65. DURHAM HALMOTE ROLLS (1375)[1]

Pittington.... Inquest: it was proved by oath ... that Thomas, son of John Widowson of West Rainton, is a freeman of free condition and of free status and not a bondman of the said lord prior.

Ferry. It was ordered[2] that no cotters of the vill should leave the vill while any of the tenants had work to be done....

Wallsend. From Alan of Durham and John del Rawe 2s. for breach of the peace in gathering peasecods. And it was ordered that no tenants of the vill should gather peasecods except for their own use, and not for sale at Newcastle — and this in the place ordered by the reeve....

Westoe. Increase of rent 6d.: John Gray took a cottage last in the holding of Thomas Wright, to have and to hold at the will of the lord, at annual rent of 2s. Catherine of Brenklaw took half a cottage, last in the holding of William Souter, to have and to hold at the will of the lord, at annual rent of 18d....

Coupon. It was ordered that no tenants of the vill should enter the park without licence....

Aycliffe. It was ordered that all cotters, and all other tenants of the lord who had no corn of their own to harvest, should reap with the lord at Ketton, on pain of 40d.... And it was ordered that William Power, the reeve, and the forester should have all such tenants, servants, and labourers of the vill stopped from going outside the vill for harvesting, except with the lord and his tenants, on pain of 20s. William Power, John Taylor, Gilbert Randolf, and Thomas Watson were made constables of the vill....

Willington. From the tenants of Willington and Wallsend 2s. amercement because they did not have a common smith as they had been ordered in many halmotes. It was ordered that [the men] of this vill and township should have a common smith before the feast of St. Martin and that henceforth none of them should work on ploughshares, under penalty of 20s....

Hebburn. John of Hedworth rendered homage and fealty in the church of Jarrow to the lord Robert, prior of the church of Durham ... , for his land which he holds of the aforesaid [prior] in Hebburn. Item, John Wiley rendered homage and fealty to the same lord Robert in his court at Harton....

Aycliffe. It was ordered for all tenants of the vill, namely for brewers, that they should not sell a gallon of beer for more than 1d....

West Merrington. It was ordered that no tenants of the vill should insult one another by word or deed.

Mid Merrington.... It was ordered that no tenants of the vill should cut down thorns in the fields of Mid Merrington....

Moorsley. Presentment was brought that Alice, daughter of John Hudson, was married on free land; therefore let inquiry be made whether the same Alice should give merchet[3] or not. John son of Roger was claimed as the lord's bondman of the vill of Little Haswell. And he says he is a freeman; so he shall swear not to remove himself before the next court....

Coupon. Little-Stephen took a cottage once in the holding of Geoffrey Ladman. Gilbert son of John was elected to the office of reeve, and John de Raw is his associate. And they were sworn.

Aycliffe. It was ordered by common assent that they should have a common harvester[4] before the feast of St. Cuthbert in March, on pain of 20s.; also that they should have a common harvester before the feast of St. Helen, on pain of 20s.; also that no tenant of the said vill should do wrong to the said harvester or unlawfully take from him animals under pledge or remove animals from his fold without the licence of the said harvester, on pain of 20s.; also that every tenant should act toward the shepherds of the vill as was agreed in common....

Ferry. It was ordered that no tenants of that vill or of the townships of East Merrington, Mid Merrington, West Merrington, and Chilton should implead one another in any court except the court of the prior, that is to say, in his lay and secular [court]....

West Rainton.... From Thomas Rois 18d., because his dog ate a pea-hen....

Hedworth.... It was ordered that no tenant of the vill should permit his wife to vilify or insult any persons of the neighbourhood....

Hesleden.... It was ordered by common assent that everything gathered in the field, whether corn or herbs, should be brought openly through the centre of the vill and not secretly behind the gardens.... It was ordered that all women of the vill should hold their tongues and should not scold or curse any one.

Dalton. From Joan, wife of William Smith, 12d. for merchet. From Margaret, servant of the farmer, 12d. for leyrwite[5] [incurred] with two men. From Joan Woodcock 6d. for the same. From the wife of John Dawson 6d. for breach of the assize of beer.... Marjory, widow of John Dawson, deceased, took a kiln built by the same John in the lord's waste, to have and to hold for the term of her life, at annual rent of 12d., but the lord prior of his grace remitted to the aforesaid Marjory all but 8d., to be paid annually during the life of the said Marjory. And she gave as fine 12d., which was pardoned except 3d. Item, the aforesaid Marjory took a villein tenement (terram husbandorum): namely, a messuage and eighteen acres of land with appurtenances, which the said John Dawson, formerly husband of the said Marjory, once held, to have and to hold for the term of her life, and paying annually the ancient farm. And within a year she will build a house at her own expense. And she gives as fine 13s. 4d., which is pardoned except 40d.... John, son of John Dawson, took two villein tenements, each containing eighteen acres, which the said John Dawson earlier held, to have and to hold for the term of nine years, rendering annually the ancient farm. And he gives 40d. as fine for the said term of nine years....

(Latin) Halmota Prioratus Dunelmensis, pp. 126-32.


[1] On the significance of these records see Pollock and Maitland, I, 624 f.; and cf. no. 54H.

[2]Ordinatmn est — the usual form used to introduce a local ordinance or bylaw. Before too much communal self-government is read into these extracts, it should be noted that the village obligations, though declared "by common assent," often carried a penalty of 20s. for disobedience. See the entries below.

[3] A fine for permission to marry, at this time a mark of servile condition.

[4]Messor — apparently a superintendent of the harvest who incidentally acted as keeper of the pound.

[5] See above, p. 188, n. 27.


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