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On the other hand, Edward was licentious and tyrannical. There were many who pitied the unfortunate King Henry; the blood feuds caused by the late battles were deep, and many of the nobility were openly or secretly hostile. Changeable The reign, therefore, was full of trouble, and it was not till policy of the 1471 that Edward really secured his throne. The politics of the the^ei"""^ ^lt^ between anQ" were again neither consistent nor Edward IV honourable, but they generally leant to the winning side. Unfortunately the accounts of the Drapers between 14-41 and 1475 have perished. The Charters which they obtained from the King show that they succeeded in winning the royal favour, and yet we learn enough from other authorities to prove that they followed the shifting policy of the City, though probably rather as individuals than in their corporate capacity. Thus, at the accession of Edward IV, Thomas Cooke, a wealthy Draper, was Mayor. He was succeeded by Ralph Joscelyne, another Draper. Both these men, as well as another Draper, Henry Wavyr or Whafyr, were knighted by the King at the coronation of the Queen (Elizabeth Wydeville) in 146"^.1 No sooner, however, did Warwick the King-maker quarrel with Edward (14^9) than Sir Thomas Cooke began to waver. He was arrested and charged with treason, and though only found guilty of misprision of treason, scarce regained his liberty at the price of the heavy fine of £8,000 to the King, as well as 800 marks to the Queen, and the loss of his Aldermanry, while some of his lands were seized by Rivers, the father of the Queen.3
On the flight of Edward IV in 1470, Sir Thomas Cooke seemed likely to regain his position. He was returned to Parliament. He undertook the duties of the Mayoralty in the place of John Stockton, who wisely feigned sickness, and put in a bill for the restoration of the lands he had lost, and according to Fabyan, who was himself a Draper, 'had good comfort to have been allowyd since he was a man of great boldness of speke and well spoken and singularly witted and well reasoned'. His hopes,
1 Gregory, Chronicle, p. 118; Fabyan, ed. 1811, p. tf55.
2 Fabyan, pp. 655-6. The fine to the Queen was according to the old custom of Aurum Reginae or Queen's gold, i. e. one hundred marks for every thousand pounds due to the King.
however, were short-lived. Edward IV returned, and Cooke, failing in an attempt to escape to France, was again imprisoned. He once more regained his liberty and, though probably fined once more, lived for seven years afterwards, to die a wealthy man and become the ancestor of Chancellor Bacon.
The Lancastrian party declared that Cooke was unjustly accused, or that his only offence was that he had failed to inform the King of an approach made to him (Cooke) by the Lancastrian partisans. For this he was found guilty of' misprision of treason '. Certainly Edward appeared very vindictive, for Markham the judge was dismissed from his office for having determined that Cooke's offence was not treason. It was evidently a 'cause celebre'. Fortescue, the Lancastrian writer, alludes to it in his 'De laudibus legum Angliae ', and the Duke of Buckingham, when speaking in favour of R1chard Ill's claims to the throne in 1483, referred to this case as a notable example of the tyranny of Edward IV. It is difficult, if not impossible, to come to a decision on the matter. But in those days, when the fortunes of the two parties were constantly changing, it was no easy matter for any man of prominence to save his head, and one cannot wonder at some trimming.1
When Edward had finally secured his throne by the defeat and death of Warwick at Barnet (April 1471) and the overthrow of Margaret at Tewkesbury (May 1471), the City definitely returned to his allegiance and proved their loyalty at the time or the expiring effort of the Bastard of Falconberg3 (May 1471). Headed by Sir Ralph Joscelyne, the late Draper Mayor, the City levies repulsed the Bastard's attack on the City and twelve Aldermen, of whom three were Drapers, were knighted on the field.3
1 Gregory, Chronicle, Introd. p. xxxiii and pp. 136-7; Fabyan, pp. 6f5-t,; Fortescue, De laudibus, ed. Amos, p. 71 j Orridge, Citizens of London and their Rulers, pp. 16 ff., m.
7 He was the illegitimate son of the Earl of Kent. He had abandoned his father's party probably when Warwick quarrelled with Edward IV.
3 Fabyan, p. 661; Sharpe, London and the Kingdom, quoting Guildhall Journals, v, fos. 151-7 5. The Drapers were William Stokker, Thomas Stallbrooke, Bartholomew James. Bartholomew James and Will. Stokker were subsequently Mayors in 1479-80 and 1484 respectively. Sir Ralph Joscelyne took a prominent part in rebuilding the City walls. The Drapers defrayed the expense for the New
Nature of the Evidence.
Although, as said above, it would be rash to decide from the scanty information we have that the Company had, during these troublous times, any very definite policy, the part which some of the members took at least reminds us forcibly of the influential position which the Drapers had attained.
In the year 1460 we welcome once more the appearance of definite evidence. Hitherto, with the exception of the years between 1413 and 1441, we have had no actual records of the Company to guide us, beyond that of their Charters and their earliest ordinances of 1405—18. Henceforth our difficulty will rather consist in co-ordinating and arranging the increasing volume of facts which are recorded in the Books of the Company.
These commence with the ordinances which were finally committed to writing in 1460, and are supplemented from time to time.1 In 1475 the Wardens' Accounts again begin, to continue henceforth without a break. In 1481 they are supplemented by the Renters' Accounts, while the Minutes or Repertories commence in the year 151^."
As mentioned before, we must remember the nature of the evidence which we have before us. The ordinances only help us to understand the internal government of the Company, while in the accounts the importance of every event is measured from the financial standpoint, that is to say, with a regard to its effect on the receipts or disbursements of the Company.
Thus the election of Mr. Ralph Joscelyne the Draper as Mayor in 1476-7 looms largely in their accounts because or the expense (over £9) they then incurred in honour of their brother,3 and the repairs of the wall of the City are entered on account of the share (£41 16s. od.) they had to take in the cost thereof
Meanwhile, the public events of this period, many of which formed a crisis in the history of our country, are noticed, if at all, in cold impartial terms. Thus in 1476 the return of Edward IV from his French expedition appears in the accounts because the
wall between Bishopsgate and Moorgate. The other Gilds helped with other parts. The rest was paid for by an assessment of 6d. per head on the citizens.
1 Cf. Ordinances, Appendix, vol. i. No. XVII.
2 For an account of these, cf. Appendix, vol. i, Nos. XX, XXII.
3 Wardens' Accounts, 403, fo. 9 a.
Craft was cessed for forty persons to ride to meet the King at the cost of £2.0, and in the same year the Drapers took an important part in the Midsummer Watch of that year since a Draper, Sir Ralph Joscelyne, was Mayor.1 In 1^.83 the entry of young Edward V is mentioned because they were cessed for thirty persons to ride and meet him, but the Wardens are more concerned with the fact that, though the assessment amounted to £1s 6s. lod., they had only received £14 1s. id. from the members. And so it is with the reign of Richard III. His seizure of the crown is only alluded to because ' the crafte was assessed' for twenty-four persons, the same to be paid for,' though the crafte received not all of it', while the pardon, which Richard III graciously bestowed on them for having shown honour to the unfortunate Prince Edward, would have found no place in the accounts if it had not been that £1 us. 4</. was paid for the writing and sealing thereof3 So again in the Accounts of 1484-5 - the funeral of Queen Anne is noticed because of the cost of ' bote hire' to Westminster, which however was only 9d., and therefore receives less attention than the death of Richard Chester, one of the Sheriffs, who was a Draper. Finally, the momentous Battle of Bosworth is not referred to, though the triumphal entry of Henry VII into London takes up some space in the accounts because of the thirty livery men who were selected to 'ride and fetch the King' clad in bright murrey (crimson) at a cost of £1s, and because there were twenty-seven defaulters in paying the assessment which was made on members. The Company also took barge to meet the King beyond Battersea at a cost of l1s. for barge hire, and 6s. 8d. for two 'taboretts ' in the barge. The refreshments consisted of a kilderkin of ale is. 1d., bread 4/., 3 ribs of beef 1s., pepyns 6d., and a botell of wine nf^.3
1 The expenses of this Watch were only 15/. 1o</. As this might be compared with the far greater cost of later Midsummer Watches, especially that of 1541, I give it in the Appendix, vol. ii, No. VII.
2 Wardens' Accounts, 403, fos. 16 a, 19 b, 30 a.
3 Wardens' Accounts, 403, 33 a, 35b. 'The Mair's commission for this sessing, sealed with the seale of his mairalty ' was as follows:
'Drapers, Purveith xxx persones honestly and cleanly arrayed in bright murrey after the patron (pattern) here inclosed to mete with the King on horsbak on Satterday next commyng.'
Significant These are all the references that we have to the tragic reign of omissions Richard, and it is significant that we hear nothing of the loan of events in granted to the King by the City in return for a general pardon, Richard III kecause presumably the Drapers did not subscribe to it as a Company. Of the Letters Patent of 1484, in which Richard III, evidently with a desire to gain their support, released the Company from all forfeitures incurred on any grounds before the first year of his reign, we are only told of the fee paid to H. Woodcock for writing and sealing the document. But this omission at least proves that Richard did not, as was usual, demand any pecuniary return. In these letters Richard promises remission of all forfeiture incurred for all possible offences committed before the beginning of his reign. The pardon with regard to the wearing of livery was, according to Stow (ed. Kingsford, ii. 192), unnecessary since the Act 7 Henry IV, c. 14, which finally forbad the giving of liveries by lords, specially exempted 'gilds, fraternities and people of mysteries that be founded of good intent'. The other remissions were no doubt intended to cover any doubtful actions on their part previous to his seizing the throne, as for instance their riding to meet the unfortunate Edward V just before. The list of misdeeds is indeed comprehensive enough, and by their implication might have caused offence to a more sensitive generation. Thus, not only are deceits, extortions, frauds on the list, but murder and rape.' Still more curious is the absence of any notice of the great hunt given by the King, by way of thanks, in Waltham Forest in the next year, and the feast at Drapers' Hall which followed, although the Mayor in that year, William Harriot, was one of the Fellowship. As, however, the King provided two harts, six bucks, and a tun of wine, the call on the Company's larder and cellars was not heavy, and the expense presumably slight.*
The reign of To the events of national importance during the reign of Henry VII. Henry VII the references are again of the briefest description.
There are notices of the Fellowship being assessed to supply
1 Cf. Appendix, vol. i, No. XVI. On Liveries cf. vol. i, p. 44.