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citizens of Winchester ever had them at the best; and this on account of the great service and labor which they sustained for me in the acquisition of my hereditary right in England. I concede to them, moreover, that wherever they shall go in their journeys as merchants, through my whole land of England and Normandy, Aquitaine and Anjou, “by water and by strand, by wood and by land,” they shall be free from toll and passage fees, and from all customs and exactions; nor are they to be troubled in this respect by any one, under a penalty of £10. I forbid, moreover, and require under the same penalty, that the reeve of Wallingford shall not make any fine of scotale or New Year's gift from any one, and that he shall not establish any custom in Wallingford which shall injure the burgesses of the town. Of this grant and concession, the witnesses are Theobald, archbishop of Canterbury and others. Given at Oxford, the first day before the Ides of January.
CHARTER OF HENRY II. TO SOUTHAMPTON. Latin : Davies' History of Southampton, 152 ; Gross' Gild Merchant, II, 213.
Henry, king of England, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and count of Anjou, to his reeves and ministers of Hampton, greeting: I ordain that my men of Hampton shall have and hold their gild and all their liberties and customs, by land and by sea, in as good, peaceable, just, free, quiet, and honorable a manner as they had the same, best, most freely and quietly in the time of King Henry, my grandfather; and let no one upon this do them any injury or insult. Witness, Richard de Humet, constable; Jocelyn de Baliol, at Winchester.
CHARTER OF RALPH, EARL OF CHESTER, TO THAT
CITY, BETWEEN A. D., 1190 AND 1211.
Merchant, II, 140. Ralph, earl of Chester, to his constable and steward, and to all his barons and bailiffs, and to all his men, French and English, as well to come as at present, greeting. Let it be known to all of you that I have given and conceded, and by this my present charter confirmed to all my citizens of Chester their gild merchant with all liberties and free customs which they have had in the aforesaid gild, best, most freely and most peacefully in the times of my predecessors. And I forbid under forfeiture to me of £10 that any one shall disturb them in it. With these witnesses, etc.
CHARTER OF JOHN, EARL OF CHESTER, BETWEEN
1217 AND 1277.
Merchant II, 140. Know that I have conceded and by this my present charter con. firmed to all my citizens of Chester that no merchant should buy or sell any kind of merchandise which has come to the city of Chester by sea or by land, except these my citizens of Chester themselves and their heirs, or in accordance with their will ; except in the established fairs, that is on St. John the Baptist's day and at the feast of St. Michael.
Likewise, I have conceded and by this my present charter confirmed to my said citizens of Chester, to have and to hold their gild merchant, as freely, quietly and honorably as they held it in the time of my uncle, lord Ralph, earl of Chester and Lincoln. CHARTER OF THURSTAN, ARCHBISHOP OF YORK, TO
BEVERLY, BETWEEN 1100 AND 1135.
Thurstan, by the grace of God, archbishop of York, to all the faithful in Christ, as well present as to come, greeting and God's benediction and his own. Let it be known to you that I have given and conceded, and by the advice of the chapter of York and of Beverly and by the advice of my barons have confirmed by my charter to the men of Beverly all their liberties with the same laws which those of York have in their city. Moreover let it not be hid from you that lord Henry our king has conceded to us the power of doing this of his own good will, and by his charter has confirmed our statutes and our laws according to the form of the laws of the burgesses of York, saying the dignity and honor of God and Saint John, and of us and of the canons, in order that he might thus increase the benefactions of his predecessors, and promote them by all these free customs.
I will that my burgesses of Beverly shall have their hanse house, which I give to them and concede in order that they may there determine upon their statutes to the honor of God and of St. John, and of the canons, and to the advantage of the whole body of citizens, being enfranchised by the same law as those of York in their hanse house. I give up to them, moreover, their toll forever for eighteen marks a year; besides in those feasts in which toll belongs to us and to the canons, that is to say, in the feast of St. John the Confessor, in May, in the feast of the translation of St. John, and on the day of the birth of St. John the Baptist; and on these festivals I have made all the burgesses of Beverly free and quit from all toll. By the testimony of this charter, moreover, I have conceded to the same burgesses as free entrance and departure within and without the town, in plain and wood and marsh, in roads and byways, and in other suitable places, except in meadows and grainfields, as any one can ever concede and confirm them most freely and broadly; and know that they are as free and quit from all toll through the whole of Yorkshire, as those of York are. And I will that whosoever opposes
may be accursed, as the custom of the church of St. John asserts and as it has been decreed in the church of St. John.
These are witnesses : Geoffrey Murdoc, Nigel Fossard, Alan de Percy, Walter Spec, Eustace the son of John, Thomas the reeve, Thurstan, archdeacon; Herbert, chamberlain; William the son of Toole; William of Bath; in the presence of the whole household of the archbishop, clerical and lay, in York.
