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"It should seem by what Mr. Prynne says, that this was one of those Boroughs that had Burgesses returned (perchance by the Sheriff, or others practice) against their wills and desires, only once, twice, thrice, or four times upon extraordinary occasions; but which never had any Burgesses elected or returned afterwards to this day: nor had these, then returned for them any Writs of Expences. "Among these, indeed, he names this of Kingston for one; which probably as others also did, made no election or return afterwards, in order to save expences; And, as was not unsual in those times, petition the King to exempt them from this burden; who, in such cases, granted them his Letters Patent acordingly, to exempt them from it in future.



The first Charter conferred on this Town by any of our ancient Kings, was that of King John,


dated at Portcester 26th April 1199, within three weeks after his accession to the Crown; by this he " granted to the Free men of Kingeston with all its appertinencies, in fee-farm, of him and his heirs for ever, paying at the King's Treasury xii. per annum over and above the firm here tofore due and accustomed, (which is stated to have been xxviiil xs. blanc, or xxix/. xviiis. vid by tale) and not to be answerable to the Sheriff for any thing belonging to the same. This Charter is dated by the hands of Simon Fitz Robert, Archdeacon of Wells, and John de Grey Archdeacon of Glocester; and witnessed by William de, S Maria. Bishop elect of London, Godfrey de Lucy. Bishop of Winchester, G Fitz Peter, and others; and the freemen paid, as a consideration for the same the sum of sixty marcs.

Grant of the Town of Kingston to the Freemen of the Town.

Their next Charter, which somewhat varied the Terms of the grant, and was more specific as to the Privileges conferred, was dated at Taunton, 23d Sept. 10 John, Anno, 1208. By this "the Vill of KINGESTON, with all its appertinencies, was granted to the freemen thereof, to hold


to them and their Heirs, of the King and his Heirs, in fee firm for ever, with all the Liberties and free customs which the said Town was wont and ought to have, while it remained in the King's own hands; paying into the Treasury the yearly sum of 50%. of Silver, one half at Easter, and the other at Michaelmas: (whereof xxviiil. Xs. being the ancient firm was to be blanched silver, and the rest in Tale) to have and to hold the said Ville, with its appertinencies, of the King and bis Heirs, as long as they should well and truly pay the said firm, and the Sheriff and his Bailiffs are hereby forbidden to interfere in any wise in the said Town, or in the firm thereof." And for this Charter, which was dated by the hand of Hugh de Wells, Archdeacon of that place; and witnessed by Peter de Rupibus, Bishop of Winchester, Joceline de Wells, Bishop of Bath and Wells; William de Ridnor, Earl of Devon; William Briwere, and others of less note the freemen paid a fine of 1007.

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The next Charter we meet with, is that of Henry III. dated at Westminster 10th. Sept. in the 40th year of his reign Ao 1256. By this was granted

to the freemen of this place, and their Heirs throughout the realm, the privilege from arrests of their persons and goods on account of any debt for which they were not securities or principal deb tors: (unless the real debtors, being of their community and jurisdiction, and having wherewithall to satisfy their debts, in whole or in part; the said freemen had been wanting to do justice to the Creditors as far as in them lay, and reasonable proof thereof could be made;) with the Penalty of 10%. to be levied on any person that should molest them on such an account." This Charter was Witnessed by Guy Leziman, Geffery Leziman, and William de Valentia, the King's half Brothers: John Maunsell provost of Beverly, Archibald de S. Romano, Walter de Merton, William de Guy, and others.

Grant of an Eight Day Fair.

The same King, two days after, viz. 12 Sept. 1256. "granted to the fréemen of Kingeston and their Heirs for ever; a Fair, to be holden yearly on the Morrow of all Souls; and Seven days following with all the usual liberties and free customs thereto belonging," attested by the same persons as the former; with some others.


Grant of the Return of Wrils.

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On the day following, being the 13th of September, 1256, the same King granted to the free men of Kingeston a third Charter, whereby they had "Ist, The privilege of the Return of Writs of Summons from the Exchequer, and all other Writs touching their VILL. 2. Of electing and creating Coroners for making attachments on pleas of the Crown, arising within the said VILL, who were to give account of their proceedings thereupon, and of other Matters pertaining to their Office, to the King's Justices itinerant in those parts. 3. Of not being Impleaded, or compelled to plead, out of their VILL, but by virtue of the King's writ, in respect of any of the tenements or chattels within the same; or in respect of any other suits or actions, except only such as regard Trespasses against the Crown. 4. Of having and holding their GILL MERCHANT in their said Vill, in like manner as they had heretofore had and holden it, and as the approved men of GILDFORD hold it; together with other their liberties and just laws and customs, which they have in their Vill aforesaid, and in like manner as they have hitherto used the same in his the said King's time, and in the time of his predecessors Kings


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