Reasons for passing this Act.
Commissioners named; Their Power and Manner of Proceeding..
Forasmuch as great part of the Houses within the antient Burrough of Southwarke by reason of a
sudden and lamentable Fire therein happening on or about the six and twentyeth day of May last past were
consumed and burned downe or otherwise destroyed demolished or defaced by reason whereof many Suites and
Controversies are arisen and more dayly are likely to arise betweene the Proprietors Tenants Under Tenants or
late Occupiers for and concerning the repairing rebuilding and payment of Rents who are not relievable therein in
any ordinary course of Law insoemuch that if the same should not be speedily determined many of the late
Inhabitants must be ruined and the rebuilding much obstructed, And for that it is just that every one concerned
should beare a proportionable share in the losse according to their severall Interests wherein in respect of the
multitude of Cases varying in their severall circumstances noe certaine generall Rule can be prescribed, And
whereas many Tenants and Under Tenants late Occupyers of the said Houses for the continuance of their Trade
and to encourage the rebuilding have built up and finished severall Houses of much better use and ornament then
ever the same were before depending upon the Justice of the Nation for an Act of Parliament to be passed for
determination of the Premisses and encouragement of Builders according to many late Examples in Cases of like
Calamity. Bee it therefore enased by the Kings most excellent Majestie by and with the advice and consent of
the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by authoritie of the
same That the Justices of the Courts of Kings Bench and Common Pleas and the Barons of the Coife of the Exchequer
for the time being The Lord Maior of London and the Recorder for the time being and every Alderman who
hath heretofore borne the State and Dignity of Lord Maior of London The Steward of Southwarke for the time
being Francis Viscount Longford Sir Francis Vincent Baronet Sir Adam Browne Baronet Sir William More Baronet
Sir Edmond Bowyer Knight Sir William Haward Knight Sir Nicholas Carew Knight Arthur Onslow Esquire George
Evelyn Esqq[uire] Roger James Esqq[uire] Thomas Dalmahoy Esqq[uire] George Woodroffe Esqq[uire] William Eliot Esq[uire] Roger
Duncombe Esqq[uire] Thomas Turges Esq Thomas Barker James Reading Richard Howe Peter Rich John Freeman
and John Applebee Esquires or any five or more of them whereof one, of the said Justices or Barons to be one
at the same time and place assembled shall be and by authority of these Presents are made and constituted a
Court of Record and shall and may with or without adjournment from time to time summarily and without the
Formalityes of Proceedings used in Courts of Law or Equity by Verdict Testimony of Witnesses upon Oath
Examination of partyes interessed or by all or any of the said wayes or otherwise at their discretions shall and
are hereby authorized from time to time to heare and determine all differences and demands whatsoever which
have arisen or may any wise arise betweene Landlords Proprietors Tenants Lessees Under tenants or late Occupiers
of any of the said Houses or Buildings with their Appurtenances or the Yards or Grounds thereunto belonging
in or of any person or persons haveing or claiming any Estate Right Title or Interest in Law or Equity, Charge
or Incumbrance of or in the same or their or any of their Heires Executors Administrators Successors or Assignes
or any other person or persons for touching or. concerning the repairing building or not building of the said Houses
and Buildings Yards and Grounds or for or concerning the payment defalcation apportioning or abateing any Rent
or Rents (other then Arreares of Rent onely due on or before the five and twentyeth day of March one thousand
six hundred seaventy and six) or for or touching any Covenant Condition or Penalty relateing thereunto or for or
touching or concerning the prefixing or limitting of any time for such Repaires or new Buildings or any Rate or
Contribution to be borne or paid thereunto by any person or persons Bodyes politique or corporate interessed in
the Premisses and all Incidents relateing thereunto, and that the definitive Order of the said Court as aforesaid
shall be finall as well betweene the said partyes their Heires Executors Administrators Successors and Assignes and
all claiming by from or under them as touching the matters contained in such Orders or Decrees as alsoe against
all persons claiming or hereafter to claime any Right Title or Interest in or unto the said Premisses by vertue of
any Claime or Demand precedent to the said Orders or Decrees from which there shall be noe Appeale or Review
otherwise then is hereafter expressed.
II. Justices, &c. may increase or abridge Estates, and order new and longer. Leases, &c.
Their Decrees to be binding and conclusive on Infants, Feme Coverts, &c.
