57. EDWARD II: HOUSEHOLD ORDINANCE (1318)[1]

... The king should have a fit steward of the household, who, if he is a banneret,[2] is to have a knight, three squires, and a clerk for the pleas that pertain to the stewardship, [all of them] eating in the hall. And each night he shall receive for his chamber a sester of wine, twelve candles, two tortis pur viu,[3] and one torch, and more when he needs them. And [he is to have] bedding for the whole year and wood for the winter season — from the eve of All Saints to the eve of Easter — [to be obtained] from the usher of the hall. And [he is to have] a livery for his chamberlain: namely, a portion of bread, a gallon of ale, and a general serving (messe de gros) from the kitchen. And [he is to have] dinners and suppers when he wants them; and as fees 20m. a year, in equal instalments on the feasts of Christmas and Pentecost. And if he is a simple knight, he shall receive fees and robes like the other simple knights of the household, and shall have two squires and his clerk eating in the hall.

A treasurer of the wardrobe, who is to have a chaplain, a clerk, and two squires eating in the hall....[4]

A chamberlain, who, if he is a banneret, is to have a knight and three squires eating in the hall....

Item, a comptroller, who is to keep a counter-roll against the treasurer of the wardrobe for all receipts and issues pertaining to the same wardrobe; and he is to witness them in the exchequer in connection with the account of the said treasurer. And he shall attend the receipt of wines in gross and shall supervise all the offices of the household, such as the pantry, butlery, cellar, larder, spicery, dispensary of oats (avenerie) and other offices, [to see] that the wines and victuals that he finds in the said offices are good and suitable for dispensing in the said household.... And he is to go into those same offices every Monday to examine the remainders [of supplies] and to see that they, with the amounts dispensed in the past week, agree with the receipts of the aforesaid week. And he shall be in the kitchen for the cutting of meat and the division of fish.... And every day, if he sees reasonable cause, he shall be present at the account,[5] together with the steward and the treasurer. And this same comptroller of the wardrobe is to have a clerk and a squire eating in the hall....

Item, a cofferer, who shall be appointed for the treasurer and shall have a clerk eating in the hall....

Item, two clerks of the counting table, well able to write and perform all duties touching the wardrobe and its account under the [direction of the] cofferer....

Item, a fit clerk keeper of the privy seal, who is to have a squire eating in the hall....[6]

Item, a clerk purveyor of the great wardrobe,[7] who should sleep on guard when he is at court. And he shall have a squire eating in the hall....

Item, a clerk of the spicery, chief usher of the wardrobe, who shall receive from the clerk purveyor of the great wardrobe the wax, napery, linen, cloth, canvas, spices, and the other things of all sorts that pertain to his office, [and this] by indenture expressly mentioning price, yardage, weight, and cost.[8] And he shall cause to be weighed the wax which the chandler is to have worked, and shall reweigh it after it has been worked. And he shall oversee and cause to be recorded by his under-clerk the liveries of chandlery made each day in the wardrobe, and on the next day he shall supervise the putting away of the torches, the great candles, and the mortars.[9] Each day he shall record the parcels of all sorts of things delivered and dispensed from his office, as counted since the day before, and he shall answer concerning them at the account of the household. And he shall oversee the carriages belonging to the wardrobe, as well for the coffers and other things of his office as for the beds of the wardrobe clerks which ought to be carried. And he shall make allowance in his roll for the carriage and transportation reasonably used in connection with the king's journeys....[10]

Item, a serjeant under-usher of the wardrobe, who shall live in the wardrobe, sleeping within its door to safeguard all the things inside it. And he shall be answerable if peril is incurred by his default. And he shall obtain from the offices the liveries for all men of the wardrobe, and he shall carry out their orders....

Item, a porter of the wardrobe, who shall carry the coffers and the other furnishings of the wardrobe to the carts, and shall load and unload them. And he shall be on the cart [while it is] on the road. And at night, if the cart is outdoors wandering through the country, he shall remain on watch....

Item, a squire fruiterer, who shall receive and take from the clerk of the spicery confections and other spiceries, and figs and grapes for the king's mouth. And each day he shall record for the said clerk what has been expended on the previous day: as well the said spiceries and fruit, thus received from the said clerk, as apples, pears, cherries, and other fruits which the said fruiterer shall purvey....

Item, a serjeant chandler, who shall receive the wax and candlewicks by weight from the clerk of the spicery, and shall have them worked according to the assize contained in the statute....[11]

Item, a confessor of the king and his companion....[12]

Item, a chief chaplain, who is to have a squire eating in the hall ... and five chaplains ... and six clerks....

