Ordinances of the Cordwainers, 1272

(Latin extracted from the Liber Horn (Folio cccxxxixb); English translation is based on that extracted from Mander)

This Charter remained in effect from 1272 until 1290 when they, along with the Charters of the rest of the City's guilds, were suspended until 1303 when a new Charter was granted.


English Version

Know ye all who shall see or hear this present writing that these are the provisions and statutes which the good men of the Cordwainers of London have ordained or provided for in the 56th year of the reign of King Henry son of King John, the with consent and will of Sir Walter Hervey, then Mayor of London and the other barons of the same city, for the advancement and relief of the whole craft and to end that all manner of frauds and deceits may hereafter be avoided.

Imprimis with the unanimous will and assent of the same Cordwainers it is ordained that no cordwainer shall in future interfere [intromittat] in the tanning of leather [de opere basani] under the penalty of half a mark, to be paid to the commonality of the city aforesaid. And that no tanner shall henceforth interfere with the work of a cordwainer under the like penalty to be paid to the same Commonality. With this exception, however, that the cordwainer who makes soles for boots of tan leather may well and lawfully do so. The cordwainer may also lawfully interfere with cowhides and the tanner too. The Cofferers also standing in the Chepe [Market/foro] or elsewhere, using cowhides shall in no wise interfere in the craft of a cordwainer nor of a tanner under the penalty aforesaid. Moreover, no cordwainer may make boots [ocas] or shoes [solulares] of calf's hide nor sell any such to any one under the penalty aforesaid with the forfeiture of the same.

Moreover, no cordwainer nor tanner shall henceforth receive any apprentice, but only with the consent and will of the Mayor and Commonality, and unless it shall appear by sufficient proof that he is of good character and decent behavior, tractable, mild and complacent as becometh him. And the apprentice of a cordwainer shall give for being taught his trade forty shillings at the least, and to the Commonality aforesaid two shillings, and he shall pay to the poor being that business, who have not the competent means of living, two shillings; but the apprentice of a tanner shall give for being taught his trade, twenty shillings at least, and to the Commonality above said two shillings, and two shillings to the poor as is aforesaid.

And when the apprentice shall have served and completed his time, and this can be proved by the testimony of his master and other good and lawful men before the Mayor and the other good men of the aforesaid city, he may freely follow his craft according to the custom of the city; but if the apprentice shall have serves and not completed his time, before he in any wise work in the aforesaid business he shall satisfy his master for what is wanting of his term, and pay to the commonality the aforesaid forty shillings.

Moreover, it is ordained that if a stranger coming into the city shall be desirous of exercising the business of a cordwainer as a master, he shall first satisfy the Commonality aforesaid with forty shillings sterling at the least, and shall give two shillings towards the support of the poor. And is a stranger shall be desirous of exercising the business of a tanner in the manner aforesaid, he shall first satisfy the Commonality aforesaid with twenty shillings and the poor with two shillings, as is above expressed.

Moreover, no stranger may sell any manner of footgear [calceamenti] in the city nor in the suburbs of London, by retail; but wholesale, and if anyone shall do otherwise, he shall lose the same of whatever kind it may be, and nevertheless pay the penalty above named.

Moreover, with regard to the tanner, it is thus ordained, that none of them in any fairs may take or hold a place among the cordwainers under the penalty aforesaid, but elsewhere, by themselves, where best they may and [where] it shall seem to them to be most expedient.

Also none in the said crafts, under penalty of forty shillings, to be paid to the said Commonality, may take into his service the servant of another, nor solicit him to come with him, unless the same servant shall have lawfully quitted his former master with whom he had served.. Neither shall any servant under the penalty of aforesaid have, or presume to have an apprentice under him, as this would turn to the prejudice and exceeding loss of his lords [dominoruim]. Also that none in the aforesaid business, as it is commonly ordained, shall keep more than eight servants about him, so that every person of them may have their servants in the place of the Lord King, and be answerable for the same when it shall be necessary, and to the end that by reason of superabundance of servants the peace of our Lord the King may in no wise be broken.

Also that none in the aforesaid businesses under the penalty aforesaid shall be at his work by night except between the feasts of St. Michael's and the Lord's Nativity.

Nor be it lawful for for any of them under the same penalty to deliver or send any kind of footgear [calceamenti] out of their shop to be sewn and repaired because it frequently happens that servants, when they are in possession of their lord's property unlawfully depart; and carry away or uselessly repair, the goods which they have where his is unable to prevent it.

Moreover, no one in the city of London aforesaid may carry, or cause to be carried by another, any kind of footgear through the streets or places of the same city to sell, except between the street that is commonly called Corveyerestrate and the street which is in the same idiom called Soperelane and this on workdays and only before dinner; but on the eves of feast days only after dinner. And not out of the city within a circuit of twenty miles, except at fairs and on the eves (of feast days), under the penalty before imposed.

