(A) Oath of Office of a Justice of the Peace

Ye shall swear that, as justices of the peace in the county of Kent, in all articles in the queen's commission to you directed ye shall do equal right to the poor and to the rich after your cunning, wit, and power, and after the laws and customs of the realm and the statutes thereof made; and ye shall not be of counsel with any quarrel hanging before you; and that ye hold your sessions after the form of statutes thereof made; and the issues, fines, and amercements that shall happen to be made, and all forfeitures which shall fall before you, ye shall cause to be entered without any concealment or embezzling and truly send them to the queen's exchequer. Ye shall not let for gift or other cause, but well and truly ye shall do your office of justice of the peace in that behalf; and that you take nothing for your office of justice of the peace to be done, but of the queen, and fees accustomed, and costs limited by the statute; and ye shall not direct nor cause to be directed any warrant by you to be made to the parties, but ye shall direct them to the bailiffs of the said county or other the queen's officers or ministers, or other indifferent persons, to do execution thereof. So help you God and by the contents of this Book.

Lambarde, Eirenarcha, p. 59.

(B) Persons Summoned to the Staffordshire Quarter Sessions (October, 1585)


Thos. Bromley, knt, lord chancellor

Wm. Lord Burghley, lord treasurer

George, earl of Shrewsbury

Robt., earl of Leicester, master of the horse

Wm., bishop of Coventry and Lichfield

Edward, Lord Stafford

Edward, Lord Dudley

Jas. Crofte, knt., controller of the household

Gilbert Gerrard, knt., master of the rolls

Francis Wyndham, one of the justices of the bench

Edward Flowerdew, one of the barons of the exchequer

John Littleton, knt. Walter Aston, knt. Ralph Egerton, knt. Thos. Trentham, esq. Walter Harecourte, esq. Ralph Sneid, esq. Thos. Grasley, esq. Wm. Bassett, esq. Edward Aston, esq. Edward Littleton, esq. Ralph Aderley, esq. Robt. Stanford, esq.

Humphrey Ferrers, esq. John Chetwin, esq. John Bowes, esq. Walter Leveson, esq. Ric. Bagott, esq. John Grey, esq. Henry Griffin, esq. Thos. Lane, esq. Thos. Rudyer, esq. Ric. Crompton, esq. Thos. Waringes, esq. Wm. Madder, esq.


Wm. Greene, gent. John Jarvice, gent. George Warner, gent.

Chief Constables of Pirehill Hundred

Chief Constables

Thos. Corbett, gent.

Hugh Fodon, gent.

Humphrey Minors, gent., Offlow Hundred

Thos. Warner, gent., Tottmonslow Hundred

Ric. Mills, gent., Cutleston Hundred

Thos. Rickthorne, gent., Seisdon Hundred

Bailiffs of the Liberties

Robt. Whytall, liberty of the duchy of Lancaster Thos. Ayre, liberty of Robt., earl of Essex, of Lichfield Robt. Persall, gent., liberty of Wm., bishop of Coventry and Lichfield

Bailiffs of the Hundreds

Wm. Pedley, Tottmonslow Hundred John Marten, Pirehill Hundred Thos. Harpur, Seisdon Hundred Wm. Bennett, Offlow Hundred Ric. Suker, Cudleston

Bailiffs Itinerant

Thurston Garter Geoffrey Lightwood Ric. Chauner Jas. Arendale John More Robt. Burges John Grene Robt. Mole[2] Collections for a History of Staffordshire, 1929, pp. 105 f.

(C) Staffordshire Quarter Sessions Rolls (1587-96)

[1587. Writ of restitution] tested by Robert, earl of Essex, at Uttoxeter, 26 July ...: that, whereas by inquisition ... at Uttoxeter ... before Richard Bagot, Ralph Adderly, and Philip Okeover esquire, justices of the peace, it was presented by twelve jurors that George Partridge [and four others] ... have entered a messuage and close called Ridware Park, the free tenement of Thomas Fitzherbert, knight ... , and as yet hold him out of it, contrary to the form of the statute of 8 Henry VI, the sheriff is ordered to make reseisin of the premises and restore to Thomas his former possession. [Return by the sheriff]: 29 July ... I have made reseisin of the premises and restored to Thomas Fitzherbert his former possession....

