Chapter 8

The Times: 1272-1348

King Edward I was respected by the people for his good government, practical wisdom, and genuine concern for justice for everyone. He loved his people and wanted them to love him. He came to the throne with twenty years experience governing lesser lands on the continent which were given to him by his father Henry III. He spoke Latin, English, and French. He gained a reputation as a lawgiver and as a peacemaker in disputes on the continent. His reputation was so high and agreement on him as the next king so strong that England was peaceful in the almost two years that it took him to arrive there from continental business. He was truthful, law-abiding, and kept his word. He had close and solid family relationships, especially with his father and with his wife Eleanor, to whom he was faithful. He was loyal to his close circle of good friends. He valued honor and adhered reasonably well to the terms of the treaties he made. He was generous in carrying out the royal custom of subsidizing the feeding of paupers. He visited the sick. He was frugal and dressed in plain, ordinary clothes rather than extravagant or ostentatious ones. He disliked ceremony and display.

At his accession, there was a firm foundation of a national law administered by a centralized judicial system, a centralized executive, and an organized system of local government in close touch with both the judicial and the executive system. To gain knowledge of his nation, he sent royal commissioners into every county to ask about any encroachments on the King's rights and about misdeeds by any of the King's officials: sheriffs, bailiffs, or coroners. The results were compiled as the "Hundred Rolls". They were the basis of reforms which improved justice at the local as well as the national level. They also rationalized the array of jurisdictions that had grown up with feudal government. Statutes were passed by a parliament of two houses, that of peers (lords) and that of an elected [rather than appointed] commons, and the final form of the constitution was fixed.

Wardships of children and widows were sought because they were very profitable. A guardian could get one tenth of the income of the property during the wardship and a substantial marriage amount when the ward married. Parents often made contracts to marry for their young children. This avoided a forced marriage by a ward should the parents die.

Most earldoms and many baronages came into the royal house by escheat or marriage. The royal house employed many people. The barons developed a class consciousness of aristocracy and became leaders of society. Many men, no matter of whom they held land, sought knighthood. The king granted knighthood by placing his sword on the head of able-bodied and moral candidates who swore an oath of loyalty to the king and to defend "all ladies, gentlewomen, widows and orphans" and to "shun no adventure of your person in any war wherein you should happen to be". A code of knightly chivalry became recognized, such as telling the truth and setting wrongs right. About half of the knights were literate. In 1278, the king issued a writ ordering all freeholders who held land of the value of at least 400s. to receive knighthood at the King's hands.

At the royal house and other great houses gentlemanly jousting competitions, with well-refined and specific rules, took the place of violent tournaments with general rules. Edward forbade tournaments at which there was danger of a "melee". At these knights competed for the affection of ladies by jousting with each other while the ladies watched. Courtly romances were common. If a man convinced a lady to marry him, the marriage ceremony took place in church, with feasting and dancing afterwards. Romantic stories were at the height of their popularity. A usual theme was the lonely quest of a knight engaged in adventures which would impress his lady.

Riddles include: 1. I will make you a cross, and a thing will not touch you, and you will not be able to leave the house without breaking that cross. Answer: Stand before a post in your house, with your arms extended. 2. What you do not know, and I do not know, and no one can know after I have told you. Answer: I will take a straw from the floor of the room, measure its inches, tell you the length, and break the straw. 3. A pear tree bears all the fruit a pear tree can bear and did not bear pears. Answer: It bore only one pear.

The dress of the higher classes was very changeable and subject to fashion as well as function. Ladies no longer braided their hair in long tails, but rolled it up in a net under a veil, often topped with an elaborate and fanciful headdress. They wore non-functional long trains on their tunics and dainty shoes. Men wore a long gown, sometimes clasped around the waist. Overtunics were often lined or trimmed with native fur such as squirrel. People often wore solid red, blue, or green clothes. Only monks and friars wore brown. The introduction of buttons and buttonholes to replace pins and laces made clothing warmer, and it could be made tighter. After Edward I established the standard inch as three continuous dried barleycorns, shoes came in standard sizes and with a right one different from a left one. The spinning wheel came into existence to replace the handheld spindle. Now one hand could be used to form the thread while the other hand turned a large upright wheel that caused the thread to wind around the spindle, which did not have to be held by hand. This resulted in an uninterrupted spinning motion which was not interrupted by alternately forming the thread and winding it on the spindle.

Lords surrounded themselves with people of the next lower rank, usually from nearby families, and had large households. For instance, the king had a circle of noblemen and ladies about him. A peer or great prelate had a household of about 100-200 people, among which were his inner circle, companions, administrators, secretaries, bodyguards and armed escort, chaplain, singing priests and choirboys, and servants. All officers of the household were gentlemen. The secretary was usually a clerk, who was literate because he had taken minor clerical orders. Since the feudal obligation of the tenants was disappearing, a lord sometimes hired retainers to supplement his escort of fighting men. They proudly wore his livery of cloth or hat, which was in the nature of a uniform or badge of service. A nobleman and his lady had a circle of knights and gentlemen and their ladies. A knight had a circle of gentlemen and their ladies.

The great barons lived in houses built within the walls of their castles. Lesser barons lived in semi-fortified manors, many of which had been licensed to be embattled or crenelated. Their halls were two stories high, and usually built on the first rather than on the second floor. Windows came down almost to the floor. The hall had a raised floor at one end where the lord and lady and a few others sat at a high table. The hearth was in the middle of the room or on a wall. Sometimes a cat was used to open and shut the louvers of the smoke outlet in the roof. The lord's bedroom was next to the hall on the second floor and could have windows into the hall and a spiral staircase connecting the two rooms. There was a chapel, in which the lord attended mass every morning. The many knights usually lived in unfortified houses with two rooms.

