracted with the citizens by Queen Elizabeth, years before her death; the payment of which obtained King James more love than the value of the money. In the May following, he applied for, and received another loan of from them. And in order to confirm the citizens of London in their love and affection for him, His Majesty granted them an advantageous charter: by which he was pleased to confirm all their ancient rights, liberties, and immunities, and added to their jurisdiction the precincts of Duke's Place, St. Bartholomew the Great and Less, Black and White Friars, and .
Charles I. granted and to the city of London, with liberty to hold fairs and markets in the said fields, with all tolls, profits, &c. thereunto belonging. To which grant is added this particular clause: "We, our heirs or successors, Inner Moor, Outward Moor, ; (saving nevertheless and always reserving to us, our heirs and successors, all streets, lanes, and alleys and now waste and void ground and places, as they are now within the city and liberties of the same), to hold and enjoy the said messuages, houses, edifices, court-yards, and all and singular the premises granted or confirmed, or mentioned to be granted or confirmed, with all their appurtenances (except before excepted), to the said mayor and commonalty and citizens of the said city, and their successors for ever; to hold in fee and common burgage,[*] and not in capite,[*] or by knight's service."
After this period, and when luxury obtained ample dominion in the reign of Charles II. the lower classes of people, apeing the manners of their superiors, were involved in the vortex of sensuality and inordinate appetites; it is not to be wondered at, therefore, that the vulgar drama kept pace with the more polite, or that Bartholomew fair should extend its vagaries from days to a fortnight.
It became, at length, little more than a snare for idle youth and disorderly persons, and an annual scene of impiety, debauchery, and riot, till the year , when the lord mayor, aldermen, and common council of London, after many previous efforts, succeeded in reducing the period of holding the fair to its former limit of days, and at a court held in the month of June during that year, the order was confirmed: the regulation for holding of the fair, though sometimes encroached upon, has continued to the present time.
The fair, from the time above stated, , seems always to have been a scene of great confusion and riot; and the sports and pastimes which have been practised in the fair, from the above time, have, at different periods, been more or less vicious; but, at present, it is more free from complaint than it used to be, as gaming formed a chief part of the amusements of the fair: particularly in the year ; there being at the fair held in that year, not less than licensed dice and hazard tables permitted.
The amusement which the steward of the court granted licenses to people to exhibit in the fair, consisted of flying chairs, flying horses, puppet-shows, drolls, marble-boards, couler-boards, dice, hazard, and rowley-powley.
About the year , dice and hazard tables seem to have been prohibited, and those tables destroyed by the officers of the court. A few wild, or foreign animals, were then exhibited, and rope-dancing was also introduced.
About , the up-and-downs commenced.
In the year , the noted Flocton, the showman, made his appearance in the fair, as an exhibitor of a show called the Venetian Carnival.
In , dexterity of horsemanship took place; and from that period, puppet-shows, pantomimes, wild beasts, dexterity of hand, and the imitation of theatrical performances, appear to have been the current amusements; but of late, for about years back, theatrical performances have been introduced, and are now exhibited with no little degree of splendour.
We cannot close this article without noticing the wise regulations adopted in , during the mayoralty of Sir James Shaw, Bart. It was proved by those regulations, that the usual shows and entertainments might be enjoyed by such as choose to resort to such places, without indecorum towards their persons, or injury to their property. Similar regulations should certainly claim the utmost attention of the magistracy, when the public safety is considered, and when it is considered also, what a vast revenue this fair produces to the city chamber.
The court of Pie-powder for Bartholomew fair has, for many years past, been held at at a public-house called the Hand and Shears, the corner of , ; and it appears by the Lex Londinensis, and other ancient books, treating on the charter and liberties of London, that the eldest clerks in the sheriffs' court are attorneys in this court[*] for examining and trying all suits brought for petty matters and offences committed in the fair either by the traders who vend their goods, by the drolls who exhibit their antics for the amusement of the vulgar, or by those who keep repositories for wild beasts, &c. as well as such who obtain the money of the thoughtless by means of games of chance, or such as infringe the following proclamation, delivered within the entrance into , annually, before the lord mayor, or his principal officer:
"The Right Honourable —, Lord Mayor of the city of London, and his right worshipful brethren the aldermen of the said city, straitly charge and command, on the behalf of our Sovereign Lord the King, that all manner of persons, of whatsoever estate, degree, or condition they be, having recourse to this fair, keep the peace of our Sovereign Lord the King.
