The Manuscripts of Rye and Hereford Corporations, Etc. Thirteenth Report, Appendix Part IV. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1892.
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THE MANUSCRIPTS OF THE CORPORATION OF HASTINGS.
Unfortunately the earlier records of the town and port of Hastings are missing, whether they have been lost, stolen, or destroyed is unknown. Those that remain are now carefully preserved under the charge of the town clerk.
I. Charters, etc.
22 Edward I., Sunday the Feast of St. Benedict the Abbot.—Grant by Petronilla de Cham of Hastyng, widow, to the Brothers and Sisters of the Hospital of St. Mary Magdalene of Hastyng, of five acres of land in the parish of St. Margaret in Hasting for the healthful estate of her soul and of the souls of Godard, Matilda, Robert, Robert, Robert, William, Richard, and Henry, and of her heirs, parents and friends. Witnesses, William de Waldern, then Bailiff in Hasting, William Yrlond, Laurence de Wyndesor, Stephen Sprot, James le Plonter, Richard, Robert, Gilbert, Roger, Robert Baldelot, Nicholas le Banek, Henry le Meleward, John Sconyn, William de Dalinton, serjeant, John de Wych, clerk, and others.
47 Edward III.—Grant by Henry Brette, of the Parish of All Saints in Hastyng, to Thomas Starculf, of the same place, of a messuage in the said Parish bounded by the highway leading from the sea to Winchelse on the east, the land of the heirs of William Dean on the south, a watercourse called la Bourne on the west and the land of John Benet on the north. Witnesses, William Haylman, then Bailiff, John Knolle, Richard Mechyng, Robert Ro . . . . . Deghere, John Oleve, John Scot, and others.
4 Edward IV., November 6.—Grant by John Benener to William Levett, de Ballo [Bello?] son of Thomasine Parker, late deceased, of one tenement called Richardadamys Place in Hasting, which tenement he, together with Henry Hammer, lately deceased, had of the gift of the said Thomasine. Witnesses, John Honywode, Richard Levet, Richard Byrche, William Yreland, Thomas Lydderland, and others.
15 Henry VII., December 30.—Grant by Edward Gibbes, son and heir of John Gibbes, while he was alive of Hasting, to Thomas Twaytes and John Nutkyn, churchwardens of the parish of All Saints in Hastyng, of two tenements in the parish of All Saints, bounded by the tenement of Richard Taylour, in right of his wife, towards the south, by the High Street there leading from the high sea to le Menewes, towards the west, by the tenement of William White, towards the north, and le Tegill Wey, towards the east. To hold to the use of the said church for ever. Witnesses, John Flouer, Bailiff of Hastyng, Richard Levet, John Waterman, Henry Benenere, William Nepshame, Edward Franke, John Long, William Wattes, and Richard Taylour, jurats. Seal.
31 Henry VIII., June 11.—Grant by John Gille and Thos. Lese, churchwardens of St. Clement's Church in Hastyng, to Edward Durrante, of a tenement in the same parish. Witnesses, Thomas Whitte, John Hollond, and William Hulle, carpenter. Seal.
17 James I., December 18.—Grant by Nicholas Staplest, of the Town and Port of Hasting, to Daniell Easton, of Bexhill, of an annuity issuing out of certain lands in Hastings called Castle Meadow, and other lands in the Parish of St. Mary of the Castle.
II. Court Books.
Containing records of the pleas heard before the Bailiffs (after Queen Elizabeth's Charter of incorporation, before the Mayors) and jurats of Hastings. These volumes begin in 1585 and continue irregularly to 1685. 7 volumes.