In the great houses, there were more wall hangings, and ornaments for the tables. The tables were lit with candles or torches made of wax. Plates were gold and silver. The lord, his lady, and their family and guests sat at the head table, which was raised on a dais. On this high table was a large and elaborate salt cellar. One's place in relationship to the salt cellar indicated one's status: above or below the salt. Also, those of higher status at the table ate a superior bread. The almoner [alms giver] said grace. Gentlemen poured the lord's drink [cupbearer], served his meat [carver], and supervised the serving of the food [sewer]. A yeoman ewery washed the hands of the lord and his guests and supplied the napkins, ewers [pitchers], and basins. A yeoman cellarer or butler served the wine and beer. The yeoman of the pantry served the bread, salt, and cutlery. The steward presided over the table of household officers of gentle birth. The marshall of the hall, clerk of the kitchen, or other yeomen officers supervised other tables. Salt and spices were available at all tables. Most people ate with their fingers, although there were knives and some spoons. Drinking vessels were usually metal, horn, or wood. A marshall and ushers kept order. Minstrels played musical instruments or recited histories of noble deeds or amusing anecdotes. Reading aloud was a favorite pastime. The almoner collected the leftovers to distribute to the poor.

In lesser houses people ate off trenchers [a four day old slab of coarse bread or a piece of wood with the middle scooped out like a bowl], or plates of wood or pewter [made from tin, copper, and lead]. They often shared plates and drinking vessels at the table.

Queen Eleanor, a cultivated, intelligent, and educated lady from the continent, fostered culture and rewarded individual literary efforts, such as translations from Latin, with grants of her own money. She patronized Oxford and Cambridge Universities and left bequests to poor scholars there. She herself had read Aristotle and commentaries thereon, and she especially patronized literature which would give cross-cultural perspectives on subjects. She was kind and thoughtful towards those about her and was also sympathetic to the afflicted and generous to the poor. She shared Edward's career to a remarkable extent, even accompanying him on a crusade. She had an intimate knowledge of the people in Edward's official circle and relied on the advice of two of them in managing her lands. She mediated disputes between earls and other nobility, as well as softened her husband's temper towards people. Edward granted her many wardships and marriages and she arranged marriages with political advantages. She dealt with envoys coming to the court. Her intellectual vitality and organized mentality allowed her to deal with arising situations well. Edward held her in great esteem. She introduced to England the merino sheep, which, when bred with the English sheep, gave them a better quality of wool. She and Edward often played games of chess and backgammon.

Farm efficiency was increased by the use of windmills in the fields to pump water and by allowing villeins their freedom and hiring them as laborers only when needed. Customary service was virtually extinct. A man could earn 5d. for reaping, binding, and shocking into a pile, an acre of wheat. A strong man with a wife to do the binding could do this in a long harvest day. Harvests were usually plentiful, with the exception of two periods of famine over the country due to weather conditions. Then the price of wheat went way up and drove up the prices of all other goods correspondingly. The story of outlaw Robin Hood, who made a living by robbing, was passed around. This Robin Hood did not give to the poor. But generally, there was enough grain to store so that the population was no longer periodically devastated by famine. The population grew and all arable land in the nation came under the plough. The acre was standardized. About 1300, the price of an ox was 9s., a heifer or cow 7s., a hide 2s.6d., a cart horse 2 or 3 pounds. Farm women went to nearby towns to sell eggs and dairy products, usually to town women.

Although manors needed the ploughmen, the carters and drivers, the herdsmen, and the dairymaid on a full-time basis, other tenants spent increasing time in crafts and became village carpenters, smiths, weavers or millers' assistants. Trade and the towns grew. Smiths used coal in their furnaces.

Money rents often replaced service due to a lord, such as fish silver, malt silver, or barley silver. The lord's rights are being limited to the rights declared on the extents [records showing service due from each tenant] and the rolls of the manor. Sometimes land is granted to strangers because none of the kindred of the deceased will take it. Often a manor court limited a fee in land to certain issue instead of being inheritable by all heirs. Surveyors' poles marked boundaries declared by court in boundary disputes. This resulted in survey maps showing villages and cow pastures.

The revival of trade and the appearance of a money economy was undermining the long-established relationship between the lord of the manor and his villeins. As a result, money payments were supplementing or replacing payments in service and produce as in Martham, where Thomas Knight held twelve acres in villeinage, paid 16d. for it and 14d. in special aids. "He shall do sixteen working days in August and for every day he shall have one repast - viz. Bread and fish. He shall hoe ten days without the lord's food—price of a day 1/2 d. He shall cart to Norwich six cartings or shall give 9d., and he shall have for every carting one leaf and one lagena - or gallon - of ale. Also for ditching 1d. He shall make malt 3 1/2 seams of barley or shall give 6d. Also he shall flail for twelve days or give 12d. He shall plough if he has his own plough, and for every ploughing he shall have three loaves and nine herrings ... For carting manure he shall give 2."

