Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1911.
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[7 January, 1645/6.]
Covent-Garden and Precincts made into a Parish of itself.; And divided from St. Martin's Parish.; Church newly erected by late Earl of Bedford to be the Parish Church.; Present Earl and Heirs to be Patrons for ever.; Provisions for Rector; Rector's Assistant.; Governors of New Parish; Powers.; Yearly Rate of £400 to be charged on Parish by Governors.; Bedford-House excepted.; None to be assessed above 18d. per pound.; Rates how to be assessed.; Governors' powers in ease of non-payment.; £150 each for Rector and Assistant,; Any surplus for Wages of Church Officers etc.; Default of Payment; Apportionment of debts of St Martin's Parish.; Parlt. to make Regulation
Whereas the Right Honorable Francis late Earl of Bedford deceased, did erect a Fabrique of a Church for the use of the Inhabitants within the Precinct of Covent-Garden, and did intend to settle a certain yearly Stipend of 100l. per annum: And the House hereafter mentioned, to be in the tenure of William Russel, towards the maintenance, and for the habitation of a Minister, to officiate in the said Church; And whereas it is found necessary, for the better Accommodation and Government of the Precinct hereafter mentioned, That the same be made Parochial, and divided from the Parish of Saint Martins in the Fields, And that a further increase of maintenance may be provided for an able Minister, as is hereafter expressed; It is therefore Ordained by the Lords and Commons assembled in Parliament, That all that Precinct included within the Bounds and Limits hereafter expressed, that is to say, beginning in the Strand, at the East end of the Messuage called Bedford House, and including the said House, with all the out-Houses, Gardens, Yards, Buildings, and Backsides thereunto belonging: And all those Houses within the narrow Bounds, that is to say, forty foot without the Brick-wall, and all Houses, Edifices and Buildings, and Lands within the said Bounds and Precinct, be from henceforth for ever a distinct Parish of it self: And that the said Precinct be divided and exempted from the said Parish of Saint Martins, and from all Dependance, Offices, Charges and Contributions, for, or in respect thereof, and from the Cure of the Rector and Vicar of the Parish of Saint Martins, and their respective successors; And also discharged of all Tithes, Oblations, Obventions, Mortuaries, Easter Books, and all other Parochial duties whatsoever. And it is further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That the said new erected Church within the said Precinct of the said new intended Parish, shall be the Parish Church for the said Precinct: And that the Right Honorable William Earl of Bedford, Son and Heir of the said Francis late Earl of Bedford, and his Heirs and Assigns for ever, shall have the Patronage of the said Church; And shall and may from time to time nominate some fit person to be Rector of the said Church now, and as often as the same shall become void: And that the Rector of the said Church and his successors, shall be incorporate, and shall have capacity and succession by the name of the Rector of the Parish Church of Covent-Garden, and shall have the cure of souls of the Inhabitants within the said new intended Parish; and shall hold and enjoy all that house in Covent-Garden, late in the occupation of Maurice Obert, next adjoyning to the Piazza, for and during all the term of twenty seven years. from the Twenty five day of June, Anno 1644. subject neverthelesse to the same yearly Rent. Conditions, Reservations, and Agreements, under which the same were demised to the said Maurice Obert by the said Francis late Earl of Bedford, and from and after the determination of that term, then all that house in Covent-Garden aforesaid, late in the occupation of William Russel. And it is further Ordained, That the said Rector and his Successors shall have one yearly Rent of 1001. to be issuing out of the several Houses scituate in CoventGarden aforesaid, late in the occupation of Sir Edm. Varney Knight, Sir Charls Gawdy Knight, and Sir Edward Sydenham Knight, payable upon every sixteenth day of January, sixteenth day of April, sixteenth day of July, and twentieth day of October, yearly by equal portions, with power to distrain for the same Rent of 1001. or any part or parcel thereof, in or upon the said Houses charged with the said Rent. And it is further Ordained, That the Governors hereafter named, and their Successors or the greater number of them, shall and may from time to time nominate some able Divine to be assistant to the said Rector and his Successors; And the said Assistant and his Successors shall have for their habitation that Messuage in Covent-Garden, late in the occupation of Matthew Plowman, for and during the Sequestration thereof, subject to the yearly Rent, Conditions, Reservations and Agreements contained in the demise whereof, made to the said Matthew Plowman by the said Francis late Earl of Bedford: And for the better regulating of the said affairs of the said Parish, and provision of further maintenance for the said Rector and Assistant, It is further Ordained, That there shall be thirty four persons, Inhabitants of the said Precinct, who shall be called the Governors of the said new erected Parish; And that the Right Honorable William Earl of Bedford, Denzil Hollis, Esq; Sir William Uvedale Knight, Sir Joh. Evelin Knight, Sir John Seaton Knight, Robert Wallop, Zouch Tate, John Trenchard, Robert Scawen, Matthew Hale, Anthony Wither, Edw. Carter, Will. Martin, James Davenport and John Austee Esquires, Minian Cunningham, John Hover, Thomas Constable Richard Harris, Richard Brigham, Josias Fendal, Duncan Manto, Richard Reete, Samuel Smith, William