An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 11. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1810.
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Manner Of Electing, Sending, And Receiving The Port Bailiffs
The two bailiffs that were sent to Yarmouth were distinguished by the appellations of bailiff of the East Ports, and bailiff of the West Ports.
Under the denomination of East Ports were Sandwich, Dover, Hithe, and Romney; that of the West Ports, Hastings, Rye, and Winchelsea.
Hastings and Dover sent together, one year; Hithe and Rye another; Hastings and Romney next; then Sandwich and Winchelsea. So that, from the want of another port, Hastings sent two, in the rotation, to the other's one.
They were generally elected in June or July, by the common assemblies of the particular towns whose turn it was to send, and were presented to the general assembly of the Cinque Ports, and the towns of Rye and Winchelsea, on Tuesday after the feast of St. Margaret, to be by them approved, acknowledged, confirmed, and deputed, the representatives of the Cinque Ports at Yarmouth free-fan. And if any objection appeared to either of the persons elected, an order was given for another to be elected in his stead. The persons chosen were jurats of the particular towns where they are elected, and have their commissions scaled, one by the common seal of the East Ports, the other by that of the West Ports.
The day before Michaelmas day, was the time fixed on for their coming to Yarmouth, to a house hired for that purpose; and with them there came their learned counsel, a town-clerk, two serjeants bearing white rods, one French-horn man, one standard bearer, carrying a banner of the arms of the Cinque Ports, and a jailor. When arrived, they were waited on, at their house, by the body corporate of Yarmouth, in their formalities, who gave them welcome, and entertained them that evening.
The next day the Ports bailiffs repaired to church to hear divine service, when they were invited by the bailiffs of Yarmouth to take place with them, in their seat. This was mere courtesy, for the ports bailiffs could not claim such honorary indulgence, by right.
After service was over, they took leave; and the bailiffs of Yarmouth, with their brethren in their scarlet robes, directly proceeded to the toll-house, where the bailiffs elect, having taken their charge, and the inferior officers being chosen and sworn, sent for the Ports bailiffs, who generally on their first entrance, made a short speech, purporting the nature of their office, and desiring to be received and respected accordingly; at the same time exhibiting to the bailiffs of Yarmouth their two commissions, from the east and west ports, which being read in open court, they were then, and not before, admitted to take place with the bailiffs of Yarmouth.
After this, the names of them and their attendants were recorded by the recorder of Yarmouth, or his deputy, in the court book for the following year. Then they all viewed the prisoners in Yarmouth goal, and agreed upon the holding of the first fair-court; whence they adjourned to the hall, where the Ports' bailiffs were entertained at dinner by the senior Yarmouth bailiff, and at supper by his co partner, the whole day and evening passed in social mirth and festivity.
On the first court day, a jury of 12 men, 6 from Yarmouth and 6 from the Ports, were summoned, and called the quest of the free-fair. These were to inquire into offences and misdemeanors committed during the free-fair, and to deliberate on several other matters, expressed in articles delivered to them; agreeable to whose verdict offenders were to be punished.
On the second court-day (which was generally in the following week) the junior bailiff provided an elegent dinner for the Ports' bailiffs, to which were also invited the aldermen of Yarmouth, their brethren, wives, &c.
In return for these civilities, the Ports' bailiffs kept open house, in a manner during their stay; for all the principal gentry of the town and neighbourhood found a welcome at their table, and their own countrymen, in particular, looked upon their house as their proper home. To contribute, in some measure, to these entertainments the Ports' bailiffs generally brought with them sixteen or eighteen hogsheads of excellent beer, an article which in such perfection they could not so conveniently meet within these parts.
But a more immediate compliment was made to the people of Yarmouth, by a splendid feast made in the third week by the Ports' bailiffs, for which all the delicacies of the season were collected and profusely spread on the tables, and to which not only the bailiffs, aldermen, &c. were invited, but all the principal gentlemen and ladies of the place.
A few days after this, the Ports' bailiffs took their leave and returned home, where they made a formal report of their proceedings at the free-fair, to the whole brotherhood assembled; which proceedings were by them duly recorded, and for which they received the commendations or discommendations of the said brotherhood according as they approved or disapproved of them.
Hence we may perceive, that their stay at the fair was seldom much more than three weeks, though by charter they were to remain there 40 days; but it was by mutual consent of both parties that they separated so soon, otherwise their liberties were in danger.
To this account we shall subjoin the articles for the better regulation and government of the fair, as they were weekly proclaimed during the time of the fair, in the reign of queen Elizabeth.
