[Assize of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Bread.]341

[Assize of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Bread.]

To which I add what was enacted concerning the Assize of Bread, and the Care and Provision made to prevent all Abuses therein, Anno 8 Regni Annæ, cap. 18. That after May 1. 1710, the Lord Maior of London, the Maior, Bailiffs, Aldermen, and other chief Magistrate of any other Place, or two or more Justices of the Peace, where there shall be no such Magistrate, may set the Assize and Weight of all sorts of Bread, to be sold by any Baker. Having respect to the Price the Grain, Meal, or Flower, of which it shall be made, shall bear in the Market near the Place; and making a reasonable Allowance to the Baker for his Livelihood.

An Act 1710, for setting the Assize and Weight of Bread.

J. S.

The Assize to be set in Averdupois Weight.

No Person to sell or expose to Sale, any other Bread, than the several Sorts of White, Wheaten, or Houshold, and such other sorts as shall be publickly allowed by the Lord Maior, Magistrates, &c. All which sorts of Bread to be made according to the Goodness of the several sorts of Grain.

And the Assize and Weight of the White, Wheaten and Houshold Bread, to be ascertained according to a Table fixed to the said Act of Parliament. Which consisteth of several Columns: The first and the last Columns shew the Price of the Bushel of Wheat, from 2s. to 15s. the Bushel, the Allowance of the Magistrates to the Baker for baking being included. And in the other Columns is the Weight of the several Loaves: So that for Example, when the Price of Wheat is 5s. the Bushel, and the Magistrates allow 1s. 6d. the Bushel to the Baker for baking, then even with 6s. 6d. in the first or last Column, will be found the Weight of the several Loaves. But if the Price is 3s. the Bushel, and the Allowance 1s. then the Weight of the said Loaves will be found even with 4s.

Note, That the White Loaves are one half, and the Wheaten three quarters of the Weight of Houshold Loaves.

Every Baker to mark on every Loaf the Price and Weight of that Loaf; or any other Mark the Lord Maior, or other Magistrate, shall appoint: Who shall have Power to appoint what Mark shall be used. The Penalty to the Baker is Forfeiture of 40s.

The Lord Maior, &c. may in the Day-time enter into Bakers Houses, &c. and search for, try, and weigh the Bread: and if wanting in Weight or Goodness, or not well baken, or not truly marked, &c. in such Case the Maior shall cause it to be distributed to the Poor of the Place. The Baker or other Person not permitting the Search, or resisting, to forfeit 40s. This Act to continue for three Years, and to the end of the next Session of Parliament.

There be also these ancient Laws and Orders for Bakers and their Bread; as I find in a Manuscript Book of Robert Brook and Thomas West, Esquires, Clerks of the Market in King Edward the Fourth's Time, about the Year 1468.

Old Orders for Bakers.

Memorandum, The Baker shall be allowed in every Quarter of Whete bakying, as it is provyd by the Kyngis Bakers, as it shal appere hereafter.

First, he shal have 4d. and all his Branne to avauntage; and two Lofis for Fornage; and three halfpence for three Servauntes; and for Coles, ob. and for Yeste, ob. and for Salt, ob. and for Wood 3d. and for the bultelle, * ob. and for the sealing, ob. and for Candele, q. Summ 11d. q. beside his Branne, and the two Loves.

*That is, the bolting of the Meal.

This is proved by the Statutis: And also by an Acte maad in William Conquerours tyme; and the tyme of Henry the Third; and in the tyme of King Edward the Third: and never reversid sithen.

Memorandum, It is ordayned bi Statute, that alle maner of Bakers dwelling out of Cities and Burgh Townes, as Bakers dwelling in Villagis, and upon Lorde, their Peny Lof, what Corne soever it be, be it white Brede or browne, it shall wey more then the Peny Lof in the Town or City by xs. and the Halfpeny Lof by vs. because they bere nat sich chargis as Bakers in the Citees doon, and Townes. And yet they shal kepe the Assize truly according unto the Statute upon peyne of 6s. 8d. for his Offence, as often as he doth the contrary, beside his Mersement for brekyng of the Size, if his Lof wey nat as they do in Cities and Burgh Townes. And in likewise shal the Ferthing Lof wey after the Statute.

The Assize of Bread.


THIS is the Assize if al maner of Brede of Whete, and of what eting Corne soever it be. It shal be weied aftyr the Ferthing Wastell; for the Symonell shal weye less then the Wastell by 2s. because of the sething.

An old Assize of Bread.

The Wastel.

The Ferthing White Lofe, called the Cocket, shal wey more then the Wastell by 2s. because of the bakyng.

The Coket.

The Halfpeny Wheten Lofe, that is to say, the Halfpeny Cribel Lofe, shal wey three ferthing White Lofys.

The Cribel.

The Lof of al maner of Corn, that is to say, the Horse Lof, shal wey two Halfpeny White Lofis.

Horse Loaf.

I find also this Care taken for the Assize of Bread about Edward the Second's Reign, in the Book Horn, at this Title, Incipiunt Statuta & Provisiones Civium London de Assiza Panis.

How the Assize of Bread was made every Year.

Secundum Consuetudinem Civitatis London, &c.

Lib. Horn. fo 234.

According to the Custom of the City of London, an Assay ought to be made of Bread every Year after the Feast of St. Michael, by four discreet and sworn Men, chosen for this purpose: And according to the proportion of the common Weight of that Assay, the Bakers ought to bake their Loaves throughout the whole Year: namely, so, that if afterwards Bread-corn be sold dearer than it was sold at the making the Assay, then then Bread ought to be of less Weight than it weighed in the Assay. And if it were of less Price, then the Bread ought to weigh more. Only we ought cautiously to provide, that accordingly to the Quantity whereby the Corn increaseth in Price, or decreaseth, the Bread increase or decrease in Weight.

The exact manner of making the Assay was thus: That the said four sworn Men should buy three Quarters of Bread Corn [or Meal] in the Sack upon the Pavement in the three Markets, one at Grassechurch, another at St. Botolph Billinsgate, and the third at Queenhith. Of which they were to make a Wastell, and another Loaf less fine (which I think they called Coket) And after they had baked these Loaves with the greatest diligence, then they went and presented them hot before the Maior and Aldermen in Guild-Hall. And thus hot they were weighed. And then (saith the Statute) the buying of the Bread-corn shall be considered: and eight Pence for every Quarter shall be allowed to the Baker for his Charges. The selling also of the Brann shall be considered, and shall be withdrawn out of the Sum that the Meal was bought for. And if [after divers exact Rules for the weighing of the Bread] there be more Loaves in number, than there shall remain Halfpence in the Sum of the Meal bought, when the Charge is allowed, then let there be a Partition of the Weight of those Loaves, remaining over and above. And so every Loaf shall be made of just Weight.

The manner of setting the Price on Bread.

These were Halfpenny Loaves.