1999 Volume 108 Issue 4 Pages 501-526,620-62
The purpose of this paper is to show the existence of small communities inside the city of York and their relationship to the Crown in the early fourteenth century, a time when the idea of the communities of the realm was being formed in England. The author examines the account of the general eyre described in the Assize Rolls kept in thepublic Record Office. In 1306 there was a general eyre inYork. By chance this trial was to reveal not only a series of factional conflicts inside the city but also active government interference in York matters, although the city had been granted the privilege of self-government by the Crown. Here we can see the way the king's government put boroughs under its control. In this eyre, a citizen of York sued fifty-four other citizen, including the mayor, on the charge of forming an illegal guild and conspiracy. In those days the Crown showed great interest in conspiracy, meaning that the king's government began to control local communities, shires or boroughs, since conspiracy was apt to be caused by collective activities or mutual consent of communities at any level of society. In this eyre the accused guild was ordered to be dissolved, and the judgement meant that the king's government would have the chance to make communities, guilds or fraternities thought to be in danger of injuring the kingdom illegal in the future. Therefore, it can be said that this trial shows a part of the process of re-organizing cormmunities under the administration of the kingdom.