Recital that divers Abuses have been had of late in the making Broad Woollen Cloth in the West Riding of York.
A Corporation erected within the said West Riding.; Masters, Wardens, and Assistants, when and by whom to be chosen.; and in case of Death then Election to be at any Court to be holden next after; to take the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy; and also the Oath following.; Power to Justices, and to Masters, Wardens, &c. to administer the like Oaths to Officers of the Corporation.
WHEREAS divers abuses and deceits have of late yeares been had and used in the Manufacture of Broad
Woollen Cloth made within the Westriding of the County of Yorke and the spining and deceitfull working
thereof which tends to the great debasing and undervaluation of the said Manufacture both att home and alsoe
in Forreigne parts where the same is usually vended For p[re]vention of all which abuses and deceipts. It is enacted by
the Kings most Excellent Majestie by the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons
assembled in Parliament That from and after the next Monday after Easter which shall be in the yeare of our
Lord God One thousand six hundred sixty and two there be and shall be a Corporation to continue for ever
within the said West Riding of the County of Yorke consisting of all the Justices of [the (fn. 1) ] Peace of the said West
Riding for the time being Two Masters Ten Wardens Twelve Assistants and Commonalty All which said Masters
Wardens and Assistants are to be of the ablest and best experienced Clothiers within the said West Riding and
such as have served and been brought up in the Trade and Mistery of Clothing by the space of seven yeares
according to the Lawes and Statutes of this Realm One of which said Masters Five of which said Wardens and
Six of which said Assistants shall be chosen the first Monday after Pentecost then next following and from thenceforth
to be yearely and every yeare chosen upon the next Monday after Pentecost at some publique place by the Free
Clothiers of the said West-Riding inhabiting within the Parish of Leeds in the said County of Yorke or the greater
part of them present at such Election and the other Master Five Wardens and Six Assistants shall be chosen upon
the same dayes at some publique place by the Free Clothiers inhabiting out of the said Town and Parish of Leeds
or the greater part of them present at the said Election of the parts adjacent within the said Westriding [And in
case any of the said Masters Wardens and Assistants after theire said respective Elections do happen to dy that
then it shall and may be lawfull att any Court to be holden next after such decease to elect others in theire
respective places (fn. 2) ] And the said Wardens Masters and Assistants respectively shall within Eight dayes after theire
first Choice and Election take the Oathes of Allegiance and Supremacy which any two Justices of the Peace within
the West Riding whereof One to be of the Quo[rum] have hereby power to administer and alsoe the ensuing
Oath (viz) I A. B. do sweare That I will well faithfully and honestly performe and discharge the Office of a
Master of the Corporac[i]on of the Free Clothiers according to the best of my Skill Power and Knowledge So help
me God. And the like Oath and Oathes to be administred to the Wardens and Assistants respectively mutatis
mutandis And for ever after the said Justices of the Peace Masters Wardens and Assistants and their Successors
or any Thirteen of them shall and have hereby power to administer the like Oath or Oathes to such Officer or
Officers faithfully and honestly to perform and discharge his and theire said Office and Offices to which he [and (fn. 3) ]
they are and shall be so chosen by this Act at any Court to be by them holden in manner hereafter declared
II. Justices of Peace, Masters, Wardens, and Assistants, and the Free Clothiers of the West Riding, to be such Corporation, by the Name herein mentioned;
and may plead, and take Lands, Goods, &c. not exceeding £200 yearly.; May meet (one Justice or one Master being present) and keep a Court on the first Saturday in every Month, at the Common Hall in Leeds, or elsewhere.; Eight Days Notice to be given.; Masters, &c. absenting, so that no Court can be held; Penalty 20s.; Court may summon Clothiers, not exceeding 48.; Refusing to appears; Penalty Ten Groats.
And it is further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the said Justices of the Peace Masters Wardens and
Assistants for the time being togeather with the said Free Clothiers of the said West Riding shall for ever hereafter
in name and in fact be one Body Politick and Corporate in Law to all intents and purposes and shall have a
perpetuall Succession and be called by the name of the Supervisors Masters Wardens Assistants and Commonalty of
the Trade or Mistery of Clothiers for the well making of Broad Woollen Cloth within the West Riding of the
County of Yorke and that they shall bee enabled to plead and sue and to bee sued and impleaded by that name
in all Courts and Places of Judicature within this Kingdome And by that name shall and may without License in
Mortmain purchase take or receive any Lands Tenements or Hereditaments of the Gift Alienation or Demise of any
person or persons whoe are hereby without further License enabled to transfer the same and any Goods and Chattels
whatsoever for the use and benefit of the Corporation aforesaid (not exceeding the yearely value of Two hundred
pounds) And for the better Regulation of the said Government of the said Trade and Manufacture the said
Justices of the Peace Masters Wardens and Assistants for the time being or any Thirteen of them whereof there
shall be One of the said Justices or One of the said Masters at the least alwaies present shall have and hereby have
Power and Authority from time to time to meet and keep Courts upon the first Saturday in every Moneth in every
yeare for the ends in this Act mentioned within the said Town of Leeds at the place comonly called or knowne
by the name of the Sessions House or Common Hall in Leeds aforesaid And alsoe at such other time and place
of the said West Riding as shall from time to time be appointed by the said Justices Masters Wardens and Assistants
or any Thirteen of them upon eight dayes notice or warning to be given of such meeting and Court to be held
And in case that the Masters Wardens and Assistants or the major part of them shall refuse or neglect to appear
so as a Court cannot bee holden accordingly as is before directed that then such Master Warden or Assistant so
refusing or neglecting shall forfeit the sum of Twenty shillings [the one moyety to the use of the Poore of such
respective Town where the person so refusing or neglecting shall live the other moyety to the use of the Corporation (fn. 2) ]
And the said Justices Masters Wardens and Assistants or any Thirteen of them are hereby impowered to summon
to appear at the said Courts to be held as aforesaid so many of the said Clothiers as they shall in theire discretions
thinke meet for the better ordering the Affaires of the said Trade who are hereby required to appeare upon such
Summons the number of which Persons so summoned shall not be under Eight and forty And in case of neglect
or refusall are to forfeit to the use of the said Corporation the su[m]m of Ten Groats for every default of not appearing
to be levied as is hereafter directed.
III. Justices, &c. may make a Common Seal, and ordaiu By-laws, &c.
to be ratified by Justices of Assise, and published four times a Year; Court may fine Clothiers not observing By-laws.
And the said Justices Masters Wardens and Assistants or any Thirteen of them whereof One of the said
Justices or One of the said Masters to be present as aforesaid) shall have and hereby have Power and Authority
from time to time to make and appoint a Common Seal for the use of the said Corporation and to make and
ordain By lawes Rules and Ordinances for and concerning the better spining working making fulling and milling
of Woollen Cloth as in theire Judgements and Discretions may tend to the good Credit and Advancement of the
said Trade and Manufacture (the same not being contrary to Law) which By lawes Rules and Ordinances being
ratified and confirmed by the Justices of Assize to be holden for the County of Yorke shall be published Four
times in the yeare att the least att Foure publique meetings or Courts (viz) Upon the first Saturday in June the
first Saturday in September the first Saturday in December and the first Saturday in March and shall be obeyed and
kept by the several persons within and under the said Regulation or Corporation And the said Courts constituted
as aforesaid shall have and hereby have power to impose a Fine and Penalty upon any person or persons of the
said Corporation or Regulation being a Clothier that shall not conform to such Rules Orders and Ordinances so
made as aforesaid
IV. Penalty not to exceed 20s.
Provided That the said Fine or Penalty on any person for not conforming as aforesaid exceed not the su[m]m
of Twenty shillings for one offence the full moyety or one halfe of the said Fines and Penalties to goe to the
use of the said Corporation and the other halfe or moyety to the use of the Poor of the Parish where such
person so offending may be dwelling and inhabiting
V. Justices, Masters, &c. may appoint Searchers of Cloth, who are to be sworn.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the said Justices Masters Wardens and Assistants or
any thirteen of them shall have power to nominate and choose Searchers of Cloth in the several places of the
said Westriding who shall be sworn before them or any thirteen of them in manner aforesaid for the true searching
of Cloth that it be of a due Weight Length and Breadth according to the Statute.
VI. Recital that there is no Standard for the New Drapery.
Length, Weight, and Breadth of New Draperies settled.; Ends or Half Cloths.; Short Cloths.; Long Cloths.; Searcher by his Oath to examine all Broad Woollen Cloths, and affix a Seal.; If said Cloths found faulty, Justices, &c. may impose a Fine on Offender; how to be disposed of; to be recovered as by 21 Jac. I. c. 18. Searchers to take, the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, and also the following Oath.
And in regard the nature of Cloth is much changed in these late yeares and that the New Drapery is now
most in use for which sort of Cloth there is no certain Standard for Length Weight and Breadth appointed by
any Statute Be it therefore enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the Length Weight and Breadth of the said
New Draperies of broad Woollen Cloth made within the said West Riding be and shall be as is hereby limited
and appointed (viz) That every Cloth called by the name of [and (fn. 4) ] End or half Cloth shall be betwixt fifteen
yards and eighteen yards in length in the water and not to exceed, and one yard and an halfe in breadth at
the least within the Lists And every Cloth co[m]monly called a Short Cloth [between (fn. 5) ] twenty four yards and twenty
eight yards in length in the water and not to exceed and one yard and an halfe in the breadth at the [leat (fn. 6) ] within
the Lists And every Long Cloth so called betwixt thirty yards and thirty six yards in length in the water and
not to exceed and one yard and an halfe in breadth at the least within the Lists And that every yard of such
Cloth shall weigh respectively two pounds and a quarter accounting sixteen Ounces to the pound being well
thicked scowred milled and fully dryed And that the said Searcher shall according to his Oath duly try and
examine by weight or by water all broad Woollen Cloths of what sort soe ever made within the said West Riding
and shall affix thereunto a Seal of Lead expressing the true length and weight thereof And in case any of the
said Clothes be found faulty upon trial and examination the said Justices Masters Wardens and Assistants or any
thirteen of them shall have power to impose such Fine and Penalty upon the Offenders as by the Lawes and
Statutes of this Realme in that behalfe are or ought to be imposed upon them for such defaults the one third
part of all such Fines and Penalties to be disposed of to the use of such Searcher or Searchers certifying the said
Default of Length Weight or Breadth and the other twoe parts to the Poor of the Parish where such offence
shall be committed to be recovered in such manner as is limited and appointed by the Statute made in the [One
and twentieth (fn. 7) ] Yeare of the late King James Ch: 18. And that all and every such Searcher and Searchers so chosen
as aforesaid shall before he or they enter upon the execution of the said Office take the Oaths of Allegiance and
Supremacy and also the Oath ensuing which Oath the Justices Masters Wardens and Assistants or any thirteen of
them as aforesaid have power to administer as followeth I. A. B. do swear that I shall well and truly execute the
Office of Searcher of broad Woollen Cloth within the West Riding of the County of Yorke according to the
Lawes and Statutes of this Realm and according to the best of my Skill and Knowledge
So helpe me God.
VII. Searcher not duly executing his Office, nor setting to Seal; Penalty £5. Any other Searcher with a Warden may research.
And be it further enacted That if any Searcher shall fail in the due Execution of his Office contrary to his
Oath and the Lawes and Statutes in that case made and provided every such Searcher shall forfeit and lose for
such fault or not setting to such seal of Lead as aforesaid five pounds And that it shall and may be lawful to
and for any other Searcher in the said West Riding (taking with him one of the said Wardens of the said
Corporation) to research any of the said Clothes Any thing in any former statute to the contrary thereof in any
VIII. Power to Searchers to enter Shops, Warehouses, &c. to search for suspected Cloths. Party resisting, Penalty £10. If faulty Cloth found, forfeited, and may be disposed of by the said Justices &c.
And it is further enacted That it shall and may be lawfull to and for all and every such Searcher and
Searchers from time to time so often as occasion shall require to enter into any Shop House Ware house or any
other place in the day time of any Clothiers Drapers Cloth workers or of any other person or persons whatsoever
where any of the said Clothes shall be within the said Westriding to search for all suspected Cloth And in case
of Resistance the party so resisting shall forfeit the su[m]m of ten pounds the one halfe thereof to his Majestie the
other halfe to the use of the said Corporation And if upon such search any Broad Cloth shall be found made
of or mixed with Flocks Thrums Goats hair or other deceitful Wool the said Cloth shall be and is hereby
declared and enacted to be forfeited And that it shall and may be lawfull to and for the said Justices Masters
Wardens and Assistants or any thirteen of them at any Court to bee by them held as aforesaid to dispose thereof
in such manner as by the Lawes and Statutes of this Realm the same ought to be disposed
IX. No persons, not having served Apprenticeship, to make Broad Cloths for Sale; Penalty. Exception.
How Penalty to be disposed of. Persons not being free of the Trade, or Widow of Freeman, not to make Cloths.;
And be it further enacted That no person or persons within the said Westriding who hath not served as an
Apprentice to the Trade of Clothier for the space of Seaven yeares or have not been exercised therein by the like
space of seven yeares before shall make any Broad Cloath to sell under the penalty of five pounds for every Moneth
that he shee or they shall continue to exercise the said Trade (excepting such persons only as now be in the actual
use and exercise of the said Trade) the one Moyety thereof to be paid to the Kings Majesty His Heires and
Successors and the other Moyety to the use of the said Corporation And that no Housholder or Housewife within
the said West Riding or elsewhere within the said County not being free of the said Trade of Clothiers [or not
having been exercised therein as aforesaid or not being the widdow of any such person as aforesaid (fn. 8) ] shall from the
Feast of Pentecost next ensuing make or cause to bee made any Woollen Cloth whatsoever unlesse it be to the
use of themselves their Children and Families but not to sell upon pain to forfeit double value for every Peice of
Cloth so made and exposed to sale one moyety thereof to His Majesty the other moyety to any person who shall
sue for the same in any of His Majesties Courts of Records in which no Essoign Protection or Wager of Law
shall be allowed
X. The said Justices, Masters, &c. may appoint a Clerk and other Officers; and give them Oath to execute Office.
And it is further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That the said Justices Masters Wardens and Assistants or
any thirteen of them are hereby impowered to nominate and appoint a Clarke a Register and Treasurer and such
other Officer and Officers to see the due execution of the several Powers given by this Act as they in theire
Discretions shall thinke meet and [to (fn. 9) ] give them an Oath or Oaths for the due execution of theire several places
XI. Penalties to be levied by Distress. Exception.
And it is further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all Fines Forfeitures and Penalties imposed or to be levied
by vertue of this Act (the meanes and recovery whereof is not otherwise herein provided for and set forth) shall
be levied by distresse and sale of the Offender or Offenders Goods and Chattels by Warrant from the said Justices
Masters Wardens and Assistants or any thirteen of them rendring the overplus to the Owner thereof upon demand
XII. Counterfeiting Seal of Corporation;
Penalty £20.; Distress.; If no Distress,; Imprisonment.
And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That if any person or persons whatsoever shall counterfeit
the Seal of the said Corporac[i]on he or they so offending shall forfeit the su[m]m of Twenty pounds so often as such
person or persons shall upon due proof be found guilty of the same which said forfeiture is to be levied by
distresse and sale of the Offenders Goods rendring the overplus to the Owner thereof upon demand and for want
of such distresse such person and persons to be committed to the Common Goal of the County where he or they
shall be found by Warrant under the Hand and Seal of any one of the Justices of the Peace in the said County
there to remain without Bail or Mainprize for the space of six moneths or until such person or persons shall have
paid the Fine as aforesaid
XIII. All Clauses in any Act made touching the said Abuses, and repugnant to this Act, to be void.
In Actions for executing this Act, General Issue may be pleaded.; Double Costs.
And be it enacted That all and every Article Clause and Sentence in any Act of Parliament heretofore made
touching and concerning the said abuses of Broad Woollen Clothes in this Act mentioned and being repugnant or
contrary to any Article and Sentence in this Act shall as touching the said Clothes only made within the said
Westriding from and after the Feast of St John Baptist which shall be in the yeare of our Lord God One thousand
six hundred sixty and two be utterly void to all intents and purposes whatsoever And in all Actions and Suites
that shall be brought against any person or persons for acting in any thing according to the true intent and meaning
of this Act the person or persons soe sued or molested shall or may plead the general Issue of Not guilty and
give the special matter in evidence and shall recover double Costs in every such case if the Verdict passe for such
person or persons or that the Plaintiff or Plaintiffs be Non suit therein
XIV. Proviso for Rights and Duties of the King's Aulnager or his Deputies within the West Riding.
Provided alwaies That nothing herein contained shall extend or be construed to extend to take away any of
the Rights Duties or Customes of or belonging to the Office and Place of his Majesties Aulnager or his Deputy
or Deputies within the said West Riding But that hee or they shall or may from time to time [execute (fn. 9) ] do and
performe all and every matter and thing to him [or (fn. 10) ] them belonging according to the Lawes and Statutes of this
Realm And alsoe receive all Fees due and accustomed to the said Office belonging in as large and ample manner
as he [or (fn. 10) ] they might or ought to have done before the making of this p[re]sent Act Any thing herein contained to
the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding
XV. No Persons free of the said Corporation enabled by this Act to lower Wages as allowed by Quarter Sessions.
Provided alwaies and it is further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That neither the said Supervisers Masters
Wardens and Assistants nor any of them nor any other person or persons free of the said Corporation of Broad
Woollen Clothiers shall by any Authority derived from this Act or by colour thereof set or impose any other or
lesser Rates or Wages upon any inferiour Workmen Servants or Labourers to bee imployed by them or any of
them in the said Manufacture then such as shall bee from time to time allowed and approved of by the Justices
of the Peace in theire Quarter Sessions according to the Lawes and Statutes touching Labourers in that case made
XVI. Continuance of Act.
Provided alsoe That this Act continue to the end of the First Session of the next Parliament and no longer.