May 1654
An Ordinance for Preservation of the Works of the Great Level of the Fens.

Sponsor

History of Parliament Trust

Publication

Author

C.H. Firth, R.S. Rait (eds)

Year published

1911

Supporting documents

Pages

899-902

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'May 1654: An Ordinance for Preservation of the Works of the Great Level of the Fens.', Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642-1660 (1911), pp. 899-902. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=56551 Date accessed: 31 October 2014.


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Contents

May, 1654

[26 May, 1654.]

Distress for Arrears of Taxes.; For non-payment the Distress shall be sold.; Two shillings in the pound over and above the Taxes.; Participants may lay a Mulct for non-payment of Taxes.; For non-payment, to seize and sequester the Lands.

Whereas by an Act of Parliament, Entituled, An Act for the Draining of the Great Level of the Fens, extending itself into the several Counties of Northampton, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincoln, Cambridge and Huntington, and the Isle of Ely, or some of them; William Earl of Bedford, Participants and Adventurers, are thereby impowered to drain the said Level, which is done accordingly, and so adjudged; and to have for their recompence, the proportion of Ninety five thousand Acres, which is also set out and assigned; in and by which Act, there is not a full remedy made and provided to enforce the payment of Taxes, which shall be laid and assessed in order to the preserving of the said Level: For remedy whereof, and also for providing of all ways and means conducing to the preservation thereof, Be it Ordained and Established by His Highness the Lord Protector, with the consent of His Council, That upon any Tax or Taxes to be made or laid in pursuance of the said Act, that it shall and may be lawful for any person or persons, by any Warrant under the Hands and Seals of any five or more or the said Adventurers or Participants of the said Ninety five thousand Acres (having Five hundred Acres apiece) not onelydistnira to upon the said Lands which are or shall be in arrear for such Taxes, but in case of non-payment by the space of Thirty days after the Tax so in arrear, to sell the distress or distresses so taken, and the moneys arising by such sale or sales, to be imployed as well to the satisfying of such Arrears of Taxes as to the payment of Two shillings in the pound for the Taxes so in arrear, to the use of the said Earl, Participants and Adventurers, their Heirs and Assigns, for defraying charges occasioned in and about such Distresses and Sales, rendring always the surplusage upon such Sales, above the said arrear Taxes, and Two shillings in the pound aforesaid, if any be, to the owner of the Distresses, demanding the same, and where no sufficient Distress or Distresses shall be found after the said Thirty days, when any person shall come to distrain for such Taxes in arrear, Be it Ordained by the authority aforesaid, That in such cases it shall and may be lawful to and for the said William Earl of Bedford, Participants and Adventurers, their Heirs and Assigns, or any five or more of them, having the said proportion of Five hundred acres apiece, to lay any Mulet or Penalty for nonpayment of Taxes so made or laid as aforesaid, not exceeding the sum of Three shillings and four pence in the pound for the Taxes unpaid, and as well for the said Taxes as Penalty, to Enter, Seize and Sequester the Lands so in arrear for want of Taxes, to and for the use of the said Earl, Participants and Adventurers, their Heirs and Assigns, and the Rents and Profits of the said Sequestred Lands to receive without accompt, until the said Taxes and Penalties shall be satisfied and paid.

The same power for making and repairing Dams, Sluces, &c., out of the compass of the said Level, as within.

And be it further Ordained and Established by the authority aforesaid, That the said William Earl of Bedford, Participants and Adventurers, their Heirs and Assigns, or any five or more of them, having the said proportion of Five hundred Acres, shall and may use and exercise the same and like power, for the making, repairing and amending of any Banks, Dams, Sluces, Sasses, Drains or other Works, made or to be made out of the Compass and Boundaries of the said great Level, as they or any five of them, do or may use or exercise in the repairing or amending of any Banks, Dams, Sluces, Sasses, Drains or Works within the compass of the said Level.

Double damages shall be awarded for cutting or destroying any Bank, Dam, Sluce, &c.; Perverse and malicious cutting or destroying, shall be Felony.

And be it further Ordained and Established by the authority aforesaid, That if any person or persons shall unlawfully cut, cast down, burn or destroy, or other act do for the destroying of any Bank, Dam, Sluce, Sass, Drain or other Work made or to be made, which doth or shall conduce to the Draining of the said Level, that in such cases the said Commissioners in the said Act named, or such as shall from time to time be nominated in their rooms by Act of Parliament, or under the Great Seal of England, according to the said Act, or any three or more of them, upon complaint and proof made before them of such unlawful burning, casting down, cutting or destroying, or other act doing for destroying as aforesaid, award double Damages to the said Earl, Participants and Adventurers, their Heirs and Assigns, to be levied by distress and sale of the offenders goods, and to be imployed for and towards the maintenance of the said Works, and for want of sufficient distress, to commit such offender or offenders to the House of Correction, there to remain until satisfaction be made and given of the said damages so awarded; And if such cutting, burning, casting down or destroying shall be perverse and malicious, the offenders therein shall be adjudged felons, and be proceeded against, and suffer such pains and punishments, as those who shall perversly or maliciously cut the new Podick Bank in Marshland in the County of Norfolk; Provided, that all and every such offender be prosecuted within Four moneths next after the offence committed.

Commissioners to determine matters concerning disturbing Possessions.; General Issue.; This shall not make void any Contract or Agreement concerning Taxes.

And be it further Ordained and Established, That the said Commissioners, or any three or more of them, are hereby impowered and authorized to hear, adjudge and determine all matters and things, for and concerning the disturbing the possession or possessions of any Adventurer or Participant in the said Ninety five thousand Acres, or any part thereof, their or any of their Heirs or Assigns, as also for and concerning all Ways and Passages used or belonging to any part or parcel thereof, and upon Judgement or Determination given therein; then to commit to the Common Goal, all such person or persons who shall not be conformable thereunto, there to remain until a conformity and obedience shall be given; And the Sheriff, and all other Officers and Ministers of Justice, and such as shall be concerned, are hereby required to be aiding and assisting to the said Commissioners in what they shall do or command to be done or executed by vertue of this Ordinance; and all and every person and persons concerned, or to be concerned by this Ordinance, or which shall do any thing in execution of the same, may upon any Action, Suit or Information, plead the General Issue, and upon any Issue joyned, may give this Ordinance in Evidence, which shall be of equal force and validity, as if the same had been especially pleaded; and all Judges, Justices, Jurors and others, are so to accept the same. Provided, That this Ordinance or any thing therein contained, shall not extend, nor be construed to extend to invalidate any Covenant, Contract or Agreement made by the said Adventurers, with the Purchasers of any part of the Ninety five thousand Acres, or among themselves concerning the Taxing, not Taxing, or the maner of Taxing of or concerning any part of the Ninety five thousand Acres.

Foreiners that shall become Purchaser or Purchasers, or Farmers shall be (as to that) accounted Free Denizons.

And be it further Ordained and Established. That if any person or persons of a Forein Nation, in League and Amity with the Commonwealth, being Protestants, shall become Purchaser or Farmer of any Lands, part of the said Ninety five thousand Acres, the said person or persons, their Heirs, Executors and Administrators (as to the said Lands and the Rents, Profits and Proceed of the same, and all Suits touching the same) shall be accounted free Denizons of this Commonwealth, and enjoy the like priviledges and advantages for descent to their children, Dower to their wives, and otherwise as Denizons of this Commonwealth ought to enjoy.