August 1491

Because disagreements and discords have arisen among the burgesses and community of the town of Yarmouth, and have increased due to lack of good government and maladministration of, or failure to uphold, the ordinances and laws in earlier times made, ordained and established by wise and sensible men (burgesses of the town);

And because [of the need] to resolve and quieten the said disagreements and discords, with the goal of restoring and building an amicable peace and unity to the honour of Almighty God, and to the increase of the common good and prosperity in the town;

The bailiffs, burgesses and community of the town, assembled on Tuesday before the feast of Easter in the 6th year of the reign of our sovereign lord king Henry VII , by the good and sensible advice of the right worshipful James Hobart, the king's attorney, then being present, intending to provide a remedy in this matter, it was fully decided and agreed by their common assent that two burgesses, John Peers and John Tanne, should nominate and select 10 other well-disposed burgesses to join them, and those 12 should after consultation amend and reform the old ordinances and apply their discretion to formulating other ordinances and reforms such as to prevent the difficulties that recently caused the said disagreements and discords.

Whereupon John Peers and John Tanne nominated to join them John Russe, William Albon, William Aldrich senior, Robert Barett, Christopher Moy, Nicholas Moore, Stephen Watson, John Borell, William Patenson, and Richard Osteler, well-disposed burgesses of the town. Which 12 burgesses thus selected took upon themselves, for the honour of God and the increase of the common good, the task of reforming the old ordinances and creating additional ordinances, as follows, to endure perpetually by the grace of God.

[The first six of these 12 had already served as bailiff; 3 others were to take that office within the next 3 years. It seems probable that the committee therefore represented the perspective of the ruling class. The committee took several months over its task; they applied their personal seals to the document on 22 August.]