under his Privy Seal sent to them to choose four Custodes pro tempore, i.e. for the time; wherein John le Blount Maior should be a Soldier in the Company of Edward his eldest Son. And Richerus de Resham, John le Wengrave, Walter de Finchingfeld, Will. de Combmarten, Thomas Romain, and Nicholas de Fardon, Aldermen, were by Vertue of that Letter chosen Keepers of the City in the room of the Maior pro tempore. [Here be four, and two over: It may be for the King to chuse four out of this Number.]

Anno. 1306.

Ann. 1280, [1286] 14 Edw. Son of Henry, Gregory de Rokesly Maior, the Sheriffs and Aldermen and other the great Men of London, were summoned to appear in the Feast of the Apostles Peter and Paul, before John de Kirkeby Treasurer, and other Justices of the Lord King, in the Tower of London, to make Inquisition. Then the said Gregory the Maior by Counsel, at Berking Church deposed himself, and laid down his Maioralty, and delivered the Common Seal of the City to one Stephen Aswy and other Aldermen. And so entred the Tower with the rest, not as Maior, but as an Alderman and Neighbour of the Citizens: alledging for the City, that by ancient Liberties, they were not bound to go into the Tower of London to make Inquisitions, nor to appear there pro judicio, unless they were warned forty Days before.

In Chronicis Majoris.

Lib. Horn.

The Cause of the City's being Governed by a Custos.

Whereupon the said John Kirkeby seized the Maior's Office and the Liberties of London into the King's Hands, because the City was without a Maior. Whereupon the Citizens afterwards appearing before the King at Westminster, were arrested to the number of eighty Men, and the rest of the Citizens that were the Day before with the Maior at Berking Church and the Tower, were imprisoned. But all were set at liberty the fourth Day after, except Stephen Aswy. And the King gave them a Custos in place of their Maior, Viz. Sir Radulph de Sandwico Knight, and commanded him that he should keep and govern the Citizens according to their Customs and Liberties. This Custos remained in the Office of Custos till the next Day after the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, Anno 14. And John Breton, Custos, succeeded him unto the Feast of St. Margaret, 15. An. And then again Ralph de Sandwich was made Custos, and continued many Years, viz. to the 22th inclusive. [Yet not Custos every Year during that Space.]

Maiors Office and the Liberties seized.

Eighty Citizens arrested at Westminster, and more imprisoned

Custodes appointed.

Dict. Libr. & in fin. Libr F.

Under which Custody, Sheriffs were sometimes assigned to the City by the King's Treasurer and the Barons of the Exchequer; because the Liberties of the City were seized into the King's hand. And sometimes they were chosen by the Citizens. Afterwards 18 Edw. Son of Henry, in the room of the said Ralph, succeeded again Sir John Breton, continuing to the twenty sixth Year incomplete [yet not Custos every year during that Space.] Of this Man it is written, how he called together the Aldermen and Six of the better and discreeter of each Ward, declaring to them, how in the King's Absence he had been appointed Custos by Lord Edward the King's Son, and by other Lords; by whom it was commanded him by an Oath imposed upon him, that he should keep inviolate all the Liberties and ancient Customs, as the Citizens were of old accustomed to have and enjoy: and that he should be in all things as Maior, except the Name: and that he should bear the Name of Custos instead of the Name of Maior.

Sheriffs appointed by the Treasurer and Barons.

Lib. B. Fol. xxxv.

Declaration of the Custos by the King's Order.

Whence it seems that the Common Seal was heretofore in the Custody of the Maior ex officio, as his proper Office, until the Citizens obtained of the King, that the Common Seal of the City should remain in the Custody of two Aldermen and two other Commoners, to be chosen by the Commoners of the City, &c. as in the Charter of the same King Edward Son of King Edward, [Henry] made to the Citizens Anno 12. of his Reign.

The Common Seal of the City.

Lib. Custom. fol. xciiii.

In the twenty sixth Year of the same King, Wednesday in Easter Week, all the Aldermen and other honest Men of the City were before the King at Westminster. And there the King with his Council granted them the Election of the Maior. And they the Friday next following with twelve Men of each Ward, chose Henry de Galeys for Maior. Who Wednesday next at the next Court, was presented to the King at Fulham, and was accepted. Thursday next following he was admitted, and sworn before the Treasurer and Barons of the Exchequer at Westminster. And the next Day being Friday, he took his Journey towards Lincoln, for the dispatching of his urgent Affairs, and put in his room William de Beton, and Galfrid de Norton, as appears in the Book B.

Maiors restored to the Elected by the City.

A Maior goes to Lincoln.

Lib. B. fo. 38.

There were then two Commissions from the King directed: one to Sir John Breton, to resign his Office of Custos or Keeper; the other to the Citizens to chuse a Maior.

Libr. B. fol. xxxviii.

But this that followeth is remarkable. Because the said Appointment of a Custos or Keeper and Seizure of the Liberty of the City into the King's hand for the Transgression of one Person, seemed rather Voluntaria quam legitima; i.e. proceeding from his Will, than any Law: therefore lest this should happen to prejudice the City again, our Lord King Edward III. granted by his Charter exemplified in the Book F. "That for any personal Transgression or personal Judgment of any Minister of the same City, the Liberty of that City should not be taken into the Hands of the King or his Heirs, nor a Custos be deputed on that Occasion in the same City."

The Liberties not henceforth to be seized for any Personal Transgression.

Fol. cv.

The Office of the King's Escheator in London was anciently distinct, but now comprized in the Maior's Office: as appears by the Charters of King Edward III. to the City, Annis 1. and 1 Now proceed we to

Escheator's Office in the Maior.

The Election of MAIORS, as also SHERIFFS.


OF ancient Time there used to be a great Conflux of Citizens at Guild-hall to these Elections. Whence arose great danger of Tumults and Disturbances. For the preventing whereof, the Maior and Aldermen used to meet some Days, before the Day for the Election of the Maior, (as likewise of the Sheriffs) as they are wont now to meet and to confer together, how the Election should be managed peaceably without popular Tumult and Murmur. Hence out of every Ward they summoned some more discreet and sufficient Citizens to make up such a Number as to them seemed competent. Who were cited by Name, to present at the Election of the Maior on St. Edward King and Confessor his Day.

Certain discreet Persons out of every Ward to Elect.

Election on St. Edward's Day.

And because many times on the Day of Election, People not summoned crowded into Guild-hall, the Maior and Aldermen sometimes, by the Authority of their Offices, as appears in one of the Books; and sometimes of the Kings Writ, they caused to be proclaimed on St. Edward's Eve through the City, that none should under a great Penalty come on the Morrow to Guild-hall at the Time of the Election, unless more especially cited.

Lib. F. fol. ult.

Lib. D. fo. 3. & Lib. E. fo. 41. &c.

And sometimes against the Time of an Election of a Maior, the King himself issued out his Letters for a Proclamation, Quod Electio fiat sine tumultu & strepitu populari; & quod nemo intersit, qui jus non habeat suffragii; i.e. That the Election be made without Tumult and Noise of People; and that none be present who have not a Right of Voting. And such an Order was made 8 Edw. II.

The King's Order for a Proclamation for a peaceable Election. Record. Turr.