Names not to call the bailiff

One of our searchers, Tom Johnson, recently spotted this passage in the court book for Maldon from 1457-1543 (D/B 3/1/2) and kindly forwarded us a transcription and a translation.

The passage lists a series of insults not allowed to be used against any of the Borough’s officials – the bailiff, his friends, the wardens, ‘or any other man inside the walls’. Anyone caught using any of these insults was liable to a fine of 6 shillings and 8 pence (this does of course leave open the question of any insults not included on the list).

Maldon court book extract (D/B 3/1/2)

Maldon court book extract (D/B 3/1/2)

[margin: knave] Et compotus est in prima curia ann’ ultima revolut’ quod ex antiqua consuetudinem non licet alicui’ infra Burgum predictum comoranti vocare in violencia aliquem ballivem nec ballivi socij neque aliquem alium hominem infra murum wardemannorum existentem per aliquod tle? agnomen agnominorum vel terminorum sequ’ videlicet Thyff . nec. horesson . ffals. nec foresworn . cokewold . nec knave Bakbyter nec Baude. Ad eius pub[li]cani rep[ro]bacionem nisi in fore iudic’ iucdicialit’ act’ casu’ cogente neque p[ro]ditorem nisi ad opus domini regis hos iudilate p[ro]bauit’ sub pena forum ad opus burgi predicti tenens quotiens contigat vjs viij d quod p[re]ceptum est de incepis firmit’ custodir’ 

And it is computed in the first court of the year last past that from ancient custom it is not allowed to anyone coming within the borough aforesaid to say violently to any bailiff, or bailiff’s friends, or any other man inside the walls, or of the wardmen there living by any means[?], the names or [lit.] endings following, that is to say, thief, nor whoreson, false, nor forsworn, cuckold, nor knave, backbiter, nor bawd [pimp], to their public reprobation neither in judicial fora, acts, cases (nor [even] traitors, unless to the use of the lord king, these [words] judicially licensed) under the pain of the court, to the use of the borough aforesaid, as often as it [the court] is held, being 6 shillings 8 pence [half a mark]. This is made at the beginning [of the court], firmly guarded.