Licences to beg, Norfolk

Scope and Content

Nine licences and six draft licences to beg within the county of Norfolk, 1583-1593, especially within the hundreds of Blofelde [Blofield], Tunstede [Tunstead], Happinge [Happing], East and West Flegge [East and West Flegg], Walsham, Loddon, Clavering, Taverham, and in the towns of Wilton, Potter Heigham, Horsford and Horsham St. Faithes [Horsham St. Faiths], Ludham, Cromer alias Shipdom [Shipden], Hofton St. John [Hoveton St. John], Cattfield [Catfield], Hickling and Hemlingtonne [Hemblington]. Most of the originals include the signature of Edmund Scambler, Bishop of Norwich, though other signatories include Sir William Paston, Sir Thomas Berney, Miles Corlett, John Pagrave, William Blenerhayset [Blennerhassett], William Hogdon and Henry Gaudy [Gawdy]; most of the seals are wanting.
On the dorse of item 7 is a cancelled licence of 21 Nov 1591, by Edmund Scambler, Bishop of Norwich, and Sir William Paston, to Edward Chaundeler of Barton, Norfolk, to keep an alehouse.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Vagrancy Act of 1531 made a distinction between those found begging although able to labour, and those incapable of work. Magistrates were allowed to give licences to beggars allowing certain kinds of begging.

Access Information

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Acquisition Information

Bought at Sotheby's sale of 21 Mar 1966 (lot 237).

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Fastened together on a parchment thong.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.


B. Clarke, 'Norfolk licences to beg: an unpublished collection', Norfolk Archaeology , XXXV (1972).