|Subject:||Contract to build a gildhall|
|Original source:||Canterbury Cathedral and City Archives|
|Transcription in:||L. F. Salzman, Building in England down to 1540: A documentary history, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1952, 511-12.|
|Original language:||Middle English|
This indenture, made 20 December 1438 between William Benet, John Sheldwich, Gilbert German, William Bryan, and John Benet, citizens of the city of Canterbury, on the one part, and Alan Echyngham yeoman of the parish of Woodchurch in Kent, John Tuttewyf, Piers Colyn, Richard Wodeman carpenters of the same parish, William Harlakyndenn yeoman of the same parish, and William Tuttewyf yeoman of Ivychurch, Kent, on the other part, witnesses that Alan, Richard, John Tuttewyf, Piers, William Harlakyndenn and William Tuttewyf are bound jointly and individually, by this document, to make in Canterbury for the said William Benet, John Sheldwich, Gilbert, William Bryan, and John Benet, a hall called a Gildhall, well-built from heart-of-oak timber, 41 feet 10 inches long. That is, [incorporating] 3 tie-beams 12 inches thick and 18 inches wide in the middle, each with its pendants and associated braces worked professionally into a bowed shape, with sufficient wall-plates, and filling the spandrels of the braces with "mountantes lyernys braces raftheris with assheleris footlaces or jowe pecis and surlaces". In regard to which, the rafters shall measure 8 inches wide or more at the bottom and 6½ inches at the top, and 5 and 4 inches thick [respectively]. The high dais for the high bench of the hall is to have the timber trimmed into boards of 4 feet. There are to be windows and 4 "gapias" sufficient for bringing light into the hall. That high bench along with two side benches [are to be] made of oak, with oak-plank stairs sufficiently wide. With two chambers at the south end of the Gildhall, 18 feet long at street level, with two jettied storeys [above] along the lines and dimensions of the new chambers of the Lion facing the street, or better, as best it can be made. At the north end of the hall, a chamber with a jettied storey [above] and of the same dimensions as the chamber at street level. The carpenters are to provide all the timber, transportation, and all other things related to working the timber of the stairs, boards, posts, laths, and anything else [needed] for the hall and chambers that pertains to carpenter's work The hall and chambers are to be built and completed by 1 August next. For the performance of all things agreed to in this document the said William Benet, John Sheldwich, Gilbert, William Bryan, and John Benet are to pay, or have paid, to the said Alan, Richard, John Tuttewyf, Piers, William Harlakyndenn and William Tuttewyf £33.6s.8d, as per the bonds drawn up in regard to that amount, to complete payment of £43.6s.8d for all the timber, transportation of boards and laths, manual labour and craft for all the work on condition it is well and professionally, and is ready for tiling and daubing by 1 August. To guaranteee the undertaking and fulfillment of what is agreed above, Alan, Richard, John Tuttewyf, Piers, William Harlakyndenn and William Tuttewyf have put up a bond of £60 to William Benet, John Sheldwich, Gilbert, William Bryan, and John Benet, payable on Whit-Sunday next. In testimony to which the parties have each applied their seals to the other part. Drawn up at Canterbury on the date indicated above.
The five citizens of Canterbury were presumably acting for a larger group, the members of the whatever gild was commissioning the building of this hall. Their principal concern was for the meeting-hall itself, with the elaborate roof that we find in surviving examples of such halls, and the raised area where the officers of the gild sat during meetings.
"pendants and associated braces"
"mountantes lyernys braces raftheris with
assheleris footlaces or jowe pecis and surlaces"
"tiling and daubing"
|Created: August 27, 2004||© Stephen Alsford, 2004|