Opening of sessions
Articles of the eyre (nos 6-36)


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Helena M. Chew & Martin Weinbaum (editors)

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'Opening of sessions: Articles of the eyre (nos 6-36)', The London eyre of 1244 (1970), pp. 5-10. URL: Date accessed: 23 November 2014.


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Articles of the eyre (nos 6–36)

6. In primis quesitum fuit a maiore, camerario, vicecomitibus et aliis de maioribus ville, qualiter justiciarii incipere debeant placita sua. Qui dicunt quod in primis liberari debent capitula super quibus respondere debent de placitis ad coronam domini regis spectantibus. Postea quesitum fuit ab eis quibus capitula (fn. 1) illa liberari debeant, et si illi quibus liberari debent, debeant iurare de veritate dicenda super articulis capitula contingentibus necne. Qui dicunt quod capitula liberari debent maiori absque aliquo sacramento quod idem maior inde faciat et quod idem maior una cum consilio seniorum et legalium et discretorum Civitatis respondebit ad predicta capitula Civitatem contingentia. Et vicecomites similiter ad capitula secundum tempus suum. Ita quod veritatem dicent de articulis capitulorum et aliis ab eis requisitis in fide qua tenentur domino regi et secundum fidelitatem quam ei fecerunt. (fn. 2) Ita videlicet, quod si predictus maior qui respondebit pro Civitate bene respondeat, omnes de communi per responsionem suam quo ad hoc sunt quieti. Si autem male respondeat, et convictus sit vel cadat in aliquo communitatem Civitatis tangente, tota communitas pro quibus respondit cadat. Et maior et omnes de Civitate dicunt quod ita usitatum fuit ante gwerram tam tempore regis Johannis, regis Ricardi, quam tempore regis Henrici patris eorum. Et sic liberantur maiori capitula sub hac forma, scilicet:

First, the mayor, chamberlain, sheriffs and others of the more important men of the town, were asked by the justices how they ought to begin their pleas. They answered that first of all the articles touching the pleas of the crown, to which they are required to make reply, ought to be handed over. They were then asked to whom the articles should be delivered, and whether or not those to whom they are delivered ought to swear to tell the truth.

To which they made answer that the articles ought to be delivered to the mayor, without any oath being required of him, and that he, having taken counsel with the senior, lawful and discreet men of the City, will reply to the articles concerning the City, and the sheriffs likewise to the articles for their respective terms of office, telling the truth about the articles of the chapters and other things required of them according to the faith in which they are bound to the king, and the fealty they have done to him. It being clearly understood that if the mayor who answers for the City answers well, the whole community shall be quit as far as concerns his answers. If, however, he answers badly, and is convicted and fails in any matter touching the commonalty of the City, the whole commonalty for which he answers shall fail. And the mayor and all the men of the City say that this was the custom before the war, as well in the time of King John and King Richard as in that of King Henry their father. And thus the articles were delivered to the mayor in the form following, viz:

7. De veteribus placitis corone que alia vice fuerunt coram justiciaris domini regis et non fuerunt terminata.

Of old pleas of the crown formerly heard before the king's justices and not terminated.

8. De novis placitis corone que postea emerserunt tempore pacis.

Of recent pleas of the crown which arose later in time of peace.

9. De illis qui sunt in misericordia domini regis et non sunt amerciati. Of those who are in the king's mercy and have not been amerced.

10. De debitis domino Johanni regi patri domini regis debitis in gwerra et ante gwerram, que fuerunt debita illa, et qui fuerunt debitores, et si sunt defuncti, et qui sunt eorum heredes et eorum bona possidentes.

Of the debts owing to King John, the king's father, during and before the war, what they are, and by whom owed, and whether the debtors are dead, and who are their heirs and the possessors of their goods.

11. De illis qui infra libertatem Civitatis maliciose domes aliquorum prostraverunt vel combusserunt contra pacem etc., qui illi sint et quorum domus ille fuerunt et si sine licentia domini regis adinvicem pacem fecerunt. (fn. 3)

Of those who have maliciously demolished or burned down houses within the liberty of the City against the [king's] peace, etc., who they are, and whose houses they were, and whether they have made peace without the king's licence.

12. De vallettis et puellis qui sunt et esse debent in custodia domini regis sive maritati sint vel sunt maritandi, et si maritati sint, quibus et per quos et quantum terre illorum valeant.

Of youths and damsels who are and ought to be in the king's wardship, whether they are married or still marriageable, and if they are married to whom and by whom, and how much their lands are worth.

13. De seriantiis domini regis que sint et quis illas teneat et per quern et cuiusmodi seriantie sunt et quantum valeant.

Of the king's serjeanties, what they are and who holds them, and through whom, and of what kind they are and how much they are worth.

14. De ecclesiis que sunt et esse debent de donacione domini regis et que ecclesie sint et quis illas tenet et per quem.

Of the churches which are and ought to be in the king's gift, and which churches they are, and who holds them, and through whom.

15. De escaetis domini regis tarn de tenementis judeorum quam christianorum et quis illa teneat et per quern et per quod servicium et quantum valeant.

Of the king's escheats, as well of the tenements of Jews as of Christians: and who holds them, and through whom, and by what service, and how much they are worth.

16. De purpresturis (fn. 4) factis super dominum regem sive in terra sive in aqua (fn. 5) vel in libertate vel alibi ubicunque sunt.

Of purprestures made upon the king, whether by land or water, within the liberty or elsewhere, wherever they are.

17. De mensuris statutis et iuratis per regnum si sint servate sicut provisum fuit et si custodes mensurarum mercedem tempore pacis ceperunt ab aliquo ut possit per illas emere vel vendere et intelligatur de omnibus mensuris tam de ulnis quam de ponderibus et si assisa de latitudine pannorum servata sit sicut provisum fuerit.

Of the measures established and sworn throughout the kingdom, whether they are kept as was provided, and whether the keepers of the measures took bribes from anyone in time of peace that he might buy or sell by them; and this is to be understood of all measures as well of length (ells) as of weight: and whether the assize of the width of cloths has been kept as provided.

18. De vinis venditis contra assisam.

Of wines sold contrary to the assize.

19. De thesauris inventis.

Of treasure trove.

20. De vicecomitibus et aliis ballivis, qui tenuerunt placita corone et que placita.

Of sheriffs and other bailiffs who have held pleas of the crown, and what pleas.

21. De usurariis christianis mortuis qui fuerunt et que catalla habuerunt.

Of Christian usurers who have died, who they were and what chattels they had.

22. De catallis mercatorum de potestate regis Francie retentis quis ea habeat. (fn. 6)

Of the chattels of merchants of the dominion of the king of France which have been detained, who has them.

23. De catallis iudeorum occisorum et vadiis et cartis et debitis quis ea habeat.

Of the chattels of Jews who have been killed, and who has their pledges and charters and debts.

24. De falsonariis et retonsoribus denariorum.

Of coiners and clippers of coin.

25. De moneta et escambio domini regis scilicet quis fecerit monetam vel escambium sine domino rege vel ballivis suis.

Of the king's mint and exchange, viz. who has coined money or made exchange without [the licence of] the king or his bailiffs.

26. De malefactoribus et burgatoribus et eorum receptoribus tempore pacis. Of malefactors and burglars, and those who harboured them in time of peace.

27. De fugitivis si quis rediit post fugam sine warento, et utlagatis et catallis eorum quis ea habeat.

Of fugitives, if any returned after flight without warrant, and of outlaws and who has their chattels.

28. De mercede capta pro blado et aliis catallis dimittendis ne caperentur ad usus ballivorum pro minori precio quam valerent ad castra et similiter de prisis.

Of bribes taken for sending away corn and other commodities, lest they be taken to the use of bailiffs at castles for a lower price than they are worth: and likewise of prises.

29. De novis consuetudinibus levatis in Civitate sive in terra sive in aqua, quis ea levavit et ubi.

Of new customs levied in the City whether on land or water; who levied them and where.

30. De defaltis scilicet de illis qui sumoniti sunt coram justiciariis domini regis et non venerunt.

Of defaults, viz. of those who are summoned before the king's justices and did not come.

