|CRIME AND JUSTICE|
|Subject:||Proceedings of the eyre at Oxford|
|Original source:||Transcription by Brian Twyne, 17th century, of a document once among the Public Records|
|Transcription in:||J.E. Thorold Rogers, ed. Oxford City Documents, Financial and Judicial, 1268-1665, Oxford Historical Society, vol.18 (1891), 194-236.|
Pleas of the crown | Churches in the king's gift
Encroachments | Assizes of wine and bread | Escheats
Treasure trove | Illegal fishing | Fugitives
Defaults in appearing before the justices | Quo warranto
Pleas from the Oxford suburbs | Civil pleas
Pleas of the Crown of the borough of Oxford, before Salomon de Roff, Richard de Boyland, Robert Fulcon, Roger Loveday, and Geoffrey de Pycheford, itinerant justices at Oxford on 14 January 1285.
These were the coroners since the last eyre in this borough: Geoffrey de Hengestesey and Geoffrey le Mercer (who have died), John Filekynge, John Culverd, Walter Feteplace and Peter de Middleton (who are now in office).
The borough within the walls of Oxford came by 12 jurors, the mayor, bailiffs and entire community of the borough witnessing that no Englishry is presented in this borough.
[Pleas of the crown, i.e. homicides and other felonies]
Agnes de Drayton came by night to the house of Geoffrey de Hengestesey and stole from the same a bench-cover and a pair of summer shoes, worth 12d. Discovering this, Henry de Hengestesey the house's custodian pursued Agnes and, while she was fleeing, struck her on the shoulder with a sword and secured her through [raising] the hue. She died in prison from that wound, 4 days later. So Henry was arrested and imprisoned. Subsequently, John de Coleshull and Henry's son Henry, who are dead, and coroners Geoffrey de Hengestesey and Geoffrey le Mercer, who are dead, became guarantors for his appearance before the next coming of the justices without king's writ. And Henry is now in prison. Henry now comes and is asked how he wishes to clear himself; he replies that he is a clerk and ought not to respond [to the charge]. Upon which there comes Master Hugh de Lincoln, with letters patent identifying him as representative of the Bishop of Lincoln, and claims him as a clerk. The jurors say under oath that Agnes entered the house by night and stole the benchcover and shoes, as was stated, and that Henry struck her as stated, so that she died. On that basis, he was handed over to the Bishop.
Philip de Hybernia stabbed Peter de Virby with a knife in the back, to his heart, so that he died 4 days later. Philip at once put himself in the church of St. Aldate, Oxford, confessed what he had done, and abjured the realm in front of the coroner. He had no possessions, but resided in the Southwest Ward, therefore it is to be amerced. And because this took place in daylight and the parish of St. Aldate failed to capture him, it is to be amerced.
John Comyn was found dead under the town walls of Oxford, outside the South Gate. It is not known who killed him. Richard de Eynho, the first finder [of the corpse], failed to appear, but is not a suspect and he was attached by Robert Ballivum and John Warrepayn, therefore they are to be amerced. The parish of St. Michael, adjacent to the South Gate of St. Frideswide, failed to come to the inquest, therefore it is to be amerced.
Philip de Waleys clerk of Carmarthen killed William Charles clerk in the North Osney suburb of Oxford and at once fled; he is believed guilty. The first finder has died. The hue was raised, but the suburb of North Osney failed to pursue, therefore it is in mercy. Subsequently it was testified by the twelve [jurors] that Philip had later returned to town, been captured, and had died in prison.
Robert de Norffolcia was arrested in town for domestic burglaries, robberies, and other thefts, and was imprisoned. He confessed to Geoffrey le Mercer and Thomas le Spicer coroners, now dead, that he had committed many robberies, and he became an informer, accusing a certain Hugh de Cherleton and others. That Hugh was arrested on the accusation by Robert and imprisoned in the town gaol, dying there. The jurors are asked on what legal basis Robert became an informer, and by what right they hold informers in the town after they have become informers. They reply that they keep informers in the king's prison at Oxford and have always so kept them. So that if any informer lays an accusation before the coroners against anyone outside the town liberty, those coroners advise the [county] sheriff that an informer in the town's custody has made an accusation warranting an arrest, and the sheriff goes to make the arrest outside the borough, in Oxfordshire, so that the informer and those he accuses can be held in the town prison until the delivery of the gaol. They say that the citizens of London are accustomed to do this and it is for that reason they claim to have the privilege. The jurors are asked what became of Robert; they say they do not know. They are therefore to be subject to judgement, since they have no answer about the informer nor about his accusation, and they claim to keep an informer in custody until a conviction has been obtained, together with everyone arrested because of his accusations, when they have no power to hold any informer in custody beyond two or three days after he has become an informer, nor to have arrested through an informer's accusation anyone outside the liberty without special warrant from the king, when the informer ought at once to be sent to Newgate or another king's gaol. Afterwards they paid a fine, as appears in the summary.
A certain Richard, squire to Master Thomas de Luda, was killed on the great bridge of Oxford by Hugh de Hybernia and Master John de Thorney. The first finder has died. Hugh and Master John at once fled and are believed guilty; they are therefore to be outlawed. Nothing is know of their possessions, because they were clerks from Ireland. Because this took place in daylight and the townspeople of Oxford failed to capture them, it is to be amerced. The townspeople did not pursue, even though it took place during the day; therefore they are to be amerced.
Henry son of Henry de Eynesham fell from a boat into the waters of the Thames and was drowned. The first finder has died and was not a suspect. Judgement of misadventure; the value of the boat is 12d., for which the sheriff is to answer.
Robert de Lundon was arrested on suspicion of theft and imprisoned in Oxford castle; he died in prison. Since coroner Geoffrey de Hengestesey failed to hold an inquest on Robert's death, he is subject to judgement.
2s. is due from John, the sheriff, as deodand for a certain boat and a certain cord, which were the cause of the drowning of John son of Robert de Laueneye.
James de Hybernia clerk killed William de Burford outside Smith Gate, and was arrested and imprisoned in the Oxford town prison, where he died. The first finder has died. No-one else is suspected [in the homicide]. The parish of St. Peter in the East failed to come to the inquisition; therefore it is to be amerced.
Margery daughter of Richard Helpsman was found dead in the highway of Stockwell Street, Oxford. The first finder has died. It is not known who killed her. John le Sclatter and Roger le Blunt, attached by John de Furno and William de Takles Inn, failed to come, but are not suspects.
Adam son of Henry de Bellomonte was drowned in a certain pit in the courtyard of Richard fitz Nicholas in St. Martin's parish. The first finder comes and is not a suspect, nor is anyone else. Judgement of misadventure. Because coroner Geoffrey de Hengestesey did not attach Richard fitz Nicholas, in whose courtyard this took place, he is subject to judgement.
William de Croumersh died as a result of being crushed by a beam in St. Thomas parish. The first finder comes and is not a suspect, nor is anyone else. Judgement of misadventure. The value of the beam is 16d., for which the sheriff is to answer. John de Pusie was present [at the accident] and does not now appear, but is not a suspect; he was attached by Gilbert Feyregh and William Cithford, therefore they are to be amerced.
John de Radbourn, pursued by parties unknown, put himself in St. Aldate's church and confessed that he had committed many thefts and had stolen a particular item of silver. He abjured the realm before the coroner. His possessions [are worth] 4s., for which the sheriff answers. He was in South Ward, therefore it is to be amerced. The twelve jurors falsified the appraisal of his possessions, therefore they are to be amerced.
Walter de Buke was found dead in the river Cherwell. The first finder comes and is not a suspect. The jurors testify that a certain Matilda de Cudelington was arrested for the death and hung before the justices of gaol [delivery]. Her possessions [are worth] 15s., for which the sheriff is to answer. The parish of Holy Cross in Holywell failed to come to the inquisition; therefore it is to be amerced.
A certain David de Hybernia was found dead in the hall of the Prior of St. Frideswide in Little Jewry. It is confirmed by the twelve that a certain Robert fled and is considered guilty, therefore he is to be outlawed. He had no possessions, nor was he in any ward, because a clerk. The first finder has died and Robert Diffeld, one of the neighbours failed to appear; he is suspected and was attached by Nicholas de Berehull, therefore the latter is to be amerced. The parishes of St. Edward and St. John failed to come to the inquisition, therefore they are to be amerced.
Nicholas Penyfader was found dead at Osney. The first finder has died. The twelve testify that Henry de Arderne killed Nicholas; he now having disappeared and being considered guilty is to be outlawed. He had no possessions nor was he in any ward, because an outsider. The parishes of St. Thomas and St. Ebbe failed to come to the inquisition, therefore they are to be amerced.
A certain Thomas de Godestowe put himself in the church of St. Mary, Oxford, confessed that he had killed a man at Harpsford Bridge, and abjured the realm before the coroner. He had no possessions nor was he in any ward, because an outsider. The parish of St. Mary failed to capture him when the event took place in daylight, therefore it is to be amerced.
Beatrice daughter of Walter Hervey and Amy daughter of Thomas de Gareford were found burned in the cellar of the house of James le Espicer. The first finder came and is not a suspect, nor is anyone else summoned to answer for it.
Simon Prene the son of the brother of Roger Sprenehese accused Richard de Valentinia in the county court of battery and maiming and of breach of the king's peace, done in front of his nephew Roger de Sprenehese. Simon now comes and withdraws his accusation; he is therefore committed to prison and his pledges for prosecution are to be amerced.
[There appears to be some text missing from the transcription at this point, and the transcription itself is faulty in places, perhaps through damage to the original source].
William le Hore, Ralph le Wal, and Richard and Valentine [clerks] came and to what extent they are acquitted of the accusation and to what extent the king's suit they say as above. And, so it can be determined whether they should be handed over to the Bishop, the truth of the matter is to be related by the country. And 12 jurors from this borough together with 12 jurors from the suburb outside the North Gate state under oath that Richard and Valentine had a certain sister who was lodged in the house of Alice Gamage outside the North Gate, being unwell there; Richard and Valentine went there to visit and comfort her, bringing with them one of their fellow clerks, whose name they [i.e. the jurors] do not know, to dine with them there; this was on 29 May 1284. After dinner, at dusk, Richard wished to escort their associate back to his lodgings within the town; that being done, and he intending to go to his own lodgings together with his groom, his associate handed him a sword with which to defend himself if necessary, it being night-time. When he came to the North Gate, he ran into Alexander de Sarr with his sword drawn, who told him that certain men were plotting to kill Richard. For that reason, Richard took the sword that his groom had been carrying; and, when he attempted to return to his sister's house which he had earlier left, there came certain men with swords and other weapons and assaulted Richard. One of them struck Richard on the left arm, seriously wounding him; thus injured, Richard, striking back in his own defence, struck the aforesaid [sic] David on the left shoulder with his sword, giving him a deep wound. Upon receiving the injury, David immediately fled, and went into the house where Richard's sister was lodged. When Richard had escaped from the hands of the others, he returned with difficulty to that house and there found the David whom he had earlier wounded, lying on Richard's bed. Richard was amazed at this and asked him who had wounded him; he replied that he did not know. Richard replied to him "I believe that it was you who wounded me, and I wounded you in my ignorance", and thus they made a reconciliation between them. And the jurors say that what Richard did, he did in self-defence and had no knowledge of whom he thus wounded.
David fitz Griffin lays a complaint against Richard de Tangele, Valentine his brother, and John de la Rede, on the grounds that when, on 29 May 1284, David was behaving peaceably outside the North Gate of Oxford, going towards his lodgings at the hour of vespers, he encountered a certain chaplain carrying the body of the Lord to certain sick persons. As he genuflected to pray before the body of the Lord, Richard and Valentine assaulted him; Richard struck him with a sword on his left shoulder, giving him a wound six inches long, so that David was in despair of his life. Afterwards, Valentine and John with their swords beat him almost to death, to his serious damage and contrary to the king's peace. Whereby he has experienced suffering and damage to the value of £133.6s.8d., and for that reason he has brought this action etc.
Robert de Sunnyngwell was arrested for the death of Richard de Waleys and imprisoned in Oxford castle, in the custody of Thomas de Sancto Vigore, then sheriff. He escaped from Thomas' custody; Thomas is therefore subject to judgement for the escape. Robert immediately put himself into St. George's church, confessed his deed, and abjured the realm before he coroner. He had not chattels, nor was he in any ward.
John de Candene was arrested for the death of the parson of Easton and imprisoned in Oxford castle, in the custody of William de Insula, a former sheriff who is now dead. He escaped from prison and that custody; therefore William's son and heir Roger de Insula is subject to judgement. John immediately put himself in the church of St. Peter in the East, Oxford, confessed to killing the parson, and abjured the realm before the coroner. He had no possessions, nor was he in any ward, because an outsider. Afterwards Roger comes and says that the escape happened in the time of his father William, and seeks judgement if he ought to be responsible for that; and because this happened in the time of his father, he is subject to judgement.
William the servant of Master Hugh de Colebrugge was riding Master Hugh's horse in the borough of Oxford when he fell off, killing himself. No-one is under suspicion for it. Judgement of misadventure. The value of the horse is 40s. The twelve confirm that Hugh died. Master Thomas de Bek, then Chancellor, refused to allow the king's coroner or the bailiffs to lay hands on the deodand; therefore Master Thomas is to be amerced and is to be answerable for the deodand.
A certain William de Dene, an informer imprisoned in Oxford castle, accused John de Coventre of theft. Which John died in prison in the time when Gilbert de Kyrkeby was sheriff. Gilbert subsequently set free the informer William. They do not know on what grounds or by what right. Therefore he is subject to judgement.
Robert the miller, servant of William de Montibus, was torn apart by a horse-powered mill wheel, dying immediately. The first finder has died, and was not a suspect. Judgement of misadventure. The value of the wheel and the horses is 8s.; the parishes of St. Ebbe, St. Budoc, St. Peter le Bailey, and St. Martin made a false appraisal of the deodand and therefore are to be amerced.
A certain Alexander Comyn clerk drowned in the river Cherwell. The first finder comes and is not a suspect, nor is anyone else. Judgement of misadventure. It is confirmed from the coroner's roll that a certain unknown clerk took the corpse of the drowned man and carried it to the church of Holy Cross in Holywell. So that when John Filekynge the coroner came to the spot to view the body and hold an inquest on it, Walter de Chawsey, the bailiff of Bogo de Clare would not permit the coroner to view the body nor hold an inquest. Walter is now present and is unable to deny it, therefore he is put in custody.
William de Hachetot was found dead in Little Jewry. The first finder has died. It is determined from the coroner's roll that a Meyroc de Bruges, an Oxford Jew, and his wife Beloasset were accused of the homicide and the jurors believed them guilty, with the result that Meyroc and Beloasset were exiled and Meyroc outlawed. And Wayner is to enquire about their possessions, among Christians and Jews.
Thomas son of Walter Snelman killed Nicholas son of William Johan in Binsey and at once took to flight; he is believed guilty and is consequently to be outlawed. He had no possessions, but was in the tithing of Binsey, therefore it is to be amerced. The first finder has died. William Brumstere, Thomas de Benham and Wymond le Lyndraper, who were attached, failed to appear. William was attached by Walter de Kyngeston and Richard le Loder, Thomas by William de Lacy and Henry Gobyum, and Wymond by John de Wittel and John de Weston; they are to be amerced.
Thomas le Poer of Ireland put himself in the church of the Friars Preacher, confessed that he had broken out of Oxford castle gaol, and abjured the realm before the coroner. He had no possessions nor was he in any ward. It is confirmed that Thomas escaped from that prison in the time when Gilbert de Kyrkeby was sheriff, therefore he is subject to judgement for Gilbert's escape.
John the servant of Master Thomas Marescalli and John the servant of Ivo le Merceer got into a fight in the town of Oxford, in which Thomas' servant John struck Ivo's servant John on the head with a cudgel, of which he died 15 days later. Thomas' servant John immediately fled; he is believed guilty and consequently is to be outlawed. His possessions [are worth] 18d.; the sheriff is answerable for them. He was of the household of Master Thomas, who is therefore to be amerced.
A certain John and William, keepers of the king's horses, and William de Boreali killed Eustace de Fynestokes opposite [the church of] St. Mary and immediately fled, but were captured while in flight. William de Boreali was wounded in the process and died as a result, eight days later, in prison. Similarly, William the horsemaster later died in prison. An accusation was later laid against John by an informer at Newgate, and he was conducted there; what became of him, they do not know.
Richard Belereyne, together with others unknown, killed Gilbert de Forsthull in St. Ebbe's parish. He fled and is believed guilty, therefore he is to be outlawed. He had no possessions, but was of the North East Ward, which is therefore to be amerced. John Filekynge coroner failed to answer for any attachment, therefore he is subject to judgement.
William de Melyngton put himself in the church of Holy Cross in the suburbs of Oxford. He had no possessions. The suburb of Holywell failed to capture him, even though it happened in daylight, and is therefore to be amerced.
Nicholas le Forc clerk drowned in the river Thames. Afterwards Andrew le Forc, John Bere, and Geoffrey Fresel came and carried Nicholas to the church of St. Michael at North Gate, and there they had him buried without the coroner viewing [the body]. Therefore they are to be amerced. No-one is suspected. Judgement of misadventure.
The jurors present that William le Mixebury was captured with 13d. in newly clipped coin. He was imprisoned in the gaol of the borough of Oxford, but escaped from the borough's custody. Therefore the town is subject to judgement for that escape. William at once put himself into the church of St. Michael at North Gate, confessed himself a thief and a coin clipper, and abjured the realm before the coroner. His possessions [are worth] 12s.4d., for which the sheriff is answerable.
John de Derby put himself in the church of St. Michael at North Gate, and confessed himself a thief who had committed multiple thefts. After he had stayed there for 8 days, by connivance of Hugh the present parson of the church, he escaped from the church. The borough of Oxford is subject to judgement for that escape. John immediately fled; he is believed guilty, and is therefore to be outlawed. He had no possessions nor was he in any ward. The sheriff is ordered to arrest Hugh; he afterwards testified that Hugh could not be found, therefore he is subject to judgement.
Richard de Clarwich [clerk] killed Adam de Herchenfeild at night in Oxford high street and was afterwards captured, convicted before the justices of gaol delivery, and handed over to the Bishop. His possessions [are worth] 2s.6d., for which the sheriff is answerable. The first finder comes and is not a suspect, and the parish that first etc.
Henry de Jakesle was found dead in the high street of Oxford. It is not known who killed him. The first finder comes and is not a suspect. It is determined from the coroner's roll that a certain Robert Ponterel was at another time arrested for this homicide. The jurors testify that Robert was acquitted by a jury, before William le Poner and his associates who were justices assigned to deliver the gaol at Oxford; this was confirmed from William's roll. The jurors believe William Springold guilty of the homicide; he, having made himself scarce, is to be outlawed. He has no possessions nor is in any ward.
Maurice Aungevyn accused John de la Heth, Richard fitz Ralph, William de Hulme, Hugh fitz Nicholas, Roger Cobbe, John fitz Amicia, Geoffrey Spende, John fitz Juliana, Henry Payn, William fitz Lucia, John Godefrey, Henry le Bonder, and William fitz Godfrey in the county court of robbery, assault, and breach of the king's peace. Maurice failed to appear, therefore he is to be arrested and his pledges for prosecution (viz. Bartholomew de la Wyke and Robert Caleman of Berkshire) are to be amerced. All [the accused] come except John fitz Amicia and John fitz Juliana. Asked how they wish to clear themselves, they state that they are in no way guilty and request that an enquiry be made. And 12 jurors say under oath that they are not guilty of robbery and assault, but have reached a settlement [with Maurice?]. The two Johns who did not come are to be arrested; John fitz Amicia had been attached by Robert Neweman and William de Eylwyne, and John fitz Juliana by Richard Giffard and Richard Roche, who are therefore to be amerced.
Robert le Eyr, king's sergeant, showed to the king's justices that Master Nicholas de Wautham, contrary to his oath of loyalty and to the fealty and allegiance that he owed to the king, seditiously and deceitfully conspired with Guy de Montfort and his brother Emery, and with Llywelyn the former Prince of Wales, enemy of the king. He went to the king's court and remained there in order to insinuate himself as a confidant and intimate of the court and poke around into the king's secrets. What he was able to discover of the counsels and secrets of the king, he frequently passed along in letters to the king's enemies, and thereby nourished treason and sedition; he was an adherent of that faction, a member of their conspiracy, and became their advisor, [acting] against his loyalty and his king. He [i.e. Robert] requested that justice be done for that, as for any rebel and traitor to the king. Master Nicholas, formally summoned on the first, second and third days, did not come to answer to justice in the king's court, but disappeared; he is believed guilty, and therefore is to be outlawed. It was subsequently testified that Master Nicholas had no lay possessions, being parson of Banbury church, which is worth £66.13s.4d. a year. Therefore order is sent to the Bishop of Lincoln to put that church into safe and secure keeping for the time being, so that neither Master Nicholas nor anyone on his behalf can access the revenues therefrom etc.
[Churches in the king's gift]
Concerning churches, they say that the church of St. Peter in the East, together with the chapels of Holy Cross and Wolvercot, is in the king's donation and Bogo de Clare holds it as a gift from the father of the present king; it is worth £40 a year. Similarly, the church of St. Mary in Oxford is in the king's donation and is worth £20 a year; Master Robert de Flecham holds it. The church of St. Budoc is in the king's donation; the Friars Penitential claim that King Henry, father of the present king, gave and granted them the church they produce charters of King Henry that evidence this.
Concerning encroachments, they say that the Friars Preacher of Oxford are blocking a watercourse next to their land outside the South Gate, with the stone piling of a bridge they have built, so that the water overflows and is causing problems for the king's mill. As well it has flooded the king's demesne meadow so that, at mowing and haying time, the king's hay is ruined, causing him serious losses.
Similarly, Robert Cokes, when formerly Prior of St. Frideswide, in order to privatize St. Frideswide's courtyard, pulled down the battlements of the king's wall on which men were accustomed to stand or pass along for purposes of defending the borough in time of war where it ran through the middle of St. Frideswide's courtyard. He made the wall perpendicularly flat, so that no-one can go along the wall to defend the borough (should that prove necessary), to the damage of the king and the borough.
Similarly, 16 years ago a certain Henry, Master of St. John's Hospital outside the East Gate, appropriated to his own use an island in the river Cherwell which contains one perch of land. It is worth 6d. a year. This piece of land used to belong to the borough of Oxford; the present master has occupancy of it to the damage of the king etc.
Similarly, Walter de Merton blocked off half an acre's extent of a lane in the borough, along which men were accustomed to pass to reach the borough wall for defending it in time of war. He appropriated that parcel of land for Merton College in Oxford, to the serious damage of the king. Upon this there comes Master Peter de Abyndon, warden of the college, and states that the Abbot of Reading gave Walter de Merton that land in order to build a house in the town of Oxford; it extends southwards from next to [the property of] the church of St. John within the town walls of Oxford; King Henry, father of the present king, confirmed the abbot's gift to Walter. He produced a charter of that king providing evidence that Walter was permitted to enclose the aforesaid plot of land as far as the walls of Oxford, so that he could create a postern gate through the wall, to serve an east-west passage; through which, access in and out could be had when necessary in time of war, for the defence of the town. And those who had tenements within or adjacent to the plot also had a right-of-way to their properties. The jurors, asked if the postern there is as specified in the charter, say that it is; therefore the charge against the master is dismissed.
Twenty years ago, the Abbess of Godstow appropriated to her abbey 40 acres of pasture from the king's demesne, in the suburbs of Oxford, to the damage of the king. They are worth 20s. a year.
The abbot of Rewley has put up an outhouse over the river Thames, 12 feet long and 6 feet wide, which impedes boats bringing food and other necessaries to the borough of Oxford, to the damage of the borough.
The preceptor of Cowley has built a weir upon the river Thames. This has caused the waters of the Thames to flood the king's meadow, and it seriously and frequently makes it difficult for men to cross the Thames to Oxford, to the damage of the region etc. They say that the preceptor increased the height of the weir too much, so that the Thames cannot stay within its customary course when the water level is at its peak, to the great damage of the king and the countryside.
Upon this Master Peter de Abyndon comes etc., as above. Afterwards comes the master of the Hospital of St. John, who asks that he be allowed to rent the land mentioned so that it might be applied to the work of the king; this is granted to him, in return for 6d. a year to the king. As to the encroachment by the late prior, the sheriff was ordered to have repairs made to the wall, at the cost of the prior etc.
As to the preceptor's weir, the sheriff is ordered to alter the weir back to its original condition, tearing down any parts that are causing a nuisance etc.; and the preceptor is to be amerced.
As to the encroachment made by the Abbot of Rewley, the sheriff is ordered to have torn down anything that proves to be a nuisance etc. at the cost of the abbot; and the abbot is to be amerced.
The Abbess appears by her attorney, who states that King Henry, father of the present king, granted the pasture to her; she produces a charter of King Henry which evidences that. Consequently nothing [against her] at present.
[Assizes of wine and bread]
Concerning wines, they say that Nicholas de Kyngeston sold 300 tuns of wine in breach of the assize; Henry Oweyn, 120 tuns; Richard Culverd, 8 tuns; William le Espicer, 315 tuns; John Culverd, 40 tuns; Stephen de Kyngeston, 20 tuns; Henry Gama[ge], 9 tuns; Richard de la Mestre, 6 tuns; Henry le Especer, 3 tuns of wine in breach of the assize. Therefore they are to be amerced.
Concerning bread, they say that Andrew de Durham, Thomas de Sowy, John de Langport, John Aurifaber, Andrew de Pirye, William le Espicer, Ralph le Plomer, and Thomas de Durham have sold bread in breach of the assize. Therefore they are to be amerced. The twelve jurors hid information about those bakers, and are therefore to be amerced
Concerning escheats, they say that Henry Oweyn holds a tenement that was an escheat to the king, in consequence of the death of the Jew Bonemey, who was hanged; he pays 2s.8d annually for it to the king's Exchequer. Henry now comes and says that he rented the tenement from the Exchequer for 2s.8d; that this is entered in the sheriff's account at the Exchequer is evidenced by extracts from the Exchequer accounts.
Thomas de Sowy holds a tenement worth 30s. a year which was an escheat to the king, in consequence of the death of the Jew Aaron de la Rye. Thomas now comes and says that the present king granted him the tenement to hold of the king and his heirs; he produces the king's charter giving and granting to Thomas de Sowy clerk a messuage and two cottages with appurtenances in Oxford, for Thomas and his heirs to have and hold of the king and his heirs, performing for the same all services due and accustomed.
Master Henry Wade, the queen consort's cook, holds a tenement worth £3.6s.8d a year which was an escheat to the king in consequence of the death of the Jew Olehym son of Basse, who was hanged.
Adam Clerk holds tenement by gift of the king which was the latter's escheat in consequence of the death of the Jew Vynes le Lime, who was hanged; it is worth 13s.4d a year. Adam comes and says that he holds the escheat and lease from the king through [arrangement with] the king's Treasury and Barons of the Exchequer, from which he rents it for 13s.4d a year. The sheriff testifies that he is responsible to answer for the rent as part of the green wax of the Exchequer, producing the record which evidences that.
A certain Henry de Jernemuta was arrested and imprisoned in the town gaol of Oxford. He had hidden £11 of silver by burying it. When he was arrested he confessed to William le Espicer, then mayor, and Peter de Middleton the coroner that he had hidden the £11 behind the grange of Bogo de Clare; the money was discovered there. This led to William le Espicer being asked to answer for that money. He produced a letter from the king in these words: "Edward by the grace of God etc., gives greetings to his justices of the next eyre in the county of Oxford. Because it has been testified before us by our well-beloved servant Matthew de Ethymbar, our butler, that William le Espicer, during the period when he was last mayor of that town, by Matthew's order delivered to Robert de Lamhurst merchant £11 which a certain Henry de Jernemuta, then arrested and held in the town, had acknowledged to William that he had furtively stolen, we have pardoned William of any related legal action brought against him on our behalf by occasion of the aforesaid. Therefore we order you not to trouble or worry William in any way in your eyre because of this matter, but consider him to be acquitted thereof. Witnessed by myself at Bath, 3 January 1285."
Concerning those who fish etc. The following have fished using kiddles and "starkells", and are therefore to be amerced: Robert le Wal, Richard de Swyneshull, Walter Cha, Gervase the fisherman, William le Rene, Robert Vincent, Lambert the fisherman, William Vincent, John le Spercer, Thomas de Pylers, Roger Rokes, William de la Wyke, Alan the fisherman, his son William, Ralph Rolf, Walter de Beaumunde, Her[vey] le Bot, Adam le Bot, Hugh le Rokes, Thurstan de Merston, Geoffrey Bot, John Molendinarius of Stockgrave, William de Wyca, Richard Short, Nicholas Baron, Richard Doitby of Water Eaton, Richard Ops of the same, John Bankes of the same, Robert Chaunter of the same, Walter Cha of the same, Peter Overheye of Islip, Peter Segrym of the same, Richard Bere of the same, the Abbot of Osney, the Abbot of Rewley, the Preceptor of Cowley, and Henry Peyn of Binsey.
Concerning those who have been indicted: Nicholas de Haveringes has fled in relation to the death of Simon le Somonour; John de Maundevill tinker and his wife Agnes have fled in relation to several robberies; Richard de Durham tailor, John de Cestre manciple, and Thomas Sely of Thornham have fled in relation to the death of Master Nicholas de Langtost; Isaac de Canne and his wife Gongo, Jews, in relation to coin-clipping; Seyr de Caxton in relation to the death of William de Norffolk; Philip Hamond in relation to burglaries of houses; and Thomas Godale has fled in relation to the death of Richard de la Wyke. All are believed guilty and are to be outlawed. The possessions of Thomas Godale [are worth] 10s., for which the sheriff is to answer. Walter de Halywell, bailiff of Bogo de Clare, took those possessions without warrant; therefore he is to be amerced. Concerning the possessions of the Jews, an enquiry is to be made by Jews etc. Nicholas and the others had no possessions, nor were they in any ward, because outsiders or vagabonds.
[Defaults in appearing before the justices]
Concerning defaulters, they say that Master Henry Wade the queen's cook, John de Cane, Thomas de Durham, Philip le Waleys, Henry de Lond, Ralph de Muncy, Richard Swet of Brackley, and Elias son of Elias de Hertford did not come on the first day [due to appear]; therefore they are to be amerced.
The jurors present that the Abbess of Godstow erected a watermill in the suburb of Oxford on the king's demesne, by what right they do not know.
The jurors present that the borough of Oxford was part of the ancient Crown demesne. Its lord, King Henry the elder, gave the borough with its suburbs to the burgesses of Oxford at fee farm, for the amount of £63.5d annually. Of which they have paid £40 a year to the king's Exchequer, and £23.5d to the brothers of St. Bartholomew outside the East Gate of Oxford; they say that nothing is in arrears etc.
Concerning their franchises, they say that the burgesses of Oxford claim to have return of writs and their estreats, and they hold pleas of withernam, and have a gallows, pillory and tumbrel, and administer the assizes of bread and ale.
The Prior of St. Frideswide has in Oxford an annual fair lasting 8 days from the feast of St. Frideswide; the do not know by what right. The prior appears by his attorney, who says that he and his predecessors were accustomed to hold such a fair from time immemorial. Notwithstanding which, he says, King John granted him by charter an annual fair in Oxford; he produces the king's charter, in which it says that the king granted the prior and his successors a fair in Oxford, without specifying on which date or for how long a duration. Yet he claims to hold the fair for an entire week therefore he is to be subject to judgement.
Similarly, they say that the burgesses hold the borough of the king at fee farm, for £63.5d; of which they pay £40 annually into the king's Exchequer and £23.5d annually to the lepers of St. Bartholomew outside Oxford, levied by the hands of the burgesses etc., as per these words: "Because it is known to us, from an examination of the rolls of our Exchequer, that the leper hospital of St. Bartholomew outside Oxford ought by grant of our predecessors to receive and in the past has been accustomed to receive each year from the farm of our town of Oxford £19.15s.5d to support it, and 65s. in cloth by way of alms by our decree, we have granted to the lepers that they may have and receive annually from the farm the said £19.15s.5d for their support and 65s. in cloth, in the same way that they have been accustomed to have and receive it. In testimony to which, we have had drawn up these our letters patent. Witnessed etc., 51st year" [of our reign, i.e. 1267].
The jurors present that ten years ago Richard Everarde and Walter de Chawsey, bailiffs of Bogo de Clare, erected a new gallows in his manor of Holy Cross within the king's liberties of the suburbs of Oxford. By what right, they do not know. And a certain Thomas de Bensinton was caught in possession of a horse, taken to Bogo's court, and by judgement of the court was hanged from those gallows. Alice le Welsh was also hung from those gallows. The sheriff is therefore ordered to have Bogo and his bailiffs appear. Bogo comes and states that he holds his church by gift of King Henry, father of the present king, and that he discovered the church to possess these franchises; and that all his predecessors as parsons of that church had possession of the same from time immemorial. He requests an inquiry into this. The jurors, together with knights chosen for the purpose, say under oath that Bogo and all previous parsons of the church fully enjoyed such franchises. Therefore [the court decides that] they are to have their franchises, saving the rights of the king.
The chancellor of the university of Oxford produces a charter of
King Henry, father of the present king, which says the following:
On the second day, the chancellor and scholars of the university produce
another charter under the name of King Henry, which says the following:
In addition, the chancellor and clerks produced another document, which says
They also produced another charter from the same king, which says
The chancellor and university of Oxford lay a complaint in this regard that the mayor of Oxford, the bailiffs and the burgesses wilfully take for each salmon sold a quarter of it, to the serious damage of the whole university and the region. The accused come and are asked by what right they make that prise. They reply that the mayor and bailiffs have always taken such prises, and present nothing else in support. Seeing that prises of this sort are injurious and damaging to the university and the whole region, they are prohibited from taking in any way that kind of prise henceforth.
The Oxford suburb outside the North Gate comes by twelve [jurors]
They report that these were the coroners since the last eyre: G. de Preston and Nicholas Erneborgh, who have died, Henry fitz Milo, William de Brompton, Robert de Brackele, and Elyas le Quilter, who are now in office.
Hugh de Bolre and William de Lundon were arrested on suspicion of theft outside the North Gate and taken to Headington where they were imprisoned. A crowd of Oxford clerks came there armed and in force and broke Hugh free; it was not possible to find out their names. William remained in prison, in the custody of Elias de Beckleburg, then bailiff of Bullingdon (now dead), who permitted William to leave. Hugh de Bolre and William have [now] disappeared, and are believed guilty. Therefore they are to be outlawed; their possessions [are worth] £11.6.8d, due Hugh from work for Hugh de Plesetis, for which Hugh is to answer. The sheriffs is ordered to have that money levied from Hugh.
John fitz Botte and Robert de Brackele fought with one another outside the North Gate, with the outcome that John stabbed Robert in the belly with a knife, leaving the knife fixed in Robert's flesh. Robert at once removed the knife and stabbed John in the belly, so that both straightaway died together. The first finder comes and is not a suspect; and the parish that first etc.
John Aleyn of Norton was on a previous occasion indicted here before justices of the eyre for the death of his father; he was arrested and taken to the town of Chipping Norton, to be escorted to the Oxford prison. But when he was passing by the church of St. Mary Magdalene he escaped from his captors' hands; therefore the town of Chipping Norton is subject to judgement. John confessed that he had killed his father, and abjured the realm before the coroner. He had no possessions, nor was he in tithing.
Simon de Wanetynge was condemned by the justices of gaol delivery to be hanged. While being taken to the gallows, clerks of the university of Oxford their names not known by force [rescued him and] put him in St. Giles church. He confessed to the coroner of having committed multiple thefts. Nothing is known of his possessions.
William Wodecok killed John de Cogesham in the suburb of Oxford and fled immediately; he is believed guilty. Therefore he is to be outlawed; he had no possessions. Hue was raised but the suburb failed to pursue him, even though this took place in daylight, therefore it is to be amerced. Alan le Taylor the first finder came and has been hanged, as appears in the roll of gaol delivery. His possessions [are worth] 4s.8d, for which the sheriff is to answer.
