I. 129. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor.
The River Thames, by reason of the number of weirs between the
bridge (London Bridge) and Windsor had become choked and almost
unnavigable. They requested him, as Conservator of the river, to
send the Waterbailiff or some officer to them, with an account of the
number of weirs existing from London Bridge to Staines, how many
there had been in ancient times, and what number had increased
within the past seven years; how many were fit to remain, and to take
order for the removal of the others.
4th September, 1580.
A Postscript requests that if there should be a plan of the river
existing it might be forwarded to them.
I. 164. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lords of the Council,
in reply. Nicholas Willie, Waterbailiff, had been appointed to attend
them. Six new weirs had been made in the river between the places
5th September, 1580.
I. 165. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor,
acknowledging the receipt of the foregoing letter. They had been
informed by the Waterbailiff that fifteen hatches and six stops had
been erected, by command of Her Majesty's Comptroller, between
Kingston and Oteland, for provision of lampreys and roaches for Her
Majesty's household. The hurt caused by the number of weirs upon
the river having being brought to the knowledge of Her Majesty, she
had commanded that the whole matter should be considered by the
City at the next Court to be called for that purpose, and the opinion
of those learned in the law taken as to what weirs, stops, hatches, &c.,
might be removed.
8th September, 1580.
I. 169. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer, complaining that, contrary to the rights and charters of the City appointing
the Lord Mayor Conservator of the River Thames within certain
bounds, which jurisdiction had been quietly enjoyed by the City
for many years without interruption, during which time the river
had been kept in a good state, of late years the Right Hon. Lord
Seymour, (fn. 1) Lord Admiral of England, supposing the jurisdiction to
belong to his office, had entered into the same, and interrupted
the franchise and authority of the City. Upon his decease, his
successors had, by their officers, continued the interruption. The
Mayor and Citizens, considering the great estate of the said Lords,
had not pursued their right, as in law and justice they might and
ought to have done. Since the time of the said interruption, the river,
eastwards from London Bridge, had become so decayed, that ships or
vessels which, within twenty or forty years past, might have come up
to the pool against St. Katharine's, could not pass at low water without danger between London and Greenwich. The channel being
choked, the lands adjoining were overflowed, to the danger of
breaches, and the destruction of the fry and brood of fish, whereby
the City lacked the good store of fish which used to be taken in the
river. In consideration whereof, and because the City could not be
kept out of utter decay and ruin without present amendment of the
river, he requested his good offices and advice with Her Majesty and
the Lord High Admiral, that the City might be restored to their ancient
rights. If any doubts existed as to the City's right, the Judges, after
hearing evidence, should determine to whom the right belonged, that
steps might be taken for the conservation of the river.
I. 171. Letter from William Lord Burghley to Sir Gilbert
Gerrard, Her Majesty's Attorney-General, Dr. Lewis, Judge of the
Admiralty, and Mr. Serjeant Fleetwood, Recorder of London. The
Lord Mayor had complained of the conduct of certain Trinkermen (fn. 2) for
fishing in the River Thames below the bridge. He requested them to
take immediate steps for inquiring into the same.
Dated from his house near the Savoy, 31st December, 1580.
A note is appended, directing the Recorder to inform the Lord
Mayor upon the matter, and to receive from him instructions for
I. 172. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the (Lord Treasurer)
thanking him for forwarding a copy of the unjust complaint of the
Trinkermen, from which it appeared evident that, as they were unable
to defend their conduct, they were desirous of causing some unkindness
between the City and the Lord High Admiral. According to the
advice given by him, the Court of Aldermen had proceeded to inquire
into the unlawful proceeding of the Trinkers, and had ascertained that
a great quantity of fry had been not only destroyed, but that swine
had been fed with them, and the passage of the river made very dangerous; so much so that ships which formerly came to St. Katharine's could not now come to Blackwall. Tiltboats and wherries were
scarcely able to pass from London to Greenwich at low water. The
Princes and Parliament had in time past thought it best to commit the
conservation of the river within certain bounds to the City. Fearing
that in time to come the City might be charged with neglect, he
requested that Her Majesty might be pleased to command her learned
Judges to declare the law in this case, and to whom the jurisdiction
belonged. He also forwarded for his Lordship's consideration a
Petition from the Brownbakers, complaining of the dearth of grain for
the service of the City, more especially for the nobility repairing
thereto during term time and Parliament.
