RETIREMENT Florilegium Urbanum


Keywords: medieval Shrewbury eyre lawsuits maintenance contracts breach poverty sergeant
Subject: Disputes over maintenance contracts
Original source: Documents in the Public Record Office, including the eyre roll, m.35.
Transcription in: William Craddock Bolland, ed. Select Bills in Eyre, A.D. 1292-1333, Selden Society, vol.30, (1914), 6, 22-23.
Original language: French and Latin
Location: Shrewsbury
Date: 1292


TRANSLATION

[1. Petition to the Shropshire Eyre of 1292, with court record of defendant's response]

To the king's justices,
Thomas le Peleter of Shrewbury lays a complaint against Robert de Rossehall sergeant of the town of Shrewsbury, regarding an agreement made between Thomas and Robert on 3 October 1288 whereby Robert would provide Thomas with sustenance and all necessaries – such as food, drink, footwear, clothing, linen, and wool[len cloth] – in return for a house in Shrewsbury that Thomas gave him. Robert fulfilled his side of the contract only during the first two years and has done nothing since, but has broken the contract with him and refuses to provide him with sustenance, as a result of which Thomas has become a beggar, to his great damage in the amount of a hundred shillings, for which he prays for redress, in God's name.

Robert comes and fully acknowledges that he is bound to provide Thomas with the necessaries stated. He is ready to provide him with those necessaries and says firmly that it was in fact never his fault that he [i.e. Thomas] could not have the necessaries. Thomas admits this. Therefore Thomas is told that he should reside with Robert if he wants to receive the necessaries.

[2. Complaint to the Shropshire Eyre of 1292]

Dear sir, I appeal to the mercy of you who represent the king in doing justice to both rich and poor. I, John Feyrewyn lay a complaint before God and before you, Your Honour, that Richard le Carpenter, clerk of the bailiff of Shrewsbury, withholds from me £4 that I paid him under a written agreement to the effect that Richard was obligated to provide me, John, with sustenance in return for the money received from me. But he has not acted towards me as specified in the contract; as soon as he had the money, he ignored my needs, restricted my movements, and fed me scraps of bread as though I were a pauper begging bread in God's name, so that I almost starved to death. Because of this, dear sir, I appeal in God's name for your mercy in ensuring my money is returned to me before you leave this town. Otherwise I shall never get my money back – for you should know that the rich people stick together to ensure that the poor people can get no justice in this town. As soon as I have my money, my lord, I shall go to the Holy Land, where I shall pray for the king of England and, particularly, for you Sir John de Berrewyke. You should know that I have not a penny nor a halfpenny for [hiring] a lawyer. And so, dear sir, have pity on me so that I may get my money back.

[Endorsed:] He admitted [the charge] and they have permission to settle [their disagreement].



DISCUSSION

It is notable that both these cases involve borough officials as the providers of maintenance. Whether this is coincidence, or whether such men were expected to be conscientious in meeting their obligations, cannot be said.

flourish

NOTES

"sustenance"
In this context, it may be interpreted as board and lodging.

"reside"
The Latin is adhereat, meaning to stick to, be a supporter of, or (by extension) be a member of the household of.

"restricted my movements"
This would seem to be the gist of me fit sere par le trunc.




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Created: August 18, 2001. Last update: November 23, 2002 © Stephen Alsford, 2001-2003