chapter
H. WAYS OF LIFE
Pages 32

Cf. the text of the documents given by M.M. Crow and C.C.Olson, Chaucer Life Records (Oxford, 1966), which appeared after these excerpts were prepared. The book of the particulars of the account of William de Farle, keeper of the wardrobe of the king’s household, for the receipts, deliveries, and expenses made in the same wardrobe from the third of November, 33 Edward III, to the seventh of November, 34 Edward III, 1359-60. To Richard Stury, king’s squire, taken by the French enemies, as a subsidy for his redemption, by the gift of the king, £50…. William Verder, yeoman of the Lady Isabella, similarly captured by these enemies, as a subsidy for his ransom, by the similar gift of the king, £10. John Parker, yeoman of the Lady Isabella, similarly captured by the enemies, as a subsidy for his ransom, by a similar gift of the king, £9 12s od…. To Lord William de Grauntson’, knight of Burgundy as a subsidy for the ransom of one of his squires, taken by the French enemy, by the similar gift of the king, 13th December, £20…. To John de Chaumpeigne, chaplain, taken by the enemies, as a subsidy for his ransom, by similar gift, 3rd February, 34 Edward III, £8…. To François de Pomeire given leave to depart to his own region, by similar gift of the king, 1st March, of the same year…. To Geoffrey Chaucer, taken by the enemies in France as a subsidy for his ransom, by similar gift of the king, on the day and in the year, £16. To John Horwode and Thomas de Chestre, grooms, taken by the enemies, as a subsidy for their ransom, by similar gift of the king, 52s To Geoffrey Hakkyng and Thomas de Stanes, yeomen of the lady queen, similarly captured by the enemies, as a subsidy for their expenses, to each of them £8, by similar gift of the king, £16. (ii) Chaucer is appointed comptroller of the custom and subsidy of wools, etc., and also comptroller of the petty customs of wines, etc., in the Port of London, 1374 (Ibid. 191, from Exchequer, K.R., Memoranda Roll, Trin., 48 Edward III, Recorda, m.ld [Latin]) Edward, by the grace of God, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland, to all to whom these presents shall come, greeting. Know that we have conceded to our beloved Geoffrey Chaucer the office as well of controller of customs and subsidy of wools, leathers, and woolfells, in the port of London to hold during our pleasure, taking as much in that office as other controllers of customs and subsidies of this kind have been

accustomed to levy in the port. So that the same Geoffrey shall write his rolls touching the office in his own hand and continually dwell there and do all those things which pertain to the office in his own person and not by a substitute and that the other part of the seal which is called the cocket shall remain in Geoffrey’s custody as long as he shall hold the office. Witnessed by the king at Westminster, 8th June, by writ of privy seal. (iii) Chaucer’s enrolled account for his two journeys to Paris, Montreuil, and elsewhere, 1377 (Ibid. 202, from Exchequer, L.T.R., Foreign Accounts, 3 Richard II [Latin]) The account of Geoffrey Chaucer, esquire, of the receipts, wages, and expenses involved in two journeys made by him as envoy [nuncio] of King Edward III, grandfather of the present king, to foreign parts, that is to Paris, Montreuil, and elsewhere, 51 Edward III, by writ of that king under the privy seal dated 26th February, 3 Richard II, directed to the treasurer and the barons of this Exchequer, which is among the Communia of Easter term in the same year…. Sum total of receipts, £36 13s 4d. Expenses-Also he reckons for his wages in travelling as envoy for the king to Paris and Montreuil, from 17th February, 51 Edward III, on which day he set out from London towards these parts, until 25 March next following, on which day he returned to London…for 37 days, both days included, £24 13s 4d, taking per diem 13s 4d, by the aforesaid writ of the king annotated above in the title of this account, and also in the said schedule of particulars. And in passage and repassage of men and horses-33s 4d by the same writ of the king…. And in the wages of Geoffrey similarly setting out in the said mission of the king to France between 30th April, 51 Edward III and 26th June, next following, that is, in setting out, staying there, and returning, for 14 days-£9 6s 8d, taking by the day as above, by the same royal writ…. And in passage and repassage of men and horses-20s by the same royal writ, as is contained there. Sum total of expenses-£36 13s 4d. (iv) 1378, 19 September Chaucer’s enrolled account for his journey to Lombardy from 28 May to this date (Ibid. 218, from Exchequer. L.T.R., 3 Richard II [Latin]) The account of Geoffrey Chaucer, esquire, for receipts, wages and expenses involved in his journey as the king’s envoy to Lombardy, 1 Richard II, by writ of privy seal, dated 26th February, 3 Richard II, directed to the treasurer, barons and chamberlains of this Exchequer, enrolled in the memoranda of Easter term of this year…a certain journey to Barnabo, Lord of Milan, in the company of Edward of Berkeley. Sum total of the receipt, £66 13s 4d. Expenses-[wages 28 May to 19 September, £76 13s 4d at 13s 4d a day. £4 for conveyance of men and horses.] Sum total of expenses-£80 13s 4d. And there is a debt owing to him of £14. Of which he will be given payment elsewhere by writ of privy seal noted above in the title of this account. And this writ he delivered on 4th July, 4 Richard II to the treasurer and chamberlains at the Receipt of the Exchequer. (v) 1390, 4 June-19 July Payments to Chaucer, as Clerk of the Works, for expenses on St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, at the Tower, and elsewhere (Ibid. 286, from Issue Roll, Easter, 13 Richard II, m.8)

Saturday, 4th June, Geoffrey Chaucer. To Geoffrey Chaucer, clerk of the works of the lord King within the palace of Westminster, the Tower of London, and for other various castles and manors of the king: in money delivered to him by the hands of Robert Gamelston, for stone bought by him for the repair of the royal chapel within the castle of Windsor, by writ of privy seal, as above…£10; for which he will account. And he accounts for it in his account at the Exchequer of Accounts, Roll 14, roll of accounts [Foreign Accounts, 14 Richard II]. Wednesday, 15th June. To Geoffrey Chaucer, clerk of the works…by one tally raised that day containing £100, delivered to the same clerk by John Hermesthorp, for performing various works at the Tower of London, by writ of liberate, among the mandates as above £100 for which he will account. And he accounts in his account as above. 1391, 6 January Writ discharging Chaucer, clerk of the kings works, from the repayment of the £20 of which he had been robbed near to the “Fowle Ok” on 3 September 1390 (Ibid. 292, Exchequer, Q.R., Memoranda Roll, Hilary, 14 Richard II, Brevia Roll, m. 20 [French]) Richard by the grace of God King, etc. To the treasurer and barons of our Exchequer greeting. Our well beloved clerk of the works Geoffrey Chaucer has petitioned us that whereas on 3rd September last past he was feloniously robbed near the foul oak of £20 of our treasure, and of his horse and other belongings, by some notable thieves, as is fully confessed by the mouth of one of these thieves, in the presence of our coroner and others of our officers at Westminster, in our gaol there, as it is said, it may please us to pardon him the £20 and to discharge him in his account at our Exchequer of the £20; which application we have granted of our especial grace. And by this we order you that you should cause Geoffrey to be discharged in his account at our Exchequer of the £20, and to be quit of them towards us for the cause abovesaid. Given under our privy seal, at our manor of Eltham, 6th January, 14th year of our reign. (Ibid. Pt I, Records of Chaucer’s robbery by highwaymen, from Plea Rolls, King’s Bench, Easter Term, 14 Richard II, Controlment Roll and Rex Roll) [Between February and April 1391 the bailiff of the liberty of the abbot of Westminster captured Richard Brerelay who had been indicted in King’s Bench in Hilary terms, with others, for the robbery of Chaucer and others. On 16 April Brerely turned approver and confessed that along with three other persons he had robbed Chaucer at Hatcham in Surrey on Tuesday, 6 September of £9 3s 10d. The persons thus accused were “Thomas Talbot, of Ireland, otherwise called Brode, Gilbert, clerk of the same, Thomas and William Huntyngfeld.” The first two, not being found by the sheriff, were outlawed; but the third man appeared. Huntyngfeld was brought into court on 17 June and was convicted of a robbery at Westminster on 6 September, but claimed benefit of clergy, though he may not really have been a “clerk”. He was accordingly committed to the King’s Bench prison, escaped thence on 2 August, and was again arrested. But for his “clergy” he would have been hanged. He was also charged with the robbery at Hatcham and pleaded not guilty; but the prosecution in this case seems to have been dropped, probably because he had already been convicted of the other robbery. [Having turned approver, Brerelay would have been pardoned in respect of the robberies at Westminster and Hatcham of which he had been accused; but being charged with another robbery in Hertfordshire, he accused a certain Irishman, servant of Thomas

Talbot, of being his accomplice, who offered the wager of battle and in the duel which ensued Brerelay was vanquished and was hanged forthwith.] [In June 1391 Chaucer was superseded as clerk of the king’s works by John Gedney (H.M. Colvin, The History of the King’s Works, vol. 2 (H.M.S.O., 1963), 1045). On 28 February 1394 Chaucer was given a grant of £20 a year for life (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 1391-6, 373), but until 1399 he seems to have been in financial difficulty. On 7 October 1399 Henry IV granted Chaucer forty marks a year (£26 13s 4d) in addition to the annuity that Richard II had given him.]

694. Oh, for the good old times! 1363

(Rymer, Foedera, 111, ii, 79, from Close Roll, 37 Edward III [Latin])

The king to the sheriff of Kent, greeting. Whereas the people of our realm, nobles as well as commoners, usually practised in their games the art of archery, whereby honour and profit accrued to the whole realm and we gained not a little help in our wars, with God’s favour; and now the art is almost totally neglected and the people amuse themselves with throwing stones, wood, or iron, or playing handball, football, or “stick-ball” [pila cacularis, perhaps a kind of cricket] or hockey or cock-fighting; and some indulge in other dishonest games, which are less useful or worthwhile, so that the kingdom, in short, becomes truly destitute of archers. We, wishing to provide an appropriate remedy for this, order you that in all places in your shire, as well within liberties as without, where you shall deem to be expedient, you shall cause to be proclaimed that everyone in the shire, on festival days when he has holiday, shall learn and exercise himself in the art of archery, and use for his games bows and arrows, or crossbolts or bolts, forbidding all and single, on our orders, to meddle or toy in any way with these games of throwing stones, wood, or iron, playing handball, football, “stickball”, or hockey, or cock-fighting, or any other games of this kind, which are worthless, under pain of imprisonment. By the king himself. [Similar writs were sent to all the sheriffs throughout England. [This proclamation was evidently ineffective, for the prohibition had to be repeated several times during this period; for example, in 1478 an act of parliament (Rot. Parl. VI, 188) forbade unlawful games as conducive to disorder and discouraging to the use of archery. The games that were forbidden, under penalty of two years’ imprisonment or a fine of £10, were these: dice, quoits, football, closh, kails, half bowls, hand-in and handout and chequer-board.]

695. Rules for the conduct of the masons at York Minster, 1370

(The Fabric Rolls of York Minster and Illustrative Documents, ed. J.Raine (Surtees Soc., 1859), 181-2

