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John granted five charters to the City, and in this third charter he restored to the citizens two privileges, of which 24 they had been deprived by Matilda and Henry II. The latter, wishing to bring the City under the direct supervision of the Crown, had retained the appointment of sheriffs in his own hands; Matilda had annulled the arrangement by which the citizens were to have the farm of Middlesex on payment of £300 every year. The restoration of the right of electing the sheriffs was not of very great importance, for during the period which had elapsed since Henry II. assumed this privilege the office of Mayor had become established, and this had considerably lessened the importance of the sheriffs.
John, by the grace of God, king of England, lord of Ireland, duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, and earl of Anjou; to his archbishops, bishops, abbots, earls, barons, justices, sheriffs, rulers, and to all his bailiffs and loving subjects.
Know ye, that we have granted, and by this our present writing confirmed, to our citizens of London, the sheriffwicks of London and Middlesex, with all the customs and things to the sheriffwick belonging, within the city and without, by land and by water, to have and to hold, to them and their heirs. of us and our heirs, paying therefor three hundred pounds of blank sterling money, at two terms in the year; that is to say, at the Easter exchequer, one hundred and fifty pounds; and at the Michaelmas exchequer, one hundred and fifty pounds; saving to the citizens of London all their liberties and free customs.
And further, we have granted to the citizens of London, that they amongst themselves make sheriffs whom they will; and may amove them when they will; and those whom they make sheriffs, they shall present to our justices of the exchequer, of these things which to the said sheriffwick appertain, whereof they ought to answer us; and unless they shall sufficiently answer and satisfy, the citizens may answer and satisfy us the amerciaments and farm, saving to the said citizens their liberties as is aforesaid; and saving to the said sheriffs the 25 same liberties which other citizens have: so that, if they which shall be appointed sheriffs for the time being, shall commit any offence, whereby they ought to incur any amerciament of money, they shall not be condemned for any more than to eh amerciament of twenty pounds, and that without the damage of other citizens, if the sheriffs be not sufficient for the payment of their amerciaments; but, if they do any offence, whereby they ought to incur the loss of their lives or members, they shall be adjudges, as they ought to be, according to the law of the city; and of these things, which to the said sheriffs belong, the sheriffs shall answer before our justices at our exchequer, saving to the said sheriffs the liberties which other citizens of London have.
Also this grant and confirmation we have made to the citizens of London for the amendment of the said city, and because it was in ancient times farmed for three hundred pounds: wherefore we will and steadfastly command, that the citizens of London and their heirs may have and hold the sheriffwick of London and Middlesex, with all things to the said sheriffwick of London and Middlesex belonging, of us and our heirs, to possess and enjoy hereditarily, freely and quietly, honourably and wholly, by fee-farm of three hundred pounds; and we forbid that none presume to do any damage, impediment or diminishment to the citizens of London of these things, which to the said sheriffwick do or were accustomed to appertain: Also we will and command, that if we or our heirs, or any of our justices, shall give or grant to any person any of those things which to the farm of the sheriffwick appertain, the same shall be accounted to the citizens of London, in the acquittal of the said farm at our exchequer.