1st January, 1580.
I. 253. Letter from the Lord Mayor to Dr. Dale, Master of the
Court of Requests. He had received through the Waterbailiff a Petition to Her Majesty from certain Trinkermen, but no directions had
been signified from Her Majesty or the Privy Council what they
wished the Court of Aldermen to do in the matter. They had complained, as conservators, of the disorders committed, and expressed
their desire to limit the men to such orders as by law they ought to
be. He therefore requested further instructions from the Queen or
the Council in the matter.
7th September, 1581.
I. 254. Petition from John Tirry, Peter Wilson, and others,
inhabitants and fishermen of Barking, Woolwich, Greenwich, and
Blackwall, using their trade of fishing with certain nets and engines
commonly called trinkes. It was enacted by Parliament, in the second
year of the reign of Henry VI., that it should be lawful for the possessors of nets called trinkes, if they were of assize, to fish with them
in all seasonable times, drawing and conveying them by hand, as other
fishers did, and not fastening their nets to posts, boats, and anchors,
continually to stand day and night, to the destroying of the spawn
and fry of fish, which law was still in force, but it contained no fixed
assize, nor was the season of the year for fishing named. The conservators of the Thames from London Bridge to Yendall, and of the
Medway, had in times past made divers laws and ordinances, which
had continued from time to time, as well concerning what assize and
mesh the said nets should be, and the times and seasons of the year,
and the places where they should fish, to the great hindrance of the
Petitioners. They prayed Her Highness to appoint some person to
view the said nets and engines, and to survey their manner of fishing,
&c., and to grant them licences to fish again without prohibition.
I. 258. Letter from Peter Palmer to the Lord Mayor, concerning
the Petition of the Trinkermen to Her Majesty and the instructions of
the Lord Treasurer thereon.
13th September, 1581.
I. 259. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer. Not
having received any satisfactory answer from Mr. Dale as to the pleasure of the Council in regard to the Petition of the Trinkermen, he
desired to understand from his Lordship whether the Petition had been
sent to the Aldermen to answer, because they had complained of some
disorders, which the men in their Petition had partly confessed, or that,
upon consideration of the law and ordinances, order should be taken
for the lawful exercise of their trade, and thus afford to them the relief
desired. If he had any other directions to give, the same should be
accomplished with diligence.
14th September, 1581.
I. 269. Letter from William Lord Burghley to the Lord Mayor,
acknowledging the receipt of the foregoing Letter, and stating that the
Petition had been sent, in order that the Court of Aldermen, as conservators of the River Thames, might consider it, and take such steps as
they in their discretion should think best.
21st September, 1581.
I. 273. Letter from Henry Gray to the Lord Mayor, with reference to the Petition of the Trinkermen, and requesting that the same
might be speedily determined.
14th September, 1581.
I. 277. Letter from William Lord Burghley to the Lord Mayor,
with reference to the Petitions of the Trinkermen, and of the Fishermen, to stay the setting up again of the said Trinkermen's nets.
Understanding that it was purposed to call Courts, and to proceed in
the matters, without the assistance of the Judge of the Admiralty, the
officer of the Lord Admiral to whom only the jurisdiction below
bridge belonged, he desired that the proceedings against the Trinkermen might be stayed, without the advice and assent of the Judge of
8th October, 1581.
I. 362. Letter from William Lord Burghley to the Lord Mayor.
He had understood that a controversy between Her Majesty's tenants
the inhabitants of Battersca, Wandsworth, Putney, and others, for the
right of fishing in the River Thames, had been appointed to be heard
by his Lordship that day. Being Her Majesty's steward over them,
he would be glad if such proceedings were taken as might avoid
further question, and prayed that if upon hearing the matter he could
not compound the same to their liking, he would forbear to determine
it, and that he, as chief officer over them, would taken an early opportunity to call them before him, and take such order as to prevent
further dispute between them.
16th June, 1582.
Postscript.—He had no intention in any wise to prejudice the Lord
Mayor's authority for the jurisdiction of the river.
