[The Lord Maior.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT.153


Government by MAIORS; How ancient: Chief Butler at Coronations: His Privileges and State. SHERIFFS: Their Office: Their Courts. UNDER-SHERIFFS. Ancient Fees due to the Maior and Sheriffs.

ALTHO' the Government of the City by Maiors is commonly reputed to begin with Henry Fitz-Alwyn in the beginning of King Richard the First; yet some Men, learned in the Antiquities of the City, affirm that Title of the chief Magistrate to be antienter. For tho' no name of a Maior be found to be before the said Fitz-Alwyn; the word Maior, as Chief Officer of London, is met with in the time of Henry II. who was Father to King Richard. For it is found in a remarkable Book of the Archives of the City, that the Articles concerning the Pleas of the Crown were delivered to the MAIOR, as well in the time of King John and King Richard, as in the times before them, viz. in those of King Henry II. their Father.

The Antiquity of the Maioralty.

J. S.

Lib. Alb. f. 28. a.

King Henry III. granted a Charter to the City, Anno 1233. to choose their own Maior. The Charter with the Terms thereof is as follows.

Henricus Dei gratia, &c. i.e. Henry by the Grace of God, &c. to the Archbishops, Bishops, &c. Greeting.


KNow ye, that we have Granted, and by our present Charter have confirmed to our Barons of our said City of London, that they choose them a Maior of themselves every Year, Qui nobis sit fidelis, discretus, & ydoneus ad regimen Civitatis: i.e. Who may be faithful to Us, discreet, and fit for the Government of the City. Yet so, that when he is Elected he be presented unto Us, or our Justice (if we be not present) and swear Fealty to us. And that they may in the end of the Year remove him, and substitute another, if they will, or retain the same. Yet so, as the same be shewed unto us, or our Justice (if we shall not be present).

King Henry's Grant to choose the Maior: E Lib. Custum. in Camera Lond.

We have granted also to our Barons, and have confirmed it by our Charter, that they have well and peaceably, quietly and entirely, all their Liberties which hitherto they have used, as well in the City of London, as well in Water as on Land, and all other Places; saving to us our Chamberlainship. Wherefore we will, &c. Witness, the L. Eustachius London, Peter Winchester, John Bath, Bishops; Hubert de Burgo, Earl of Kent, and our Justice, Gilbert de Clare, Earl of Glovernie [of Gloucester] Raphe Fitz-Nicol, Richard de Argenten, our Stewards. Given by the hands of the Venerable Father the Bishop of Chichester, our Chancellor, at Westminster, the 18th Day of February, in the 18th Year of our Reign.

IT is also for the Honour of this great Magistrate of the City, that at any Prince's Coronation he is to attend as Chief Butler of England, and has a Benefit thereby. For (as it is found in the City's Records) the Maior of the City, by reason of his Office of Maioralty, Secundum libertates & consuetudines ejusdem Civitatis, prout Majores, Aldermanni, Vicecomites, & Cives ejusdem Civitatis facere consueverunt de toto tempore: i.e. According to the Liberties and Customs of the City, as the Maiors, Aldermen, Sheriffs and Citizens of the same City, have accustomed to do from all times; claimed this Right 1 Rich' III. by Prescription, and had it allowed at the Coronation. And so it is done in succeeding times.

The Maior Chief Butler at Coronations.

When several made their Claims at the Coronation of the said King Richard III. it is thus set down in one of the old Records of London. Processus fact' ad Coronation' Dom' Reg' Angl' Richardi Secundi. "Memorandum, that the Maior and Citizens, of the City of London before the Lord Steward, appearing by the Recorder of the said City, claimed by mouth according to the Liberty and Custom of the said City, that the same Maior, on account of his Office of Maioralty, may serve in his own Person our Lord the King on the day of his Coronation, as well in the Hall as after Dinner in his Chamber, de Cupa Auri, to serve him with a Cup of Gold. And the same Cup, when he departed from the Feast of the said Lord King, together with an Ewer of Gold, to have for his Fee, and to carry away with him. And that the other Citizens, who should be chosen by the City, ought to serve the same day in the Office of Butler, in aid of the Chief Butler, as well at the Table in the Hall at Dinner, as after Dinner in the Chamber, to the Nobles and others; as the Maiors and Citizens of the said City, their Predecessors, hitherto have, as is asserted, accustomed to do." And it was admitted by the King.

The Maior and Citizens claim at the Coronation of Rich. III. E Lib. Custum. in Camer. Lond. fo. 275. b.

There is a large Entry made in one of the City Records of this matter, which is thus translated. The Title is, Coronatio Domini Richardi Tertii, & Dominæ Annæ Consortis suæ, &c. i.e. The Coronation of the Lord Richard III. and the Lady Anne his Wife, &c.

Lib. K. fo. 17. a. 8 H. VI. & lib. L. fo. 191. a & b.

To the Right High and Mighty Prince the Duke of Norfolk, Seneschal of England,


SHowen unto your good and gracious Lordship, the Mair and Citezeins of the Citee of London, that where after the Liberty and commendable Customes of the said Citee, of time that no man's mind is 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 Citee, in his own Person, oweth of Right and Duty to serve the Kyng our Souvereigne Lord in the day of his ful noble Coronation, in soch place as it shal please his Highnes to take his Spyces; and the same Cup, with the Kevering belonging thereunto, and a Layer of Gold, the said Mair to have, and with him to bear away at the time of his departing, for his Fee and Reward.

The City claim the Butlership at the Coronation, in their Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, High Steward.

And also, that divers other Citezeins, that by the said Mair and Citee shal thereto be named and chosen, owen of Right by the same Custom 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 shall be at the said Coronation, as well at the Table in the Hall at meat, as after meat in the Chamber.

Beseechen your said Lordship, that Edmund Shaa, now Mair, and other Citezeins of the Citee aforesaid, to the said Office and Service now chosen; whose Names, in a Scedule hereunto annexed, be specified; may be admitted to do the same 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 the said Coronation,