I. "We commaunde you, in the queen majestys behalfe, and on the behalfe of the queen majesties balifes here presente, that have the peace to keepe, and fulle power of assize, that none be so hardye to make anye assaulte, affraye, or ryottess, neyther anye other thinge, agenste the peace, wherebye the fayer maye be distourbed and lette, under the payne and perrylle that shall ensewe.
II. "Also, that no personne, of what estate or condition he be, beare anye armoure uppon him agenste the peace under the like payne and perrylle.
III. "Also, that everye master of everye shippe, or boate, have his whole fellowshippe within the shippe bourde, from the goenge downe of the sonne unto the sonne arisenge, as he wille answer for them, under the payne and perrylle aforesaide.
IV. "Also, that no shippes chardge nor dischardge in anye place within seven Iewkes, but onlye at the towne of Great Yermouthe, under the payne and perrylle of the losse of their shippe and gooddes, accordinge to the statute in that behalfe made.
V. "Also, that every baker keep the assize of breade in the fourme of the statute, and that theye selle fower loaves for a pennye, two loaves for a pennye, and one loafe for a pennye, and that everye baker have his proper signe on his breade.
VI. "Also, that no taverner of wyne selle nor doe to be soulde, corrupte wyne, uppon payne and perrylle abovesaide.
VII. "Also, that no brewer selle, nor doe to be soulde, a gallon of the best ale above two pence, a gallon of the second ale, above one pennye, uppon payne and perryle abovesaid.
VIII. "Also, that taverners and brewers have their measures signed and sealed, uppon like payne and perrylle.
IX. "Also, that no butcher selle, or doe to be soulde, unholsome fleshe, under like payne and perrylle.
X. "Also, that no cooke do selle enye fyshe or fleshe but that which is good and helthsome for mannes bodye, under like payne and perrylle.
XI. "Also, that none, of what condition he be of, nor selle by bushell, gallon, yard elle, or with anye other measure, by onlye with suche as accorde with the standard, under like perrylle.
XII. "Also, that no forestallor or regrator, forestalle or regrate anye victualles comenge to the market, wherebye that vitayle is the derer to the common people, under like payne, &c.
XIII. "Also, that none, of what condition soever he be, selle not doe to be soulde, enye manner of corne before a certen hower, that is to weete, before they heare a certen belle in the market sounded, and ronge, by the ordinance of the saide balifes, under payne of forfetinge all the corne soulde contrary to that ordinance.
XIV. "Also, that nothing be encroched uppon the stronde and denne in the said towne of Yarmouthe, to the anoyance of the barons of the Sinque-Ports, under the like payne and perrylle."
Of the Fortifications of Yarmouth, from the first foundation of the Walls, to the present time.
The situation of Yarmouth, being, as it were, the key or grand entrance, by sea, into the counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, it is not to be wondered at, that, after it had acquired some degree of importance, as a sea port and commercial town, it should be thought necessary to provide for its safety by some more substantial means than the adventitious advantages so open a situation could naturally afford. Accordingly we find, in the year 1260, in consequence of the burgess's petition that King Henry III. by his letters patent, granted them leave to build a wall and make a moat round the town. It does not, however, appear that the walls were then begun, notwithstanding the voluntary contributions of many of the principal inhabitants tended thereto; which was chiefly occasioned by some domestic quarrels, and private animosities amongst themselves. Nor is it certain that they were begun before the 13th of Edward I. and even from that time, so slow was the progress they made, there appears a term of 101 years when the walls were yet unfinished; which is evident from the will of John Rayle, of Yarmoutd, dated 24th of September, 1386, in which is this clause; Item do et lego ad muros claudend' xxs. &c. &c. i. e. "Also, I give and bequeath, towards the finishing the walls, 20s. &c."
In this long interval, it must be acknowledged, the work was not progressively carried on. Many accidents contributed to its delay, and particularly a terrible plague in 1349, which carried off most of the inhabitants of Yarmouth, and the neighbourhood, reducing their trade to a very low ebb; whence it may naturally be inferred, that having less to defend, they were less anxious for its defence, and of course neglected their walls, for the more important concerns of reviving their trade.
In order to assist the inhabitants in carrying on this work, they had a grant from the king empowering them to collect a custom called murage, which was levied upon ships arriving at their port; but about two years after, in 1262, the walls not being yet begun, and it being yet undetermined when they actually would be begun, the merchant strangers preferred a complaint against the town, for the imposition, upon which the custom was annulled, and the monies already collected, on that account, ordered to be refunded for the king's use. This seems to have been a principal reason, why they were neglected so long as the reign of Edward I. as we have above intimated.
