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Time-honoured Lancaster ... Historic notes on the ancient borough of Lancaster online

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ship or gift. In 1604, James I. gave Lancaster a new charter, and
in 1621 issued a proclamation, "That not only the burgesses, but
all the inhabitants of Lancaster should be toll free throughout all
England ;" and he ordered the proclamation to be made in all
fairs and markets, and a penalty of ^100 to be paid by any that
should exact aught from them ; but it does not appear that the
inhabitants and freemen availed themselves of the privilege con-
ferred by this proclamation.

Ancient Freeman's Certificate.

By the courtesy of Colonel Whalley I have been permiited
to transcribe the following Certificate of Freemanship which may
be interesting to the freemen of to-dav.


To ALL and singular justices and keepers of the peace Sheriffs Mayors
Aldermen Bailiffs Constables and other officers ministers and faithful liege subjects of
our Lord the King to whom this present writing shall come ROBERT WINDER esquire
Mayor of this Burrough or town of Lancaster in the county of Lancaster greeting in
our Lord God everlasting Know Yk that the sd Burrough of Lancaster is an ancient
Burrough and that all the Burgesses thereof have and enjoy for time immemorial
have had and enjoyed the liberties privileges & immunities to be exonerated <S:
acquitted of all toll as Passage & Bridge Toll Stallage Poundage Tunage Lastage &
also of all other exaction & demand whatsoever for all their wares merchandizes
bought or sold throughout ye whole kingdom of England as also through every sea-
port ye islands other ports & towns of Ireland Wales and Mann which our Lord
James ye First late King of England Scotland Ffrance & Ireland by his letters
patents under ye great seal of England granted & confirmed to his Burgesses of
his sd Burrough and their successors for ever ye liberties privileges & immunities
aforesd according to ye tenour of divers Charters of ye ancestors & predecessors of
our sd Ld ye King to ye same Burgesses and their successors granted from ye time
of ye reign of ye late King John by our Lord Charles ye Second late King of England
Scotland ffrance & Ireland to ye same burgesses by his Letters Patents and
Charters lately confirmed as by ye sd Lettrs Patents & Charters in ye power of and
remaining with ye sd Burgesses will more fully & at large appear which said promises
I not only testify to you by the tenour of these presents but also that Roger Ilinde
the younger ftlaxman is a burgess admitted and sworn to ye liberties of ye same
Burrough or vill of Lancaster aforesaid WHEREFORE I the aforesaid Mayor specially
require whenever the said Roger Hinde or his servants shall come to the cities ports
towns or other places within the Kingdom of England or to the ports of 1 1 eland
Wales or Mann with Lis goods wares or merchandizes that he and they shall be free
and acquitted of all Passage Toll Bridge Toll Stallage Poundage Tunage Lastage and
all other exactions according to the grants aforesaid In WITNESS whereof to these
presents I the aforesaid Mayor have put the seal of my office the Twenty-eighth day
of August in the Twelfth year of ye reign ol our most gracious sovereign Lord
George the Second by the grace of God of Great Brittain Ffrance ix Ireland Defender
of ye ffaithe &c and in ye year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and thirty

Robert Winder Mayor L.S.

This Mayor dwelt in Market Street on the site of Messrs.
Whimpray and Cardwell's premises. Another freeman's certificate,
kindly lent me, is that of John Rawlinson of Skerton, butcher. It
is dated April 2nd, 1780, and signed William Butterfield, Mayor,
accompanying it is " The Oath of a Free Burgess of the Corpora-
tion of Lancaster." Both documents go together in a tin case


made for the pocket, so that the owner could carry proofs of his
f reemanship with him without danger of their being damaged or
soiled. The oath reads as follows : —

The Oath of a Free Burgess of the Corporation of Lancaster.

