Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[13 September, 1644.]
Ordinance for Mr. Brooke to be High Sheriff of Chester.
The Lords and Commons in Parliament assembled, taking into Consideration the Necessity of appointing an High Sheriff for the County Palatine of Chester, and that such Officer cannot be constituted in the usual Manner, in respect the Castle of Chester, where the Court of Exchequer (being the ancient Chancery Court for that County) and the County Palatine Seal are kept (by which Seal, and no other, the Sheriffs of that County have been usually there made), as also the City of Chester, are now all in Possession of the Enemies to the King and Parliament, and the Chamberlain of that County in present Rebellion, and in Arms against the Parliament; do think fit to Order and Ordain, and be it Ordained and Established, by the said Lords and Commons, That Henry Brooke Esquire shall be, and is hereby authorized and appointed to be, Sheriff of the said County; and do commit unto him the said Henry Brooke the Office of Sheriff, and the Custody of the said County Palatine, to have and execute the same in as large and ample Manner as any Sheriff of that County heretofore lawfully hath or might have done: And whereas, by virtue of a Writ or Commission under the Great Seal of England already issued. Gilbert Millington, Will'm Ashurst, and John Bradshawe, Esquires, Commissioners therein named, have ministered unto the said Henry Brooke the Two usual Oaths; to wit, the Oath for the due Execution of the said Office of Sheriff, and the Oath of Supremacy the Execution of which Writ is thereby enjoined to be returned to the Chamberlain of Chester, at the said Exchequer of Chester; And the said Lords and Commons do Order and Ordain, in respect such Return cannot now be made, That the same be forborn; and that the said Commissioners shall return in the said Commission to them directed, and the Execution thereof, into the Chancery of England, there to remain of Record, which shall be a sufficient Discharge to them the said Commissioners in that Behalf: And where, by the Statute made in the 33th Year of the Reign of the late King Henry the Eighth, the Sheriffs of the said County for the Time being are limited to keep their Shire Courts in the Shire Hall of that County, which Shire Hall is within and Part of the said Castle of Chester, now in the Enemy's Hands; and where the Usage hath been for the said Sheriffs to keep their County Court upon a Monday, whereby Bailiffs of Sheriffs, Suitors of the Court, and others, for saving of Expence, have taken Occasion to travel on the Lords-day, to the great Prophanation of that Holy Day; for Supply of the said Defect, and Remedy of the said Evil, be it further Ordained and Established, by the Authority aforesaid, That, during the Time that the said Castle of of Chester shall continue in the Enemy's Possession, and until the same shall be reduced within the Power of Parliament, and that other Order by both Houses of Parliament shall be taken to the contrary, the said Sheriff of the said County, and other the Sheriffs of the same, for the Time being, shall keep his and their Shire Court in the Town Hall or Court Hall of or within the Town of Namptwich, in the said County; and that the said Shire Court shall be hereafter constantly kept every Month upon the Tuesday next ensuing the former usual Court Day, and not upon any Monday, for Determination of Plaints and Actions under Forty Shillings, and for Proclamations, and calling of Exigents, and other necessary Causes, as hath been used at other Shire Courts held formerly as aforesaid; and that the Head Coroners for the Body of the said Shire, when any new Choice is or ought to be, by reason of Death, Insufficiency, or otherwise, during the Enemy's Possession of the said Castle as aforesaid, shall be elected and chosen by virtue of the King's Writ De Coronatore eligendo, to be awarded from the Chancery of England; which Coroners, as also those for the Time being (not secured or sequestered for their Malignancy to the Parliament), are hereby enjoined to sit with the said Sheriff at the said Courts, to give Judgement upon Utlawries, and to do all other Things as appertaineth to their Place and Office; any Law, Usage, Statute, Privilege, or Custom, to the contrary notwithstanding: And the Lords and Commons do Ordain, Enjoin, and Command, all Manner of Persons of the said County, whom the same may concern, to be to him the said Henry Brooke, during his Continuance in the said Office, aiding and assisting, in all Things which belong to the said Office: And whereas divers Writs, Commissions, Precepts, and Warrants, have usually heretofore issued out of His Majesty's Court of Chancery, Court of Wards, and other His Majesty's Courts at Westminster, directed to the Chamberlain of the said County Palatine for the Time being, by Force whereof divers Writs and Commissions have issued out of the said Court of Exchequer, at Chester under the said County Palatine Seal, directed unto the Sheriffs, Escheator, Feodaries, and Coroners of the same County, whereupon Proceedings have been usually had, and afterwards returned into the said Court of Exchequer at Chester, and from thence transmitted to the respective Courts above at Westminster, according to the Nature of the Cause; now, forasmuch as the said Court at Chester and Seal are in the Enemy's Hands as aforesaid, and the Chamberlain and other Officers of the Seal there in present Rebellion against the King and Parliament, so as such Course for Writs, Commissions, and Warrants, cannot be observed as formerly; neither can the Inhabitants of the said County with Safety repair to the Courts of Chester for Justice as formerly; and yet, by the ancient Usages and Privileges of that County, cannot, for Matters there arising, sue one another, or be sued elsewhere, whereby the Course of Justice there is for the present obstructed, to the great Damage of the Subject; be it therefore Ordained and Established, by the Authority aforesaid, That the former Course of issuing out Writs, Commissions, Precepts, and Warrants, out of any the Courts at Westminster, directed to the Chamberlain of Chester, shall be forborn, during the Time that the said City and Castle of Chester shall continue in the Enemy's Hands; and that, during that Time, and until other Order by both Houses of Parliament shall be taken to the contrary, all such Writs, Commissions, Precepts, and Warrants, henceforth to issue out of the said Courts at Westminster, and concerning the Matters of the said County Palatine, shall be immediately sent and directed unto the Sheriff, Escheator, Feodary, Coroners, and other Officers, of the said County of Chester respectively, and shall be by them executed, in such Sort, Manner and Form, as is usually done in like Cases unto and by the Sheriffs, Escheators, Feodaries, Coroners, and other Officers of other Counties not Palatine, within the Realm of England; and further, that, during such Time of the Enemy's Possession of the City and Castle as aforesaid, the Subjects of the said County shall and may sue and be responsal in the Courts of Justice at Westminster, and that the King's Writ shall there run as is used in the other Counties, any Law, Usage, Statute, Privilege, or Custom, to the contrary notwithstanding: And it is lastly Ordained and Declared, That as well the said Sheriff in the Execution of his said Place and Office, as also all other Officers and Persons that shall do any Thing by Virtue, and in Execution and Pursuance, of this Ordinance, and of the Power therein contained, and according to the Directions of the same, shall be kept indemnified by the Authority and Power of both Houses of Parliament: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall, for Time to come, be interpreted to the Disadvantage or Prejudice of the ancient Rights, Privileges, Usages, and Customs, of the said County Palatine, or of the Inhabitants of the same.