This grant of murage had only been allowed for a limited time, renewable at the king's pleasure, the rates of which were collected by four wardens, called muragers, annually elected, and were as under:
And so on, for several other articles.
In an account of the monies collected by this grant, for one year, from the 16th to the 17th of Edward III. intituled Muragium Magne Jernemuthe, (the Murage account of Great Yarmouth) the aggregate sums of the six rolls it contains, appear as follows:
This was no inconsiderable sum, for the produce of one year, at that early period, and it may not be amiss to observe, from this account, of what importance to the town, the fishery and free-fair was; since there was nearly three times the money collected in the three months in which the fair happened, that there was in all the remaining nine months.
The town wall consists of ten gates and sixteen towers, and is about 2238 yards in circumference. It is probable that the north-east tower, in St. Nicholas's churchyard, was the first part of it that was built, as it was begun on the east side and thence proceeded southward. This is the more probable, as we find them, in the 11th of Edward III. employed, at the south end of the town, about the Black Friars; and thence trace them to the north end, which in all probability was last finished.
Tradition says, the north gate was erected at the expense of those who had been employed in the dangerous and shocking office of burying the multitudes of dead, in the time of the plague, by which they had gained very great sums.
The building of the wall was succeeded by the sinking of a moat all round the town, over which bridges were thrown at every gate, and which proved a great convenience to the inhabitants, as it was navigable for boats, whence they could unlade their goods at any part of the town, agreeable to the convenience of the inhabitants. The magistrates were likewise very attentive to its preservation, as we find several fines levied on persons, for throwing in rubbish, &c. tending to fill up the moat.
Thus fortified, the town was deemed impregnable to all the warlike engines of those days; but afterwards, when the more powerful effects of great guns were experienced, in sieges, &c. these fortifications were deemed insufficient to their safety, without additional outworks.
Upon the declaration of war, therefore, in the 36th of Henry VIII. against France and Scotland, Thomas Duke of Norfolk, was directed, by special commission, to examine the fortifications; who, upon his arrival here, ordered all the gardens, &c. adjoining the walls, to be laid open, and a great part of the east part to be strengthened with a rampire of earth, heaped up against it on the inside. This he effected by ordering all those little sand banks, which the sea and easterly wind had raised on the Denes, to be brought by the inhabitants and laid there, for that purpose; and in about fifteen weeks, the town was thence supposed to be sufficiently fortified against both enemies.
In the 5th of Queen Mary, 1557, the inhabitants further improved this additional work, in which they were employed more than three months, working 3 days in every week. This rampire, however, was not entirely finished till the 29th of Elizabeth, 1587, the year preceding the grand armada of Spain, which was to have invaded England. It then appears to have been completed (from the Black Friars to the market gate) quite to the top, making a strong rampire of earth and other materials, to the breadth of forty feet from the walls. This was further rendered an object of pleasure and convenience, at the particular instance of Mr. Greenwood, one of the bailiffs, who ordered the rampire to be connected, at all the gates, by means of brick arches, thrown over the road; so that now several persons might walk a breast, along the rampire, having an extensive sea view, from an agreeable elevation; a circumstance that afforded much satisfaction to strangers visiting Yarmouth.
The year following, the Spanish armada approaching the coast, the Black Friars and priory were also rampired, and, by the direction of Sir Thomas Leighton, a ravelin was formed on the east side of the Black Friars, and was for some time kept in repair by the town; but it has been long since levelled, and at present no vestiges remain,
In the same year the moat without the south walls was completed, and a boom was constructed and put up, across the haven, between the two jetties at the south chain, and two men appointed to take charge of it, to shut and open it at convenient times, according to the tides, but by no means to leave it open in the night, or to set it open before day light. The charge of this, was 107l. 15s.
For their greater security, the inhabitants, in 1590, raised a mound of earth much higher than the walls, west of the south gate, and east of the boom, on which were placed several large pieces of ordnance, so as to command the river and the Denes. This cost the town 125l.
But to return to the year 1588; the lords of the council then addressed their letter to the deputy lieutenants of Norfolk and Suffolk, recommending them to levy certain sums on those counties (as being, from their contiguous situation, deeply interested in the fate of Yarmouth) for the better fortification of the town. In this they were to be assisted by the county magistrates, &c. and the money to be paid into the hands of the bailiffs of Yarmouth; "nevertheless (says the lords) we do will that this charge may rather grow of a voluntary contribution, and good care they have of the common safety, of themselves and the realm, than by any taxing on forcing imposition."