You shall S\vuar that you will bear Faith and true Allegiance to our
Sovereign Lord KING GEORGE, and to his Heirs and Successors Kings and
Queens of this Realm. That you will pay due Obedience to the Mayor and Ministers
of this Borough, and maintain and support as much as in you lies, the Franchises,
Privileges, Rights and Customs thereof. You shall well and duly when required, be
contributaiy to all Duties, Scot, Lot, and other Charges within this Town, bearing
your part, as other Freemen do, during the Time you inhabit within the said Town,
or Franchises thereof. You shall not colour any Foreign Goods whereby the Tolls or
Customs may be lost. You shall not sue any Freeman out of this town, whilst you
may have Law and Right within it. You shall not take any Apprentice within this
Town for less Term than seven Years ; in the first year you shall cause him to. be
Inrolled, and at the End of the Term you shall use your best Endeavours to make him
Free of this Town (if he hath well and truly served you.) You shall keep the King's
1'eace in your own Person. You shall know of no unlawful Assemblies, Meetings, or
Conspiracies against the King's Peace within the Jurisdiction of this Town, but you
shall inform Mr. Mayor thereof, and oppose them to the utmost of your Power. You
^hall on all proper Occasions, promote as much as in you lies, the Good and Interest
' >f this Corporation.

All these articles and things you shall well and truly keep to the best of

your Power.

So help you God.

The Roger Hinde mentioned in Colonel Whalley s certificate
had a sister Rachel, who married Mr. Jonathan Whalley. This
Jonathan Whalley, born on the 23rd February, 173,3, had a silver
cup presented to him, when he was two years old, by his uncle.
Colonel Whalley has the cup which is thus inscribed

Jonathan Whaley,


Colonel Whalley also possesses an old Punch Bowl inscribed
" Success to the Bridgetown " (the chief town in Barbadoes). It
is believed that this bowl was used for christening the ship when


it was first launched and bound for the West Indies. In the
same gentleman's garden is the old stone which stood over the
doorway of Alderman Heysham's house. It bears letters and date-
as under —


G. E.


And now we turn to a more engrossing topic without the
inclusion of which this chapter would prove thin and incomplete in
the extreme. We have seen that the first Charter to Lancaster was
granted about the year 1193, by King- John when Earl of Morton,
in the fourth year of Richard I. that the liberties granted to
Lancaster were very similar to those granted a little before to
Bristol, and also that the third Edward in the 37th year of his reign
granted his Charter to the Mayor and Bailiffs in order to secure the
holding of all pleas and sessions of Justices in Lancaster. These
ancient Charters were confirmed by Richard II., Henry IV. , Henry
V., Henry VII., Queen Elizabeth, and James I. The latter
monarch gave a new Charter in the year 1604 ; and in 1665, came
the first Charter of Charles II., and the second in 1684, and this
latter was called "the old Charter," when reference was made to it
for in 1819 George III., in the 59th year of his reign, conferred
upon Lancaster a new Charter altogether.

Ancient Charters.

The first Charter granted to the burgesses of Lancaster is that of King- John
granted while Earl of Moreton and Bologne about the year 1 188, It conferred upon
Lancaster the liberties and immunities granted to the city of Bristol. In Cory's
" Bristol "' we find that its provisions were as follow : —

That no burgess shall plead or be impleaded out of the walls of the town

in any plea, except pleas relating to foreign tenures, which do not belong to the
hundred of the town, and that they shall be quit of murder within the bounds of the
town. And that no burgess shall wage duel unless he shall have been appealed, for
the death of any stranger, who was killed in the town and did not belong to the town.


And that no one shall take an Inn* within the walls by assignment or by livery of the
Marshall against the will of the burgesses. And that they shall be quit of toll and
Jlastage and §pontage and of all other customs, throughout my whole land and power.
And that no one shall be condemned in a matter of money, unless according to the
law of the hundred, \iz, by forfeiture of 40s. And that the said hundred Court shall
lie held only once a week. And that no one, in any plea, shall be able to argue his
cause in miskenning. And that they may lawfully have their lands and tenures and
mortgages and debts throughout my whole land, whoever owes them anything. And
that with respect to lands and tenures which are within the town, they shall be held
by them duly according to the custom of the town. And that with regard to debts
which have been lent in Bristol, and mortgages there made, pleas shall be held in
the town, according to the custom of the town. And that if any one in any other
place in my land shall take toll of the men of Bristol, if he shall not restore
it after he shall be required, the Prepositor of Bristol shall take from him a
distress at Bristol, and force him to restore it. And that no stranger trades-
man shall buy, within the town, of a man who is a stranger, leather corn
or wool, but only of the burgesses. And that no stranger shall have a wine
shop, unless in a ship, nor sell cloth for cutting, except at the fair. And that
no stranger shall remain in the town with his goods for the purpose of selling, but
for forty days. And that no burgess shall be confined anywhere else within my land
or power for any debt unless he be debtor or surety. And that they shall be able to
marry themselves, their sons, their daughters and their widows, without the license
of their lords. And that no one of their lords shall have the ward-ship or the disposal
of their sons or daughters on account of the lands out of the town, but only the ward-
ship of their tenements which belong to their own fee, until they shall be of age.
And that there shall be no recognition in the town. And that no one shall take tyne
in the town, unless for the use of the lord earl, and that according to the custom of
the town. And that they may grind their corn wherever they shall choose. And
that they may have all their reasonable guilds as well, or better than they had them
in the time of Robert and his son William, Earls of Gloucester. And that no burgess
shall be compelled to bail any man, unless he himself chooses it, although he be
dwelling on his land. We also have granted to them all their tenures within the walls
and without as is aforesaid, in messuages, in copses, in buildings, on the water, and
elsewhere, wherever they shall be in the town, to be held in free burgage, namely by
landgable service, which they shall pay within the walls. We have granted also that
any of them may make improvements as much as they can in erecting buildings
anywhere on the bank and elsewhere, so it is without damage of the borough and