I. 363. Letter from William Lord Burghley to the Lord Mayor
upon the same subject. The inhabitants of Battersea and others had
informed him that, not only had nothing been done for their relief, but
that the Waterbailiff had been more hard towards them. He begged
the Lord Mayor to send the Waterbailiff to him to answer the poor
6th July, 1582.
I. 365. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer,
acknowledging the receipt of the foregoing Letter. He had directed
the Waterbailiff to attend upon him, and also to present to him a copy
of such Orders as had been passed by the City for the jurisdiction of
10th July, 1582.
I. 415. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor
and Aldermen. They had been informed that a jury in Middlesex
had been charged and empannelled by his Lordship in September last
to inquire of the default made in the River Thames, and that the jury
reported, in the month of October, amongst other defaults, that a great
mass of gravel, rubbish, &c., had been cast into the river between
Chiswick and Hammersmith, in the middle of the stream. For
remedy thereof the parties had been called before his Lordship, and
directed to remove the soil, &c., by Midsummer next, upon pain of
forfeiture of 100l. per man, which resolution the Council heartily
approved, and prayed the Lord Mayor to see carried into effect, that
Her Majesty and her Council might have good cause to like well of
the City's government, and to think the privileges and liberties granted
to them by Her Majesty and her progenitors to have been well and
30th April, 1575.
I. 509. Letter from the Lord Mayor to Sir Christopher Hatton.
A sturgeon had been taken in the Thames, which, according to usage,
had been sent by the hands of the Waterbailiff to be presented to
Her Majesty. He requested him to present the same.
14th May, 1583.
I. 598. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Treasurer, forwarding the Certificate from the Masters of the Trinity House touching
the mills (for grinding corn) begun to be built on the south side of
the Thames, near to London Bridge. They found that the same
would in no way be hurtful either to the bridge or stream. He
requested his Lordship to give his furtherance to the work, which
would greatly benefit the poor citizens.
14th July, 1591.
I. 602. Letter from the Lord Mayor to… Some time
since the City had begun to build certain mills for the grinding
of corn on the south side of the Thames, near to the bridge, and the
consent of the Privy Council had been requested to the said work.
The Council had directed the Master of the Trinity House and other
experienced persons to report the inconveniences (if any) likely to
arise to the bridge or river, and they had certified that no danger
would arise. They had also again, by direction of the Lord Chancellor and Treasurer, surveyed and certified to the like effect. He
requested that Her Majesty might be entreated to grant to the City
permission to proceed with the work.
26th July, 1591.
I. 603. Copy of the Certificate, signed by five Masters of the
Trinity House, and six Masters of the Watermen's Company, certifying
that they were of opinion the erection of the mills on the south side
of the river near London Bridge would in no way be prejudicial to
the river or bridge.
26th July, 1591.
I. 605. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Chamberlain, (fn. 3)
requesting him to use his good offices to obtain a favourable answer
to the City's suit for erecting mills at London Bridge.
30th July, 1591.
I. 610. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Aldermen to the Lords
of the Council, recounting the steps taken by them for building the
mills at London Bridge, upon which they had spent more than
2,600l., and which were stayed by their Lordships' direction, and
requesting that they might receive leave, under the Great Seal, to
proceed with the work, especially as the poor would derive great
benefit therefrom, an abatement of fourpence or sixpence a
bushel upon meal. If, after the certificate of the Commissioners
appointed to examine into the danger likely to accrue to the river,
there should still exist any doubts, the City were willing to undertake to remove any shelves or sandbanks which might be caused by
23rd November, 1591.
I. 629. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Chamberlain,
thanking him, in the name of the Court of Aldermen, for furthering
the City's request for proceeding in the building of the mills at London
Bridge, and reciting the steps taken by the City to prevent any inconvenience arising to the bridge or river from their construction. It
was their intention to apply to Her Majesty for permission under the
Privy Seal to proceed in the work. They requested his good
offices with Her Majesty on their behalf.
8th February, 1591.
I. 657. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Chamberlain,
requesting him to intercede with Her Majesty for granting the City
power to proceed with the building of their mills at London Bridge,
which had been delayed for a long period without any just cause.
23rd April, 1592.
II. 121. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Board of Green
Cloth, complaining that the Knight Marshalman had, by their
direction, arrested the Waterbailiff of this City within the precincts
and liberties of the same, contrary to the Charters granted by the
Kings of this realm, and confirmed by Her Majesty, for seizing
certain unlawful flue-nets, made with double walls, at Sunbury, for
which he ought rather to have been commended than disgraced,
and stating that he had been directed to attend them thereon.