Upon this, the deputy lieutenants and the justices met, and assessed the sum of 1355l. 4s. 9d. on the county of Norfolk, proportioned as under:
It also appears that the inhabitants of Yarmouth did not only interest themselves in their own particular defence, but fitted out a man of war, to join her majesty's fleet, called The Grace of God, commander Captain Musgrave, who was to have 45l. per month for himself, and 13s. 4d. per month for every man's board, that served under him. If any prizes were taken by him, the town was to have a third part, the ship a third, and the company a third, provided no part of it were embezzled before it was duly presented to the town.
So much in the spring of this year, was a descent upon Yarmouth apprehended, from this invincible armada, as it was falsely termed, that the whole circumjacent country was obliged to lend their assistance with carts, pioneers, &c. to strengthen and extend the fortifications, by rampires, mounts, ravelins, trenches, &c. in the execution of which the utmost diligence was pursued, the inhabitants working by two wards at a time daily, one in the north, the other in the south end. Besides a thousand soldiers sent into the town, for its defence, by the lords lieutenants, the whole town was, in a manner, converted into a militia. All that could bear arms were employed, and commerce was at a total stand. Some learned the military discipline, shooting at butts, providing ammunition, &c. others prepared to serve in the royal navy. St. Nicholas's steeple was used as a watch-tower, where four discreet persons were appointed to attend every day, to give intelligence to the town, on the appearance of the enemy.
Queen Elizabeth had, long before this, thought the preservation of the town so much a national concern, that a parcel of military stores had been sent for its defence, and that of the adjacent country, the bailiffs and burgesses being bound to keep the same constantly fit for service; and, indeed, there are several instances where the town's ordnance has been of much service against public and private enemies in Yarmouth roads.
In 1625, in consequence of an order from the lord lieutenant, a survey of the fortifications was made, and a report delivered, under the hands of Sir John Corbett and Sir Francis Mapes, the purport of which was as follows:
"For the better securing the ships in the haven from firing by shallops, or flatbottom boats, sent from the enemy, a jetty should be made of timber, on either side the haven, with a boom across, to opeu and shut at pleasure, like that erected in 1588, now decayed, the expense of which will be about 120l.
"That 12 feet return of the wall be made in the town, on the side of the haven, by which a convenient place will be made at the foot of the wall for the planting of two good culverins or sakers, to command the haven seaward, and the Denes, by the haven's side, to the great danger of any attempt made in that quarter. The charge about 10l.
"That three pieces of large ordnance be planted upon the mount, by the boom, for the guard of the haven's mouth, &c.
"That a murdering piece be planted on the east tower of the south gates.
"That the towers between the south gates and the new mount, be rampired with earth; that in the three of which, called the Friars tower, the south-east tower, and Harris's tower, there be placed a good piece of ordnance each; the situation being commodious for scouring the walls from tower to tower, and for commanding the Denes seaward, and ships in the roads.
"That upon the new mount be planted three good pieces, of ordnance; and upon the bulwark beneath seaward, be mounted five other pieces of cannon, three to be best culverins, for commanding ships in the roads, and two small pieces.
"That two pieces of ordnance be mounted on the market gates, where formerly there had been ordnance.
"That upon King Henry's tower be planted two good pieces of ordnance, for commanding the enemy landward.
"That a piece of ordnance be planted on either side of the end in the wall, north of King Henry's tower.
"That on the tower, west of the north gates, a piece of ordnance be planted to command that end of the town, and the haven's side.
"That 24 pieces of ordnance are thought necessary for the defence of the town, of which there are in the town at this time thirteen pieces, five brass and eight iron.
"That part of the walls are unrampired, the charge of remedying which would be very considerable.
"That the sixteen towers on the walls should be rampired up with earth, and the tops even with the walls, &c.
"That two pinnaces are necessary to attend on the coast, to give notice of any intended descent.
"That they have license to erect an artillery yard, like those of Norwich, Bury, &c. for the training the men, and preserving the arms ready for service.
"That the situation of this town is of such importance, that it ought to be made capable of both offence and defence; and that if measures are not immediately taken for its better fortification, a small force would take it by surprise, to the great detriment of the adjoining country, and to the diminution of the revenue, in the custom-house, to the amount of 5000l. per annum."