Another example is this manor's holdings, when 3d. would buy food for a day: "Extent of the manor of Bernehorne, made on Wednesday following the feast of St. Gregory the Pope, in the thirty-fifth year of the reign of King Edward, in the presence of Brother Thomas, keeper of Marley, John de la More, and Adam de Thruhlegh, clerks, on the oath of William de Gocecoumbe, Walter le Parker, Richard le Knyst, Richard the son of the latter, Andrew of Estone, Stephen Morsprich, Thomas Brembel, William of Swynham, John Pollard, Roger le Glide, John Syward, and John de Lillingewist, who say that there are all the following holdings:... John Pollard holds a half acre in Aldithewisse and owes 18d. at the four terms, and owes for it relief and heriot. John Suthinton holds a house and 40 acres of land and owes 3s.6d. at Easter and Michaelmas. William of Swynham holds one acre of meadow in the thicket of Swynham and owes 1d. at the feast of Michaelmas. Ralph of Leybourne holds a cottage and one acre of land in Pinden and owes 3s. at Easter and Michaelmas, and attendance at the court in the manor every three weeks, also relief and heriot. Richard Knyst of Swynham holds two acres and a half of land and owes yearly 4s. William of Knelle holds two acres of land in Aldithewisse and owes yearly 4s. Roger le Glede holds a cottage and three roods of land and owes 2s.6d. Easter and Michaelmas. Alexander Hamound holds a little piece of land near Aldewisse and owes one goose of the value of 2d. The sum of the whole rent of the free tenants, with the value of the goose, is 18s.9d. They say, moreover, that John of Cayworth holds a house and 30 acres of land, and owes yearly 2s. at Easter and Michaelmas; and he owes a cock and two hens at Christmas of the value of 4d. And he ought to harrow for two days at the Lenten sowing with one man and his own horse and his own harrow, the value of the work being 4d.; and he is to receive from the lord on each day three meals, of the value of 5d., and then the lord will be at a loss of 1d. Thus his harrowing is of no value to the service of the lord. And he ought to carry the manure of the lord for two days with one cart, with his own two oxen, the value of the work being 8d.; and he is to receive from the lord each day three meals at the value as above. And thus the service is worth 3d. clear. And he shall find one man for two days, for mowing the meadow of the lord, who can mow, by estimation, one acre and a half, the value of the mowing of an acre being 6d.: the sum is therefore 9d. And he is to receive each day three meals of the value given above. And thus that mowing is worth 4d. clear. And he ought to gather and carry that same hay which he has cut, the price of the work being 3d. And he shall have from the lord two meals for one man, of the value of 1 1/2 d. Thus the work will be worth 1 1/2 d. clear. And he ought to carry the hay of the lord for one day with a cart and three animals of his own, the price of the work being 6d. And he shall have from the lord three meals of the value of 2 1/2 d. And thus the work is worth 3 1/2 d. clear. And he ought to carry in autumn beans or oats for two days with a cart and three animals of his own, the value of the work being 12d. And he shall receive from the lord each day three meals of the value given above. And thus the work is worth 7d. clear. And he ought to carry wood from the woods of the lord as far as the manor, for two days in summer, with a cart and three animals of his own, the value of the work being 9d. And he shall receive from the lord each day three meals of the price given above. And thus the work is worth 4d. clear. And he ought to find one man for two days to cut heath, the value of the work being 4d., and he shall have three meals each day of the value given above: and thus the lord will lose, if he receives the service, 3d. Thus that mowing is worth nothing to the service of the lord. And he ought to carry the heath which he has cut, the value of the work being 5d. And he shall receive from the lord three meals at the price of 2 1/2 d. And thus the work will be worth 2 1/2 d. clear. And he ought to carry to Battle, twice in the summer season, each time half a load of grain, the value of the service being 4d. And he shall receive in the manor each time one meal of the value of 2d. And thus the work is worth 2d. clear. The totals of the rents, with the value of the hens, is 2s.4d. The total of the value of the works is 2s.3 1/2 d., being owed from the said John yearly. William of Cayworth holds a house and 30 acres of land and owes at Easter and Michaelmas 2s. rent. And he shall do all customs just as the aforesaid John of Cayworth. William atte Grene holds a house and 30 acres of land and owes in all things the same as the said John. Alan atte Felde holds a house and 16 acres of land (for which the sergeant pays to the court of Bixley 2s.), and he owes at Easter and Michaelmas 4s., attendance at the manor court, relief, and heriot. John Lyllingwyst holds a house and four acres of land and owes at the two terms 2s., attendance at the manor court, relief, and heriot. The same John holds one acre of land in the fields of Hoo and owes at the two periods 2s., attendance, relief, and heriot. Reginald atte Denne holds a house and 18 acres of land and owes at the said periods 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot. Robert of Northehou holds three acres of land at Saltcote and owes at the said periods attendance, relief, and heriot. Total of the rents of the villeins, with the value of the hens, 20s. Total of all the works of these villeins, 6s.10 1/2 d. And it is to be noted that none of the above-mentioned villeins can give their daughters in marriage, nor cause their sons to be tonsured, nor can they cut down timber growing on the lands they hold, without licence of the bailiff or sergeant of the lord, and then for building purposes and not otherwise. And after the death of any one of the aforesaid villeins, the lord shall have as a heriot his best animal, if he had any; if, however, he have no living beast, the lord shall have no heriot, as they say. The sons or daughters of the aforesaid villeins shall give, for entrance into the holding after the death of their predecessors, as much as they give of rent per year. Sylvester, the priest, holds one acre of meadow adjacent to his house and owes yearly 3s. Total of the rent of tenants for life, 3s. Petronilla atte Holme holds a cottage and a piece of land and owes at Easter and Michaelmas - ; also, attendance, relief, and heriot. Walter Herying holds a cottage and a piece of land and owes at Easter and Michaelmas 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot. Isabella Mariner holds a cottage and owes at the feast of St. Michael 12d., attendance, relief, and heriot. Jordan atte Melle holds a cottage and 1 1/2 acres of land and owes at Easter and Michaelmas 2s., attendance, relief, and heriot. William of Batelesmere holds one acre of land with a cottage and owes at the feast of St. Michael 3d., and one cock and one hen at Christmas of the value of 3d., attendance, relief, and heriot. John le Man holds half an acre of land with a cottage and owes at the feast of St. Michael 2s., attendance, relief, and heriot. Hohn Werthe holds one rood of land with a cottage and owes at the said term 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot. Geoffrey Caumbreis holds half an acre and a cottage and owes at the said term 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot. William Hassok holds one rood of land and a cottage and owes at the said term 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot. The same man holds 3 1/2 acres of land and owes yearly at the feast of St. Michael 3s. for all. Roger Doget holds half an acre of land and a cottage, which were those of R. the miller, and owes at the feast of St. Michael 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot. Thomas le Brod holds one acre and a cottage and owes at the said term 3s., attendance, relief, and heriot. Agnes of Cayworth holds half an acre and a cottage and owes at the said term 18d., attendance, relief, and heriot. Total of the rents of the said cottagers, with the value of the hens, 34s.6d. And it is to be noted that all the said cottagers shall do as regards giving their daughters in marriage, having their sons tonsured, cutting down timber, paying heriot, and giving fines for entrance, just as John of Cayworth and the rest of the villeins above mentioned." The above fines and penalties, with heriots and reliefs, are worth 5s. yearly.

