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  THE STORY OF SHOREHAM       THE COCKET        
                             
Goldismark, bailiff, and others, and is dated Monday after the Annunciation in the 10th year of the reign of Henry VI. (1432). It would appear that the " corner tenement" mentioned in this grant does not refer to the Marlipins. " Sowterystrete " was probably situated in another part of the town-it may have been south of the High Street-and it is possible that the origin of this street-name may be found in the once common expression for a shoemaker-" souter."   It is of frequent occurrence in old writings and a Simon le Souter is mentioned in one of the Assize Rolls relating to Shoreham. It was a common practice in ancient times for each trade to congregate together in its own street or locality, and so we find a " Mercery Lane " and a " Butcher's Row " in old cities such as Canterbury; and London abounds with similar examples.   At Shoreham anyone requiring the services of a worker in leather would have sought such an individual in the particular street where he and his fellows carried on their special trade, which was in " Sowterystrete."   merely scribbled upon, and tablets supplied its place.They were formed with a framework, sometimes of ivory, sometimes of cypress wood, overlaid with smeared wax, on which the characters were impressed with a sharp instrument known as a " pointel."
  Among names which have no reference to trade we have found that of " Hamo Sourale," probably one whose somewhat crabbed and peevish nature earned him this very unenviable sobriquet.
  A reference to the office of Controller of Customs is found during the reign of Edward I. in connection with the export traffic of wool to Flanders. Prior to that period several instances are mentioned of the infliction of fines on those who shipped it from the port without licence.
  " During the discord," so runs the Assize Roll, referring to the war between Henry III. and his barons, William de Braose sent certain sacks of wool over sea and sold them to Flemings against the prohibition of the King. Also that Nicholas Dytton, his bailiff, "struck a bargain" with William de Chamond of Shoreham to send wool over the sea and to pay de Braose, his lord, a custom. De Chamond, failing to keep his part of the agree            
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It seems that the term " souter " is even yet not quite obsolete. A shoemaker in one of the Sussex towns so described himself when claiming exemption before a Military Tribunal during the war.      
Trade-names abound in the early Assize Rolls and we find at Shoreham mention of such individuals as Reginald the Smith, William le Goldsmith, Robert le Baker, John le Sopere, Nicholas le Taylor, and Richard le Barbour. John le Botiler was, no doubt, a maker of leather bottles, and John le Pottere probably fashioned most of his vessels from pewter and not clay. Ernald le Isemonger must have dealt in hardware, for the name is an old form of writing ironmonger, while the names of German le Brazour and Gervase le Brasur sufficiently indicate that they were workers in brass. John le Peleter probably got his living by' preparing the furry skins of wild animals, and his name was derived from the " poll " or "pelt" applied to any undressed skin, doubtless brought into Shoreham in large numbers by ship from distant lands. Godfrey le Pilcher was a maker of " pilches " (the large outer tippets made of fur), Richard le Percur was a maker of leathern purses to suspend from the girdle, William le Ferur was probably a farrier, and German le Brewer a maker of strong liquor.   Robert and Tbomas le Tabler, both of whom are met with at Shoreham in the reign of Henry III., were makers of writing tablets at a time when paper was far too expensive to be      
             
        The Cocket.    
             
  ment, " inasmuch as he made no custom with do Braose for wool sent away," the baron put him into prison and kept him there until he paid him a fine of 10 marks. William de Braose was himself afterwards fined 20 marks for his share in this matter.
           
                             
            In 1282 "Peter Jordan, of Lucca, and two others, men of Shoreham," were appointed to collect the new customs. The office included the custody of a " Cocket," with which the merchandise was sealed before it left the port. The matrix giving the obverse of this seal is now in the British Museum and was found with a lot of oddments in the Pyx Chamber, Westminster Abbey, on the 21st June, 1842. The legend running round the " Cocket " informs us that it is the seal of
                             
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Copyright © Martin Snow 2002 All rights reserved
Revised 27 February 2002