An Acte, concernyng the citee of
Chester, for weares in the river of Dee.
The .xxv. Chapiter.
PUBLISHED BY Richardus Graftonus
IN moste humble wise, sheweth unto your royall majestie, your true faithful and obedient subjectes the Major, Aldetmen, Sherifes, Commonaltie, and Inhabitantes of your graces citee of Chester: that where thesaid citee, is one of the auncientest Citees within your realme, whereby the tounes and contrees adjoynyng, have heretofore had greate relief, commoditie, and profite, and is the chief keye &defence in those partes, to furnish and serve your grace in all your affaires, and weightie businesse, into your realme of Irelande and Scotlande, and hath no other aide or helpe; whereby thesaied citee is chiefly mainteined, but by the river of Dee, runnyng and commyng to thesaid citee, and the haven there very shalowe and daungerous for all shippes and vesselles, to repaire and come unto thesaied citee, so that aswell the inhabitantes of thesame, as also straungers at this daie, with their wares and merchaundises do not reade or have recourse there, as thei heretofore wer accustomed to do, to the greate detriment of thesame. And forasmuche as diverse persones havyng landes adjoynyng to thesame river of Dee, for their private lucre and commoditie, not regardyng the common weale of the whole countreis and citizeins, have heretofore made, reared, and caused to bee fixed and set up, in, and cleane over thesaied river of Dee, sondrie weares, gores; greate hedges, piles, gates, fishe gates, nettes, and other ingines, for takyng of fishe within thesaied river, and still do preserve, kepe, &maintein thesame: By reason whereof, the merchauntes, and other enhabitantes of thesaied citee, cannot have recourse, ne liberall and direct passage, in, and upon thesaied river, with their Cogges, Kielles, Boates, fleutes, of buildyng timber, fewell, and other timber for makyng of shippes, and vesselles for the conveighyng and bryngyng of thesame and other their wares and merchaundizes by water, in, to, and from the maine lande or countrey, neither also the inhabitantes of the countrey there, can conveniently have any passage to conveigh, come, or bryng by water, up, or doune, to, or from thesaied citee, any fewell, timber, corne, or other thyng necessary to serve thesaied citee, but onely by lande, by the whiche their travell and recourse, by lande to the markettes, faires, and all other tymes, the high waies and lanes, are not onely so foule and deape, that no persone in the winter tyme, can easely escape the anoyance and daungier thereof, [Page]to come to thesaied citee, to bryng, victuall, wares, and merchaundizes, whiche causeth greate scarcitie, want and dearth thereof: but also the broode and frie of Salmon, and other fishe in thesaied river, is, and be commonly thereby destroyed, whiche saied inconveniences, incommodities and other enormities, as heretofore have been expressed, is, & hath been, by reason thesaied citee, beyng parcell of the Countie Palentine of Chester, hath been alwaies exempted, excluded, and separated from your high court of Parliament, to have any Burgeses for thesaid citee within this honourable Courte, till now of late, at the Parliament holden at Westminster, in the .xxxii. yere of the reigne of your late father of moste famous memory kyng Henry the eight. By reason wherof thesaied citee and inhabitauntes, have hetherto susteined manifold disherisons, losses and daungers, and this thesaied citee is like to be utterly empoverished go to decaye, and utter ruyne and destruccion, onlesse spedy remedy bee in that behalfe shortly had and provided. And for that every citee of Englande, hath the commoditie of the rivers and greate waters, commyng to their citees, to have free passage, to transport, conveigh, and bryng up and doune, at their pleasure and libertie, all wares and other thynges, behovefull and necessary for theim: but onely your graces citee of Chester. For redresse and reformacion whereof, pleaseth it your moste royall majestie, that it maie be enacted by your saied majestie, with the assent of the lordes spirituall and Temporall, and the Commons in this present Parliament assembled, and by the aucthoritie of thesame, that all and every maner of persones, of what estate, degree, or condicion, soever he or thei be, that heretofore have reared, fixed and set, or hereafter shall reate, fixe or set, in, or over thesaied river or water of Dee, any weares, gores, floudgates, hedges, fishe gates, piles, stakes, nettes or other, engine, from your graces Fullyng milles, upon thesaied river of Dee at Chester, upward thesaied river of Dee, unto your toune of Corwyn, in your countie of Merioneth, shall afore the first daie of Aprill nexte commyng, and at all tymes after thesaied first daie of Aprill, leave and permit, and suffre to bee made and lefte, the third parte of thesaied streame or water of Dee, for a free passage, in, and upon thesaid water of Dee, for all maner of flotes of wodde, bordes, timber, boates, barges, cogges and kieles, laden and unladen, and al other cariage, to passe and repasse, upon thesaid river, in