August 1491

Chamberlains are to provide themselves with a building where they shall be in attendance twice a day, viz. two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon, if necessary, in order to receive and collect from merchants, both denizen and alien, customs duties which rightfully belong to the town. Often in the past the goods and merchandize of denizens and outsider merchants, on which custom ought to have been paid, have been falsely presented by men of this town and others privileged [to trade without paying custom] as their own property, thus concealing and withholding the customs to the loss and damage of the town. Therefore it is ordained that whenever any ship or boat, whether of this town or any other place, is freighted or loaded with merchandize within the liberties of the town, [whether bound] inward or outward, the owner of the ship or boat if present, or in his absence its master, shall each time be brought by the water-bailiff before the chamberlains in the said assigned house, there to take oath on a book as to whose goods they have as cargo, so that the town custom may be honestly paid without any fraud or deceit, excepting the customary freedom [from paying customs] cities, towns and other enfranchised places.