III. GILD MERCHANT DOCUMENTS. An almost invariable provision in the early town charters was the privilege of possessing a gild merchant, or hanse house, as it was called in the charter of Beverly. This universality of the gild merchant indicates its close connection with the municipal community itself, as well as the prevailing commercial character of the latter. The existence of the gild merchant has been definitely proved in 102 towns and there is little reason to doubt that it existed in practically all the others. The gild merchant therefore was substantially the embodiment of the trading monopoly of the chartered city or borough. Its principal characteristics are exemplified in the subjoined documents. The difficult questions of its origin as an institution, its connection with the municipal government, its relation to the craft gilds, and its later decadence or disappearance, are fully discussed in the standard work on the subject : Gross, The Gild Merchant. The ordinances of the gilds of Southampton and Lynn Regis are almost the only remaining bodies of statutes. The former document belongs to the fourteenth century, but the provisions are evidently of very different dates. The first eleven seem to be the oldest, and perhaps with others extend back to a far earlier period than 1300. The gild merchant of Lynn Regis is mentioned as early as 1205, in a charter granted by King John, and remained in existence until November 4, 1547. It was clearly distinct from the town government, though connected with it at many points. It had a large membership: its property brought in at one time an income of some £400 a year; it possessed a gild hall which still exists, and sustained in 1389, thirteen chaplains, “daily and yearly to pray as well for the king, his ancestors, and for the peace and welfare of his kingdom, as for the souls of all the aldermen, brethren, and benefactors of the said gild; also for the souls of all the faithful deceased.” Six of these chaplains officiated in the church of St. Margaret, four in the chapel of St. Nicholas, and three in the chapel of St. James, all in Lynn. In addition to its religious activity, the gild contributed largely both by money and by administration to the charities, educational work, and public improvements of the city.
ORDINANCES OF THE GILD MERCHANT OF SOUTHAMPTON. French : Gross' Gild Merchant, II, 214, etc.; and English : Davies' History of
Southampton, pp. 139, etc. § 1. 'In the first place, there shall be elected from the gild merchant, and established, an alderman, a steward, a chaplain, four skevins, and an usher. And it is to be known that whosoever shall be alderman shall receive from each one entering into the gild fourpence, the steward, twopence; the chaplain, twopence; and the usher, one penny. And the gild shall meet twice a year : that is to say, on the Sunday next after St. John the Baptist's day, and on the Sunday next after St. Mary's day.
§ 2. And when the gild shall be sitting no one of the gild is to bring in any stranger, except when required by the alderman or steward. And the alderman shall have a sergeant to serve before him, the steward another sergeant, and the two skevins a sergeant, and the other two skevins a sergeant, and the chaplain shall have his clerk.
§ 3. And when the gild shall sit, the alderman is to have, each night, so long as the gild sits, two gallons of wine and two candles, and the steward the same; and the four skevins and the chaplain, each of them one gallon of wine and one candle, and the usher one gallon of wirie.
§ 4. And when the gild shall sit, the lepers of La Madeleine shall have of the alms of the gild, two sesters? of ale, and the sick of God's House and of St. Julian shall have two sesters of ale. And the Friars Minors shall have two sesters of ale and one sester of wine. And four sesters of ale shall be given to the poor wherever the gild shall meet.
§ 5. And when the gild is sitting, no one who is of the gild shall go outside of the town for any business, without the permission of the steward. And if any one does so, let him be fined two shillings, and
§ 6. And when the gild sits, and any gildsman is outside of the city so that he does not know when it will happen, he shall have a gallon of wine, if his servants come to get it. And if a gildsman is ill and is in the city, wine shall be sent to him, two loaves of bread and a gallon of wine and a dish from the kitchen ; and two approved men of the gild shall go to visit him and look after his condition.
1 In the original a rubric is introduced at the beginning of each paragraph, describing its subject, usually in the same terms as the body of the paragraph. They are omitted here on account of their want of especial significance.
2 Sester, or sextary, apparently equals four gallons : Stubbs; and see § 4 on page 17 of this pamphlet.
§ 7. And when a gildsman dies, all those who are of the gild and are in the city shall attend the service of the dead, and gildsmen shall bear the body and bring it to the place of burial. And whoever will not do this shall pay according to his oath, two pence, to be given to the poor.
And those of the ward where the dead man shall be ought to find a man to watch over the body the night that the dead shall lie in his house. And so long as the service of the dead shall last, that is to say the vigil and the mass, there ought to burn four candles of the gild, each candle of two pounds weight or more, until the body is buried. And these four candles shall remain in the keeping of the steward of the gild.
§ 8. The steward ought to keep the rolls and the treasure of the gild under the seal of the alderman of the gild.
$ 9. And when a gildsman dies, his eldest son or his next heir shall have the seat of his father, or of his uncle, if his father was not a gildsman, and of no other one; and he shall give nothing for his seat. No husband can have a seat in the gild by right of his wife, nor demand a seat by right of his wife's ancestors.
§ 10. And no one has the right or power to sell or give his seat in the gild to any man; and the son of a gildsman, other than his eldest son, shall enter into the gild on payment of ten shillings, and he shall take the oath of the gild.
§ 11. And if a gildsman shall be imprisoned in England in time of
peace, the alderman with the steward and with one of the skevins shall go at the cost of the gild, to procure the deliverance of the one who is in prison.
§ 12. And if any gildsman strikes another with his fist; and is convicted thereof, he shall lose the gild until he shall have bought it back for ten shillings, and taken the oath of the gild again like a new member. And if a gildsman strikes another with a stick, or a knife, or any other weapon,
whatever it may be, he shall lose the gild and the franchise, and shall be held as a stranger until he shall have been reconciled to the good men of the gild and has made recompense to the one whom he has injured, and has paid a fine to the gild of twenty shillings; and this shall not be remitted.
§ 13. If any one does an injury, who is not of the gild, and is of the franchise or strikes a gildsman and is reasonably convicted he shall lose his franchise and go to prison for a day and a night.
§ 14. And if any stranger or any other who is not of the gild