"That no manner of persons make any congregation, conventicles, or affrays, by the which the same peace may be broke or disturbed, upon pain of inprisonment and fine, to be made after the discretion of the lord mayor and aldermen.
"Also, that all manner of sellers of wine, ale, or beer, sell not by measures unsealed, as by gallon, pottle, quart, and pint, upon pain that will fall thereof.
"And that no person shall sell any bread, except it keep the assize; and that it be good and wholesome for man's body, upon pain that will follow thereof.
"And that no manner of cook, pie-baker, nor huckster, sell or put to sale any manner of victual, except it be good and wholesome for man's body, upon pain that will fall thereof.
"And that no manner of person buy nor sell, but with true weights and measures, sealed accordin to the statute in that behalf made, upon pain that will fall thereof.
"And that no person or persons take upon him or them, within this fair, to make any manner of arrest, attachment, summons, or execution; except it be done by the officers of this city thereunto assigned, upon pain that will befall thereof.
"And that no person or persons whatsoever, within the limits or bounds of this fair, presume to break the Lord's Day, in selling, showing, or offering to sale, or in buying or offering to buy, any commodities whatsoever; or in sitting tippling or drinking in any tavern, inn, ale-house, tippling-house, or cook's house, or in doing any other thing that may tend to the breach thereof, upon the pains and penalties contained in several acts of parliment, which will be severely inflicted upon the breakers thereof.
"And, finally, that what persons soever find themselves grieved, injured, or wronged, by any manner of person in this fair, that they come with their plaints before the stewards in this fair, assigned to hear and determine pleas; and they will minister to all parties justice according to the laws of the land, and the customs of the city."
SOME circumstances which attend the presentation of the Sheriffs of London to the Court of , by which their election is confirmed, have in our day such an air of singularity, that it cannot be deemed impertinent to give some explanation of the very ancient practices to which we allude. The whole ceremony indeed (for a mere ceremony it has long been) originated in facts of so much importance in the municipal history of the metropolis, nay, even of the country, that we may be held excused for going yet farther—for endeavouring to trace it to the motives under which it was ordained; to show its immediate connexion with the stupendous system which governed our early ancestors; and to rescue it's serious character and intention from the silly conceits and gross errors of vulgar misapprehension.
Sheriffs, in common with the most of other public officers, were, previously to the Norman Conquest, elected by the people, and possessed within the spheres of their several jurisdictions an independent authority. Soon after that great event, the Crown assumed and exercised the power of appointing them, since nominally moderated by statutes which restored the old form of election, subject to the royal approbation. They became now, in many respects, the representatives of royalty in their respective districts: to them were intrusted the most ample, indeed almost discretionary, means of opposing all tumultuous assemblies, for the maintenance, according to the emphatic language of the law, of the King's peace: they were the instruments, under the immediate authority of the Crown, of embodying and arming, by a summary process, the military force of the whole kingdom. Amongst these, and many others of their high faculties, they formed the chief medium between the King and his subjects as to such of his land revenues as were derived from the several districts, or municipal bodies, which were committed to their charge: they had the power of compelling, in the King's name, the payment to them of such royal droits; and they were accountable for them to , by the authority of whose court, instituted by William the Conqueror, and it's powers and duties with more precision defined by Edward I. for the especial conservation of the King's revenues, they were aided or controuled as occasions might require. Of this connexion of the Sheriffs of England in general with the Court, as well as with the receipt of , we are enabled to draw the strongest inferences from many detached records, perhaps too far separated from each other to form a chain of proof sufficiently regular to satisfy the highly scrupulous antiquary; but that the Sheriffs of London in particular bore such relation, we have the strongest possible evidence.