III. Hundred Court Books.
These contain entries of the proceedings at the assemblies of the Corporation such as the election at "le Hundred Place" each year of the Mayor, jurats, common clerk, chamberlain, serjeant-at-mace, auditors, "perewardens," "keykepers," bailiffs of the Bourne, leather searchers, representatives to attend the "Brodhulls" guestlings, Yarmouth Free Fair, members of Parliament, etc., admission of freemen, and also entries of the proceedings at the gaol deliveries, sessions of the peace, the eurolments of Fines, Recoveries, private deeds, wills, recognizances, indentures of apprenticeship, etc. This series commences in 1595 and continues irregularly under the titles of Minute Books and Record Books (which last also contain proceedings before the Commissioners for the Land tax) down to nearly the end of the eighteenth century. The following entries from these volumes have been noted.
17 September 1594.—"It is decreed and graunted that for the present nedeful supplie of such powder, lead, di. c. sacre shott, and wheeles for carriage, as are charged and proportionated to this town, one shott [scot] of 25 li. shalbe forthwith taxed, levied, had, and made of all the freemen, comons, and inhabitantes of this Town and the liberties thereof by sessement."
"It is further decreed that Mr. Maior and his brethren or any iij or ij. of them with him shall forthwith make demaund of such sommes of mony as are due to this towne by composition from the Towne of Winchelsea touching the charge of the ship sett forth in her Majesties service in the yere 1588, and, if upon such demaund they shall refuse to make payment thereof, that then it shalbe lawfull to Mr. Maior and his said brethren to commence sute against the Maior, Jurates, and Commonalties of the said Towne or against such as under their hand have bound themselves for performance of the said composition."
1595, October 30.—Enrolment of a conveyance of a tenement and garden in St. Clement's Parish, Hastings, by Mark Barrie, son and heir of Thomas Barrie, and Isabella wife of the said Mark, to Richard Porter.
1595, December 11.—Order by the Mayor, Jurats, and Commons of Hastings that Christopher Cowper, in consideration of the release of his right and title to a concealed house and garden in All Saints' Parish in Hastings, shall have for his natural life one tenement by "the Bourne syde" beneath the Court Hall in All Saints' Parish for one penny yearly.
1595[–6], January 2.—Martin Life, jurat, and Melchior Rainolds, common clerk, nominated to ride to Dover and appear for the Port of Hastings on the 7th instant, to have conference with the residue of the Cinque Ports, then and there to be assembled, upon the letters lately directed to the said Ports from the Lords of her Majesty's Council and from the Lord Warden and his Lieutenant, touching and concerning four ships imposed upon the Cinque Ports to be set forth for five months from the last of March next, against the intended invasion of this Realm by the Spaniards and then and there fully and freely to conclude in that behalf in the name of the Town and Port of Hastings.
1595[–6], January 11.—Whereas at the late meeting of all the Ports at Dover it was fully agreed that the East Ports, viz.:—Sandwich, Dover, and Hythe, with their members, should find two of the four ships of 160 tons a piece imposed on the Ports for her Majesty's service, as aforesaid, and Romney, Rye, Winchelsea, and Hastings, and their members, should find the other two ships, and whereas at that time it was further agreed that those of the West Ports and their members should meet at Rye on the 15th of this January, to have conference touching the sub-division and apportioning of those two ships allotted to them, Richard Life, Martin Life, John Conny, and Melchior Rainolds, are elected and appointed to appear at Rye on behalf of the Town and Corporation of Hastings.
1595[–6], January 18.—At the meeting of the West Ports held at Rye it was agreed by Romney, Rye, Winchelsea, Hastings, and Seaford, the other members there dissenting, that a ship of 160 tons should be prepared for her Majesty's service, viz.:—Romney to bear the charge of 40 tons, Rye 50 tons, Winchelsea 15 tons, Hastings 40 tons, and Seaford 8 tons, and if the balance could not be obtained from the dissenting members it should be supplied by the aforesaid assenting towns. It was therefore agreed that a "shott" of 300 li. be taxed upon the commons and inhabitants of Hastings so that one moiety be collected by the first of March.
