Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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Whereas divers abuses and deceits have of late years been had and used in the making of Worsteads and other Stuffs, commonly called Norwich Stuffs, and in the Reeling of the Yarns, whre of the said Stuffs are either wholly or in part made; all which tends to the debasing of the said Manufacture, unto the prejudice of the Publique: For prevention of all which abuses and deceits, it is Enacted by this present Parliament, That from henceforth there be and shall be a Corporation within the said City and County of Norwich and County of Norfolk, consisting of two Presidents, twelve Wardens, and forty Assistants; all which are to be MasterWeavers within the places aforesaid: And one of the said Presidents, and six of the said Wardens, and twenty of the said Assistants, shall be yearly chosen upon the last Wednesday in the moneth of November at some publique place, by the Master-Weavers, or the greater part of them present of the said City and County of Norwich; and the other of the said Presidents, six Wardens, and twenty Assistants, shall be chosen on the same day in some publique place, by the Master-Weavers, or the greater part of them present of the County of Norfolk: And the said twelve Wardens respectively, shall within fourteen days after they shall be so chosen or elected, before the Major of Norwich for the time being or his Deputy, or any one Justice of the Peace of the County of Norfolk for the time being (if he be present) otherwise before the said Major or his Deputy onely, declare as followeth;
I A. B. do promise, that I will, under the Penalties and Forfeitures contained in this Act, well and truly perform and discharge the Office of a Warden of the Corporation of the Worstead-Weavers, according to this Act, and the Rules and Orders made and to be made by the said Corporation by vertue of the same.
And be it further Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That the said Presidents, Wardens and Assistants for the time being, shall for ever hereafter in Name and Fact be one Body Politique and Corporate in Law, to all intents and purposes, and shall have a perpetual Succession, and becalled by the name of the Presidents, Wardens and Assistants of the Worstead-weavers of the City and County of Norwich and County of Norfolk; and sue or plead, and be sued or impleaded by the name aforesaid, in all Courts and places of Judicature within this Nation; and by that name shall and may without License in Montmain, purchase, take or receive any Lands, Tenements or Hereditaments, of the Gift, Alienation or Demise of any person or persons, who are hereby without further License enabled to transfer the same, and any Goods or Chattels whatsoever, for the use and benefit of the Corporation aforesaid, not exceeding the yearly value of One thousand pounds.
And for the Regulation and good Government of the said Trade and Manufacture, the said Corporation or any thirteen or more of them, whereof one President and seven or more Wardens to be present, shall have hereby power and authority from time to time, to meet and keep Courts for the ends in this Act mentioned, within the City of Norwich, at such time and place as shall be appointed by the said Presidents or one of them, and Wardens, or the greater number of them for the time being; who are hereby required, upon the desire of any eight or more of the said Assistants, at any time to warn and keep a Court accordingly: And the said, Corporation, or any thirteen or more of them, whereof one President, and seven or more Wardens to be present as aforesaid, or the greater number of them, shall have, and hereby have power and authority from time to time, to make and appoint a common Seal, or several common Seals, for the use of the said Corporation; and to make By-laws, Rules and Ordinances for and concerning the regulation of the premises, and of such particulars as shall be by them, or the greater number of them, found requisite for the better regulation of the said Trade and Manufacture, and the due execution of this Act; which By-laws, Rules and Ordinances being confirmed and ratified by the Major, and one Justice of the Peace for the time being of the said City and County of Norwich, and two other Justices of the Peace of the said county of Norfolk, or the greater number of them, shall be obeyed and kept by the several persons within or under the Government of the said Corporation or Regulation. And the said Court have hereby power to impose a Fine or Penalty upon any person or persons of the said Corporation, that shall not conform to such Rules, Orders and Ordinances so made as aforesaid: Provided the said Fine or Penalty on any person not conforming, exceed not the sum of ten shillings for one offence; the said Fines and Penalties to go to the use of the said Corporation.
And it is further Enacted, That the Weavers of the said Corporation that are within the City and County of Norwich, shall from time to time give notice unto the said Weavers of the said County of Norfolk, of the time and place, when and where they shall intend to consider of the making of any By-laws, Orders and Ordinances as aforesaid, by Publication of such their purposes and intent to their open Court, Fifteen days at least before they shall proceed to make the same.
And it is further Enacted, That if any person or persons shall be duly chosen as abovesaid, to be a Warden or Wardens of the said Corporation, and after such election and due notice thereof given him or them, he or they shall refuse or wilfully neglect to undergo and execute the place and duty of a Warden or Wardens according to the purposes of this Act, such person or persons so refusing or neglecting, shall each of them have a Fine imposed on them by the said Corporation, the said Fine not exceeding Ten pounds; the said Fine to go to the use of the Corporation.