"The Sheriffs of London," to use the words of an excellent and most rare little treatise on the ancient customs of London, printed in , "pay, and are accountable yearly to of our Lord the King, for the farm of the said city, and of the county of Middlesex, according to the form of their charter, by occasion of which farm the said Sheriffs ought to have the ancient prizes and customs of the merchandises coming within the said city, and going out, and forfeitures, fines, and amerciaments, and all other commodities of ancient time belonging to their said offices," &c.
This passage is explained by the charter granted to the City by Henry the , by which he demised the county of Middlesex to his citizens of London, "by farm, for upon account, to them and their heirs, so as the said citizens of London shall appoint a Sheriff, whom they please, of themselves, and a Justice to hold the pleas of his crown, which are to be pleaded for the same." And of the charters of King John, in his year, grants to the citizens of London, "the Sheriffwick of Middlesex, with all things and customs appertaining, within the city and without, paying yearly to the King and his heirs , at ; the moiety at Easter, the other at Michaelmas;" and allows that the citizens may "of themselves make Sheriffs whom they will, and remove them when they please;" and "that they present those whom they make Sheriffs to our Justices, who may answer to us, as our Barons of , for the things belonging to the said Sheriffwicks, of which they ought to answer to us; and if they do not fully answer and satisfy, the citizens of London are to answer and satisfy of the amerciament of the farm," &c. This latter charter concludes— "of that which belongs to the Sheriffwick the Sheriffs shall answer in our Exchequer, before our Barons, saving to the said Sheriffs the liberties which other citizens of London have."
The terms of the charters, by a sort of complaisance, as it should seem, to the city, scarcely afford any ground even for inference of the invariable fact, that the election of Sheriffs could be of no effect till it had been sanctioned by the royal approbation. It was, however, to obtain that ratification of their choice that the citizens were commanded to present those whom they had elected to the King, represented by the Barons of his Exchequer, by whom they were fully admitted to their offices, on their taking an oath of fidelity, "ad respondendum Domino Regi ad Scaccarium pro civitate;" or "ad faciendum præceptum Regis;" or "ad faciendum Domino Regi quod alii Vicecomites facere debent," &c.; for the form of the oath, though tending always to the same point, frequently varied in its terms. Thus the Sheriffs became servants of the Crown, and it was in that character, and not as municipal officers, that they were qualified to receive and to pay the rent, by which the citizens of London, as we have just now seen, farmed that city and the county of Middlesex of the King, as tenants as well as other rents, some few of which we shall presently have particular occasion to notice.
The correctness of this statement is further proved by the struggles of the citizens themselves to wrest the election from the Crown. In the year of King Edward the , Philip le Taylur was fined for refusing to come to , at the King's command; and in the of Edward the , when the Mayor, Aldermen, and other citizens presented Hamon Godchep and William de Buddele, whom they had elected Sheriffs, and the Treasurer and Barons of called on them to take the usual oath, the citizens alleged that "the said Hamon and William, or others whom they might elect to the office of Sheriff, were not bound, nor ought, to take any oath relative to the discharge of it, except before the Mayor and Aldermen of their city; and prayed that those persons whom they then presented might be admitted to the said office on their presentation, as had been formerly accustomed." But they were answered, that "although it belonged to the citizens, by their charters, to choose or make Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, and to present them at , yet the persons whom they might so choose were not thereby exempt from taking the oath required, unless special exemption in that behalf were granted by the King." The citizens
|therefore were told by the Treasurer and Barons, that "unless the said Hamon and William should take the oath in question, they the Treasurer and Barons (although they did not thereby make void or impeach the election) could by no means accept or admit those persons; for that if the said persons would execute , before they had been sworn thereto in , it would be at their peril." Similar demands on the part of the citizens were frequently repeated, and as often rejected.|