Often one village was divided up among two or more manors, so different manorial customs made living conditions different among the villagers. Villages usually had carpenters, smiths, saddlers, thatchers, carters, fullers, dyers, soapmakers, tanners, needlers, and brassworkers. Each villein had his own garden in which to grow fruit and vegetables next to his house, a pig (which fattened more quickly than other animals), strips in the common field, and sometimes an assart [a few acres of his own to cultivate as he pleased on originally rough uncultivated waste land beyond the common fields and the enclosed common pastures and meadows]. Most villeins did not venture beyond their village except for about ten miles to a local shrine or great fair a couple times a year. At the fair might be fish, honey, spices, salt, garlic, oil, furs, silks, canvas, soap, pans, pots, grindstones, coal, nails, tar, iron, shovels, brushes, pails, horses, and packsaddles. Early apothecaries might sell potions there. Men and women looking for other employment might attend to indicate their availability.

Under Edward I, villages were required to mount watches to protect life and property and were called upon to provide one man for the army and to pay his wages.

People told time by counting the number of rings of the church bell, which rang on the hour. Every Sunday, the villagers went to church, which was typically the most elaborate and centrally located building in the village. The parishioners elected churchwardens, who might be women. This religion brought comfort and hope of going to heaven after judgment by God at death if sin was avoided. On festival days, Bible stories, legends, and lives of saints were read or performed as miracle dramas. They learned to avoid the devil, who was influential in lonely places like forests and high mountains. At death, the corpse was washed, shrouded, and put into a rectangular coffin with a cross on its lid. Priests sang prayers amid burning incense for the deliverance of the soul to God while interring the coffin into the ground. Men who did not make a will risked the danger of an intestate and unconfessed death. The personal property of a man dying intestate now went to the church as a trust for the dead man's imperiled soul instead of to the man's lord.

Unqualified persons entered holy orders thereby obtaining "benefit of clergy", and then returned to secular employments retaining this protection.

A villein could be forever set free from servitude by his lord as in this example:

"To all the faithful of Christ to whom the present writing shall come, Richard, by the divine permission, abbot of Peterborough and of the Convent of the same place, eternal greeting in the Lord: Let all know that we have manumitted and liberated from all yoke of servitude William, the son of Richard of Wythington, whom previously we have held as our born bondman, with his whole progeny and all his chattels, so that neither we nor our successors shall be able to require or exact any right or claim in the said William, his progeny, or his chattels. But the same William, with his whole progeny and all his chattels, shall remain free and quit and without disturbance, exaction, or any claim on the part of us or our successors by reason of any servitude forever.

We will, moreover, and concede that he and his heirs shall hold the messuages, land, rents, and meadows in Wythington which his ancestors held from us and our predecessors, by giving and performing the fine which is called merchet for giving his daughter in marriage, and tallage from year to year according to our will, - that he shall have and hold these for the future from us and our successors freely, quietly, peacefully, and hereditarily, by paying to us and our successors yearly 40s. sterling, at the four terms of the year, namely: at St. John the Baptist's day 10s., at Michaelmas 10s., at Christmas 10s., and at Easter 10s., for all service, exaction, custom, and secular demand; saving to us, nevertheless, attendance at our court of Castre every three weeks, wardship, and relief, and outside service of our lord the King, when they shall happen. And if it shall happen that the said William or his heirs shall die at any time without an heir, the said messuage, land rents, and meadows with their appurtenances shall return fully and completely to us and our successors. Nor will it be allowed to the said William or his heirs to give, sell, alienate, mortgage, or encumber in any way, the said messuage, land, rents, and meadows, or any part of them, by which the said messuage, land, rents, and meadows should not return to us and our successors in the form declared above. And if this should occur later, their deed shall be declared null, and what is thus alienated shall come to us and our successors...

Given at Borough, for the love of Lord Robert of good memory, once abbot, our predecessor and maternal uncle of the said William, and at the instance of the good man, Brother Hugh of Mutton, relative of the said abbot Robert, A.D. 1278, on the eve of Pentecost."

Villeins who were released from the manorial organization by commutation of their service for a money payment took the name of their craft as part of their name, such as, for the manufacture of textiles, Weaver, Draper, Comber, Fuller, Napper, Cissor, Tailor, Textor; for metalwork, Faber, Ironmonger; for leatherwork, Tanner; for woodwork, building and carpentry, Carpenter, Cooper, Mason, Pictor; for food production, Baker, Pistor. Iron, tin, lead, salt, and even coal were providing increasing numbers of people with a livelihood.

Many new boroughs were founded as grants of market rights by the king grew in number. These grants implied the advantage of the King's protection. In fact, one flooded town was replaced with a new town planned with square blocks. It was the charter which distinguished the borough community from the other communities existing in the country. It invested each borough with a distinct character. The privileges which the charter conferred were different in different places. It might give trading privileges: freedom from toll, a guild merchant, a right to hold a fair. It might give jurisdictional privileges: a right to hold court with greater or less franchises. It might give governmental privileges: freedom from the burden of attending the hundred and county courts, the return of writs, which meant the right to exclude the royal officials, the right to take the profits of the borough, paying for them a fixed sum to the Crown or other lord of the borough, the right to elect their own officials rather than them being appointed by the king or a lord, and the right to provide for the government of the borough. It might give tenurial privileges: the power to make a will of lands, or freedom from the right of a lord to control his tenants' marriages. It might give procedural privileges: trial by combat is excluded, and trial by compurgation is secured and regulated. These medieval borough charters are very varied, and represent all stages of development and all grades of franchise. Boroughs bought increasing rights and freedoms from their lord, who was usually the King.

