Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.
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Small Tithes, &c. to be paid to Persons entitled according to the Customs, &c. of Parishes.
For the more easie and effectual Recoverie of Small Tythes and the Value of them where the same shall bee unduely substracted and detained where the same doe not amount to above the yearely Value of Forty Shillings from any one Person Bee it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majestie by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Comons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That all and every Person and Persons shall henceforth well and truely sett out and pay all and singuler the Tythes comonly called Small Tythes and Compositions and Agreements for the same with all Offerings Oblac[i]ons and Obvenc[i]ons to the several Rectors Vicars and other Persons to whom they are or shall bee due in their several Parishes within this Kingdome of England ( (fn. 1)) Dominion of Wales and Towne of Berwick upon Tweed according to the Rights Customs and Prescripc[i]ons commonly used within the said Parishes respectively And if any Person or Persons shall hereafter substract or withdraw or any waies fail in the true Payment of such Small Tythes Offerings Oblac[i]ons Obventions or Compositions as aforesaid by the space of Twenty Days att most after Demand thereof then it shall and may bee lawfull for the Person or Persons to whom the same shall bee due to make his or their Complaint in Writing unto Two or more of His Majesties Justices of the Peace within that County Riding City Town-Corporate Place or Division where the same shall grow due (neither of which Justices of Peace is to bee Patron of the Church or Chappell whence the said Tythes doe or shall arise nor any ways interested in such Tythes Offerings Oblac[i]ons Obvenc[i]ons or Compositions aforesaid.)
II. Such Justices may summon in Writing Persons against whom Complaint made; and upon Appearance or Defanlt, and Proof of Summons may determine; and give Compensation for Tithes, and Costs.
And bee it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That if hereafter any Suit or Complaint shall bee brought to Two or more Justices of the Peace as aforesaid concerning Small Tythes Offerings Oblac[i]ons Obvenc[i]ons or Compositions as aforesaid The said Justices are hereby authorized and required to su[m]mon in Writing under their Hands and Seales by reasonable warning every such Person or Persons against whom any Complaint shall bee made as aforesaid And after his or their Appearance or upon Default of their Appearance the said warning or Su[m]mons being proved before them upon Oath the said Justices of Peace or any Two or more of them shall proceed to hear and determine the said Complaint and upon the Proofs Evidences and Testimonies produced before them shall in Writing under their Hands and Seales adjudge the Case and give such reasonable Allowance and Compensation for such Tythes Oblations and Compositions soe substracted or withheld as they shall judge to bee just and reasonable and alsoe such Costs and Charges not exceeding Ten Shillings as upon the Merits of the Cause shall appeare just
III. Party neglecting, &c. to pay Money adjudged;
And bee it further enacted That if any Person or p[er]sons shall refuse or neglect by the space of Ten Days after Notice given to pay or satisfie any such Su[m]m of Money as upon such Complaint and Proceeding shall by Two or more Justices of the Peace bee adjudged as aforesaid In every such Case the Constables and Church Wardens of the said Parish or one of them shall by Warrant under the Hands and Seales of the said Justices to them directed distraine the Goods and Chattells of the Party soe refusing or neglecting as aforesaid and after detaining them by the space of Three Days in case the said Su[m]m so adjudged to bee paid together with reasonable Charges for making and detaining the said Distresse bee not tendred or paid by the said Party in the mean time shall and may make publick Sale of the same and pay to the Party complaining soe much of the Money ariseing by such Sale as may satisfie the said Su[m]m soe adjudged retaining to themselves such reasonable Charges for making and keeping the said Distresse as the said Justice shall think fitt and shall render the Overplus (if any bee) to the Owner.
IV. Such Justices may administer Oaths to Witnesses.
Provided always and bee it enacted That it shall and may bee lawfull for all Justices of Peace in the Examinac[i]on of all Matters offered to them by this Act to administer an Oath or Oaths to any Witnesse or Witnesses where the same shall bee necessary for their Information and for the better Discovery of the Truth.
V. Proviso for London and other Places where Tithes settled by Act of Parliament.
Provided alsoe and bee it enacted That this Act or any thing herein contained shall not extend to any Tythes Oblac[i]ons Payments or Obvenc[i]ons within the City of London or Liberties thereof nor to any other City or Towne Corporate where the same are settled by any Act of Parliament in, that Case particularly made and provided.
VI. Limitation of Complaint.
Provided alsoe and bee it enacted That noe Complaint for or concerning any Small Tythes Offerings Oblac[i]ons Obvenc[i]ons or Compositions hereafter due shall bee heard and determined by any Justices of the Peace by virtue of this Acts unlesse the Complaint shall bee made within the space of Two Yeares next after the times that the same Tythes Oblac[i]ons Obventions and Compositions did become due or payable any thing in this Act contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
VII. Appeal to Quarter Sessions.
Provided alsoe and bee it enacted That any Person finding him her or themselves agrieved by any Judgement to bee given by any two Justices of the Peace shall and may Appeal to the next General Quarter Sessions to bee held for that County City Riding. Towne Corporate or Division and the Justices of the Peace there present or the major part of them shall proceed finally to heare and determine the Matter and to reverse the said Judgement if they shall see Cause And if the Justices then present or the major part of them shall find cause to confirme the Judgem[en]t given by the first Two Justices of the Peace they shall then decree the same by Order of Sessions and shall alsoe proceed to give such Costs against the Apellant to bee levied by Distresse and Sale of the Goods and Chattells of the said Appellant as to them shall seem just and reasonable And noe Proceedings or Judgement had or to bee had by virtue of this Act shall bee removed or superseded by virtue of any Writt of Certiorary or other Writt out of His Majesties Courts att Westminster or any other Court whatsoever unlesse the Title of such Tythes Oblac[i]ons or Obvenc[i]ons shall bee in Question Any Law Statute Custom or Usage to the contrary notwithstanding.
