Lease to Geoffrey Chaucer of the dwelling-house at Algate. 48 Edward 111. A.D. 1374. Letter-Book G. fol. cccxxi. (Latin.)
To all persons to whom this present writing indented shall come, Adam de Bury, Mayor, the Aldermen, and the Commonalty of the City of London, greeting.
Know ye that we, with unanimous will and assent, have granted and released by these presents unto Geoffrey Chaucer the whole of the dwelling-house above the Gate of Algate, with the rooms built over, and a certain cellar beneath, of the same gate, on the South side of that gate, and the appurtenances thereof; to have and to hold the whole of the house aforesaid, with the rooms so built over, and the said cellar, and the the appurtenances thereof, unto the aforesaid Geoffrey, throughout the whole life of him, the same Geoffrey.
And the said Geoffrey shall maintain and repair the whole of the house aforesaid, and the rooms thereof, so often as shall be requisite, in all things necessary thereto, competently and sufficiently, at the expense of the same Geoffrey, throughout the whole life of him, the same Geoffrey. And it shall be lawful for the Chamberlain of the Guildhall of London, for the time being, so often as he shall see fit, to enter the house and rooms aforesaid, with their appurtenances, to see that the same are well and competently, and sufficiently, maintained and repaired, as aforesaid. And if the said Geoffrey shall not have maintained or repaired the aforesaid house and rooms competently and sufficiently, as is before stated, wit for the said Geoffrey to let the house, rooms, and cellar, aforesaid, or any part thereof, or his interest therein, to any person whatsoever.
And we, the Mayor, Aldermen, and Commonalty aforesaid, will not cause any gaol to be made thereof, for the safekeeping of prisoners therein, during the life of the said Geoffrey; but we and our successors will warrant the same house, rooms and cellar, with their appurtenances, unto the before-said Geoffrey, for the whole life of him, the same Geoffrey, in form aforesaid: this however excepted, that in time of defence of the city aforesaid, so often as it shall be necessary, it shall be lawful for us and our successors to enter the said house and rooms, and to order and dispose of the same, for such time, and in such manner, as shall then seem to us to be most expedient. And after the decease of the same Geoffrey, the house, rooms, and cellar aforesaid, with their appurtenances, shall wholly revert unto us and our successors.
In witness whereof, as well the Common Seal of the City aforesaid as the seal of the said Geoffrey, have been to these present indentures interchangeably appended. Given in the Chamber of the Guildhall of the city aforesaid, the 10th day of May, in the 48th year of the reign of King Edward, after the Conquest the Third.
From Memorials of London and London life, in the XIIIth, XIVth, and XVth centuries. Being a series of extracts, local, social, and political, from the early archives of the City of London, A.D. 1276-1419, ed. and tr. by Henry Thomas Riley. London. 1868 [Hilles: 942.1 2].