[English]) On 31 October 1370 Master Robert de Patrington and twelve other masons came before the chapter and swore to observe these rules in the following terms: “Lords, if it be your wills, we grant to stand at our work truly according to our power.” This circumstance is recorded by the seventeenth-century antiquary, Matthew Hutton, among his extracts from some of the books at York which are now missing. They may be found in B.M., MS. Harl., 6971. This document is extant in the original form of the northern English in which it was drawn up. A similar order, but rather longer, had been made in 1353, and had been entered (translated into Latin) in the Chapter Act Book, ibid. 171-3. It is ordained by the chapter of the kirk of St Peter of York that all the masons that shall work on the works of the same kirk of St Peter shall from Michaelmas Day unto the first Sunday of Lent be each day in the morning at their work, in the lodge that is ordained to the masons to work in with the close beside the aforesaid kirk, as early as they may see skilfully by daylight for to work. And they shall stand there truly working at their work all the day after, as long as they may see skilfully to work, if it be all workday; otherwise till it be high noon smitten by the clock when holy day falls at noon, so that it be within the foresaid time between Michaelmas and Lent. And in all other time of the year they may dine before noon, if they will, and also eat at noon when they wish, so that they shall not stray from their works in the foresaid lodge at any time of the year at dinner time, but such a short time that no skilful man shall find fault in their absence. And in time of meat, at noon, they shall, at no time of the year, stray from the lodge nor from the work aforesaid, more than the space of the time of an hour, and after noon they may drink in the lodge. And for their drinking time between Michaelmas and Lent they shall not cease nor leave their work passing the time of half a mileway.1 And from the first Sunday of Lent until Michaelmas they shall be in the aforesaid lodge at their work at the sunrising, and stand there truly and busily working upon the aforesaid work of the kirk all the day until it be no more space than the time of a mileway before the sun set, if it be a workday; otherwise until the time of noon, as it is said before, save that they shall between the first Sunday of Lent and Michaelmas dine and eat, as is before said, and sleep and drink after noon in the aforesaid lodge. And they shall not cease nor leave their work in sleeping time passing the time of a mileway, nor in drinking time after noon passing the time of a mileway. And they shall not sleep after noon any time but between St Helen’s mass and Lammas [3 May and I August. St Helen’s Day is properly 18 August; but this is impossible here, and the previous order of 1352 had permitted sleep in the afternoons between the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross (3 May, the Cross having been found by St Helena) and the feast of St Peter in Chains on I August]. And if any men stray from the lodge and from the work aforesaid or make any default any time of the year against this aforesaid ordinance, he shall be chastised with the reduction of his payment, at the supervision and discretion of the master mason. And all their times and hours shall be ruled by a bell ordained for this purpose. And also it is ordained that no mason shall be received at work, to the work of the aforesaid kirk, unless he be first

proved a week or more upon his well working, and after that he is found sufficient of his work be received by the common consent of the master and the keepers of the work, and of the master mason, and swear upon the book that he shall truly and busily at his power, without any manner of guile, feints, or other deceits, hold and keep wholly all the points of this aforesaid ordinance, in all things that concern him, or may concern him, from the time that he shall be received at the aforesaid work as long as he shall remain a mason hired at work at the aforesaid work of the kirk of St Peter, and not go away from the aforesaid work unless the masters give him leave to depart from the aforesaid work. And whosoever shall come against this ordinance and break it against the will of the aforesaid chapter, may he have the malediction of God and of St Peter. [For the indenture of the dean and chapter of York Minster in 1370 with John son of Adam, plumber, of Beverley, to repair with lead the roofs of the minster as need should arise, see ibid. 182-4.]

696. A surgeon’s code of behaviour and ethics, c. 1376

(John of Arderne, Treatise of Fistula in Ano, ed. D’Arcy Power (E.E.T.S., 1910), 4 [English])

First, it behoves a surgeon who wishes to succeed in this craft always to put God first in all his doings, and always meekly to call with heart and mouth for his help, and sometimes give of his earnings to the poor, so that they by their prayers may gain him grace of the Holy Ghost. And he must not be found rash or boastful in his sayings or in his deeds; and he must abstain from much speech, especially among great men; and he must answer cautiously to all questions, so that he may not be trapped by his own words. For if his works are known to disagree often with his words and his promises, he will be held more unworthy, and he will tarnish his own good fame…. A surgeon should not laugh or joke too much; and as far as he can without harm, he should avoid the company of knaves and dishonest persons. He should be always occupied in things that belong to his craft, whether reading, studying, writing, or praying; the study of books is of great advantage to the surgeon, both by keeping him occupied and by making him wiser. Above all, it helps him much to be found always sober; for drunkenness destroys all wisdom and brings it to nought. In strange places he should be content with the meats and drinks which he finds there, using moderation in all things…. He must scorn no man…. If anyone talks to him about another surgeon, he must neither set him at nought nor praise nor commend him too much, but he may answer courteously thus: “I have no real knowledge of him, but I have neither learnt nor heard anything of him but what is good and honest.”… A surgeon should not look too boldly at the lady or the daughters or other fair women in great men’s houses, nor offer to kiss them, nor to touch them secretly or openly… lest he arouses the indignation of the lord or one of his household. As far as possible, he should not annoy servants, but rather to try to gain their love and their good will. He must always abstain from harlotry in both word and deed, for if he practises 1 A mileway was the time needed to walk a mile.