And bee it further enacted by the authority aforesaid That the said Justices and Barons and other persons
abovenamed or any five or .more of them as aforesaid shall have authorise and are hereby impowered where
they shall judge it convenient to order the surrendring increasing abridgeing ceasing determining or chargeing of
any Estates in the Premisses or to order new or longer Leases or Estates to be made of any the Premisses by
the Proprietors or Owners thereof or other person or persons interessed therein to any Tenant or Subtenant or
late Occupyer of the same their Executors Administrators Successors or Assignes or any other person or persons
who shall undertake to be the Builder in case the Tenant or Occupier shall refuse at such Rent or Fine as they
shall judge fitt, all which Orders or Decrees according to the Tenors thereof shall be obeyed by all persons
concerned therein respectively and shall conclude and binde them their Heires Successors Executors Administrators
and Assignes respectively notwithstanding any disability in respect of Coverture Infancy Nonsanity of Memory Estates
Taile in Possession Reversion or Remainder or in Right of the Church or other Corporations or otherwise and
that Infants Feme Coverts Ideots Persons of non-sane memory or beyond the Seas Tenants in Taile or in Remainder
Bishops Deanes and Chapters Ecclesiasticall persons or other Bodyes Naturall or any way incorporated their Heires
Executors Administrators Successors or Assignes and all other person and persons whatsoever their Heires and
Successors Executors Administrators and Assignes shall be bound and concluded by such respeive Order or
Orders according to the Tenour or Purport thereof Any Law Statute or, Custome or other matter or thing to the
III. Their Summons of Parties and Witnesses how to be granted;and how to be served; upon Appearance or Default, may proceed to determine.
If Persons cannot be found to be summoned, no Proceedings till after Six Months;Proviso.
And for the better enableing the said Court to proceede with effectct; in the said Causes Bee it further enacted
by the authority aforesaid That upon the Petition or Complaint made to the said Court in writeing by any person
or persons Bodyes pollitique or corporate any [wayes (fn. 1) ] concerned in the Premisses That it shall and may be lawfull
for any three of the said Justices and Barons and persons abovenamed whether then sitting in Court or out of
Court to grant Summons in Writeing to be directed to the party or partyes therein mentioned and alsoe to any
Wittnesse or Wittnesses to be and appeare before the said Court at a day therein to be prefixed the Service whereof
in such manner and forme as is usually allowed to be a good Service in cases of Subpena shall be accounted
to be a good Service in the Cases aforesaid, and that upon appearance or default of any person or persons Bodyes
pollitique or corporate interessed in any manner as aforesaid upon Oath thereof made before the said Court, the
same Court shall and may notwithstanding proceede to the determination of such Controversy or Demam
Saveing alwayes that when any person or persons soe to be summoned at the time of the issueing of such
Summons shall be beyond the Seas or cannot be found to be summoned that noe proceedings shall be thereupon
had untill after six moneths then next following, and then (Oath being made of endeavouring to serve the said
Summons) the said Court shall and may proceede as if the said partie had beene actually summoned unlesse the
said person or persons soe absent upon a new Summons after his or their returne or being found shall sooner
IV. Tofts of Owners not building within Two Years, &c. may be disposed of to such as will build.
Satisfaction to the Proprietors.; Default or Disability to accept such Satisfaction; assessed by a Jury.; Payment of Satisfaction, or if refused, Persons refusing barred.
And bee it further enacted That in case the Proprietors and Owners and other persons interessed of and in
the Houses burned or demolished by or by reason of the said Fire or their Assignes shall not within the space
of two yeares after the five and twentyeth day of March next ensueing lay the Foundations of their Houses to be
rebuilt and shall not within the time to be limitted by the said Court rebuild and finish the same that upon such
default the said Court shall have power and authority by their Order and Decree to dispose of such Tofts and
of the Houses soe begunne to be rebuilt and of the Soile thereof and of all Ground belonging thereunto to such
person or persons as will rebuild the same their Heires and Assignes and that the said Court shall and may award
what summe and summes of money or satisfaction the person who undertakes to be the Rebuilder shall give for
the same to the Proprietor or Proprietors Owner or Owners or other person or persons Bodyes Politique or
Corporate their Heires Successors or Assignes makeing such default according to his and their respective Estate
and Interest in the same, and in case the person or persons Bodyes Pollitique or Corporate makeing such default
will not, or through any disability by Nonage Coverture especiall Intaile or other Impediment cannot accept
thereof the said Court are hereby impowered by their Warrant directed to the Cheife Bayliffe of the said Burrough
of Southwarke to impannell and summon a Jury before them which Jury upon their Oathes to be administred by
the said Court shall assesse such Recompence and Satisfaction as they shall thinke fitt to be awarded and paid
unto the person or persons Bodyes Pollitique and Corporate makeing default as aforesaid according to their severall
Interests by the person who undertakes to be the Rebuilder and upon payment of the said Recompence soe to
be awarded or in case of refusall upon tender thereof the said person or persons Bodyes Pollitick and Corporate
makeing default in rebuilding as aforesaid his and their Heires Successors and Assignes and all others shall be for
ever barred and the said Houses to be rebuilt and the Soile and the Ground thereunto belonging so assigned by
the said Court unto the Undertaker to rebuild as aforesaid shall for ever be and remaine to the said Rebuilder
his Heires and Assignes for ever in such manner as the said Court shall have assigned adjudged and decreed
V. Decrees made by Fewer than Seven, and excepted to within Thirty Days, may be reversed or altered by any Seven or more, &c.
