A comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales and the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Murage Home
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

There is associated evidence for murage, dated 16/11/1341, concerning Wells (a complaint by bishop of Bath and Wells).

Inspeximus and examplification by King Edward {III}, tested at Westminster 20 November 17 Edward III, of the record of proceedings in the Chancery at Westminster in the quinzaine of Hilary 15 Edward III. Writ of scire facias, tested at Stanford 16 November 15 Edward III, addressed to the sheriff of Somerset (reciting the king's charter to the burgesses of Wells granting them quittance of toll, passage, pontage, quayage, tronage, picage, keverage, morage, murage, works of castles, houses, walls, dykes, causeways, bridges etc., the right to elect a mayor, bailiffs, a constable of the peace, and coroners, to have a gaol and the custody of prisoners within the borough liberty, the return and execution of writs and summonses, so that no sheriff or officer should enter or meddle therein, that all pleas within the borough and liberty, whether of land therein or of trespasses, contracts and convenants, should be held before the mayor and bailiffs, that they should not be put on assizes, juries or inquisitions with foreigners, unless the same concern the king or his heirs, and power to enclose the town with a wall and moat and to crenellate the same) ordering the said burgesses to appear in the Chancery in the quinzaine of Hilary to shew cause why the charter should not be revoked. Return to the same by John de Glastyngbury clerk and Guy de Astyngton their attorneys. John de Clone, for the king, alleges manifest error in the issue of the charter, namely the omission of an inquisition ad quod damnum; also that the bishop of Bath and Wells holds the town in chief in right of his bishopric, and all the burgesses are his tenants, many by knight service; that the above quittances are to the king's loss, the right of electing a mayor etc. can only be enjoyed by tenants of the crown, and that the said quittances would either exclude the king from the royalties of the whole county or transfer the charge to others; also that the bishop enjoys certain liberties in the town by grant of the crown, namely his hundred court every three weeks, with cognisance of pleas, fairs, markets, tolls, infangthef and outfangthef, fines and amercements, as appears by the account of Nicholas Fernbant during the vacancy of the see after the death of bishop William de Marchia, who answered for 96l.; that the burgesses are bound to the bishop yearly in 100 marks, and pay him a composition rent for the issues of the liberties, which should fall to the king during a vacancy, and therein the charter was to the king's loss and the bishop's prejudice; also that the king's gaol for Somerset is at Somerton, and the keeper should have custody of all prisoners within the county, and pays yearly 24l., part of which farm would be lost; also that the bishop has the return and execution of writs and summonses concerning his liberty, so that he answered for 18s. for forfeitures in one sheriff's account, which profit would be lost, to the prejudice of the king and the bishop: wherefore he craves the revocation of the charter. The burgesses say that they have been quit of the toll, works etc. above mentioned from time immemorial; as to the election of mayor etc., the return and execution of writs and summonses, and the other liberties granted them (except the custody of the gaol), the profits thereof are casual matters and not yearly, and cannot fall within an extent, wherefore the king of the plenitude of his power and for their fine can grant the same without inquisition ad quod damnum, as he has often done; as to the custody of the gaol, that is a charge and not an advantage, for they would be answerable to the king for the profits. The said John (for the king) replies that there is no mention in the charter that they are in possession of the quittances above mentioned, nor is it alleged in the burgesses' answer that they have ever been allowed in the king's courts, and their claim is so wide that no proof is possible; as to the election of mayor etc. the return of writs etc. and other liberties (except the gaol), that the burgesses do not deny that the charter without any process went forward to the prejudice of the crown and others, that even casualties can be estimated, and the usual process should have been observed, as is clear by the omission of the clause ex certa scientia sua from the charter; as to the gaol, that the loss of profit from Somerton gaol is not denied, nor the prejudice to the farmer of it. A day is set in Easter term, when the said John produces a certificate of the Exchequer that, during the last vacancy of the bishopric from 10 May to 22 July 3 Edward III, John de Clyvedon and Gilbert de Berwyk guardians of the temporalities accounted for 4l. 3s. 1 d. of the issues of the borough; an inquisition finding that the bishop is lord of the town, holding it of the king in chief, part in demesne, part in services and rents, and has therein divers liberties and customs, some by royal charter, others by ancient use, by reason whereof he takes divers issues and profits, which the king should take during a vacancy, and these would be lost if the charter hold good; moreover the grant that they should not be put upon juries etc. with foreigners would give them a cause as well of slaying, as of indicting and arresting strangers. A day is set in the octave of Michaelmas, when the court holds upon the evidence that the charter was to the prejudice of the king, the bishop and others, and judgment is given that it be revoked and annulled, with an order to the sheriff to publish the fact, and distrain the burgesses to bring up the same to the Chancery to be cancelled, which was accordingly done.

(Memorandum that the within written letters are in the Chancery among writs of 17 Edward III, but only enrolled on the back of the record).
R.I. ff. 243d.–246. See Placita in Cancellaria, No. 11; and compare Year Books (Rolls Series) 16 Edward III, i. pp. 108–121 and Introd. lxxvii–lxxxii.

Granted by Edward III. (Regnal year 15). Granted at Westminster.
Primary Sources
HMC, 1907, 'Liber albus I: Fols. 221-60', Calendar of the Manuscripts of the Dean & Chapter of Wells volume 1 pp. 256-276 online copy

Record created by Philip Davis. This record created 28/02/2009. Last updated on 19/01/2013. First published online 9/01/2013.

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact