Revised Regulations Governing the Minstrels' Court

TNA: DL 41/597, item [c]

single mb (10 May)

Orders made and sett downe by the Right honorable Edwarde Lord Newbrough Chauncelor <...> Maiesties Duchy of Lancaster and the Counsell of his Maiesties honorable Courte of the Duchy Chamber the (blank) in the fifte yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord Charles by the grace of God kinge of England Scotland ff<...> and Ireland defender of the Faith &c for the better orderinge and governinge of his Maiesties Courte called the Minstrells courte now <...> from the time whereof the memory of man is not to the contrary yearely holden at Tutburye vpon the morrowe after the feaste of the as<...>tion of our Lady St Mary the virgin and of the Musitians and minstrells within the Counties of Stafford & Derbie which doe owe suite to the same Courte.

ffirst whereas this Courte is credibly informed that the perquisites and amercementes of the said Court called the minstrells Courte are due to his Maiestie which perquisites and amercementes haue for many yeres past bene yearly collected and gathered by the foure officers called the stewards of the said Courte called the Minstrels Courte and taken to their owne vses withoute yeildinge any accompte to his Maiestie for the same It is therefore ordered that from henceforth the said foure officers for the time being shall yearely collect and gather the perquisites and amerciamentes of the said Courte called the Minstrells Courte which shall be extreated vnto them by the steward of the said Courte for the time being, and shall yearly yeild and accompte and satisfie and pay the moitie thereof to his Maiesties vse at the Auditte to be yearely holden for the Honor of Tutburie vpon payne that every of the said officers neglectinge his Dutie therein shall forfeite fortie shillings.

Item it is ordered that noe person shall vse or exercise the arte and science of musicke within the said Countyes of Stafford and derbie or either of them as a common musician or Minstrell for benefitt and gaine except he haue served and bin brought vp in the same arte and science by the space of seaven yeares and be allowed and admitted soe to doe at the said Courte called the minstre<...> Courte by the Iury of the said Courte or the greater part there of beinge xij in number by the consent of the steward of the said Courte for the time beinge on payne to forfeite for every moneth that he shall so vse or exercise the said arte or scien<..> iij s. iiij d.

Item it is ordered that noe musician or minstrell which shall hereafter vse or exercise the said arte and science within the said <...> of Stafford and derbie or either of them as a common musician or minstrell for benefitt and gaine shall take into his service any <...> to the end to teache and instruct him in the said arte and science for any shorter time then for the space of seaven yeares vpon payne <...> forfeite for every such offence xl s.

Item it is ordered that all the musitians and minstrells which shall hereafter vse the said arte & science of musicke within the sa<...> of Stafford and Derbie or either of them as a Common musitian or minstrell for benefitt and gaine shall appeare yearely at the <...> Courte called the minstrells Courte or shall giue notice to the said Courte of some such reasonable excuse to the contrary as the sa<...> shall allowe of on paine to forfeite for every default accordinge to the olde custome iij s. iiij d.

Item whereas this Courte is informed that divers musicians and minstrells dwelling out of the said Countyes and not beinge subiect to th<.> orders of the said Courte called the minstrells courte doe often come into the said Countyes as vagrant and wanderinge persons and doe contynewe and stay longe playinge at such meetinges where money is to be gotten by musitians and minstrells to the greate preiud<...> of the musitians and minstrells of the said counties/. It is Therefore ordered that if any such musitians and minstrells dwell<...> out of the said Counties shall come into either of the said Countyes & shall there contynewe in any one place aboue the spac<.> of sixe howers; to the intent to play vpon theire Instrumentes. to the preiudice of any of the musitians or minstrells of the said coun<...> every such person soe offendinge shall forfeite for every such offence x s. and shall alsoe be subiect to be punnyshed accordinge to the statute made for the punyshment of vagrant and wandringe persons./.

