Regulations Governing the Minstrels' Court

TNA: DL 41/587

single mb (12 May)

Orders mad<.> <..>d sett downe by the right honorable Sir H<..>fry M<.>y <.>night Chauncelo<.> <.>f his M<.>iesties duch<.> of La<.>caster and the <...>of his Maiesties h<...>ble <.>ourte of the duchy chamber the twelf<.>h <.>ay of May in the yeares of th<.> <..>igne of our soverai<..>e lorde Iames by th<.> grac<.> <.>f God k<....> of Engl<...> Scotland <...>unce <..>d Ireland of England ffraunce and Ireland the sixt<...>nth & of S<...>land the <...> <.>nd fiftith for th<.> <..>tter orderinge an<.> governinge of h<.> Maiest<...> <..>urte called the minstrel<..> co<..>te <..>we and from the time whereof the memorye of <...> is n<..> <..> <.>he contrary yearely holden at T<..>b<.>ry vp<..> the morrowe <.>fter the feaste of the assumpcion of our ladye St M<.>ry the virg<..> and of the Musitians and minstrells in the counties of Staffor<.> <...> Derbie which doe owe sute in the s<...> <.>ourte.

ffirst whereas this courte <.>s credibly informed that the perquisites & <.>mercementes of the said Court called the mynstrells courte are due to his Maiestie which perquisites & amercementes haue for many yeares past bene yearely collected and gathered by the foure officers called the stewardes of the said courte called the minstrels courte and taken <.>o their owne vses withoute yealdinge any account to his Maiestie of or for the same It is therefore ordered That from henceforth the sai<.> foure officers for the tyme beyng shall yearely collect and gather all the perquisites and amercementes of the said courte called the mynstrells courte which shalbe extreated vnto them by the steward of the said courte for the time being and shall yearely yeald an<.> account and satisfie and paye the moyetie thereof to his Maiesties vse at the Auditt to be yearely holden for the honor of Tutbury vpon payne that every of the said officers neglectinge his dutye therein shall forfeyte xl s.

Item it is ordered That no person shall vse or exercise the arte & science of musike within the said counties of Stafford and Derbye or either of them as acommon musician or minstrell for benefitt & gaine except he have served and bene brought vp in the same arte & science by the space of seaven yeares & be allowed & admyted so to doe at the said courte called the minstrells Courte by the Iury of the said Courte for the tyme beyng or the greater parte of them beyng xij in number by the consent of the steward of the said courte for the tyme beyng on payne to forfeyte for every moneth that he shall so vse or exercise the said arte or science iij s. iiij d.

Item it is ordered That noe musician or minstrell which shall hereafter <.>se or exercise the said arte and science within the said counties of Stafford & Derbie or either of them as a c<...>n <..>sic<...> or <.>i<.>strell for benefitt and gayne shall take into his service any person to the end to teache and instruct hym in the said a<.>te <......>nce for any shorter time then for the space of seaven yeares vpon payne to forfeyte for every such offence xl s.

Item it is ordered That all the musicians and mynstrells which shal hereafter vse or exercise the said arte and science of musicke within the said countyes of Stafford & Derbie or either of them as a common musician or menstrell for benefyt and gayne shall appeare yearely at the said courte called <...> mynstrells courte or shall give notice to the said courte <..> some such reasonable excuse to the contrary as the said courte shall allowe of on payne to forfeyte for every defalt 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 & not beynge subiect to the orders of the said courte called the mynstrells courte doe often come into the said counties as vagrant & wandring persons & doe contynue and staye longe playeinge at such meetinges where money is to be gotten by musicians and mynstrells <..> the greate preiudice of the musicians & mynstrells of the said counties. It is herefore ordered That if any such <.>usicians or mynstrells dwelling out of the said counties shall come into either of the said countyes <...> there contynue in any one <...> aboue the space of sixe houres to the intent to playe vpon theire instrumentes to the <........> of any of the musitians o<.> minstrells of the said countyes every such person soe offendinge shall forfeyte for every such offence x s. and shall also be subiect to be punished accordinge to the statute made for the punyshment of vagrant and wandringe persons

Item whereas the said musicians and mynstrells haue tyme out of mynde vsed to playe vpon theire In<...>mentes vpon the saboath day at weddinges and suchlike solemne meetinges without the contynuance whereof they doe alleadge that they shall not be able to live to maynt<.>yne themselves their wives & children whose po<...> estate this courte doth much tender, It is therefore ordered That if any of the said musicians or mynstrells shall playe vpon their instrumentes <..> the saboath daye in the tyme of divyne service or sermon <...> That every musician and mynstrell <..> offending shall forfeyte for every such offence xl s. and shall also be subiect to such punyshment as any Iustice of peace or constable shall laufully inflicte vpon them But if they shall not offend as aforesaid Then this courte thinkes not fitt that they shalbe interrupted or punyshed for playeinge at such weddinges & meetinges °after divine service had & after they the said minstrels & musitians haue hard deuine service vpp the same day°

Item it is ordered That all other laufull and reasonable orders which shalbe made & agreed vpon by the Iury <...>yme beyng of the said court called the mynstrells courte or the greater parte of them beyng xij in number by the consent of the stewarde of the said courte for the tyme beyng shalbe performed and kept vpon the paynes and forfeytures therein to be conteyned./

Item it is ‸⸢ordered⸣ that it shalbe laufull for the saide foure officers called the stewardes of the said courte called the mynstrells courte & for every or any of them accordinge to the auncyent custome to distreyne the instrumentes of musick or <......> goodes or chattells of any musitian or mynstrell for any perquisite of courte or amercement which shalbe ext<......> by th<.> stewarde for the tyme being of the said courte called the mynstrells courte, & such distres to withholde <...> till the said amercement be satisfyed, And that if any musician or mynstrell shall refuse to pay any such amerce<...> the said officers or any of them in the levyeing of the same, he shall forfeyte dubble the same amercement <...> levyed as afforesaid & 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 mynistred that all Constables headbor<...> thirdborowes and tithingmen shalbe aydinge and assisting vnto the said foure officers and every of them called the stewardes of the said courte called the mynstrells courte so often as neede shall require to distreyne for the said perquisites and amercementes as aforesaid vpon payne of xiij s. iiij d. a peece and to be further punyshed for theire contempt as this honorable courte shall thinke fitt, Dated vnder the seale of the Duchye of Lancaster the daye and yeare abouesaid./

(signed) I Rege

(signed) Edward Mwsly

  • Footnotes
    • Orders mad<.>: in display script
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  • Glossed Terms
    • yeald v inf to yield; yealdinge prp
    • 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]
  • Document Description

    Record title: Regulations Governing the Minstrels' Court
    Repository: TNA
    Shelfmark: DL 41/587
    Repository location: Kew

    1618; English; parchment; single membrane; 670mm x 312mm; written on 1 side; ink worn in many places, staining at top 95mm x 225mm; folded at bottom with parchment strip to attach seal (no evidence for seal), written on strip: 'orders concerninge the Mystrells court holden att Tutbury in Comitatus staff yat whether they bee inforce.'

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