The Manuscripts of Lincoln, Bury St. Edmunds Etc. Fourteenth Report, Appendix; Part VIII. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1895.
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III.—MINUTE-BOOKS OF THE CORPORATION
1654, 30 Oct.—Mr. Yaxley elected minister of St. James's in the place of Mr. John Gibbon, deceased. But on 9 March following Mr. Browneing was elected instead. Then on 28 May it was ordered that June 8 be set apart as a day to seek God in the hehalf of a minister to supply the place in the parish of St. James, and that Mr. Ray of Watfield, Mr. Lea of Groton, Mr. Browneing and Mr. Clegate be desired to assist in the carrying on of the work of that day. And on 16 July Mr. Samuel Slater was elected.
1660, 18 Oct.—Ordered that the charters and evidences belonging to the Corporation be severed from the evidences and writings belonging to the feoffees of the Guildhall feoffment, and put into several chests within the evidence house.
1. First, whether Mr. Nicholas Clegate and Mr. Samuel Slater are fit persons to be continued ministers of this burgh or not, in regard they do refuse to be conformable to the discipline of the Church, according to the known laws of the kingdom. And it was carried in the negative.
2. Secondly, whether in respect of their non-conformity they shall continue ministers of the respective parishes of St. Mary and St. James for any longer time than to our Lady-day next or not. And this was also carried in the negative.
3. Thirdly, whether they shall be permitted to preach in St. Mary's parish only until midsummer next, and no longer, they admitting the Book of Common Prayer to be duly read there during that time, and having paid unto them for their salaries for preaching the Sundays' sermons and the Friday lectures in that parish, during the said time, twenty pounds apiece. And this was carried in the affirmative, nemine contradicente.
1663, 12 Oct.—The town being without any settled ministers, the alderman is to be allowed such charges as he shall be at in providing ministers and giving them and their attendants fit and necessary entertainment for the time they stay in town.
1663, 9 Nov.—Mr. William Williams elected to be one of the ministers at a salary of 80l. per an., with a dwelling house, or in lieu thereof 6l., to preach once on Sunday and to catechise, and the Friday lecture once a fortnight; the proposed salary increased on 16 Nov. to 100l. per an. to preach twice on the Lord's day, and to visit the sick. But Mr. Williams professing inability of body to bear the burden of preaching twice on the Lord's day and once a fortnight on Friday, his election was annulled on 11 Jan. Dr. William Starkey was elected in his place on 21 Jan., and Mr. Thomas Johnson to be the other minister on 21 July, 1664, both on the same terms.
1664, 18 Aug.—Letter from the King, of 22 July, recommending John Moore to be town-clerk, in consideration of his good services to Charles I. and his sufferings for the same, and a letter to the same effect from the Earl of St. Alban's; letters of assent from the Corporation; and reply from Sir Will. Morice, Secretary of State, on 10 Sept.
1665. 10 Aug.—"Whereas it is conceived very necessary in these dangerous times of God's visitation timely to provide a pesthouse in case it should please God to send the plague amongst us, it is ordered and agreed that the great barn called Almoner's Barn belonging to the Corporation be used for that purpose, it being thought to be the most convenient place about the town, and the Corporation having no use for the said barn this year."
Catechising for instructing the poor people of St. Mary's parish, according to Mr. Jasper Sharpe's will, to begin on Tuesday, 7 Apr., and 4l. per an. to be paid to the officiating minister; Mr. John Temple, curate of St. Mary's, to be the minister pro temp.
22 May.—The alderman and burgesses having received intelligence that the King intends shortly to come in person to the town, and conceiving it a duty incumbent upon them to present him with a sum of money in acknowledgment of their thankfulness for his and his grandfather King James's large and ample bounty and favour bestowed upon this Corporation, it is agreed that 100l. in guinea gold be presented to him, to be borrowed on their personal securities.
28 May.—Demand being made by the King's servants, upon his passing through the town on Sunday last, for 36l. 6s. as their due fees, the Recorder is to use his best endeavours to get the charge taken off at London, but if he cannot prevail he shall engage for payment thereof.
1668, 29 Aug.—Mr. Henry Meriton signs an agreement on being appointed minister of St. James, to do what was required of the previous minister, and so to preach on Christmas Day, 30 Jan., 29 May, 5 Nov., and upon all public humiliation and thanksgiving days; he shall administer the Lord's Supper as enjoined by the canons of the Church of England, and visit the sick if requested, and be resident in the town, supplying the place by himself.