And for the better regulation and carrying on of the Work aforesaid, and avoiding of all frauds and deceits therein, Be it further Enacted by the authority aforesaid, That all Yarns called Worsteadyarns, or used by the Worstead-weavers shall be made without fraud, and shall before the same be put or offered to sale, be reeled on a Reel of a full yard about, every Reel-staff containing Fourteen Leas, and every Lea containing Forty Threeds, Twelve of those Reel-staves making a Dozen, and Twelve of those Dozens making a Gross: And in case any person or persons shall after offer to put to sale any the Yarns aforesaid within the City of Norwich or County of Norfolk, made and reeled in any other maner then as aforesaid, that then it shall and may be lawful to and for the Presidents, Wardens and Assistants, aforesaid, or any two or more of them, to seize, take and carry away all such Yarn as is defective and false as abovesaid; the same to be within Eight days after such seizure, brought into the Common-Hall of the Corporation aforesaid; and within Twenty days after such seizure, to be brought to a Trial by a Jury of Twelve honest and able Artificers of the same Regulation, whereof Six to be of the City and County of Norwich, and other Six of the County of Norfolk; which Twelve Artificers, the Major of the City of Norwich or his Deputy for the time being, are hereby authorized to summon and warn to appear at the Guild-hall of the said City at time certain by him to be appointed, and to be impannelled and sworn to enquire of the defects of the said Yarn, contrary to this present Act; which Oath the said Major or his Dupty are hereby authorized to give: And for such and so much Yarn aforesaid as shall be so found, and presented by the said Jury to be defective, the said Jury shall have, and hereby have power to set and impose such Fine or Fines upon the Owners thereof, as in their discretion shall be thought meet, not exceeding the value of the moyety of such defective Yarns; which said Fines the Owners of the said respective Yarns shall pay unto the Wardens of the said Corporation, or one of them, to and for the use of the poor of the said Corporation, within Forty days after the same Fine shall be so set; or in default thereof, the said Wardens shall put to sale the said Yarns, rendring the overplus to be raised by sale thereof unto the said Owners upon demand.
And it is hereby further Enacted and Ordained, That if the said Yarn shall not be presented and found by a Jury of Twelve men as aforesaid, to be defective as aforesaid, so as the same shall appear to be seized without just cause as aforesaid, That then he or they that shall so seize the same, shall forfeit to the owner or owners of the Yarn so seized, the treble value of the Yarn so seized, and three times so much damages as he or they shall and may sustain by such seizure, or by means or reason thereof; the same to be adjudged and taxed by the Major of the said City of Norwich, or his Deputy for the time being, and be levied by sale of the offenders goods, by Warrant under the hand and seal of the Major of the City of Norwich or his Deputy for the time being, if such seizure shall be made within the said City of Norwich or County of the same: And if such seizure shall be made within the County of Norfolk, the same to be adjudged and taxed by any one or more Justices of the Peace within the said County of Norfolk, and to be levied by Warrant under the hand and seal of any one or more such Justice or Justices of the Peace of the said County of Norfolk.
And it is hereby further Enacted, That all sorts of Stuffs, whether woven of wooll onely, or of wooll and other materials within the City and County of Norwich and County of Norfolk, or either of them, shall be under the Power, Government and Regulation of the said Corporation, in such maner as by this and other Acts of Parliament, and the By-laws made and to be made by vertue hereof, are or shall be established (Except such Stuffs as are under the Regulation of the Wardens and Fellowship of the Mystery of RusselSattins, Sattins-Reversees, and Fustian of Norwich making, within the said City of Norwich;) And that all Stuffs made or to be made under the Regulation aforesaid, before the same shall be offered or put to Sale, shall be brought to some convenient place within the said County of the City of Norwich, to be appointed by the said Wardens or the more part of them, to be viewed and searched by the said Wardens or any two of them; And if the same shall be found to be well and sufficiently made and wrought according to the Rules and Ordinances of the said Corporation for the time being, then all such Stuffs shall be by the said Wardens or any two of them, sealed and allowed accordingly, without any sum of moneys paid or to be paid for the same: And if upon search or view thereof, any such Stuffs shall be found and appear to be defective, contrary to the Rules and Ordinances of the said Corporation, then such defective Stuffs shall be seized by the said Wardens or any two of them, and shall be from time to time ordered and brought to Trial, proceeded on, and fined in such maner and form as is in this present Act before limited and appointed for the defective Yarns aforesaid.