[1589] Before Edward Leghe, esquire, J. P., 15 February ...: Richard Painter of Wolverhampton, husbandman, to appear at the next general sessions after Easter; sureties, the said Richard £5. John Creswell of Wolverhampton, gentleman, £5....

Before Richard Crompton esquire, J. P., 17 January: John Lebarne of the city of Lichfield, labourer, to appear at the next general sessions after Easter and in the meantime to keep the peace against James Toye of Walton, county Derby, husbandman; sureties, the said John, £20, Thomas Hardyne of the city of Lichfield, shoemaker, £10, John Smabrydge of the same, dyer, £10. [Added in another hand:] Discharged by the court because agreed.... 10 March ... , Richard Prichard of Fradswell and William Emery of the same, to appear at the next general sessions after Easter and to keep the peace; surety, each man for the other £10....

[1591. Articles] exhibited to the justices by Richard Aukers and Thomas Collye, constables of the town of Wolverhampton, against John Greene of the same, 13 April.... First, the said John Green is a common drunkard, a common brawler, quarreller, and breaker of her majesty's peace. Item, he keepeth common ale-selling and usually lodgeth and receiveth persons of ill behaviour, etc. Item, where about Easter last there was a stranger apprehended at Wolverhampton by one Mr. Richards upon suspicion for stealing an old cloak off a hedge; and where thereupon, for the better examination of that fact, the said Aukers went with the said stranger and a servant of the said Mr. Richards to Mr. John Grey, one of the justices of the peace for the said county; and where upon examination of the said stranger it pleased Mr. Grey, for that no person would directly charge the said stranger with the said felony, to remit him: the said Greene at Wolverhampton aforesaid repaired to the said Aukers, most spitefully reviling him and most undutifully exclaiming against the said Mr. Grey, calling the said Mr. Grey villain and false knave, affirming openly it were a good deed he were hanged; whereupon the said constable, willing the said Greene to satisfy himself and not to give out such unseemly speeches, he thereupon reviled most impudently the said constable.

Item, where thereupon the said constable that evening, seeing the unruliness of the said Greene and the violent assaulting of him, the said constable, did therefore put him into the stocks; the said Greene in the night-time with force [did] break open the said stocks, cut them in pieces and took away the ironwork thereof, and, not so satisfied, then and in the night-time came to the door of the dwelling-house of the said constable bragging he was out of the stocks and ... calling for a fresh pair of stocks. Item, the said Greene hath of late threatened to set fire in the house of the said constable and ... to kill the said constable with his dagger. Item, the said Greene hath of late threatened to set fire in the house of one Mr. Wats.... Item ... , being for these misdemeanours committed by the said Mr. Grey to the jail at Stafford, the said Greene hath procured himself out of prison by what mean is not known; and upon his return to Wolverhampton upon Easter even, got into his hat upon the one side a feather and upon [the] other side the mittimus by which [he] was committed by the said Mr. Grey ... , and the same openly did wear in his said hat....

Item, upon Easter day the said Greene, coming into the church ... with the said feather in his hat, seeing the said constable there, in derision ... made very low obeisance to the said constable ...; so looking over his shoulder went out of the church and, putting on a blue coat, [made] the like obeisance in derision of the said constable and his said office. The premises considered, ready all to be proved to your worships, it would please you to take such order that not only the said Greene may be punished for the said misdemeanours and ordered to re-edify the said stocks, but also that he might be bound to his good behaviour hereafter; whereby the said inhabitants may stand more secure from such the violent and unlawful purposes of the said Greene....

[Information] of William Kinge of Lowborowe, county Leicester, draper, against Francis Hilton, servant of the said William, taken 2 December 1596 before Richard Bagot, esq., J. P.: who saith that, Monday the 29th of November last, he sent one Richard Evenson, his son-in-law, to Shrewsbury to buy clothes, accompanied with the said Francis Hilton, and delivered unto the said Richard £30 in money to pay for the said clothes; which money was carried in a bag of malt containing a bushel or thereabouts for more safety. And the said Richard and Francis, travelling together as far as Norton by Cannocke in the county of Stafford, [did] there lodge all night. And Francis Hilton, rising in the morning before the said Richard, took the said £30 out of the said bag, to which the said Richard afterwards coming ... , missed the same, together with the said party. Whereupon he caused the constable there to be sent for, who, after examination of the matter, raised the said town and sent both horsemen and footmen with billets to every constable for the attaching the said party, who was apprehended at Haywood the next day following; upon whom the most part of the money was found, viz., £29 or thereabouts.

