Survey of London: Temporal Government of London

This document is currently in draft. When it has been reviewed and proofed, it will be published on the site.

View the draft document.

Please note that it is not of publishable quality yet.

The temporall gouernment of this Cittie, some
what in briefe manner.
THis Cittie of London being vnder the gouern
ment of the Britons, Romaines, and Saxons,
the most ancient and famous citie of the whole realme was at length destroied by the Danes,
Aserius Me
and left desolate:
Florencius Wigor.
as may appeare by our hi
stories. But Aelfred king of the west Sax
ons, hauing brought this whole realme (from many partes) into one Monarchie, honorablie repaired this Cittie, and made it a
gaine habitable, and then committed the custodie thereof to his sonne in law Adhered Earle of Mercia: after whose decease the Citie with all other possessions, pertayning to the said Earle re

Of Lazar houses.
turned to king Edward surnamed the elder, &c. And so remained in the kings handes, being gouerned vnder him by Portgraues (or Portreues
) which name is compounded of the two Saxon words, Porte, and Gerefe or Reue. Porte betokeneth a Towne, and Gerefe signifieth a Gardian, ruler, or kéeper of the towne.
These Gouernors of old time (saith Robert Fabian ) with the lawes and customes then vsed within this cittie, were registred in a booke called the Doomes day, in the Saxon tongue: but of later daies when the said lawes and customes were chaunged, and for that also the saide booke was of a small hande, and sore defaced, it was lesse set by, so that it was imbeseled, and lost. Thus farre Fabian.
Notwithstanding I haue found by search of diuers olde Regi
sters and other records, namely in a booke sometime appertayning to the Monasterie of S. Albons,
Li. S. Albani.
of the Portgraues and other go
uernors of this Cittie as followeth.
First, that in the raigne of king Edward the last before the con
1, Wolfegare was Portgraue: as may appeare by the char
ter of the same king,
Citizens of London cal
led Burgesses.
in these words. Edward king greeteth Alf
B.2 and Wolfe graue my Portgraue, and all the Burgesses in London
. And afterward that in an other, king Edward grée
teth William Bishop and Leofstane, and Alffi Portgraues.
In the raigne of William Conqueror, William Bishop of Lon
, procured of the said Conqueror his charter of liberties, to the same W. Bishoppe and Godfrey, Portgraue, and to all the Bur
gesses of the citie of London, in as large forme as they enioyed the same in the time of K. Edward before the conquest3: and then in the raigne of the said Conqueror, and of William Rufus, Godfrey de Magnauille was Portgraue (or Sheriffe) as may appeare by their Charters, and one Richard de Par was Prouost.
In the raigne of King Henry the first, Hugh Buche was Port
graue, and Leofstanus Goldsmith Prouost.
After them Aubery de Vere was Portgraue, & Robert Bar Querell Prouost. Tis Auberie de Vere was slain in the raigne of K. Stephen.
It is to be noted also that K. Henry the 1. gran
ted to the citizens of London, the Shriuewicke thereof, and of Middlesex, as in another place before is shewed.

Temporall Gouernment.
In the raigne of King Stephen, Gilbet Becket was Portgraue, and Andrew Bucheuet Prouost.
After him, Godfrey Magnauile, the son of William, the sonne of Godrey Magnavile, by the gift of Maulde the Empresse, was Portgraue or Sheriffe of London and Middlesex, forthe yearely farms of thrée hundreth pound, as appeareth by the Charter.
In the time of King Henry the second, Peter Fitz Walter was Portgraue: after him, Iohn Fitz Nigel was Portgraue: after him, Ernulfus Buchel became Portgraue: and after him, William Fitz Isabell. These Portgraues
Portgraues, since called Shriues and Iudges of the Kings Court and haue therefore vn
der shriuesmẽ learned in the lawe, to sit in their Courts. Domesmen or Iudges of the kings Court.
are also in diuers records called Uice
counties, Uicounties, or Sheriffes, as béeing vnder an Earle, for that they then, as since, vsed that office as the Sheriffes of London doo till this day. Some authors do call them Domesmen, Eldermen, or Iudges of the Kings Court.
William Fitz Stephen noting the estate of this Cittie, and go
uernment thereof, in his time vnder the raigne of King Stephen, and of Henry the second, hath these words.
This Cittie (saith hee) euen as Rome, is diuided into words, it hath yearly Sheriffes in stead of Consuls, it hath the dignitie of Se
nators and Aldermen, it hath vnder Officers, & according to the quallitie of lawes, it hath seuerall Courts, and generall assemblies vpon appoynted daies
. Thus much for the antiquitie of Sheriffes, and also of Aldermen, in seuerall Wards of this cittie, may suffice. And now for the name of Bailiffes, and after that, of Maior I finde as followeth.
In the first yeare of King Richard the first, the cittizens of London obtained to be gouerned by 2. Bailiffes,
Bailiffes of London.
which balliffes are in diuers auncient déeds called Shriues, according to the spéech of the lawe, which called the Shire Balliua, for that they like as the Portgraues, vsed the same office of Shriuewicke, for the which the citie paid to fée farm of thrée hundreth pounds yearly as afore, since the raigne of Henry the first, which also is yet paid by the citie into the Exchequer vntill this day.
They also obtained to haue a Maior, to bee their principall Go
uernour and Lieftenant of the cittie, as of the Kings chamber.

King Iohn beganne his raigne the sixt of Aprill, 1199.

King Henry the third, beganne his raigne the 19. of Octo
ber, 1216

King Edward the first, began his raigne, the 16. of Nouember. 1272.

Edward the second began his raigne the 7. of Iuly, the yeare of Christ 1307.

Edward the third, began his raigne, the 25. of Ianuarie, the yeare 1326.

Richard the second beganne his raigne, the 21. of Iune, in the yeare 1377.

Henrie the fourth began his raigne the 29. of Septemb. the yeare 1399.

Henry the fift began his raigne the 20. of March, the yeare 1412.

Henry the sixt began his raigne the 31. of August, the yeare 1422.

Edward the fourth began his raigne the fourth of March, in the yeare 1460. after the account of the church of England.

Edward the fift began his raigne the 9. of Aprill in the yeare 1483. Richard the third began his raigne the 22. of Iune, in the yeare 1483.

Henry the seuenth began his raigne the 22. of August, in the yeare 1485.

Henry the eight began his raigne the 22. of Aprill the yeare 1509.

Edward the sixt began his raigne the 28. of Ianuary, in the yeare 1546.

Queene Mary began her raigne the 6. of Iuly the yeare 1553.

Queene Elizabeth began her raigne the 17. of No
uember, in the yeare of Christ 1558