Front view of Guildhall, looking north and Guildhall Yard c1814

Treason, felony and Lollardy: a common petition in the hand of Richard Osbarn, clerk of the chamber of the Guildhall, 1400–c.143 by Helen Killick

This article examines a common petition presented in the English parliament of 1425 requesting that those imprisoned for long periods for the crimes of treason, felony and Lollardy might be brought to trial. On the basis of palaeographical and orthographical evidence, this petition is demonstrated to be written by Richard Osbarn, clerk of the chamber of the London Guildhall between 1400 and 1437. The implications of this discovery throw new light on the way petitions were formulated, suggesting that the scribes of petitions played a greater role than previously thought, and in some cases identified with the complaint itself.