Item, an almoner chaplain, who is to have a squire eating in the hall....[13]

Item, a physician....

Item, a surgeon....

Item, a clerk of the market, coroner of the king's household, who shall enforce the assize of bread, wine, and ale; also the assize of all sorts of measures, weights, and yards within the verge of our lord the king's presence. And he shall have wrongdoers who have broken the assize, or who are found with false measures, punished by imposition or fine....

Item, the king shall have a squire inspector and keeper of viands for his mouth, and an inspector of his table; also a squire to carve before the king and a squire to serve him with his cup....

Item, the king shall have two squires ushers of the chamber, one of whom shall be serjeant purveyor of wood and bedding for the office of the chamber.... And the serjeant purveyor shall have a servingman to help him in making purveyance....

Item, eight footmen of the chamber, who shall serve in the chamber making beds, holding and carrying torches, and [doing] various other things according to the commands of the king's chamberlain....

Item, the king is to have thirty serjeants-at-arms, properly armed and mounted ... , who shall daily ride armed before the king's person while he is journeying through the country, unless they have other commands from the king or the steward....

Item, a knight chief usher of the hall, who shall have charge of the door of the hall, [seeing] that it is well kept by the serjeants and valets of the usher, as is fit. And he shall take care that the hall is well and honourably served, and that no one eats there except those who rightfully should, saving always that strangers are received and honoured as they ought to be. And each day he should enter and inspect the offices of the household, [to see] that the things sent by the purveyors are sufficient according to the purchase, and that no one is permitted in the same offices except those who ought to be there. And he shall have a squire eating in the hall....

Item, two serjeants ushers of the hall, of whom one shall be purveyor of wood and of bedding for the service of the hall.[14]...

Item, two knights marshals of the hall, of whom one shall have charge of lodgings and the other shall be on duty in the hall....

Item, two serjeants marshals of the hall, of whom one shall have charge of lodgings and the other shall be on duty in the hall....

Item, a serjeant overseer of the sideboard for the hall, who is to advise concerning the places that he serves, according as persons of high estate and others may be seated in the hall....[15]

Item, a chief clerk of the pantry and butlery, who ought to keep the records of his office. And he is to respond each day at the account of the household.... He shall be present at the receipt of bread, wine, and ale; and he shall inspect and examine [them, to see] that they are of the proper weight, measure, and value....[16]

Item, a serjeant chief pantler, who shall receive the bread in gross by view of the clerk or the under-clerk, and shall each day be answerable to the chief clerk for the enrolment of what has been dispensed....[17]

Item, a serjeant pantler for the king's mouth, who each day shall receive from the great pantry the bread for the king and for his chamber, and for no other place....[18]

Item, a waferer, who shall serve the king, the hall, and the chamber with wafers, as pertains to him....

Item, a serjeant baker, who shall bake all sorts of bread for dispensing in the king's household — as well round loaves for all the commonalty as demeine loaves for the king's mouth....[19]

Item, a serjeant naperer, who shall perform his office in the king's chamber and in the hall. And he shall receive the napery from the clerk of the spicery and shall be responsible for it at the account whenever he is asked....[20]

Item, a ewerer for the chamber, who shall perform his office in the said chamber....[21]

Item, a launderer for the king's chamber, who shall wash all sorts of linen cut for the king's body ...[22] and the covers used in the service of the chamber....

Item, a launderer of napery, who shall wash all sorts of cut linen pertaining to the said office of napery, and the covers from offices connected with the hall....

Item, a chief butler, serjeant purveyor of wines.... And he shall do that which pertains to him according to the content of the statute concerning his office below.[23]

Item, a serjeant butler of the household, who shall receive and dispense all wine and ale that are dispensed in the household....

Item, a serjeant butler for the king, who shall receive from the butler of the household all the wine and ale that are dispensed in the king's chamber....[24]

Item, a chief clerk of the kitchen, who ought to make the enrolments pertaining to his office. And every day at the account in the wardrobe before the steward and the treasurer he shall be responsible for the parcels delivered [in the kitchen] and for all other matters pertaining to his office. And he shall be present at the cutting of meat and the division of fish. And he shall oversee the purchase and the cost of meat and fish and of all other things pertaining to his office, with the aid of the comptroller, the knight usher of the hall or the knight marshal, and the sewer of the king's table....[25]

Item, two serjeants cooks for the king's mouth....[26]

Item, two serjeants cooks for the hall....

