The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Portgraves, &c.]100

The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Portgraves, &c.]

The Ancient Government of the City. A Catalogue of the PORTGRAVES, CUSTOSES, BAILIFFS, MAIORS, and SHERIFFS, with the Coats of Arms of each Maior to the present time. Relation of divers Accidents of Remark falling out in the City from time to time under those respective Magistrates: And other memorable Matters noted.

THIS City of LONDON being under the Government of the Britons, Romans and Saxons, the most ancient and famous City of the whole Realm, was at length destroyed by the Danes, and left desolate, as may appear by our Histories. But Ælfred King of the West Saxons, having brought this whole Realm (from many Parts) into one Monarchy, honourably repaired this City, and made it again habitable, and then committed the Custody thereof to his Son in Law Adhered, Earl of Mercia. After whose Decease the City, with all other Possessions pertaining to the said Earl, returned to King Edward, surnamed the Elder, &c. And so remained in the King's Hands, being governed under him by Portgraves (or Portreves) which Name is compounded of the two Saxon Words Porte and Gerefe, or Reve. Porte betokeneth a Town, and Gerefe signifieth a Guardian, Ruler, or Keeper of the Town.

Patent. Asserius Meneven. Florentius Wigor. Marianus Scotus.


"These Governours of old time (saith Robert Fabian) with the Laws and Customs then used within this City, were registred in a Book called the Doomsday Book, in the Saxon Tongue: But of later Days, when the Laws and Customs were changed, and for that also the said Book was of a small Hand and sore defaced, [and hard to be read or understood] it was less set by, so that it was imbezeled and lost." Thus far Fabian.

Rob. Fabian.

London Doomsday-Book.

Lib. S. Albani.

Notwithstanding, I have found by search of divers old Records abroad, namely, in a Book sometime appertaining to the Monastery of Saint Albans, of the Portgraves, and other Governours of this City, as followeth.

First, That in the Reign of King Edward the Last, before the Conquest, Wolfegare was Portgrave; as may appear by the Charter of the same King in these Words:

Edward, King, greeteth Alfward Bishop, and Wolfgar my Portgrave, and all the Burgesses of London. And afterward, that in another Charter King Edward greeteth William, Bishop, and Swetman my Portgrave. And after that, in another Charter to the Abbey of Chertsey, To William, Bishop, and Leofstane and Alffy, Portgraves.

Wolfgare, Portgrave.

Citizens of London Burgesses.

Leofstane Portgrave.

In the Reign of William the Conqueror, William, Bishop of London, procured of the said Conqueror his Charter of Liberties, to the same William, Bishop, and Godfrey, Portgrave, and to all the Burgesses of the City of London, in as large Form as they enjoyed the same in the Time of King Edward, before the Conquest.

Godfrey Portgrave.

And then in the Reign of the said Conqueror, and of William Rufus, Godfrey de Magnavile * was Portgrave (or Sheriff,) as may appear by their Charters, and Richard de Par † was Provost.

Portgrave and Provost.

*Writ also de Magum, Summar.

†Richard de Par, or Reco de Pare; as writ in Stow's Summary.

In the Reign of King Henry I. Hugh Buche †† was Portgrave, and Leofstanus, Goldsmith, Provost; Buried at Bermondsey.

††Or Boche.

After them, Aubery de Vere was Portgrave, and Robert Bar Querel Provost. This Aubery de Vere was slain in the Reign of King Stephen. It is to be noted also, that King Henry I. granted to the Ci- tizens of London the Sheriffwick thereof, and of Middlesex, as in another Place before is shewed.

Aubrey de Vere Portgrave.

I. Leyland.

Sheriffwic of London.

In the Reign of King Stephen, Gilbert Becket was Portgrave, and Andrew Buchevet * Provost.

*Bucheuint, Summary of Chron.

After him Godfrey Magnavile, the Son of William, the Son of Godfrey Magnavile, by the Gift of Maud the Empress, was Portgrave, or Sheriff of London and Middlesex, for the yearly Farm of 300l. as appeareth by the Charter.

Portgrave or Sheriff.

In the Time of King Henry II. Peter Fitz-Walter was Portgrave. After him John Fitz-Nigel was Portgrave. After him Ernulphus Buchel became Portgrave. And after him William Fitz-Isabel.

These Portgraves are also in divers Records called Vicecomites, Viscounts, or Sheriffs; as being under Comes, i.e. an Earl; for that they then, as since, used that Office as the Sheriffs of London do to this Day. Some Authors do call them Doomsmen, Eldermen, or Judges of the King's Court.

Portgraves, since called Sheriffs, and Judges of the King's Court, and have therefore Under Sheriffs, Men learned in the Law, to sit in their Courts.

William Fitz-Stephen, noting the Estate of this City and Government thereof in his Time, under the Reign of King Stephen, and of Henry II. hath these Words:

"This City (saith he) even as Rome, is divided into Wards: It hath yearly Sheriffs instead of Consuls: It hath the Dignity of Senators and Aldermen: It hath Under-Officers; and, according to the Quality of Laws, it hath several Courts, and General Assemblies upon appointed Days."

Doomsmen, or Judges of the King's Court.

Thus much for the Antiquity of Sheriffs, and also of Aldermen in several Wards of this City, may suffice: And now for the Name of Bailiffs, and after that, of Maiors, as followeth.

In the first Year of King Richard I. the Citizens of London obtained to be governed by two Bailiffs. Which Bailiffs are in divers ancient Deeds called also Sheriffs, according to the Speech of the Law, which called the Shire Balliva; for that they (like as the Portgraves) used the same Office of Sheriffwick, for the which the City paid to Fee Farm 300l. yearly as before, since the Reign of Henry I. which also is yet paid by the City into the Exchequer until this Day.

Bailiffs of London.

They also obtained to have a Maior, to be their principal Governour and Lieutenant of the City, as of the King's Chamber.


The Names of the first BAILIFFS, [or Officers] entring into their Office at the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, in the Year of Christ 1189.


A.D. 1189.}{ Hen. Cornehill.
1 Rich. I.} First Bailiffs, or Sheriffs,{ Rich. Reynere.

Their first Maior was Henry * Fitz-Alwin [Draper] Fitz-Leofstane, Goldsmith; appointed by the said King, and continued Maior from the first of Richard I. until the fifteenth of King John, which was 24 Years, and more.

*First Maior of London. So that this Henry seems to have been Grandson to Leofstane, sometime Provost of London.

One great Thing done in the Time of this first Maior was about settling Laws and Orders for