6th November, 1595.
II. 123. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord High Admiral,
in reply to his Lordship's Letter touching the reason why certain
fishermen of Hampton had been restrained by the Waterbailiff from
using their nets and other lawful engines for catching fish in the River
Thames. The fishermen had not been restrained from using lawful
nets, but for erecting stops and weirs, contrary to the-statute of the
17 Henry VIII. c. 18.
13th November, 1595.
II. 206. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord Bishop of
London, concerning the controversy between the fishermen of Chiswick
and Hammersmith about Hammersmith Hope, and forwarding the
Orders of the Court of Aldermen, copied from the Repertory in the
time of Sir William Allen, Lord Mayor, (fn. 4) when this matter was in
question, and at that time determined by a verdict of an inquest.
II. 245. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord High Admiral
(the Earl of Nottingham), touching the settlement of the dispute
between the fishermen of Hammersmith and Chiswick.
II. 270. Letter from the Lord Mayor to (the Lord High Admiral),
upon a complaint made by the fishermen of the River Thames, of
certain persons that of late had, by warrant from his Lordship, fished
for salmon before Chelsea, which place had never before been allowed
for fishing, and that in consequence divers other fishermen had taken
the liberty to fish disorderly in other parts, to the great discontent of
many poor men, and the prejudice of the government of fishing in the
river, the Conservancy being in the Mayor of this City; and requesting his Lordship to withdraw his said warrant.
II. 292. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord High Admiral,
as to the restoration of certain goods forfeited by Bennett Jay, and the
trial by law of the unlawful fishing at Chelsea.
12th June, 1607.
II. 319. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord High Admiral,
in answer to his Letter complaining of the conduct of the Waterbailiff
for driving stakes in the Thames before his Lordship's house, for
marking the fishing bounds.
21st May, 1608.
II. 322. Further Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord High
Admiral on the same subject, and requesting him to let the matter
rest until the return of the Waterbailiff from Yorkshire.
9th June, 1608.
III. 15. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Lord High Admiral,
enclosing a paper of matters complained of as wrongs offered to the
City by some of his officers concerning the Conservancy of the River
Thames, and appointing Sunday next for the hearing of the matter.
13th June, 1611.
III. 16. Letter from the Lord High Admiral to the Lord Mayor
in reply, complaining that he had appointed a time and had given him
not two days warning; but agreeing to meet such as he might appoint
at the Council Chamber, Whitehall, on the next Thursday.
15th June, 1611.
III. 35. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor
and to Sir Daniel Dunn, Knight, (fn. 5) Judge of the Admiralty, and other
officers of the Admiralty. On account of grievous complaints made
to the Council of the great spoil and destruction of fry and small fish
in the River Thames by the Trinckermen and others, through their
unlawful manner of fishing, it had been lately ordered, on the motion
of the Lord High Admiral, that he should appoint two sufficient and
discreet persons, to join with two others to be appointed by the Lord
Mayor, to go down the river and take notice of the abuses complained of, and define some cause for prevention thereof. The
Council had been informed that some special persons had been
appointed by the City and the Admiralty, yet, by whose default they
knew not, the course directed had not succeeded, and the abuses still
continued. They therefore required the Lord Mayor and the Judge
of the Admiralty to appoint, each of them, two sufficient and discreet
persons, without delay, to go down the river and examine particularly the abuses complained of, as well concerning the Trinckermen as the Heybernemen, and to consider some means for prevention
thereof, and submit the same to the Council.
12th January, 1611.
III. 162. Letter from the Lord High Admiral to the Lord Mayor.
He understood the Waterbailiff had molested the fishermen of Chelsea,
whom the writer had allowed to fish there, as had been usual time out
of mind, but who had lately been complained of to the Lord Mayor for
fishing out of their bounds. He requested the Lord Mayor to give
directions that they should not be further troubled in the matter.
Hampton Court, 14th July, 1614.
