[Courts.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Orphans Court.]372

[Courts.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Orphans Court.]

"taken and carried out of the Liberty of the City, Elen, the Daughter of Thomas Dister, late Citizen and Mercer of London, within the Age of ten Years, with divers Sums of Money, against the Will of the Maior and Aldermen of the same, and the aforesaid Custom, they had committed the said John Hartwel to the Prison of our Lord the King."

There was an old Act of Parliament 1 R.II. That the Maior and Chamberlain of London for the time being, should have the keeping of all the Lands and Goods of such Orphans, as happened within the City; saving to the King, and other Lords, the Rights of such as held of them out of the same Liberty. But it is a Customary Court, Time out of Mind; and the Custom of Orphanage, one of the most considerable Customs of London.

An old Act for the City Orphans.

Rot. Pat. 1 R. 2. N. 130.

The Common Serjeant is the only Person intrusted by the Court of Aldermen, to take all Inventories and Accounts of Freemens Estates. And the Common Cryer is intrusted to summon all Executors and Administrators of Freemen, to appear before the Court of Aldermen, to give Inventories and Accounts of the Personal Estate of such Freemen. The youngest Attorney in the Lord Maior's Court is always Clerk of the Orphans, and is appointed to take all Securitites for Orphans Portions. Which Securities are constantly taken in the Name of Chamberlain of London for the time being. And the Custom is, that in case the Security live out of London, they are bound by Bond; but if they live within London, they are constantly bound by Recognizances.

Officers of the City, their Concern for Orphans.

If the Executor of an Orphan's Father pay the Money into the Chamber of London, the Proportion of Interest allowed by the Chamber in Sir Thomas Player, Chamberlain, his Time, was, to 800l. Orphanage 5l. per Cent. From 800l. to 1200l. Orphanage Money, 5 Marks per Cent i.e. 3l. 6s. 8d. From 1200l. to all above, 5 Nobles per Cent. i.e. 1. 13s. 4d. And for all Legacy Money, 5 Marks per Cent. i.e. 3l. 6s. 8d.

Orphanage Money allowed by the Chamber.

When any Orphan is of full Age, and shall acknowledge Satisfaction in the Court for all Monies due to him or her, the said Court, upon Motion made by the Common Serjeant, doth constantly order, that all Bonds entred into for the Payment of such Orphans Portions, shall be delivered up and cancelled. And if the Security become bound by Recognizance, the Clark of the Orphans will cross and discharge all such Recognizances: for which his Fee is 2s. for each Recognizance.

Bonds for Payment of Orphans cancelled.

The Chamber of London hath been accounted the safest and best Security in and about London, for the Monies paid therein, to the Use of the City, or any Orphans, and as constantly paid upon Demand, without any Trouble. And when Orphans came to Age, or were married with Consent of the Court, they received their Portions at a Days Notice.

The Interest, or finding Money, used constantly to be paid, as it became due, the Court always taking care, that every Orphan received his or her Portion without paying any other or greater Fess than had been anciently taken. A Table of which Fees did hang up in the Orphans Court in Guild Hall, for all Persons to inspect.

A Table in the Orphans Court of the Fees to be paid.

The Widow of every Freeman, if she be Executrix, or Administratrix, of her Husband's Estate, ought, by the Custom of London, to exhibit a true Inventory of her Husband's Estate into this Court, before she contract Marriage to another, otherwise the Court may impose a reasonable Fine upon her, to the Use of the Orphans.

The Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen do meet at Guild-Hall, and sit in the Orphans Court, once in every Year, viz. on the Monday Morning next after Mid-Lent Sunday, purposely to hear the Names of all Securities that stand bound for Orphans Portions, called over; wherefore that Day is called Call-Day. Upon which Day one of every of the Sureties ought to appear, to give an Account whether the other Securities are living, and in good condition, and whether the Orphans are living, or married or not. And if none of the Securities appear that Day, they forfeit their Recognizances and Bonds, and the Clerk of the Orphans, in such case, must make out Process against the Security, and force them to give the Account hereby required, and pay the Charges of the Process.

Monday after Mid-Lent Sunday, the Names of the Sureties are called over, &c.

The Securities must take particular Care that none of the Orphans marry, or be put Apprentice with their Consents, without Leave of the Court first obtained. And as the Orphans come to the Age of One and twenty Years, or shall be married with the Consent of the Court of Aldermen, they must take care to bring them to Guild-Hall, with a Person to prove the Age of such an Orphan; and then Satisfaction must be acknowledged by the Orphan, for the Money due to him or her, of the Testator's Estate. Which must be done in the Court of Aldermen.

The Court doth commit the Custody of Orphans to such Person or Persons, as they shall think fit. And if any Person whatsoever do intermarry with any Orphan, without the Consent of the Court first obtained, such Person may be fined by the Court, according to the Quality and Portion of the said Orphan. And unless such Person do pay the Fine, or give Bond to pay the same in some reasonable Time, the Court may commit him to Newgate, there to remain until he submit to their Order.

Punishment of such as marry Orphans without Consent.

Jud's Law, so called because made in Jud's Maioralty, 5 Edw. VI. whereby Orphans are restrained from throwing away themselves in Marriages with unfitting Persons, and for preventing other Misdemeanors in Orphans, is set down at large before in Chap. XXIV.

Jud's Law.

J. S.

In or about the Year 1586, some there were that opposed this Custom of Orphanage, and complained of it above: insomuch that the Maior and Aldermen were fain to bestir themselves, and draw up certain Arguments in that behalf, which were offered to the Privy Council. The Paper was to this Tenor:

The Custom of Orphanage defended.

See the Occasion of this at Chap. XXIV.

A brief Note of the Benefit and Necessity of the Custom of Orphanage within the City of London: Exhibited to the Right Honourable the Lords of her Majesties most honourable Privy Council.


"FIrst, The said Custom for Division of the Goods of the Dead into three Parts, is agreeable with the ancient Common Laws of this Realm; and now usually put in Practice in most Parts of this Realm, by a Writ De rationabili parte bonorum."

"The Maior and Aldermen (being by the Custom, Patrons and Guardians, as well of the Bodies as of the Goods of Orphans) are solemnly sworn to maintain and defend the Rights of Orphans. By reason whereof, during their Nonage, the Court of Orphans, taketh care for their reasonable Maintenance and virtuous Education, foreseeth that they be not defrauded by the Executors, by Concealment or mispraising the Goods, or by false Account; nor abused by Disparagement in Marriage; provideth Safeguard for their Portions. So that"