*In the Statutum Wallire, 12 Edward I. (1284) Sheriffs are directed amongst
other official duties to inquire " de hospitantibus ignotis ultra duas noctes."

jLastage comes from the Saxon word last, a burden. The term signified
porterage, or /tallage, a right claimed by servants of the lord of the fee of carrying
«e)ods purchased at fair or market, and the money obtained for that service.

jjPontage was a duty paid for repairing bridges.


town. And that they shall have and possess all void grounds and places which are
contained within the aforesaid boundaries, to be built on at their pleasure, wherefore, I
will, and firmly enjoin, that my burgesses aforesaid, and their heirs, shall have and
hold all their aforesaid liberties and free customs as is written above, of me and my
heirs as well and as completely, (or more so) as ever they had them, in good times
well and peaceably and honourably, without any hindrance or molestation which any
one may offer them on that account. Witness, &c."

The Charter of King John was confirmed by Henry III. in the 36th year
of his reign (1252). In 1 199 King John, it should be observed, abrogated his former
Charter so far as the liberties of Bristol were concerned, and conferred upon that
Borough the liberties which the late king, his lather, had granted to Xor/liainpton,
and confirmed the other grants contained in the Charter. The most important of
the liberties claimed under the Charter of King John were an exemption from toll
throughout all England and the ports of the sea, a Court of Pleas of all debts
contracted at Lancaster, with power to choose a mayor annually, and all other
liberties and free customs of the citizens of London. It appears that the liberties of
Northampton, according to the grant of Richard I., were allowed and enrolled in
the Guild Hall of the city of London in 1361. An exemplification of King John's
Charter was sent by the Corporation of Northampton to Lancaster, and it was
received as comprising the liberties conferred on the burgesses of Lancaster only. By
this Charter the burgesses claimed an annual fair, and a market every Saturday.
This Charter was confirmed by Henry III. in 1226. The style of the Corporation
of Lancaster is first mentioned in the " Placita de Quo Warranto," as " Ballivus et
Communitas Burgi de Lancaslra. " A mayor, two bailiffs, and twelve capital
burgesses are named in the bye-laws of the Corporation, which were examined and
ratified in the 36th Edward III. ; they were again ratified in the 14th Elizabeth.
The ratification of them by Edward III. appears only in the recital of Elizabeth.

I will now proceed to give an abstract of the Charters granted
to Lancaster.

Abstract of Charters granted to the Corporation of
Lancaster and a decree thereon whereby the Assizes and original
Quarter Sessions are held at Lancaster and nowhere else in the

A Copy of the Chapter of Kim; Edward III.

Eowakd, by the grace of Cod, King of England, Lord of Ireland and
Aquitaine. To the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbots, Priors, Earls, Barons, Justiciaries,
Sheriffs, Officers, Ministers, and all Bailiffs and faithful subjects greeting — Know


