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Acts for the River of THAMES. 45

Acts for the River of THAMES.

King's called Oatlands, now pulled down; and the Park and House that is standing, was the Seat of the late Earl of Torrington, by Lease from the Crown; his Lordship then living in one of the Lodge Houses.


38. CHERTSEY, in Surrey; at some Distance from the Thames, where it hath a Bridge of Wood, which adds an Advantage to the Town; yet its Market (which is on Wednesday) is but mean, and ill served, especially with Corn.


39. LALAM; of small Account.


40. STANES; another small Market Town in Middlesex, seated on the high Western Road to London, which occasions it to be of better Resort, having a Wooden Bridge over the Thames, which leadeth to Egham in Surrey. Its Market is on Fridays; which is but small, either for Corn, or Provisions.


I have given the Reader a short Description of the Towns and Places, from East to West, which are seated on this famous River, and which are within the Jurisdiction of the Lord Maior of London, who is Conservator thereof.]

And thus as this fine River is of great Use and Profit to the City; so the many neat Towns and Seats on the Banks of it, make it extraordinary pleasant and delightful. So that the Citizens and Gentlemen, nay, Kings, have in the Summer Time, usually taken the Air by Water; being carried in Boats and Barges along the Thames, both upward and downward, according to their Pleasures.

Citizens and Nobles take the Air on the Thames.

J. S.

Gower the Poet, contemporary with King Richard II. speaks of that King's going in his Barge upon this River, when the Poet also was in a Boat: Whom the King seeing, called into his own Barge; and commanded him to write upon some Subject, that he might entertain himself with reading his Poetry: As he describeth this Matter himself, in his Book de Confessione Amantis.

As it befylle upon a Tyde,
As Thynge whych shuide tho betyde,
Under the Town of new Troye,
Whyche toke of Brute hys fyrste joye,
On Themse whan it was flowende,
As I by Bote came roende;
So as Fortune hir Tyme sette,
My Lyege Lorde perchaunce I mette;
And so befelle as I came nygh,
Out of my Bote whan he me sygh;
He bade me come into hys Barge;
And whan I was with hym at large,
Amonges other Thynges seyd,
He hath soch Charge upon my leyd, &c. ]



Two Acts; The one an Act of Parliament for the Preservation of this River : The other, An Act of Common Council, for the Conservation and Cleansing of it .

HERE, in the last place, we shall subjoin Two Instances of the Care taken of this River in Henry the Eighth's Time, by the Parliament, as well as by the Government of the City, for the keeping it clean, preserving the Banks, and preventing Breaches. And first,

A. M.

An Act of Parliament for the Preservation of the River of THAMES, made in the Twenty seventh Year of the Reign of our most Dread Sovereign Lord, K. HENRY the Eighth.


"WHere before this Time the River of Thames, among all other Rivers within this Realm, hath been accepted and taken, and as it is indeed, most commodious and profitable unto all the King's Liege People; and chiefly of all other frequented and used, and as well by the King's Highness, his Estates, and Nobles, Merchants, and other repairing to the City of London, and other Places, Shires and Counties adjoining to the same: Which River of Thames is, and hath been most meet and convenient of all other, for the Safegard and Ordering of the King's Navy, Conveighance of Merchandises, and other Necessaries, to and for the King's most Honourable Houshold, and otherwise, to the great Relief and Comfort of all Persons within this Realm; till now of late divers evil-disposed Persons, partly by misordering of the said River, by casting in of Dung and other Filth, laid nigh to the Banks of the said River, digging and undermining of the said Banks and Walls next adjoining to the same River, carrying and conveighing away of Way-shides, Shore-piles, Boords, Timber-work, Ballast for Ships, and other Things from the said Banks and Walls in sundry places: by reason whereof, great Shelfs and Risings have of late been made and grown in the Farway of the said River, and such Grounds as lye within the Level of the said Water-mark: By occasion thereof have been surrounded and overflown by Rage of the said Water, and many great Breaches have ensued and followed thereupon, and daily are like to do, and the said River of Thames to be utterly destroyed for ever, if convenient and speedy Remedy be not sooner provided in that Behalf."

" For Reformation whereof, Be it enacted, established, and ordained by the King, our Sovereign Lord, and by the Assent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the Authority of the same, That if any Person or Persons hereafter, do, or procure any Thing to be done in the annoying of the Stream of the said River of Thames, making of Shelfs by any manner of Means, by Mining, Digging, Casting of Dung, or Rubbish, or other Thing in the same River; or take, pluck, or conveigh away any Boords, Stakes, Piles, Timber-work, or other Thing from the said Banks or Walls; except it be to amend, and the same to repair again; or dig or undermine any Banks or Walls on the Waterside of Thames aforesaid, to the Hurt, Impairing or Damage of any the said Walls and "


© hriOnline, 2007
The Stuart London Project, Humanities Research Institute, The University of Sheffield,
34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY