Reasons for passing this Act.
A Corporation of Weavers in Kidderminster.
Whereas diverse Abuses and Deceits have of late yeares beene had and used in the makeing of Stuffes
called Kidderminster Stuffes within the Burrough and Parish of Kidderminster in the County of Worcester
tending to the debaseing of the said Manufacture and to the great prejudice of the Publique. For the prevention
of which abuses and deceits may it please your Majestie that it may be enacted, And bee it enacted by the Kings
most excellent Majestie by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Coo[m]mons
in this present Parlyament assembled and by the authoritie of the same That there shall be chosen one President,
fower Wardens and eight Assistants all which shall be Master Weavers within the said Burrough the first Monday
after Pentecost in the yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred seaventy and one and from thenceforth yearely
and every yeare on the next Monday after Pentecost at some publique Place by the Master Weavers of the said
Burrough or the greater part of them then present, And the said President, Wardens and Assistants respectively
shall within fowerteene dayes after they shall be soe chosen or elected and notice thereof given take the Oath
ensueing to be administred by the Bayliffe or any one of the Justices of the Peace of the said Burrough for the
time being or either of them Which Oath they and every of them are hereby required from time to time to
administer accordingly (viz)
Oath to be taken by them.
I A B doe sweare That I will well faithfully and honestly performe and discharge the Office of President or
Warden or Assistant Mutatis mutandis of the Trade of Clothiers and Stuffe-Weavers within the Burrough and
Parish of Kidderminster according to the best of my Skill, Power and Knowledge.
II. On refusing to take Oath, or Death of President, &c.; others to be chosen.
And if it shall happen That the said President or any of the said Wardens or Assistants chosen as aforesaid shall
refuse to take the said Oath or after his or their being sworne as aforesaid shall die before the end of the yeare, That then
from time to time soe often as neede shall be it shall and may be lawfull to and for the Master Weavers of the said
Burrough to choose, one other President Warden or Wardens Assistant or Assistants in the place of him or them soe
dieing or refuseing who shall be sworne in such manner as aforesaid.
III. Power to Corporation to make By-laws;
to be confirmed by Justices of Assize for the County of Worcester, and published Twice a Year.; Power to President, &c. to impose Fines.
And for the Regulation and good Government of the said Trade and Manufacture the said President Wardens
and Assistants or any seaven or more of them, whereof the President and three or more of the said Wardens are to be
present shall and may from time to time meete and consult together for the good and benefitt of the said Trade and
manufacture, and for the due execution of the powers and authority given by this Act, and to make and ordaine
By Lawes Rules and Ordinances for the better regulateing of the said Trade and Manufacture and the Artificers of
the same and to make Seales from time to time for sealeing of the same Stuffes. Which By Lawes Rules and
Ordinances being ratifyed and confirmed by the ( (fn. 1) ) Justices of Assise for the County of Worcester for the time
being shall be published at least twice in the yeare at two publique Assemblyes for the said Trade and Manufacture,
and shall be obeyed and kepte by the Artificers of the said Trade and Manufacture and by the severall persons useing
the same within and under the said Regulation. And the said President Wardens and Assistants or any seaven or more
of them shall have and hereby have power to impose a Fine or Penalty upon any person or persons useing the said Trade
or that shall be under the Regulation thereof as shall not conforme to such Rules, Orders, By Lawes and Ordinances
soe made and to be made and confirmed as aforesaid.
IV. Fine not to exceed 40s. for one Offence.
Provided That the said Fine or Penalty upon any person for not conforming as aforesaid shall not exceede the
Summe of forty shillings for any one Offence.
V. President, &c. being chosen, and neglecting to execute;.
Penalty; how to be levied; how to be employed.
And if any person or persons duely chosen as aforesaid to be President or Warden or Assistant and due notice
thereof given by the Bayliffe of the said Burrough for the time being shall refuse or negclect to execute the place of
President Warden or Assistant or to take the said Oath according to the purport of this Act every such person soe
refuseing or negclecting shall be fined at the discretion of the Bayliffe or any one of the Justices of the Peace of the
said Burrough for the time being soe as such Fine doe not exceede the Summe of five pounds for any one
offence, Which said Fine shall be leavyed by Warrant under the Hands and Seales of the said Bayliffe and any
one Justice of the Peace for the said Burrough on the Goods and Chattells of the said Offender by Distresse and
Sale rendering the Overplus if any shall be and shall be imployed and disposed of to the use and benefitt of
the poore Artificers of the said Trade at the discretion of the said Bayliffe and any one Justice of the Peace of
the said Burrough.