And bee it alsoe enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That where any such Order and Decree as aforesaid shall
be made by a lesser number of the said Justices and Barons and other the persons above named and authorized
then seaven it shall be lawfull for any person agrieved by such Order and Decree to present his Exceptions to
the same in writeing within thirty dayes next after any such Order and Decree made to one of the Justices of
the Courts of Kings Bench or Common Pleas or the Barons of the Coife of the Exchequer for the time being
and if one of them shall subscribe thereunto that he finds probable cause of Complaint then it shall bee lawfull
to and for any seaven or more, of the said Justices and Barons and persons above named (other then such who
made the same Order and Decree) sitting together at the same time and place to review the same Order and
Decree and to reverse affirme inlarge diminish or otherwise alter any such Order and Decree as in their Judgements
they shall thinke fitt or otherwise to award Costs against such Appellants for their unjust Complaint to be recovered
as herein after is expressed.
VI. Appeals to be determined within Six Months.
Provided alwayes That such Appeales be fully finished and determined within the space of six moneths next
following after the delivery of such Exceptions as aforesaid or otherwise the same Appeale shall stand discontinued
and the first Order and Decree to remaine in force.
VII. Orders and Decrees effectual, and to conclude all Persons.
No Writ of Error or Certiorari.
And for the better satisfaction of Builders Purchasers and others concerned it is further enacted by the authority
aforesaid That all and every Judgement Order and Decree to be made as aforesaid shall be good and effectuall
both in Law and Equity to all intents and purposes and shall be obeyed by all persons concerned therin and shall
binde and conclude all persons Bodyes Corporate or Politicke notwithstanding any disability matter or thing to the
contrary, And all such Builders and persons interessed shall hold and enjoy their Estates Termes and Interests
soe decreed according to the tenour of such Order and Decree notwithstanding any other Estate Right Title or
Interest in Law or Equity Trust Charge or other Incumbrance whatsoever, and that noe Writt of Error or Certiorari
shall be admitted or allowed for the reversall or removeall of the same.
VIII. Judgments and Decrees, to be entered.
Books to be kept by Town Clerk of London.; Continuance of Act.
And for preservation of the same Judgements Orders and Decrees for the use of this and future Ages Bee it
further enacted That the said Judgements Orders and Decrees shall be fairely entred into one or more Bookes of
Parchment and be subscribed with the names of the persons that made the same And that the said Booke or
Bookes (after the finishing thereof) be delivered to the Towne-Clerke of the Citty of London to be safely by
him kept amongst the Records and Evidences of the said Citty of London and there all persons therein concerned
may have liberty to peruse the same from time to time and take Copyes thereof as occasion shall require, And
that the powers and authorities given to the said Court by this Act shall continue for the space of three yeares
to be accompted from the said five and twentyeth day of March and noe longer.
IX. Oath by Judges of the Court.
Provided alwayes and it is hereby enacted That all and every person and persons abovenamed hereby constituted
Judges of the said Court (other then the said Justices of the one Bench and of the other and Barons of the Coife
of the Exchequer) before they execute any of the powers or authorityes in, this Act mentioned shall take this
Oath following before the Lord Maior of London for the time being, which he is hereby impowered to administer
I Doe hereby sweare That I will justly and truely execute the Powers and Authorityes in this Act contained and
according to the best of my knowledge without Favour or Affection to any of the Partyes concerned
Soe helpe me God.
Administered to Lord Mayor.
And that the said persons, soe constituted or any five or more of them after they have taken the said Oath shall
and are hereby impowered to administer the same to the said Lord Maior for the time being.
X. Encroachments, &c.
Proviso for Stall Boards in High Street.
And bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That all Incroachments and Purprestures upon the High
Streete and most especially such as are or shall be from the Foote of London Bridge to the Lane called Compter
Lane whereby the Market is or shall be straitned or the passage of the people obstructed shall be regulated reduced
and reformed by the said Court as they upon deliberate heareing of the partyes concerned shall judge fitt and
convenient for the purposes aforesaid Saveing alwayes to the Inhabitants of the High Streete full power to permitt
and suffer their Stall Boards when their Shops or Shop windowes are sett open, to turne over and extend into
the Streete one Foote and noe more for the Conveniencies of their Shops.
