64. RICHARD II: STATUTES AND ORDINANCES
(A) Appointment of Councillors (1377)
The king to all who shall see these letters, greeting. By the assent of
the prelates, dukes, earls, barons, and others assembled beside us in our
council held at Westminster on the morrow of our coronation, we recently
ordained that twelve persons — that is to say, two bishops, two earls, two
barons, two bannerets, and four bachelors — should be elected by us and
them as our councillors to aid our chancellor and treasurer in affairs touching
the estate, honour, and advantage of us, and of our kingdom, lordships, and
lands; and that the said councillors thus to be elected should have, after
their election, our letters patent [commissioning them] to carry out and
execute the said matters; and that the said chancellor and treasurer should
duly enforce the measures ordained by them and by the said elected
[councillors], or by the majority of them. Whereupon [the following men] were
elected by us and by the prelates and lords aforesaid.... And in our presence
they were sworn as our councillors, to carry out and execute the said matters
according to the form stated above so long as it should be our pleasure. We,
wishing the said ordinance to be put into effect, have constituted and assigned
the aforesaid men, thus elected, as our councillors to carry out and execute
the said matters according to the form of the ordinance
aforesaid.... And so we shall hold firm and good whatever the said
elected [councillors], together with the aforesaid chancellor and treasurer, or
the majority of them, shall do in our name as stated above and in each and all
of the aforesaid matters, and we will that it be strictly observed. In
testimony whereof we have caused to be drawn up these our letters patent, to
continue at our pleasure. Given at our palace of Westminster, July 20.
By writ of the king himself under the signet.
(French) Ibid., III, 386.
(B) Statute of 7 Richard II: For the Improvement of
... Item, it is agreed and established that no man of law shall
henceforth be justice of assize or of common jail delivery in his own country
(patria), and that the chief justice of the common bench, among others,
shall be assigned to hold assizes of this sort and to deliver jails; but with
regard to the chief justice of the king's bench, let such action be taken as
has been customary for the greater part of the past hundred years.
Item, ... after the said ordinance [of Edward III] had been recited in
parliament, it was agreed and established that no justice of the king's bench
or of the common bench, or any baron of the exchequer, so long as he held the
office of justice or baron, should henceforth take, either by himself or
through others, whether openly or in secret, any robe, fief, pension, gift, or
reward from anybody except the king; nor [should he take] any present from
anybody except one of food and drink which is not of great value. And [it is
established] that henceforth [such justices and barons] shall not give counsel
to any one, whether great or small, in causes or concerns to which the king is
a party or which in any way touch the king; and that they are not to be of
counsel to any one in any case, plea, or dispute pending before themselves or
in any other great court or tribunal of the king, on penalty of forfeiting
office and of paying fine and ransom to the king.
Item, on complaint made by the same commons to the lord king in
parliament, to the effect that great disherison of people had been caused in
times past, and might yet be caused, through false entry of pleas, erasure of
rolls, and alteration of verdicts, it was agreed and established that any one,
whether judge or clerk, properly convicted before the king and his council ...
of an offence of this sort ... should be punished by fine and redemption at the
king's pleasure and should satisfy the party [defrauded]....
Item, whereas various pleas which touch the common law, and which ought
to be discussed and determined according to the common law, are now by way of
innovation coming to be drawn before the constable and the marshal of
England, to the serious damage and disturbance of the people: it is
agreed and established that all pleas and disputes which touch the common law
of the land, and which ought to be discussed and determined according to the
common law, shall henceforth by no means be drawn or held before the aforesaid
constable and marshal; but that the court of the same constable and marshal
shall have [jurisdiction over] that which pertains to the said court, and the
common law that which pertains to it; and let such action and usage continue as
was customary in the time of the lord king's ancestors.
(Latin) Statutes of the Realm, II, 36 f.
(C) Ordinance Concerning Livery and Maintenance
Whereas ... in many of our parliaments previously held ... grievous
complaint and great clamour has been made to us by the lords spiritual and
temporal, as well as by the commons of our kingdom, concerning the great and
outrageous oppression of maintenance, earned on to the damage of us and our
people in various parts of the same kingdom by divers supporters ... of suits
and inquests ... , among whom many are the more encouraged and emboldened in
their aforesaid maintenance and wrongdoing because they are in the retinues of
lords and others of our said kingdom [and are provided] with fees, robes, and
other liveries called company liveries:[4 ][therefore] by the advice
of our great council, we have ordained and straitly enjoined that neither
prelate nor other man of Holy Church, nor bachelor, nor squire, nor other man
of less estate shall bestow any sort of such livery as is called company
livery; and that no duke, earl, baron, or banneret shall bestow such company
livery on knight or squire, unless he is retained for the term of his life
during peace and war and through indenture [made] without fraud or malice, or
unless he is a domestic and family retainer living in the household; nor [shall
such a nobleman bestow such livery] on any valet called "yeoman archer," or on
any person of less estate, unless he is similarly a family retainer living in
the household.... And [it is ordained] that no lord spiritual or temporal or
other person, who has or shall have men in his retinue, shall suffer any who
are with him to be in any way supporters ... of suits and inquests in the
localities; but, as aforesaid, he shall oust them from his service and retinue
as soon as it can be perceived [that they are wrongdoers of this sort] ...; and
that none of our lieges, great or small, of whatsoever condition he may be,
whether he is the retainer of some lord or is any other sort of person
belonging to no retinue, shall undertake any quarrel other than his own or
shall maintain it, by himself or through others, either openly or in secret;
and that all those who, contrary to this our ordinance, use or wear such livery
as is called company livery shall utterly abandon it within ten days after the
proclamation of this same ordinance.... Given under our great seal at
Westminster, May 12. By the king himself and the council.