The city of London and county of Middlesex then, or, as the united were frequently called, the Sheriffwick of Middlesex, were, as we have seen, held of the Crown by the citizens, under the charter of Henry the , at the yearly rent of . That rent appears to have been, from time to time, raised. We find in the charter granted by King John, the substance of which, so far as it relates to our subject, has been before stated, that the annual payment required by that Prince was an obscure and obsolete phrase, which is explained by an Exchequer record of the of Henry the , by which we are informed, that when Henry de Waleys and Gregory de Rokesle, elected Sheriffs for that year, were presented by the Mayor and citizens, they were sworn, among other duties of their office, to account to the King for , the old farm or rent ("quod prædicti Vicecomites respondebunt Regi de cccxvl. de veteri ferma"), and so in these "pounds " we find the rudiments of our guineas of modern times. The citizens, on their part, at the same time answered to the King for , , according to the words of the record (et prædicti cives respondebunt Regi de quater xx—v, de novo cremento), and the line of distinction here drawn seems clearly to point at the peculiar province of the Sheriffs with regard to the King's revenue; for while they were bound to receive on his behalf, and to pay into his Exchequer, the rent specially reserved to the King, as supreme feudal lord, by the royal charter or charters granted to the city, the citizens themselves appear to have been responsible, probably by their Mayor, for dues of a meaner nature. The , therefore, of , mentioned in the record in question, was perhaps some source of ordinary revenue, lately opened, for the payment of which the citizens pledged themselves, at the same time that the Sheriffs were sworn to their performance of their separate duty, and which therefore happens to be referred to in the same record.
The rent, however, for the Sheriffwick returned, at what precise time we know not, to its ancient rate of ; which, together with for , and for the borough of , constituted, as it should seem, all the annual rents, in money, for which the corporation as , was accountable, through its Sheriffs, to the Crown; but we find scattered records of other rents, which it was their duty to receive, and to pay, so small indeed in value, that they can be considered but as merely nominal, but precisely of the same character, as arising from the same kind of tenure. Of of these the recollection is so remarkably preserved in the ceremonies of which we shall presently speak, that it will be proper to give here a detailed account of them.
We find in the records of the Court of Exchequer, that Henry the granted to Walter le Brun, a farrier in , a piece of land there, that he might build a forge thereon, at the yearly rent of horse-shoes: "Walter le Brun, mareschallus de Stranda, reddit compotum de sex ferris equorum, pro habenda
|quadam placea in parochia Sti. Clementis, ad fabricam ibidem locandam," and in the year of Edward the , a recognition of that grant is recorded, by which it appears that the said Walter, or perhaps his son, "a farrier at the Stone cross," rendered horse-shoes, with their nails, for a certain forge, which he held of the King ("Middlesex Redditus—Walter, Mareschallus, ad crucem lapideam, reddit sex ferra equorum, cum clavibus, pro quadam fabrica quam de Rege tenet in capite, ex opposito crucis lapideæ"); and it is observable, though not immediately to our purpose, that in some of the early plans of the city of London and its environs, a large plot of ground, between and the river, west of , is distinguished by the appellation of "The Forge."|
Nicholas de Mora held of the Crown, , certain lands in Shropshire, called the More, at the whimsical yearly rent of knives, the good, the other very bad, ("Salopsire—Nicholaus de Mora reddit ad Scaccarium duos cultellos, unum bonum, et alterum pessimum, pro quadam terra quam de Rege tenet , in Mora"—(.)
Both these estates became the property of the city of London. When it acquired "The Forge," we know not; but it seems that in the reign of Henry the , license was granted to John Adams, and others, to alienate certain lands in the county of Salop, called "The More," to John Heweson, mercer and citizen of London, and to — Gresham; and of the heirs of those persons it was probably purchased by the corporation. The service to be annually rendered for it is thus stated in that grant of Henry the , somewhat more fully than in the original record—
" culters, or knives, of such strength as to be able to cut a stick of a cubit's length, and the other not strong enough to cut the same; the good culter to cut the stick at the cut through the middle: which service is to be performed in the middle of , before the Treasurer and Barons, every year, on the morrow of St. Michael."