XI. Differences concerning Party Walls, &c. to be determined by the said Court.
And it is further enacted That all differences concerning Party walls or other Walls, placeing or stopping up
of any Lights Wayes Windowes Passages Watercourses Gutters and such like annoyances betweene partie and
partye shall be mediated ordered and decreed by the said Court in such manner and forme and such satisfaction
shall and may be therein awarded to any person and persons thereby damnifyed as upon heareing both parts shall
be judged reasonable.
XII. Court to order Fees for their Officers.
And for the better dispatch of the Busines in the said Court bee it further enacted That the said Court shall
and may by their wisedomes and discretions order such Fees and Rewards for such and soe many Officers as they
shall judge necessary to be attending in the said Court which being ordered and determined shall be hung or
sett up in some publique place by the Court to be directed, to the intent that every person concerned may
have and take notice of the same.
XIII. How Affidavits of serving Process to be taken.
And it is further enacted That the said Justices and Barons and other persons abovenamed or any of them as
well in Court as out of Court shall and may take the Affidavits of any person or persons for or concerning the
serveing of Processe which shall and may be read and filed in the said Court and that all and every person
and persons committing wilfull and corrupt Perjury therein shall and may be proceeded against and punished as
for any other wilfull and corrupt Perjury at the Common Law.
XIV. Decrees may be signed by the Survivors of those that made them.
And bee it further enacted That in case any of the said Justices and Barons or other persons abovenamed
Judges of the said Court present at the makeing of any such Decree shall happen to dye before the same shall
have beene by him or them signed as aforesaid that then the signing thereof by the Survivour or Survivours
who were present at the makeing thereof shall be good and effectuall to all intents and purposes, Any thing in
these Presents to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.
XV. Proviso for Leases, Agreements, &c. since the Fire.
Provided alwayes That this Act or any thing herein contained shall not be extended to alter abridge or avoid
any Lease or other Contract or Agreement made since the said Fire betweene any Landlord Tenant Under tenant
or late Occupier of any of the said Houses burned demolished defaced or disabled by reason of the said Fire
but the same shall be and remaine of such and the like effect as if this Act had never beene had or made,
but that any such Builder shall and may have the Decree of the said Court for the further corroborating of
such Agreement if he desire the same.
XVI. Judges interested not to vote.
Provided alsoe That noe person or persons whatsoever hereby constituted a Judge of the said Court shall have
any Vote or Place in the said Court at such time as he or they shall have any Interest in or to the Premisses
which shall be in debateing or determining, but that he or they soe concerned doe withdraw dureing the debate
untill after the determination thereof.
XVII. Damages at Law for Nonperformance of Decree, or a Bill in Equity for specific Performance.
Annoyances may be indicted.
And bee it further enacted That where any person or persons Bodyes Politique or Corporate shall be ordered
or decreed to build any House or other Edifice seale any Lease or give Security or to doe any other matter or
thing soe to be decreed or ordered in pursuance of this Act it shall be lawfull to and for every person and
persons Bodyes Politicke and Corporate concerned in the default thereof by his Action upon his Case in any of
his Majestyes Courts of Record at Westminster to recover his dammage for Non-performance thereof or at his
Election to have and maintaine his Bill in Equity for the performance thereof in specie and where any person or
persons shall be ordered or adjudged to abate any annoyance or purpresture and shall refuse or neglect to doe
the same by such day or time as by the said Order or Decree shall be enjoyned the said person or persons soe
offending shall and may be indicted for such his Obstinacy and Contempt.
XVIII. In Actions at Law for Money decreed. Decree may be given in Evidence.
And bee it further enacted by the authoritie aforesaid That where any person or persons Bodyes Politicke or
Corporate shall be ordered or decreed by the said Court to pay any summe or summes of money it shall be
lawfull for the party or partyes concerned upon Non payment thereof to bring an Action at the Common Law for
recovery thereof, and to give such Order or Decree in evidence to prove the same in which Action noe Essoigne
Protection or Wager of Law shall be allowed.
XIX. In Actions for executing Act, General Issue.
And lastly it is enacted by the authority aforesaid That if any Suite or Action be commenced or prosecuted
against any person or persons for what he or they shall doe in pursuance or execution of this Act such person
or persons soe sued may pleade the generall Issue and upon any Issue joyned may give the speciall matter in
evidence and if the Plaintiffe shall discontinue his Suite or Judgement passe against him the Defendant shall recover
his and their double Costs for his and their unjust vexation.
XX. Southwark Market to be kept where it anciently has been.
Provided alwayes and bee it enacted by the authority aforesaid That the Market of the Towne and Burrough
of Southwarke aforesaid shall continue and be kept in the same place and at the same times where it hath beene
auntiently and is at this present kept, and that the said Market shall not be kept in or removed to any other
place or held at any other time whatsoever.