August 1491

By the nomination and decision of the bailiffs and 24 then in office, at the said [electoral] assembly each year there shall be written down for each leet the names of 9 of the most "discrete welldysposyd and indyfferent" persons of the 48 who are then present in the house[, each name on its own slip of paper]; in default of that number of the 48 [being present for each leet] other well-disposed persons then present are to be nominated [by bailiffs and 24?]. Those persons who served as electors last year to be excluded, as specified in the old ordinances. The said 9 names for each leet are to be put in 4 hats, each leet in its own hat. All 4 hats shall be brought before the bailiffs, where a child ["an innocent"] or an illiterate man shall be called forth and he shall take out of each hat 3 slips and lay them down before the bailiffs. These 12 [named persons] are to be called forth, tasked and sworn according to ancient custom of the town, and the said 12 persons so tasked shall choose the officers for the year to come, that is: 2 bailiffs, 2 chamberlains, 2 churchwardens, 2 muragers, 2 collectors of the half-doles, 8 "dyscrete and sufficient" herring wardens, and 4 auditors (who shall comprise 2 of the 24 and 2 of the 48, of the wisest and most sensible, skilled in auditing accounts). If 9 of the 12 [electors] are in agreement [in their choice], even though the other 3 disagree, the verdict of that 9 shall be accepted and the election shall be valid.

[The half-doles were an imposition on the fishing industry. A fishing-boat's catch was, after the expenses of the voyage were deducted, divided into lots of pre-agreed sizes, assigned to the owners and crew of the vessel. One dole, perhaps (as later) converted to a cash value, was allocated to the parish church (as a form of tithe) and to the borough, with the latter's half applied, at least by late fifteenth century, to maintenance of Yarmouth's haven and quay. The revenue generated by these half-doles could be not inconsiderable when Yarmouth was at its peak as a fishing base, and might yield several hundred pounds a year in the fourteenth century. It is possible the half-dole was also applied to the profits of local hosts of outsider fishermen, to whom they supplied, for a fee, crewmen, nets, and other equipment. Although resented as any tax was, the town's half-dole continued to be collected down to 1824.]