TOWER of London. The Constable. 72

TOWER of London. The Constable.

That is in English:


" RICHARD, by the Grace of God, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland, to the Maior and Sheriffs of London, sendeth Greeting. Forasmuch as we have understood, that the Constables of our Tower of London, time out of mind, even to the Time now last past; and in particular John Darcy, John de Beauchamp, Robert Le Morle, Richard La Vache, and Alan de Buxhil, heretofore Constables of the said Tower, have had the Customs, Pence and Profits underwritten, by Right belonging to the foresaid Tower, and in quiet manner taken them by themselves, or their Servants: To wit, Of every Boat laden with Rushes brought to the foresaid City, such a Quantity of Rushes to be laid upon Tower Wharf, as may be contained within a Man's Arms: Of every Boat accustomed to bring Oisters, Muscles, and Cockles, to the foresaid City, one Maund, thence to be brought and laid upon the said Wharf: From every Ship laden with Wines coming from Bourdeaux, or elsewhere, unto the foresaid City, one Flagon before the Mast, and another behind the Mast: Whatsoever Ship, Barge, or Boat, or other Vessel, which shall go loose by reason of Storm or Wind, or the Ropes and Cordage being broke, shall float from London Bridge to Gravesend, or from thence to the said Bridge, to be taken by the Constable of the said Tower, or his Servants, and to be applied to the Use of the said Constable: What Swans soever coming under the said Bridge towards the Sea, or from the Sea toward the said Bridge; alli manner of Horses, Oxen, Cows, Hogs and Sheep, which have fallen from the said Bridge into the Water of Thames; which the foresaid Constable, or his Servants, may take any such like Creature swimming thorow the middle of the said Bridge to the foresaid Tower; which the same Constable or his Servants aforesaid have taken: Of every Foot of such like Creature feeding within the Ditch of the said Tower, One Penny: Every Cart empty, or laden, which shall fall into the aforesaid Ditches, as a Forefeiture or Fee of the said Constable: And that the foresaid Constables, as well those before named as others, have used and enjoyed the Usages underwritten, from the Time beforesaid; to wit, that no Cart, empty or laden, ought to come from the End of the Street called Petty Wales, upon the said Tower Hill, nor near the foresaid Ditch, to the High Street called Towerstreet, unless it be taken and brought within the said Tower: And that no Cart shall pass beyond the Bridge between the Ditch of the said Castle, and the Ditch of the Hospital of St. Katharines, without the Licence of the Constable of the said Tower; and if it do, and break the Bar, that Cart ought to be brought within the said Tower, and to make Satisfaction for the Transgression, according to the said Constable's Will."

WEE, willing to maintain all and singular the Rights and Liberties of our Tower aforesaid, that they perish not, or be unlawfully taken away, command you, that you permit our beloved and loyal Sir Thomas Murrieux, now Constable of the Tower, to take and have the Customs, Pence and Profits by himself and his Servants in Form aforesaid, and to use and enjoy the foresaid Usages freely, and without any Impediment, as he ought to take and have such Customs, Pence and Profits, and to use and enjoy the beforesaid Usages; and he and all other Constables of the said Tower have reasonably accustomed to take and have those Customs, Pence and Profits, and to use and enjoy the foresaid Usages from the Time beforesaid. And that by no means neglect this. Witness my self, at Eltham, the XVI. Day of Novemb. in the Sixth Year of our Reign. By the KING.
It agrees with the Record.

This caused the Struggle between the City and the Constables and Lieutenants of the Tower for a long Time, till King James I. settled this Matter in favour of the City.

I find certain Injunctions given the Constables by former Kings. In 11. Henry III. that King issued out his Command to the Constable of the Tower, to compel those that brought Fish to sell in Ships to London, and stayed beyond London Bridge, viz. on that Part of the Tower of London, to bring the said Fish [usq; ad Hetham Reginæ] to Queenhith, there to be sold, as hath been accustomed.

Injunctions to to Constables of the Tower.

Tower Rec.

Quod Constabularius turr. London distringat eos qui ducunt piscem venalem in navibus usq; London, & remanent trans pontem London, ex parte turris, ad ducendum dictum piscem usq; Hitham Reginæ.

Rot. C. 11. H. III. M. 15.

Pet. Le Neve.

And the Year before, Quod ducet piscem venientem ap. London ad Ripans Reginæ vendendum.

C. 10. H. III. M. 14.

The Constable of the Tower his Power extended to the Five Ports, and to arrest their Ships in the Thames, if there were occasion. Thus a Precept was given forth to him in the 9th of Hen. III. to arrest those Ships in a Time of Dearth of Corn, to prevent the Transport of it. The Substance of the Writ was, De arrestando naves quinque Portuum in Tamesia de Blado non carriando nisi ad Portus Regni.

In the 52. Hen. III. the King commanded the Constable to permitt the Abbot of Westminster, cariare buscam, blada, & alia Victualia tam per terr. quam per aquam, usq; ad Abbiam predict. ita quod nulla inde fiat priza ad opus Regis, i.e. to carry Brush or Underwood, Corn, and other Victuals, as well by Land as by Water, unto the said Abby: So that no Prizal be made for the King's Use.

In the 14th Edward II. there were Letters Patents for making Allowances to the Constables of the Tower, pro vadijs Prisonator. Regis ibm. i.e. for the Wages of the King's Prisoners there, viz. For a Knight 2d. a Day, and for an Esquire, 1d. a Day.

In the 38th Edward III. That the Constable of the Tower ought to repair the Defects in the Water, or the Banks thereof, running from Ware to Waltham, and so to London. This was the River Ley.

Now these were the Fees of the Constable, as it was ordered by K. Philip and Queen Mary, October 12. in the second and third Years of their Reign. The Constable shall have of their Majesties at the Receipt of the Exchequer for his Entertainment the Yearly Fee or Wages of an 100l. and one other 100l. by the Year for the Diet of poor Prisoners that have not wherewith of their own to pay for their Diets. So that the said poor Prisoners may be examined within seven Days after their coming to his Custody, and discharged again from his Custody within seven Days next after they have been examined.

Salary and Fees of the Constable in Queen Mary's Reign.

MSS. penes me.

The Prerogatives, Duties, and Privileges belonging to the Constable, and other Officers there.


First, The said Constable shall have of every Duke, if there be any committed by their Majesties unto the same Tower, for the Suit of his Irons 20l. And for a Marquis 16l. And for the Board of every such Duke or Marquis Weekly, 3l. 10s. And for the Chaplains Board of every such Duke

What to receive of such as are committed Prisoners.