1587: Thomas Hobson prosecuted for profiteering in wheat
The University had extensive markets authority from the Middle Ages onwards in the areas of weights and measures, supply of raw commodities such as wheat and barley, and food safety. Misdemeanours might be pursued in the Proctors’ Leet. In 1587, the jurors of High and Market wards located in the city centre presented Thomas Hobson for the crime of engrossing wheat; that is, monopolising its supply in order to raise the price. He was punished with a £10 fine.
The sections here transcribed include the preamble, setting out the date of the court, giving the names of the Vice-Chancellor and Proctors, and the names of the jurors for each ward. Hobson’s entry appears under the heading for the ‘ High and Market wards’; in the digitised image this is the entry roughly half-way down the page directly above the second set of stitching.
For an outline of the jurisdiction and procedure of the University courts, and the methodology employed in presenting records online, see the introduction to this CUDL collection.