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The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
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Laws and Privileges.17

Laws and Privileges.

II. Lord Maior.

The Antiquity, Grants, and Confirmations touching the Lord Maior.

It must be admitted, that the general printed Historians do all agree, that the first Maior of London was in the first Year of Richard the First, and so within the Time of Prescription; and that his Name was Henry Fitz Alwyn, Draper. And the Reason and Authority they went upon was, because they found no Maior to be named before that Time. But that this is a Mistake, will appear. First, from the Quo Warranto Role, the 28. H. 3. and subsequent Authorities. Secondly, from the Claim made by the City of London at the Coronation of our Kings; that the Maior is then to assist in Officio Pincernarum, in auxilium Capitalis Pincernæ, tam ad mensam in Aula ad Prandium, quàm post Prandium in Camera, &c. Thirdly, from the general Prescription in all Returns of Writs and Pleadings.

The first Maior; how ancient.

Maiors before Fitz Alwyn, 1 Ric. I.

Anno Reg. Hen. Son of King John, 28 Pleas concerning the City of London were held at the Tower, before William of York, Provost of Beverly, Jeremy of Caxton, and Henry of Bath, Itinerant Justices. Which Pleas had been discontinued for 18 Years before. The Justices produced several Questions, and demanded a Majore, Camerario, Vicecom. & aliis de majoribus Villæ, how the Justices ought to begin their Pleas. Who answered, that the Justices ought to deliver the Articles, upon which they were to answer concerning Pleas of the Crown. The next was, to whom such Articles ought to be delivered: And if those to whom they were to be delivered, ought to swear concerning speaking Truth upon the Articles touching the Capitula, i. e. Chapters. To which it was answered by the Maior, Chamberlain, Sheriffs, and the rest of the City, that those Capitula liberari debent Majori, without any Oath.

Ex Libr. Alb. fo. 28. a.

From whence it is evident, that there was a Maior of the City, before the first of Ric. I. the Time of Prescription That the Articles concerning the Pleas of the Crown were delivered to the Maior, as well in the Time of K. John and K. Richard the First, as in the Times of K. Henry their Father, who was Henry the Second.

Maior of London, Butler at Coronations.

The Maior of the City of London, by Reason of his Office of Maioralty, Secundum Libertates & Consuetudines Civitatis, prout Majores, Aldermanni, Vicecomites & Cives ejusdem Civitatis facere consueverunt de toto tempore; to serve the King in the Day of his Coronation, they claimed this Right, 1. Rich. 2. by Prescription, and had it allowed at the Coronation: So it was done in all succeeding Ages. There is a large Entry made Libro K. fo. 17. a. 8. H. 6. of this Matter. And so Libro L. fo. 191. a. and b. which is thus transcribed:

"Coronatio Dni Richardi Tertii, & Dne Annæ Consortis sue, &c. To the Rt. High and Mighty Prince, the Duke of Norfolk, Seneschal of England. Shewn unto your good and gracious Lordship the Mair and Citizeins of the Citee of London, that where after the Libertee and commendable Customes of the said Citee of Time, that no Man's Mind to the contrary, used, enjoyed and accustomed, the Mair of the same Citee for the Time being, by Reason of the Office of Mairaltie of the said City, in his own Person, oweth of Right and Duty to serve the King, our Sovereign Lord, in the Day of his ful noble Coronation, in such Place, as it shal please his Highnes to take his Spices; and the same Cup, with the Kevering belonging thereunto, and a Layer of Gold, the same Mair to have, and with him to bear away at the Time of his Departing, for some Fee and Reward."

"And also, that divers other Citezeins, that by the said Mair and City shal there be named and chosen, owen of Right, by the same Custome at the same Day to serve in the Office of Butlership, in helping of the Chief Butler of England, to the Lords and Estates that shal be at the said Coronation, as wel at the Table in the Hal at Meat, as at after Meat in the Chamber. Beseeching your said Lordship, that Edmund Shaa, now Mair, and other Citezeins of the City aforesaid, to the said Office and Service now chosen, (whose Names in a Scedule hereunto annexed, be specified) may be admitted to do the said Service, as their Predecessors, Mairs, and Citezeins of the said Citee, in Case semblable have used in Dayes passed."

"Also, the said Mair and Citezeins praien, that they may sit in the Day of his said Coronation at the Table next the Cupboard of the Lifte Syde of the Hal, like as of old Time it hath been used and accustomed; and that the said Mair may have and enjoy the said Fee and Reward, according to the Duty."

The like Bill was offered to the same Duke, for the Coronation of the Queen, mutatis mutandis.

The said King and Queen were crowned at Westminster the 6th of July. And in the Day of the Coronation, the said King and Queen after the Feast was finished; in which, as well Edmund Shaa Maior, as the Aldermen, and other Citizens elected by the Common Council to attend upon the chief Butler of England, according to Custom, were kindly and honourably handled. And the same Maior, after Dinner ended, as before was said, offered to the said King the King's Wine in a golden Cup, cum fiola aurea, full of Water, ad attenuand. vinum. After that the Wine was taken by the Lord King, the Maior retained the said Cup and Viol of Gold to his own proper Use. In like Manner, the Maior offered to the Queen, after Feast ended, Wine in a golden Cup, with a golden Viol full of Water. And after the Wine taken by the said Queen, she gave the Cup with the Viol to the Maior; according to the Privileges and Liberties of the City of London, in such Cases used.

The Name of the Citizens chosen by the Common Council to attend the Chief Butler of England, were these underwritten, viz. Henry Cole Goldsmith, John Tate Mercer, William Sandes Grocer, William Sparke Clothworker, John Swann Cissor, [i.e. Taylor] Thomas Ostriche Haberdasher, William Mariner Salter, Richard Knight Fishmonger, John Pasmer Pellipar, [i.e.Skinner] Thomas Bretayn Ironmonger, Roger Ford Vintonner. [All this was taken out of the Records of the Chamber.]


Upon a Writ of Habeas Corpus, 14. H. 4. directed to the Maior and Sheriffs of London, to have the Body of John Hartwel, Citizen of London, in Chancery, together with the Cause of the taking and detaining of the said John: William Waldron, Maior; William Sevenoke, and Rafe Lovanburn, Sheriffs, return; Quod a toto tempore, cujus contrarium memoria non existit, the Custody of all Orphans; together with all Lands, Tenements, Goods, and Chattels, devised to them, or by hereditary Right belonging to them; and be-

Lib. I. Fol. 120. b.


© hriOnline, 2007
The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY