Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[20 July, 1644.]
Lord Mayor etc., to appoint agents to dig Turf and Peat in sequestered Lands, etc.; Agents may dig for Turf and Peat on lands of non-delinquents, after agreament with Lessee or Owner.; And pass through any lands as often as requisite for said service; Fuel thus obtained to be distributed at easy rates, as appointed by London Common Council.; The Poor to be served first, if they desire.; Penalty for carrying away such Turf.; Resistance.; Assistance.; Penalty for non-assistance.; Power to take all vehicles for carriage of Turf, at usual rates.; All Persons, Carts, etc., thus employed to be exempted from Pressing meanwhile.; Refusal to serve.; Satisfaction to non-Delinquent owners of grounds through which passage is made, for damage sustained thereby.; Ordinance to continue six months only; Indemnity.
The Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, taking into their serious consideration, the necessity of the timely provision of Fewell, for the Cities of London and Westminster, and places within the Lines of Communication, and Bills of Mortallity, heretofore furnished with Coals from the Town and parts neere Newcestle; and to the end the scarcity which is likely to be of that kind of Fewell, may be in part supplyed with Turff and Peate, wherewith a good accommodation may be had forth of the Neighbouring parts at reasonable rates and Prizes; Have Ordained, and be it Ordained by the said Lords and Commons, That it shall and may be lawfull, and full power and authority is hereby given and granted to the Major, Aldermen, and Commons of the City of London in Common - Councell assembled, To nominate and appoint a convenient number of persons, which said persons so nominated, shall have hereby power and authority, by themselves, their Agents and Assistants; to enter into, and get and Dig any quantity of Turff or Peate, in or upon any inclosed Pastures, Commons or waste grounds (not being Gardens, Orchards or Walkes) whether now or hereafter Sequestred, or the Lands belonging to the King or Queenes Majesties, or to any Bishop; or Dean and Chapter, out of which any such Turff or Peate may be got and digged, and with conveniencie conveyed by water or land to the said Cities and places aforesaid. And be it likewise Ordained by the said Lords and Commons, That the Agents to be appointed by vertue of this Ordinance, shall have power and liberty, to assay and make tryall for Turff, or Peate, in the Commons or water-grounds of any person or persons whatsoever, not being Delinquents within any Ordinance of Parliament; so as the said Agents, or any three of them, before their further proceeding in Cutting or Digging, doe first agree with the Leassee or owner of such Lands: And if such Leassee or owner shall prove refractory, that then the damages shall be assessed by the Committee of the House of Commons, appointed for Examinations; And also shall have full power and liberty, with Carts or otherwise, to passe through the lands of any person or persons when and so often as the same shall be requisite for the service aforesaid; The same Fewell so to be gotten, conveyed and brought, to be disposed of for furnishing of the Cities and parts aforesaid, at such easie and indifferent Rates, respecting the pains and charges in getting and carrying the same, as shall be set down by a Committee of the Common-Councell of London, who shall have power to order and regulate the respective distribution of the said Fewell, by the Churchwardens and Overseers of the Poore of every Parish, or such other fit persons as they shall nominate, wherein care shall be taken, and the poorer sort of every Parish be first served if they shall desire it, and after, the other degrees and rankes of people. And it is Ordained by the said Lords and Commons, That every person or persons whatsoever, as well owners of the said Commons or waste grounds, as others, shall yield obedience to this Ordinance: And if any person shall presume to take or carry away the Turff or Peate, or any part thereof so cut or digged, but onely those that shall be appointed by vertue of this Ordinance as aforesaid, such person so offending, shall incurre the penalty of a reasonable Fine to be set and imposed by the Committee of the House of Commons, appointed for Examinations, so as the said Fine doe not exceed the summe of five pounds, or the treble value of the goods so carryed away, and by their Warrant to bee Leavyed by distresse and sale of the offenders goods: and if the offender have no goods, then to undergoe such imprisonment as by the said Committee shall be thought fit; And in case any opposition or resistance shall be made thereunto by any person or persons under any pretence whatsoever, the persons so nominated and appointed by the said Common-Councell, their agents and assistants, shall upon notice given, be ayded and assisted by the Deputy-Lievtenants, Justices of Peace, Constables, and Head-boroughs of the Place and Precinets respectively: And shall, and may also call to their Ayde and Assistance, any of the Trained Bands, Voluntiers, or other Forces of, or within the Counties or Places respectively, who are hereby required to be Ayding and assisting to compell obedience to this Ordinance, where any such resistance or opposition shall be made, as often as need shall require; And shall certifie the names of every such person or persons, who being required to give his or their Assistance as aforesaid, shall be found refractory, negligent, or fault therein, to the said Committee of Parliament for Examinations, who shall have hereby power to send for them, or any of them, and to commit them to such places and Prisons as they shall thinke fit: And it is further Ordained that the persons so to bee named by the Common-Councell as aforesaid, their Agents and Assistants, shall, and may have power to take upon reasonable and usuall Rates, Horses, Carts. Barges, Lighters, Boates, or any other Vessels of the adjacent places, as they shall thinke fit to make use of, for the carrying, or conveying of the said Turff or Peate, to be gotten for the use, and according to the intents herein mentioned; and that such Horses, Carts, Barges, Lighters, and other Vessels, and the persons used in that imployment, shall be exempted from Impressing for Land or Sea service during the time of such their employment, any Law, Ordinance, or usage to the contrary notwithstanding; and in case of refusall of such owners of the Horses, Carts, and Vessels aforesaid, the names of them so refusing, are to be certified to the said Committee for Examinations, that they may take further order therein; Providing alwayes that care be had and taken by the said persons employed for the execution of this service, before any new passage be made through the Grounds of any person or persons by vertue hereof, that an estimate and value bee taken thereof, and of the damage probably to be sustained by reason of such passage, by two Deputy-Lievtenants, and two Justices of the Peace, inhabiting next to the said Place, together with foure of the said Persons so to be nominated and appointed by the said Common-Councell of London, or any three of them, as aforesaid, and subscribed under their hands, who are hereby Authorized and appointed to set Values and Estimates thereof accordingly; To the end, such satisfaction may be made to the severall owners thereof, who have not been, or shall not hereafter bee Delinquents within any Ordinance of Sequestration, as by the aforesaid Committee of Examinations shall be adjudged requisite: And it is further Ordained, That the work and imployment for getting and digging of Turff and Peate, shall continue for and during the space of six moneths after the date of this present Ordinance, and no longer. And whatsoever any person or persons shall do in the Execution and furtherance of this service, in pursuance of this Ordinance, he and they shall be saved harmlesse and indempnified by the authority of both Houses of Parliament.
Provided, that the consent of the Deputy-Lievtenants, or any three of them shall be had respectively, to the assigning of such places within the Isle of Ely, and the Fenns adjoyning, for the cutting of Turff and Peate, before any thing be done in the said Island, and the Fenns adjoyning by vertue of this Ordinance.