IV. 43. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor
and Court of Aldermen. Having before written to them on behalf of
Mr. Digby, and recommended him for a redress of a wrong received
from one Robert Elliott, by an encroachment made by him upon the
Thames below the bridge, to the prejudice of the waterworks there,
the Council did not anticipate (considering the benefit derived by the
City from that engine) that a second letter would have been necessary.
Elliott still continued his unlawful courses of throwing in rubbish and
encroaching upon the river, thereby diverting the stream from the
engine. The reason for his protraction they could not conjecture, the
wrong being apparent enough, and twice found by a jury before the
Commissioners of Sewers, who ordered the piles set up by Elliott to
be removed. Although Elliott had proceeded against the officers
appointed by the Commissioners of Sewers to execute the order,
the Court of the Exchequer had, as the Council were informed, left
the cause to the Court of Aldermen to proceed therein as they should
think fit. The Council had, therefore, written this second letter to the
Court of Aldermen, requiring them, for the public good and for Mr.
Digby's, who demanded nothing but justice, to give directions for the
suppression of the encroachments.
22nd November, 1616.
IV. 47. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor,
reminding him that the King had previously directed his attention to
the necessity for the removal of shelves and banks in the river, which it
was thought would speedily choke it up, and so hinder the passage
of shipping as to prejudice very greatly the trade of the City.
His Majesty now commanded him, without further excuse or delay,
to call a Common Council, and by authority thereof take effectual
steps for the removal of such sands, shelves, and banks, within the
City's jurisdiction, as were offensive, or meet to be taken away for the
conservancy of the river, or impeded the passage of boats, vessels, or
ships, and to put in execution such statutes as had been formerly made
for the due conservancy of the river.
Whitehall, 29th December, 1616.
IV. 116. Letter from the Lord High Admiral to the Lord Mayor.
He had been informed by Sir Henry Marten, Knight, Judge of the
Admiralty, of daily encroachments on the jurisdiction of the Admiralty
on the River Thames. He had thought it fit, before taking any other
course, to inform the Lord Mayor of the matter.
Whitehall, 24th April, 1618.
IV. 123. Copy of Petition of Innocent Lanier, (fn. 6) Alfonso Ferabosio,
and Hugh Lidiard, to the King, reciting that, in consequence of the
number of shelves daily increasing in the River Thames, prejudicial to
the navigation, and dangerous to the shipping, the City had, so far as in
them laid, made an agreement with the Petitioners for cleansing the
river, as appeared by the Certificate annexed; yet the Petitioners could
not undertake the work unless His Majesty allowed them some
recompense from all strangers' ships and vessels, as well as they had
from the City, and also means to vent the gravel, soil, and sand, which
the City had no power to make provision of. The Petitioners therefore prayed that the City might be in some part eased, and themselves
in some part recompensed, by His Majesty allowing a charge to be
made on all strangers' ships and vessels coming into the river, of twopence per ton per voyage, and granting that all who took ballast upon
the river should take the same for thirty-one years next ensuing of
the Petitioners only, at the usual rates then paid for land ballast, and
that all builders, brickmakers, and others using river sand, might do
the same, and that it might be lawful for any of His Majesty's subjects
to take the same for ballast if they should think good.
At the end of the Petition is an order from the King, dated at
Greenwich, the 28th May, 1618, directing the Lord Mayor and
Recorder to certify their opinions as to the conveniency of the suit.
(Signed, Christopher Parkins.)
IV. 139. Certificate from the Lord Mayor and Recorder, with
reference to the Petition of Lanier and others with respect to the
cleansing of the River Thames. The Court of Aldermen, having
considered the matter, were of opinion—
As to the charge of twopence per ton on strangers' ships,
1. It would be grievously taken by the merchant stranger;
2. It might lead to a similar imposition on English ships
3. It would enhance the price of merchandize, to the detriment of trade and prejudice of the Customs;
4. It would discourage the importation of victuals from
As to the taking of ballast for ships, it would be fit and convenient
if the strangers would willingly ballast their ships with river ballast
and sand; but they should not be compelled to do so.
The suit of the Petitioners was unexpected, seeing the City had
long before agreed to pay them, for the cleansing of the river, twopence for every ton taken thereout, and to find them lighters to carry
it and wharves to cast it upon. But it appeared that they desired a
further benefit by this suit, which they had concealed from the City
for six weeks after His Majesty's reference, by which means the
summer had been lost.
