p 21 (8 May)
willelmus Rycrofte de villa Staffordie assumpsit quod ipse vellet saluo custodire vnum vrsum, cui, quidam Edwardus Sheifeild virtute littere attornatorie sibi facte per Thomam Beaumont militem, Et eundem vrsum reliberandum prefato maiori cum inde requisitum fuit./ ...
p 21 (8 May)
William Rycrofte of the town of Stafford has undertaken that he would keep a bear in safe custody, for which (safe custody) a certain Edward Sheifeild (is guarantor) by virtue of a letter of attorney made for him by Thomas Beaumont, knight, and to hand the same bear over to the aforesaid mayor when it was required of him.
The recognizance recorded here, wherein one William Rycrofte seeks permission to undertake the safe-keeping of a bear, is the first record that shows that Stafford had a resident bear, presumably used for bearbaitings. The requirement that Rycrofte should return the bear to the mayor when required is baffling. This record is probably linked to references to the ‘beare hole’ under the town hall, in entries from 1620–1, 1630–1, and two references from 1631–2. William Rycrofte, who here appears to be the bearward, recurs in numerous payments for entertainments, often musical in nature, usually with Peter Hales (called ‘blinde Peter’ on two occasions). These took place at the church banquets, or at the hobby horse.
Record title: Matthew Cradock's Book of
Shelfmark: D1287/10/2 (O/250)
Repository location: Stafford
July 1614–June 1615; English and Latin; paper; 305mm x 200mm; modern pencil paginated 1–283; p 260 onwards blank and occasional blank folios through text, no fly leaves; some printed inserts of Lord Mayors Orders.