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Introduction

A FRANCOPHONE FLORENTINE IN LONDON

Item. I leave to London Guildhall’s chamber a great book [magnum librum] of English acts, in which are contained many useful things [utilia], and another book concerning old English matters, together with a book called Britton and a book called the Mirror of Justices and a further book composed by Henry of Huntingdon. Item. One other book of English statutes with many liberties and other things touching the city.[1]

These were the books that Andrew Horn, London’s chamberlain, bequeathed to London between 1320 and 1328, the year he died. A number (Britton, the Mirror of Justices) figure below in relation to the accountability of various English officers. As chamberlain Horn was the city’s chief financial and judicial officer, with a longstanding interest in its law and custom.[2] In thinking about official conduct, however, Horn did not restrict himself to English models only.

It seems clear that his ‘great book’ contained an expanded version of the early thirteenth-century Leges Anglorum, numerous charters from Henry III’s reign, statutes and tracts of Henry and Edward I, lists of London officers, and a set of more recent documents relating to London.[3] This compilation of customs, precedents, rules, laws, and lists is extant but now divided.[4] In the ‘great book’ Horn inserted a quire. It comprised Henry of Huntingdon’s description of Britain (c. 1130—57),

William fitz Stephen’s description of London (c.1173—4), and excerpts addressing the election, conduct, and accountability of elected, fixed-term, Italian ‘mayors’ (podesta) taken from Brunetto Latini’s Livres dou Tresor (c. 1260—c. 1265).[5] Horn, then, was also interested in the office, character, and accountability of Italian communal officers.

Latini had been a notary, scribe, and secretary for the Florentineprimopopolo regime (1250—60), and Florence’s ambassador to Alfonso X of Castile in 1260 when it pressed the King to act on his claims for the imperial crown against Manfred, allied with the rival Sienese. During the embassy, the Guelphs were badly defeated at Montaperti on 4 September and Latini’s return home became instead a French exile.[6] [7] It was during this that he wrote the Livres dou Tresor, a book of instruction forpodesta.

According to Latini the Livres were a treasure for ‘that lord who wishes to find in a small place things of the greatest value not only for his delight but also to augment his power and to guarantee his estate in war and peace’.[8] A sequential encyclopedia, the book first discussed the ‘beginning of the created world and the ancient time of the old histories, the establishment of the world and in sum the nature of all things’.[9] It then ‘treats of vice and virtues [. . .] that is to say what one should do and what not, and shows the reason why’.[10] The third book was ‘of fine gold. That is to say, it instructs man to speak according to the doctrine of rhetoric, and how a lord should govern the people who are his, likewise according to the Italians’ customs.’[11] Only having led his readers up this ascent could Latini finally fulfil his promise to ‘define politics, that is the government of cities which is the most noble and high science and the most noble office that there is on earth, in so far as politics covers generally all the arts which pertain to the community of men’.[12] This goal terminates the book. It was from these last thirty odd chapters of the Tresor that Horn took what Latini had to say about podesta, and actively and selectively adapted it for another annually elected municipal officer, the London mayor.[13]

The final chapters of the Livres dou Tresor discuss the transition from onepodesta to the next. This transition included the procedure of sindacatio: the formal accounting of podesta after their term of office.14 Podesta would remain in town, in their residence. Public announcements would be made in advance of their sindacatio. They would account for their own actions and those of their officers. In the hiatus anyone could complain about the podesta or his officers’ conduct when in office, to which the podesta would respond.15 Then, the Tresor ends, ‘when it should please God you may be honourably discharged [asolt]. You will take your leave of the council, of the commune, and of the town, and you will go on your way home in glory and with honour amen.’16 It is clear that before and during Latini’s life, sindacatio could be a serious, sometimes hazardous moment for a podesta}1 It is an interesting aspect of Latini’s account of sindacatio that he presents it not as account exacted from an unwilling podesta, but as a bounty given by an eloquent and courteous one. In fact this makes great sense. Latini’s Tresor is a book dedicated to the skilful cultivation of apodestas character. Since there is no skill in being simply held to account, it is logical that Latini should stress how his readership could express through sindacatio their responsible official character as podesta. Latini places his stress on character not coercion, responsibility not accountability.18

Given this, and the absence of a London equivalent of sindacatio for mayors at the end of their term of office, it was easy for Horn to develop the theme. Horn excerpts in and around these passages, but his version of a city magistrate’s accountability at the end of his tenure is rather different.19 Completing his term of office, Horn’s mayor is a model of official courtesy, offering, outside any coercive legalism, redress for wrongs done.