In the larger towns, where cathedrals and public building were built, there arose a system for teaching these technical skills and elaborate handicraft, wood, metal, stained glass, and stone work. A boy from the town would be bound over in apprenticeship to a particular craftsman, who supplied him with board and clothing. The craftsman might also employ men for just a day. These journeymen were not part of the craftsman's household as was the apprentice. After a few years of an apprenticeship, one became a journeyman and perfected his knowledge of his craft and its standards by seeing different methods and results in various towns. He was admitted as a master of his trade to a guild upon presenting an article of his work worthy of that guild's standard of workmanship: his "masterpiece". Women, usually wives of brethren only, could be admitted. The tailors' guild and the skinners' guild are extant now.

When guilds performed morality plays based on Bible stories at town festivals, there was usually a tie between the Bible story and the guild's craft. For instance, the story of the loaves and fishes would be performed by the Bakers' or Fishmongers' Guild. The theme of the morality play was the fight of the Seven Cardinal Virtues against the Seven Deadly Sins for the human soul, a life-long battle. The number seven was thought to have sacred power; there were seven sacraments, seven churches in the Biblical Apocalypse, seven liberal arts and seven devilish arts. The seven sacraments were: baptism, confirmation, Lord's Supper, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction.

A borough was run by a mayor elected usually for life. By being members of a guild, merchant-traders and craftsmen acquired the legal status of burgesses and had the freedom of the borough. Each guild occupied a certain ward of the town headed by an alderman. The town aldermen, who were unpaid, made up the town council, which advised the mayor. The Mayor of London received 40 pounds for hospitality, but in small towns, 20s. sufficed. Often there were town police, bailiffs, beadles [messengers], a town crier, and a town clerk. London offices included recorder, prosecutor, common sergeant, and attorneys. In the center of town were the fine stone houses, a guildhall with a belfry tower, and the marketplace - a square or broad street, where the town crier made public announcements with bell or horn. Here too was the ducking stool for scandalmongers and the stocks which held offenders by their legs and perhaps their hands to be scorned and pelted by bystanders with, for instance, rotten fruit and filth. No longer were towns dominated by the local landholders.

In London there were 4 royal princes, 6 great earls, 17 barons, 26 knights, and 11 female representatives of the peerage (counted in 1319). There was a wall with four towers surrounding the White Tower, and this castle was known as the Tower of London. Another wall and a moat were built around it and it has reached its final form. Hovels, shops, and waste patches alternated with high walls and imposing gateways protecting mansions. The mansions had orchards, gardens, stables, brewhouses, bakeries, guardrooms, and chapels. London streets were paved with cobbles and sand. Each citizen was to keep the street in front of his tenement in good repair. Later, each alderman appointed four reputable men to repair and clean the streets for wages. The repair of Bishopsgate was the responsibility of the Bishop because he received one stick from every cart of firewood passing through it. Rules as to tiled roofs were enforced. A 1297 ordinance required all taverns to close at curfew, an hour that fluctuated. Prostitutes were expelled from the city because the street with their bawdy houses had become very noisy. Women huckster-retailers, nurses, servants, and loose women were limited to wearing hoods furred with lambskin or rabbitskin and forbidden to wear hoods furred with vair or miniver [grey or white squirrel] in the guise of good ladies. An infirmary for the blind was founded by a mercer, who became its first prior.

The London mayoral elections were hotly fought over until in 1285, when the aldermen began to act with the aid of an elected council in each of the twenty-four wards, which decentralized the government of the city. Each ward chose certain of its inhabitants to be councilors to the aldermen. This council was to be consulted by him and its advice to be followed. In 1291, the aldermen for the first time included a fishmonger. The Fishmongers were the only guild at this time, besides the Weavers, which had acquired independent jurisdiction by the transfer of control of their weekly hallmote from a public official to themselves. Craftsmen began to take other public offices too. By the reign of Edward II, all the citizens were obliged to be enrolled among the trade guilds. A great quarrel between the weaver's guild and the magistracy began the control of the city by the craft guilds or city companies. Admission to freedom of the city [citizenship] was controlled by the citizens, who decided that no man of English birth, and especially no English merchant, who followed any specific mistery [French word for a calling or trade] or craft, was to be admitted to the freedom of the city except on the security of six reputable men of that mistery or craft. No longer could one simply purchase citizenship. Apprentices had to finish their terms before such admission, and often could not afford the citizenship fee imposed on them. Only freemen could sell wares in the city, a custom of at least two hundred years.

As economic activity in London became more complex and on a larger scale in the 1200s, some craftsmen were brought under the control of other crafts or merchants. The bakers fell under the control of the wholesale grain dealers; the weavers became pieceworkers for rich cloth merchants; the blademakers and shearers were employed by cutlers; coppersmiths were controlled by girdlers; fullers were controlled by entrepreneurial dyers; and the painters, joiners, and lorimers were controlled by the saddlers. Guilds moved their meeting places from churches, which were now too small, to guild halls. The controlling officers of the large guilds met at the Guildhall, which became the seat of mayoral authority. London streets in existence by this time include Cordwainer, Silver, Cannon (Candlewick), and Roper. Lanes included Ironmonger, Soper, Spurrier, Lad (ladles), Distaff, Needles, Mede, Limeburner, and Hosier. Fighting among groups was common in London. There was a street fight on a large scale in 1327 between the saddlers and a coalition of joiners, painters, and lorimers (makers of metal work of saddles). Much blood was shed in the street battle between the skinners and the fishmongers in 1340. There was a city ordinance that no one except royal attendants, baronial valets, and city officials were to go about armed. Disputes among neighbors that were brought to court included the use and upkeep of party walls, blocked and overflowing gutters, cesspits too close to a neighbor's property, noisy tenants, loss of light, and dangerous or overhanging structures.