1596, April 24.—Memorandum that about the 2nd of March 1595 "the peere of Hasting was begonne to be reedified by certen Westerne men sent for of purpose from the Cobb (sic) of Lyme. And by them was built a highe woorke without thold pere, full south, all of huge rockes artificially pyled edglong one close by another of a great hight but without any tymber, yet to men's judgement unremoveable it grew to so huge a pile; but notwithstanding, the first wynter flow, overthrew it in a moment and dispersed the huge rockes lyke thin plankes. And so that cost was lost. But the next year after other woorkmen of better knowledge (as was thought) were called thence and by general consent the lyke pece of woorke was begon to be again built with the like huge rockes. And for more suerty, by advise of the master woorkman, it was thought best (because they judged the decay of the former was for want of some tymber) to lay the foundation of this new worke within the tymber woorke of thold peere and so to contynue with tymber braces and barres, crosse dogges, and such like up to the top. And this woorke was with singular industry and arte brought above the full and by All Holloutyde 1597 well nere finished, viz.:—xxx foote high and a foot long at least, bowtyfull to behold, huge, invincible, and unremoveable in the judgment of all the beholders, amounting to a great charge, wherunto the whole shire and divers beholders were contributaryes of benevolence, besides the Towne's great expenses. But behold when men were most secure and thought the woorke to be perpetuall, on All Saints' daie 1597 appeared the mighty force of God, who with the finger of his hand at one great and exceding high spring tyde with a south east wynd overthrew this huge woorke in lesse then an hower to the great terrour and abashment of all beholders, to the great discredit of the like woorke hereafter with the Contry and to the manifest undoing of the Towne which by reason therof was left greatly undetted. By theis presidentes let the posterity (for whome I record this) beware they never attempt to build them a pere with rockes only, without a mighty frame of tymber to be seled, and then belasted with rockes; alwayes remembring that about such woorke, tymber must not be spared."
1596[–7], February 20.—Order for the work of the pier to be continued, and towards the maintenance of the charge thereof, a whole share is granted by the fishermen, and a half share of the Scarborough voyage, and a quarter share due to the Town is also granted.
1597, April 17.—Order that the Act or decree made in this Town in 7 Edward III., touching this point or article only, viz.:—That he that was chosen bailiff one year should not be bailiff the year following again, shall be from henceforth repealed abrogated and frustrated, any confirmation thereof since renewed or had to the contrary thereof, notwithstanding.
1597[–8], March 5.—Order for the Mayor's fee or wages to cease, and in regard thereof the Mayors to be discharged from giving the supper on their election day and the breakfast on Christmas day morning, heretofore accustomed.
1598, July 23.—Summons for six, five, or four jurats to appear before the Lord Warden at Beakesbourne in Kent on the 24 August at 8 o'clock in the forenoon where the said Lord Warden intends to make "solempne serrement and promise to uphold and mainteine the liberties and priviledges" of the Cinque Ports.
1602, April 25.—Enrolment of claim by John Luch to a footway through a parcel of land heretofore used in times of necessity as a church-yard to the Parish Church of St. Clement for the burial of the dead, and now employed for garden plots, bounding on the highway from Marlepet field to the said Church on the south, the barn and field of Thomas Young on the west and north, and the backsides and gardens of the said John Luck, yeoman and Mary Barley, widow, on the east. Depositions in support of the said claim.
1602, June 20.—Order that an entry shall be made into a new shop lately erected on the stone beach by Martin Harrison without consent or grant from the corporation, or else the same be removed by him, because it is set to the annoyance of James Mitchel's shop and "the common weyne way there."
1602, June 11.—Election of Thomas Nicholl as bailiff of the Bourne with instructions to have diligent care for those that lay their filth above the full sea mark. Richard Life, "bailiff to Yarmouth," to have a tun of beer in further regard of his charges.
"It is reported that her Majesty departed on Thursdie the 24 of March 1602[–3] about 3 of the clock in the morning, and that about 9 of the clock the same daie before noone this proclamation was made and proclaymed in London by all the said noblemen, read by Sir Robert Cecill and pronounced by a harold with sound of trumpet."
1603, April 6.—Order—to avoid the great inconveniences which by common experience are found to be by reason of the election of the Mayor of this Town abroad in the public view of the whole multitude not only of inhabitants but also of many strangers assembling at such elections in the open Hundred place, whereby all matters of counsel are disclosed and may not be kept secret—that from henceforth all the elections of the Mayors of the Town shall be solemnised, made, done, and performed in the Court Hall of this town as a place more decent, apt, and secret for such affairs to be done and used, any old custom usage or decree to the contrary notwithstanding.
1603, May 29.—Whereas at a Hundred Court held on Saturday 19th of January 4 Edward IV., it was agreed by the Bailiffs, jurats and commons that from henceforth if any inhabitant within this town be chosen a freeman, and of wilfulness refuse it, he shall pay every year "duble maltot and doe in all things to duble" or else be fined 20s. to the use of the Town. The mayor, jurats and freemen at the present Hundred assembled—considering the small number of jurats and freemen of this town, and pondering on the necessity of the King's daily service and the bond of duty wherein every good subject is obliged to perform to his power such office and services as he is fit for to his Prince and Country, and for the better continuance of the ancient manner of government of this town by succession of magistrates and their assistants—have assayed to furnish those wants by supply of other able inhabitants in the void rooms of jurats and freemen according to the old customs and decrees. Which good intent has not obtained their wished for effect but often frustrated by reason of too small fines and penalties of those former decrees. It is therefore ordered and decreed that if any inhabitant chosen jurat or freeman refuse to act as such, he shall be fined at the discretion of the Mayor and jurats; which fine shall not be less than 100s., and upon refusal to pay, he shall be committed to prison.
Order that "whereas this our Hundred hath heretofore been accustomed to be held on the second Sabbath daie next after our election day which by reason of the multiplicities of business there handled, tending to the profanation thereof, and the great trouble of many men, therefore from henceforth our Hundred shall be yearly held on the Monday fortnight after our usual election of the Mayor, that is, on the third Monday after the said election day and at such place as shall be thought most convenient."
Memorandum:—That by decree of the Brotherhood now lately holden for this purpose especially, all the 16 barons are to be thus apparelled, viz., "Scarlet gownes downe to the ancle faced downe through before with crymsin satten, crymsin satten dublettes, crymson satten Gas-going hose, crymsin silke stockings, crymsine velvet shoes, and black velvet broad cappes.
And by like decree in consideration of their wholl charge which they must of themselves beare without any contribution from their townes in any sort they are to enjoy the canopy amonges them to be devyded as they shall agree, and are to mete altogether in Poule's Church on the 22 of July to have conference for order and their manner of going and carrying of the canopy."
1605, October, 19.—Sir Edward Hales, knight, and Mr. James Lasher elected barons to Parliament, in the place of Sir George Carew, created a Baron and therefore having a place in the Upper House, and Mr. Richard Life, deceased.
1606, October 4.—Order for a scot to be levied towards conveying water to the town in lead pipes from the Bourn, beginning at such nearest place as shall be clear of the water falling out of the highways, the water of the Bourn in the Town having become corrupt.
1606, October 11.—Thomas Lake, jurat and Captain of the trained bands (selectorum militum) of this Town, died. Note in the margin "This man was captain of one of the ships of the Ports under the Earle of Essex at the sacking of Cales, where he fought manfully with many great Spanish ships and galleys to his great renowne. And that monument hanging in the south chancell of St. Clement's Church he brought from thence out of one of the Spanish. ships."
1625, March 25.—Order for the Mayor to travel to London to sue for satisfaction of the charge of four barks of Hastings lately employed about the transportation of soldiers from Dover to the Low Countries under conduct of General Count Mansfield.
