TOWER of London. Office of Records. 112

TOWER of London. Office of Records.

These English Records preserved here, were for some Time accompanied with the Treasure of those of Scotland. For Oliver Cromwell, after he had beaten the Scots in their own Nation, seized all the Publick Registers, Records and Rolls of that Kingdom, and sent them up to the Tower: Where they lay for some Years, till King Charles his Restoration. And pity it was they continued not there longer, since being sent back by that King's Order, to be laid up in the Castle of Edinburgh, they most unhappily perished, together with the Ship that carried them, being cast away near Holy Island.

Scotch Records brought to the Tower.

This Office is kept open, and Attendance constantly given here, from the Hour of Seven a Clock to the One, every Day in the Week; except in the Months of December, January, and February; and in them, from Eight till One: Saving on Sundays, Holidays, Publick Fasting and Thanksgiving Days, and Times of great Pestilence.

Attendance given at this Office.

The Chief Officer, or Keeper of these Records now, is Richard Topham, Esq; who succeeded William Petyt, of the Inner Temple, Esq; and sometime Treasurer there: Who, as he was a very Learned Antiquary himself, so he encouraged and assisted others studious of Antiquity. And I must gratefully here remember, that he freely allowed me Access to these Records. His Clerk, and Deputy in this Office, was Mr. George Holmes, my very good Friend, and very assistant to me in this Work, as well as in others; communicating to me divers Records for my Purpose: And is now also Deputy to the present Keeper, Mr. Topham.

The present Keeper of the Records.

W. Petyt, Esq;

The good Orders made for this Office, (whereof there was a Table hanging up) were, "That the Deputy and Clerks should duly and diligently attend in the Office, during the Times aforesaid; and give their best Attendance and Expedition, to all Persons resorting thither, in their Searches, in Copying and Examining Records. That they should not procure or suffer any Books, Writs, Rolls, Memorandums, or Records to be embezzled, falsified, corrupted, razed, blotted, torn or defaced: Nor carry, or cause any of them to be carried out of the Office; unless by special Order of the Queen, or Lord Chancellor, or Master of the Rolls, or of her Majesty's Judges, Barons of her Exchequer, or her Learned Council at Law, or some other great Officers of State, for her Majesty's Service upon special Occasions. Special Entry to be made in a Book for that Purpose, of any particular Book, Writ, Roll or Record sent out; of the Person that sent for it, and that carried it out of the Office; the Day of the Month when carried out, and when returned: To be subscribed by the Clerk who carried and returned it; and to be brought back without Delay, when done with. Every Book, Writ, Roll, &c. removed out of its Classis, or Place, by reason of any Search, Examination or Transcript, to be returned to its proper Place immediately after made use of. That if any Membrana or Schedule be unstitched or torn off, to be new stitched, or fastened again by the Clerk. All Books, Bundles of Writs, Rolls and Records, to be diligently inspected once every Quarter of the Year, to see if any be missing or misplaced. No Person to be suffered to tipple, or take Tobacco in the Office. No Fee to be taken from any Person for a Search, who thro' Ignorance desires to search any Book or Record not kept in the Office. No Fee for Searches, Copies, or Examinations of Records, other than the ancient Fees of the Office. A particular Entry to be duly made of all Searches, Copies, and Examination of Records, and of Fees taken for the same. No clandestine Searches, and Examinations and Copies to be made, concealed, or not entred by the Deputy, or any Clerk. No Person to peruse any Record in private, but only publickly in the Office. The first Comer to be first served, and dispatched without Delay, or Preference given to another that comes after. The Rooms in the Office to be kept clean, and swept once or more every Week; and the Writs and Records therein preserved from Cobwebs, Dust, Filth and Putrefaction; and the outward Doors duly locked every Night, for the Preservation of the Records. The Deputy and Clerks to spend their vacant Time in the Office, in making exact Kalendars and Tables to the Records for Publick Good; and in reducing the loose Records in the Office and White Tower Chapel, that are useful, into Order and Bundles, as the Master of the Office shall direct them. Every Deputy and Clerk of the Office, before his Admission, voluntarily to make and subscribe such an Oath, before the Master of the Office, as is suitable to his Trust."

Orders of this Office.

We shall now take some Review of this Office of the Records, kept in the Tower, with respect to the Antiquity thereof.

K. Edward III. speaks of this Office as ancient.

There is an Ancient Record of 34. Edward III. wherein mention is made by the said King Edward III. de quadam Domo infra Turrim suam London, in qua Rotulos & alia memoranda Cancellariæ, tam de tempore Progenitorum nostrorum, quondam Regum Angliæ, quàm nostro, pro salva & secura Custodia Rotulorum, & Memorand. prædictorum, reponi fecimus: i.e. "Of a certain House within his Tower of London; wherein he caused to be laid up the Rolls, and other memorable Matters of the Chancery, as well from the Time of his Progenitors, heretofore Kings of England, as in his own, for the safe and secure Custody of the said Rolls and memorable Things."

K. Edward, in that Record, mentioned Rolls reposited in the Tower in the Time of his Predecessors. We can go as far back as Edward I. In the Thirty third Year of whose Reign is a Roll, having these Words; Scrutentur Rotuli de Scotia, quæ sunt in Custodia apud Turrim London. Which Mr. Holmes shewed me.

33. Edw. I. Anno 1304.

The Place then where these Records were kept, was a certain House; which House was afterwards called a Tower; that undoubtedly now is called Wakefield's Tower.

The Place where the Records anciently were kept.

In the Record above specified, it is said to be in a certain House.

In another Record of King Henry VI. mention is made of a Little House. Johannes Malpas habuit Officium Custodis Armaturæ infra Turrim London. unà cum una parva Domo tunc vacant. infra dictam Turrim, juxta Turrim infra quam Rotuli Cancellariæ Regis continentur.

An. 14. H. VI.

In this House, there was a Chamber called the White Chamber, contiguous to a Hall, called the White Hall: Where one Robert de Hoton, by a special Order from King Edward III. in the first Year of his Reign, arrayed and set in order the Charters, Writings and Muniments, in Two Chests. The same King gave Order to the Clerk of his Works within the Tower, to see to the Reparation of the Defects of this House, as well to the Roof, as the Doors, Windows, &c. There were other Places where in Times past Rolls and Instruments were kept: As in the Keeper of the Rolls of Chancery his Inn, and in

White Chamber.

White Hall.

An. 36. E. III.