Ibid., 1929, 196, 334 f.; 1930, 110 f.; 1932, 244 f.

(D) Rolls of Borough Sessions at Nottingham (1553-88)

[Presentments of the Mickletorn jury, 27 April 1553.] ... We present George Taylor (12d.) for staking of willows in the Lene, and so letteth the course of the water. We present the schoolmaster that should teach the free school, for there hath been divers men before us and hath complained of him; wherefore we desire you to have him changed. We present Bartholmew Chettel (3s. 4d.) as a man not worthy to have the office [of common pavior] which he hath, for misbehaving of himself in taking of excess toll, and for because he doth not call of the chamberlains for sand and stone, considering so greatly as this town doth go in decay for fault of paving and by his negligence.... We present the cow pasture for the overlying of it; wherefore we desire you that there may be a certainty how many shall be taken in. And we think the number of five score is sufficient, and no burgess to have above two.... If any such default be taken, to pay 3s. 4d....

[Presentments by the constables of the town of Nottingham, 8 October 1566.] We present Robert Parke (8d.) for brewing and tippling, being not bound. We present Master Caterne's daughter (4d.) and Charles Overay wife (4d.), for buying butter and eggs without the Chapel Bar. We present Richard Bredun (4d.), Robert Rede (4d.), John Freeman (4d.) for digging down the common ditch unto the Wishing Stairs for getting of worms....

[Presentments by the constables of the town of Nottingham, 20 July 1573.] We present Edward Backhouse for selling of fruit ... to men's apprentices ...; which we think is not convenient. We present Robert Allyng (40d.) for lodging of vagabonds contrary to the constables' mind. We present Mistress Cockyng, widow, for calling the constables knaves and villains when they come for post-horses....

[Presentments of the Mickletorn jury, 28 October 1579.] ... We present to have an usher for the free school, a thing very needful for this town, and to give him £10 a year to have a good one; it will be a credit to have a good master and a good usher in one school. We present that the burgesses may hear the end and reckoning of any subsidy when any is; also that they may hear the accounts both of the bridgemasters and the wardens of the free school. We present that the Red Book[3] may be openly read at every sessions in the hearing of the burgesses, or at the least such things as shall be most needful, that burgesses may the better discharge their oath and their duty for the common weal of this town. We present to have two sworn men to view the market every Saturday, for the countrymen buy both barley and other corn great store; and they should bring to the market to sell as much of other corn as they buy, or else let the advantage of the statute to be shown upon such offenders, for they hurt our market very sore....

Master Mayor, we request you and your brethren that, according as we have a grant for two fairs in the year by our charter, that there may be some building made on the Timber Hill with the town's money and in short time (by good provision made, the town may reap a great rent for the same and other places as well), and that the continuance of the fair may be proclaimed in every market and fair three months before the fair.

[Presentments of the Mickletorn jury, 22 April 1588.] ... We have thought good, forasmuch as we have a most godly exercise of preaching on the Friday once a week, and lest the same should decay amongst us through our negligence, in not coming as we ought to do, and specially of the chiefest of our town ... , it shall be very good not only for yourself, Master Mayor, with the rest of your brethren, but also that the whole council, with the clothing[4] of this town, most reverently to observe the same by some special order set down by you and that the same be duly kept. We present William Hodgkinson for setting part of his house on the common ground in the Holmes (12d.). We present the free school to lack repairs, and that the school is greatly annoyed for lack of casements. We present the new bridge to lack a rail. We present the Long Butts to be in decay.

Stevenson, Records of the Borough of Nottingham, IV, 105-223.

[1] For other documents dealing with the justices of the peace and their activities, see nos. 73C; 81C, F, G, H; 82C; 83H.

[2] Of the persons summoned, there appeared three justices, two coroners, three chief constables, two bailiffs of the liberties, five bailiffs of the hundreds, and six bailiffs itinerant.

[3] The official record of the by-laws.

[4] Livery company.