And it is further Enacted, That if any Warden or Wardens shall at any time seal or cause to be sealed any Stuffs made under this Regulation, which shall afterwards be discovered by any person to be defective, and found so to be by a Jury impannelled as aforesaid, the said Jury shall have, and hereby have power to set and impose a Fine upon the Wardens of the said Corporation for every such defective piece so sealed, as they in their discretion shall think fit, the said Fine not exceeding Forty shillings, the same to be divided into three equal parts; one third part whereof to go to the use of the Informer, another third part to the Corporation, and the other third part to the use of the poor of the said Corporation. Provided, That if the said Wardens shall be unjustly molested, and that such Stuffs upon trial shall be found by the Jury to be good and duly made, the person or persons so causlesly molesting, shall pay to the said Wardens so unjustly molested, treble the damages they shall or may sustain by such molestation, the said forfeitures and damages to be adjudged and taxed by the Major of the City of Norwich, or any one or more of the Justices of the Peace of the County of Norfolk respectively as aforesaid: And if any person shall buy or sell any piece of Stuff made under the Regulation of this Corporation unsealed, and being thereof convicted by his own confession, or the Oaths of two or more Witnesses before the Major of the said City of Norwich, or his Deputy for the time being, or before any Justice of the Peace for the time being for the County of Norfolk, who have hereby power to administer an Oath for that purpose; the said person, if he be a buyer, shall forfeit for every piece of Stuff so bought unsealed, Four shillings; and if a seller, for every piece so sold, shall forfeit other four shillings, the same to be divided into equal halfs, one moyety whereof shall go to the use of the Corporation aforesaid, and the other moyety to the use of the poor of the said Corporation: And if any Stuff made under the said Regulation, shall be found in the possession of any person or persons (except of the first owner or maker thereof) the person and persons in whose custody the same shall be so found, shall be adjudged guilty of deceit, and shall be lyable unto the payment of the Fines and Forfeitures payable by this Act, both from the seller and buyer of Stuff unsealed as aforesaid: And if any person counterfeit any Seal of the said Wardens, or seal any piece of Stuff with any Seal that shall be counterfeit, every person so offending, and being thereof convicted as aforesaid, shall forfeit the sum of Twenty pounds to and for the use of the poor of the said Corporation; which said Penalties and Forfeitures respectively, with all other Fines and Forfeitures mentioned in this Act, shall be levied by distress and sale of the Goods and Chattels of the offender or offenders, by Warrant to be granted from the said Major or Justice of Peace respectively, before whom such conviction shall be, rendring the overplus to the owner or owners thereof; and for default of Goods and Chattels whereon to levy the said Forfeiture of Twenty pounds, the party so offending shall be committed to the publique Work-house, there to be continued at hard labor during the space of three moneths, unless he shall at any time within the said term, pay the Forfeiture of Twenty pounds as aforesaid.
And the said Presidents, Wardens and Assistants, or any two or more of them, shall have, and hereby have power to enter into the House and Work-house of any Artificer within the said City of Norwich and County of Norfolk, under the Regulation of the said Corporation, at all times of the day, and usual times of working and opening of Shops, and into the Shops, Houses and Ware-houses of any Merchant, common Buyer, Dealer in, and Retayler of any the said Stuffs; and into the Houses or Work-houses of any Dyer, Sheerman, Calender, and all other Workmens Houses and places of Sale, or Dressing of the said Stuffs, or selling of Yarns, and may there search and view the Yarn and Stuffs respectively, whether they be ordered and made according to the Laws, Orders and Ordinances of the said Trade: And if any Stuff or Materials aforesaid shall be found faulty or defective, to seize, take and carry away the same, to be ordered, brought to tryal, and proceeded in maner and form as is before in this Act mentioned and appointed for defective Yarns and Stuffs. And all Majors, Justices, Sheriffs, Bayliffs, Constables and Officers shall be aiding and assisting to the said Presidents, Wardens and Assistants or any of them, as often as they shall be thereunto required; and in all Actions or Suits that shall be brought against any person or persons for any acting according to the true intent and meaning of this Act, that such person or persons shall or may plead the general Issue of Not guilty, and give the special Matter in Evidence, and shall recover double Costs, if the Verdict pass for him and them, or that the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs be non-suited.
Provided always, That this Act, nor any thing therein contained, shall not be prejudicial or hurtful to the Weavers of the Towns of Great Yarmouth and Lyn in the said County of Norfolk, or either of them, to deprive them or either of them of such Liberties or Priviledges as are granted unto them by an Act of Parliament made in the Fourteenth year of the Reign of King Henry the Eighth, or by any other Act of Parliament whatsoever.