(French) Ibid., II, 74 f.
(D) Ordinance Concerning the King's Council (1390)
In the first place, the lords of the council shall take pains to appear
at the council by eight or nine o'clock at the latest.
Item, the affairs of the king and the kingdom are to be examined in
preference to all others when the greater men of the council and the other
officers are present.
Item, matters touching the common law are to be sent for determination
before the justices.
Item, matters touching the office of chancellor are to be sent for
determination before him in the chancery.
Item, matters touching the office of treasurer are to be sent for
determination before him in the exchequer.
Item, all other matters, which cannot be settled without the special
grace and permission of the king, are to be laid before him in order thereon to
have his opinion and pleasure.
Item, no gift or grant that may be turned to the diminution of the
king's profit shall be passed without the advice of the council and the assent
of the dukes of Guienne, York, and Gloucester and of the chancellor, or of two
Item, all other matters presented to the council in order to have their
advice, and other matters of great weight, are to be determined by those of the
council who are present, together with the officers.
Item, all other bills of less weight from the people are to
be examined and determined before the keeper of the privy seal and others of
the council who may be present at the time.
Item, ordinances previously made by the assent of the king and of his
council with regard to offices in his gift are to be held and observed.
Item, no steward or justice is henceforth to be appointed for the term
of his life.
Item, bachelors who are of the king's council shall have reasonable
wages for the time spent in work connected with the same council.
Item, lords who are of the same council shall receive consideration for
their labour and expense by the advice of the king and his council.
Item, after one matter has been introduced in the council, they shall
not pass on to any other matter until an answer has been given in the matter
On March 8, in the thirteenth year, etc., this ordinance was made at
Westminster in the presence of the king, there being in attendance the duke of
Guienne, the duke of York, the earl of Salisbury, the earl of Northumberland,
the earl of Huntingdon, the chancellor, the treasurer, the [keeper of the]
privy seal, the steward, Lovell, Stury, and Dalynrigg.
(French) Nicolas, Proceedings of the Privy Council,
I, 18a f.
(E) Statute of 15 Richard II: Restriction of
... Item, whereas it is contained in the statute De
Religiosis that no man of religion or other man whatsoever
shall buy or sell, or under colour of gift or lease or other title of any sort
shall receive from any one or in any way, by artifice or strategem, cause lands
or tenements to be appropriated to himself from any one ... , so that the said
lands and tenements come into mortmain: ... it is granted and agreed that all
those who are possessed of lands, tenements, fiefs, advowsons, or other
possessions by enfeoffment or in other fashion for the use of men of religion
or of other spiritual persons ... shall, between now and the feast of St.
Michael next, have them amortized by licence of the king and the lords [of the
lands]; or, otherwise, [the holders] shall sell them and alienate them for
another use between now and the said feast, on pain of their being forfeit to
the king and the lords as tenements purchased by men of religion, according to
the form of the statute De Religiosis. And from this time on, under the
same penalty, no such purchase shall be made, so that such men of religion or
other spiritual persons shall thereof enjoy the profits as aforesaid. And this
same statute shall extend to and hold for all lands, tenements, fiefs,
advowsons, and other possessions purchased or to be purchased for the use of
gilds or fraternities....
(French) Statutes of the Realm, II, 79 f.
(F) Second Statute of Praemunire (1393)
... Wherefore our said lord the king, by the assent aforesaid and at the
prayer of his said commons, has ordained and established that, if any one
purchases or pursues, or causes to be purchased or pursued, in the court of
Rome or elsewhere, any such translations, processes, sentences of
excommunication, bulls, instruments, or anything else touching our lord the
king that is inimical to him, his crown, his regality, or his aforesaid
kingdom, as aforesaid; or if any one brings them into the kingdom, receives
them, or thereof makes notification or any other execution, either within the
said kingdom or outside it; such persons, their notaries, procurators,
partisans, supporters, abettors, and counsellors are to be put outside the
protection of our said lord the king, and their lands, tenements, goods, and
chattels are to be forfeit to our lord the king. And [it is ordained] that, if
they can be found, they are to be bodily attached and taken before the king and
his council, there to respond in the cases aforesaid; or that process shall be
brought against them by praemunire facias in the manner
provided by other statutes concerning provisors and other men who, in
derogation of our lord the king's regality, bring suit in the court of
(French) Ibid., II, 85 f.
 They were especially commissioned to borrow money for the
king's immediate needs.
 Cf. no. 53.
 Cf. no. 56, art. 26.
 This ordinance was one of many futile efforts to check the
practice of keeping bands of uniformed retainers, organized like the notorious
free companies in the French wars.
 That is to say, private petitions; see, for example, no.
 On the law of uses, see Holdsworth, History of English
Law, IV, 407 f.
 The Statute of Mortmain, no. 52B.
 The prohibition also extended to municipalities.
 The extremely long preamble is omitted.
 Removals of ecclesiastics from one office to another.
 The special writ after which the statute came to be named;
cf. no. 62G.