The ancient custom of this borough is, and has [always] been, that the bailiffs then in office may hear recognizances of debts whose payment is due from one borough, or resident thereof, to another borough, or resident thereof, or from a burgess or resident to an outsider. Such recognizances, acknowledged by debtors towards creditors, the bailiffs shall arrange to have recorded in the court rolls of the borough. If the debtor defaults in repayment on the date indicated in the record, then, upon complaint by the creditor (or his executors) to the bailiffs then in office, they shall award against the debtor a scire facias, to be returned the following day. And if the debtor does not appear in court at the next session and present evidence concerning payment and discharge of the debt, then at the request of the creditor the bailiffs shall give judgement against the debtor and award a scire facias against the goods and chattels of the debtor. And if that process is returned with a response from the debtor that he has no goods or chattels within the borough, then the creditor may have, upon demand, a capias ad satisfaciendum against the person of the debtor to satisfy the debt itself and the legal costs, as adjudged by the bailiffs.

[A scire facias was a judicial writ requiring the party against whom it was taken out to make known to the court any reason why it should not authorize (in the above case) enforcement of that party’s documented legal obligations. A capias ad satisfaciendum was a writ to arrest and hold the defendant, and to have him present at a specified court date to hear judgement and satisfy a claimant.

A return of a writ (or the process it ordered) was a report by the official tasked with execution of the writ as to whether successful or not (and, if not, why). ]