Social and Economic

Sheriffs of London, 1464

On 29th September 1464, the City of London swore in John Tate and John Stone as sheriffs. Tate had been selected by the Lord Mayor of London; Stone had been elected by the commons of London.

Role of the Sheriff

The role of the two sheriffs was administrative. In terms of justice, they were responsible for the imprisonment of those accused of serious crimes until such time as a judge was available for a trial. For lesser crimes, it was the Sheriff who organised the county or city courts. They were also responsible for collecting local taxes and fines and ensuring these revenues got to the treasury. Furthermore, if a commission of array was issued, it would be the Sheriff who was responsible for overseeing the muster of men.

Sheriffs sworn in by the City of London

The record of the election reads as follows:

“The Feast of St Matthew 4 Edward IV. [A.D. 1464], in the presence of [many officials], and very many Commoners summoned to the Guildhall for the election of Sheriffs—John Tate was elected one of the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex by the Mayor, and John Stone, tailor, was elected the other Sheriff by the Commonalty.

The same day, Robert Colwich, tailor, was elected Chamberlain for the year ensuing; Peter Alfold and Peter Calcot were elected Wardens of London Bridge; Ralph Josselyn, Ralph Verney, Aldermen, John Aleyn, goldsmith, William Persone, “taillour,” John Stone, “taillour,” and Richard Frome, skinner, Commoners, were elected Auditors of the accounts of the Chamber and of the Wardens of London Bridge in arrear.

Afterwards, viz., on the eve of St Michael [29th September], the said Sheriffs were sworn at the Guildhall, and on the morrow of the said Feast were presented and admitted before the Barons of the Exchequer”.

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