William son of Jordan de Glinton and his brother John were imprisoned in the castle gaol, in the custody of Nicholas de Oyfrewast. They escaped from his custody, put themselves in St. Mary Magdalene church, and abjured the realm before the coroner. They had no possessions. Because the aforesaid Nicholas, the sheriff, died before being condemned for the escape, sentencing for the escape is pending. Later, the king's Council in parliament decided that, in the circumstances, the sentence for the escape should fall upon Nicholas' executors; therefore they are to be answerable for the escape.
A certain Henry de Makworth together with other wrongdoers unknown, that is with Thomas de Sancto David, David Furlong, William Ousyn, Roger le Fletcher, William de Blithe, and Henry de Staumford, came to the house of Ivo de Hackebourn and burgled it. They carried off goods and possessions found there, and at once fled. They are believed guilty, therefore they are to be outlawed. Possessions of Henry de Staumford [are worth] 16s., for which the sheriff is to answer; Henry and the others had no possessions, because they are clerks.
Thomas de Staunford clerk killed Isabelle de Maydenwell, was immediately arrested, convicted before the justices of gaol delivery, and handed over to the bishop. He had no possessions. The first finder comes and is not a suspect.
Walter de Calueton, John de Nesse, Hugh de Nesse, Richard Corbet, Thomas de Betton, Henry de Hodenet, John de Estlegh, Hugh de Canz, and Walter de Botillier encountering Walter Cissor, an argument arose between them. Walter de Calueton killed Walter Cissor and immediately fled; he is believed guilty and therefore is to be outlawed. He had no possessions. John de Nesse and all the others were arrested and imprisoned in Oxford castle; they were acquitted by jury before the justices of gaol delivery.
Henry Somm of Stokes Island was condemned to be hung. While he was being led to the gallows, there came Robert de Tursway and other clerks unknown; they rescued Henry and took him to St. Giles church, from where he abjured the realm before the coroner. He had no possessions. The jurors consider Robert, who has made himself scarce, guilty; he is therefore to be outlawed. He had no possessions.
Roger de Verdun killed Thomas de Suplet in the house of William le Saucer and at once fled. He is believed guilty, therefore he is to be outlawed. He had no possessions. The first finder comes and is not a suspect. Henry fitz Milo, William de Brampton, Robert de Brackele and Elias le Quilter, the coroners, did not attach those who were present in the house, therefore they are to be amerced. Afterwards, it was testified that Roger did have possessions, that is, 6d worth, for which the sheriff is to answer.
Robert de Pennoby and John de Ardern put themselves in St. Giles church. Robert confessed to having committed multiple thefts and he abjured the realm before the coroner; he had no possessions. John came out of the church and surrendered to the king's peace; he was imprisoned in the Oxford gaol and before the justices of gaol delivery he was handed over by the sheriff to the bishop, as one convicted. His lay possessions [are worth] 2s., for which Thomas de Sancto Quintino formerly the vicar of St Giles is to answer and because he took those possessions without permission, he is to be amerced.
William de Prene was killed opposite St. Mary Magdalene church by a certain Isaac son of Isaac de Polet, Jew. The first finder comes and is not a suspect. Isaac was captured and put in the king's prison at Leeds [castle] in Kent. Afterwards he comes and is in the sheriff's prison in Oxford.
The jurors present that a certain plot of land lying between the land of Simon le Bere and the land of Paul de Credynton is an escheat to the king, in consequence of the death of the Jew James de Lundon. It is worth 2s. a year. Another vacant plot of land lying between the land of Robert de Barton on either side, and worth 12d. a year, is an escheat to the king in consequence of the death of Richard de Cunford, by judgement of the court called Shortford. Similarly, another vacant plot that is an escheat to the king is in Stockwell Street, in St. Mary Magdalene parish, and is worth 12d. a year.
Concerning encroachments, they say that Gilbert le Marescal erected a farrier's post in the highway in St. Giles parish. Peter the smith similarly has a post next to the cemetery of St. Mary Magdalene in the highway. No rents are being paid on these to the king. They also say that a certain stream used to run through the middle of Richard de Haleston's cellar, but Richard has blocked the channel through which the water took its course, to the nuisance of all the neighbours living around there. Richard has died and Nicholas his son now has control of the channel. The sheriff is ordered to have it unblocked at Nicholas' cost, and whatever is a nuisance etc.. As for the posts etc., the sheriff is ordered to have Gilbert and Peter appear. Subsequently, Gilbert and Peter came and requested permission to rent the posts for 12d. a year, with which [i.e. collection] Henry de Dymmok bailiff is to be charged.
The jurors present that a certain cookshop has been built in the highway, next to St. Mary Magdalene cemetery, which is not a nuisance to anyone. William the cook is the present tenant of the cookshop, rented from the king for 6d. a year, for which the sheriff answers at the king's Exchequer.
The jurors present that Henry fitz Milo took money to remove jurors from juries and assizes; he is therefore to be amerced.
Concerning withdrawals, the jurors say that the chancellor of the university holds a house in Horsemonger Street which used to provide the king with 12½d. in rent, regarding which he was accustomed to make suit at [the court of] the king's hundred outside the North Gate of Oxford [held] every three weeks, until he withdrew the rent and the suit, to the damage of the king in 16d. a year etc. Similarly, John Eu held etc. (refer here to what is in the next section). The sheriff is ordered to have the chancellor appear. Subsequently Master William Pickerel chancellor of Oxford came with the proctors of the university. He says that he found that the house and rent belonged to the university; the jurors testify the same. Therefore the king may have his writ against them, if he wishes. And William de Gyselham is told that he sues etc. that he makes suit against them etc.
Similarly, John de Eu holds a tenement outside the North Gate from which the king is accustomed to receive 23d. a year, until the last six months when the Master of Balliol College withdrew payment of the rent. He comes and cannot deny that the king received the rent until the Master withheld it. Therefore the 23d. annual rent is to be restored to the king, and the Master is to be amerced. The sheriff is ordered to have the chancellor appear. Subsequently Master William Pickerel came etc. as is referred to above.
The jurors present that this hundred is the king's hundred and is worth £30 a year. Of which William Byset receives £10 a year. He being present says that the hundred was at one time within the jurisdiction of one of his ancestors, John Byset, who died seised of it. After his death, all the lands, tenements, rents and possessions were divided proportionately among his heirs. So that the £10 assigned him from this hundred belonged to his mother, who was one of the heirs of John Byset, and whose heir he is. He asks for an enquiry to confirm this; and the twelve jurors testify to the same.
John de Prene, brother of William de Prene, accuses Isaac son of Isaac de Polet of killing his brother William. The court is informed that on 29 May 1284 at vespers William was on the highway outside the North Gate, opposite the cemetery of St. Mary Magdalene, 12 feet from the wall on the east side of the cemetery, behaving peaceably, when Isaac came with felonious and premeditated intent and assaulted him. He struck him with a sword made of Cologne iron and steel, one yard long and 4 inches wide; he stabbed him under his right breast, three inches from the breast, and made a wound 4 inches wide that went as deep as the heart, of which William immediately died, in John's presence. This he did to him wickedly and feloniously, with intent to cause harm, and this John is prepared to prove by his body or in any way the court chooses. John also accuses Rebecca, wife of Isaac, of sending her husband Isaac to commit the felony on the stated day, year and hour, and of abetting in the felony; and this he is prepared to prove against her, as a man against a woman etc. Rebecca came but made no answer to the accusation.
Simon de Prene accuses the same Isaac of the death of his son William. He states that when William was behaving peaceably, at the said time and in the said place, Isaac feloniously and premeditately assaulted William, struck him with a sword, gave him a wound below his right breast, of which he died in the presence of Simon, his father. That he did this wickedly and feloniously, with intent to cause harm, he is prepared to prove as Christian against Jew or in any way the court chooses. He also accuses Rebecca of inciting, encouraging, and assisting, as above etc. Isaac and Rebecca came but made no answer, nor said anything about [the accusation], except as above etc. John and Simon request judgement be given on those whom they have accused of homicide, appropriate to the charge and to a felony committed in breach of the king's peace. And they [i.e. the accused] make no answer, nor say anything, except that they do not wish to respond nor to submit themselves to a jury. Since they do not offer any kind of explicit defence, they [i.e. the plaintiffs?] request judgement be given on them as if they were undefended. Because Geoffrey de Pycheford, one of the justices, was not present, they were returned to gaol until 18 February. On which day he [Isaac] comes and, asked if he has anything further he wishes to say, he says that he is not guilty, and asks that an enquiry be made by Christians and Jews of London. John and Symon request judgement be given on him on the grounds he had already left the court as undefended; if he is now to be allowed to have recourse to entering a plea etc. or to submitting himself to a jury. Because Roger Loveday, one of the justices, is alone on the bench, since Richard de Boyland and Geoffrey de Pycheford had previously withdrawn, therefore Isaac is returned to gaol until other arrangements can be made for him.
