A. D. 1254. Sheriffs.: William Eswy, Mercer,; Robert de Linton,
In this year, Ralph Hardel was elected Mayor of London, and
because the Barons of the Exchequer were then at the Parliament
at Wyndlesore, he was not presented on the morrow; but on the day
after, the citizens, bringing with them their new Charter, presented
him to the said Barons, who would not admit him without Writ of
his lordship the King; saying that the Mayor, in the preceding year,
was not admitted by reason of the new Charter, but by assent of her
ladyship the Queen, then at Westminster, to whose custody the
kingdom had been entrusted. And immediately after this, the Barons
shewed a writ of his lordship the King, by which precept was
given to them that they should take the City into the King's hands,
for non-observance in the City of the assize of bread and ale.
And although the citizens ought not to be molested for such a
default as this, but only the Sheriffs, if convicted thereof; still, the
City was taken into the King's hands, and delivered into the custody
of John de Gyseorz, the said John being sworn before the Barons;
after which, the clerks and all the Serjeants of the Sheriffs, as also the
Wardens of the Gates, the Thames, and the Gaol, were there sworn.
And all this had been discussed in the Parliament aforesaid, because
the citizens, being divided among themselves, would not appear
there before Earl Richard, as they had promised him, to put an end
to a matter on which they had frequently entreated him before,
namely, the Exchange. Afterwards, the citizens waited upon the Earl,
to entreat his favour; whereupon, he named for them a day at London,
saying that he would do nothing therein without counsel of the King,
to whom a moiety of the issues of the Exchange belonged. After this,
on the third day after the (fn. 1) Feast of Saint Edmund the Archbishop,
the citizens of Westminster made fine to the said Earl before the
Council of his lordship the King, in a sum of 600 marks; whereupon,
all claims were remitted on account of the Exchange, and the Mayor
and Sheriffs were restored to their bailiwicks.
In this year the King returned from Gascoigne, and passing through
the midst of France with the safe-conduct of the King of France, put to
sea at (fn. 2) Wytsant, and landed at Dover in the week of Our Lord's Nativity,
on Saint John's Day [27 December]; the Queen also then came, Sir
Edward, the King's son, remaining in Gascoigne, with the King of
Spain's sister, whom he had just married; his father having given
him Gascoigne, Ireland, the Earldom of Chester, Bristowe with its
Castle, (fn. 3) Staunford, and whatever he held in the parts of Wales.
After this, on the second day before the Epiphany [6 January], the
King, coming to London, summoned the Mayor and citizens to
appear before him immediately after the Epiphany; and wished
to make them answerable for the escape of John de Frome, who had been
taken and imprisoned in Neuwegate, as having been indicted for consenting
to the death of a certain Prior from beyond sea, who belonged to the household of the Bishop of Hereford. To this the citizens made answer, that the
custody of the Gaol does not belong to them, but to the Sheriffs only.
Whereupon, answer was made to them by the King, that as they make
the Sheriffs, they themselves ought to be answerable for them. To this
the citizens said; that they do not make the Sheriffs, but only have to
choose them, and present them to the Barons of his lordship the King;
and that such Sheriffs can do nothing in respect of their office, before
they have been admitted at the Exchequer; that in no point ought they
to be answerable for the Sheriffs, save only as to the ferm due from the
Sheriffwick, and only then, when the Sheriffs themselves are not of
sufficient means to pay the ferm.
At length, after much altercation, the Sheriffs were taken and delivered
to the Marshal of the King's Court, and on the morrow were imprisoned
in the Tower of London; where they remained a month and more.
Afterwards, about the Feast of the Purification of Saint Mary [2
February], for many reasons shown to the King, the Sheriffs were
released on surety of the Mayor; but the King, being moved to anger
beyond measure at such escape, would not allow the Sheriffs to remain
in office as such. Wherefore the citizens removed them and elected
others, on the first Monday in Lent, namely, Stephen de Oystergate
[and] Henry de Waleraund.