Agreement Between the Mayor of the Gild Merchant and the Burgesses about Expenses

BRO: R/AT1/113

single mb (30 September)

...Nouerit Vniuersitas vestra nos prefatos Burgenses & communitatem in Gildhalla nostra commmuni congregatos ex nostra communi assensu dedisse concessisse & hoc presenti scripto nostro confirmasse Simoni Porter maiori ville predicte & successoribus suis ville eiusdem in sustentacionem status maioratus sui quendam annualem redditum quinque marcarum percipiendum ‸⸢annuatim de communi cista Gildhalle nostre predicte per manus Cistariorum dicte ville qui nunc sunt vel qui pro tempore erunt soluendum⸣ ad festa sancti michaelis Archangeli & Annunciacionem Beate marie virginis equis porcionibus vel infra quindenam dicta festa inmediate sequencia habendum eidem Simoni & successoribus suis maioribus ville predicte dummodo in eodem officio predicto sic steterint imperpetuum ... Et insuper dictus Simon maior predictus vult & concedit quod ipse subportabit & omnes successores sui maiores ville predicte subportabunt omnes minutas expensas &‸⸢in poculentis & esculsntis & minuta⸣ exennia senescallis domini Abbatis Redyng Iusticiarijs domini Regis seu alijs generosis lusoribus seu luctoribus danda seu inposterum ministranda causa officij Maiorati dicte ville seu honoris dicte gilde & ville dum ipse Simon steterit seu successores sui steterint in officio dicti maioratus sumptibus eorum proprijs & expensis....

  • Footnotes
    • esculsntis: for esculentis
  • Record Translation

    single mb (30 September)

    ...Know all of you that we the aforesaid burgesses and commonalty gathered together in our common guildhall, by our common assent, have given and granted and, with this our present writing, have confirmed to Simon Porter, mayor of the aforesaid town, and his successors of the same town, in the maintenance of his mayoral standing an annual payment of five marks to be taken annually from the common chest of our aforesaid guildhall by the hands of the treasurers of the said town who now are or who will be at the time, to be paid in equal portions on the feasts of St Michael the archangel and the annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary or within a fortnight immediately following the said feasts, to be had by the same Simon and his successors, mayors of the aforesaid town as long as they so remain in the same office aforesaid, in perpetuity.... And in addition, the said Simon, mayor aforesaid, wishes and grants that he will bear and all his successors, mayors of the town, will bear all the small expenses for drink and food and small hospitality to stewards of the lord abbot of Reading, justiciars of the lord king, or other gentle players or wrestlers, to be given or hereafter administered for the sake of the office of the mayoralty of the said town or of the honour of the said guild and town while he, Simon, remains or his successors remain in the office of the said mayoralty at their own cost and expense....

  • Glossed Terms
    • exennia, -ie n f gift, hospitality [DML exenium]
    • iusticiarius, -ii n m justicar, a royal judge, usually of a superior court
    • luctor, -oris n m wrestler [cp DML luctator]
  • Endnote

    Simon Porter was the mayor of the Gild Merchant in 1429 (Slade, Reading Gild Accounts, pt 1, p 95). This agreement to establish a separate 'fund' for the payment of entertainers and expenses incurred in entertaining the officials of the abbey and the justices of the assize effectively robs us of any information about local or visiting entertainment paid for by the Gild Merchant and then the incorporated borough for over 150 years. There are fifty-five rolls surviving between 1429 and 1516 but after this agreement was reached only three payments are recorded, in 1430–1, 1433–4, and 1456–7. There is a gap in Reading's financial records from 1515–16 to 1587–8.

  • Document Description

    Record title: Agreement Between the Mayor of the Gild Merchant and the Burgesses about Expenses
    Repository: BRO
    Shelfmark: R/AT1/113
    Repository location: Reading

    Early evidence indicates that Reading was a stopping place for all kinds of late medieval entertainers. This agreement made provision for the head of the Reading Gild Merchant (who was called 'mayor') to receive five marks annually from the gild to defray small payments such as the fees for performers and the cost of entertaining the abbot and the justices. The wording of the indenture uses terms that would suggest that the Gild Merchant was a city council making arrangements for the 'commonalty.' However, this was not the case until over one- hundred years later when the abbey was dissolved and the town was incorporated by Henry VIII in 1542. The so-called mayor was, in fact, 'Mayre of the Gilde Merchaunde of the burghe of Redyng' (see the Introduction).

    5 October 1429; Latin; parchment; single membrane; 345mm x 275mm; bottom folded up 30mm; seals (unidentified) attached, indenture cuts 11mm.

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