1668, 15 March.—Particulars of the bill of homage-fees demanded by the King's servants on his passing through the town (including 10s. for the King's jester), upon which payment is made to Mr. Thomas Duppa, gentleman usher, who has come to the town to receive an answer, and who gives the Corporation to understand that in case they are not paid a pursuivant will suddenly come for the alderman, and carry him up to London, which will be a great discredit and charge to the Corporation.
1669, 3 March—Resolved that Mr. Meriton is not a fit person to be continued minister of St. James, the King having made known his pleasure to that effect to the Recorder by word of mouth, and that the concurrence of the bishop of the diocese be desired therein.
His most excellent Majesty having commanded his attendance upon him upon Sunday 20 Feb. 1669, he obeyed accordingly, and being there his Majesty commanded him to represent to the Corporation that he took it not well from them who had received so many favours from him and his predecessors to choose a minister into the pulpit to instil bad principles into them and his people (of which he had received some information), and that he did expect a removal of him. To which Mr. Recorder answered (on the Corporation's behalf) that he knew they would be sorry for any actions of theirs whereby they should incur His Majesty's displeasure or reproof, and therefore doubted not but if upon mistake any such things were done it should be amended, and promised to represent unto them his Majesty's displeasure against the present minister Mr. Meriton. To which his Majesty replied, Let it be done, and tell them that he was much unsatisfied with the person in respect of his illcarriages in the pulpit (or to that effect), which is an improper place for sowing of sedition, and therefore wished him again to let them know that he expected his removal, and that he would not suffer the pulpit to make reflections upon him or his government, which showed that he had a presbyterian spirit, and therefore his Majesty wished Mr. Recorder again to represent it to the Corporation, that he might hear no more of it, lest it should reflect more upon them than they were aware of; which Mr. Recorder promised to do, and doubted not but that the Corporation would answer his Majesty's expectations in everything that was suitable to their trust and the great favours bestowed on them by the Crown.
Mr. Cobbs, I thought it fit to let you know what hath passed here about Mr. Meriton, there having been many complaints made to the King of him from several persons of his indiscretion and unfitness for that place. His Majesty was pleased to call to him Mr. Sotherby your Recorder, and told him that he would not stand to defend and prove, but he expected that the Corporation should dismiss him, and choose another orthodox and able minister; 'twas a great trust reposed in the Corporation to choose their ministers, and his ancestors had given the tithes to support them, and if they did not prefer such as was fit for that duty, he would take care to see better provision made. I cannot doubt but the Corporation will in this express their obedience to his Majesty's commands. I took liberty to excuse this their choice, and said I thought they had been mistaken in the man, and that he proved not what they expected; but I doubted not so soon as they understood his pleasure they would render a present obedience to his will. Which pray let me knew when they have done it, that I may present his Majesty with the knowledge of it. Present my service to the Corporation, and assure them I am their very affectionate friend, and ready to serve them in all occasions. So soon as Mr. Sotherby's return to you, he will acquaint the Corporation with what his Majesty gave him in command.
Sir,—I presented to his Majesty your accompt of what had passed in the Corporation, who was pleased very well to accept of the respect and duty . . . (blank) to him and his commands to dismiss Mr. Meriton. I did not omit to let him know how well Mr. Recorder had observed his directions, of Mr. Alderman's and your own concern in his service, and the zeal of others. I did forbear aggravating the failings of some in their slowness (to call it by no worse name) to meet in so extraordinary an occasion, hoping they will be warned by this gentle notice taken of it not to do the like for the future. I must not forget to remind you of one thing which the King recommended to you by your Recorder, that you take care to choose an orthodox and discreet minister. I need not after that say anything. I hope you will be as observant in this as in what you have done, being so much your own good. If there be any appear to be unsatisfied, 'twere well you advise them to understand their duty better. Present my affectionate service of the Corporation.
1672, 30 March.—15l. to be paid towards the new building of chambers at the Shirehouse, which if not built as is promised and the judges expect, the assizes, as it is conceived, will be removed from the town.
1672, 12 Apr.—A letter from Mr. Edwards, from St. John's College, Cambridge, 3 Apr., resigning his place as minister of St. James; hopes his successor may by residing please the town better than he hath done. Dr. William Herbert is again elected and on 22 Apr. admitted.
—, 29 Apr.—Dr. William Starkey surrenders his place as minister of St. Mary's. On 20 May Mr. Charles Darby elected, who on 3 June declines acceptance, being settled among people who do so well affect him and he them. On 12 Dec. Mr. William Clagett is elected, and is admitted.
