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Liberties of WESTMINSTER.61

Liberties of WESTMINSTER.

That the Baliffe of Westminster hath the executing and retorning of all the Kinges Writts by speciall Wordes, to direct your honourable Letters to the said Undersheriffe; that he may surcease his Suite at his Perill, untill further Councell maie be taken of the Cause. Or els such further Order as unto your Lordship's Wisdome shall be thoughte meete.

Your Lordship's moste bounden,

Upon which Petition, the Lord Burghley made this Order: "To repaire to Mr. Sergeant Owen, whom I pray to report to me his Opinion touching this Cause."

Lastly, let me subjoin the Act or Acts of Parliament for the standing Government of this City.

In the 27 of Eliz. was an Act of Parliament for the good Government of the City and Burrough of Westminster. This was but temporary; but it continues from one Parliament to another, until the 17. Car. I. then to continue 'till some other Act of Parliament should be made touching the Continuance or Discontinuance of this and other Acts and Statutes made in the 3d of the said King. The Act 27. Eliz. was printed Anno 1678. The Contents whereof are, "That this City and Burrough and Liberties thereof, be forever hereafter severed and divided, as it hath been accustomed, into twelve Wards. That the Dean of Westminster, or High Steward, or his Deputy, yearly, on Thursday in Easter Week, for ever, do nominate or elect twelve sufficient Persons to be Burgesses; and they to be Merchants, Artificers, or others using any Trade within the City or Burrough, or other Persons as are willing thereunto. The Dean and High Steward, or his Deputy, to appoint the Government of a Ward to every one of the said Burgesses. They to continue for one Year: And so from Year to Year, during their natural Lives; except for some Offence or Mismanagement: Then to be displaced by the Dean or High Steward. Any Person resiant, refusing to accept the said Room, to forfeit 10l. to the Use of the Poor, to be levied by the Bailiff of the Liberties of the Dean and Chapter, by Way of Distress. The Burgesses to take the Oath of Supremacy, and a Corporal Oath, to do and execute all Things to them appointed and authorized by this Act. The Dean, High Steward, or Deputy, with the Burgesses, or the better Part of them, within ten Days after the Election of the said Burgesses, to nominate twelve other able Persons within the same Burrough, Merchants, Artificers, &c to be Assistents to the twelve Burgesses. They to accept the same Charge, upon Forfeiture of 5l. to be employed as before; and to take the like Oaths as beforesaid. Unto every of the twelve Wards, one of these Assistents to be appointed. The said twelve Burgesses and twelve Assistents, and every two of them, within the several Wards to them appointed, to deal in everything as Aldermens Deputies in London do, or may do. These Assistents to continue in their Places one whole Year. It any of the Burgesses or Assitents die, or otherwise upon reasonable Cause be removed, then the Dean, High Steward, or his Deputy, from Time to Time to nominate and appoint other meet and able Persons of like State, Faculty, and Quality, as aforesaid, to supply the Place, to continue in the same until Thursday in Easter Week. On that Day, the Dean, High Steward, or his lawful Deputy, to appoint two Persons out of the said Burgesses, to be called or known by the Name of the two Chief Burgesses, to continue one Year. And this upon Pain of 10l. to be paid as aforesaid. The Dean, High Steward, or Deputy, the two Chief Burgesses, the ten Burgesses, or any three of them, whereof the Dean, High Steward, or Deputy, to be one, and one of the Chief Burgesses to be another) may hear, examine, determine, and punish, according to the Law of the Realm, or laudable and lawful Customs of the City of London, all Matters of Incontinency, common Scolds, and of Inmates common Annoyances, &c. And to have Authority to commit to Prison such Persons as within the said City offend against the Peace, and within 24 Hours to give Notice of it to some Justice of Peace of the County. All good Orders, and Ordinances, made by the Dean and High Steward, with the Assistance of the Burgesses, concerning the Government of the said Inhabitants, not repugnant to the Queen's Prerogative, nor the Laws of the Land, shall stand in full Force and Strength. Nothing in this Act to be prejudicial to the Steward, Marshal, or Coroner of the Queen's Houshold, nor to the Authority of Justices of Peace, nor to the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, nor to the High Steward there, or his Deputy; nor to the Maior, Society, and Clerk of the Staple, High Constable, Bailiff of the Liberty, Town-Clerk, or Clerk of the Market: Nor any Search to be made by any other Officer in the City of Westminster."

Act of Parliament 27. Eliz. for the Government of Westminster.

"If the Dean of Westminster, and the High Steward, or his Deputy, be remiss and negligent in chusing and nominating the Burgesses at the Time limited, then it shall be lawful for two Justices of the Peace of Middlesex to nominate and chuse the said Burgesses: Who being so chosen, shall occupy and enjoy the said Rooms upon Pains aforesaid. These Burgesses not compellible by this Act to remain in their Place above one Year next after such Choice. And such Persons as have paid any Sums of Money for Refusal, shall not be nominated again to any the said Place, within the Space of five Years next following. The Chancellor or Steward of the Dutchy of Lancaster to have Power as the Dean of Westminster, &c. within that Dutchy Liberty. This Act not to extend to the College or Close of Westminster, for any Offence within the Circuit thereof. The Burgesses not to hear or determine anything without the Consent of the said Dean, or High Steward, or Deputy. The Searchers of the Sanctuary of Westminster shall have, within the said Sanctuary, the Execution and serving of all Processes, Commandments, and Warrants, and the Attachment and Apprehension of all Manner of Offenders within the Sanctuary, and within the Scite, Circuit, and Precinct thereof.]"

Chancellor or Steward of the Dutchy of Lancaster.

Searchers of the Sanctuary.


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