Clifton, Richard Lazenby, Thomas Man, Humphrey Groves, Robert Pattison, Gilbert Meese, Peter Nichols, James Mickle, Christopher Jackson and James Moor Gentlemen, shall be the first Governors of the said Precinct; And that as often as any of the said Governors shall die or be removed, the House-holders, Inhabitants within the said new erected Parish, or the major part of them, within the space of two moneths after such death or removal, and in default thereof, the remaining Governors or the greater number of them, may chuse another in the place of him or them dying or removed: which said Governors and their Successors or the greater number of such of them as shall be assembled together upon publique warning, shall from henceforth have power from time to time to nominate a Clerk, Sextons, Constables, Scavingers, and all other Officers for the said Precinct. And it is further Ordained, that the yearly sum of 400l. shall from henceforth be charged upon the Inhabitants of the said new erected Parish, according to their respective abilities, except Bedford-House, with the appurtenances, the same to be Assessed by the said Governors. or the greater number of such of them as shall be assembled together upon publique notice, and paid unto them at such time or times as to them shall seem fit: Provided always, that no Inhabitants be assessed by vertue of this Ordinance, or any thing therein contained, above the yearly rate of eighteen pence in the pound, according to the true value of the yearly Rent of the house wherein such Inhabitants shall dwell within the said Parish, at the time of making this Assessment: which Rate shall not be charged on the Rent of any Inhabitants, person or Landlord of any house, but shall be Assessed on the several inhabitants according to their abilities, not exceeding the said sum of eighteen pence per pound, in proportion to their several Rents as aforesaid for any one year, and so proportionably for a greater or lesser time. And it is further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That in case the said sums be not paid in maner aforesaid, That then the said Governors or any three of them, shall or may from time to time authorize any person or persons to Leavy the same by distresse, and sale of the goods of such person as shall be so in Arrear, returning the overplus to the Owner, or else recover the same in action of debt, to be brought in the name of the Rector for the time being, wherein no Wager of Law to be allowed to the defendants. And it is further Ordained, That the said Governors and their Successors, shall out of the Moneys so by them received, pay unto the said Rector and his Successors, the yearly sum of 150. pounds; To the said Assistant and to his Successors the yearly sum of 150. pounds; the same payments to be made at the days aforesaid, or within twenty one days after; And that the said Governors and their Successors shall hold and injoy the said house, late in the occupation of the said William Russel, during the term of the aforesaid twenty seven years, and shall convert and imploy as well the profits of the said house, during the said term of twenty seven years, as also all other Moneys remaining in their hands over and above the said three hundred pounds, for the wages of the said Church-Officers, and such other publique uses as shall seem fit to the said Governors or the greater number of such of them as upon a publique warning shall assemble together, so as the number so assembled exceed the number of seven persons. And it is further Ordained, That if any default of payment happen of any the sums aforesaid, the Lord Keeper or Commissioners of the Great Seal for the time being, shall and may upon the complaint of the party grieved in this behalf give relief according to the true intent of this Ordinance; And forasmuch as there is several demands made by the Parish of Saint Martins against the said new erected Parish, touching Contribution to the Debts, Poor and High-ways of the Parish of Saint Martins; and also there are several demands made by the said new erected Parish, of contribution to the Debts of the said new erected Parish, and touching a proportionable part of the publique Revenues of the said Parish of Saint Martins, and what proportion each Precinct should bear in publique Charges and Assessments: It is therefore further Ordained by the Authority aforesaid, That the said new Parish of CoventGarden shall pay one Fifth part of the publique Debts of the Parish of Saint Martins, the said Debts being audited, and then allowed by the Commissioners of the Great Seal, and shall also pay one Fifth part towards the mending of the High-ways of the Parish of Saint Martins; And shall also pay the sum of one hundred seventeen pounds one shilling four pence farthing half farthing and the fifth part of an half farthing, Quarterly to be paid unto the Parish of Saint Martins, for the maintenance of their poor: which said sum shall be paid by the Parish of Covent-Garden to the Parish of Saint Martins for ever. And the said Parish of Covent-Garden shall receive one fifth part of the publique Revenue of the Parish of Saint Martins for ever towards the payment aforesaid; And if the said sums aforesaid shall not be paid, it shall be lawful for the Parish of Saint Martins to Leavy the aforesaid Rate for the poor, and the proportion for the High-ways, by all such lawful means as they may do in their own Parish, by the Laws and Statutes of this Realm: Provided, that for the neglect of their payment of the Rate of the poor the same shall not extend to the making lyable Bedford House to distresse for the same: Provided always, And it is nevertheless Declared, That this present Ordinance and the matters therein Ordained, shall be subject to such Regulation as the Lords and Commons in Parliament shall hereafter Ordain.