VI. Linen Yarn to be recled on a Reel Four Yards about, and sold openly in the Market.
Each Lea of Yarn to contain 200 Threads.
And for the better Regulation of the said Trade and Manufacture and the avoiding of Fraude and Deceits
therein Bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That all Linnen-Yarn reeled and usually bought and sold
or estimated by the Lea to be hereafter used by any of the said Artificers and Stuffe Weavers within the said
Burrough or Parish of Kidderminster or Liberties thereof shall be made without fraude or deceit and be openly
bought and sould in some publique Market Place on the Market day [with (fn. 2) ] in the said Burrough to be appointed
by the Bayliffe of the said Burrough for the time being, And before the same be exposed to sale shall be reeled
on a Reele fower Yards about every Lea of the said Yarne containing two hundred. Threads.
VII. Selling or exposing to Sale Yarns unduly reeled,
Seizure; and to be tried by a Jury; who are to be aworn to inquire of Defects of Yarns seized.; Yarns found not duly made and reeled; Penalty; to be paid to President, and disposed of by Corporation; Otherwise Yarn to be sold, and Overplus restored to Owner.
And in case any person or persons shall hereafter sell or expose to sale any the Yarns aforesaid made or
reeled in any other manner then as aforesaid it shall and may be lawfull to and for the said President Wardens &
Assistants or any two or more of them to [cease (fn. 3) ] take and carry away all such deceitfull and defecttive Yarns,
which said Yarns within twenty dayes after such Seizure shall be tryed by a Jury of twelve honest and able Artificers
of the said Trade, who shall be from time to time impannelled and summoned by a Precept under the Hands and
Seales of the Bayliffe and any one Justice of the Peace of the said Burrough to appeare at the Guild Hall of the
said Burrough at a time certaine in the said Precept specifyed and then and there be sworne by the said Bayliffe
and Justice to enquire of the defects of all. Yarns seized as aforesaid, and to try whether the said Yarns be made
and reeled according to the true intent and meaning of this Actct and the By Lawes and Ordinances made by vertue
thereof, And if the said Jury impannelled and sworne as aforesaid shall finde any of the said Yarns hot made and
reeled according to the intent and meaning of this Act and the By Lawes and Ordinances made by vertue thereof,
That then the said Bayliffe and Justice of the Peace of the said Burrough shall impose such Fines or Fines upon the
Owner or Owners of such defective Yarns as in their discretion shall be thought meete not exceeding the value of
the moyety of such defective Yarns, Which said Fine or Fines the Owners of the said defective Yarns shall pay to
the said President for the time being (to be disposed of as the said President, Wardens and Assistants or the major
number of them shall seeme meete at their next publique Meeting within thirty dayes after the said Tryall) and in
default therof the said Yarns to be sold by the President or any two of the said Wardens, and the Overplus of the
Moneys [thereof (fn. 4) ] comeing after the Fine or Fines deducted to be restored to the said Owner or Owners upon
VIII. Kidderminster Stuffs to be regulated by the Corporation.
And bee it further enacted by the authority aforesaid That all sorts of Cloathes and Stuffes woven with Woole
onely or of Woole and other Materialls within the said Burrough or Parish of Kidderminster or the Liberties thereof
shall be under, the Power Government and Regulation of the said President Wardens and Assistants in such manner
as by this Act and the By-Lawes and Ordinances made or to be made by vertue thereof, or by the Lawes or Statutes
of this Realme are or shall be established.
IX. Cloths, &c. to be viewed and searched by the President, &c.
and if found duly made, to be sealed.; If not duly made, to be seized and tried, and Owners fined.
And that all Clothes and Stuffes made or to be made under the Regulation aforesaid before the same shall be
exposed or putt to sale shall be brought to some convenient place within the said Burrough to be appointed by
the said President & Wardens or the greater part of them to be viewed and searched by the said President and
any one of the said Wardens, or by any two of the said Wardens in the absence of the said President, and if the
same shall be found to be well and sufficiently made and wrought according to the Rules and Ordinances of the
said Trade and Manufacture then all such Clothes and Stuffes shall be by the said President and any one of the
said Wardens or by any two of the said Wardens for the time being sealed and allowed accordingly. And if upon
such Search and View any Clothes or Stuffes shall be found or conceived not to be well and sufficiently made and
wrought according to the Rules and Ordinances of the said Trade and Manufacture then such Clothes and Stuffes
shall be seized by the said President and Warden or any two of the said Wardens and be brought to Tryall, and
the Owner or Owners fined in such manner and forme as in this present Act is, before limitted and appointed for
the Tryall of defective Linnen Yarne.
