From The History of the County Palatine and City of Chester by George Ormerod. London: Lackington, Hughes, Harding, Mavor, and Jones, 1819:
“[Sir Hugh de Dutton, b. about 1175] also had the magistracy, or rule and authority, over all the letchers and whores of all Cheshire, granted unto him and his heirs, by John constable of Cheshire and baron of Halton, as freely as the said John held the same of the earl of Chester, saving the right of the said John to him and his heirs; which are the very words of the deed, only rendered by me in English. Lib. C. fol. 154, h. So that he holds it, as it were, under the baron of Halton, who reserves his own right by a special reservation.
“This privilege over such loose persons was granted first under Roger Lacy, constable of Cheshire, under Richard the First, by Randle, surnamed Blundevill, earl of Chester, in memory of his good service done to the earl in raising the siege of the Welsh-men, who had beset the earl in his castle of Rothelent in Flintshire; for the constable having got a promiscuous rabble of such like persons together, and marching towards the said castle, the Welsh, supposing a great army to be coming, raised their siege and fled. So saith the ancient roll of the barons of Halton. Lib. C. fol. 85, b. Monasticon Anglicanum, 2 pars, pag. 187. This roll saith, that rabble consisted of players, fidlers, and shoe-makers. The deed here toucheth letchers and whores. The privilege and custom used at this day by the heirs of Dutton, is over the minstrelsie and common fidlers, none being suffered to play in this county without the licence of the lord of Dutton, who keeps a court at Chester yearly, on Midsomer-day, for the same, where all the licenced minstrels of Cheshire do appear, and renew their licences; so that the custom seems to have been altered to the fidlers, as necessary attendants on revellers in bawdy-houses and taverns.
“And it is to be observed, that those minstrels which are licensed by the heirs of Dutton of Dutton, within the county-palatine of Chester, or the county of the city of Chester, according to their ancient custom, are exempted out of the statute of rogues, 39 Eliz. cap. 4.”