31. De gayolis deliberatis sine waranto domini regis vel justiciariorum tempore pacis.

Of gaols delivered without warrant of the king or the justices in time of peace.

32. De imprisonatis ad voluntatem ballivorum et sine causa rationabili et liberatis sine waranto.

Of those imprisoned arbitrarily by bailiffs, without reasonable cause and freed without warrant.

33. De evasione latronum.

Of the escape of thieves.

34. De usurariis christianis vivis qui sint et que catalla habeant et quantum valeant.

Of living Christian usurers, who they are, and what chattels they have, and how much they are worth.

35. De dampnis et prisis factis extraneis per quos hoc fuit et quando et ubi et in cuius potestate et de quibus rebus.

Of damages and prises taken from strangers, by whom this was done and when and where, and in whose dominion, and of what things.

36. Et sciendum est quod si (fn. 7) convinci possit quod ita non fuit usitatum temporibus predictorum regum, omnes barones sint in misericordia domini regis. Et sic fuerunt capitula liberata et respondeant tercio die de articulis predicta capitula tangentibus. Qui venerunt tercio die et responderunt. Et super hoc venit Simon films Marie et offert domino regi c marcas per sic quod placita Civitatis teneantur et placitentur sicut placitata fuerunt temporibus regis Ricardi et regis Johannis et admittuntur. Et ponit omnia bona sua in plegium predictarum c marcarum. (fn. 8) Postea venit maior et de veteribus placitis corone dicit ut patet inferius.

De veteribus placitis corone (fn. 9) dicunt quod justiciarii solebant facere eis copiam rotulorum itineris precedentis ut per inspeccionem rotulorum illorum de veteribus placitis possint certificari, quod eis penitus fuit denegatum eo quod contra ius est. Et maior dicit quod tunc nescit respondere.

Et quia placita vetera corone alias fuerunt coram justiciariis et non sunt terminata ut patebit inferius, ideo adiudicatum de maiore et baronibus.

Et sciendum est quod maior et aldermanni Civitatis respondent de omnibus capitulis ad coronam domini regis spectantibus preterquam de novis placitis de quibus camerarius et vicecomites respondebunt ut inferius patebit.

And be it known that if it can be proved that this was not the custom in the time of the aforesaid kings, all the barons are to be in the king's mercy. And thus the articles were handed over, and they are to answer on the third day concerning them; and they came and answered on the third day. And thereupon comes Simon fitz Mary and offers the king 100 marks that the pleas of the City might be held and pleaded as they were pleaded in the time of King Richard and King John, and they were accepted. And he put all his goods in pledge for the aforesaid 100 marks. Afterwards the mayor came and said concerning the old pleas of the crown as appears below:-

Of the old pleas of the crown they say that the justices used to make for them a copy of the rolls of the preceding eyre, so that by inspection of those rolls they might be certified concerning the old pleas; but this was wholly denied to them as contrary to law. And the mayor says that then he did not know how to answer.

And because old pleas of the crown came formerly before the justices and were not terminated, as appears below, therefore to judgment with the mayor and barons.

And be it known that the mayor and aldermen of the City answer all the articles belonging to the king's crown except new pleas, for which the chamberlain and sheriffs will answer, as appears below.


1 Suggested by Liber Albus, i, 78, capitalia in original and Liber Ordinationum, f. 207.
2 Margin: Quod maior et vicecomites respondeant ad articulos in fide etc., not copied in Liber Ordinationum and Liber Albus.
3 Margin: De prostracionibus maliciosis.
4 Margin: De purpresturis.
5 Suggested by 348, aliqua in original. For purprestures see 348–486.
6 See 203, where mortuorum is interpolated before mercatorum.
7 Supplied from Liber Albus, i, 81.
8 Evidently Simon fitz Mary argued that only the proceedings during the reigns of Richard I and John should be considered which by implication excluded those of Henry II. It should be noted that the king pardoned the offer of his gift (3 May 1245, Close Rolls Henry III, 1242–7, 307).
9 See 37–180.