[Courts.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Lord Maior's Court.]370

[Courts.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Lord Maior's Court.]

was one Walter, but what Year he was made Abbot in, I find not; but I find that he flourished Anno 1149. that is, the fourteenth Year of King Stephen. By this you may judge of the Antiquity of the Deed, tho' the precise Day be not dated.

By this Passage it clearly appeareth, that London was honoured with her Sheriffs Office, even in the Age of King Henry the First, * altho' our Chroniclers affirm the Sheriffs to be made first by King Richard the First, † at his coming to the Crown: from whose Time our said Chroniclers begin to reckon the first Maior and Sheriffs, that is, from the Year of our Lord 1189. But that the Sheriffs were granted unto the City, together with the County of Middlesex, plainly appears by the said King's Charter concerning the Liberties of London, given in the beginning of his Reign: nor do the Maior and Sheriffs much differ from those former Magistrates of the City, the Portreve and Provost, as might be proved.]

*Which was above 500 Years since.

†Which was almost 100 Years after.

Moreover, the Cities of York, Winchester, Lincoln, the Isle of Shepey, with other Boroughs and Cities, are also said to have had their Hustings. See Fleta, Lib. 2. Cap. 55. [De differentiis Curiarum. Habet Rex curiam suam, &c. Et in Civitatibus & Burgis & in HUSTINGIS London, Lincolm, Winton & Eborum, & alibi in Libertatibus, &c. Wherefore the Lord Coke concludes, that neither the Name, nor the Court is appropriated to London.

J. S.

Coke's Instit. 3 & 4 P.

This Court of Husting is a very ancient Court of Record, and of the greatest Concern. For it preserves the Laws, Rights, Customs, Franchises, and Dignities of the City; and hath for many Ages preserved its own Customs and Prerogatives.

An ancient Court of Record.

This Court is held at the Guild-Hall, before the Lord Maior and Sheriffs of London, for the time being. And when any Matter is to be argued or tried in this Court, the Recorder sits as Judge with the said Maior and Sheriffs, and directs them in the Point of Law, and gives Rules and Judgments.

Two sorts of Causes are pleadable in this Court, Pleas of Land, and Common Pleas: which are commonly called, Husting of Pleas of Land, and Husting of Common Pleas. And these Hustings are held distinctly. For one Week the Judges sit upon Pleas meerly real; and the next Week upon Actions mixt.

Two sorts of Hustings.

The Court is held upon Mondays and Tuesdays weekly. Upon Mondays, to enter Demands, to award Nonsuits, and allow Essoins. And on Tuesdays, to award Defaults, and to plead: unless it happen upon an Holiday. But a Court is always held upon a Monday; except upon certain particular Times.

Held on Mondays and Tuesdays.

In this Court, Deeds may be enrolled, Recoveries may be passed, Wills may be proved, and Replevins, Writs of Error, Writs of Right, Patent, Writs of Waste, Writs of Partition, and Writs of Dower, may be determined, for any Matters within the City of London and Liberties.

The Attorneys of the Lord Maior's Court are Attorneys also in this. And the second Attorny is always Clark of the Enrollments, and enrolls all Deeds that are brought for that purpose.

Attorneys of this Court.

For the Knowledge of the Fees of this Court, and the Practice of it, and the several particular Writs and Causes here pleadable, recourse may be had to the Lex Londinensis, or the City Law, printed Anno 1680, and to the Privilegia Londini, printed Anno 1702, taken for the most part from the former Book; where these Matters are at full set down. And so likewise for the Fees and Practice of the rest of the Courts of London, Satisfaction may be had in the same Books.

Fees and Practice of this Court.

For this Court of Hustings, its Proceedings, and Form of correcting and reversing erroneous Judgments given in it, Mr. Prinn (who was wellacquainted with the Records of the Tower) refers us to these Records following; viz. to the Patents and Clause Rolls of King Henry III. of Edward I, II, III. of Richard II. of Henry IV, V. VI. and Edward IV. Where, he saith, he met with many Precedents in this kind, over numerous to insert.

Proceedings here reversed. Prinn's Brief Animadvers.

The Course and Practice of all manner of Juridical Proceedings in the Hustings, may be also seen in a little Book printed Anno 1647, with that Title.

Before we leave this Court of Hustings, it is not to be omitted, that the Citizens who are to be Representatives for the City in Parliament, have their Elections in this Court. But at a Common Hall (which is an Assembly of the Maior, Aldermen, and Livery Men) are chosen by the Livery the Maior, Sheriffs, Chamberlain, Bridgemasters, Auditors of the Chamber and Bridgehouse, Accomptants and Aleconners.]

Elections of Citizens for Parliament here.

Elections at Common Hall.

Gibson Town-Clerk.

First, the Citizens to serve for the City of London in Parliament, are here elected by the Livery-Men of the Companies.

R. B.

Here, at a Common Hall, upon every Michaelmas Day, the Lord Maior for the Year following is chosen. And the Usage is, to put up all the Aldermen under the Chair, and which have held the Office of Sheriff. Of these the Commoners chuse two, and return their Names to the Lord Maior and Aldermen. Of which two they elect him whom they think most fit, and signify their Choice to the Commons: And the Person so chosen, must be presented to the Lord Chancellor, or Lord Keeper; and afterwards is sworn at Guild-Hall on St. Simon and St. Jude's Day; and the Day after, at the Exchequer.

Election of Maior;

Here likwise, at a Common Hall, upon Midsummer Day, the Livery-Men of the respective Companies do chuse Sheriffs. But it hath been said, that the Lord Maior, by his Prerogative, may some time before that Day, drink to any Citizen whom he thinks qualified, and nominate him to be one of the Sheriffs; and the Usage hath been (till of late Years) for the Commons to confirm such Person; and then to elect another to serve with him.

And of Sheriffs;

After the Sheriffs are elected, the Commoners here chuse two Auditors for the Chamber and Bridgehouse Accounts, a Chamberlain, two Wardens (or Masters, as they are called) for the Bridgehouse, and four Aleconners.

And other Officers.

The Sheriffs are Judges of these Elections, and do declare, by the Common Serjeant, who are the Persons elected.

After the Sheriffs are so elected, they take an Oath in this Court, on Michalemas Eve; and the Day after Michaelmas Day, must be presented to the Barons of the Exchequer; and when they are sworn, it is not in the Power of the Commons to remove them.

The Chamberlain and Bridge-Masters, after Election, take the usual Oath before the Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen.

The Court of the Lord Maior and Aldermen.


THIS Court is commonly called the Maior's Court. It is a Court of Record, and is held in the Chamber of the Guild-Hall: The Recorder of the City, as being a Lawyer, is the Judge of this Court; yet the Lord Maior and Aldermen sit as Judges with him, if they please.

The Recorder Judge.

This Court is held by Custom; and all the Proceedings are said to be before the Maior and Aldermen.

In this Court all manner of Actions may be entred and tried by a Jury, as in other Courts, for any Debt, Trespass, Account, Covenant, &c. or other Matter arising within the Liberties of this City, to any Value whatsoever]

The Use of the Court, and its Power.