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September 30,
1558

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Document-specific information
Date: September 30, 1558
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/7/57

Item Title
Borough of Stratford-upon-Avon Miscellaneous documents, Vol. 7
Item Date
September 30, 1558
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Call Number
BRU15/7/57

BRU15/7/57 verso

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BRU15/7/57 verso
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Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Date: September 30, 1558
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/7/57

Item Title
Borough of Stratford-upon-Avon Miscellaneous documents, Vol. 7
Item Date
September 30, 1558
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Call Number
BRU15/7/57

BRU15/7/57 page view

View Image Assets
BRU15/7/57 page view
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Date: September 30, 1558
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/7/57

Item Title
Borough of Stratford-upon-Avon Miscellaneous documents, Vol. 7
Item Date
September 30, 1558
Repository
Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
Call Number
BRU15/7/57 page view

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

Reproduced by permission of Shakespeare Birthplace Trust

Terms of use
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has graciously contributed images under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommerical ShareAlike 4.0 International license. Visitors may download, link to and cite the images for personal research only. Any further use, including, but not limited to, unauthorized downloading or distribution of the images, commercial or third party use, is strictly prohibited. Visitors must contact the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust to request additional use, at: images.scla@shakespeare.org.uk

Document-specific information
Date: September 30, 1558
Repository: The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Call number and opening: BRU15/7/57

John Shakespeare was elected constable of Stratford-upon-Avon, as shown here, on September 30, 1558. One of the constables’ main duties was to oversee the watch “for the good governement of the Towne” (Minutes and Accounts, i, p. 68) although it is clear, from reports of various offences committed within the town, that they also had a general responsibility for maintaining law and order. Presumably John Shakespeare carried out his duties satisfactorily as, on October 6, 1559 (Minutes and Accounts, i, p. 101), he was re-elected for the following year.

Before Stratford-upon-Avon’s charter of incorporation was granted in 1553, a manorial court, held twice yearly before the lord of the manor’s stewards, had managed most of the town’s affairs. For many years Stratford’s manorial lordship had been vested in the bishops of Worcester but by the time King Edward VI had granted the town its charter in the summer of 1553, the lordship had passed to John Dudley, duke of Northumberland. However, on the king’s death later that same summer, Dudley was arrested and executed for his attempt to put his daughter-in-law, Lady Jane Grey, onto the throne. Dudley’s estates, including the Stratford lordship, lapsed to the crown and the town’s manorial court was thereafter held theoretically in the crown’s name until 1562 when Elizabeth I restored the lordship to Dudley’s son, Ambrose earl of Warwick. The manorial court’s proceedings overlapped with the new Corporation’s activities to the extent that a series of early court rolls are now to be found in the borough archives.

The election of the borough officers was ratified at the manorial court’s autumn meetings. Shown here are the proceedings of the court held on September 30, 1558, at which John Shakespeare was sworn as one of the manorial court’s jury. At the conclusion of business, the officers for the following year were sworn in, including John Shakespeare as constable.

John Shakespeare’s service as constable indicates that he had become part of a body of well-to-do business men  involved in the town’s governance. The Corporation, as defined in its 1553 charter, was made up of fourteen aldermen , named in the charter, and fourteen capital burgesses  to be chosen by the aldermen. The charter also allowed for the election of constables, but no number was specified. However, we know that four were chosen annually from October 1554.

The names of the early capital burgesses are known only from lists of 1555, 1556, and 1557 in which John Shakespeare does not feature. These lists do indicate, however, that usually the constables were already capital burgesses , suggesting that John Shakespeare may have been elected to that position by the time he was first appointed a constable in September 1558.  However, he does not occur as a capital burgess in the written record until late August 1564.  

Semi-diplomatic transcription

[On two sides of a single sheet, later bound into a volume of miscellanea as BRU 15/7/57. The heading is in an unidentified hand but from the ‘Presentments’ onwards is in the hand of Richard Symons]

[recto]
Stretforde
Visus franci plegii Cum Curia et Sessione pacis tentus ibidem xxxo die Septembris Annis Regnorum Philippi & Marie
Regis & Regine Anglie hispaniarum francie vtriusque Cicilie Ierusalem’ & Hibernie fidei defensorum Archidicum
Austrie ducum Burgundie Mediolani & Brabancie Comitum Haspurge fflandrie & Tirolis quinto &
Sexto

Essonie                  [blank]

Positi in decennariis domini
Regis & domine Regine          [blank]

xij Iurati pro domino
Rege & domina Regina

Georgius Whateley
Radulfus Cawdrey
Ricardus Byddell           Iurati
Willelmus Mynskes                                                      

Ricardus Hyll
Iohannes Taylor
Willelmus Tyler         Iurati
Iohannes Shakespere

Willelmus Smythe, mercer
Edmundus Barrett
Ricardus Lane                          Iurati
Ricardus Cotton