1625, August 10.—Order for watch and ward to be kept to restrain strangers repairing to the Town in order to avoid the danger of infection from the plague now universally raging in divers parts of this kingdom.
1625–6, January 21.—Letters touching the Coronation services due from the Cinque Ports, John Barley, Mayor, Richard Wytheris, Richard Waller, Richard Boys, John Brett, and Thomas Brian, jurats, chosen barons to carry the canopy at the Coronation.
1629, July 29.—Order for William B[a?]rkes, Mayor, and others elected to attend the Lord Warden at Shipway in Kent where he intends to "make solemn sacrament" to maintain the liberties of the Cinque Ports.
1631, August 5.—Order that the offer of the vill of Beakesbourn, a member of this Town, to make composition for all scots, charges, and payments to be hereafter imposed, by an annuity of 40s. be accepted.
1665–6, January 29.—Order that a petition be sent to his Majesty and his Council, or the Lord Warden, for assistance to put the town in defence against the intended invasion to be attempted by the French and Dutch.
1674, May 20.—Order to join with the Corporation of Rye in a petition to his Majesty concerning a dam made in and across the River Rother by the Commissioners of Sewers, to the great prejudice of the harbour of Rye.
1685, June 3.—Letters, dated from London, from Col. Strode to the Mayor, jurats, and commonalty of Hastings acquainting them that no progress can be made in the grand charter of the Ports, till the private and particular charters of every corporation therein be surrendered. "It is therefore expected that you will forthwith surrender unto the King's hands the particular charter of your town and all rights which you enjoy thereby, and thereupon your charter will be regranted to you with all such rights, privileges, and advantages as you can desire and are fitting for the King to grant."
1685, October 20.—Order for the "feeters or dosser makers" (fn. 1) to make their dossers according to an assize viz.: 12 inches wide in the yoke "between the bores," 7 inches deep, and 17 inches "between bayle and bayle."
1693, August 8.—Letter from Henry, Viscount Sydney, to Col. John Beaumont, Lieutenant of Dover Castle, stating that he had signified his intention of going to the Cinque Ports to be sworn Guardian thereof, but having lately received the King's commands to repair to his Majesty in Flanders, he will not be able to be at Dover at the time appointed.
1708, October 23.—Agreement between the Mayor and jurats, and the justices of the Peace, that only two freemen be made in each year, the one to be nominated by the mayor, and the other by the majority of the bench.
IV. Chamberlains' and Pier Wardens' Accounts.
The Chamberlains' accounts contain the entries of the receipts of fines, rents for lands belonging to the Corporation (including "the stone beach"), forfeited recognizances, scot levied upon the inhabitants (whose names are set out under their occupations as bakers, brewers, barbers, etc.), and the entries of payments of wages or fees to the Mayor, the town's counsel, town clerk, sergeant-at-mace, water baily, "boader" and other officials. On the Pier Wardens' accounts are entered the sums received from the fishermen for "pier shares" for their "short nettes," for "flewers," "petty duties" etc, and the amounts paid for repairs to the pier. The following entries have been selected as illustrative of the Chamberlains' accounts.
1642–3.—Payments to Richard Pecke for keeping the "townes dyall" and Thomas Haines for keeping the "towne clocke." To the boader for bringing letters for the stopping of "Oneale." For repairs to the courthall and for dressing the town hall with boughs at the election and Hundred-day. To Steven Whales for carrying the hurt Frenchmen to Dieppe, 12d.
1659–60.—To the musketeers on the proclamation of the King 1li. 10s. 9d. "More upon them in white wine the same day 10s. For half a barrell of beere and bread to the ringers 5s. 2d. More to the ringers upon the Thanksgiving day, 2s." Allowed and paid to William Bagg for the King's arms in the Court hall, 3li. 5s.
1745–6.—Payment for expenses about the watch erecting the beacon and watch house also for expenses for the 5th November, the Duke of Cumberland's and the Prince of Wales' birthdays, and for the volunteers.