(fn. 1) Reasons for passing this Act.
Billingagate Market a free Market for Fish.
Whereas the Publick Wealth Honour and Safety of this Kingdom as well as [the (fn. 2) ] Maintenance of Trade
and Support of Navigation as in many other respects depend on the Improvement and Incouragement of
the Fishery and Billingsgate having time out of mind been a Free Market for all manner of Floating and Salt
Fish as alsoe for all manner of Lobsters and Shell Fish nevertheless divers Abuses evidently destructive to that
Trade have been of late Yeares Practiced by raising new Impositions and Tolls and by forestalling of the Markets
and other Methods used by the Fishmongers in not permitting the Fisherwomen and others to buy the said Fish
of the said Fishermen to sell them again in London and elsewhere by which meanes the Fishermen are obliged
to sell their Fish to the said Fishmongers at their owne Rates to the great Discouragement of the said Fishermen
For Remedy whereof Be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of
the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authourity of
the same That from and after the Tenth Day of May which shall be in the Yeare One thousand six hundred
ninety nine Billingsgate Market within the said City of London shall be every Day in the Week (except Sundays)
a free and open Market for all sorts of Fish whatsoever and that it shall and may be lawfull for any Person or
Persons to buy or sell any sort of Fish in the said Market without any Disturbance or Molestation whatsoever
And for the better incourageing the said Fishery Be it further enacted by the Authourity aforesaid That no
Fisherman or other Person or Persons selling any sort of Sea Fish In the said Market shall from and after the said
Tenth Day of May One thousand six hundred ninety nine pay to any Person or Persons any other Toll or Duty
whatsoever for coming with his Boat or Vessell or landing standing being or selling in or at the said Market of
Billingsgate than is herein after mentioned that is to say
Vessels with Salt Fish.
For every Vessell with Salt Fish for Groundage Eight Pence per Day and Twenty Pence per Voyage for every
such Vessell and no more in full for all Duties and Demands to be disposed of and distributed as the Lord
Mayor and Court of Aldermen shall yearly order and direct according to the Right of the respective Persons
For every Lobster Boat for Groundage per Day Two Pence and per Voyage Thirteen Pence and no more in
full for all Duties and Demands to be disposed of and distributed as aforesaid
Vessels with Fresh Sea Fish.
For every Vessell of Fresh Sea Fish for Groundage per day Two Pence and per Voyage Thirteen Pence and
no more in full for all Duties and Demands to be disposed of and distributed as aforesaid
Dogger Boats or Smacks with Sea Fish.
For every Dogger Boat or Smack with Sea Fish for Groundage per day Two Pence and per Voyage Thirteene
Pence and no more in full for all Duties and Demands to be disposed of and distributed as aforesaid
For every Oyster Vessell or Cock for Groundage per day Two Pence for Metage One Halfe-penny per Bushell
and no more and per Voyage Thirteene Pence and no more in full for all Duties and Demands to be disposed
of and distributed as aforesaid
III. Fish bought in the said Market may be sold in any other
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That it shall and may be lawfull to and for any Person
or Persons whatsoever who shall buy any Fish in the said Market to sell the same again in any other Market
Place or Places within the said City of London or elsewhere by retaile except nevertheless that none but Fishmongers
shall be permitted to sell in publick or fixed Shops or Houses being sound and wholesome Fish without any lett
or disturbance from any Person or Persons whatsoever for so doing Any Law or Statute to the contrary thereof
in any wise notwithstanding
Provided nevertheless That this Act shall not extend to alter any Law now in being [concerning Fish (fn. 2) ]
caught by Forreigners
V. Recital of Stat. 5 Eliz. c. 5. § 2.
Demanding Toll, Sample, &c. of Sea Fish of English catching, Penalty.
And whereas in the Fifth Yeare of the Reigne of Queen Elizabeth among other things it was enacted That
from and after the First Day of May then next comeing it should not be lawfull to any Person and Persons in
any Port City Towne or Market or other Place within this Realme to set Price make any Restraint or take or
demand Toll or Tax of any Sea Fish to be brought into this Realme or any part thereof being taken by any of
Her Majesties Subjects in Ships and other Vessells of the same Subjects upon paine to every Person offending
contrary to the meaning thereof to forfeite the Value of the Fish so restrained prized tolled or taken Any Liberty
Custom Grant Priviledge or other Matter whatsoever to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding yet contrary to the
true meaning thereof severall Tolls Samples and other Exactions have been demanded and taken of Sea Fish Be
it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid That from and after the said Tenth Day of May any Person or
Persons taking or demanding any Toll or Sample or any other Imposition or Set Price of any Sea Fish whatsoever
of English catching shall forfeite the Sum of Ten Pounds the one Moiety thereof to His Majesty and the other
Moiety to such Person as shall sue for the same
VI. Buying up by Fishmongers not allowed.
And whereas of late Yeares an evill Practice hath been used by the Fishmongers in imploying one or two
Persons at the most to buy up all or the greatest part of the Fish which is brought to the said Market at
Billingsgate and afterwards dividing the same amongst the Fishmongers by Lotts by reason whereof the Fishmongers
buy and sell at what rates they please Be it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no such Practices
shall be at any time hereafter used or allowed
VII. Fish not to be bought up, to be divided by Lots; and afterwards retailed.
Fishmonger buying Fish, except for his own Sale; Penalty £20; Size of Lobsters for Sale; Penalty.
And for the better preventing the same or the like evill Practices for the time to come Be it further enacted
That no Person or Persons whatsoever shall at any time after, the said Tenth Day of May One thousand six
hundred ninety nine imploy or be imployed by any other Person or Persons in buying in or at the said Market
of Billingsgate any Quantity of Fish to to be divided by Lots or in Shares amongst any Fishmongers or other
Persons in order to be afterwards put to sale by Retaile or otherwise nor shall any Fishmonger at any time
after the said Tenth Day of May ingross or buy in the said Market of Billingsgate any Quantity of Fish but what
shall be for his owne Sale or Use and not for or on the behalfe of any other Fishmonger to expose to sale
under paine of forfeiting for each such Offence the Sum of Twenty Pounds one Moiety thereof to the Use of
the Poor of the Parish where such Offence shall be committed and the other Moiety to his or their owne Use
who shall sue for the same And that from and after the said Tenth Day of May no Fisherman or other Person
or Persons shall bring on Shore or put to sale any Lobsters that are not Eight Inches from the Peak of the
Nose unto the end of the middle Fin of the Tail under paine of forfeiting for every such Lobster the Sum of
One Shilling the one Moiety to the Poor of the Parish where the Offence shall be committed the other Moiety
to the Prosecutor to be recovered upon Conviction before the Chief Magistrate of any City or Towne Corporate
or before the next Justice of Peace where such Offence shall be committed
VIII. Fish (Exception) to be imported in English Shipping.
And for the better Encouragement of the Fishery of this Kingdom Be it further enacted by the Authority
aforesaid That from and after the said Tenth Day of May no Fish (except Stock Fish and live Eeles) taken or
caught by any Forreigners Aliens to this Kingdom (except Protestant Strangers inhabiting within this Kingdom)
shall be imported in any Forreign Ship Vessell or Bottom not being wholly English Property and uttered sold or
exposed to sale in this Kingdom under the paine of the Forfeiture of such Ship Vessell or Bottom with the
Tackle thereunto belonging and of all such Fish so imported and sold Contrary to the true Intent and Meaning
hereof one Moiety thereof to the Use of the Poor of the Parish where the same shall be so found or seized the
other Moiety to his or their owne Use who shall so seize the same
IX. Proviso for Importation of Anchovies, &c.
Provided nevertheless That nothing in this Act contained shall be construed to prohibite the Importation of
Anchovies Sturgeon Botargo or Cavear nor selling of Macharell before or after Divine Service on Sundays
X. Proviso for antient Duty of Cod and Ling.
( (fn. 3) ) Provided alwaies That nothing in this Act contained shall be construed to take away an ancient Duty of Cod
and Ling payable to the Kings of this Realme for the Service of their Household by such Merchants as trade to
Westmoney and Iseland but that the same may be taken by his Majesties Officers in such manner as the same hath
been lawfully used to be taken before the making of this Act.