Thus the Sheriffs of London were the King's receivers of all such rents as became due to him from the incorporated citizens, as his tenants and it was chiefly to the just performance of their duties in that respect that they bound themselves by the oath exacted from them on their admission to this office. The citizens, however, either from a jealousy of the primary interference of the Crown, or from a generous desire to become the purely voluntary ministers of their own constant fidelity towards it, having long striven, as we have seen, to procure the abrogation of the oath in question, finally succeeded; and Edward the , by his charter, ordained that the Sheriffs should not, in future, be compelled to take any oath at , except on the delivery of their account. That oath, however, differs nothing in substance from the former, the only distinction between them being, that the refers prospectively, the other in retrospect, to the duties which the Sheriffs are to perform. The latter, which we may presume to have remained unaltered from the date of the charter last mentioned, is in the following terms:
"You, A. B. and C. D. Esquires, shall swear that you shall yield unto his Majesty King a true account of your office of Sheriffwick in the city of London and county of Middlesex, due to his Majesty from the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, in the year of his said Majesty's reign, until the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel then
|next following, in the year of his said Majesty's reign, that is to say, for whole year. And in the same account you shall charge yourselves with all such sum and sums of money as you or any of your bailiffs, officers, or ministers, for you, have levied, or lawfully might have levied, to his Majesty's use. You shall also true answer make of all felons' goods; outlawed or attainted men's goods; waifes, estrays, deodands, or other profits of the like nature due to his Majesty, by virtue of your office of Sheriffwick, or by virtue of his Majesty's prerogative royal, which have come to your hands, your under-sheriff's hands, or any of your bailiffs', officers', or ministers' hands. You shall also true answer make to all summons of the Pipe and Green Wax; and you shall deliver into this Court of Exchequer a book, fairly written on parchment, declaring where, and of whom, his Majesty is to be answered the Vicontiels written forth to you in the said summons of the Pipe. And in the same account you shall vouch no franchise or liberty, nor make any petition, nor crave any allowance or discharge, but such as shall be just and true; and well and truly you shall behave yourselves in yielding the same account, as true and just accomptants ought to do, without omission or concealment. So help you GOD."|
Having premised these historical remarks as a necessary illustration of what is to follow, we proceed to give an account at large of the presentation in the Court of Exchequer, on the morrow after Michaelmas-day, of newly-elected Sheriffs, and of the discharge of their predecessors, in explanation of the annexed Plate.
It represents the interior of the Court of Exchequer, in Hall, formerly of the private apartments of the ancient Royal Palace of . The Lord Mayor stands, covered, at the centre of the Bar, with the Recorder on his right hand, and the newly-elected Sheriffs, the on the left of the Lord Mayor, the other on the right of the Recorder. The Aldermen who choose to attend the ceremony, behind the Lord Mayor; and the Companies of which the Sheriffs happen to be members are arranged in lines on either side of the Court, below the Bar, each behind its respective member. The Sword-bearer is seated at the right-hand corner of the Bar, and the Sergeant at Arms, or, as he is usually called, the Common Cryer, stands with his mace at the left. The senior City Marshal behind the Sword-bearer, and his junior at the lower end of the Court. The Common Serjeant, Town Clerk, Judges of the Sheriff's Court, City Counsel, Comptroller, of the Secondaries, the Remembrancer, the City Solicitor, the Clerk of the Peace for the City, of the Under-Sheriffs, and the Sheriff's Chaplain, are seated about the table on the left, and at the lower end. The late Sheriffs, the Under-Secondary, and the other Under-Sheriff, sit on the right; and on the Bench the Cursitor Baron, who customarily presides on this occasion. The horse-shoes, nails, knives, and sticks are placed on the table, in readiness for the discharge of those ancient rents or services which have been lately spoken of at some length.
All having been thus arranged, the Recorder addresses himself to the Cursitor Baron, on presenting the newly-elected Sheriffs for their admission into office, and their predecessors on their discharge from it. The form and method of the speeches usual on such occasions cannot be better exemplified than by those pronounced by the Recorder, John Sylvester, Esq. on the presentation and discharge of Samuel Birch and John Heygate, Esquires, on the . They are specimens rendered truly gratifying and valuable by the eloquence of the speaker, and the merit of the subjects.