all places betwene the kynges saied Fullyng milles at Chester, and thesaied toune of Corwyn, frankly, without let or impediment of any persone or persones: and that the citezens of your citee of Chester, for the tyme beeyng, and all and every other persone and persones, at their awne costes, maie and shall, from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes as often as oportunitie and nede shall require, by their industrie and pollicie and by all the reasonable waies and meanes thei can, clense, cutte, digge cary, and ca [...] upon the lande, to thesaied river adjoynyng all suche and every sande beddes, gravell stones, and rockes in thesaied river, whiche [Page]be, or shalbe prejudiciall, noysome or hurtfull to the passage, repassage, and cariage upon thesaied river, within the boundes aforesaid. And also shall and maie, dooe and execute at all tymes; at their awne costes: all and every reasonable thyng and thynges, act and actes, whereby thesaid river maie be clensed, or made deaper, and the streame & water therof, to have a more higher, better, and directer course & passage, doyng as litle hurte to the soyle and ground, whereupon thei shall cast thesame, as thei reasonably maie devise. And that it maie be further enacted, and established, by the aucthoritie aforesaied, that if thesaied third part of thesaied water or river of Dee, be not sufficient for suche cariage, passage, and repassage, as is aforesaied: that then the lorde Chauncellor of Englande, for the tyme beeyng, maie from tyme to tyme, upon complaint to hym made, by suche partie as shalbe greved, directe the kynges Commission under the greate seale of Englande, to sixe Commissioners, wherof three to be of the counsaill of the marches of Wales, and the other three, to be of the honest inhabitauntes of thesaid citee of Chester, And that thesaid commissioners or fower of theim, whereof twoo to bee of thesaied counsaill, shall have full power and aucthoritie, by vertue of this saied act, at the costes of thesaied citizens, from tyme to tyme, to appoynct suche convenient waie and passage, upon thesaied river, within thesaied boundes, and of suche widenesse and depth, over and besides, thesaid third part of thesaied river of Dee, as to theim shall seme mete and convenient. And that thesaied commissioners, or fower of theim, whereof twoo of theim to be of thesaied counsaill, shall have full power and aucthoritie, by vertue of this present act, to appoynct a line waie, for menne to drawe upward and douneward, boates, cogges, and other cariage, upon thesaied river of Dee, within the boundes aforesaid: thesaid drawers to go upon suche side and sides, of thesaied river, and in suche place & places, and thesame line waie, to bee of suche widenesse or bredth, & in suche maner and forme as thesaied Commissioners, or fower of them, whereof twoo of theim, to be of thesaied counsaill, by their discrecions shall appoynct, and thynke mete and convenient, from tyme to tyme: and thesame line waie, or order to chaunge and redresse, and to appoynct some other lyne waie, or order thereof (if thei shall se cause) as to their discrecions shall seme mete and expedient: thesame line waie, to bee made at the costes of the citizens of Chester aforesaied, for the tyme beeyng. And that all and every persone and persones, shall permit and suffer, suche line waie, so appoyncted to be occupied, used, and excercised accordyngly, without let, interrupcion, or impediment, of any persone or persones, in suche maner and forme as is used upon the river of Thamis, where the Westerne Barges use to have passage and repassage. And that every persone and persones, shall permit and suffre, every suche order and direccion, as shalbe so made by thesaied commissioners, or fower of them (whereof twoo of them to be of thesaied counsaill) to stande, remain, and take force, from tyme to tyme.
And that it maie be further enacted, by the aucthoritie aforesaied, that if any persone or persones, after thesaied first daie of Aprill, and after proclamacion, made by thesaid commissioners, or .iiii. of them, in the foresaid citee of Chester, thre market dayes, after the makyng and appoynctyng, of their saied ordinaunces and divises, to the appoyncted by this present act, will, or shall willyngly infringe, or breake any poynct, article, clause, provision, or ordinaunce, conteined and specified in this present act, or to bee made, ordeined or provided, by aucthoritie of this present acte: that then every persone and persones, so willyngly offendyng, after suche proclamacions, shall lose and forfaict for every tyme so offendyng, the some of one hundreth shillynges, wherof the one halfe to be to your majestie, your heires or successours, and the other halfe to hym or theim, that will sue for thesame by accion of debt, bil, plaint, or informacion in any court or courtes of record within your realme, in whiche sute, no wager of law essoyn or protection, shalbe admitted ne allowed, and shall further abide suche punishement and correction, as by thesaied commissiones, or foure of them, shalbe thought and determined, to be mete and convenient.
