Inquisition made for the regulation of the Cordwainers and the
10 Henry IV. AD. 1409. Letter-Book I. fol. lxxxi. (Norman French.)
OUR most dread Lord the King sent his gracious Letters, under his Privy Seal, unto Drew Barantyn, the then Mayor of the City, etc., commanding and charging that etc. — By virtue of which Letters of our Lord the King, inquisition was taken on the 15th day of June, in the 10th year etc., before the said Mayor, the Recorder, and the Aldermen, in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the said city, upon the oath of Nicholas Loseye, Richard Biernes, Symond Sisile, Roger Brentfeld, John Potter, Richard Segre, John Carter, John Thebaw, Hugh Crispe, John Pratyn, Andrew Brownyng, and John Younge, who are of the craft of workers in new leather, called ‘Cordewaners,’ and of John Bassett, John Chietesmythe, James Shopman, John Fynke, Robert Grenelefe, and William Pycard, English, who are workers in old leather, called ‘Cobelers,’ and of Peter Sonde, Arnold Emme, Angilbright Von Ottenbroke, Reynold Johan, Jacob Petresone, and John Dewland, who are alien workers in old leather, called ‘ Cobelers’; who, being sworn, say that, according to the usage and custom from of olden time in the City of London, those who retail or make new boots and new shoes, shall not retail or make up old boots or old shoes for sale: and in the same manner, those who make up or retail old boots and old shoes, shall not retail or make new boots or new shoes: but that all the work that may be done with old leather belongs to the workers called ‘Cobelers,’ and their successors, without retailing, making, or mixing any quarter of new leather with quarters or quarter of old leather, the sole, or for the overlethir [de sole ne de overlethir]; but that it shall also be fully lawful for the said workers in old leather to clout old boots and old shoes with new leather upon the old soles, before or behind; provided always, that no quarter of new leather shall be pieced with old leather; that is to say, that no quarter, called forfote, of overlether, made of new leather, or quarter of overlether behind, called the ‘hele,’ of new leather, shall be pieced with old leather; or quarter of the sole, before or behind, the half thereof, of new leather [ne en la moite de novelle quiere], shall be pieced with old leather; for such is false work, and deceiving for the commonalty. And if it shall happen that any old shoe is burnt or spoilt, that is to say, the overlether before or behind, and it must be mended with a quarter, then it belongs to the said workers in old leather to do the same, with a quarter of old leather. And if any old shoe shall be broken in the sole, before or behind, the same belongs to the workers in old leather, called ‘Cobelers,’ to mend it in the place where it is so broken, with a small piece of new leather, or of old, whichever is the most advantageous for the common profit.
And in the same manner, all the work that may be made of new leather, belongs to the workers in new leather, called ‘Cordewaners,’ without making up or mixing any quarter of old leather with a quarter of new leather, either sole or overlether, before or behind; except always, and reserved unto the said Cordewaners, and their successors, that if it shall happen that any person desires to have his old boots or bootlets [boteux] resoled, or vamped and soled, or his galoches or shoes resoled, the same, if it can be done, shall pertain at all times to the said workers called ‘Cordewaners,’ to do it; or if any new shoe shall be burnt or broken, and require to be mended with a quarter of new leather, either as to sole or overlether, before or behind, it shall pertain to the said workers in new leather to do it, they taking reasonably for the same. And that no one of the craft aforesaid, either worker in old leather or worker in new leather, shall do any work, otherwise than in manner and form declared as aforesaid.
And that all persons of the said craft, as well the folks keeping house, as their serving-men, both workers in old leather and workers in new leather, and their serving-men, shall live peaceably under the rule and governance of the said craft, as to being searched and inspected by the Wardens of the Cordewaners, to see that they do their duty and their work in all degrees that well and lawfully pertain to their said craft; and also, that they do their work in all parts, as well masters as serving-men, well and lawfully, for the profit of the Lords and of all the Commonalty. Provided always, that no man of the craft aforesaid, worker in old leather or worker in new leather, shall keep house within the franchise of the said city, to retail, or to do old work or new work, if he be not first made free of the City, and that, in the craft aforesaid, as is before declared.
And that every person as well among the Cobelers as the Cordewaners, found wanting in the Articles aforesaid, or in any one of them, before the Wardens of the said craft of Cordewaners, shall pay, upon the first default, 6s. 5d.; that is to say, 40 pence to the Chamber of the Guildhall of the said city, and 40 pence to the alms of the said trade of Cordewaners; and the second time, 13s. 4d. in mariner and form aforesaid; and the third time, 6s.; so increasing at every default by 6s. 8d., in form aforesaid; the same to be levied by the Wardens of the said craft of Cordewaners, sworn in the Guildhall of the said city, for the time being.
And that all the work found made, or to be made, against the declarations aforesaid by this verdict, is false and deceitful, as regards the common profit, and shall be utterly made forfeit by the Wardens of the said craft of Cordewaners, for the time being, to be burnt or given away, for the love of God, according to their knowledge and good discretion. And if any man of the craft, worker in old leather or worker in new leather, shall refuse, or attempt to rebel against, the governance and coercion of the Wardens of the said craft of Cordewaners, for the time being, in form aforesaid, and shall thereof, at the information of the said Wardens, be duly convicted before the Mayor of the said city, then the person so convicted shall make fine of 10 pounds for his rebelliousness aforesaid; the one half of which shall be levied for the Chamber, and the other half for the alms of the said trade of Cordewaners; the same to be levied by the Wardens, for the time being, of that craft. And if there shall be any person of the said craft, cobeler or cordewaner, sued for any default as regards these Articles, or any one of them, to the contrary of this verdict, let him pay the same penalty as a person so found in default ought to pay, or otherwise let him lose his freedom; and this, as many times as any one shall be found deficient in this respect.