Ve that we of our special grace and at the request of our beloved son, John, Duke of
Lancaster, have granted and by this our Charter have for ourself and our heirs
confirmed to our beloved the Mayor, Bailiffs and Commonalty of the Town of
Lancaster, their heirs and successors, that all pleas and sessions of whatsoever
[ustices in the county of Lancaster assigned shall be held in the said Town of
Lancaster as in the head town of the said county and not elsewhere in the said
county for ever. Wherefore we will and strictly command for ourself and our heirs
that the aforesaid pleas and sessions of whatever Justices in the aforesaid county
assigned shall be held in the aforesaid town and not elsewhere as aforesaid.
Witnesses hereto, the venerable Fathers Simon, Archbishop of Canterbury, Primate
of all England: William of Winchester, our Chancellor; and Simon of Ely, our
Treasurer, Bishops; Richard, Karl of Arundel, Robert of Suffolk, Thomas de Veer
of Oxford, our Chamberlain, Earls: Edward le de Spencer, Ralph de Nevill, John
de Nevill, John Atte Lee, Steward of our household and others. Given by our own
hand at Westminster, on the thirteenth day of November, in the thirty-sixth year of
our reign.

By Writ of the Priory Seal, inrolled and allowed at Preston on
Wednesday, in the first week of Lent, in the thirty-seventh year of King Edward
the III., after the Conquest.

Inrolled and allowed at Lancaster before Thomas de Lathom and his
Associates, lustices of our Lord the King, on Monday, in the fifth week of Lent, in
the thirty-seventy year of the reign of King Edward III., after the Conquest.'

KING RICHARD II., grandson of Edward III., by his Letters Patent dated
at Westminster, in the seventh year of his reign, recites and confirms the said grant of
Edward III., and by his Letters Patent, dated the sixth of February, in the twelfth
year of his reign, confirmed again the said grant of Edward III.

King HENRY IV., by his Letters Patent, bearing date at Westminster the
first day of March, in the first year of his reign, reciting (infer alia) the said grant of
Edward III., at large confirmed the same in the following words : — We ratifying and
confirming all and singular, the grants and confirmations aforesaid, and the Charter
aforesaid, and all and singular the things in there contained, do for ourself and heirs as
much as in us lies by the tenor of these presents, grant and confirm to our beloved
the present burgesses of the said town of Lancaster and their heirs and successors for
ever as the aforesaid Charters reasonably testify."

King Henry V., by Letters Patent bearing date at Westminster the fifth of
February, in the eighth year of his reign, reciting the said Charter of Edward III., and
the several confirmations confirms them thus:— "And we do with the advice and
consent of the Lords spiritual and temporal in our Parliament held at Westminster


in the lirst year of our reign assembled, accept, approve and confirm to our beloved
the present burgesses of the town aforesaid and their heirs and successors theChartei
aforesaid, concerning such manner oi Liberties, Franchises and Acquittances in no
wise revoked, as the aforesaid Charters do reasonably testify. And as the said
burgesses ought to use and enjoy the Liberties, Franchises and Acquittances aforesaid ;
and they and their predecessors have always hitherto, from the time of the making
of the Charters aforesaid, accustomed reasonably to use and enjoy their Liberties,
Franchises and Acquittances." Under which Charter of Confirmation is subscribed
by the King himself and his Council in Parliament.

Kinc; Henry VII., by his Letters Patent dated the twenty-eighth day of
May, in the third year of his reign, reciting the said Charter of Edward 111.,
confirmed the grant thereby made to the Mayor. Bailiffs, and Burgesses of the vill of

Queen Elizabeth by her Letters Patent, dated at Westminster the twelfth
of February, in the fifth year of her reign, reciting [niter alia) the said Charter of
Edward" III., confirmed the same thus: "We having ratified and confirmed the
aforesaid letters and all and singular the things in them contained, do for ourself
and our heirs and successors as much as in us lies, admit, approve, and l>y the tenor
of these presents do ratify and confirm to our beloved the present Burgesses of the
town of Lancaster aforesaid, and their successors according as the letters aforesaid
reasonably testify."

King JAMES I. by his letters patent, dated the Sixth of December, in the
second year of his reign, ratified and confirmed all the Charters that had heretofore
been granted by any of his predecessors to the Corporation of Lancaster.