Willelmus Perrett
Iohannes Lorde
Robertus Salesburye       Iurati

Presentmentes
mercia
Agnes xij d mechyn  for havyng & kepynge [blank] goodbarne an ynmake contrary to thordor of the court she standes amercyd xij d xij d
mercia
Item Robert Cox for recevynge & Havynge an ynmake contrary to the ordor of the Court he standes amercyyd
mercia
Item [blank] for recevynge a Strawng woman beyng brought to bed in his hous
standes amercyd
mercia                
Item that Richard vj d lyghtfott Iohn Hunt for havynge ther his swyne goynge at lardge in the stretes he standes amercyd iiijd
mercia                
Item George vj d banester & Roger vj d banester for beynge commen typlars contrere to the Statute they Stand amercyd xijd
Robert Balamy & that they take doune ther aelstakes within iiij days next after the court vnder the peyne of xs
mercia
Item fraunces vj s viij d harbadge & thomas hunt for sufferynge the braysares to Stand afor ther his dore
Soylles  they he Standes amercyd
peyne
Item that euery householder dwellyng within the burrow of Stratford within xiiij days next after this
Court do put a way ther ynmakes vnder the peyne of xxs & that none receve
eny ynmakes from hensfurthe in lyke peyne without lysaunce of the bely
peyne
Item that no ynhabytant within this burrow from hensfurthe receve eny straunger woman
beynge with chyld to be brought to bed in ther houses vnder the peyne of xxs
peyne
Item that euery housholder within this burrow befor ther Soylles do frotyme to tyme
kep cleane ther gutters vnder the peyne of euery offender to forfert iijs iiijd tociens quociens
peyne
Item that euery bochar do let carre furthe of the burro at seasonable tymez do the ryddynges of ther beastes bellys garbages & beastes pates vnder
the peyn of eny offender to forfet for euery defalt vjs viijd
peyne
Item that no ynhabytant within stratford from hensfurthe presume to be a commen brwar but only suche as are
or shalbe assigned & appwyntyd by the bely vnder the peyne of euery offender to forfet for euery
defalt xxs
peyne
Item that non ynhabytant within stratford be a commen vyttelar or a typlar without a lysaunce
vnder the peyne of xxs
peyne
Item that none do presume to be a commen brwar but suche as be & shalbe assigned &
appwyntyd by the bely vnder the pein xls tociens quocyens
peyne
Item that non havynge ther Swyne goynge at lardge in the Stretes nor in the bancroft vnryngyd nor
in eny londes a bout Stratford nor ther Dukkes vnder the peyne of euery offender to forfet for euery
defalt for euery Swyne iiijd
peyne
Item that none from hensfurthe do bake bred to Syll but only the commen bacares & that they & euery of them have &
kep a leyffull marke vppon hys bred vnder the peyne to forfet for euery defalt xls & that
euery bacar from tyme to tyme kep thassyez vnder the peyn to forfet for euery defalt iijs iiijd
& that to be payd within xiiij days next after euery court after the falt ys or shalbe found,
& to forfet al the bred beynge proved to lyght
mercia                
Item the cunstabulles do present that Humfrey Homys made afray vppon Robert Hall wherfor he ys amercyd vjd
 
[verso]
mercia
Item Robert ij d Mors mystrys ij d waterman Edmund ij d barret ^Chrystouer Smyth ii d gryffyn vp Robert ij d [blank] buntynge ij d Richard lane ij d
Robert Salesberry ij d for haveinge ther dogges goynge at lardge not moseled they Stand
a mercyd
pena
Item that no ynhabytant after vj days now next commynge have hys or ther ban dogges not bytchys goynge at large in the Stretes vn moselyd 
vnder the peyne to forfet for euery tyme doynge the contrery forfet xijd & that to be payd within xiiij dayes next after the falt beynge maed
pena
Item that none have ther Dukkes goynge at lardge in the Stretes vnder the peyne of euery offender to
forfet for euery Duk ijd tociens quociens
pena
Item that euery commen brwar brwyng aell to syll shall syll
pena
Item that no brwar that brwth aell to Syll from hensfurthe shall have vse nor occupy non other to put in
ther brethren no hoppes nor no other Suttell thynges in ther brwynge vnder the payne
of euery offender to forfet for euery defalt xxs & that to be payd within xiiij days next
after the falt So be provyd or found in them & euery of [blank]
peynes
Item that the commen brwares from hensfurthe shall Syll new aell vnder the hearsyv for xviijd the dossen & xij galones to the dossen clere & Staell for ijd the galen & iij galens
of Small ale for a penny good & wholsum for mans body vnder the payne & that none
tune furthe eny brethen of aell vntyl the tasters have asayed & alowed
the Same aell & drynke to be good & wholsum vnder the peyne of forfeytynge
for euery defalt xxs
belyf
The xij men have ordenyd ther trysty & welbelouyd Robert Perot to be bely
for one wholl yere now next Comynge
alderman
Item ther trysty & welbelouyd Henry byddyll Capytall alderman Iuratus
Constabulles
Item ther trysty & Welbelouyd Humfrey Plymley Roger sadler Iohn taylor
& Iohn shakspeyr Iuratus Constabulles
tastarers
Item William perot & Iohn bell tastares    Iurati
chamburlenes
Item lews ap William & Richard Hyll chamburlens    Iurati
lether seallares
William trowt & Richard extra brookes   Iurati
sergeauntes
Richard sharp Iohannes aporse & William butler    Iurati
mercia
Roger Sadler iij s iiij d  xx d Richard Aunge ijs xx d xij d [blank] Cartwryght Cartwryght vj d Iohn Sydwall Commen bacares & brekynge thassyez they Stand
a mercyd
pena
Item that Iohn Clark carpenter do avoyd hys hous of his woman dwellyng with hym befor
all halow day vnder the pene vjs viijd
Memorandum that the xij men dyd amerce the offenders & no furares choson
 
[note at foot probably acting as an endorsement when the paper was stored as a roll]
 
Stratford
burgus
festum Michaelis
vto & vjto
Phillipi
& Marie

 

Written by Robert Bearman