[Court of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Hustings.]369

[Court of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Hustings.]

The Courts of London. The Hustings. The Lord's Maior's Court. The Orphans Court. The present State of the Orphans. The Court of Aldermen. List of the City Officers. The several Offices in the Gift of the Maior and Aldermen. Court of Common Council. Committees chosen out of the Common Council. The Chamberlain's Court. Customs about Apprentices. Sheriffs Courts. Court of Requests, or of Conscience. The Court of Conservacy. Other lesser Courts. The Court of the King's Commission of Oyer and Terminer; held in the Old Baily. Pleas of the Crown, held anciently at the Tower.

Now we proceed to the several Courts kept in the Government of this CITY.


Of the ancient Court of the Hustings.


I Find it diversly written in Latin, Hustingum, Hustingus, Hustingia, and somtimes (but falsely) Hustangus. It is the ancientest and the highest Court of Justice of the famous City of London. The Name it takes from the Place of keeping that Court, (as Prytaneum did at Athens) for the Saxon Word xxx, Hus, among the old Saxons, signified an House, and xxxx, dhing or thing, a Cause or Plea; so that xxxxxxx, Husthing, signified the House of Causes or Pleadings: whereupon in the Saxon Tongue xxxxxxx, Thingere, Thingarius, signified an Advocate or Lawyer: which others would perchance derive rather from xxxx or xxxxxx, thung or gedhung, which signified Honourable. For that the most honourable Magistrates of the City held their Court there; like as the Lord Maior and Sheriffs, and in absence of the Sheriffs, six of the Aldermen at this day do.

The Court of Hustings, whence the Name.


The Antiquity of this famous Court of Hustings, is much magnifed by the Compiler of King Edward's Laws, cap. 35. Sicut continetur in Lege Sancti Edwardi, Capit. 46. viz. Quod debet in London quæ Caput Regni est & Legum, & semper Curia Domini Regis, singulis septimanis die Lune HUSTINGS sedere & teneri. Fundata enim erat olim, & edificata ad instar magne Troje, & ad modum & in memoria in se continet. In qua fuit, semper fuit ardua compota & ambigua placita Corone, & Cor. Domini Regis [&] totius Regni predict. Quia Usus & Consuetudines suas una semper inviolabilitate conservat ubique, ubicunque ipse Rex fuerit; sive in Expeditione, sive alibi, propter fatigationes gentium & populorum Regni, juxta veteres Consuetudines bonorum Princip. & Predecessorum & omnium Principium & Procerum & sapientum Seniorum totius Regni predict. &c.

The Antiquity of this Court.

Statute for the Hustings in the Time of S. Edward, to be holden in London

J. S.

Which somebody translated into English after this manner, [not so exactly as were to be wish'd.] "There ought always in the City of London, which is the head City of the Kingdom, and of the Laws, to be held upon every * Monday weekly, a Court of our Sovereign Lord the King, at the Hustings. This Court was founded and built of old, after the Fashion and Manner, yea, and in the Memory of the ancient City of Troy; and even unto this day contains within itself the Laws, and Rights, and Dignities, Liberties, and Customs Royal of that ancient and great Troy. There be handled the intricatest † Accounts and the doubtful Pleas of the Crown, and of the Court of our Lord the King, of the whole Kingdom aforesaid: and this Court hath even to this day preserved her own ancient Customs most inviolably." Thus far my Author: who (by his leave) smells too rankly of that Fabler, Geffrey of Monmouth.

*This is altered unto Tuesday, because of the Sheriffs intending of the Markets: which being kept upon Monday, would hinder their sitting in the Hustings.

†Compota, perchance the word signifies Measures rather than Accounts; for Compotus ager, is a Field surveyed, whose quantities were set down in the Land-Mark, or Terrier. And here, perchance, was kept a general Survey of all the Lands of the Kingdom, as now in the Domesday Book in the Exchequer. The form whereof, the Conqueror perchance took from the Hustings.

And yet something there is in the Hustings, which might give countenance to this Comparison of old Troy; namely, that the well known Weight used for Gold and Silver, called Troy-Weight, was in the Time of the Saxons called, the Hustings Weight of London, and kept there in the Hustings. So an ancient Record in the Book of Ramsey, Sect. 32. & 127. " I Æthelgina, Countess, &c. bequeath two Silver Cups of twelve Marks of the Hustings Weight of London."

The former Law of the said King Edward the Confessor, commands the Hustings Court to be held every Monday, tho' at this day it be held upon the Tuesday: which, that it may not be perceived by the Monuments and Rolls of the Court, to have differed too much from the first Institution, is yet said and written to be holden upon the Monday. It is as it were distinguished into two Courts; for one Week the Judges sit upon Pleas meerly real, and the next Week upon Actions mixt, or of any other nature whatsoever.

Out of the same Book of Ramsey Abbey, Sect. 268. will I here set down the ancient Form of purchasing and giving of Possession, used in the Hustings: which is far different from the Fashion used at this day. "Be it known unto all the Sons of holy Church, that Wlfnoth of Walbroc, London, have sold unto Reynold, Abbot of Ramsey, a certain Piece of Land which he had * in Walebroc, whence he was called Wlfnoth of Walbroc. As also a certain House of Stone, and a Shop which he had built upon that Land, with doors of yron, and windows above and beneath, &c. Which said Wlfnoth hath sold that Land unto the Abbot of Ramsey, and hath given him seisin of it, by delivery of a certain Staff, and hath † quite claimed unto it to be free and quiet, and void of all encumbrance; both he, and Mahald his Wife, and his first Wife's Daughter; and Mahald his second Wife, and Henry his Son, by his second Wife, and Christine her Daughter, before the whole Husting of London, in the House of Alfwine, Son of Leofstan: to be held from this day forth for ever by the Church of Ramsey, in consideration of ten Pounds of Pence, which he gave unto him in Presence of the whole Court of Hustings. Of which ten Pounds, he the said Wolfnoth gave forty Shillings unto Maud his Daughter for her * good will, because he had the Land by her Mother. And the Abbot for his part gave her half a Mark of Silver; and unto Wlfnoth's Wife, and other two Children, for their good wills, he gave five Shillings. Of this Bargain and Sale, be on the part of the Hustings these Witnesses, William of Einesford, Sheriff of London, and John his Under-Sheriff, and Gervase his Clark; Andrew Bucuint, and Ralfe his Son, and Ralfe his Cousin; Gilbert Proudfoot, William Bukerell, and many others."

*Super Walbroc.

†Et clamavit solam & quietam & absque omni calumpnia.

*Propter concessum suum.

For giving up her right in it, perchance.

This Deed hath no date mentioned; but I find this Reinold to have been made Abbot of Ramsey by King Henry the First, as his Charter shews, Sect. 214. The Successor to this Reinold