VIII. Persons insisting upon Modusses, &c.
Provided always and bee it enacted That where any Person or Persons complained of for substracting or withholding any Small Tythes or other Duties aforesaid shall before the Justices of the Peace to whom such Complaint is made insist upon any Prescription Composition or Modus decimandi Agreement or Title whereby hee or she is or ought to bee freed from Payment of the said Tythes or other Dues in Question and deliver the same in Writing to the said Justices of the Peace subscribed by him or her and shall then give to the Party complaining reasonable and sufficient Security to the Satisfaction of the said Justices to pay all such Costs and Damages as upon a Tryal att Law to bee had for that purpose in any of His Majesties Courts haveing Cognizance of that matter shall bee given against him her or them in case the said Prescription Composition or Modus decimandi shall not upon the said Tryal bee allowed. That in that Case the said Justices of the Peace shall forbeare to give any Judgement in the Matter And that then and in such case the Person or Persons soe complaining shall and may bee att liberty to prosecute such Person or Persons for their said Substraction in any other Court or Courts whatsoever where hee she or they might have sued before the makeing of this Act Any thing in this [Act (fn. 2)] to the contrary notwithstanding.
IX. Party obtaining Judgment out of Sessions to procure Judgment to be enrolled at Quarter Sessions.
And bee it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That every Person and Persons who shall by virtue of this Act obtain any Judgement or against whom any Judgement shall bee obtained before any Justices of the Peace out of Sessions for Small Tythes Oblac[i]ons Obventions or Compositions shall cause or procure the said Judgement to bee inrolled att the next General Quarter Session to bee holden for the said County City Rideing or Division And the Clerk of the Peace for the said County City Riding or Division is hereby required upon tender thereof to inroll the same And that hee shall not ask or receive for the Inrollment of any one Judgement any Fee or Reward exceeding One Shilling and that the Judgement soe inrolled And Satisfaction made by paying the same Su[m]m soe adjudged shall bee a [good (fn. 2)] Bar to conclude the said Rectors Vicars and other Persons from any other Remedy for the said Small Tythes Oblations Obventions or Compositions for which the said Judgement was obtained.
X. Proceedings against Party against whom Judgment had, and before levy of Damages removing out of the County, &c.
And bee it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That if any Person or Persons against whom any such Judgement or Judgements shall bee had as aforesaid shall remove out of the County Riding City or Corporation after Judgement had as aforesaid and before the levying the Su[m]m or Su[m]ms thereby adjudged to bee levied the Justices of the Peace who made the said Judgement or one of them shall certifie the same under his or their Hands and Seales to any Justice of Peace of such other County City or Place wherein the said Person or Persons shall bee Inhabitants Which said Justice is hereby authorized and required by Warrant under his Hand and Seale to bee directed to the Constables or Churchwardens of the Place or one of them to levy the Su[m]m or Su[m]ms soe adjudged to bee levied as aforesaid upon the Goods and Chattells of such Person or Persons as fully as the said other Justices might have done if hee she or they had not removed as aforesaid which shall bee paid according to the said Judgement.
XI. Limitation of Complaint before this Act.
Provided always and bee it enacted That noe Vicar or other Person shall have Remedy to recover Small Tythes or other Dues aforesaid which became or were due before the making of this Act unlesse Complaint bee made to the Justices of the Peace in Forme aforesaid before the First Day of October which shall bee in the Yeare of our Lord One thousand six hundred ninety six.
XII. Justices determining may give Costs to Party prosecuted.
And it is hereby declared and enacted That the said Justices of the Peace who shall heare and determine any of the Matters aforesaid shall have Power to give Costs not exceeding Ten Shillings to the Party prosecuted if they shall find the Complaint to bee false and vexatious which Costs shall be levied in manner and forme aforesaid.
XIII. Double Costs on Nonsuit, &c.
Provided alsoe and bee it further enacted That if any Person or Persons shall bee sued for any Thing done in Execution of this Act and the Plaintiff in such Suit shall discontinue his Action or bee Nonsuit or a Verdict passe against him that then in any of the said Cases such Person or Persons shall recover Double Costs.
XIV. Suit in Exchequer under 40s. not to have Benefit of this Act.
( (fn. 3)) Provided always That any Clerk or other Person or Persons who shall begin any Suit for Recovery of Small Tythes Oblations or Obventions not exceeding the Value of Forty Shillings of His Majesties Court of Exchequer or in any of the Ecclesiasticall Courts shall have noe Benefitt by this Act or any Clause in it for the same Matter for which hee or they have soe sued.