X. Power to Corporation to enter into Shops, Houses, &c. and search and view Cloths, &c.
Cloths found defective, seized and tried.
And bee it further enacted by the authority aforesaid That the said President Wardens and Assistants or any two
or more of them shall have and hereby have power and [and (fn. 5) ] authority to enter into and search the Houses and
Workehouses of any Artificer under the Regulation of the said Trade at all times of the day and usuall times of
opening of Shopps and workeing, and into the Shopps Houses and Warehouses of any common Buyer, Dealer in or
Retailer of any of the said Clothes or Stuffes and into the Houses and Workehouses of any Dyer Sheereman and all
other Workemens Houses and places of Sale or dressing of the said Clothes Stuffes and Yarns and May there( (fn. 6) )
view the said Clothes Stuffes and Yarns respectively whether they be made and wrought according to the Lawes,
Orders and Ordinances of the said Trade. And if any Cloth Stuffe or Yarns shall be found faulty or defective to
seize and carry away the same to be tried by a Jury as afore in this Act is appointed.
XI. Buying Cloth before sealed, or such Cloth found unsealed; Exception.
Penalty on Owner. Penalty on Maker, &c.
And bee it alsoe enacted by the authority aforesaid That it shall not be lawfull for any person or persons to
buy any peice or peices of Clothes or Stuffes made or to be made within the said Burrough or Parish or Liberty
thereof before the same be sealed as aforesaid, and if any peice or peices of such Cloth or Stuffe shall be found
in the possession of any person or persons unsealed (except in the possession of the first Owner or Maker thereof)
the person or persons in whose custodie the same shall be found shall be adjudged guilty of Deceit and shall
forfeite for every such peice of Cloath or Stuffe soe found in his or their possession unsealed as aforesaid the
Summe of fower shillings and the Maker and Seller of the same who shall deliver the same out of his or their
possession before the same be sealed shall likewise forfeite for every such peice other fower shillings to the use of
the Poore of the said Trade.
XII. Sealing with counterfeit Seal, or removing Seal, &c.
And if any person shall counterfeite any Seale of the said Trade, or shall seale any peice of Cloth or Stuffe
made under the Regulation of the said Trade with any counterfeite Seale, or shall remove a Seale of one peice
and sett it to another peice which hath not beene sealed as before in this Act is appointed to be sealed, every
person soe offending and being thereof convicted by his owne Confession or by the Oathes of two or more Witnesses
to be taken by the Bayliffe or any Justice of the Peace of the said Burrough for the time being, who respectively
have hereby power to administer an Oath for that purpose shall forfeite for every such offence the summe of
XIII. How Journeymen to be provided for.
And for the better providing that poore Journey-men who have served in the said Trade and are not able to sett up
for themselves, may be imployed in Worke It is hereby enacted That every person under the Regulation of the said
Trade, who shall imploy two Apprentices in the said Trade shall likewise imploy and sett on worke two Journeymen in
the, said Trade dureing the time he shall have or imploy two Apprentices upon paine that every person shall forfeite for
every moneth soe offending as aforesaid the Summe of twenty shillings.
XIV. How Penalties to be applied.
Levied by Distress.
And bee it enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That the one moyety of all Fines Forfeitures and Penalties [before (fn. 7) ]
in this Act mentioned other then such as are expressely otherwise appointed shall be to the use of the Kings Majestie
his Heires and Successors, the other moyety to the use of the Poore of the said Trade, And shall and may be
leavyed by distresse and sale of the Goods and Chattells of the Offender or Offenders by Warrant under the Hands
and Seales of the Bayliffe and one of the Juftices of the Peace of the said Burrough, or be recovered by Action of
Debt, Bill Plaint or Information in any of his Majestyes Courts of Record, wherein noe Essoyne, Protection or Wager
of Law shall be allowed.
XV. Justices, Constables, &c. to aid and assist Corporation.
In Actions for executing Act, General Issue.; Double Costs.
And bee it alsoe enacted That all Bayliffes Justices Sheriffes Constables and all other Officers shall be aiding
and assisting to the said President Wardens and Assistants or any of them as often as they shall be thereunto
required, And in all Actions and Suites that shall be brought against any person or persons for what he or they
shall doe in pursuance or in execution of this Act or any of the authorities hereby given, the person or persons
soe sued or molested shall or may pleade the Generall Issue of Not guilty and give the speciall Matter in Evidence,
and shall recover double Costs in every such Case if the Verdict passe for such person or persons or that the
Plaintiffe or Plaintiffes be Nonsuite therein, or forbeare further prosecution, or suffer discontinuance, For which
Costs the said person or persons shall have the like Remedy as in any Case where Costs by the Law were given