[Court] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [of Requests.]380

[Court] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [of Requests.]

for Woodstreet Compter, and on Thursdays and Saturdays for the Poultry Compter.

The Proceedings in these Courts, are in the manner of those of higher, that is, by Declaration, Pleadings, a Jury, &c. And in case of any erroneous Judgment given, the Party grieved may sue forth of the Court of Chancery, a Writ of Error, returnable in the Court of Hustings, whither the Record being transmitted, the Errors may be there examined and corrected, before the Lord Maior and Sheriffs.

J. Gibson.

To these two Courts, viz. the Poultry and Woodstreet, there belong eight Attorneys, who are admitted by the Court of Aldermen, and take an Oath.

Officers of these Courts.

These Attorneys may demand, in each Cause three Fees, one for the Appearance, one at joining Issue, and another upon Summons for Tryal. But if the Cause shall be summoned more than once, then to have a Fee upon every Summons.

The Jurymen are Freemen of the City, and serve in their Wards according to the several Months; each Ward taking their Turn.

To each Court belongs a Secondary, a Clerk of the Papers, a Prothonotary, and four Clerks Sitters.

The Secondaries allow, and return all Writs brought to remove Causes out of these Courts.

The Clerks of the Papers file and copy Declarations upon Actions in these Courts.

The Prothonotaries draw and engross all such Declarations.

The Clerks Sitters enter Actions and Attachments, and take Bails and Verdicts.

To each Compter belong sixteen Serjeants at Mace, and to each their Yeomen, besides Under Officers, and a Prison Keeper. And if a Freeman is committed to Prison in either of these Compters, he may remove himself to Ludgate.

The two eldest Clerks in the Sheriffs Court for the Time being, are Attorneys of the Pye Powder Court held in Cloth Fair, during the three first Days of Bartholomew Fair, for the examining and trying Suits brought for petty Matters and Offences committed in the Fair.]

The Court of Requests, commonly called, the Court of Conscience.


THIS Court hath been established by Act of Common Council, for many Years past, and so continued, for the Relief and Benefit of poor Debtors in London and the Liberties, and likewise for poor Feemen, that have small Debts owing to them. First, I find that on the 1st of February, in the ninth Year of King Henry VIII. an Act of Common Council was made, that the Lord Maior and Aldermen of the same City for the time being, should monthly assign and appoint two Aldermen, and four discreet Commoners, to be Commissioners to sit in the same Court twice a Week, viz. Wednesday and Saturday: there to hear and determine all Matters brought before them between Party and Party, (being Citizens and Freemen of London) in all Cases, where the due Debt or Damage did not exceed forty Shillings.

This Collection was inserted into the last Edition by A. M.


Anno 9 H. 8. The first beginning of the said Court.

This Act was to continue but for two Years then next ensuing: But being found charitable and profitable for the Relief of such poor Debtors as were not able to make present Payment of their Debts; and to restrain malicious Persons, from proceeding in their wilful Suits: and also to be a great Ease and Help to such poor Persons as had small Debts owing to them, and were not able to prosecute Suits of Law for the same elsewhere; the same Act hath sithence been continued by divers other Acts of Common Council. And hereby (besides the said two Aldermen monthly assigned) the number of Commissioners were increased from four to twelve. And so by that Authority, the same Court continued till the End of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, &c.

The reasons wht the said Court hath had continuation.

Other Acts made since to the same purpose.

And then divers People, being Citizens and Freemen of London, (contrary to their Oaths formerly taken) repining at the Authority of the same Court, and not regarding the Expence of any Charges, how great soever, so they might have their desires upon their poor Debtors, and being often animated thereunto by divers Attorneys and Solictors (for their own particular Gain) did daily commence Suits, for such petty Debts and Causes against poor Men (Citizens and Freemen of London) in the high Courts at Westminster, or elsewhere, out of the said Court of Requests, to avoid the Jurisdiction of the same Court, and to barr the said Commissioners from staying such Suits, and examining the said Causes, and thereby caused the said poor Men, many times, to pay six times as much Charges as their principal Debts or Damage did amount unto, to the undoing of such poor Men, their Wives and Children, and also to the filling of the Prisons with the Poor so sued: where otherwise they might have got their Debts in the said Court of Requests, for very small Charge, and little Trouble.

The malicious Proceeding of cruel Creditors against poor Men that claimed the Benefit of the Court.

For Remedy whereof, and for the strengthening and establishing the said Court, an Act of Parliament was then made, Anno primo Jacobi Regis, That every Citizen and Freeman of London, that had, or should have any Debts owing to him, not amounting to forty Shillings, by any Debtors (Citizens and Freemen of London) inhabiting in London, or the Liberties thereof, should or might cause such Debtors to be warned to appear before the Commissioners of the said Court: and that the said Commissioners, or the greater number of them, should from time to time set down such Orders between such Parties, Plaintiff and Defendant, Creditor and Debtor, touching such Debts not exceeding forty Shillings, as they should find to stand with Equity and good Conscience.

Anno 1. Jac. An Act of Parliament for confirming the Power of the Court.

But sithence the making of that Act, divers Persons (intending to subvert the good and charitable Intent of the same) have taken hold of some doubtful and ambiguous Words therein, and have wrested the same for their own Lucre and Gain, to the avoiding the Jurisdiction of the same Court, contrary to the godly meaning of the said Act.

For Remedy whereof, and to the Intent that some more full and ample Provision might be made for the further establishing and strengthening of the said Court, and for the better Relief of such poor Debtors, another Act of Parliament was made, Anno 3. Jac. whereby the Authority of the said Commissioners were much enlarged, viz. that every Citizen and Freeman of London, [and every other Person and Persons inhabiting, or that shall inhabit within the City of London, or the Liberties thereof, being a Tradesman, Victualler, or Labouring Man,] which have, or shall have, any Debts owing to him or them, not amounting to forty Shillings, by any Citizen or Freeman, [or by any other Person or Persons (being a Victualler, Tradesman, or Labouring Man) inhabiting within the said City, or Liberties thereof,] should or might cause such Debtors to be warned to appear before the said Commisssioners of the said Court of Requests. And the said Commissioners, or any three, or more of them, shall have Power to set down such Orders between Plaintiff and Defendant, Creditor and Debtor, touching such Debts not amounting to forty Shillings, as they shall find to stand with Equity and good Conscience. Also, the said Commissioners, or any three, or more of them, have Power (by the said Act) to minister an

Anno 3 Jac. Another Act of Parliament concerning all Debts under the Sum of forty Shillings.

Power of administring an Oath.