Of the Jurisdiction of the THAMES. 33

Of the Jurisdiction of the THAMES.

concerning the Extent of the Thames's Jurisdiction; which is, from a Place called Colnie Ditch, a little above the Bridge of Stanes, Westward, to London Bridge; and from thence to a certain Place called Yendal, alias Yenland, alias Yenleet; and likewise of the Water of Medway, as being Matter more proper to the City of London's Survey, than any other Discourse else whatsoever. For many Years, the Authority and Jurisdiction of this River hath undoubtedly belonged unto the Lord Maior, Commonalty, and Citizens of London, by the sufficient Testimony of divers Grants, Charters and Confirmations, made by the precedent Kings and Queens of this Land, and by his most Royal Majesty, K. James I. now reigning; beside sundry Acts of Parliament ordained to that End. But because some Question appeared to be made by the Lord High Admiral of England, concerning that Case of Power or Jurisdiction, a full and final Conclusion, was at length established, between the Lord High Admiral, and the Lord Maior and Commonalty of London also, concerning the Prerogative then questioned.

Acts of Parliament for the Cities Prerogative on the River.

Whereby, as in former ancient Privileges, the Right and Title hath always been evident, so it appeared then a plain and manifest Case, that the Lord Maior of London for the Time being, and his Successors for ever in that antient Dignity, have full Power and Authority over the said Rivers, the Lord Maior bearing the Stile and Title of CONSERVATOR or Preserver of them within the forenamed Bounds and Limits; having absolute Power of inflicting Punishment for all unlawful Fishings, either by Fishermen, or any other fishing within the same at any time; yea, and to search, oversee, and punish all such as shall abuse his lawful Authority in those Proceedings from time to time. And because his great and serious Employments, with-hold him from such attending on this important Business, as the urgent Necessity thereof doth almost continually require; He hath a Deputy or Substitute, named the Water Bailiff of London, who under his Honour's Authority, and by vertue of his more absolute Power, doth continually search, oversee, and punish all Offenders, that dare infringe those Rights of Duty belonging to so famous a River, or make spoil of that, intended for general Benefit.

A Controversy between the Lord Admiral and the City, concerning the River Thames, ended in behalf of the latter.

The Lord Maior bears the Stile of Conservator of the Rivers Thames and Medway.

For this End he hath his Water Bailiff.

And whereas there are a certain Company of Fishermen, called Trinkermen [or Tynkermen] frequenting the River of Thames, Eastward, who in times past, not only have been reported, but also manifestly proved and found out, to make an infinite Destruction of the young Brood and Frie of Fish, by use of unlawful Nets, and unpermittable Engines; feeding and glutting their Hogs with them, as Mr. Dr. Dee reporteth; by the diligent and extraordinary Cost and Care of the Lord Maior, his Brethren, and the rest of the Citizens of London; as also by the vigilant Respect of his worthy Officer the Water Bailiff, Day and Night attending to cut off such an horrible Abuse; those unlawful Nets and Engines are now quite supprest, and a true and orderly Form of Fishing brought into Use, that such Waste and Havock may no more be made.

Trinkermen, great Destroyers of the Fry of Fish, prevented, and stopt.

Through which Restraint of Robbery, and Application of continual Providence, our River of Thames (the Honour and Beauty of this whole Island) is become again most rich and plentiful, yielding daily out of her bountiful Bosom great Store of Fish of all Kinds, and at much more reasonable Rates than in many Years past hath been seen; as our Weekly Markets in this honourable City can better testify than I report; a Matter highly to be commended, and no doubt but will be as heedfully continued.

The River of Thames restored to her Plenty.

Upon a general Complaint lately made to the Lord Maior, concerning Timbers standing and being in Tilbury Hope, beneath Gravesend, a Matter not only perillous to Passengers upon the River, but a Cause also to destroy infinitely the young Breed and Fry of Fish, by the Harms those Timbers did to Fishermens Nets, by reason of their continual standing in the main Course, and speedy Current of the Stream, which was mightily annoyed and injured thereby; his honourable Care extended so far, that by the Pains and Diligence of the Water Bailiff, being thereto by his Office and Place warrantably directed; those grievous Hurts and Annoyances were all taken up, and conveyed to the Guildhall in London, as an Example to all that should dare to offend in the like Nature, or presume to prejudice such an honourable Course of our Fishing; as it is faithfully reported, at every Tide by Day and Night, Four Bushels of small Fish and Fry (continually throughout the whole Year) are saved and preserved by this worthy Providence; which otherwise had remained to the former desperate Spoil, and continued a great hindrance to the abounding Increase now likely to ensue thereby.

Timbers in the Thames, no mean hurt to the River, complained of and redressed.

The Lord Maior and Commonalty, within the Compass of three Years now last past, * have caused this noble River of Thames Westward, to be cleared and cleansed of Seventy nine Stops or Hatches, consisting of divers great Stakes and Piles purposely Erected by Fishermen for their private Gain; and standing dangerously for Passengers, near unto the fair Deep, so that none of them do now remain upon the River, but only such as stand out of the passable fair Way, and can be no prejudice to Passengers. For otherwise they serve as a great Succour to the young Breed and Fry, being planted at the Waters Bottom; and placed so remotely on the River, that they relieve and comfort many poor Fishermen thereon dwelling. Beside, in the great Heat and Drought of Summer, when Water usually is most scanty, these Stops are the Cause of raising the Waters so high, that Barges may well and safely pass, with all kind of Goods to our antient Mother City; whereas else they would be grounded, how many soever, and be void of Passage by Lowness of the Water.

* That is, between the Years 1515, and 1518 when A. M. first wrote and published this.

The Lord Maior clears the Thames of many Stops or Hatches.

There is likewise a Number of Fishermen belonging to the River of Thames, some stiled by the Name of Trinkermen [Tynkermen] of whom something was said before; Hebbermen, Petermen, Trawlermen, &c. that have lived in preceding Times by very unlawful Fishing on this River, and to the great Injury of her abounding Store. But by means of this well provided Restriction, so forwarded in the main Magistrate, and followed in the diligent Endeavour of the careful Water Bailiff, (making no spare of his Pains at all whatsoever) their Insolency hath been reduced to a more temperate Qualification. And the awful Hand of Civil Government appeareth to carry much better Respect, than formerly it did.

Unlawful Fishermen restrained.

Nor let this provident Care, both for the Safety of Passengers on the River, and Preservation of the Breed and Fry, be understood as a Matter of Novelty, without any precedent Example in elder Days; since it plainly appeareth, that the very like Course was kept and effected in the Time of K. Henry IV. the Seventh Year of his Reign, Anno Dom. 1405. Also more lately in the Days of K. Henry VIII, &c. As is evident by Records in divers Chronicles, and so warranted and avouched, as already hath been said, and shall in more ample manner hereafter appear.

The Care the City had of the River in former Times.

Concerning the Controversial Question about the Rivers of Thames and Medway, all Variance and Difference was absolutely concluded in the Year 1613, the 20th Day of May; Sir John Swinnerton, Knight, being then Lord Maior, and careful Conservator of the said River's Rights; and Thomas Sparrey, Esq; his Subsitute and re-

The Controversy about the Rivers decided, Sir John Swinnerton, Maior.