[Sessions.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [The Recorders Diary.]440

[Sessions.] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [The Recorders Diary.]

"Secondly, I thank her Majesty for her gracious Goodness in allowing to us these great and ample Franchises: And Thirdly, I thank my Lord Maior for having so honourable an Opinion of this my Company of Grocers, as to make choise of me, being a poor Member of the same. And this said, both he and all the Company pledged my Lord and gave him Thanks."

At a Sessions of Goal Delivery, Anno 1584, there were two hundred at the least: and most of them Pilferers, and no Matters of Importance were then brought. Thus did Idleness prevail in those times.

Sessions in London, 1584.

At a Sessions in July 1585, this may be worthy to be related, as it was written from Fleetwood the Recorder to the Lord Treasurer. That he, and some others that were then upon the Bench, spent a Day about searching out sundry, that were Receivers of Felons; and a great many were found in London, Westminster, Southwark and Places about the same. And they got the Names of 45 Masterless Men and Cutpurses, whose practice was to rob Gentlemens Chambers, and Artificers Shops in and about London. And seven Houses of Entertainment for such in London; six more in Westminster; three more in the Suburbs, and two in Southwark. Among the rest they found out one Wotton, a Gentleman born, and sometime a Merchant of good Credit, but falling by time into decay. This Man kept an Alehouse at Smarts Key near Billingsgate: and after, for some Misdemeanor, put down, he reared up a new Trade of Life. And in the same House he procured all the Cut-purses about the City to repair his House. There was a School-house set up, to learn young Boyes to cut Purses. Two Devices were hung up, the one was a Pocket, the other was a Purse . The Pocket had in it certain Counters, and was hung about with Hawks Bells, and over the Top did hang a little Sacring Bell. The Purse had Silver in it. And he that could take out a Counter without any Noise, was allowed to be a publick Foyster. And he that could take out a piece of Silver out of the Purse without Noise of any of the Bells, was adjudged a judicial Nypper; according to their Terms of Art. A Foyster was a Pickpocket; a Nypper was a Pickpurse, or Cutpurse.

A Discovery of ill Men and ill Houses at a Sessions, 1585.

A School for Cut purses.

In this Wotton's House were written in a Table divers Poesies, and among the rest this was one,

Si spie, Sporte, si non spie, tunc Steal.

Another this,     
Si spie, si non spie, Foyste, Nyppe, Lyste, shave and spare not.
Note, That Foyst is to cut a Pocket; Nyppe is to cut a Purse; Lyste is to rob a Shop, or a Gentleman's Chamber; Shave is to filch a Cloak, a Sword, a Silver-Spoon, or such like, that is negligently looked unto. To which add one Phrase more in those Times used among this sort, Mylken Ken, which is to commit a Robbery or Burghlary in the Night in a Dwelling-House.

Their Terms of Art.

It gave great Encouragemnt to Evil-doers about these Times, and good Men complained of it, that Thieves and Malefactors condemned were so frequently and commonly spared. And this Evil came from the Court. Insomuch that the Recorder aforesaid, a wise and honest Man, observed to the Lord Treasurer, that it was grown a Trade in the Court, to make means for Reprieves: Twenty Pounds was nothing. And then some Courtier would send his Letter to the Recorder, or the Sheriff, to stay the Execution of such an one. And they many times abused by wrong Information, and that Information carried to the Queen; and then her Heart was moved to Compassion, and a Repreive forthwith sent away. He reflected likwise upon the City and the Justices themselves, as well as Court: And that there ws not any in their Commission of London and Middlesex, but were desirous to save, or stay any poor Wretch, if by colour of any Law or Reason they could do it. And then he subjoyned a saying of William of Wickham: My Lord William of Winchester; said he, was wont to say, When the Court is furthest from London, then is there the best Justice done in all England.

Reprieves from the Court too common in these Times.

The Transactions with the Maior and Sheriffs at Michaelmas the Year 1584, which was upwards of 130 Years ago, may appear by this Diary, sent by Fleetwood the Recorder to the Court.

Transactions in the City about Michaelmas time, Anno 1584.

"Upon Mighelmas Even, the Lord Maior, Aldermen and Commons, admitted the new Sheriffs unto their Offices, and swore them. At which tyme they appoynted Mr. Bland, his Son, the Queens Skinner, to be their Under-Sheriff of Middlesex, who was then sworn also."

"Upon Myghelmas Day, the foresaid Assemblie met agayne, and did chowse a new Lord Maior; who was Mr. Thomas Pulison, Alderman. At which tyme he stood up, and gave the Commons great Thanks, disabling himself for it, as the Order is. And after hym the old Lord Maior stood up, and gave them his Thanks in lyke maner, &c. At after Diner the new Sheriffs received the Charge of the four Prison-Howses from the old, by Indenture."

"In crastino Michlis' my Lord, the Aldermen, and many of the Liveries went to the Exchequer, with the new Sheriffs, viz. Slayne and Billingsley. Where I [the Recorder] did present theym in the Name of the whole Citie: who there were admitted by Maister Baron Sotherton, (the Court being ful of Officers.) There we did such Services as apperteyned, Viz. in bringing a number of great Horse-Shoes, and Nayles, chopping Knives and litel Rodds. After this is the Maior of Oxford sworn, and is yearly invited to Dinner with the elder Sheriff. And at the same time we invite all the Officers to Dinner."

"Thursday, the next Day after, we kept the General Sessions at Westminster-Hall for Middlesex. Surely it was very great. We sat the whole Day: and the next after also at Fynsbury. Upon Saturday at Bridewel, &c. Upon Monday at the Sessions of Gaole Delivery. We had two hundred there at the least, most of them were Pilferers, &c."

In the Year 1586, at one of the Sessions, was but little to do; and very few Criminal Causes. And in the Sessions in May this Year, none were executed And the Matters in the said Sessions slender, and of no great Importance. The reason whereof was owing to the great Care of the Recorder Fleetwood. By whose Means they had in Prison in Newgate the most principal Thieves of the Realm: and they lacked none but one Mannering, who daily gathered into his Society lewd Persons, that committed in all Parts of the Realm most dangerous Robberies. The Thieves being cag'd up, the less Harm was done abroad.

Little to do at Sessions, by the Care of the Recorder.

Strong Watches appointed to be set in every Town about London.

For the better taking up of all masterless and suspicous Persons this Year, 1586, it was now resolved, That strong Watches should be set in every Town and Place about London, in the City and Liberties of Westminster, and in the Hundred of Osulton. Order therefore was sent from the Rolls in April, to every High Constable, requiring and straitly charging them in the Queen's Name, to certify them in Writing, what number of able Men they should be able to make within every