[Pleas of the Crown,] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [how anciently kept.]387

[Pleas of the Crown,] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [how anciently kept.]

half of the King, that none presume to keep the Gates and Doors but some of their Fellow Citizens, and such as should be deputed by them for this purpose: Nor any Marshal or Cryer appear among their Fellow Citizen, unless of themselves, and by the Will of the Citizens. Because according to the Liberty of the City, they ought to have no Porter, Door-keeper, Marhsal or Cryer; nor were accustomed to have, unless of themselves, and such as pleased them. That all the Gates and Doors stand open to the Barons and to all the Citizens; because the Pleas of the Crown were held; and that they might have free Ingress and Egress.

Then three discreet and moderate Men were chosen. One whereof represented in Order to the King, his Council and Justices, the Chances and Mischances belonging to the Crown happening in the City, from the time wherein the old Pleas were last pleaded unto this time. The other two stood by the said Presenter, one on his Right and the other on his Left; that if he happened to be tired in representing, the other might go on in making the Presentments. And if perhaps he that presented mistook, he might in silence be rectified by the two standing by; so that none else might by any means presume to disturb or correct the Presenter.

No Tumult, Muttering, Chiding, or Talking together was to be heard among the People, as long as these things were presenting; but all keep themselves in Peace, as they tendred the Honour and Liberty of the City; and that the Presenter be heard by all, and understood in Peace.

Whatsoever Matters were objected against the Barons and City, they answered nothing on the sudden, altho' they were well instructed and certified to answer; but consulting and discoursing together, they answer by the Common Council, saving the Liberties of the City. And to frame these Answers, twenty four or more were chosen out of the Common Council of the City, for the Safety and Defence of the whole City.

After the King's Justices had shewn and delivered to the Maior and Barons, Chapters [or Articles] of the Crown, they presently required a competent Day to provide themselves and consult together, that they might give an Answer safely to the said Chapters at the Day granted them by the Justices; and in the mean time discreetly to enrol those Chapters and their Answers.

Out of the number of the four and twenty, or more beforementioned, four or more were provided and joined with the Maior, chiefly to make Answers to the Objections and the Chapters. And the Maior's Clerk, together with the Common Clerk of the City, and the Sheriff's Clerks sat before them to note memoriter all the Matters objected; lest for want of noting, they might be forgotten. And one was Protonotator, from whose Note all the rest took each his Copy of Writing; as well the King's Objections, as the Commonalty's Answers.

The Sheriffs had their Servants present, and the Aldermen the Beadles of their Wards, decently and handsomely habited and shod, ready at hand to perform the Commands of the Maior and Barons of the City, and putting off their Caps and their Cloaks, to walk respectfully in their Coats and upper Coats, carrying strait white Rods in their Hands. Of these, four were assigned to keep the Doors and Gates; and two Cryers and others were Marshals, to perform what should be injoined them.

According to the ancient Customs and Liberties of the City, there were three Purgations in the Pleas of the Crown, whereby such as were called in and accused, might acquit themselves. The first was De Morte, of Death or Murder. The second De Mathemia, of Maiming. The third Purgation was De Insultis, Baculis, Tostis, Vulnerationibus, &c. of Assaults, Battery with Staves, Burnings, Woundings, and such like Injuries done in the time of the Lord's Nativity, or in Easter and Whitsun Weeks.

As for him that would purge himself by the first, called The Great Law, the Appealed and Accused made six Oaths in his own Person, that he was innocent of Felony and breaking the King's Peace, and of the whole Crime laid upon him: And so let God help him and those holy things. After that, six Men were to swear, that the other swore a sound and safe Oath, according to their Consciences and Understandings; and God help them, &c. And this Order was to be continued to the number of thirty six Men compleat. So that first the Accused swore, and then after him the six Men, until the Number above noted were full.

For the chusing of the thirty six Men, the Accused chose eighteen Men on the East side of Walbrook, and eighteen on the West side; and they not of his Kin, or any way related to him by Marriage or otherwise.

He that was accused of Maiming, took three Oaths in his own Person, that he was free and innocent of Felony or Breaking the King's Peace. And then six Men swore, that he made a just and true Oath; according to their Consciences and Understandings. And this Order was continued to the number of eighteen.

He that was accused of Assault, Battery, Burning, Wounding, Blows, Bloodshedding, and other Injuries done at the Holy Times before mentioned, made an Oath in his own Person, as before. After him six Men swore as before, who were chosen out of the Neighbourhood, where he dwelt.

To obtain the Favour and Benevolence of the King and his Justices in these Pleas of the Crown, the Ancestors of the Barons and Citizens bestowed abundance of Gifts and Presents upon them and their Clerks. It was impossible for the Barons and all the Citizens otherwise to pass in those Pleas elsewhere than through the King's Hand and of his Justices. Therefore they thought it no Disgrace or Shame to do as those did, who manfully and strenuously governed and defended the City and its Liberties in the Times before them. And they thought it beneficial for them to do the same that they did, lest by the Objections of them [viz. the King's Justices and their Clerks] the Citizens should be brought into Law and Trouble.

In case it were demanded of the Maior and Barons of the City, who were the Presenters and Finders of Persons slain, of Murders, or other Mischances, they were to answer from the Common Council, after this manner: That although the use of the Kingdom were such out of the City, any one is esteemed in London the Presenter or Finder of such Prescripts, according to the ancient Custom and Liberty of the City. For in so popuous a City, such Emergencies can by no means be concealed: Because, before it hath been intimated to the Bailiffs, things are divulged through the Compass of the City. And therefore no such is had, or is wont to be had, in the City, unless only a common Report of the People of the City.

In the fifth Year of King Henry III. were these Pleas of the Crown held at the Tower before Hubert de Burgo and his Fellows, Justices: When many nice and captious Questions were put to the Citizens to answer. The first of all these Questions was, How Archbishops, Bishops, Earls, and Barons, and others that have Rents in London, of certain Tenements, and cannot have their

Pleas of the Crown held divers times under King Hen. 3. Lib. Alb.