V. 14. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord Mayor
and Court of Aldermen, concerning the removal of shoals from the
River Thames, and recommending to their notice a new engine for
that purpose, invented by John Gilbert, Gentleman, (fn. 7) one of His
Majesty's servants, and Anthony Gibson, Citizen of London, and
recommending its employment if found useful and advantageous.
16th February, 1618.
V. 22. Petition of Anthony Gibson and John Gilbert to the Lord
Mayor and Court of Aldermen, stating that their engine for the
cleansing of the banks and shelves in the river had been idle for six
months past, that Mr. Lanere (fn. 8) and his partners had promised, more
than three months ago, to set it on work, but had neglected to do so
to hinder the Petitioners from seeking other employment for the same,
and praying the Court to give directions for its use, and for the
payment of a competent allowance in respect thereof.
V. 45. Letter from Mr. Secretary Calvert to the Lord Mayor.
The King had been informed that the Court of Aldermen had cited
divers shipwrights and ships' carpenters to appear at a Court, to be
holden at Westminster on the 13th December, for some supposed misdemeanours on the River Thames, which His Majesty thought strange,
considering the persons were merely depending on the Admiralty,
His Majesty therefore desired that the men should be discharged of
their appearance until he had heard the cause himself, or by such as
he might appoint.
St. Martin's Lane, 12th December, 1619.
VI. 6. Copy of Order of the Court of Aldermen, upon receipt of
a Letter from the Portreeve and Steward of the town of Gravesend,
directing the Common Serjeant, (fn. 9) Mr. Stone, and Mr. Pheasant, (fn. 10) to
confer with the Council of that town touching the orders offered by
the Portreeve, Jurats, and inhabitants of the towns and parishes of
Gravesend and Milton, to be observed concerning the ferry and
passage from Gravesend to London, (fn. 11) and to report in writing thereon
what they conceived fitting for the Court to do for the maintenance of
30th January, 1622.
VI. 7. Certificate from John Stone and Peter Pheasant to the
Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen thereon. In their opinion the
Orders proposed would not be prejudicial to the City's ferry, but a
means to help them of Gravesend, for the better and more orderly
government and maintenance of their ferry.
VI. 15. Order in Council directing Mr. Serjeant Crewe. (fn. 12) and the
Attorney-General to peruse the Orders made by the Portreeve, Jurats,
and inhabitants of Gravesend and Milton, and agreed to and confirmed by the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen of the City of
London concerning the ferry and passage from Gravesend to London,
and to certify their opinions thereon to the Council.
Whitehall, 18th June, 1623.
VI. 19. Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen to
the Lords of the Council, intimating their approval of the Orders made
by the inhabitants of Gravesend and Milton, for the regulation of the
ferry and passage from Gravesend to the City, and their willingness
to assist them as far as possible, should the Council think fit to
sanction such Orders.
VI. 20. Copy of the Petition of the Portreeve and Jurats of the
town of Gravesend to the Lords of the Council, reciting that of late
years, in consequence of their lack of power to regulate the watermen
and others serving the ferry from Gravesend to London, many
persons had been drowned, and many misdemeanours and disorders
had been committed; that they had made certain orders with penalties, in imitation of those made by the City of London for the better
government of the said passage, but they were unable to enforce the
penalties without continual suits at law. They therefore prayed that
some punishment might be inflicted on the delinquents for breach of
the Orders, and refusal to pay the penalties, and that they might have
such further powers as the Council should deem expedient.
VI. 43. Application from John Gilbert, His Majesty's ancient
servant, and William Burrell, Esquire, to the King, beseeching that
orders might be given to the Lord Mayor and Aldermen that the
first inventor, and Mr. Burrell, now owner, of the engine to cleanse
the river, might be employed, and that those who neither were at
charge for engine nor invention (but by a colourable undertaking to
do the service) should not reap the benefit of others' invention and
VI. 51. Petition of Fishermen of the River Thames between
Staines and Yantleet to the King, reciting that, with a view to the
reformation of abuses in the matter of fishing, they were desirous of
being incorporated and entrusted with powers for that purpose. Aiming at no intrusion upon the privileges of the City of London, they
had petitioned the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen for their
assistance, who had referred the matter to a Committee. The House
of Commons, upon consideration of the Petitioners' Bill, had much
commended it, but the Lord Mayor and Aldermen having since been
informed by some who wished the interruption of the design, had forborne to put forward their request. The Petitioners therefore prayed
His Majesty to recommend their suit to the Court of Aldermen.
VI. 52. Order of the King thereon. As he conceived the
endeavour of the Petitioners would tend to the preservation of fish,
he desired the Lord Mayor and Aldermen, if the liberty and privileges of fishing in the River Thames between Staines Bridge and the
waters of Medway of right belonged to the City of London, to consider the said Petition, and certify what they thought meet to be done
for furtherance of the suit.
At the Court at Greenwich, 9th June, 1623.
(Signed) Sidney Mountague.
VI. 53. Answer of the Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, certifying that the liberty and privileges of fishing in the River Thames,
and the Conservancy thereof between Staines Bridge and the waters
of Medway, of right belonged to the City of London. For their better
information as to the Fishermen's suit, they had caused a book to be
drawn in the form of a charter, upon which both parties might, advise,
wherein it was provided that if the proposed Corporation should be
found inconvenient, and so declared by the Court of Aldermen, the
same should be void; that the ordinances to be made should be
approved by the Court of Aldermen before they should be put in
execution, with other necessary provisions, and a saving of the City's
rights and privileges and conservancy of the river. They thought it
meet (if it pleased His Majesty) to incorporate the fishermen under
the aforesaid reservations, &c., and such others as were contained in
the said draft, so prepared in the form of a charter, which they prayed
might be perused by the Recorder before it was passed. It would be
a means the better to discover and reform the abuses practised by
fishermen and others, with unlawful nets and engines, and at unseasonable times.
12th October, 1624.
VII. 2. Letter from the Lord Mayor to the Earl of Wimbledon. (fn. 13)
He had received his Letter, by which he understood the King was not
satisfied as to his pleasure signified concerning the view of the River
Thames. He regretted the misunderstanding which had occurred as
to the time fixed for the view, of which he thought the Lords appointed
for the purpose had taken notice. There was yet time, however, for
there were two views yearly, the first, which was past, was to impanel
a Jury, and charge them on their oaths to strict inquiry of all defaults
on the river. The second view was from Staines downwards to the
bridge, to see whether the defaults presented were amended, and
Wednesday next was appointed for that purpose. If the day fixed
was inconvenient for His Majesty's service or their Lordships' other
important occasions, it should be altered.
VII. 9. Petition of Captain John Gilbert to Thomas Lord
Coventry, Lord Keeper, stating that his Lordship had required an
answer from the Court of Aldermen this day whether the passing of
the Petitioner's Grant would prejudice the City. Finding no prejudice, they had not returned an answer, but had appointed a Committee to determine some difference between the Petitioner and another
who had retained the benefit of his engine ever since his surrender.
They had not appointed a day for hearing the difference, which only
prolonged the time, to the prejudice of His Majesty's service, and to
endeavour to deprive him of his Grant. He therefore prayed that the
grant might pass under the Great Seal.
A Note in the margin says the Grant was "concerning the cleansing
of the Thames."
VII. 10. Order of the Lord Keeper, directing the Petition to be
shown to Mr. Bacon, the Remembrancer, that he might return a
speedy answer as directed. If the matter did not concern the City,
but some particular person, the meeting of a Committee was needless,
for the party grieved might as well show his reasons against the
Patent to the Lord Keeper. If, however, it concerned the City, he
approved of the Committee's meeting, but their decision must be
11th November, 1629.
VII. 43. Letter from the Lord Mayor to Viscount Dorchester,
similar in effect to No. 2.
Dated in margin, 28th August, 1630.
VII. 45. Letter from Mr. W. Trumball (fn. 14) to the Lord Mayor,
intimating that the day fixed for the view of the River Thames would
be inconvenient to the Commissioners, and requesting that it might
be adjourned till the King's coming to Hampton Court.
Whitehall, 9th September, 1630.
VII. 46. Letter from the Commissioners fixing a day for the view
of the River Thames.
Hampton Court, 26th September, 1630.
