August 1491

When any burgess of the town buys any kind of merchandize [carried] in any ship or ships coming into the liberties of the town, or [at sea] in front of the town, from outsider merchants (whether aliens or denizens) who are coming to him or are sent to him as host: if the merchandize is worth £13.6s.8d or more, then the host buying the merchandize may have a one-third share for his own use and the other two parts are to be divided between those [burgesses] who are present at the making of the bargain and wish to claim their share. If any such merchandize coming within the town liberties is bought by a burgess other than the host, then the host may have a one-quarter [share]. The principal purchaser thereof shall have a share equivalent to that of two men, and the remainder is to be divided among those present when the bargain is made. This ordinance is to apply to all types of merchandize except fresh herring and fresh fish brought in by fishermen. And because some men will claim a share in merchandize when they are present, and afterwards will "stand at large" [hold off in paying for their share?] until seeing if the bargain is profitable, it is therefore ordained that the principal purchaser shall receive from every merchant who makes such a claim 2s. in the pound as part payment in advance (that is, 2s. for 20s., 4s. for 40s., more for more, and less for less), as per an old ordinance made in times past.