"Charles R. Trusty and well beloved we greet you well.
Whereas we have been given to understand that upon the last
vacancy of the place of a reader for the parish of St. Mary's by
the death of — Piggott, two persons standing to be elect into
the said place, the one William Stewkley, an orthodox divine, the
other John Bull, a young man, and unqualified for such an office,
as not being in priest's orders and under age, the said John Bull
was for the reasons aforesaid protested against by the alderman and
several of the burgesses of the Corporation at a general hall called
for the said election, not one member of the aforesaid parish being
for the said John Bull as we are informed; whereupon the said
William Stewkley being recommended to the bishop of the diocese
by the consent of the said alderman and chief of the society as well
approved of for the said place, the bishop did license him to serve
the said cure, and also gave his determination that the said John
Bull could not undertake such an office, being not capable by
qualification, but did inhibit the said John Bull from giving further
trouble to the said William Stewkley therein; notwithstanding
which the said John Bull still giving disturbance to the said
William Stewkley and the Corporation, in regard he had one voice
more than the other at the election, yet considering the difference
of their qualifications and the judgment of the bishop in the case.
We thought fit, for the preventing of further inconvenience that
might grow thereupon, to send message to the Corporation that
they would acquiesce in the choice of the said William Stewkley,
nevertheless we understand that there are some of the said Corporation who still dissent from it, and seem to make some doubt of
the truth of our said message, We therefore, calling to mind that
we did authorise the delivery of the said message, and being still
desirous to prevent all disturbance and animosity that may arise
by any further dissension in our said Corporation concerning this
election, have thereupon thought fit by these our royal letters to
let you understand that we did send you the said message for
your acquiescing in the said election, and we do hereby reiterate
and confirm the same, recommending it to all parties concerned
that for the peace of the parish and your Corporation you do all
acquiesce therein, and receive and accept the said William Stewkley
for reader of the forementioned parish church according to the
determination and license of the said bishop, without any further
trouble or opposition thereunto. And so we bid you farewell.
Given at our Court at Whitehall, the 8th day of July 1676, in the
eight and twentieth year of our reign. By his Majesty's command.
1680, 26 July.—Mr. Clagett's resignation of St. Mary's parish accepted. A letter to be sent to the earl of St. Alban's certifying that Mr. Nicholas Battely is an honest, sober, and orthodox diviue, and a person of very good abilities, the earl desiring to have such testimony before presenting him to the living of Noughton, resigned by Mr. Gooding.
—, 6 Nov.—Ordered that all the charters belonging to the Corporation be delivered to the Recorder, and by him carried up to London to be made use of to defend the election of Sir Thomas Hervey and Thomas Jermyn, esq. the present burgesses in parliament.
—, 5 March.—Hervey and Jermyn unanimously re-elected burgesses for the parliament to be holden at Oxford. They being present accepted the election, and did freely remit the wages given by Act of parliament to members serving there.
—, 10 March.—Application of Dr. Herbert's widow granted, that she may supply preachers at St. James's until Midsummer. [Orders for payment of arrears due to her follow at intervals up to 1 March 1682/3].
—, 10 June.—The Cross, the chancel of St. James's church, &c. to be repaired. The orders are renewed on 14 June 1683, when it is added that the chancel be repaired for as little a sum as may be ex pended; and that St. Mary's chancel be repaired for a sum not exceeding £10.
—, 17 July.—An address to the King agreed upon, and ordered to be engrossed, upon the discovery of the [Rye House plot]. "We cast this humble address at your Majesty's feet, whereby we renew that loyalty which ever was and still is engraven in our hearts in indelible characters, and to manifest our just abhorrence of the treasonable designs and conspiracies of factious, turbulent and anti-monarchical spirits, who have lately confronted heaven itself by designing to murder your sacred majesty and royal brother, and thereby to subject to ruin and destruction the best of governments;" &c.
1684, 12 Apr., 7 May.—Agreed, nemine contradicente, to surrender the charters to the King; with the form of surrender adopted, praying the King to re-grant the choosing of officers, and the liberties and franchises, in such manner as he shall judge most conducing for the good government of the burgh.
—, 24 Jan.—Strict inquiry to be made, by two in every ward, how many houses are visited with the small pox, and the churchwardens of each parish to give an account how many have died of the small pox since 1 May last.
1687 [–8], 23 Jan.—The members present being informed that the Lord Dover was very ill satisfied with the Corporation, it was put to the question whether they should make suitable application to his lordship to regain the good opinion which he hath had of them; and it passed in the affirmative. [There follows a proposed letter professing great concern at his dissatisfaction, that they have always in election of burgesses of parliament taken their measures from the recommendations of his family, and proposing, in order to show their gratitude for favours, that when the King calls a parliament, he and his brother Lord Jermyn should recommend some gentlemen of the county of the religion of the Church of England, from whom they would be ready to elect two. The major part present, however, desired time to consider of this till the next meeting, and no further entry about a letter occurs until 29 March infra, when the intruded members of the Corporation write in a different strain.]
1687, 21 Feb.—Out of the respect which the Corporation bear to the four ministers and curates, Mr. Nich. Clagett, Mr. Mich. Batt, Mr. Will. Stewkeley and Mr. John Bull, instruments are sealed confirming their respective appointments to them for their lives.
1687 [–8], 16 March.—One of his Majesty's messengers brought two instruments for removing Richard Pryme, mayor and alderman, five other aldermen, and ten common-council men, and for forthwith electing and admitting John Stafford to be mayor and alderman, and others into the other places, without administering to them any oath or oaths but the usual oaths for the execution of their respective places. The orders are obeyed, and immediately afterwards Richard Pryme, the late mayor delivered to Stafford the new mayor, the sword, two great maces, two little maces, and the common seal and seal of office. [One of the aldermen named, Thomas Covell, declined acceptance.]
"May it please your lordship, when we call to mind the great obligations your lordship's family hath formerly laid upon the government of this town, and that your lordship still retains the generous undertakings of your predecessors, we find ourselves not only bound in duty to offer this our acknowledgment of the personal favours you have shown to this Corporation, but also to beg your lordship's patronage of us whom his Majesty hath placed in this government, and to return our humble duties and thanks to his Majesty for the same, assuring him that as we have accepted this trust under his Majesty, so we shall employ it for his service, and we shall express our zeal for the preservation of his person and government, and will never fail upon all occasions in performing the trusts reposed in us according to the duty and obedience that become, Right Hon., your lordship's most obedient servants."
—, 14 May.—An order from the Council for removing four more aldermen and eight common council men, and admitting others without any oaths but those for the execution of their places; which order is at once carried into execution.
"June 26, 1688.—Gentlemen, Some time since I received a letter from you very full of duty and loyalty to our King, which you desired I would communicate to his Majesty from your Corporation. I was extremely glad of so good an opportunity of serving a body of men I always much esteemed and ever had inclinations to be kind to. Your King was pleased to read your letter himself, seemed much satisfied to find such an alteration in Bury, commanded me to thank you for it, and to assure you from him that as he expects you will make good your word to him, so likewise his Majesty will most inviolably keep whatever he has promised in his Declaration.
"After having obeyed his Majesty's commands, give me leave
in my own particular to return my sincere acknowledgments for
your kind expressions to me. If ever it be in my power to deserve
it from you, assure yourselves I shall do it with all the readiness
imaginable, and not more than you ought to expect from one that
is so much, Gentlemen, your affectionate humble servant,
—, 19 July.—The deputy-recorder, John Sotheby, and the townclerk, Thomas Hustler, removed by order from the King and Council of 6 July, and Edmund Coleman and Jonathan Perry admitted by order of 7 July, without taking any oaths but those for the execution of their offices.
—, 10 Aug.—Edmund Coleman sworn in as Recorder with all the oaths according to the statutes, and a common-council man admitted in the same manner, taking the oaths of allegiance and supremacy and the oath mentioned in stat. 13 Car. II. cap. 1.
—, 18 Sept.—Order from the Privy Council for removing two aldermen (Thomas Burrough and Thomas Hustler, of whom the latter had been appointed on 16 March) and four common-council-men (of whom two had been appointed on 14 May) and appointing certain others in their places without any oaths but that for the execution of their office.
—, 12 Oct.—Two addresses to the King submitted for consideration, of which one was passed by a majority, to be presented by some of the members with all possible expedition. It is ordered to be entered in the book, but the page which follows is left blank.
—, 22 Oct.—The King's proclamation for restoring corporations is read, and entered at length; and the charter of surrender made to Charles II. not being enrolled in any of the courts, and all persons appointed since by any patent or grant being dismissed by the proclamation, Martin Spencely, gent., is elected alderman under the old charter, and all the surviving members of the old Corporation are restored and the places vacant by death filled up.
—, 19, 24 Jan.—John Covell elected town-clerk; he takes the oath for due execution of his office, and signs the statutory declaration, but the Recorder refuses to administer the oaths of allegiance and supremacy "in regard King James had left the realm, and it was conceived those oaths would be abrogated and new oaths appointed in their stead.
1690 [–91], 16 March.—Whereas endeavours have been made for some years, and in all likelihood will be in the future, to prevail with the judges to hold the assizes for Suffolk at Ipswich, now, forasmuch as the conveniency of the shire-house at Bury is beyond that of theirs at Ipswich, which with respectful and generous entertainment of the judges and their associates, officers and attendants, will very much conduce to prevail with them to continue the assizes at this place, which entertainment must be answerable to their qualities and expectations, and not inferior to what is offered them in other places, it is recommended to the innholders, vintners, butchers, bakers, and such like retailers of provision, to forthwith subscribe a competent sum of money, proportionable to each man's takings, which will certainly return to their advantage.
II.—The second volume, containing 665 numbered pages and leaves, extends from 21 Dec. 1693 to 22 Dec. 1767, and is a very full and complete register. An index of matters, written on loose sheets, lies in the volume, and there are also two separate index-books of matters and names, one to the year 1713, the other to 1767.
1695, 11 Oct.—The offer of 80l. per an. or of the tithes great and small is made to the ministers of the two parishes, archd. Nich. Clagett and Mr. Mich. Batt; and on 25 Jan. they accept the former offer, subject to payment of parliamentary taxes.
1707, 10 May.—Dr. Francis Hutchinson requested to print the admirable sermon preached by him at St. James's on 1 May upon the celebration of the happy union of England and Scotland, and thanks returned to him for his great labour therein. (fn. 1)
1710,.10 June.—Ordered that there be engraved upon the large piece of plate, used for a punch-bowl, given by the Lady Hervey, wife of John lord Hervey, the cause of the gift, and the arms of lord Hervey and his wife and of the Corporation.
1722, 16 Oct.—Mr. Benj. Malfalguirat, or Malfalgueyrat, surgeon, elected a common-council-man. He was elected one of the chief burgesses 19 July, 1735, and on 7 June in that year Misael Remon Malfalquyerat, surgeon, was admitted as one of the common-council.
1734, 13 Aug.—Ordered that St. Matthew's fair shall not for the future be continued longer than 2 Oct.; advertisements to that effect to be inserted in the Bury newspapers and the Whitehall Evening Post.
—, 24 Oct.—Ordered that the scholars of the Free Grammar School have liberty to act plays at the playhouse over the market cross at any time before 10 Nov. next gratis, they making good all damage that shall be done thereby to the playhouse or seats or scenes there.
1745, 19 Sept.—Address to George II. upon the rebellion "in favour of an abjured pretender, by the dregs of a restless motley faction, outlaws and abandoned men, irreconcileable to one another in every other principle and view but that of overturning our happy establishment."
1761, 27 March.—Consent given for the taking down of the five gates of the town on account of their ruinous and dangerous condition. On 6 June, 1765, a committee is appointed for the taking down of the West gate, who report on 22 Aug. that it has been taken down at a cost of 10l. 9s., and the materials sold for 10l. 10s.
The municipal regalia consist of two silver-gilt maces, 36½ inches long, each of them having on a circular cup-shaped top the rose, thistle, harp, and fleur-de-lis, each set between the initials C R, with a circlet of crosses, and fleurs-de-lis above and the royal arms within; the whole surmounted by a crown with orb and cross. Round the lower part of the stem is the inscription, "New cast in 1729. Wm Allen, Aldn," as noticed in the extracts from the Minute books above. This must, however, refer only to the stem, since the upper part is evidently original, but repaired. The goldsmith's initials R.C. are on one of the maces, but without date letter; the other mace has no mark. The initials R.C. are not infrequently found on plate of the early years of the reign of Charles I., but the name they represent is not known. The sword of state is 51½ inches long, of which the blade measures about 37. It has a massive silver handle, on one side of which is a figure of Justice, sitting, with sword and scales, and on the other a sitting figure holding a charter with four seals pendent. There is no goldsmith's mark or year-letter. The upper part of the blade is ornamented with arabesque gilding. It is enclosed in a red velvet sheath, having solid silver ornaments on both sides of crown and garter, rose and crown, the borough arms, &c. There are two halberds.