"Mr. Baron Maseres," said the Recorder, on presenting those gentlemen on their election, "I have the honour to present at your Lordship's Bar Samuel Birch, Esq. alderman
|and cook and William Heygate, Esq. citizen and merchant-taylor, whom the Livery of London, by a very great majority, on a poll continued to its utmost legal extent, have elected to the important office of Sheriffs of London and Sheriff of Middlesex. Before this worthy Alderman was called to the honour of magistracy, the affection of his fellowcitizens had repeatedly returned him, for many successive years, as a faithful representative of the municipal parliament of the metropolis, in which, with a force and elegance of language worthy the highest assembly of the state, he exposed and overawed, in times big with danger, the internal enemies of the country, and rivetted the regards of his fellow-citizens to the great duties of a citizen, loyalty to their sovereign, and love of the constitution of their country. Whilst the enemies of mankind were meditating the total destruction of freedom, and all that is valuable to man in these happy isles, their last asylum, he nobly presented himself as a leader and instigator of his fellow-citizens voluntarily to enroll themselves in martial discipline, and dare the foe to meet on British ground the British bayonet, directed by a British arm.|
"His worthy colleague in the Shrievalty is known to his fellow-citizens in private life as a gentleman of great integrity, sound understanding, and largely acquainted with, and deeply interested in, the manufactures and commerce of the country.—But lately called to the great council of the city, they look forward to his public life with confidence that it will continually add to the high esteem that his private character had long created.
"The important duties of this great office they have no doubt will, in every instance, be discharged by these gentlemen with consummate prudence, fidelity, ability, and integrity; and will, at the close of it, give them additional claims on the approbation and gratitude of the public."
On presenting them for their discharge, the Recorder delivered himself as follows:
"My Lord, The late Sheriffs, Samuel Birch, Esq. and William Heygate, Esq. attend to render an account to our Lord the King of the issues and profits of their office.—When I had the honour to present these gentlemen to your Lordship, I described the former as the eloquent advocate of every principle of the constitution, the dreaded opponent of its domestic enemies, and the successful instigator of his fellow-citizens to array themselves in arms against it's external foes.—Of the latter I spoke as a highly respected member of the municipal assembly of the metropolis, whose conduct and character would be daily advancing him in the affections of his fellow citizens; and this prediction has been most honourably verified by his having been since elected to the high office of Alderman of London. Great as the expectations of their fellow-citizens were of the conduct of their Shrievalty, I have now the satisfaction to declare to your Lordship that it has been executed, in every instance, most usefully to the public, and most honourably to themselves; but the sense of their fellow-citizens on that occasion can by no other means be so well expressed as in their recorded language in the Common Hall of yesterday, in a meeting or assembly of the Mayor, Aldermen, and Liverymen of the several Companies of the City of London in Common Hall assembled at the of the said City, on Tuesday the .—Resolved unanimously, That the thanks of this Common Hall be given to Samuel Birch, Esq. and William Heygate, Esq. Aldermen, and late Sheriffs of this City, and Sheriff of the County of Middlesex, for their upright conduct during the whole of their Shrievalty; for their liberality and kindness to the poor prisoners committed to their care; and for their manly perseverance in supporting the chartered rights of this ancient City."
His speeches ended, the Recorder reads warrants: the , from the newly-elected Sheriffs to an officer of the Lord Treasurer's Remembrancer, authorizing him to receive for them all writs, and other mandates of the Court of Exchequer, according to the form of the statute; the , for the swearing of the
|former Sheriffs to their accounts; and the , for so swearing also their Under- Sheriffs. These warrants are again read; the former by the Filazer, the latter by the Treasurer's Remembrancer. It is ordered that they shall be filed and recorded; and the Sheriffs and Under-Sheriffs for the preceding year are then sworn to their accounts, the same oath (the terms of which we have given above) being subscribed by both.|
The Cryer then makes proclamation—"O yes, &c.—Tenants and occupiers of a certain piece of waste ground, called the Moors , in the county of Salop, come forth, and do your service, on pain and peril that may fall thereon:" on which the senior Alderman present mounts the table, and, having cut the sticks, renders them, and the knives, according to the terms of the ancient tenure before mentioned. This done, the Cryer summons in the same manner, "the tenants and occupiers of a certain tenement, called the Forge, in the parish of St. Clement Danes," &c. He then proceeds to count the horse-shoes and the nails, and, on being severally questioned by an officer of the Court as to the amount of each, replies, " horse-shoes, and hob-nails;" to which the officer rejoins, "A good number." Thus ends this venerable annual memorial of feudal homage.
