[Court of] The TEMPORAL GOVERNMENT. [Conservacy.]381

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

Oath to the Creditor or Debtor, and to such Witnesses as shall be produced on each part: And also to commit to Prison in one of the Counters, such Creditor or Debtor, as shall not appear upon lawful Summons, or not perform such Order as the said Commissioners, or any three, or more of them, shall set down. And by this last Act, the said Court of Requests is established and continued to this Day; and God grant it may so long continue to the Relief of the Poor, &c.     
Collected by Thomas Griffins, sometimes a Clark of the same Court, &c.]

The Lord Maior and Court of Aldermen, do monthly assign such Aldermen and Commoners, to sit as Commissioners in the said Court, as they think fit: and the same Persons, or any three of them, makes a Court, and do sit in Guild-Hall every Wednesday and Saturday in the Forenoon, to hear and determine such Causes as are brought before them.

R. B.

A Cause may be brought and determined in this Court for 10d. Charge, viz. 6d. for the Plaint and Summons, and 4d for the Order. But if the Defendant doth not appear the second Court-Day after Summons, an Attachment will be awarded against him, which will compel him to appear, and then the Charges are some small matter more.

If any Citizen shall be arrested for a Debt under forty Shillings, this Court will grant a Summons for the Plaintiff in the Action; and if he appear not the first Court-Day after the Summons left at his House, the Court will grant an Attachment against him, and force him to take his Debt, and pay the Defendant his Costs. And if any Attorney in London shall presume to proceed in any such Suit, after Notice to the contrary, or shall refuse to obey the Order of this Court, upon Complaint thereof to the Court of Aldermen, they will suspend such a Person from his Practice. And this was done to one Thomas Hutton, an Attorney in the Sheriffs Court in the Year 1610, Sir William Craven being Maior.]

The Power of this Court.

The Court of Conservacy of the River of Thames.


THere is a peculiar Court for the taking care of this most important River of Thames, both for the Water and Fish of it. The Right of which is in the City. This Court is held before the Lord Maior, at such times as he shall appoint and direct, within the Counties near adjacent to London and Westminster; viz. Middlesex and Essex on the North side of the River, Kent and Surrey on the South.

When held, and where.

J. S.

The Water Bailiff is the Lord Maior's Deputy, or Sub-conservator, and ought to give Notice to him of all Offences committed by any Persons, contrary to the Orders made for Preservation of the Fry of Fish in the said River: and every Fisherman, by vertue of an Order made Sir Robert Ducy, Maior, Anno 1630, from London Bridge unto Stanes Bridge, every Year upon St. Paul's Day, must appear before the said Water Bailiff at the Chappel of Guild-Hall, to enter their Names in his Register Book, and to hear the Orders made for the Preservation of the said River.

Water Bailiff.

Within some convenient Places within the Counties aforesaid, (as, among others, Gravesend in Kent, and Stratford Langton in Essex) the Lord Maior sits judicially eight times yearly; and hath a Power of summoning four Juries out of the Inhabitants of those Counties; to whom an Oath is administred, to make Inquisition after Offences committed upon the River. And thesego up the River as far as Stanes Bridge, and down the River, as far as the Points of the River next the Sea, in a Barge prepared for them, to examine and make Enquiries according to certain Articles to direct them therein, to the number of thirty. Which may be seen in the Book called the City's Law. And according to the Verdict of these Juries, the Court proceeeds to Punishment of all Transgressions of Fishermen, or others, that create any Damage or Hurt to the Thames, or the Fry.

Lex Lond. p. 209.

But sometimes these Sessions of the Conservacy have been omitted for a long time. The Lord Maiors in the Reign of King James I. had not held this Court in divers Years, till the Year 1616, when Sir John Jolls Lord Maior, and divers Aldermen, and other Officers and Gentlemen, went in their Barges in great State taking Water at Billinsgate, and so to Gravesend: Where they sat upon the Conservacy.

In the Year 1630, Sir Robert Ducie, Bar. Maior, and Conservator of the River, set forth very good and seasonable Orders, in eighteen Articles, for the Preservation of the Brood and Fry of Fish in the River of Thames, on the West part from the Bridge of London: Which remain to be seen in the City's Law.

Page 202.

There were other Orders set forth by the Court of Aldermen in the Year 1673, upon the great Decay of the Fishing Trade, the drawing of the Shores being apprehended to be the great Cause thereof. Wherefore it was strictly ordered, that none should presume to draw the Shores of the River Thames, upon any Pretence whatsoever, or at any Times, save only for Salmons, in Rooms appointed for that purpose by the Court of Aldermen. And that none thus fish for Salmon in these Rooms, but only such as should be empowered thereunto, under the Seal of the Maioralty of this City. And that none fish with a Net under six Inches in the Meash, under pain of Forfeiture of 20l. besides Imprisonment, and Loss of his Net, for every Offence.

An Order of the Court of Aldermen for the River, Lex Lond. p. 222.

The Right of the Thames to belong to the City, and of the Lord Maior to be Conservator of it, is indubitable from sundry ancient Charters, Acts of Parliament, Prescriptions, Inquisitions, and the like: as was learnedly shewn by Jones, Common Serjeant, at a Court of Conservacy, Anno 1616. Which may be seen and read in the Chapter of the River of Thames, in the first Book. To all which may be added, a Part of King James the First's Charter to the City: Where it is inserted, "That the Maior and Commonalty and Citizens, Time out of Memeory of Man, have exercised the Office of Bailiff and Conservation of the Water of Thames, to be exercised and occupied by the Maior for the time being, or by his sufficient Deputies."

The Lord Maior Conservator of the Thames.

Lastly, as an Appendix to this Court of Conservacy, wherein such care is taken for the Fish, let these By-Laws and Ordinances of the Company of Fishermen be added, made 1689.

By-Laws made by the Company of Fishermen.

R. B.

At a Court of Assistants of the Company of Free FISHERMEN of the River of Thames, &c. held the 25th Day of October, 1689. the following By-Laws and Ordinances were ordered to be printed and published, to the end that all Persons concerned therein, might take care to avoid incurring the several Penalties for Breach of the same: And to be observed in the Western Parts of the River of Thames; that is to say, from London Mark-Stone, Westwards of Stains Bridge, to London Bridge.

IMprimis, To the end Unlawful Nets and Engines, and other Abuses offered to the Prejudice and Destruction of the Fishery, may be discovered, it is ordained, That no Person using