The Jurisdiction of the THAMES. 38

The Jurisdiction of the THAMES.

In the 4th of Edw. VI. Master Common Sergeant was appointed to repair to the Duke of Somerset, and to inform his Lordship of the Cities Authority, in pulling down Wears within the River of Thames.

In the 6th of Edw. VI. Order was given, that Sute should be made to the Kings Majesty, and his Council, for the Determination and Allowance of the Cities Jurisdiction and Interest in the River of Thames.

1. Mariæ Reginæ. A great Number of the Fishermen of the East-side of London, present in the Court of the Lord Maior and Aldermen, were commanded to obey the Water Bailiff. And that one Hunter, of the Admiralty, should be warned to be before the Lord Maior and Aldermen at the next Court to be holden for the same Matter.

1. Eliz. Reginæ. Certain Committees were appointed to confer with the Lord Admiral, touchin the Controversie between his Honour and the City, concerning the Conservacie of the River of Thames.

In the 3d of Eliz. certain Committees were appointed to attend the Lord Admiral, concerning the Jurisdiction of the River of Thames.

7 Eliz. The Lord Admiral to be conferred with, touching the Cities Jurisdiction in the River of Thames.

8. Eliz. The Lord Admiral to be conferred with, touching the Cities Right to the Conservacie of the River of Thames.

13. Eliz. The Lord Admiral to be moved, that the City may enjoy their Liberties in the Thames and Medway.

17. Eliz. The Aldermen and others to confer with the Lord Admiral for the Cities Title in the River Eastward.

23. Eliz. Mr. Norton, and others, appointed to attend on the Lord Treasurer of England, and to inform his Lordship touching the Cities Title to the Conservacie of the River of Thames below London Bridge.

23. Eliz. Sessions appointed for the Conservacy of the River of Thames, the 9th of October, at Barking in Essex; and on Wednesday following to be kept at Woolwich in Kent.

24. Eliz. Certain Aldermen were appointed to treat with the Lord Admiral, touching the Conservacie.

29. Eliz. Aldermen appointed to go to the Lord Admiral, and to inform his Lordship touching the Cities Right to the Conservacie of the River of Thames, from London Bridge to Yenland and the Reculvers.

In the Letters Patents granted by the King's Most Excellent Majesty, in the Third Year of his Reign, the Cities Title to the Conservacie of the River of Thames and Water of Medway, is recited and set down at large. And therein mention is made, that the City had been interrupted in the said Office, and a Doubt conceived, that the same did not belong to his Highness's City of London. His Majesty therefore, of his especial Grace and Favour to the City of London, Ad omnem Controversiam in hac Parte, temporibus tam præsentibus quam futuris, tollendam, ac omne dubium amovendum; i.e. to take away all Controversie in this Behalf, for the Times as well present as to come, and to remove all doubt, did by those his Letters Patents Grant, Ratify and Confirm to the City of London, the Conservacie of the said River of Thames and Waters of Medway.

K. James I. confirms the Cities Right.

So much concerning the Right and Usage. Now de Reipsa, i.e. of the Thing it self.

This Word Conservacie doth extend it self to the Preservation of the Stream, and the Banks of the River, as also the Fish and Fry within the same. For by the Laws of the Land all Navigable Rivers are the high Streams of the King, for the Passage of Ships, Boats, &c. As the Highway is Via Regia for the People to pass by. And if the Banks be not kept from Decaying and Encroachment, it will not only be an Annoyance to the River it self, by diverting the Water and hindering the Navigation, but will also annoy the Grounds next adjoining to the same. And if the Fish be taken at undue Seasons, and the Fry not preserved, the Fishing will be soon destroyed.

The Meaning and Extent of the Conservacie.

And first, touching the Stream, you are to enquire, Whether any Person or Persons have Erected any Wears, Kiddels, or Engines; or knocked any Posts, Piles, or Stakes, within the Rivers, or any Part thereof, which may in any Sort hinder the Stream, or the Navigation, or Passage of any Ships, Barges, Boats, or Vessels within the same. And whether any have cast any Soil, Dust, or Rubbish, or other Filth whatsoever, into the same. You are to present the Persons, Times, and Places, touching the committing of every such Offence.

The Charge to the Inquest, concerning the Stream.

Secondly, you are to enquire of all Encroachments upon the River, and the Banks of the same: And of all Bridges, Floodgates, Milldamms, and such like Annoyances, Erected or Builded upon, or near to the Banks of the same River: And where, and by whom, and when the same were done.

Concerning Encroachments.

Thirdly, for the Preservation of the Fish and Fry within the River, you are to enquire, whether any Fisherman or other, hath fished at any undue or prohibited Seasons, or with any unlawful or prohibited Nets or Engines. And when, where, and by whom every such Offence was committed.

And concerning the Fishermen.

Thus much for a general Direction; but for your more particular Instruction, and for the Ease of your Memories, here to be certain Printed Articles which you shall have with you; to every one of which, you shall give a particular Answer.

The like Charge was given by the said Master Common Sergeant, on the next Day following at Lee in the County of Essex: And the like Sessions was kept there for the same Purpose.

But it seems, these Privileges and Jurisdictions in the Thames, thus claimed by the City, were not allowed by the Court in K. Charles I. his Time, but thought to encroach upon the Prerogative of the King's High Court of Admiralty: Some Passages in the foregoing Discourse giving such Offence, that it had like to have hindred the Sale of the Second Edition of this Book, An. 1633. being then newly Printed. For K. Charles I. as soon as he heard of it, commanded Sir Henry Marten, the Judge of the Court of Admiralty, either to obliterate certain Passages out of the said Book, before it came forth, or else to stop the Publishing of it. For which Purpose, Secretary Coke, by that King's Command, wrote a special Letter to the said Judge. But it being somewhat too late to make these Corrections, (the Book being now compleatly Printed off) the said Sir Henry Marten ordered the Company of Stationers to Print the Secretaries Letter to him at the End of the Book, and his own Letter and Order to them thereupon. Which was accordingly done: And they were as follow:

This Jurisdiction disallowed of by King Charles I. as infringing the Admiralty.

J. S.

To my Honorable Friend Sir HENRY MARTEN, Knight, Judge of the High Court of the Admiralty.


"SIR, his Majesty understanding that there is a second Edition of Stowes Survey of the City of London, new put to Sale, wherein there are some Passages prejudicial to his Majesties Right in his Admiralty, and Derogatory to the just Power belonging thereunto; He doth therefore require you his Judge in that High Court to examine the said Book, and to cause the said Passa-"