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and in the hustings, they were not judges alone, but executors, also, of the judgment and precepts of mayor, &c, They are now esteemed as the supporters of the mayor in his office, and have been accustomed to be obedient to his
precepts, in bringing before him such complaints as come within their jurisdiction; and they were, also, to perform all his other legal commands. It belongs to their office, to serve the king's writs of
process; and for the better execution of this office, after resistance, they may raise the Posse Comitatus *. They are to return juries of honest repute, and of good ability to consider of and deliver their verdicts, according to justice and the merit of the cause; they are to preserve the public peace; to see condemned persons executed; to collect the public monies, fines, &c. belonging to the king, which they are to be accountable for, till paid by them into the Exchequer. Where the king is party, the sheriffs may break open doors, if entrance is denied; but not upon private process, except upon outlawry after judgment. They may also untile the house to obtain entrance. But in all cases where the door is open, the sheriffs may enter, and make execution of their writ.
For the better performance of so great trust, the sheriffs appoint eminent legal characters as their under-sheriffs, who enter into ample security for the performance of their duty.
They have also their separate prisons for the city and liberties, with the proper officers for arrests, attachments, executions, &c. The trials on such attachments, arrests, and other processes, are decided in the proper courts, by judges, counsel, and juries.
* Posse comitatus implies the power of the county, and includes the aid and attendance of all knights, and other men above the age of fifteen, within that district. Persons able to travel, are also required to assist in this service. Sheriffs are to give aid to the justices in suppressa ing riots, &c. and to raise the posse comitatus, who may take such weapons as shall be necessary; and they are justified in beating, and even killing such rioters as resist or efuse to surrender; persons refusing to comply with the sheriff's summons, are liable to fine and imprisonment. VOL. II. No. 29.
The sheriffs of London jointly hold the sherivalty of the county of Middlesex, though the office is denominated in the singular; this is in consequence of the grant by Henry I. to the citizens of the sheriffwick of Middlesex: their jurisdictions are, however, separate; and the inhabitants of the city and county are very tenacious of the privileges attached to their various liberties.
The RECORDER of the city of London, is a grave and learned lawyer, skilful in the customs of the city: is a chief assistant to the lord mayors, for their better direction in matters of justice and law. He takes place in councils and in courts, before any man that hath not been mayor, and delivers the sentences of the whole court.
The qualifications of the recorder of the city are thus set down in one of the books of the chamber: that “ he shall be, and is wont to be, one of the most skilful and virtuous apprentices of the law of the whole kingdom: whose office is always to sit on the right hand of the mayor, in record. ing pleas, and passing judgments; and by whom records and processes, had before the lord mayor and aldermen at Great St. Martin's, ought to be recorded by word of mouth before the judges assigned there to correct errors. The mayor and aldermen have therefore used commonly to set forth all other businesses, touching the city, before the king and his council, as also in certain of the king's courts, by Mr. Recorder, as a chief man, endued with wisdom, and eminent for eloquence.”
The fee of the Recorder was formerly appropriate to time and merit, as appears in the fourth book of Liber Albus. Afterward, the recorder's fee was settled at one hundred marks, (it is now 1,5001. ; but he is not allowed to practise, except in the concerns of the city ;) and he was to have of the chamber such vesture (lineatum vel penulatum) lined or faced, and as often as the mayor and aldermen take, every year. And his clerk, such as the serjeants of the chamber. The Recorder usually sits at the mayor's table *.
* What the recorder's office was long ago demanded to be, to wit, in the year 1304, may be worthy to be read out of a record, viz. Die Lunce,
The next officer in rotation is the CHAMBERLAIN; he is of great repute and trust; and though annually chosen on Midsummer Day, yet not displaced, but continues during life, if no great crimes are made out against him. He has the keeping of the monies, lands, and goods, of the city orphans, or takes good security for the payments thereof when the party comes of age. And to that end he is deemed in the law a sole corporation, to him and his successors, for orphans; and therefore a bond, or a recognizance made to him and his successors, is recoverable by his successors. This officer hath a court peculiarly belonging to him; his office may be deemed a public treasury, collecting the customs, monies, and yearly revenues, and all other payments belonging to the corporation of the city. The COMMON SERJEANT attends the lord
and court of aldermen on court days, and must be in council with them, on all occasions, within and without the precincts or liberties of the city. He has the care of orphans estates, either by taking account of them, or by signing their indentures, before their passing the lord mayor and court of aldermen.