Provided alwaie, and bee it further enacted, by thaucthoritie aforesaied, that thesaied third parte of the river of Dee, to bee left or made for passage, repassage, and cariage, as is beforesaied, shalbe lefte, taken, and made, where, and in suche places, as any weares or milles, be now standyng upon thesaied river, within the boundes aforesaied, on the farther side of thesaied streame or river, from the dwellyng houses or milles, of the owners and enhabiters of thesaied weares or milles.
Provided also, and be it further enacted, by thaucthoritie aforesaid, that all and every suche persone and persones, as lawfully now have any weares, within thesaied river of Dee, shall, and maie, from tyme to tyme, set, hang, or laie, his or their nettes, in thesaied third part of thesaid river, where thesaied weares bee now standyng. And that it shalbe lawfull to all and every suche persone and persones, as shall come with any boates, vesselles, or other the thynges above mencioned, from tyme to tyme, and at all tymes, to louse, undoo, and untie the one ende, of all and every suche nettes and ropes, so as thei and every of theim, maie have their free passage, repassage, and cariage, upon thesaied river of Dee, up and doune thesaied river, without let, vexacion, or impechement, of any persone or persones, of, or for thesame: this act, or any other thyng therin conteined, to the contrary in any wise notwithstandyng.
Provided alwaies, and it is ordeined and enacted, by thaucthoritie aforesaid, that no maner of mille, mille dammes, weare, kedell, or fishe garthes, shalbe pulled doune, abated or destroyed, by vertue of this acte, before that aswell the kynges Majestie, as all and singuler persones and person, whiche shall have good and lawfull title or interest, in, or to suche milles, mille dammes, weares, kedelles, and fishe garthes, or mille, weare kedell, or fishe garthe, as shalbe appoyneted to be pulled doune, abated [Page] or destroyed, by meane of this act, shalbe recompensed by the inhabitauntes of thesaid citee of Chester, or by the meanes of some of them for suche dammages and losse, as he or thei shall sustein, by occasion of pullyng doune, abatyng or destroiyng, of any milles, mille dammes, weares, kedelles, and fishegarthes, or of any mille, mille damme, weare, kedell, or fishe garths, in suche maner and forme, as shalbe limited or assigned, by foure persones or more, then beyng of the kynges counsaill, in the marches of Wales, or in their default or negligence, by the lorde Chauncellor of Englande, or lorde keper of the greate seale of Englande, the lord Threasaurer of Englande, the lorde great Maister, of the kynges moste honourable houshold, and the lorde keper of the kynges privie Seale, for the tyme beyng, or two of them at the least, wherof the lorde Chauncellor, or the lorde Threasaurer to be one, or els every persone dampnified in that behalfe, to have like accion and remedy, as he or thei might have had, before the makyng of this act, any thyng above mencioned, to the contrary in any wise notwithstandyng, thesaied recompence to bee made, to suche persone and persones, as shall have just title or interest in the thyng or thynges, that shalbee pulled doune, abated or destroyed, at the tyme thesame shalbe appoyncted so to be.
Provided also, and it is ordeined and enacted, by the aucthoritie aforesaid, that all and singuler persone and persones, whiche at any tyme hereafter shall dampnifie, hurte, or hinder, any other person or persones by occasion of cuttyng doune, of any tree or trees, growyng upon his or their ground, or of castyng, cariyng, or laiyng of any stones, prebles, gravell, or sande, upon the lande of any other, by meane of this acte shalbee bounden, by vertue of this act, to make suche reasonable amendes for thesame, as by foure or more of thesaid counsaill, and in their default or negligence, by the Lordes above mencioned, or twoo of theim, whereof the lorde Chauncellor, or lorde Threasaurer to be one. shalbe limited or assigned to be made, and if default shalbe of makyng of suche amendes, as so shalbee limited or assigned, that then every persone, dampnefied or hindered in that behalfe, shall have like accion and remedy for thesame, as he or thei might have had, if this act had never been had or made, any thyng afore specified, to the contrary in any wise notwithstandyng.
God save the Kyng.
RICHARDUS GRAFTONUS, typographus Regius excudebat.
Cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum.