August 1491

The gaoler and other sergeants shall be chosen and appointed through the advice of the bailiffs; they are to choose such men as they are prepared to answer for. The gaoler is to find sufficient surety for the keeping of the gaol, according to ancient custom, to discharge the bailiffs and the town [of their responsibilities for the same]. The gaoler and the sergeants are to take oath upon a book to perform honestly their duties; they are to find sureties for their honest collection and levying of estreats, and for honest delivery to the chamberlains of all money therefrom. [They are] not craftily to conceal or cover up any complaints or grievances brought before them, or any other profits from the court or market, arranging a settlement between parties privately for their own financial gain, to the loss and damage of the town through concealment of amercements and court profits. Each of these officers, if honest and diligent, shall have for his yearly wage 20s., and a gown according to ancient custom. These officers are, when not occupied on town business, attend and wait on the bailiffs. If one fails to attend, without reasonable excuse, then he is to lose from his wages 2d. the first time, 4d. the second, and so on doubling as often as he defaults (except on the grace [i.e. forgiveness of the bailiffs]). If any sergeant is found to behave dishonestly in office and acts falsely, contrary to these ordinances, and this is proven, he is to forfeit 10s. of his wages and lose his office forever.