Grimsby Freemen

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The Burgess's Oath

Up until The Municipal Corporation’s Act of 1835, the life of a Freeman, or Burgess, was one of public duty and responsibility.
The Freemen were the only citizens permitted to vote and the only ones who occupied positions of authority within the local government.
This was a very serious business and each Burgess was required to swear an Oath of Allegiance, which is reproduced here with due reference made to “The Rise of Grimsby, Volume 1, by Bob Lincoln” published in 1913.
The Burgess’s Oath
This here, Ye Sir Mayor, Crowners, Bailiffs, and all the Court here present, that I shall trew faith bere, and trew Burgess be, to our Liege Lord the King, to his Heirs, to the Mayor here present, and his Successors and to the Commonalty of this the King’s Burgh of Grymesby, for any Burage that I may claim or shall claim to hold of our Lord the King, and his Heirs, of the Mayor and Comalte of this the King’s Burgh of Grymesby and their Successors. I shall be justifiable by the Mayor of this said Burgh for tyme being, to come to his summons what tyme that I shall be lawfully required by the officer thereto assigned. And not absent myself without a cause reasonable to the Mayor notified. Also I shall be justifiable by my Mayor and his Burgesses to do and bere all the Charges of Offices from the lowest to the highest that belongs to the said burgh of Grymesby, at any time that I shall by dew election chosen to any of them. Also to the all franchises and Freedoms by our Liege Lord the King and his noble progenitors, graunted to the Mayor and Burgesses of the said Burgh and all other Ordinances, Freedoms and Customs, had and used by the Mayor and his Burgesses for gud gov’nance and mayntenying of this the King’s Burgh. I shall dewly sustene at my power. Moreover, I shall not by reason of any Lordship, or Mastership, nor ey’r means procure nor draw no manner of Man to make profit agens the Mayor or other Burg of Comen of this said Burgh of Grymesby, theym to reprove or hurt whereby any hev’ns or hurt may be to them, upon peyn of forfitur of my freedom, if I thereof be lawfully convicted. So help me God. And by the contents of the Book.