John de Blekkel, an informer who has been hanged, accused Roger de Barton clerk of keeping company with thieves. So that, through his accusation, he [i.e. Roger] was arrested, [tried] before the justices for gaol delivery etc., and hanged. His possessions [are worth] 103s., which Master Roger de Rodwell former chancellor of the university of Oxford has received.
Concerning those indicted, they say that Adam de Irreis and Simon his son have disappeared in regard to burglary and harbouring thieves, and Walter Peny in regard to robberies and burglary of houses. All are believed guilty, therefore they are to be outlawed; they have no possessions.
Philip Campion was arrested for stealing grain and other thefts. He comes and denies committing theft; for better or worse, he submits himself to a jury. The jurors say under oath that he is not guilty of any crime. Therefore he is acquitted.
These are at present in the office of coroner in the suburbs of Oxford: Nicholas de Gersyndon and William de Ernesby. The borough of Oxford: Nicholas de Kyngeston mayor, sworn; John Culverd, Thomas Sowy, chief bailiffs, sworn. Jurors: Nicholas le Orfevre, Ralph le Plomer, Henry de Gamage, John de Eu, Martin le Samplarer, John de Arderne, Hugh le Parmenter, Philip de Eu. Electors: Henry Oweyn, William de Wotesdon, Andrew de Pirye, John With. The borough outside the North Gate of Oxford: Henry de Dymmok. Jurors: William de Ernesby, Nicholas Rodeplante, John de Dodeford, John Brun, William le Long, Richard de Wolgaricote, William de Stokes, Adam le Wylde, Paul de Credinton, Nicholas de Gersyndon, Hugh de Mersh, Robert de Baron.
[Civil] pleas involving juries and assizes of the town of Oxford
John son of John de Lundon, who brought a writ concerning an annual rent of 18d. against Thomas Billyng, has not prosecuted. Therefore he and his pledges for prosecution (that is, Walter Persone and John Aynho) are to be amerced.
Adam le Mazoun of Oxford and his wife Isabella claim from Henry son of John le Gamage a tenement with appurtenances in the suburbs of Oxford, as the right and inheritance of Isabella. Into which Henry obtained entry only through Henry le Gamage, who thereby unjustly and without any judicial decision dispossessed Helena, the widow of William Scharppe and mother of Isabella, whose heir she is, after the first etc. Henry comes and says that Adam and Isabella can claim no rights in that tenement because, he says, Isabella wife of Adam, when a widow, freely quitclaimed to Henry and his heirs all her rights and claim that she had or could have in that tenement. He produces the quitclaim that evidences this and requests judgement be given etc. Adam and Isabella fully acknowledge that Isabella had, at an earlier time, made that document, but they say that the document ought not hinder them from bringing their action. For, they say, at the time when Isabella made the document she was in Oxford's prison, and made the document under forceful coercion. That this was the case, they ask to be enquired into by a jury. Henry states that Isabella made the quitclaim to him of her own free will, while she was single, by herself, uncoerced, and not in any kind of prison. Therefore it is decided that the case against Henry be dismissed, and Adam and Isabella are to be amerced.
Hugh Karry claims from Thomas Lusewys and his wife Alice a tenement with appurtenances in Oxford, into which Alice obtained entry only through Matilda Cary, Hugh's kinswoman, whose heir he is, who leased it while Matilda was underage etc. Thomas and Alice came and fully acknowledged that Alice obtained entry into the tenement through Matilda Cary, but they say that at the time Matilda leased the tenement to Alice she was of the age of majority according to the usage and customs of Oxford. That this was the case, they submit themselves to a jury; Hugh does likewise, therefore a jury is to be convened. The jurors say under oath that Matilda, at the time she leased the tenement to Alice, was of full age according to Oxford custom, she being 15 years old. Therefore it is decided that the case against Thomas and Alice be dismissed, and Hugh is to be amerced (he was pardoned by the justices).
Richard de la Hide acknowledged that he owes Henry le Mareschall of Guildford £8, which he must repay at Michaelmas this year. He agreed that, unless he does so, the sheriff may recover it from lands and possessions. Afterwards he found pledges that is, Simon fitz Guydo, William de Wodecote, and Nicholas de Brudicote who are present and acknowledge themselves to be principally answerable for the debt. They acknowledge that, if Richard does not pay Henry the money within the prescribed period, that the sheriff may recover it from their lands and possessions etc.
Thomas de Orliens and his wife Alice give 6s.8d for licence to reach a settlement with Henry Oweyn concerning an action over real estate; they have an eyre.
Geoffrey le Carpenter claims from Stephen de Perham a tenement with appurtenances in Oxford as his right etc., into which Stephen obtained access only through Master Peter de Abyndon, who leased it to him and thereby unjustly etc. dispossessed Geoffrey after the first etc. Stephen comes and cannot deny the fact that Master Peter dispossessed Geoffrey. Therefore it is decided that Geoffrey may recover possession, and Stephen is to be amerced.
William de Wodestok, who brought a writ of prohibition of attachments against Master Richard de Sancta Frideswyda, official of the Archdeacon of Lincoln, has not prosecuted. Therefore he and his pledges for prosecution (that is, Richard de Cantuaria and Thomas Feteplace) are to be amerced.
Walter Feteplace was attached to answer a plea brought by Richard de Cantuaria and his wife Amy, regarding why he assaulted Amy at Oxford, beated and ill-treat her, took and carried off goods and possessions worth £36.13s.4d that he found there, belonging to Richard and Amy, and inflicted other enormities upon them, to the damage of Richard and Amy and in breach of the peace etc. In regard to which the complaint is laid that when they were staying in the town of Oxford, in a certain house in which they had there goods and possessions worth £36.13s.4d, Walter came to the house on 23 August 1276 and, finding Amy there, assaulted and beat her, and took and carried off the goods of Richard and Amy found in the house; that is: wines worth £16.10s., vinegar worth £2.13s.4d, hay worth £7.6s.8d, wood worth 100s., an iron-banded barrel worth 6s., felt cloth, a coverlet and other goods and utensils worth £4.13s.4d. And he inflicted other enormities upon them. As a result of which, they say, they have suffered losses and damages in the amount of £66.13s.4d., and for that reason they have brought this action etc. Walter comes and denies the force and injury at any time etc. He states that Richard and Amice were renting the house from him for £6 a year, and that one year's rent was in arrears to him. For that reason, Richard and Amy cleared out and removed their goods and possesions from that house, to prevent them being distrained upon for the arrears. He says that when he learned about this, he came to the house and distrained on Richard and Amy by one tun of wine, for the arrears, and that he committed no other offence against them, nor inflicted any enormity upon them. He submits his case to a jury; Richard and Amy do likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. The jurors chosen by agreement of the parties say under oath that the facts are that Richard and Amy were renting a house in Oxford from Walter for £6 a year, and that Richard and Amy were in arrears for the annual rent. As a result of which, Walter came to the house on the date mentioned, found Amy there, and demanded that she give him immediately the £6 which were owing for the rent of the house, otherwise he would evict Richard and Amy with all the goods and possessions in the house. Because Walter did not receive immediate satisfaction for the £6, he straightaway took Amy by the shoulders and her children likewise and threw them out of the house, and he beat Amy and violently mistreated her; and he took and carried off goods and possessions of Richard and Amy to the value of £10. Asked if Richard and Amy owed Walter £6 from [the rent of] the house, they say no, only £1. Therefore it is decided that Richard and Amy may recover the £10 from Walter, together with damages which are assessed by the justices at £10.
Andrew de Harecourt, Richard de Elfynton, and John de Heldesley each individually acknowledged that he owes to Queen Eleanor, the king's mother, 100s. which he is to repay within a fortnight of Michaelmas this year. He agreed that, unless he does so, the sheriff may recover it from lands and possessions etc.
Claremunda the widow of Henry Whirll claims from Thomas Feteplace one-third of a tenement with appurtenances in North Osney next to Oxford, as dower right in regard to her late husband Henry etc. Thomas comes and says that Claremunda ought not to have any dower right therein, because Henry the late husband of Claremunda never had possession of the tenement as his property in a way that would allow her dower right. That this is the case, he submits himself to a jury; and Claremunda likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. On the fourth day afterwards, Claremunda appeared in court to prosecute against Thomas, but he did not come. Therefore the sheriff is ordered to take the third part [of the tenement] into the king's hand and to summon Thomas to be here tomorrow to hear their judgement etc.
Alice widow of Richard de Ebsofend claims from Walter de Witney one-half of a cellar and a solar with appurtenances in Oxford, as is her right etc. through a gift from Walter le Goldsmyth, who gave possession thereof to her and her first husband, William atte Montes, and to which Walter [de Witney] obtained entry only through Richard, Alice's late husband, leasing it to him which she could not forbid while he was alive. Walter comes and denies her right therein etc., saying that Alice can claim no right in the tenement as a result of Walter le Goldsmyth's gift, because it was her husband who thereby acquired rights therein. Consequently, he says, Alice never had any [rights] in it, except through her husband William who had the rights in that tenement. That this is the case, he submits himself to a jury; and Alice likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. The jurors chosen by agreement of the parties say under oath that the tenement was the right and acquisition of William, her late first husband, in the absence of Alice having been given [explicit] joint possession with him therein. Therefore it is decided that the case against Walter be dismissed; Alice is to receive nothing through her writ, but is to be amerced for making a false claim.