But in no way should [the mayor] forget to describe anything he has done which has

profited the commune, and which seems good to him; and as for that which he mistook (e.g. 3.13) and seignorichief when speaking more generally (e.g. 3.15). Governeor is also used (3.96). Horn keeps this term (Munimenta Gildhallo, ii.1. 23, cap. 1 using Tresor §3.96). Governour can also be synonymous with meire for Horn (Munimenta, ii.1. 16) who also uses meireimeyre to replace Latini’s chief and seignor (Munimenta, ii.1. 16, 19, caps. 1, 3 using Tresor §3.14, 15). Horn sometimes replaces sire with soverain (Munimenta ii.1. 16 cap. 1 using Tresor §3.14).

  • 14 The procedure has antecedents in Roman Law: see Cod. Just. 1. 49 requiring provincial governors to remain at hand for fifty days after completing their term of office.
  • 15 BL Add. MS 30024, fos. 244r—5r (§3.103—5). Cf. the compotum of the English sheriff, including the public notices of accounting, the obligation to attend and reside, and the ritual of the audit as described in Richard of Ely’s Dialogus scaccarii (1110s), DS, I.v, II.iii, II.iv, II.xx—xi esp. at 21, 19, 84-5, 116-18). See Ch. 3.
  • 16 BL Add. MS 30024, fo. 245r (§3.105). In some copies (not MS 30024) a closing rhymed prayer follows.
  • 17 Philip Jones, The Italian City-State: From Commune to Signoria (Oxford, 1991), 532, 642-3; on later changes to sindacatio see Trevor Dean and Kate Lowe, ‘Writing the History of Crime in the Italian Renaissance’, in eid. (eds.), Crime, Society and the Law in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 1994),
  • 1-15 at 8-9.
  • 18 See further Sabapathy, ‘A Medieval Officer and a Modern Mentality’, 53-66, 16-9, and ‘Accountable rectores in comparative perspective: the theory and practice of holding podesta and bishops to account (late twelfth to thirteenth centuries)’, in Agnes Berenger and Frederique Lachaud (eds.), Hierarchie despouvoirs, delegation depouvoir et responsabilite des administrateurs dans lAntiquite et au Moyen Age, Centre de Recherche Universitaire Lorrain d’Histoire, Universite de Lorraine—Site de Metz 46 (Metz, 2012), 201-30. For a different interpretation of Latini, Lauro Martines, Power and Imagination: City-States in Renaissance Italy (Harmondsworth, 1980), 155-61.
  • 19 Munimenta Gildhallo, ii.1. 20, cap. 5.

against reason or against the law of the town, he is greatly sorry, and he shall be ready to make amends to both the greatest and the least, at any time, according to his power. And so he should pray to God that He should give them a governor which will know better, and who can guide them such as he could not during his time [in office]. And then he should commend them to God, great and small, and give to them his good will and thanks.[14]

Horn seems to have excerpted from Latini with a view to applicability. He does not transpose the constitutional accountability of Italian sindacatio to London, but builds on Latini’s stress on courteous responsibility. Horn shows a greater interest in what Latini has to say about the election of mayors and of the characteristics and qualities they should have. Horn is also preoccupied with differing styles of government: whether governors do better to be feared or loved and how this in turn reflects differences between tyrants and kings. His interests clearly correlate with London’s wider political context around the early 1320s, the generally agreed date for the ‘great book’s’ composition.[15] The renewed ‘popular’ London charter of 8 June 1319 undoubtedly increased educated Londoners’ appetite for food for thought about city governance.[16] Latini provided this. Horn’s own interests in such matters predated his responsibilities as the city’s principal financial and judicial officer (from 13 January 1320). The following year saw the ‘intrusive’ six-month-long London eyre that precipitated complaints about the oligarchical basis of the mayor’s election, his deposition, and the appointment of a temporary royal warden.[17] For much of the following decade Horn’s fellow fishmonger, the divisive Hamo Chigwell, was mayor, supported by the King and, until 1326, only nominally elected.[18] Chigwell would hold the mayoralty four times. It is in this charged context of un-free communal government, dubious municipal elections, politically compromised magistrates, and multiple, successive incumbencies that Horn’s reading and rewriting of Latini should be placed.[19] As in communal Italy, questions about whether officers could be relied on to be responsible or should be more strictly required to be accountable were real issues. Horn was more interested in responsible officers; less in sindacatio as the means of predictably securing good mayoral rule.[20] His ostensible preference—like

Latini’s—was to provide for good government through norms of responsibility, rather than enforce it through rules of accountability.

