Source Problems in English History

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World History

9.

Proceedings Before the Justices of Laborers.

1355; 1358. (Latin text in Putnam, Enforcement of the Statutes of Laborers, Appendix, pp. 174, 175; 152–154. Translation by the editor.)

a. Hereford. [1355.]

The jurors make presentment to the effect that John Monyword of Hereford, weaver, took from John Spicer of the same [county] an excess charge for his work in the twenty-eighth year [of the reign], to wit, 2–1/2d. for an ell, and that he is a common taker of excess. . . .

Nicholas Webbe, weaver, Robert Plassh, weaver, [eight other weavers] took more for their work against the ordinance, etc.,2 than they were accustomed to take in the twentieth and twenty-first years of the reign of King Edward III., and they are common and notorious takers of excess.

[One hundred and two other individuals are presented for similar offenses, representing the following occupations: carpenter, plasterer, spinster, common laborer (male and female), kempster, knitter (?), day-laborer, water-carrier (female), carder, servant bound for three years, weaver (male and female), huckster, tailor, furbisher, mower, thresher, furrier, dressmaker, reaper (female), parchment-maker, glover, fuller, tiler.]1

Hence the sheriff was ordered to cause all the above-named artisans, laborers, and servants to come before us here the following Tuesday to answer to the lord king for their said excess charges and trespasses. And all the weavers, fullers, and carpenters came of their own accord, and on being asked how they wished to acquit themselves of the excesses and trespasses charged against them as appear above, they did not deny the excesses, but sought admittance to the lord king’s grace. And they were allowed to pay fine, etc. Pledges of the fines. . . .

[Five pledges are named; then follow the sums of the fines of 43 delinquents, beginning with John Monyword, 10s.; half mark, 5s., 2s., 5s., 40d., 12d, 15d., 3s., 3s., 2s., 2s., half mark, 3s., 40d., 40d., 3s., 3s., 2s., 6d., 6d., 6d., 40d., 18d., 2s., 2s., 12d., 2s., 12d., 2s.,12d., 4s., 40d., half mark, 4s., 8s., 12d., 4s., 8s., half mark, 8s., 12d., 3s.]1

b. Thursday [Cornwall. 1358.]

The jurors make presentment to the effect that John Clegh Jr., Nichola Karn, Dionisia Trethak, Thomas Tremenhir, Johanna Nichol, Richard Gorben, John Coly [sixteen other names], John Sebill, tailor, John Henri [thirty-one other names], John, a servant of Henry Nanfan, Richard Polgrim [five other names], John, a servant of Thomas Mewes, took excessive wages, prices, and profits in their divers works and wares against the form of the lord king’s statute, etc. Hence the sheriff was commanded to attach them against Friday at Penryn, that they then be before the said justices, etc. . . . Friday.

The sheriff answered that the said John Clegh, Nichola Karn, and all the others named above had been individually attached by their separate plevins.2 . . . The said John Clegh Jr., Nichola Karn, Dionisia Trethak, and Thomas Tremenhir did not come. Therefore their pledges in mercy, etc. And the sheriff was commanded to arrest them against Saturday next at Helleston before the said justices, etc. And the said Johanna Nichol, Richard Gorben, John Coly, and the others named above came and said that they were not guilty of that which the said jurors presented above, and placed themselves upon their country, etc. Therefore the sheriff was ordered to cause twelve [jurors] to come to Helleston, etc., the next Saturday before the said justices, etc. . . .

Saturday.

The sheriff answered that the said John Clegh Jr., Nichola Karn, Dionisia Trethak, and Thomas Tremenhir had been arrested and were in custody. Who, being required, came; and, asked about the aforesaid presentment, said that they were not guilty and put themselves on their country etc., as the said Johanna Nichol, Richard Gorben, John Coly, and the other their above-named associates had done. Hence the sheriff was commanded forthwith to summon twelve, etc., to make a jury., etc. The jurors drawn, selected, and sworn on behalf of the lord king and the aforesaid parties acquitted the said John Clegh, Nichola Karn, Dionisia Trethak, and Thomas Tremenhir of the excesses and trespasses presented above. Therefore let them go quit etc. And the said Johanna Nichol, Richard Gorben, John Coly, and the other their above-named associates were found guilty. Therefore they were summoned and made fine as appears in the estreats1 sent to the king’s exchequer.

2 In this and similar connections the et cetera indicates that the full formal or legal phraseology has been curtailed.

1 This is Miss Putnam’s summary, except that the editor has attempted to translate the names of the occupations.

1 Miss Putnam’s summary.

2 Pledges or warrants.

1 Certified lists of fines.

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Chicago: "Proceedings Before the Justices of Laborers.," Source Problems in English History in Source Problems in English History, ed. Albert Beebe White and Wallace Notestein (New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915), 154–157. Original Sources, accessed January 22, 2019, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC13BAPMS7BLNID.

MLA: . "Proceedings Before the Justices of Laborers." Source Problems in English History, in Source Problems in English History, edited by Albert Beebe White and Wallace Notestein, New York, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1915, pp. 154–157. Original Sources. 22 Jan. 2019. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC13BAPMS7BLNID.

Harvard: , 'Proceedings Before the Justices of Laborers.' in Source Problems in English History. cited in 1915, Source Problems in English History, ed. , Harper & Brothers Publishers, New York, pp.154–157. Original Sources, retrieved 22 January 2019, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=QC13BAPMS7BLNID.