&c. On Monday, after the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, in the thirty-second year of king Edward, before the lords John le Bland, mayor, John de Burresorch, sheriff, William de Beton, Walter de Fynchinfield, William de Lyre, Thomas Romeyn, Adam de Folham, John of Canterbury, Simon de Paris, John de Dunstable, Richard de Goucestre, Henry de Loucestre, Adam de Rokesle, &c. aldermen, meeting together, John de Wengrave, alderman and recorder, was sworn, well and faithfully to render all the judgments of the hustings, after the mayor and aldermen should meet concerning their pleas, and agreed together; and also all other judgments touching the city of London, &c. and that he shall do justice as well to poor as rich. And that all the pleas of the hustings, presently after the hustings is finished, he shall oversee, order and cause to be enrolled, according to the things pleaded, &c. and that he shall come prepared to dispatch the business of the city, &c. when he shall be lawfully wanted by the mayor and bailiffs. For which labour, the above-said mayor and aldermen have yielded to give the aforesaid John, ten pounds sterling by the year, out of their chamber, and twenty pence of each charter written, and each . testament enrolled in the said hustings, &c.
And likewise lets, sets, and manages the orphans' estates, according to his judgment to their best advantage.
The town clerk keeps the original charters of the city, the books, rolls, and other records, wherein are registered the acts and proceedings of the city; he is to attend the lord mayor and aldermen at their courts.
The town clerk and common serjeant, take place according to their seniority. The fees of the chamberlain, common serjeant, and common clerk, or town clerk, were antiently ten pounds per annum.
The CORONER so called from corona, i. e. or crown, because he deals principally with the crown, or in matters appertaining to the imperial crown of England *.
As the sheriff may inquire of all felonies, so the coroner is to inquire of all sudden deaths : and to that end he im. panels a jury, takes evidence upon oath, and gives the charge to the jury.
The REMEMBRANCER is an officer to attend the lord mayor on certain days, his business being to put his lordship in mind of the select days he is to go abroad with the aldermen, &c. he is to attend daily at the parliament house, during the sessions, and to report to the lord mayor the transactions there.
The SUBORDINATE OFFICERS, are two judges of the sheriff's court; four common pleaders; comptroller of the chamber; secondary of Wood Street Compter ; secondary of the Poultry Compter; a registrar of the orphans' fund; a solicitor; eight attornies in the sheriffs court; two bridgemasters; and a hall-keeper.
There are also officers peculiarly belonging to the lord mayor's house. The first are, the four esquires of the lord mayor's house.
* As to the antiquity of this office, there were coroners in the time of king Alfred, as appears by the book, entitled, the Mirror. The lord mayor for the time being, is coroner, but hath his deputy for the management thereof. In antient times, this office was of such great esteem, that none could execute it under the degree of a knight,
The SWORD BEARER attends the lord mayor at his going abroad, and carries the sword before him as the emblem of justice. He hath his table at the lord mayor's expence: for the support of which, there is one thousand pounds a year allowed, besides an allowance for his dwelling *.
The COMMON HUNT is to take care of the pack of hounds belonging to the mayor and citizens, and to attend them in hunting when they please; this officer has a yearly salary, besides house rent and other perquisites : he attends the lord mayor on set days.
The COMMON CRIER, and the SERJEANT AT ARMS, sunmon all executors and administrators of freemen to appear, and bring in inventories of the personal estates of freemen, within two months after their decease: and they are to have notice of the appraisements. The common crier attends the lord mayor on set days, and at the courts held weekly by the mayor and aldermen. He has his dwelling allowed him.
The WATER BAILIFF superintends the preservation of the river Thames, against all encroachments; and looks after the fishermen, to prevent destroying the young fry by unlawful nets. For that end juries are appointed for each county, that hath any part lying on the sides or shores of that river. Which juries, summoned by the water bailiff at certain times, make inquiry of all offences relating to the river and the fish; and bring their presentments. He is also bound to attend the lord mayor on set days in the week: and has his house rent allowed.
* The sword-bearer's place is honourable; in as much as the sword is needful to be borne before head officers of boroughs, or other corporation towns, to represent the state and princely office of the king's most excellent majesty, the chief governor. To the right of bearing which sword, in the chamber of London, this observation is to be made, according to an antient writer of armoury : “ that the bearer must carry it upright, the hilt being holden under his bulk, and the blade directly up the midst of his breast, and so forth between the sword bearer's brows. This, in distinction from bearing the sword in any town for a duke or an earl, or a baron. If a duke, the blade thereof must lean from the head, between the neck and the right shoulder. And for an earl, the bearer must carry the same between the point of the shoulder and the elbow: and so there is another different bearing of the sword for a baron.”