THE annexed view is an accurate copy (but reduced to half the size of the original) of an extremely scarce print, representing this celebrated edifice, as it appeared when erected by Sir Thomas Gresham.[*]
By the last will and testament of this eminent citizen, dated , Eliz. and printed in , "the building in London, called the ; and all the pawns and shops, cellars, vaults, messuages, tenements, and other hereditaments, parcell or adjoyning to the same," after the determination of the particular uses, estates, and interest for life, and intail thereof, limited in a certain indenture therein mentioned; is left jointly to the corporation of London, and the company of Mercers, for ever, upon trust, that they should appoint and maintain lecturers to read lectures of divinity, astronomy, music, and geometry, in his dwelling-house in . These lectures are continued to the present time.[*]
The following extracts (copied by permission) from the ward-books of , contain various curious and interesting particulars relative to the then state of the original fabric, and have never before been made public.
In most humble wise beseche you. lordships and worships, we the wardmote enquest of the warde abovesaid, that whereas of long tyme the upper p. or arches of the Royall Exchange, beinge on the s. weste and south pts thereof with. the said warde, whereunto the merchaunts do comonly resorte, have accesse, and do walke, beinge the chairge of repācons on pte of the Lady Gresham to be done, hath byn and is greately by the thereof, gretely defective and very perilous to the walkers thereunder. In such as the mayne freestones of the arches thereof have fallen, and a grete p. of the same arches are reddy to fall, to the greate danger of the lives of psons yonge and olde, daily walkinge thereunder and resortinge to the same Exchange. And whereas also at a certeyne grate belonginge to the like chairge of the lady Gresham,[*] beinge right ov
of th' Exchange, to certifye it to Lady Gresham, and yet no reformacion nor consider. had thereof. Maie it therefore plese yo. lordship and worships the premisses tendrely considered of your goodnes to take such spedy order therein, as that the said arches and hole maye be prsently and out of hand amended, otherwise it will torne to the hurt and spoile of many.
. Presented. Will Grimbel for keping typlinge in the vaults under the Exchange, and for broylinge of , and , and other thinges in the same vaulte noysome to the m and others resortinge to the Exchange.
. Presented. The walls on the south side of the Exchange, to be crazie and ruinous.
By the foregoing extracts, we may perceive that the building of Sir Thomas Gresham, by no means equalled the present structure either in strength or splendour, though it bore a considerable resemblance to it in other respects.[*] The continual need it had of repairs sufficiently bespeaks the inferior nature of the workmanship and materials; and these defects, from other passages in the same book, too long to insert, appear to have continued until the great fire completely demolished the original edifice, just years after its foundation.
The present magnificent pile was erected, principally at the expense of the company of Mercers, joint proprietors with the city. A considerable progress in the building seems to have been made in , as in that year, amongst other presentments of the wardmote inquest,
"The chamber of London, and the company of Mercers are presented, for that divers great stones, for the building of the Exchange, doe lye in the of , whereby the said street is much straightened, and incumbred, and a great occasion of the fowlness of the place."
[*] See Act of 17 of Edward IV. cap. 2; whereby it is enacted, "that from the 1st day of May next ensuing, no steward, under-steward, bailiff, nor commissary, nor any other minister of any such courts of Pie-powder, shall hold plea, upon any action, at the suit of any person or persons, unless the plaintiff or plaintiffs, or his or their attorney, in the presence of the defendant or defendants, do swear upon the Holy Evangelists, upon the declaration, that the contract or other deed contained in the said declaration, was made or committed within the fair, and within the time of the fair where he taketh his said action, and within the jurisdiction and bounds of the same fair."
[*] The narrow street on the north side of the church received its denomination, Cloth Fair, from this circumstance.