Also if any one of the Liberty of the City aforesaid purchase alum leather [alutum] wholesale of any merchants whatsoever and any cordwainer of the same liberty shall by chance come up, it may be quite lawful for him without contradiction of anyone, in the name of himself or others to have a part of that purchase, provided that he shall give sufficient security to the seller. And if any shall oppose this, he shall sustain a penalty of one hundred shillings.

And no currier be among the cordwainers, but only their selection, and unless he be bound by oath to them before the Mayor and the Bailiffs of the aforesaid city.

Also two masters shall in no wise occupy one and the same place, but every one of them stand and work by himself, if he wishes to avoid the aforenamed penalty of half a mark.

Also, let every one of the aforesaid craftsmen beware under penalty of forty shillings of ejecting another from his place by giving more unless he shall be able to show certain and reasonable cause for which he ought to be ejected.

Also if any alum leather shall be found in the City aforesaid badly curried, and this can be proven before the Mayor and Bailiffs, such alum leather shall be frequently forfeited to the use of the aforesaid commonality and he to whom such hide belongs be nevertheless punished in the aforesaid penalty of half a mark.

To the end that all these above written statues made for the advantage of the whole Realm be faithfully kept, and the amercements of delinquents together with the forfeitures be levied and wholly delivered to the chamberlain of the City, who now are, and for the time being shall be, to the use of the same Commonality, the aforesaid cordwainers have elected twelve good and lawful men as principal wardens of the craft [officii custodes], sworn for all before the Mayor and Bailiffs that they will faithfully keep all of the above written statutes as is aforesaid with the assistance of the City, and will levy amercements according to their power, and will deliver into writing to the aforesaid Mayor and Bailiffs the names of those who shall contravene this, that delinquents may be punished according to the extent of the offense; [that they] will spare no one, nor unjustly harm any one from grace, hatred, fear or favor, but will in all things proceed according to God and justice. The names of the keepers are endorsed on the back of the present chirograph and they shall have set their seals to the same. And one part shall remain in the treasury of the City and the other part with the Wardens of the craft..


Latin Version

De Ordinatione Prima Cordwenariorum

Noverint universi, præsens scriptum visuri vel audituri, quod hæc sunt Provisiones et Statuta quæ probi homines de Allutariis Londoniarum statuerunt seu providerunt, anno regni Regis Henrici, filii Regis Johannis, quinquagesimo-sexto, de consensu et voluntate Domini Walteri Hervi, tune Majoris Londoniarum, cæterorumque Baronum ejusdem Civitatis, ad emendationem, et relevationem totius officii, et ad omnimodas falsitates et deceptiones in posterum evitandas.

Imprimus, unanimi voluntate et assensu ipsorum allutariorum, statutum est quod nullus allutarius de opere basani de cætero se intromittat, sub peona dimidiæ marcæ solvendæ communæ Civitatis Præsicræ; nec basanarius de opere alluti amodo se intromittat sub eadem peona eidem communæ solvenda; hoc tamen excepto, quod allutarius quisellos ad ocreas de basanto bene et licite facere potest. Allutarius etiam de corio vaccino licite se intromittat, et basanarius similiter. Cistarii quoque, stantes in Foro vel alibi, corium vaccinum operantes, de opera alluti nec basani nullatenus se intromittant [sic] sub poena prædictam cum forisfractura corendem.

Præterea, nullus allutarius nec basanarius de cætero aliquem apprenticium recipiat, nisi consensu et voluntate Majoris et communæ, et nisi [nisi de consensu et voluntate Majoris et communæ, et nisi] consiterit per sufficientem probationem, ipsum esse bonæ famæ et honestæ conversationis, tractabilem, mansuetum, morigeratum, prout decet. Et dabit apprenticius allutario pr sua doctrina xl solidos sterlingorum ad minus; et communæ præsictæ ii solidos et pauperibus in illo officio existentibus, quibus facultates vevendi non supputunt, ii solidos persolvet. Apprenticius autem basanarii dabit pro sua doctrina xx solidos ad minus; et communæ supradicta ii solidos, et pauperbus ii solidos, prout et antidictum. Cum vero apprenticius extiterit, et annos suos plene compleverit, et hoc per tesimonium domini sui et aliorum bonarum et legalium hominum cora[m] Majore et aliis probis hominibus prædictæ Civitatis poterit probare, officium suum libere faciat, secundum consuetudinem, Civitates. Si vero apprenticius extiterit, et annos suos non compleverit antequam in prædicto officio suorum aliquo modo operetur, pro arreragio annorum suorum domino suo satisfaciat, et communæ prædictat Xl solido persolvat.