Item whereas the said musitians and minstrells haue time out of minde vsed to play vpon theire Instrumentes vpon the Saboath day <..> weddinges and such like solemne meetinges without the contynewance whereof they doe alleadge that they shall not be able to live to maintaine themselues theire wifes and Children whose poore estate this courte doth much tender; It is therefore ordered that if a<..> of the said musitians or minstrells shall play vpon theire Instrumentes on the saboth day in tyme of divine service and sermon That every musician and minstrell soe offendinge shall forfeite fore every such offence xl s. and shall alsoe be subiect to such punyshment as any Iustice of peace or Constable shall lawfully inflict vpon them but if they shall not offend as aforesad Then th<..> Courte thinkes not fitt that the shall be interrupted or punyshed for playinge at such weddinges and meetinges after divine service had and after theye the said minstrells and musitians haue hard <.> service the same day./

Item it is ordered that all other lawfull and reasonable orders which shalbe made and agreed vpon by the Iury for the time bey<...> of the said Court called the minstrells Courte or the greater parte of them beinge xij in number by the consent of the said ste<...> of the said Courte for the time beinge shall be performed and kept vpon the payne and forfeitures therein to be contayned./

Item it is ordered that it shalbe lawfull for the said foure officers called the stewards of the said courte called the min<...> Courte and for every or any of them accordinge to the auncient Custome to distreine the Instrumentes of musick or any <...> goodes or Chattells of any musitian or minstrell for any perquisite of the Courte or amercement which shalbe extreat<...> the steward for the time beinge of the said Courte called the Minstrells Courte and such distres to withholde & <...> till the said amerciament be satisfied And if any musitian or minstrell shall refuse to pay any such amercement or <...> the said officers or any of them in the levyinge of the same he shall forfeite dubble the same amercement to be <...> as afforesaid and shalbe further punyshed for his contempt as this honorable Courte shall thinke fitt

Item it is thought meete by this honorable Courte if any occasion be ministred that all Constables headboroughe<.> or thirdboroughes and tithingmen shalbe aydinge and assistinge vnto the said foure officers and every of them ca<...> the stewards of the said Courte called the minstrells Courte soe often as neede shall require to distreyne for the said perquisites and amercementes as aforesaid vpon paine of xiij s. iiij d. a peece and to be further punyshed for theire c<...>as this honorable Courte shall thinke fitt Dated vnder the seale of the Duchye of Lancaster the D<...> and yeare abouesaid./

°Item it is lastlie Ordered that these Orders shalbe Inrolled with the Auditor for the North partes at his next Auditt holden for the honor of Tutbury or within one yeare next after the date of these orders to the end hee may call them to Accompt yearelie at every Auditt for the moytie of the profittes according to the tenor of the first order Or else all these orders to be voyd°

(signed) Edward Newburgh

(signed) Reu' Musby

  • Footnotes
    • Orders made: written in display script
    • <...>: of his BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • (blank): Tenth day of May BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • ff<...>: ffraunce BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • <...>: and BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • as<...>tion: Assumption BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • ffirst: written in display script
    • Item: written in display script
    • minstre<...>: phrase called ... Courte omitted BL
    • scien<..>: science BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • Item: written in display script
    • <...>: Counties BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • <...>: person BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • <...>: to BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • Item: written in display script
    • sa<...>: said Counties BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • <...>: said BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • sa<...>: said Court BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • Item: written in display script
    • th<.>: the BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • preiud<...>: preiudice BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • dwell<...>: dwellinge BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • spac<.>: space BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • coun<...>: Counties BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • Item: written in display script
    • <..>: at BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • a<..>: any BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • aforesad: for aforesaid; abbreviation mark missing
    • th<..>: this BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • the: they BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • [<.>]: divine BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • Item: written in display script
    • bey<...>: beinge BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • ste<...>: steward BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • Item: written in display script
    • min<...>: minst<.> BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • <...>: other BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • extreat<...>: extreated by BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • <...>: keepe BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • <...>: resist BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • <...>: levyed BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • Item: written in display script
    • headboroughe<.>: reading unclear in BL
    • ca<...>: called BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • c<...>: contempt BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • D<...>: daye BL: Addit. Ch. 42681A
    • Item: written in display script
  • Glossed Terms
    • extreat v inf estreated, to extract a fine, bail, or forfeiture and give it to an exchequer; loosely, to exact a fine or enforce a forfeiture [OEDO estreat v 1, 2]; extreated pass
    • saboath n sabbath
    • distreyne, distreane, distreine v inf, pr distrain, to constrain or punish a person by seizing their goods [OEDO distrain v II.7.a]
  • Endnote

    See the document description for suggested dating of this document, which is the likely source for the exemplification of it preserved in the BL: Additional Ch. 42681A. Readings have been supplied from that document in footnotes where this one is illegible or defective.

  • Document Description

    Record title: Revised Regulations Governing the Minstrels' Court
    Repository: TNA
    Shelfmark: DL 41/597, item [c]

    10 May 1629; English; parchment; 575mm x 375mm; written over onto fold at foot (dorse) with final order and exemplification; folded at bottom with parchment strip to attach seal (no evidence for seal).

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