|CRIME AND JUSTICE|
|Subject:||Tithingman's oath of office|
|Original source:||Northamptonshire Records Office, Northampton borough records, Liber Custumarum, ff.119b-120|
|Transcription in:||Christopher Markham, ed. The Records of the Borough of Northampton, (Northampton, 1898), vol.1, 393-94.|
|Original language:||Middle English|
You shall well and truly make enquiry and present all manner of brawls [and] bloodshed [with] daggers, swords, bills, knives, and all kinds of weapons. And staves used against the peace. And of attachments rescued from bailiffs or their officers. And of all harbourers [of suspected criminals, prostitutes etc.]. [Of offences] against the assizes [of bread, ale and wine]. And of all housebreaking. And those who eavesdrop under men's windows. And of all common scolds and common night-wanderers and of all common Sunday diners, all who breakfast at the time of divine services and sermons. And everyone who buys foodstuffs such as eggs, butter and cheese and other other victuals before they reach the market designated for [their sale], and that you shall present all persons so doing. Also you shall make enquiry and presentments at the time of the leets. And at all times you shall make honest enquiry and honest presentment of these articles, and everything else that pertains to the office [of tithingman], and will not allow friendship, bribe, or obligation to any person [to cause you] to do other than your best in disclosing [offences] etc. And their ale is to comprise 12 gallons of clear ale according to the mayor's proclamation, and that they make presentment of all ale-houses and drinking-houses that are not licenced according to the act of the king's parliament made on that subject, and are to present all who behave poorly by playing at dice, cards, bowls and other illegal games. [You are to make presentment] of all obstructions and dunghills in the streets which cause nuisance. And that you go to see that all brewers brew good, wholesome ale suitable to be drunk by men and that their [brewing-]tubs are in good condition, and that they use only sealed measures to sell [ale].
The tithingman, as the leader of a unit of those sworn to frankpledge within a community, took the lead in enquiring among the members of his unit (or more broadly), into things that needed to be reported to the authorities.
"And their ale"
|Created: August 18, 2001. Last update: July 10, 2004||© Stephen Alsford, 2001-2004|