In 1275, a goldsmith was chief assay-master of the King's mint and keeper of the exchange at London. The king gave the Goldsmiths' Company the right of assay [determination of the quantity of gold or silver in an object] and required that no vessels of gold or silver should leave the maker's hands until they had been tested by the wardens and stamped appropriately. In 1279, goldsmith William Farrington bought the soke of the ward containing the goldsmiths' shops. It remained in his family for 80 years. A patent of 1327 empowered the guild to elect a properly qualified governing body to superintend its affairs, and reform subjects of just complaint. It also prescribed, as a safeguard against a prevailing fraud and abuse, that all members of the trade should have their standing in Cheapside or in the King's exchange, and that no gold or silver should be manufactured for export, except that which had been bought at the exchange or of the trade openly.

Some prices in London were: large wooden bedstead 18s., a small bedstead 2s., a large chest for household items 2s., feather beds 2-3s., a table 1s., a chair 4-6d., cloth gown lined with fur 13-20s., plain coats and overcoats 2-8s., caps 2-8d., a pair of pen-cases with inkhorn 4d., a skin of parchment 1d., 24 sheets of paper 6d, a carcass of beef 15s., a pig 4s., a swan 5s., and a pheasant 4s. There was a problem with malefactors committing offenses in London and avoiding its jurisdiction by escaping to Southwark across the Thames. So Southwark was given a royal charter which put it under the jurisdiction of London for peace and order matters and allowed London to appoint its tax collector. London forbade games being played because they had replaced practice in archery, which was necessary for defense.

A royal inquiry into the state of the currency indicated much falsification and coin-clipping by the Jews and others. About 280 Jews and many Englishmen were found guilty and hanged. The rest of the Jews, about 16,000, were expelled in 1290. This was popular with the public because of the abuses of usury. There had been outbreaks of violence directed at the Jews since about 1140. The king used Italian bankers instead because he thought them more equitable in their dealings. The lepers were driven out of London in 1276. Exports and imports were no longer a tiny margin in an economy just above the subsistence level. Exports were primarily raw wool and cloth, but also grain, butter, eggs, herring, hides, leather goods such as bottles and boots, embroideries, metalware, horseshoes, daggers, tin, coal, and lead. Imported were wine, silk, timber, furs, rubies, emeralds, fruits, raisins, currents, pepper, ginger, cloves, rice, cordovan leather, pitch, hemp, spars, fine iron, short rods of steel, bow-staves of yew, tar, oil, salt, cotton (for candlewicks), and alum (makes dyes hold). Ships which transported them had one or two masts upon which sails could be furled, the recently invented rudder, and a carrying capacity of up to 200 tuns [about one ton]. Many duties of sheriffs and coroners were transferred to county landholders by commissions. In coastal counties, there were such commissions for supervising coastal defense and maintaining the beacons. Each maritime county maintained a coast guard, which was under the command of a knight. Ports had well-maintained harbors, quays, and streets. By 1306 there was an office of admiral of the fleet of the ships of the southern ports.

Women could inherit land in certain circumstances. Some tenants holding land in chief of the king were women.

Regulation of trade became national instead of local. Trade was relatively free; almost the only internal transportation tolls were petty portages and viages levied to recoup the expense of a bridge or road which had been built by private enterprise. Responsibility for the coinage was transferred from the individual moneyers working in different boroughs to a central official who was to become Master of the Mint. The round half penny and farthing [1/4 penny] were created so that the penny needn't be cut into halves and quarters anymore.

Edward I called meetings of representatives from all social and geographic sectors of the nation at one Parliament to determine taxes due to the Crown. He declared that "what touches all, should be approved by all". He wanted taxes from the burgesses in the towns and the clergy's ecclesiastical property as well as from landholders. He argued to the clergy that if barons had to both fight and pay, they who could do no fighting must at least pay. When the clergy refused to pay, he put them outside the royal protection and threatened outlawry and confiscation of their lands. Then they agreed to pay and to renounce all papal orders contrary to the King's authority.

The Model Parliament of 1295 was composed of the three communities. The first were the lords, which included seven earls and forty-one barons. Because of the increase of lesser barons due to a long national peace and prosperity, the lords attending were reduced in numbers and peerage became dependent not on land tenure, but on royal writ of summons. The great barons were chosen by the king and received a special summons in their own names to the council or Parliament. Others were called by a general summons. The second community was the clergy, represented by the two archbishops, bishops from each of eighteen dioceses, and sixty-seven abbots. The third community was the commons. It was composed of two knights elected by the suitors who were then present at the county court, two burgesses elected by principal burgesses of each borough, and two representatives from each city. The country knights had a natural affinity with the towns in part because their younger sons sought their occupation, wife, and estate there. Also, great lords recruited younger brothers of yeoman families for servants and fighting men, who ultimately settled down as tradesmen in the towns. The country people and the town people also had a community of interest by both being encompassed by the county courts. The peasants were not represented in the county courts nor in Parliament. One had to have land to be entitled to vote because the landowner had a stake in the country, a material security for his good behavior.

Parliaments without knights and burgesses still met with the king. But it was understood that no extraordinary tax could be levied without the knights and burgesses present. Ordinary taxes could be arranged with individuals, estates, or communities. The lower clergy ceased to attend Parliament and instead considered taxes to pay to the king during their national church convocations, which were held at the same time as Parliament. For collection purposes, their diocesan synod was analogous to the count court. The higher clergy remained in Parliament because they were feudal vassals of the king.

