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,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY


The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [The Aldermen.]156


The ALDERMEN of London: Ancient Customs concerning them: Their Wards. A List of the COMMON COUNCILMEN. RECORDERS: A Catalogue of them. Other Officers of the City, and of the Maior and Sheriffs. A List of the COMMON SERJEANTS and TOWN CLERKS. Liveries given by the Maior and Sheriffs. The Order and Precedency of the Companies. The Order of the Apparel of Maiors, Sheriffs and Aldermen, according to their Days of Meeting. Under-Officers of the City: And their Oaths.

BESIDES these Annual Magistrates of the City, viz. the Maiors and Sheriffs, which are elected but for a Year, and on whom the main Government of the whole City relies; there be other Magistrates, who being once elected are continual, namely, the ALDERMEN. And these have their particular Shares and Parts of the City committed to their Charge and Oversight respectively: Having also their Deputies under them.]

The Aldermen continual Magistrates: And have certain Divisions of the City under them.

J. S.

There are in this City (according to the number of Wards) six and twenty Aldermen; out of which yearly on the Feast of St Michael the Archangel, one who hath served Sheriff, is elected to be Maior for the Year following. He is to begin and take place on the 28th day of October then next after his Election. The other Aldermen his Brethren are to him Assistants in Councils and Courts.

Out of these Aldermen is chosen the Maior.

Several ancient Customs, Rules and Passages concerning the Aldermen of London, may be observed out of the Records of the Chamber: Some whereof are these that follow.

Customs and Passages concerning Aldermen.

Neither Maior nor Aldermen to hold Bracium, i.e. a Brewhouse or Tavern, or Bakeshouse; nor their Servants.

Lib. H. C. & G.

An Alderman removed from his Office, or a Commoner from Common Council, not to be re-elected.

Lib. H.

An Alderman lost his Liberty, because he was absent from the City for the greater part of the Year.


An Alderman lined not his Cloak, which he ought to use in Procession. Therefore it was adjudged by the Court, that the Maior and Aldermen should all Breakfast with him. [Perhaps this was some covetous Alderman, and this Punishment was to meet with him that way.]


One was judged and imprisoned for false Words spoken of an Alderman.

Lib I.

One Gydney was imprisoned, because he refused the Office of an Alderman.


An Alderman was once rejected, because he was inhabilis, i.e. unable.

Rotul. Hamond.

One was imprisoned at the Command of an Alderman.

Rotul. Piel.

Heretofore the Maior and Aldermen came to Guildhall but once a Week.

Rot. Ham. & Lacer.

That the Custoses of the City should have one Roll of the Pleas in the Maior's Court, and the Aldermen another.

Cust. p. 221.

A Brief [that is, a Mandate from the Court] to admit Richard Whittington for Maior in the place of Adam Bamme deceased, to the time wherein it is customary for a Maior to be chosen.

H. p. 314.

An Alderman was once elected and sworn Recorder.

G. p. 157.

One was imprisoned, and his Right-Hand cut off, because he had made an Assault upon an Alderman.

H. p. 210.

Another imprisoned for Rebellion made to an Alderman. And another for opprobrious Words spoken to an Alderman.

Ib p. 224.

Ib p. 226.

The Door-keeper of the Accomptant [Computatoris] removed, for speaking opprobrious Words to an Alderman.

Ib. p. 229.

Imprisonment for a Year and a Day, and loss of Freedom, for Rebellion made to an Alderman.

I. p. 126.

That four Persons ought to be presented, and one of them chosen for Alderman. This was confirmed by Common Council.

Ib. p. 16, 17.

The Nomination of Aldermen elected by the Wards, rejected.

K. p. 219.

Some Aldermen chosen by the Wards, for whom the Wards have been bound to answer.

An Act of Parliament, that Aldermen be not removed every Year, but stand in their Office durante Vita; unless there be a reasonable Cause.

H. p. 291.

A Brief [i.e. a Letter from the King to choose an Alderman of Faringdon Ward Infra, and another of Faringdon Ward Extra; because it was too much for one Man to occupy both Wards.

Ib. p. 290.

Two Shillings granted to the Alderman of every Seisin.

D. p. 109.

None to be Aldermen, unless born within the Kingdom of England, and his Father an Englishman.

I. p. 125.

That the Inhabitants of the Wards, in the Election of an Alderman, name not in their Election more than two.

L. p. 157.

The Aldermen have been required in former times to gather up all Debts due to the King, each in their Wards.]

2 H. 3. m. 4.

The Aldermen, who may be called the Senators of the City, are chosen by the Common Councilmen and others of the Livery residing in the respective Ward, when there is a Vacancy by Death. If any thus elected refuse to hold, he is fined. But this rarely happens.

The Election of an Alderman.

Yet this hath sometimes happened; when Men, either not caring to spend their Money, or affecting Retirement and a private Life, have endeavoured, by some means or other, to get themselves excused from being called upon, either for Alderman or Sheriff. Yet when able Men have thus declined this Honourable Service of the City, the Freemen have not taken it well at their hands, and withal have refused to grant their Request. Such an instance happened in Queen Elizabeth's days. One Branch (who notwithstanding afterwards served Sheriff and Maior) sued to be discharged of the Office of Sheriff and Alderman; thereby also to be discharged of the Office of Maior, when that should come to his turn. But the Commons upon this, expostulated the Case in some Displeasure; and shewed, first, his Abilities, as he was of great Wealth in Lands and Goods, and without Issue; and moreover had married with one Mrs. Minors, an antient Woman, without Issue, and in all account past Childbearing; the Widow of Mr. Minors, who also was rich, and died without Issue, and left his Substance to his Wife. It was urged also, that his Father and Grandfather were also Citizens of London. So that in all Mens Opinions, they said, there was

Some have endeavoured to get themselves excused from being Aldermen.

J. S.

Mr. Branch.


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