Item, a serjeant larderer, who shall receive the meat and fish that the buyers cause to be brought to the larder, or which comes as a present; also the venison which comes thither from the king's huntsmen or from any other source. And he shall deliver the aforesaid meat and fish to be dispensed for the household in parcels, and [this] under the inspection of the comptroller, the knight usher of the hall or the knight marshal of the hall, the clerk of the kitchen, the sewer of the king's table, and the chief cook. And he shall keep the food on the sideboard and each day he shall give to the said clerk a record of the parcels of the aforesaid meat and fish dispensed in the manner aforesaid....[27]

Item, a serjeant poulterer, who shall attend to purchases and purveyance of all sorts of things pertaining to his office....[28]

Item, a serjeant of the scullery, who shall buy and purvey wood, charcoal, and all sorts of vessels of brass, iron, and wood that belong

to the kitchen; also the pots and various other things pertaining to his office....[29]

Item, a [second] serjeant of the scullery, who shall receive the silver vessels from the wardrobe by number and weight ... , and shall keep them and be responsible for them by number and weight in the same wardrobe at the end of the year....

Item, a serjeant of the saucery, who shall buy and purvey flour for all manner of sauces and other things needed for the office of the saucery and the king's household....[29]

Item, a serjeant porter, who shall guard the door where the king sleeps, so that none may enter except those who by right should do so....[29]

Item, a chief clerk of the marshalsea....[30]

(French) Tout, Edward II in English History, pp. 270 f.


[1] The preamble explains that this ordinance was drawn up at the king's request by the steward, the chamberlain, the treasurer, and the comptroller of the wardrobe, to define the duties of the various officials and to establish needed reforms in the administration of the household. On the general significance of the document, see Tout, Place of Edward II in English History, ch. v, and Chapters in Mediaeval Administrative History, II, pp. 242 f.

[2] The banneret, as opposed to the simple knight or bachelor, had the right to bear a square pennon on his lance.

[3] Large candles "for view (? display)"; see Oxford English Dictionary under tortis. Henceforth the expression will be translated merely as "great candles."

[4] All the greater officials received liveries similar to that of the steward, but with considerable variation in the particular items. Besides, each normally had his own chamberlain, who was entitled to food and drink.

[5] Drawn up in the wardrobe; see no. 52C.

[6] Also four under-clerks with liveries.

[7] See above, p. 171, n. 8.

[8] This was a newly established reform, as is explained in the next paragraph of the text.

[9] Bowls of oil with floating wicks. [10] Also an under-clerk to assist him.

[11] I.e., a separate ordinance dealing with these matters. Two serving-men under the chandler worked the wax.

[12] With four horses and three grooms.

[13] Also a clerk and a serving-man.

[14] Under the serjeants were two serving-men; under the knight was a sewer, who had charge of setting the table.

[15] He was assisted by two squires sewers, who served the meals in the hall. Besides, twenty-four squires were on duty in the hall, to carry out the commands of the high officials.

[16] Also an under-clerk, who kept tallies for all bread, wine, and ale received.

[17] Also a serving-man and two porters.

[18] Assisted by a serving-man for the chamber, and one for the rest of the household.

[19] Cf. above, p. 66, n. 3. The baker was assisted by two serving-men, one for the oven and the other for the mill.

[20] Also a serving-man.

[21] Also a serving-man, who acted as ewerer for the hall.

[22] This portion of the text is very corrupt.

[23] A separate ordinance added at the end of the survey.

[24] Also enumerated in the service of the butlery: a serving-man of the cuphouse two drawers of ale and wine, a purveyor of ale, two serving-men of the pitcher-house, and two porters.

[25] As assistants he had an under-clerk and two buyers, who were to give money or tallies for anything taken by purveyance.

[26] Under each pair of cooks were five serving-men.

[27] Under him were an usher of the larder and two porters.

[28] Three serving-men assisted him in obtaining poultry and preparing it for the kitchen.

[29] Also two serving-men.

[30] Here the text gives a detailed account of all the services connected with the king's stables. The chief clerk, assisted by a purveyor of oats, had charge of all records pertaining to the office, including tallies given for oats, hay, straw, harness, etc. The actual care of the king's horses — palfreys, chargers, pack-horses, draught-horses, etc. — devolved on two serjeants harbingers and three serjeants marshals, under whom were numerous serving-men, porters, and grooms. The record then describes the officers in charge of the king's hunting, fishing, and fowling, and lists his trumpeters, musicians, messengers, and archers. It ends with a group of particular ordinances to regulate the duties of the chief butler, the arrangement of lodgings for the court, the daily account in the wardrobe, the exclusion from the household of undesirable persons, and many other matters.


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