KING CHARLES II. by his Letters Patent, as well under the great seal of
England as under the Duchy seal, dated the twenty-second day of December, in the
twenty-sixth year of his reign, granted to the Mayor, Bailiffs, and Conimonalt) of
Lancaster (inter alia) in these words : — " And further we have confirmed by these
presents for ourself, our heirs and successors, and to grant and confirm to the afore-
said Mayor, Bailiffs, and Commonalty of the said town and their successors, that all
pleas and sessions of whatsoever Justices in the County of Lancaster assigned, to be
for ever holden in the said town of Lancaster as in our head town of the same County
and net elsewhere in the same County. Wherefore we will and firmly command for
us and our heirs, that the said pleas and sessions of whatever our Justices in our
County aforesaid assigned, be holden in the town aforesaid and not elsewhere as afore-
said." And likewise confirmed all former grants made to the Mayor, Bailiffs and
Commonalty or Burgesses or inhabitants of the said vill or town of Lancaster.


The original Charters are in Latin, but the above are faithful translations.

Substance of a Decree of the Chancellor and Council of the Duchy of
Lancaster under the Duchy Seal exemplified for and touching the Assizes and four
Quarter Sessions, to be holden at Lancaster in the reign of Philip and Mar}'. It
appears that two of the original Quarter Sessions of the Peace formerly held at Lancaster
were withdrawn by an order of the Duchy Court from the said town and transferred
to Clitheroe, and upon a hearing on behalf of the Mayor, Bailiffs and Commonalty of
the town of Lancaster before the Chancellor of the Duchy and producing the original
Charter of Edward III. and the various confirmations thereof, a decree was obtained
for restoring to the town of Lancaster the two original Sessions which had been
transferred to Clitheroe in which is added the following reason : — " And for that also
that the said Court did make the said several orders without having any intelligence,
notice or knowledge of the said Letters Patent or of any such liberty granted to the
said town of Lancaster as by the same Letters Patent it doth now evidently and
plainly appear. It is therefore, thus ordered and decreed by the said Chancellor and
Council that all general Sessions of Assizes and gaol delivery to be appointed, shall
be yearly from henceforth for ever holden and kept in and at the said town of
Lancaster in the accustomed manner and not elsewhere in the said County. And
also that four other Sessions of the Peace commonly called Quarter Sessions to be
appointed, shall also yearly, from henceforth for ever be holden and kept at such
days as before the making of the order for holding two of the said Quarter Sessions
at Clitheroe, were prefixed, used and accustomed, in and at the said town of Lan-
caster, and not elsewhere in the said County of Lancaster, the several orders or any
clause or article in the same comprised to the contrary, in anywise notwithstanding."

Among- these papers is one referring to the Penitentiary.

On the 31st July, 1818, was laid the foundation of the new- tower in Lan-
caster Castle, called the Penitentiary, intended for female prisoners. It was reared on
Saturday, 26th May, 1821. Its form is that of a semi-polygon of eleven sides, six
storeys high. The basement consisting of an ample kitchen, wash-house, dry-house,
and store-room. Four of the storeys severally consist of nine lofty apartments, each
sixteen feet by eight feet, and each capable of affording accommodation for three
persons, all converging to central rooms occupied by the matron, for the inspection
of the prisoners. Each storey is intended for a class of twenty-seven females. In the
attic storey there are five work-rooms, surmounted by a hospital over the central part,
or matron's rooms. In this edifice every attention has been paid to the means of
classification, inspection, ventilation, and other conveniences, which are likely to
render it one of the best constructed buildings of this kind in the kingdom. The
north front, designed by Mr. Gandy, in which is placed a full length figure of justice,
does great credit to that eminent artist. Mr. W. Coultherst, the master mason, ha-


executed the work in a very substantia] manner. In many parts he has displayed
considerable ability, particularly in the construction of the stone roof and the twisted

curvature of some of the stair cases.

"The Constitutions and Orders" used in the town of Lan-
caster, ratified after being examined in the 36th year of Edward III.,
are very interesting - , and for the pleasure of the curious we will
reproduce a limited number of their clauses, amounting in all
to 142.

8. The mayor and bailiffs to prove bread and ale once in the month at least.

9. No person to be mayor, bailiff, auditor, fearer, or pricker two years
jointly together. No mayor or bailiff shall be pricker or auditor the year next after
they have served the said office of mayorship or bailiff.

10. Also that the mayor shall keep /its comptroll weekly in the toll booth.

16. Neither the mayor nor any of the bailiffs to give any reward from the
town to any bear- wardens or ministrels, without the consent of four of the head
burgesses, and four ot the commons — forfeit 6s, 8d.

17. That the bailiffs keep their banquets at Shrovetide and Easter, and
the bailiffs' feasfs to be landaway, and the town to be charged with such matters at

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