The River LEE. 52

The River LEE.

" Penny by the Victualler; whereas the sworn Corn Meeters take but a Halfpenny by the Quarter. The which they would never do, unless it were (as it is doubted) for some privy Practice, and Breach of good Order. For there hath been seen above 300. Quarters of good Wheat in Two Brewers Houses; when as the sworn Officers have not measured, nor known of the taking up 40 Quarters thereof; nor have they had any Warrant to take it up by. So that it is also to be thought, that they have not brewed of the same Corn; insomuch as that they use not to brew with any so good."

" Lastly, If so be it, that the former Abuses should be born with, and that the Brewers, Bargemen, and Maltmen should be suffered so to confederate, and withstand all good Order; whereas the said River of Lee hath been thought commodious and profitable for the City of London, it will in the End be found both prejudicial to it, and the whole Country besides, who already cry out of them."

" Beseeching your good Lordship so to consider hereof, as that no Disorder may be privileged by Authority, nor our necessary and ancient Custom broken by Abuse."

Moreover there are these memorable Matters in the Statutes and Law Books concerning this Water of Ley; and what Esteem and Care hath been formerly had for this River, in regard of the Supplies and Provisions brought by it to the City of London.

Remarks of the River Ley out of the Law Books.

J. Conyers, Esq;

In the 19. Edward III. it was found by the Inquest, Que l'ewe de le LEY est haute Estrete de Le Roy, i.e. That the Water of the LEY is the King's High Street. And a Commission was issued out in the said Year, as in Lib. Assizar. to this Tenor; Commission issuist, &c. i.e. "A Commission was issued out to certain Persons of a Nusance made in the Water of the Ley, which holds its Course from Ware to Waltham, and so to the Water of Thames. And the Annusance was rehearsed concerning Trenches, or Cutts, made to turn away the Course: And also for Piles, Fitches, &c. fixed in the Course of the said Water of Ley; whereby the Boats and Ships which went by in the said Water were disturbed in their Passage; to the Annusance of the City of London, and the People coming thence. And the King's Judges argued largely concerning this Enquiry."

19 Ed. 3. lib. Assiz. Pla. 6. Fol. 62.


A Commission upon a Nusance here.

This Case, and the issued of it, the learned Lawyer Callis thus relateth.

"A Presentment was found by Jury before Commissioners, that certain Persons by Name had turned the Course of the River of Lee, which is there termed, The King's Stream, and ran from Ware, &c. and had fixed and pitched Piles and Stakes therein; by means whereof Boats and Ballangers were hindred in their Passages up and down the River. And upon this Presentment it was awarded, that those Persons which were presented by Name, and who had done part of the Nusance, should reform the same. And because some of the Parties could not be discovered which had done other part of the Nusance, it was ordered, that the Sheriff should be commanded by Writ, to him to be directed, to reform that Part of the Nusance; taking therein to his Assistance those Persons who had Grounds next adjoining."

The Issue of it.

Callis Readings. p. 215, 216.

In the Year Book under the Reign of King Henry VI. it appears what Letts and Stops were oftentimes made in this River; and that the Lord Chancellor of England might appoint by Law Commissioners, as occasion should serve, to examine and remedy these Nusances.

Stops on this River; and the Remedy.

Year Book 9 Hen. 6. C. 9.

"Come ordine, &c. i.e. As it is ordained by the Statute made in the Time of King Edward, since the Conquest, the Third, in the 25th Year of his Reign, that all the Gutts, Mills, Estanks, Stakes, Piles, and Kidels, that were set in the great Rivers of England, in the Time of our Lord Edward, late King of England, Son of Henry. And since by the said &c. the Ships and Boats are disturbed, that they cannot pass so as they were wont; may be removed and quite pulled down. And as since in the Parliament of our Lord Henry, late King of England, Father to our Lord the King, which late was held in the first Year of his Reign, it is ordained, That as well the said Statute in the said 25th Year, as one other Statute made in the Time of the said Noble King Edward III. the 45th of his Reign, in all their Articles, shall be held and firmly observed: Adding to them, that Commissions should be made to sufficient Persons to be Justices in any County of England, where need should be, to preserve and guard all the Waters and grand Rivers within the Realm, and the Defaults to correct and amend, and to do Execution of the said Statutes, &c. And notwithstanding all the said Statutes, and many other Statutes made for the Conservacy of the said great Rivers, there be such great Numbers, (de Shelpes deins le River de Ley) of Shelves within the River of Ley, which is in the Counties of Essex, Hertfordshire, and Middlesex, running from the Bridge of Ware Town unto the River of Thames; (the which Shelves are made and come by Force and Course of the said Water of Ley) that the Ships and Boats cannot pass so as they ought: For that no Power or Authority is given by any Statute made before, how, nor in what manner the said Shelves may be removed, so as by a Petition given in this Parliament, by the Commons thereof, was plainly declared."

Shelves in Ley.

" Whereupon, by the Advice and Assent of the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and also at the Request of the said Commons, it was granted and ordained, that the Chancellor of England for the Time being, should assign certain sufficient Commissioners, who shall have Power, by the Authority of this Parliament, to remove and cast away all the said Shelves out of the said River of Ley, upon the Repairs of the said River, &c. And in case (ascun Chivance, ou Creance) any Credit for any Sums of Money may or can be made for the taking away and removing the said Shelves; that then the Commissioners of the said River for the Time being, by them, or their Deputies, may, by Authority of the said Parliament, take and collect of any Ship or Boat freighted, passing or coming in the said River, 4d. for the Repayment of the said Credits made or done, and for the Conservacy of the said River without such Shelves, only to the End of Three Years next coming."

And thus much for this River of Ley, so serviceable to the City.]