Edward's council was the highest tribunal. It comprised the chancellor, treasurer and other great officers of state, the justices of the three courts, the master or chief clerks of the chancery, and certain selected prelates and barons. The council assisted the king in considering petitions. Most petitions to the King were private grievances of individuals, including people of no social rank, such as prisoners. Other petitions were from communities and groups, such as religious houses, the two universities, boroughs, and counties. These groups sometimes formed alliances in a common cause. Women sometimes petitioned. From 1293, the petitions were placed in four stacks for examination by the King and council, by the Chancery, by the Exchequer, or by the justices. Many hours were spent hearing and answering petitions. From 1305, the petitions were presented to the king in full Parliament.

The king still exercised the power of legislation without a full Parliament. He might in his council issue proclamations. The Chief Justices still had, as members of the king's council, a real voice in the making of laws. The king and his justices might, after a statute has been made, put an authoritative interpretation upon it. Royal proclamations had the same force as statutes while the king lived; sometimes there were demands that certain proclamations be made perpetual by being embodied in statutes, e.g. fixing wages. There was no convention that agreement or even the presence of representatives was required for legislation. The idea that the present can bind the absent and that the majority of those present may outvote the minority was beginning to take hold. Edward I's councilors and justices took an oath to give, expedite, and execute faithful counsel; to maintain, recover, increase, and prevent the diminution of, royal rights; to do justice, honestly and unsparingly; to join in no engagements which may present the councilor from fulfilling his promise; and to take no gifts in the administration of justice, save meat and drink for the day. These were in addition to other matters sworn to by the councilors.

Parliament soon was required to meet at least once a year at the Great Hall at Westminster beside the royal palace. London paid its representatives 10s. per day for their attendance at Parliament. From the time of Edward II, the counties paid their knight-representatives 4s. daily, and the boroughs paid their burgess- representatives 2s. daily. When it convened, the Chancellor sat on the left and the Archbishop of Canterbury on the right of the king. Just below and in front of the king his council sits on wool sacks brought in for their comfort from wool stored nearby. It answers questions. Behind them on the wool sacks sit the justices, who may be called upon to give legal advice, e.g. in framing statutes. Then come the spiritual and lay barons, then the knights, and lastly the elected burgesses and citizens. Lawmaking is now a function of Parliament, of which the King's council is a part, instead of a function of the king with his council and justices. The common people now had a voice in lawmaking, though legislation could be passed without their consent. The first legislation proposed by the commons was alteration of the forest laws governing the royal pleasure parks. Such a statute was passed in a bargain for taxes of a percentage of all movables, which were mostly foodstuffs and animals. The king offered to give up the royal right to tax merchandise for a new tax: customs on exports. The barons and knights of the county agreed to pay an 11th, the burgesses, a 7th, and the clergy a 10th on their other movables. In time, several boroughs sought to be included in the county representation so they could pay the lower rate. This new system of taxation began the decline of the imposition of feudal aids, knights' fees, scutages, carucage, and tallage, which had been negotiated by the Exchequer with the reeves of each town, the sheriff and county courts of each county, and the bishops of each diocese.

The staple [depot or mart, from the French "estaple"] system began when the export of wool had increased and Parliament initiated customs duties of 6s.8d. on every sack of wool, woolfells [sheepskin with wool still on it], or skins exported in 1275. These goods had to be assessed and collected at certain designated ports. Certain large wool merchants, the merchants of the staple, were allowed to have a monopoly on the purchase and export of wool. Imports of wine were taxed as tunnage as before, that is there was a royal right to take from each wine ship one cask for every ten at the price of 20s. per cask.

In 1297, Edward I confirmed the Magna Carta and other items. Judgments contrary to Magna Carta were nullified. The documents were to be read in cathedral churches as grants of Edward and all violators were to be excommunicated. He also agreed not to impose taxes without the consent of Parliament after baronial pressure had forced him to retreat from trying to increase, for a war in France, the customs tax on every exported sack of wool to 40s. from the 6s. 8d. per sack it had been since 1275. The customs tax was finally fixed at 10s. for every sack of wool, 2s. for each tun [casket] of wine, and 6d. for every pound's worth of other goods. The "tenths and fifteenths" tax levied on income from movables or chattels became regular every year. Edward also confirmed the Forest Charter, which called for its earlier boundaries. And he agreed not to impound any grain or wool or and like against the will of the owners, as had been done before to collect taxes. Also, the special prises or requisitions of goods for national emergency were not to be a precedent. Lastly, he agreed not to impose penalties on two earls and their supporters for refusing to serve in the war in France when the king did not go.

From 1299, statutes were recorded in a Statute Roll as they were enacted.

By the end of the 1200s, the King's wardrobe, where confidential matters such as military affairs were discussed in his bedroom, became a department of state with the King's privy seal. The keeper of the privy seal was established as a new office by Edward I in 1318. The wardrobe paid and provisioned the knights, squires, and sergeants of the king and was composed mostly of civil servants. It traveled with the King. The Crown's treasure, plate, tents, hangings, beds, cooking utensils, wine, and legal and financial rolls were carried on pack horses or in two-wheeled carts drawn by oxen, donkeys, or dogs. The people in the entourage rode horses or walked. The other two specialized administrative bodies were the Exchequer, which received most of the royal revenue and kept accounts at Westminster, and the Chancery, which wrote royal writs, charters, and letters, and kept records.

The chief functions of administration in the 1300s were performed by the council, chancery, wardrobe, chamber [room off wardrobe for dressing and for storage], and exchequer. Many of the chancellors had come from the wardrobe and chamber. In time, the chancellor ceased to be a part of the king's personal retinue and to follow the court. The chancery became primarily a department of central administration rather than a secretariat and record-keeping part of the royal household. The king used a privy seal to issue directives to the chancery. Edward III made some merchants earls and appointed them to be his ministers. He did not summon anyone to his council who did not have the confidence of the magnates [barons, earls, bishops, and abbots].

There was a recoinage due to debasement of the old coinage. This increased the number of coins in circulation. The price of wheat went from about 7s. in 1270 to about 5s. per quarter in 1280. Also the price of an ox went from 14s. to 10s. Then there were broad movements of prices, within which there were wide fluctuations, largely due to the state of the harvest. From 1280 to 1290, there was runaway inflation. In some places, both grain and livestock prices almost doubled between 1305 and 1310. Wheat prices peaked at 15s.5d. a quarter in the famine year of 1316. In 1338, prices dropped and remained low for twenty years. The poor were hurt by high prices and the lords of the manors were hurt by low prices.

As before, inadequate care and ignorance of nutrition caused many infant deaths. Accidents and disease were so prevalent that death was always near and life insecure. Many women died in childbirth.

In the 1300s, there were extremes of fashion in men's and women's clothing including tight garments, pendant sleeves down to the ground, coats so short they didn't reach the hips or so long they reached the heels, hoods so small they couldn't cover the head, and shoes with long curved peaks like claws at the toes. Both men and women wore belts low on the hips. The skirt of a lady's tunic was fuller and the bodice more closely fitted than before. Her hair was usually elaborately done up, e.g. with long curls or curled braids on either side of the face. A jeweled circlet was often worn around her head. Ladies wore on their arms or belts, cloth handbags, which usually contained toiletries, such as combs made of ivory, horn, bone, or wood, and perhaps a little book of devotions. A man wore a knife and a bag on his belt. Some women painted their faces and/or colored their hair. There were hand- held glass mirrors. Some people kept dogs purely as pets.

There was a great development of heraldic splendor with for instance, crests, coat-armor, badges, pennons [long, triangular flag], and helmets. They descended through families. Not only was it a mark of service to wear the badge of a lord, but lords wore each other's badges by way of compliment.

Edward I always sought the agreement of Parliament before assembling an army or taking actions of war, and Parliamentary consent came to be expected for such. He completed the conquest and annexation of Wales in 1284. The feudal army was summoned for the last time in the 100 year war with France, which began in 1337. In it the English longbow was used to pierce French knights' armor. There had been much competition between the strength of arrows to pierce and the heaviness of armor to resist. Guns and cannon with gunpowder were introduced in 1338. A system to raise an army by contract was developed. Contracts were made with nobles, knights, or esquires who undertook to enlist an agreed number of armored men-at-arms and archers, who were paid wages. The King provided transport for each contractor and his retinue, baggage, and horses. The title of "knight" now resumed its military character as well as being a social rank.

After Edward I died in 1307, there was a period of general lawlessness and contests for power between earls and barons and the irresponsible King Edward II, who was not a warrior king. He eventually was assassinated. Also in 1307, Parliament required the king to obtain its consent for any exchange or alteration of the currency.

By 1319, the guilds of London had become so powerful that they extracted a charter from the king that to be a citizen of London one had to be a member of a guild.

By 1326, scholars, the nobility, and the clergy had reading eyeglasses, which had been invented in Italy, probably by the glass blowers. Italy was famous for its glasswork. The first eyeglasses were fabricated by pouring molten glass into curved molds. The actual shape was difficult to control because thermal expansion and contraction resulted in bubbles and other optical imperfections.

As of 1336, importing foreign cloth or fur, except for use by the King's family, was prohibited, as was the export of unwoven wool. Later, this was relaxed and a customs tax of 33% was imposed on wool exported.

Foreign cloth workers were allowed by statute to come to live in the nation, be granted franchises, and be in the King's protection. But no cloth was to be exported until it was fulled. During the reign of Edward III, Flanders weavers were encouraged to come to England to teach the English how to weave and finish fine cloth. A cloth industry grew with all the manufacturing processes under the supervision of one capitalist manufacturer, who set up his enterprise in the country to avoid the regulations of the towns. The best places were hilly areas where there were many streams and good pasture for flocks of sheep. He hired shearers to cut the nap as short as possible to give a smooth surface, then spinsters to card and spin the wool in their country cottages, then weavers, and then fullers and dyers to come to fulling mills established near streams for their waterpower. Fulling became mechanized as heavy wooden hammers run by water- power replaced feet trampling the cloth covered with soap or fuller's clay. The shaft loom was a technological advance in weaving. This loom was horizontal and its frames, which controlled the lifting of the warp threads, could each be raised by a foot treadle. This left both hands free to throw and catch the shuttle attached to the weft thread from side to side through the warp. Also many more weaving patterns became possible through the use of different thread configurations on the frames.

In 1341, the commons forced King Edward III and council to approve their petition when Parliament was still in session so that they would draft the legislation in true accordance with the petition. This had not been done when drafting had been done after Parliament ended, when the phrase "saving the prerogatives of the king" was often added. Also the lords and commons consulted each other and joined in petitions. But they usually stated their conclusions to the king separately. It was considered a burden rather than a privilege to attend Parliament and elections for such were not often contested. They were conducted according to local custom until 1600.

In 1348, the Commons voted a tax of 1/15 th on movables for three years with the proviso that it be spent only on the war against Scotland. This began the practice of appropriation of funds. In 1381, began the practice of appointing treasurers of the subsidies to account to Parliament for both receipts and disbursements.

Alien merchants were under the king's special protection. In return for paying extra import and export duties, Edward III gave alien merchants full rights of trade, travel, and residence in England free of all local tolls and restrictions, and guaranteed a fair hearing of their commercial and criminal cases in special pie powder (after French "pie poudrous" or dusty feet) courts at fairs.

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