[*] We are inclined to think that the two fairs were consolidated by mutual agreement between the mayor and commonalty of the city of London, and the prior of the monastery; and that about the 32d of King Henry VI. 1454, an agreement was entered into between those parties, that the stallage and piccage gathered and taken in certain parts of West Smithfield, should be appropriated to the mayor and commonalty, and the stallage and piccage gathered and taken within the close of St. Bartholomew, and certain other places, should be taken by the prior.
[*] It does not appear that the priory was ever part of, or within, or held of the lord of any manor. From the most ancient records it is said to have been called the Monastery or Priory of St. Bartholomew.
[*] A tenure by which lands are held of the king, or some lord, for annual rent.
[*] A tenure by which a person held of the king immediately, as of his crown, either by knight's service or soccage, and not of any honour, castle, or manor, belonging to it. By a statute of 12 Charles II. all such tenures are abolished.
[*] The judge of the court is the steward, for the time being, of the Right Honourable William Lord Kensington, who is a descendant of the family of Sir Richard Rich, Knight: to whom the grant of the dissolved monastery or priory of St. Bartholomew the Great, and the said market or fair, was made by King Henry VIII. The fair is usually proclaimed, by the steward or officer of his Lordship, at twelve o'clock, on the eve of St. Bartholomew (old style); and upon that occasion, he is attended by a rabble of disorderly persons called Lady Holland's mob, who, under the colour of greeting the return of the annual fair, commit many wanton excesses. The other officers of the court are: an associate, who, it is believed, was formerly the common serjeant of the city of London, or one of the attorneys of the mayor's or sheriff's court; but no associate has attended for many years;The records of the court, for nearly a century past, have been searched; but it does not appear that any officer, either from the sheriff's court, or mayor's court, has attended. six serjeants at mace: two for the lord mayor, two for the Poultry Compter, two for Giltspur Street Compter, and a constable appointed by the steward of Lord Kensington to attend the court.
[*] Mr. Gough, in his "British Topography," vol. i. p. 710, thus describes the original; "A plate from a drawing (qu. a print?) belonging to the Society of Antiquaries, 1566, the year it was finished by Sir Thomas, is engraved by Vertue in Ward's History of the Gresham Professors. This old print, which I have, and which Vertue has not copied faithfully, has a Corinthian pillar rising not exactly from the centre of the south (north) side, surmounted with a grasshopper, under which is a man looking down, as if the pillar was hollow. A Latin inscription is on the left hand of the pillar; and another in English on the right, both in italics: also the arms of England, and those of Sir T. Gresham."
[*] For a variety of historical accounts descriptive of the ancient and modern states of this building, as well as for different prints of it, vide ut sup. p. 711, and 712.
[*] Lady Gresham died in 1596, having enjoyed the rents of the Royal Exchange (in which she had a life estate) twenty-seven years, and was interred near her husband, in St. Helen's Church, as appeared by the following entry. Har. MS. No. 6033. "The funeral of Dame Gresham, wyfe of Sir Thomas Gresham, knight who was buryed the 18 of December 1596, at the psh chyrche of St Ellens, London. The officers serving then wer clarencieux and rouge crois poursuivants at armes, who received for their ffees fourtye pounds. T. Rouge Croix."
[*] Some striking differences, however, nothwithstanding this general resemblance, will be found on examining the print. Exclusive of the elegant pillar on the north side, which the present building wants, the windows and arches in the two will be found to vary considerably, as well as their decorations. The statues, twenty-one in number, commence with the Conqueror, and finish with Elizabeth (the reigning sovereign); next before whom are Philip and Mary. These appear to occupy only three sides of the structure. The grasshoppers at the angles, and recumbent figures beneath the arches, are likewise additions, which if at all tolerably executed, must have conduced much to the ornament and general effect of the whole.
Title page of Vol. 2 reads: Theatrum illustrata. Graphic and historic memorials of ancient playhouses, modern theatres and other places of public amusement in the cities and suburbs of London & Westminster with scenic and incidental illustrations from the time of Shakspear to the present period.