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The frequent proclamations for the preservation of peace and order in the City seem to show that some difficulty was experienced in this direction; it is, at any rate, interesting to note that he authority of the King is invoked to assist in the discipline and control of lawless inhabitants. The restriction as to the bearing of arms is very significant, and the instructions regarding night-walkers and tavern-keepers, which continually recur in similar documents, show whence arose the greatest dangers to life and property.
This proclamation was ordered by the Mayor and Aldermen, on Saturday the morrow of St. Dunstan [May 19], in the 3d year of the reign of King Edward the Third; and on the Sunday following throughout the City proclaimed; our said Lord the King being about to cross over to the ports of France on the Friday next ensuing, there to do his homage; and to the end that, while the King was there, his peace might be the more strictly observed.
We do command, on behalf of our Lord the King, that his peace shall be preserved and kept between both denizens and strangers throughout all the franchise of the city.
Also, — that no person, native or stranger, shall go armed in the same city, or shall carry arms by night or by day, on pain of imprisonment, and of losing his arms; save only, the serjeants-at-arms of our Lord the King, and of my Lady the Queen, and the vadlets of the Earls and Barons; that is to 43 say, for every Earl or Baron one vadlet, carrying the sword of his lord in his presence; and save also, the officers of the City, and those who shall be summoned unto them, for keeping and maintaining the peace of the City.
We do also forbid, on behalf of our said Lord the King, that anyone shall be so daring, on pain of Imprisonment, as to go wandering about the City, after the hour of curfew rung out at St. Martin’s le Grand; unless it be some man of the City of good repute, or his servant; and that, for reasonable cause, and with light.
And that no one shall hold covin or congregation, to make persons pay fine, by imputing to them that they have committed against them divers grievances or offences: but let those who feel themselves aggrieved, shew their grievances unto the officers of the City, and they will do them speedily right, according as the law demands. And that no one of the City, of whatsoever condition he be, shall go out of the city, to maintain parties, such as taking seisins, or holding days of love, or making other congregations, within the City or without, in disturbance of the peace of our Lord the King, or in affray of the people, and to the scandal of the City. And if any persons, of whatsoever condition or estate he be, shall from henceforth be found guilty thereof, let him be taken and put in the Prison of Newgate; and let him remain for a year and a day, without being reprieved; and if he be free of the City, let him for ever lose his freedom.
And whereas misdoers, going about by night, have their resort more in taverns than elsewhere, and there seek refuge, and watch their time for misdoing; we do forbid that any taverner or brewer keep the door of his tavern open after the hour of curfew aforesaid, on the pain as to the same ordained; that is to say, the first time, on pain of being amerced in the sum of 40d.; the second time, half a mark; the third time 10s.; the fourth time, 20s.; the fifth time, let him forswear the trade for ever.