Roger son of Stephen Bodyn claims from Mary, widow of Geoffrey le Orfevre, via a writ of right, 4 tenements with appurtenances in the suburbs of Oxford, as his right.
Adam Gray of Banbury gives 6s.8d for licence to reach a settlement with Henry de Dene and his wife Alice, concerning an action over real estate; they have an eyre.
Ralph Bodyn claims from John le Luminour and his wife Alice a tenement with appurtenances in the suburbs of Oxford as his right etc., in which John and Alice obtained entry only through Alan Tele, who leased it to them, thereby unjustly etc. dispossessing Robert Bodyn, Ralph's father, whose heir he is, after etc. John and Alice come and fully acknowledge having obtained entry in the tenement through Alan Tele, but they say that Alan did not dispossess Ralph's father Robert thereof, because Alan had entry into the same by renting it from Robert, not by dispossessing him. That this is the case, they submit themselves to a jury, and Ralph likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. Afterwards Ralph requests, and obtains, licence to withdraw his writ.
Adam Londyne was summoned to respond to the plea of Matilda, widow of Philip de Leycestre, that he pay her £9.6s.8d, which he owes her as arrears of rent of 26s.8d annually. In that regard she complains that although Adam is obligated, via a written commitment, to Matilda for an annual rent paying 6s.8d each at Michaelmas [29 September], the Nativity of St. John Baptist [24 June], and Christmas [25 December], and so on from year to year at the same dates throughout Matilda's lifetime Adam has withheld the annual rent for the last seven years and continues to withhold it, so that she has suffered losses and damages in the amount of £13.6s.8d; and for that reason she has brought this action etc. Adam comes and they reach a settlement; Matilda give 13s.4d for licence to settle the plea against Adam. It is settled in this way: Adam acknowledges that he owes Matilda the annual rent and will henceforth pay it to her at the agreed dates; on that understanding, Matilda releases him from the arrears and damages.
John de Morshe was summoned to respond to the plea of John de Insula that he pay him £3.15s.6d, which he owes him but unjustly withholds. In that regard he complains that on 10 September 1284 he handed over to a certain Walter de la Morshe his possessions, to the value of the stated debt, and John de Morshe became a pledge for Walter to repay him the debt, through John de la Morshe, at Michaelmas following. But John de Morshe has always withheld repayment and continues to do so, as a result of which he says he has suffered losses and damages in the amount of 100s.; and for that reason he has brought this action. John de Morsh comes and denies force and injury etc. and denies completely that he ever became the pledge of Walter regarding that debt; this he is prepared to defend against him and his suit, by whatever means the court decides. Therefore it is decided that he shall wage his law in regard to the £8, and may come with his law tomorrow; pledges for doing his law: William de Grandone and Adam de Kingesham. Afterwards, John [de Morshe] performed his law, and the case against him was dismissed. John de Insula is to receive nothing through his writ, but is to be amerced for making a false claim in his plea. Also to be amerced: Henry de Tynesham and Walter Feteplace [pledges for prosecution].
John son of Nicholas Hedrich who, it is said, is of the age of majority claims from Peter de Lokyng a tenement with appurtenances in Oxford as his right etc., which John leased to him while he was underage. Peter comes and denies his right, when etc. and he says that when John leased him the tenement John was of the age of majority according to the custom of the town of Oxford, and not underage. That this is the case, he submits himself to a jury; and John likewise. Therefore let a jury be convened. The jurors say under oath that John was 15 years old when he leased the tenement to Peter, the age of majority according to custom of the town of Oxford, and not underage. Therefore it is decided that the case against Peter be dismissed, and John [is to receive] nothing through his writ, but is to be amerced for making a false claim.
The king sent order to his itinerant justices by his writ in the following words: "Edward by the grace of God etc. to his justices next travelling through the county of Oxfordshire, greetings. Because our well-beloved in Christ the Abbot and Convent of Abingdon claim, by reason of charters of our predecessors formerly kings of England, to have certain franchises for themselves and their men of Culham, which franchises in every judicial eyre previously held in the county, so they claim, have been applied and enjoyed, we order you to allow the abbot and his men to have, apply and enjoy their franchises before you, to the same extent that they were reasonably applied and enjoyed in previous eyres in the county. Witnessed etc."
Roger son of John Owyn of Boxore claims from Henry Gamage and his wife Beatrice a tenement and a mill with appurtenances in Oxford as his right etc., into which Henry and Beatrice obtained entry only through Walter le Monner, to whom Emma de Boxore, Roger's grandmother, whose heir he is, leased it to Walter for the term of his life, with reversion [thereafter] to Roger. Henry and Beatrice come and say that they are not the tenants of the entire tenement sought from them, because John Culverd and his wife Christine are tenants of part of the property, and were tenants on the day when the writ was issued (that is, 3 January of this year). That this is the case, they submit themselves to a jury; and Roger likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. The jurors chosen by agreement of the parties say under oath that Henry and Beatrice are not tenants of the entire tenement that Roger is seeking against them, nor were they tenants on the day the writ was issued. Therefore it is decided that the case against Henry and Beatrice be dismissed, and Roger is to receive nothing through his writ, but is to be amerced for making a false claim.
Walter Feteplace was summoned to respond to the plea of Richard de Chalgrave that he be held to a contract made between Hugh de Chalgrave, father of Richard, whose heir he is, and Walter regarding a tenement with appurtenances in Oxford. Regarding which he complains that Walter leased to Hugh the father of Richard, whose heir he is, the tenement with appurtenances on 29 September 1278, to be held by himself and his heirs for the full 10 years following. Hugh was in possession thereof for barely a month when Walter evicted Hugh from the tenement, as a result of which he says he has suffered losses and damages in the amount of 100s.; and for that reason he has brought this action. He produces a document under Walter's name which evidences the lease. Walter comes and fully acknowledges as his the document and what it contains, but says that he never evicted Hugh from the tenement, nor ever acted contrary to the contract. That this is the case, he submits himself to a jury; and Richard likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. The jurors chosen by agreement of the parties say under oath that Walter did not evict Hugh from the tenement and that Richard is now the tenant under the contract, and that he [i.e. Walter] never acted against that contract. Therefore it is decided that the case against Walter be dismissed, and Richard is to receive nothing through his writ, but is to be amerced for making a false claim (pardoned by the justices because he is underage).
Elias le Quilter was summoned to respond to the plea of Master Ralph de Hadham that he be held to a contract made between them concerning a tenement with appurtenances in Oxford. Regarding which, he complains that Elias, on 11 August 1284, leased to Master Ralph a messuage with appurtenances in Oxford for Elias' lifetime, paying for it whatever was required by taxations of the town of Oxford. Ralph was in possession of the same for one month under the contract when Elias evicted him and denied making the contract; as a result of which he says he has suffered losses and damages in the amount of £10; and for that reason he has brought this action. Elias comes and fully acknowledges the contract, allowing Ralph to have the house during the lifetime of Master Elias, in return for paying each year whatever was required by taxations of the town of Oxford. Upon this comes forward a certain Philip, son and heir of a certain Oliver who had rights in the house. He states that his father Oliver died in possession of the tenement, as part of his lordship and property; after whose death he himself entered into the tenement, as his right and inheritance, and always remained in possession of it, and still is. Philip requests that no contract be made between Elias and Master Ralph that will disinherit him. Master Ralph states that Elias le Quilter, on the day he leased him the tenement, was himself in possession of that tenement, as a freeholding, and requests that an inquiry be made into this by a jury. The jurors say under oath that Oliver, Philip's father, died in possession of the tenement and, they say, in his last will he left the tenement to Margery the wife of Elias for Margery's lifetime. They say that after Elias and Margery took possession of the tenement through the legacy, Elias made a contract with Master Ralph concerning the tenement. Therefore it is decided that Elias may be held to the contract (as specified above) with Ralph, and the sheriff is ordered to ensure Ralph is given possession.
John son of Nicholas Hedrich claims from Richard le Barbur and his wife Mary a shop with appurtenances in Oxford, into which Richard and Maria obtained entry only through Robert de Flecham, parson of St. Mary's Oxford, to whom Peter de Kyllin[gworth?] leased it, thereby unjustly and without any judicial decision dispossessing John thereafter etc. Richard and Mary come and call on Robert de Flecham to warrant [their right]. He comes upon summons and [says that] he warranted to him [Richard? John?] and rented the shop to John. Therefore it is decided that John may recover possession from Richard and Mary, who may have compensation from the property of Robert, and Robert is to be amerced.
Master Ralph le Taillour of Oxford was summoned to respond to [the plea of] Richard de Cantuaria that he pay him 100s. that he owes him and unjustly withholds. Regarding which, he complains that on 1 August 1272 in Oxford he handed over to him in coin and other goods, and in food and drink, items worth the said amount, by a certain tally which he made him [and] which he produces as evidence of the matter; Master Ralph was due to pay him the money on 1 November following, [but] Master Ralph always withholds the money and refuses to repay, to Richard's damage in the amount of 100s.; and for that reason he has brought this action. Ralph comes and fully acknowledges the debt and that he made the tally. Therefore it is decided that Richard may recover the debt of 100s. from Ralph along with damages which are assessed at 40s., and Ralph is to be amerced etc. Damages, 40s.
Alice widow of William atte Montes claims from Walter de Witney and John atte Montes one-third of a tenement with appurtenances in Oxford, as dower etc. Walter and John come and they say that Alice, after the death of William her late husband, was in possession of that messuage under name of free bench and was thereby in possession for over 40 days. They say that the custom of the town of Oxford is such that when any wife after the death of her husband shall continue in possession of any tenement, under name of free bench, for 40 days or more and afterwards remarries, that she shall forever after be excluded from seeking the said tenement by an action of dower, and [on these grounds] they request a judgement. Alice says that she never had any [possession] of the tenement under name of free bench, except by way of nurturing Robert, the son and heir of her late husband William. That this is the case, she submits herself to a jury; and John and Walter likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. (And Simon Balle and John de Hastinges pledges did not come, therefore they are to be amerced). The jurors say under oath that the custom of the town is such that when any wife has possession for 40 days of any tenement previously her husband's, under name of free bench, and afterwards remarries, that under no circumstances may she have dower right in that tenement. They say that Alice had possession of the tenement for 40 days after the death of her husband, by claiming her free bench therein. Therefore it is decided that the case against Walter and John be dismissed, and Alice is to be amerced.
Alice widow of Robert Bodyn claims from John le Luminour et his wife Alice one-third of a tenement with appurtenances in the suburbs of Oxford, and from the Prior of St. Frideswide in Oxford one-third of a tenement with appurtenances in that town, as dower etc. John and the Prior come and the Prior, by licence [of the court], concedes her dower right, therefore she may have possession thereof etc. As for John and Alice and the third part claimed from them, they say that she ought not have dower therein because, they say, Alice's late husband Robert, from the day on which she married him never had possession of that tenement as part of his property so that she could have dower therein. That this is the case, they submit themselves to a jury; and Alice likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. The jurors say under oath that the tenement belonged to Alan Tele, who sold it to Robert the late husband of Alice and put him in possession of it. Robert had possession of it for 6 years and, pulling down its walls, carried off and sold the building stones and timbers; after the 6 years had ended, Robert returned th tenement to Alan as his right, and Alan afterwards sold it to John and Alice. And because the jury finds that Robert the late husband of Alice was in possession of the tenement as part of his property on the day when he married her, it is decided that Alice may recover her possession thereof; and John le Luminour and his wife Alice are to be amerced.
Adam Londyn was summoned to reply to the plea of Matilda widow of Philip de Leycestre that he give her £22 which he owes her and goods to the value of £16.10s. which he unjustly withholds from her. Regarding which, she says that on 29 September 1274 Adam received £6 from the Friars Preacher of Oxford, in Matilda's name; at the same time Adam was obligated to her in the sum of £14.13s.8d for the hire of a house which Matilda has rented Adam for the term of her life. Similarly, he had from her other possessions which belonged to Matilda as a legacy from her late husband Philip, to the value of £22, and to the present day he detains those and russet and other cloths to the value of £16.10s., which he should have paid her the Michaelmas following. Adam withholds the debt up to the present and refuses to repay her, so that she has suffered losses and damages in the amount of £40; and for that reason she has brought this action. Adam comes. Afterwards they reach a settlement, and Matilda gives 13s.4d for licence to settle on security [given] by Adam. It is settled in this way: Matilda forgives Adam all the aforesaid debts and goods, in return for which Adam acknowledges and concedes to Matilda 13s.4d annually, received from the lands and tenements he now holds in the town of Oxford, [payable] at the 4 terms of the year in equal portions. And he concedes that, as often as this rent shall be in arrears, that the sheriff then in office may recover the rent from his tenements.
John son of John de Lundon claims from Alice daughter of Nicholas de Kyngeston a tenement with appurtenances in Oxford, into which Alice obtained entry only through Nicholas de Coleshull, to whom John leased it for a period which has expired. Alice comes and states that she did not obtain entry into the tenement from Nicholas but, on the contrary, from John. That this is the case, she submits herself to a jury; and John likewise. Therefore a jury is to be convened. The jurors chosen by agreement of the parties say under oath that Alice obtained entry into the tenement from John, not from Nicholas. Therefore it is decided that the case against Alice be dismissed and John is to receive nothing through his writ, but is to be amerced for making a false claim (pardoned by the justices).
The eyres were, in a sense and by this date, as much an enquiry into legal administration as into crimes. Part of the role of coroners was to act as the local officers servicing the eyre, in terms of investigating crimes when they happened, recording what they discovered, and apprehending suspects (where possible) for presentation before the king's justices when they next came to the locality.
The other side of that coin is that eyres were to ensure the king received the revenues due him both from crimes (notably confiscation of the possessions of convicts and outlaws) and from the fines assessed on those who had failed in their duty or who were considered to have wasted the court's time with false accusations. It will be noted that most of the "punishments" meted out by the eyre justices bore no direct relation to the crimes reported (many of which were not just past history but distant history). They instead were fines on communities or individuals who were judged to have neglected to do their legal duty. For example, wards or tithings were amerced in the cases of criminals who had evaded arrest; the amercement was because the ward or tithing had primary responsibility for submitting any errant members to justice.
To portray the eyres purely as a mechanism for safeguarding the king's fiscal rights is too cynical an assessment, even though this may have been their chief purpose at their beginning. By the late thirteenth century, and as they declined in the early fourteenth, the eyres did not make so high a profit to warrant any suggestion that the revenues were the principal motive for their use. They came to play a role in the effort to impose a more standardized system of justice across the kingdom. From ad hoc royal commissions intervening in local judicial administration when problems arose, they developed into a more regular and systematized part of the machinery of royal government, a century before the 1285 eyre whose proceedings at Oxford were recorded. This despite the fact that there were not enough travelling justices to visit each locality more than once every few years the early intent having been every seven years, although the actual interval was often greater. The eyres also had a part in the broader effort of the king to assert the authority of his centralized government, particularly given the struggle for power between king and barons. The eyres dealt primarily with crown pleas criminal cases although they could also entertain civil law suits. Over a hundred cases in these categories were brought before the itinerant justices at their Oxford sessions in early 1285 sessions which evidently lasted a few weeks and would probably have been held in Oxford castle.
Following the civil wars and other regional disruptions during Henry III's reign, which provided opportunities for abuses of local government or usurpations of powers by local lords, Edward I instituted in 1274 a nationwide enquiry. This was followed up by empowering the justices in eyre to adjudicate all complaints received along those lines. Quo Warranto proceedings, which were bundled up with the business of the Oxford eyre, specifically concerned investigations of jurisdictional privileges claimed by some party, and insisted on the party demonstrating the authority by which they claimed to possess those privileges. This was not a new procedure, but one employed more extensively and aggressively by Edward I than by his father. In many cases it was necessary for those challenged to produce a document whereby some king had granted the privilege; although for ancient privileges, the claim to have exercised them from time immemorial was often allowed. Edward's aim was not so much to suppress unwarranted privileges (those discovered were often granted to the claimant in return for an appropriate payment) as to ensure that all privileges were documented and it was made clear that all jurisdictional authority came via by delegation from the king.
Civil cases involving disputes over real estate were typically initiated by the plaintiff having obtained from the king a writ (e.g. of right, of intrusion, of novel disseisin, of dower). Personal actions were more likely to be initiated by the plaintiff appearing before local authorities and laying a complaint.
Academic centres such as Oxford, where gathered young men from different parts, both inside and outside England, and of different socio-economic backgrounds, were notorious hotbeds of crime particularly crimes of violence; this reputation may have been somewhat exaggerated by a sense of scandal stemming from the fact that most scholars were, technically, in or bound for holy orders. Along with the actions of excitable or quarrelsome students, there were incidents arising out of the resentment engendered by Town-Gown rivalries over jurisdiction. The years from 1264 to 1278 had been particularly troubled times at Oxford, with hostilities between various parties. The findings of the eyre reflect that, while surviving records of investigations by coroners (which had to be submitted to the next eyre following) show something similar for a slightly later period. It is perhaps not so much that scholars predominate among offenders than that their presence in the town increased the total number of crimes beyond what we might otherwise expect relative to total population.
"he is a clerk"
"failed to pursue"
"delivery of the gaol"
"for that reason"
"body of the Lord"
"Bogo de Clare"
"Llywelyn the former Prince of Wales"
"St. John's Hospital"
"for the defence of the town"
"kiddles and starkells"
"King Henry the elder"
"return of writs and their estreats"
"gallows, pillory and tumbrel"
"feast of St. Frideswide"
"oath of office"
"William de Eboraco"
"inspection of bread and ale"
"arbitration ... incapacitated"
"lays claim to him"
"four aldermen and eight more judicious and
"suburb outside the North Gate"
"Hugh de Plesetis"
"St. Mary Magdalene" "St. Giles"
"has been hanged"
"The court is informed"
"prove by his body"
"a cellar and a solar"
"and so on"
"Simon Balle and John de Hastinges"
|Created: August 18, 2001. Last update: June 12, 2016.||© Stephen Alsford, 2001-2016|