Charter of the Royal Fishery Company. Considering the great plenty of fish in the waters of these kingdoms and the breeding of seamen, advancement of trade, manufactures and employment, etc., if the fishery trade were effectually prosecuted in this kingdom; and that notwithstanding sundry designs and attempts have heretofore been made
and set on foot and very great sums of money raised for the carrying on the said trade here in England, the same have hitherto failed and proved ineffectual until the Duke of York and others hereinafter named being willing to promote so good a work have for three years past maugre all the difficulties and discouragements they have met with, undertaken and managed the said fishing trade with some effect: who finding by experience that if they were incorporated they should be thereby much better enabled and capable to prosecute the same, and have therefore prayed incorporation by the name of the Company of the Royal Fishery of England: these presents therefore incorporate said Duke of York, Treasurer Danby, James, Duke of Monmouth, James, Earl of Suffolk, Nicholas, Earl of Scarsdale, Charles, Earl of Carlisle, Francis, Viscount Newport, Treasurer of the Household, John, Lord Maynard, Comptroller of the Household, Francis, Lord Hawley, Mary, Viscountess Mordaunt, Sir Joseph Williamson, Kt., one of the Secretaries of State, Sir Tho. Chichley. Master of the Ordnance, Sir Robert Carr, Kt. and bart., Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Edward Seymour, Speaker of the House of Commons, Baptist May, Keeper of the Privy Purse, Sir Phillip Howard, Kt., John Harvey, Treasurer to the Queen Consort, Sir Tho. Armestrong, Kt. and bart., Sir Hugh Cholmeley, Kt., Sir John Bancks, Kt. and bart., Sir Cyrrell Wych, Kt., Sir Geo. Waterman, Kt., one of the aldermen of London, Sir Antho. Deane, one of the Commissioners of the Navy, Sir Nathaniell Herne, Kt., Ralph Widdrington, Tho. Windham, William Ashburneham, Thomas Eliott, Danll. Collingwood, Samll. Pepys, Hen. Seymour, Henry Norwood, John Strode, Hen. Guy, Geo. Arnold, Jno. Creed, John Nicoll, senr., Christopher Dering, Jno. Nicoll, junr., Sidney Godolphin, Fra. Watson, Arthur Herbert, Jno. Jeffreys, Geo. Collingwood, John Lindsey, Fra. Rogers, Edward Harris and Theodor Haak, Esqrs., James Pierce and William Hewers, gent., Geo. Toriano, merchant, Thomas Whitley, gent., Stephen Jackson, Joseph Jackson, Thomas Shaw, and Richard Holt, of London, merchants, Roger Reeve, of London, salter, Richard Hawkins, scrivener, Cha. Duncombe, William Bartlett and Robert Chase, of London, goldsmiths, William Wayte, of London, tallow chandler, Thomas Paxton and James Usher [? Other], of London, fishmongers, Tho. Langley, of Harwich, co. Essex, gent., and Isaac Betts, of the same place, ship carpenter and such others as shall hereafter be admitted in due form, to be one body politic and corporate, by the name of the Royal Fishery of England: with power to hold lands to the value of 1,000l. per an.; to plead, be impleaded, etc., defend, etc.: with a common seal: one to be elected Governor and one Sub-Governor, and one Deputy-Governor, and 12 to be Committees, all these to be the Court of Assistants of the said Company: said Duke of York to be Governor, Thomas Windham to be Sub-Governor, John Nicoll, junr., to be Deputy-Governor, Phillipp Howard, Ralph Widrington. Col. Jno. Strode, Sir Antho. Deane, Sir George Waterman, Sir Nathaniell Herne, Henry Norwood, Fr. Watson. Daniell Collingwood, Stephen Jackson, George Toriano and Joseph Jackson to be the Committees
until St. Andrew's day next and thenceforward until a new choice be duly made: the Company to meet on St. Andrew's day in every year to elect the Governor, Sub-Governor, Deputy-Governor and Committees for the ensuing year: the Sub-Governor, Deputy-Governor and Committees to take an oath before the Lord Chancellor, and new members of the Company to take before the Assistants an oath of fidelity to the Company: the Assistants to meet as they think fit, and to summon a General Court as they find cause: a General Court to comprise at least the Governor, Sub-Governor or Deputy-Governor, six of the Committees and five of the members: the General Court to be empowered to make laws, etc., for the government of the Company and to levy mulcts, etc., for breaking same: the Governor, Sub-Governor, Deputy-Governor, and any of the Committees to be removeable on a vote of the generality of the Company in a General Court for that purpose assembled: stocks to be transferable: power to build, rig and set out to sea so many doggers, busses and other fishing vessels as the General Court think fit, and to fish in all the coasts, etc., of England, Scotland, Ireland whereof the fishings are not already granted or appropriated, and in and upon the main, to carry their fish and fish oil to all ports of England and beyond the seas and sell same there: power to erect storehouses, granaries, warehouses, waterhouses and workhouses, wharves and docks on any Crown waste or common, or on any public rivers or seas in the King's dominions: the crews of their vessels, as well foreigners as natives, not to be empanelled during their service: the King grants a yearly sum of 20l. for each dogger which they now have or possess or within seven years hereof shall build; viz., for and during so much of the said seven years as the said doggers shall be employed in said fishing and no longer; same to be paid quarterly out of the Customs of London port: to enjoy all privileges in the City of London which any Company of merchants do or may enjoy. And whereas by patent under the great seal dated 1661, Aug. 22, the said Duke of York and other persons therein named are appointed to be the Council of the Royal Fishing of Great Britain and Ireland with powers as therein, which Commission has not been hitherto put in execution with any effect, said patent is hereby revoked.
King's Warrant Book, pp. 36–51.