Judicium Pillorie (The Judgment of the Pillory)
The Judgment of the Pillory provided the articles for inquests into violations
of the assizes of bread and beer, weights and measures, and forestalling. It appears in
about of quarter of the Common Law statute books written through the mid-14th century.
If a Baker or a brewer be convicted, because he has not observed the Assize of Bread
and Beer, the first, second, and third times, he shall be amerced according to his
offence; if it be not over-grievous; but if the offence be grievous and often, and will
not be corrected, then he shall suffer punishment of the body, that is to wit, a baker to
the pillory, and a brewer to the tumbrel, or some other correction.
First, six lawful men shall be sworn truly to gather all measures of the town, that is
to wit, bushels, half and quarter bushels, gallons, pottles, and quarts, as well of
taverns as of other places; measures and weights, that is to wit, pounds, half pounds, and
other little weights, wherewith bread of the town or of the court is weighed; that is to
say, one loaf of every sort of bread. And upon every measure, bushel, weight, and also
upon every loaf, the name of the owner distinctly written; and likewise they shall gather
the measures of mills. After which thing done, twelve lawful men shall swear to make true
answer to all such things as shall be demanded of them in the King's behalf upon articles
here following; and such things as be secret, they shall treat of secretly, and answer
privately. And the bailiffs shall be commanded to bring in all the bakers and brewers with
their measures, and all things under written.
First, they shall inquire the price of wheat, that is to wit, how a quarter of the best
wheat was sold the last market day, and how the second wheat, and how the third; and how a
quarter of barley and oats.
After, how the baker's bread does answer in his court, that is to wit, wastel and other
bread after wheat of the best, or of the second, or of the third price.
Also upon how much increase or decrease in the price of wheat a baker ought to change
the assize and weight of his bread.
Also how much the wastel of a farthing ought to weigh, and all other manner of bread,
after the price of a quarter of wheat that they present.
And for default in the weight of the bread, a baker ought to be amerced, or to be
judged unto the pillory, according to the law and custom of the court.
Also if any steward or bailiff, for any bribe, does release punishment of the pillory
and tumbrel, being already judged, or to be judged of right.
Also if they have in the town a pillory of convenient strength, as appertains to the
Liberty of their market, which they may use, if need be, without bodily peril either of
man or woman.
After, they shall inquire of the Assize and price of wine, after the departure of the
justices in eyre, or of them that were last in office of the market of the town; that is
to say, of the Vintner's names, and how they sell a gallon of wine: and if any corrupted
wine be in the town, or such as is not wholesome for man's body.
Also of the assize of Beer in the court of the town how it is, and whether it be
observed; and if not, how much [how many?] brewers have sold contrary to the assize; and
they shall present their names distinctly and openly, and they shall be amerced for every
default, or be judged to the tumbrel, if they sell contrary to the assize.
Also if there be any that sell by one measure, and buy by another. Also if any do use
false yards, weights, or measures.
And if any butcher do sell contagious flesh, or that died of the murrain. Also they
shall inquire of Cooks that seethe flesh or fish with bread or water, or any otherwise,
that is not wholesome for man's body, or after that they have kept it so long that it
loses its natural wholesomeness, and then seethe it again, and sell it; or if any do buy
flesh of Jews, and then sell it to Christians.
When a quarter of barley is sold for two shillings, then four quarts of beer shall be
sold for a penny; when for two shillings sixpence, then seven quarts of beer shall be sold
for tuppence; when for three shillings, then three quarts for one penny; when for three
shillings sixpence, then five quarts for tuppence; when it is sold for four shillings,
then two quarts at one penny. And so from henceforth the prices shall increase and
decrease after the rate of sixpence.
From: A. Luders, ed., The Statutes of the Realm: Printed by Command of His Majesty
King George the Third, in Pursuance of an Address of the House of Commons of Great
Britain, From Original Records and Authentic Manuscripts, 11 vols., (London: Record
Commission, 1810-1828), Vol. I, pp. 201-202.
Scanned by Jerome S. Arkenberg, Cal. State Fullerton. The text may have been modernized
by Prof. Arkenberg.
This text is part of the Internet
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© Paul Halsall, August 1998