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allowing his bakehouse to be ruinous, and this is repeated at the Martinmas court of the following year, .13 Henry VI., 1435, when he was ordered to amend and repair it by the next court day under the penalty of 6s. 8d. The six months passed by, and when Hockday arrived he was again presented for allowing his tenement, no doubt the bakehouse just mentioned, to be ruinous, and he was directed to "fully repair” it before the ensuing Michaelmas. At the succeeding Martinmas court, 14 Henry VI., he and another were presented for that they had not yet fully repaired or amended their tenements, and the order was repeated at the Hockday court in the same year. How the matter progressed the hiatus in the court rolls prevents us learning, but when they recommence at Martinmas, 27 Henry VI., 1437, we find that an order was made for John Styffe to fully repair and build his tenement anew, under a penalty of twenty pence. The order to fully build anew was repeated at the Hockday court, 27 Henry VI., 1437. Twelve months later a similar order was made against him, when the penalty was increased to half a mark or 6s. 8d. On this occasion the tenement is described as “a cottage formerly John Webbe's," and we may presumably identify the house granted to John Styffe in 1421 with one of the two messuages, “Styffes” and “Webbes,” which in 1512 were in the tenure of Nicholas Styff. Two years passed by, and in 1430 we learn that the “aule et camere” of John Styffe were “totally decayed”; he was therefore “in mercy,” but he obtained sufficient time to “construct anew” his house, and as no further presentment was made against him during the next twelve months, we may fairly assume that at last he complied with the order to rebuild. The repair of his house was not his only difficulty. At Martinmas, 1433, a complaint was made that he allowed his ditches to remain unscoured, and his land to incroach on the highway at Buttes lane. This he failed to remedy, for at the Hockday court, six months later, the tithing alleged that the watercourse at Buttes lane is taken out of its course, for that the highway is blocked up through the default of John Styffe, and the complaint was repeated at the Martinmas court in the same year, after which the mischief seems to have been remedied.
At about the same time there are some curious entries about John Styffe and his wife, Margaret, which serve to illustrate village life in the unsettled reign of Henry VI. Margaret Stiffe, who lived at Kilcote, appears to have had some enmity against Richard Lacy and Thomas Tasker. In what way they offended her we are not told; she took, however, the summary method of raising the “hue and cry,” [hutesia), a serious proceeding, no doubt, for we can well imagine that in the first half of the fifteenth century it was by no means a pleasant business to find the whole neighbourhood set in pursuit of one. We are told that she did this “unjustly,” and that, therefore, she was “in mercy.” Singularly enough, the same roll contains the records of another similar complaint against her. John Styffe fell to blows with Robert Hugges, and against the peace drew blood, "extraxit sanguinem de dicto Roberto,” as the record puts it, and John was therefore “in mercy.” Although he thus got the best of the fray, his good wife Margaret was not satisfied, but took upon herself to raise the hue and cry against Robert, with the same result as in the former case, that the tithing declared she did it “ unjustly," and the steward entered upon the roll that for this also she was “in mercy.” Legal proceedings at this time, possibly arising out of these disputes, were taken against John Stiff, for one Richard, whose surname does not clearly appear, brought an action of trespass against him. The matter was adjourned to the next court and we hear no more of it.
In 1453, Hockday, 31 Henry VI., several inhabitants of Kilcote, including John Styffe, with the whole vill of Tresham, one of the members of the manor of Hawkesbury, were directed to place mere stones at Pykyn Clife and Cleryn Stubbe, between the land of Nicholas Alderly and the land in the tenure of John Penne.
A defaced roll ascribed to the 32nd year of Henry VI., 1454, records the admission of Nicholas Styff in succession to premises formerly held by him, but the date should doubtless be fixed somewhat later, for as we have already seen, John Styff's death was presented at a court held in 1458.
But John Styffe was not the only one who failed to keep his holding in repair, for at Martinmas, 1471, a similar presentment was made against a Thomas Styffe at Upton Hawkesbury, when he and his co-tenant, John Westcote, were ordered to repair their tenement before the next Whitsuntide, under the pain of 6s. 8d. At the same court, under Stoke, a presentment was made that Thomas Styffe had charge of an estray which had come into the lordship since the preceeding St. Bartholomew's day. Probably this Thomas Styffe was the one who appears in a very faded membrane as a juror at the Martinmas court in 1468.
