English gilds : the original ordinances of more than one hundred early English gilds : together with The olde Usages of the cite of Wynchestre; the Ordinances of Worcester; the Office of the Mayor of Bristol; and the Costomary of the Manor of Tettenhall-Regis : from manuscripts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries
edited, with notes, by Toulmin Smith

Rules of Pleading

Þe ordre of pledynge þt me pledeth in þe Cytee of Wynchestre ys by swych a-vys, þat euerych man of þe fraunchyse þt is empled, may habbe þre resonable somounces to-fore shewynge ȝif he hit habbe wele; þere þat a-tachement ne by-lyth nouȝt; and for hym-selue may habbe as vele.

*. [A cross is put, in the right hand margin, against this Usage.]And he doþ to wetynge, þat þulke þre somounces shulle be y-maked by þre dayes fulfullyd, but ȝif sollempne fest ne distourbe hit, oþer þat þe court ne be fram day to day y-helde, so þt þe playntyf to euerych court him profry to þe to somaunce procuratours.

And ȝif a man is a-tached þer þat somynge by-lyth to þe nexte court by þe dystresse delyuered, and he habbe þe ryȝtful somaunce after þe vsage of þe town, whanne þe heste is to don, þe furste somaunce on him be y-maked or he come to towne, ȝif hit ne be pley of lond by wryt.

And ȝif a man be-owt of fraunchyse be empleted, he ne shal habbe but one somaunce ouer o nyȝt, ȝif he ys in towne y-founde.

And ȝif he is y-pleted by wryt of plee of londe, so may he habbe, ȝif he wele, þre folwande somaunces, as þilke þat beth in fraunchyse.

And ȝef a man þt is in fraunchyse, at þe furste somaunce, oþer Page  361at þe secunde, hym sheweþ, he ys y-holde to answerye atte þe þrydde.

And whanne he sheweþ wiþ-oute dystresse, weiþer he be of fraunchyse oþer ne be, and be of towne; so may habbe day of towne, and ten for ten; and ȝif hit be assone, oþer hit be shewynge ys y-pleted, al þat play eyȝte dayȝes for to he be a-skaped.

And ȝef a foreyne empledy þe teþynge, þe teþynge ne haþ bote þre dayes to shewynge by þe dayȝe of þe towne, ne myd oþer delayes.

*. [A cross is put, in the left-hand margin, against this Usage.]And whanne þe teþynge empledeþ a foreyn, þe foreyn haþ his delay, of eyȝte dayȝes in to eyȝte, by-þowte day of towne, and y-preued after assoyne.

Off play of londe, þe seyȝte þat non wyþorawe ȝef he ne toucheþ ryȝt. And þat commune law hym be y-entred, þe axere and þe defendaunt, to shewe of ryȝt tellyng, and in þe defendynge, and out nome mornynge vyȝtynge and gryeþ assyse; so þt þer be enqueste y-nome by twelue godemen y-swore ryȝt y-don to þe remenaunt.

And doþ to wetynge, þat þe wryt þat me pledeth in þe Citee, by-fore Justyces, oþer by-fore baylyues of þe towne, beþ empne wrytes of newe dysseysyne, and of alle Justyces owt-nome ȝeresrente.

*. [There is a special mark, in the left-hand margin, against this Usage.]And wriȝt of ryȝt of dowarye, and of riȝtful partyȝe, and of riȝt, and of axere, and þe defendaunt may make a-torne to alle manere partyes and plays, by wryt in presence of partyȝe. And þt essoyne of oþer men ne be a-lowed in none manere of play y-cast, for þilke þt fyndeþ somaunce; and ȝif he nys y-founde, be y-cast þe assoyne vp-on þe fyfte somaunce oþer nouȝt a-lowy.

And so habbe fowrty dayes; and ȝif he in þe fourty dayes comeþ in-to towne, and he wele sewy, be a-ȝen somened vp-on þe somaunce a-fore y-seyd. And may þanne, ȝif he wele, caste a new soyne of harme y-falle, and habbe delay eyȝte dayȝes, so þt, by-fore Page  362 answere, ne legge non oþer delay, but ȝif hit be for swerynge of mo parteneres of play of londe by ryȝt.

And of plee of dette is þus vp-on þe heued answere; ȝif þtþe axkere bryngeþ skore oþer wryt, and aske þe berynge y-hole-cheche, no day of answere be y-graunted by þe court, wt-þowte grauntynge of þe askere, but þe defendaund graunteþ.

Whos paye y-maked by skore oþer by scryt oþer by sywete, so þt he bere tayle tayle*. [(sic.)] oþer scryt, to preue hit vp-on hure nature, and ȝif he lete, sende his adversaryȝe habbe his defens vp-on on ryȝt of londe.

Also after þe deth of euerych haldere in ffee, sholle þe baylyues of þe Citee seysy sympleleche þe tenemens of weche he deyd y-seysed, for to y-wyte bet who-so is next eyr. And at þe nexte Eyr, and at þe nexte court, by þe for-seyde tenemens y-ȝoulde, so ȝif eny more next a-leggy þt in erthe his frendes day to don hem come vp-on þe dystaunce of godes.

And ȝef he is out of londe fowrty dayȝes, and ȝif he at his day comeþ, habbe he shal þt ylke stat þt he shulde haue y-had, ȝif he hadde be present þe day þat his eldere deyde. And ȝif at hys daye ne comeþ, and weneþ riȝt, habbe hys cleym vp-on þe lawe of londe.

And of a ȝere and o daye y-vsed in þe Citee, doþ to wetynge: who-so þt euere lond oþer tenemens, by fallynge oþer by purchase of whom he habbe seysyne by baylyues, oþer by certeygn borw of þe comynge, a ȝer and a day, by-þowte cleym and chalangynge of eny, be þe askere out-putte for euere, but ȝif he were with-ynne age, oþer out of londe, oþer in prisone, oþer þat þer be ryȝtful partyȝe.

Also, vsage of ȝeer and of day a-fore y-seyd:—þt ȝif eny þo þat nymeþ rente of eny tenement in fraunchyse of þe Citee, and his rente holleche be by-hynde, oþer half oþer more, and he ne fynde for to dystreyne, and he habbe housynge and folk wonyȝynge; by leue of þe baylyues of þe town, nyme þe dores and þe fenestres. ¶ And ȝif myd þan ne may hys tenement riȝt, ne oþer dystresse fynde, by sewte of þe court, and þe syȝte of alderman of þe stret, and of a seriaunt, be y-set a stake on þe lok þar is þe dore,Page  363and be y-entred in þe court; and sewe fram eyȝte dayȝes to eyȝte; and þe þrydde and þe furþe a ȝer and a day y-fuld of þe-furste day of sewte. And ȝif þanne non ne comeþ to don þe riȝt, lese þe tenaunt by-þowte rekenerynge, wheyþer he be of age oþer ne be, so nauȝt þer-fore þt by-fore þt ȝaf iugement y-passed, myȝte eueremore grey doun. Wych jugement ne be delayȝed, to þe harme of þe askere, and to swych sewte be y-maked to londe y-sold where þt þer nys. And þt no man ne legge in lond ne in tenement by-fore y-seyd, þe whyle þe suquestre ys þare set.