VII. 63. Further Letter from the Lord Mayor and Court of
Aldermen to the Lords of the Council, detailing the steps taken by
them for freeing the river from hatches, stops, &c., and with respect to
the plague and the reduction of the prices of victuals. With respect
to the removal of vagrants, the Marshals and other officers were
instructed to disperse themselves in couples throughout the City, and
upon sight of a vagrant to inform the nearest Constable, who, if he
did not apprehend, punish, and pass away the vagrant according to
the statute, was called before the Court of Aldermen and fined for
the use of the poor.
Dated in margin, 30th March, 1631.
VII. 166. Same as No. 172, Vol. VIII.
19th January, 1635.
VIII. 8. Letter from the Lord Chancellor (Lord Verulam) to the
Lord Mayor and Court of Aldermen, directing their attention to his
former Letter, with respect to the delay in raising money in the
City for the repair of Staines Bridge (fn. 15) and Egham Causey, according
to the King's Letters Patent, and requesting a return of the names of
such as should make default of their speedy payment.
28th June, 1619.
VIII. 9. Letter from the Lord Chancellor to the Lord Mayor
and Court of Aldermen, referred to in the foregoing Letter.
2nd February, 1618.
VIII. 34. Letter from William (Lord) Beauchamp to the Lord
Mayor and Court of Aldermen with respect to the injury done to his
house and garden wall in Blackfriars, by reason of divers wharves not
many years past erected on Bridewell side, and of the daily access of
barges and other great vessels thereto.
30th May, 1620.
VIII. 50. Letter from the Earl of Nottingham, Lord Lieutenant
of the county of—(Middlesex) to the Lord Mayor, requesting him
to cause two mills, built by Sir Thomas Lake, near Sunbury, on the
River Thames, to be suppressed, because they prevented many poor
men from getting a living by the river.
9th April, 1623.
VIII. 51. Letter from the Lords of the Council to the Lord
Mayor, as Conservator of the river, requiring him to take speedy
measures for the clearing and well keeping of the same, and for the
repairing and maintaining of the bridge (London Bridge).
30th May, 1623.
VIII. 53. Letter from William Herbert (fn. 16) to the Lord Mayor and
Court of Aldermen, requesting them to give directions for the necessary repair of the City wall next Bridewell, which ran along his house
and garden in Blackfriars, and which was marvellously broken down
and decayed through the daily resort of barges into that dock.
Amesbury, 15th July, 1624.
VIII. 104. Letter from the King to the Lord Mayor and Court of
Aldermen, on having renewed the patent granted to John Gilbert for
the use of certain engines for the removal of shelves in the River
Thames, the gravel from which was by Act of Parliament to be disposed of for ballasting ships; and requiring them, as he could not proceed with effect unless the gravel were taken off his hands, to give
directions for the employment of the said Gilbert and James Freeze,
his fellow patentee, (fn. 17) and to report by what means the sand or gravel
might be disposed of.
30th August, 1632.
VIII. 172. Letter from the King to the Lord Mayor and Court of
Aldermen with respect to the cleansing of the River Thames, and
keeping it free from shelves, &c., informing them that he had thought
fit to revive the statute of Henry VIII., prohibiting the using of land
ballast, and requiring all ships in the Thames to use river ballast only,
and had appointed Thomas Smith, Esquire, Receiver-General of the
Duchy of Cornwall, and others, to undertake the service, and requiring
them to conclude with him for the allowance by them of twopence per
ton for all gravel, &c., taken from the river, with such further allowances for wharves and lighters as formerly they had agreed for.
19th January, 1635.
IX. 33. Order in Council upon the Petition of John Chapman,
one of the Yeomen of His Majesty's Great Chamber, who claimed a
right and interest in the gravel and sand, and to ballast ships and
vessels in the River Thames, by virtue of a lease granted by the late
King under the Great Seal for thirty-one years, at a rent for the first
five years of 466l. 13s. 4d. per annum, and afterwards at 1,000 marks
yearly. The Order recites the opinion of the Attorney-General that the
gravel and sand belonged by right to the King, but that the Lord High
Admiral, the Trinity House, the City of London, as conservators of the
river, one Gilbert and Colonel Careless, all claimed the same, either by
prescription or grant, and his recommendation that the question should
be settled by a trial at law. The Council agreeing therewith, order
the question to be tried the next Michaelmas term in the Exchequer,
and the Trinity House to give security for answering the same.
25th September, 1661.