Præteream Statutum est, quod si extraneous, veniens in Civate, officium ailutarii, tanquam magister voluerit exercere, prins de xl solidis sterlingorum commenæ prædictæ ad minus satisfaciat, et de duobus solidis in subsidium pauperum tribuat. Si vero extraneus officium basanarii prædicto modo voluerit exercere, prius de xx solidis communæ prædidictæ satisfaciat, et pauperbus de duobus soldis, prout superius est expressum. Præterea, nullus extraneus aliquod genus calciamenti in Civitate nec in suburbio Londoniarum vendat per parcellos, sed in grosso; et si quis aliter fecerit, perdet illud quodeumque genus, et nihilomainus solvet poenam prænomainatam. Insuper, de basanariis taliter est statutuum, quod nullius corum, sub poena prædicta, in aliquibus nundinis locum capiat seu ten[e]at, inter allutarios, sed alibi per se, ubi melius poterit, et sibi viderit expedire. Item, nummus prædietorum officorum sun eadem poena, eidem communæ solvenda alterius servientem in servitio suo recipiat, nec ad eum venire procuret, nisi idem serviens a priori domino suo, cum quo steterit, licite f[iæ?]rit [c?]essus.

Nullus etiam serviens, sub poena prædicta, apprenticium sub se habeat, seu habere pr&ælig;sumat; cum hoc cederet in præjudicio dominorum suorum, et amissionem vehementem. Item, nullus prædictorum officiorum, prout communiter est statutum, plures servientes quam octo circa se retineat; ita quod unusquiesqui corum servientes suos ad pacem Domini Regis possit habere et pro eisdem, cum necesse fuerit, respondere, et quod præ multitudine servientum, pax Domini nostri Regis prædicti nequaquam lædatui. Item, nulus prædictorum officiorum, sub poena supradicta, operari faciat de nocte inter Festum Sancti Michælis at Nativitatum Domini; nullique corum, sub eadem poena, liceat aliquod genus calciamenti extra shopem suam ad consuendum et reparandum tradere, nec transmittere; quia frequenter accidit quod servientes, eum sint in possessione dominorum suorum, illicite recedunt, et bona, qua ex hujusmodi contradictione habentur, asporant vel inutilier reparant. Nullus insuper de Civitate Londoniarum prædicta aliquod genus calciamenti per vicos seu plateas Civitatis ejusdem ad vendenum ferat, vel per alium ferre faciat, nisi inter vicum qui vulgariter dicitur "Corveyerestrate" et vicum qui eodem ydeomate dicitur "Soperelane" et hoc per dies operabiles solummode, ante prandium et in Vigilibus solemnibus solummodo, post prandium; nec extra Civitatem, infra spatium viginti leucarum per circuitum, exceptis nundinis et Vigiliis, sub poena prætaxata.

Item, si aliquis de libertate Civitatis prædictæ de mercatoribus quibuseunque allutum emat in grosso, et alutarius ejusdem libertatis quisquam casualiter superveniat, bene liceat eis sine contradictione alicujus, suo nominæ vel aliorum partem habere in illa emptione, dum tamen securitatem venditori invenerit sufficientem. Et si quis contraveneret, poenam centum solidorum sustinebit. Item, nullus corerarius sit inter alutarios, nisi per electionem eorum, et nisi corum Majore at Ballivis Civitatis prædictæ eisdem sit corum juramento astricus. Item, duo magistri unam eandemque placeam nequaquam occupent, sed unusquisque corum per se stet et operetur, si poenam dimidiæ marcæ velit efugere prænominatam. Et caveat etiam unusquisque prædictorum operariorum, sub poena xl solidorum, alium de loco plus donando cicere [ejicere?], nisi aliquam certam et rationabilem causam monstrare poterit, ob quom sit ciciendus [ejiciendus?]. Item, si aliquod alutum in Civitate prædicta inventum fuerit male coureatum, et hoc coeam Majore et Ballivis probetur, illud alutum omnio ad opus sæpedictæ Communæ sit forisfactum, ipsumque eujus est hujumodi corium, prædicta poena dimidæ marcæ nihilominis puniendo.

Ad hæc omnia suprascripta statuta, ad totius regni commodum confecta, fideliter custodienda, et amerciamenta delinquentium cum forisfacturis levanda, et Camerariis Civitatis prædictæ, qui nune sunt et pro tempore erunt, integraliter tradenta, ad opus commune ejusdem, elegerunt prædicti alutarii xii probos homines et legales, ejusdem officii Custodes principales pro omnibus juratos, coram Majore et Ballivis, quod fideliter, prout est antedictum, omnia subscripta Statuta custodient, cum subsidio communitatis, et amerciamenta secundum pesse suum levabunt, et corum nomina qui contravenerint prædictis Majoris et Ballivis in scriptis tradent, ut delinquentes, secuundum quantitatem delicti puniantur. Nemini parcent, nex injuste euiquam nocebunt, gratio, odio, timore, vei favore, sed secundum Deum et justitiam in omnibus procedunt [procedent?].

Nomina Custodum in dorso præsentis scripti cirographati indorsantur; qui eidem sigilla sua apposuerunt. Et moribitur una pars in Thesauro Civitatis, et altera pars pene Custodes officii.