About twenty six years later, in 12 Henry VII., 1497, we find that at Stoke a Thomas Styffe, with several others, was fined sixpence for breaking the assize of ale, and with many others he was presented for allowing his house to be ruinous. They were all directed to repair their several premises before the next view of frankpledge under the penalty of 135. 4d. At the Hockday court in the following year a similar presentment was made respecting the ruinous tenement of Thomas Styff, and as far as we can decipher the much obliterated entry, it would appear that he was directed to rebuild his house “de novo." At the same court William Styff came and took the reversion of a cottage in Kilcote, then in the holding of Edith Dorney, whenever it fell into hand, and for this he gave a fine of five shillings. It appears from this entry that the tenancy was for William Styff, and his wife, but unfortunately her name is left blank.
In 1509, at the Martinmas court, Nicholas Styff, at Kylcote, incurred a penalty in reference to twenty-six sheep, though for what reason the faded parchment does not permit us to say. He was also directed to well and sufficiently repair his wagon, under penalty of forfeiting it to the lord, so that it would appear that the lord of the manor must sometimes have supplied his tenants with some at least of the implements of husbandry. At the same court, Thomas Styff, of Stoke, was fined sixpence for breaking the assize of ale.
So much attention is now given to our earlier records that it is not too much to hope that further documents may in time be available to fill up some of the gaps in the preceeding narrative, and possibly also to indicate the habitats of the Styffs during the fourteenth century. The series of extracts from these ancient Court Rolls which now follow are given in proof of the facts related in the preceding narrative.
Record Extracts. The entry previously referred to on p. 25, in which it is stated that a John Styff is mentioned in 6 Henry VI., under Badmynton, proves on a closer examination of the record to relate to a direction to John Styff, wodeward, to enforce an order of the court that William Ryce,* of Badmynton, should give security for the repair of his house, which, according to the presentment, was wholly ruinous. The same roll contains an entry of the estreats of John Styff, “Wodeward superioris.”
* At the Michaelmas Court 16 Henry VI., 1437, we get a glimpse of the subsequent history of this William Ryce, for it is recorded of him, abinde noctante recessit,-he went away by night-a method of avoiding responsi. bilities which is no by means unknown at the present day.
HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, St. Martin, 12
Henry VI., 1433.
Johannes Styf permittant fossata sua jacere non escuriata
cujuslibet eorum vj“.
Henry VI., 1434.
Margareta Styffe injuste levavit hutesiam super Ricardum
ipse in misericordia.
Henry VI., 1434.
aque apud Butteslane ducitur extra rectum cursum suum
attachiatus citra proximam [curiam]. HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, Hockday, 13 Henry
VI., 1435. K’yllcote. Et quod Johannes Styff adhuc permittit tenementum suum esse ruinosum. Ideo precepitur eis dictos domos plene reparare citra festum sancti Michaelis proximum futurum sub pena cujuslibet eorum xi'. HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, St. Martin, 14
Henry VI., 1435. Kylcot. Et quod Johannes Rooke et Johannes Styffe
nondum plene reparaverunt nec emendaverunt domos tenementa suorum sicut eis preceptum fuit. Ideo ipsi in misericordia. Et precipitur quod emendent citra
proximam (curiam] sub pena cujuslibet eorum ij. HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, Hockday, 14
Henry VI., 1436. Kyllecote. Item, Precipitur Johanni Styffe reparare tene
mentum suum sub pena ij'. HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, St. Martin, 16
Henry VI., 1437. De attachiamentis Johannis Styff, wodeward, superioris ut
paret per extractam sibi liberatam. HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, Hockday, 16
Henry VI., 1438. De attachiamentis Johannis Styff, wodeward superioris,
ut paret per extractam sibi liberatam. HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, St. Martin, 27
Henry VI., 1448. Kyllecote. Item, precipitur Johanni Styffe plene reparare
de novo edificando tenementum suum citra proximam
[curiam] sub pena... .xxd ex...... sua propria. HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, Hockday, 27
Henry VI., 1449. Kyllecote. Precipitur Johanni Styff plene edificare de
novo...... tenementum suum citra proximam [curiam
sub pena xxo ex cons. sua propria. HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, Hockday, 28
Henry VI., 1450. Et precipitur Johanni Styf plene reparare et emendare i
cotagium quondam Johannis Webbe citra festum Sancti Michaelis proximum futurum sub pena dimidii marci. Wodeward. De attachiamentis Johannis Styff, wodeward,
superioris, ut paret per extractum unde factum et sibi
liberatum. iiij". HAWKESBURY. View of Frankpledge, Hockday, 30
Henry VI., 1452. Item presentant aule et camere Johannis Styf totaliter
decase. Ideo ipse in misericordia. Et nichilominus cepit diem sufficienter et de novo construendo dictum domum citra festum de Hokday sub pena de vjø viija.