  • [1] Corporation of London Records Office (CLRO), Hustings Roll 57, #16, cited from JeremyI. Catto, Andrew Horn: Law and History in Fourteenth Century England’, in R. H. C. Davis and J.M. Wallace-Hadrill (eds.), with R. J. A. I. Catto and M. H. Keen, The Writing of History in the MiddleAges: lEssays Presented to Richard William Southern (Oxford, 1981), 367—91 at 370—1. I have elided agap in the MS. See also Catto, ‘Horn, Andrew (c.1275—1328)’, ODNB.
  • [2] Catto, Andrew Horn’, 369, 372; Caroline M. Barron, London in the Later Middle Ages: Governmentand People 1200-1500 (Oxford, 2004), 176-85.
  • [3] Catto, Andrew Horn’, 376-8, on the basis of Ker’s work (see n. 4).
  • [4] Between BL Cotton MS Claudius D II, Corporation of London Liber custumarum, and OrielCollege MS 46. The manuscript history of the two original custumals which Horn was responsible foris messy (the Magnum librum is the earlier). N. R. Ker reconstructed Sir Robert Cottons division andrecombination of them in ‘Liber Custumarum, and other manuscripts formerly at the Guildhall’, TheGuildhall Miscellany 3 (1954), 37—45, and Medieval Manuscripts in British Libraries, i. London (Oxford,1969), 20—2. The modern arrangement of the Corporation’s Liber custumarum is different from themedieval MS’s contents. I use Magnum librum to denote the original, complete medieval MS.
  • [5] For the Magnum librum see Munimenta Gildhallo Londoniensis: Liber albus, Liber custumarum,et Liber Horn, ed. Henry Thomas Riley, RS, 3 vols. in 4 (London, 1859—62), ii.1. 15—25 (Frenchexcerpts from Tresor). Brief comment in Susan Reynolds, Kingdoms and Communities in WesternEurope, 900—1300, 2nd edn. (Oxford, 1997), 197—8.
  • [6] G. Inglese, ‘Latini, Brunetto’, DBI.
  • [7] See now Tresor, ed. Pietro G. Beltrami, Paolo Squillacioti, Plinio Torri, and Sergio Vatteroni (Turin,2007); earlier editions are: P. Chabailles Li livres dou Tresor (Paris, 1863) and Francis J. Carmody,Li livres dou tresor (Berkeley, Calif., 1948). Escorial MS L-II-3 is the basis of Li livres dou tresor, ed.Spurgeon Baldwin and Paul Barrette, Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies 257 (Tempe, 2003).For Latini on sindacatio, the thirteenth-century British Library manuscript of the Tresor used below, andfurther comments about accountability, see my ‘A Medieval Officer and a Modern Mentality? Podestaand the Quality ofAccountability’, The Medioval Journal 1.2 (2011), 43—79.
  • [8] BL Add. MS 30024, fo. 8v (§1.1). 5 BL Add. MS 30024, fo. 8v (§1.1).
  • [9] 10 BL Add. MS 30024, fos. 8v-9r (§1.1). 7 BL Add. MS 30024, fo. 9r (§1.1.)
  • [10] 12 BL Add. MS 30024, fos. 226v—227r (§3.73). On this practical ‘lay’ privileging of politics as the
  • [11] greatest science, Ruedi Imbach, Dante, la philosophie et les laics: initiations a la philosophie medievale,Vestigia 21 (Fribourg, 1996), 37—41.
  • [12] 13 Horn’s Magnum librum excerpts have 8 caps. (Munimenta Gildhallo, ii.1. 15—25). They correspond to Tresor as follows: Horn cap. 1 to Latini §3.74—5; Horn 2—3 to Latini 3.75; Horn 4 toLatini 3.102; Horn 5 to Latini 3.104; Horn 6 to Latini 3.97 and, partly, 98; Horn 7—8 to Latini
  • [13] 3.96. Latini’s preferred term for the podesta is poeste when he refers specifically to the Italian officer
  • [14] Munimenta Gildhalla, ii.1. 20, cap. 5.
  • [15] Catto, Andrew Horn’, 378, on the basis that the Librums list of London officers for 1276—1321makes a date much later than 1321 unlikely.
  • [16] The Historical Charters and Constitutional Documents of the City of London, ed. W. de GrayBirch, rev. edn. (London, 1887), #22, 45—50, esp. caps. 1—2, 4—5, 13, 19, and the final remarks onself-assessed tallages.
  • [17] 23 The Eyre of London, 14EdwardII, AD 1321, ed. H. M. Cam, 2 vols., SS 85—6 (1968—9), i. 42^;Barron, London in the Later Middle Ages, 33, 149.
  • [18] 24 Mayor 1321—3, 1324—6; for a full breakdown, see Anne Lancashire’s lists in Barron, Londonin the Later Middle Ages, 326—8. Chigwell was freely elected in 1327 and then barred in 1328. SeeElspeth Veale, ‘Chigwell, Hamo (d. 1332)’, ODNB.
  • [19] Cf. Catto, ‘Andrew Horn’, 370.
  • [20] 26 It is striking that, given his own title and function, Horn does not excerpt Latini’s passages relating to the ‘chamberlain’, his ‘conte’, and his accountability (Add. MS 30024, fos. 239v—240r, Tresor,§3.93). Horn uses Latini to get at some very specific aspects of mayoral government which were clearlypreoccupying him.
 
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