Strype, Survey of London(1720), [online] (hriOnline, Sheffield). Available from:
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The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
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ing within the Liberty of the City, ipsius Civitatis Majori ac Aldermannis pro tempore existentibus, ad usam & proficuum eorundem Orphanorum custo diend. quousque ad eorum maturam ætatem per discretionem Majoris & Aldermannorum pro tempore existentibus approband. pervenerint; vel per eosdem maritati fuerint, pertinerent, & pertinere debent, juxta consuetudinem Civitatis predict. hactenus obtent. & usitat. And for that John Hartwel hath confessed before them, that he had taken and carried out of the Liberty of the City, Ellen, the Daughter of Thomas Dister, late Citizen and Mercer of London, within the Age of ten Years, with divers Sums of Money, against the Will of the Maior and Aldermen of the same, and contrary to the aforesaid Custome, they had committed him the said John Hartwel to the Prison of our Lord the King.

Election of Lord Maior.

The first Charter now extant is the Charter of the 16. of K. John. Wherein "Concessit & confirmavit Baronibus nostris de Civitate nostra Londoniarum, That they chuse to themselves a Maior of themselves; who to us may be faithful and discreet, and fit for the Government of the City. So as when he shall be chosen, he shall be presented to us, or our Justice, if we shall not be present." After which, it immediately follows: "We have granted also to the same our Barons, and have confirmed by this our Charter, that they have well, and in Peace, freely, quietly, and entirely, all their Liberties, which hitherto they have used, as well in the City of London, as without, as well in Waters as Lands, and in all other Places: Saving to us our Chamberlainship."

That this Charter of King John was not an Original Grant to elect a Maior, may be inferred, by comparing the Clause for the Election of the Maior, with that concerning the Liberty of the City in the same Charter, &c. The Words Concessimus & confirmavimus could not be taken or understood to be an Original Grant to the City of their Liberties.

III. Sheriffs of London and Middlesex.

In the great Case between the City of London and St. Martin's le Grand, in the Reign of Henry the Sixth, before several Commissioners appointed to hear the Cause, the Citizens pleaded, Quod Dns. Wilhelmus Conquestor ante Fundationem of the foresaid Church, and dispatch of his Charter, whereof there is mention above, by Authority of the Parliament, and by two Charters, which the said Maior and Citizens shall produce; to wit, by one of them he devised then to the Citizens of London all the said City and Sherifwick of London, with all Appendages, &c. And the Pleading inter alia concluded this: "All and singular which, the same Maior and Citizens are ready to make good, as well for the said Lord the King, as for themselves."

Memorandum, Hence it appeareth, that William the Conqueror, by two Charters, demised and granted to the City of London, the whole City, and Sheriffwick of London, with all the Appurtenances. And, Secondly, that these Charters of William the Conqueror were then in Being, in the Time of Henry the Sixth: For the Record saith, the Citizens did there produce them. And though they are unhappily lost, as many more of the most ancient Books of this City are; yet there are uncontroulable Evidences still remaining upon Record, that in the Time of Henry the First, Son to William the Conqueror, there were Sheriffs of London. Two of which I shall here give:

Ancient Books of the City lost.

I. Henricus Rex Angliæ to Richard Bp of London, & Vic. ac Preposito, & omnibus Baronibus & fidelibus suis, Francis & Anglis de London & Middlesex, Salut.

Cart. Antiq. N.

II. Henricus Rex Angliæ, Vicecom. & Baronibus London.

Wilhelm. Stephanides, or Fitz-Stephen, a Monk of Canterbury, born in London, wrote in the Reign of Henry the Second, dyed 1191. Civitas London habet annuos pro Consulibus Vicecomites.

Ex MSS. Biblioth. Cott.

King John granted and confirmed to the Citizens of London, Vicecomit. London. & de Middlesex Concessimus Civibus London. Quod ipsi de seipsis faciant Vicecomites quoscunq; voluerint: Et amoveant, quando voluerint.

Carta original. 1. Johan. Dat. ap bonam Vill. sup. Tokham. 5toJulii.

In the Information upon the Writ of Quo Warranto, brought against the City [under K. Charles the Second] they were to shew by what Warrant they nominate, elect, and constitute Sheriffs of London and Middlesex; and to execute and make Returns of all Writs, Bills, and Precepts, Dni. Regis infra Civit. London. & Middlesex. predict. pro administratione & executione Justitie ibidem exequend. & Retorna inde faciend. absq; aliqua Commissione, sive aliquibus Literis patentibus a Dno. Rege obtent.

There are not, indeed, any particular Clauses in the Charters we have mentioned, as to these Articles: But that the Grant of the Comitatum implieth full these Powers, and Authorities, is not only Law, but was so even in the Time of King John. And this appears from one great Instance; that is, of the Sheriffwick of Westmorland. King John, in the 4th Year of his Reign, granted to Robert Vipont the Castle of Appleby and Burch, with the whole Bailiffwick of Westmorland, to hold during Pleasure. In the next Year it was granted to him and the Heirs of his Wife he then had, &c. By Vertue of King John's Grant, the noble Heirs of that Family have continued Sheriffs of Westmorland in Fee; and have executed and made Returns of all Writs and Processes for the Administration and Execution of Justice 'till this Day, is beyond Denial.

Rot. pat. 4toJoh. m. 2.

From which it followeth, that the City of London having granted to them in Fee, Vicecomitat. London & de Middlesex, have by Law the like Power, Right, and Authority, as the Sheriff of Westmorland now hath.

IV. The Confirmation of the Liberties and Customs of the City of London, by Act of Parliament.

The frst Act, besides Magna Carta, is 1mo. Edw. 3. which reciteth, that the King, for the bettering of the City of London, and for the good and laudable Service, which the Maior, Aldermen, and Commonalty of the City thentofore hath done to Edward the Third, and his Progenitors, he, De Assensu Prelatorum, Comitum, Baronum, & totius Communitatis Regni sui, &c. in the present Parliament, called together at Westminster, did, by his Charter, grant and confirm, for him and his Heirs, to the Citizens of the City aforesaid, the Liberties therein written; to have and to hold to them and their Heirs and Successors for ever. In which Charter it is farther said, That for some Transgression of a Person, or Personal Judgment of some Minister of the same City, the Liberty of that City shall not be taken into the King's Hands, or any of his Heirs. Nor a Custos be deputed in that City, upon that Occasion. But that such a Minister be punished according to the Quality of his Transgression, &c.

In the Parliament of the first of Richard the Second, the Commons in their Petition pray the King, that the City of London might entirely and peaceably enjoy all their Franchises and


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