Soon after this survey, the town had their ordnance augmented to 30 pieces; and received, by order of the lords in council, 50 barrels of powder at the government price.
This relief was the more seasonable, as they had been so harassed by the Dunkirkers, for two years past, that they had lost, in goods and shipping, to the amount of upwards of 25000l. Besides that it had cost them, the last year, in powder and repairs of the fortifications, 300l. not to mention the expense of 100 musketeers watching nightly, for fear of a surprize from these invaders, who were always within a few hours sail of them.
Upon the receipt of the proclamation of Charles I. in 1642, at the commencement of the civil wars, with the contra-declarations of the parliament, the town determined in favor of the latter, and immediately prepared to fortify themselves against the royal troops. Hence a committee was appointed, to enquire what additional fortifications might be necessary to their defence.
The result of this enquiry was. That there be added, a ditch or moat, before the north-gate walls, of 60 feet wide, and eight feet deep, from the narrow river without the north gates, to be carried through the town's closes, (now gardens) and through part of the Denes, before the north walls, the church-yard walls, and priory walls, as far as the Pudding gate, for the defence of that part of the town, then thought to be most exposed to danger. This was accordingly executed with the greatest expedition.
After this they applied to the parliament, and obtained several large pieces of ordnance, and other munition, with a promise of an order for a county rate, to reimburse them for the expenses they had incurred in these reparations.
In the reign of James II. all the brass, and several of the iron ordnance were taken away. After this, there is nothing material recorded, on this subject, and the number of cannon at present remaining is only twelve.
Of the Part Yarmouth took in the troublesome times of Charles I. and II.
Having given an account of the fortificatious of Yarmouth, with such matters as naturally occurred in the relation, it may not be immethodical to pursue the military subject, and shew the conduct of the town, during those unhappy commotions, which blot the annals of English history with English blood.
King Charles I. being at variance with his parliament, dissolved it on the 10th of March, 1629, and for several years governed without it; but being distressed for want of supplies, his attorney-general, Mr. Noye, suggested to him the idea of Ship-Money, a species of tax, which he was to levy on all the maritime counties of England and Wales, for which purpose he issued out his writs in 1634; against which petitions were presented from several parts, on a just supposition of its being an unconstitutional measure; but necessitas nullam habet legem; money was wanted, and no mitigation or exemption could be obtained.
Agreeable to the king's writ, the county of Norfolk was enjoined to find a ship of 800 tons burthen, and 260 able sea-men, with necessary ordnance, small arms, ammunition, provision, &c. This writ was directed to the bailiffs, mayors, burgesses, &c. of Yarmouth, Norwich, King's Lynn, and Wisbech. A meeting of the gentlemen concerned was, therefore, convened at Norwich, the result of which was, that "upon reading of his Majesty's writ, for preparing such a ship of war as in the said writ is mentioned, it is first propounded, Whether such a ship as is mentioned in his majesty's said writ, can be provided in the county of Norfolk, Yea, or No; and it is generally conceived that there is no such ship to be had."
It further appeared to this meeting, that the charge of such a ship would be at least 5860l, and a petition was, in consequence, agreed to be presented against it. The reasons urged on, the behalf of Yarmouth, against the measure, were. That the town consisted of several thousand poor fishermen, who notwithstanding the great plenty of fish, were obliged to remain indebted for the provisions of their voyages, till their return from sea and disposal of their fish; That they were at very great expences in the repairs of their haven, piers, fortifications, bridges, &c. were much in debt, the interest of which, joined to the said expenses, with a very heavy poor-rate amounted to 2550l. per annum, for the discharge of which they had no lands, but were intirely dependent on their own industry, and the providential assistance of a maritime trade; and finally, that they were so much distressed by the frequent depredations of the Dunkirkers, their losses by shipwrecks, their sufferings by the late grievous visitation, &c. that in the space of eight years they had lost 25000l.
This petition, however, had not the desired effect, and another was presented, which was referred to the lords chief justices and the attorney general, but still without effect.
Soon after the bailiffs of Yarmouth received a certificate from the high sheriffs of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, requiring them to raise the sum of 940l. being their particular portion of the general assessment; but as this appeared afterwards insufficient for the purposes required, they were further assessed in the sum of 200l. more, and after received letters from the lords of the council to hasten the payment.
The bailiffs then petitioned an abatement, by means of assessing the towns and villages on the rivers, which had a proportionate benefit of their commerce. This was more successful, and the collection was accordingly made and paid in.
Several other similar impositions were levied, till, on a second parliament being summoned and met, in 1640, the question of shipmoney was debated, and it was resolved nemine contradiccnte, "That the charge imposed upon the subjects for providing and furnishing of ships, and the assessments for raising of money, for that purpose, commonly called ship money, are against the laws of the realm, the subjects right of property, and contrary to former resolutions in parliament, and to the petition of right."
And on the 7th of August, the next year, 1641, an act for abolishing ship-money received the royal assent, and so terminated that unwarrantable stretch of royal prerogative.
The following year, 1642, the town having declared for the parliament, as we have before mentioned, they received an order from both houses, not to receive or billet any soldiers in the town, without the consent of parliament, and that if any should otherwise be attempted to be forced on them, that they might resist the same. And about a month after, they were ordered to muster their militia, and put themselves into a proper state of defence. Hence all the buildings, &c. adjoining to the town wall were immediately taken down, the gates which were not rampired, were locked up, and the east leaf of the bridge was drawn up every night.
At this time the whole kingdom was in arms, and the Queen, who was in Holland, endeavoured all in her power to support the King, by sending him over considerable supplies of men, arms, ammunition, &c. In this affectionate employment, one of her ships, having received some damage at sea, was obliged to put into Yarmouth, where she was seized, the officers and soldiers confined, and an account of the transaction laid before the parliament. This was afterwards formally adjudged to be the town's property, and was accordingly afterwards fitted out for sea, and employed by them in the service of the parliament.
In 1643, the town received an order to furnish out 80 dragoons, which, on their allegations of inability, to Lord Gray, was remitted, only on condition of their raising an adequate sum, for that purpose. This was included in their portion of the weekly sum of 1250l. levied soon after by parliament, on the county of Norfolk, of which they were to pay 34l. 16s. 5d. Norwich 53l. Lynn 27l. 11s. 10d. Thetford 5l. 11s. 9d. and the rest of the county 1129l.
Towards the latter end of this year, the Earl of Manchester informed the town, that the town was to have a military governor, colonel Russell, which being generally disapproved, they represented the same to the Earl, who thereupon informed them, "That he was no way desirous to burthen the town, but to secure the same, and the islands adjacent, and in that respect, thought it necessary to send colonel Russell hither, as for governor," &c. The colonel accordingly came, by virtue of the Earl's commission, which the town looked upon in so dangerous a light, as to their particular liberties, that they used every endeavour to annul it. In this they did not entirely succeed, but obtained a qualification of it, by which the colonel in conjunction with six other gentlemen, was invested with the same powers, which it was otherwise intended he should have exercised alone.
In 1645, breast-works, plat-forms, &c. were built near the sea side, in several places, for the placing of the town's large ordnance, as occasion required, to annoy the enemy. And the year following, the parliament ordered the town to lend the state 150l. at 8 per cent. for the use of the forces employed in the siege of Newark.
In 1648, the town received letters from Lord Fairfax and others, about putting a garrison in Yarmouth, by the friends of the royal party, and therefore the parliament seemed inclined to anticipate their design, by making it a garrison town themselves; but the burgesses having represented their disapprobation of the measure, they were permitted to remain in statu quo, provided they would raise of themselves sufficient forces for their own defence, which was immediately agreed to, and an augmentation of their forces made accordingly.
But after Cromwell had dispersed Duke Hamilton's army, and taken him prisoner, the independant party prevailed, and the bailiffs received a letter from commissary general Ireton, (an independant, and son-in law to Cromwell) informing them of something he had to communicate to the town, and desiring a conference at Sir John Wentworth's house, at Somerlitown: which being complied with, he told them that the Lord General had ordered the town either to be ingarrisoned, or to have the walls and forts demolished, and a fort built at the haven's mouth, to secure the town against enemies at sea. Of this the deputation was to determine on, in a few hours; but they only requested his forbearance of sending in the troops, till messengers could pass between them and the Lord General, and if that could not be complied with, that his producing the Lord General's commission, would insure obedience on the part of the town.
Accordingly colonel Barkstead's regiment was admitted to be garrisoned in the town, which also advanced 400l. to furnish the soldiers with a month's quarters, &c. And in order to prevent free quarters the aldermen and constables of the wards, went about with the officers to see the men's quarters duly paid.
After the decollation of King Charles, the next year, the proclamation, forbidding to proclaim Charles Stuart, prince of Wales, or any other, to be King of this realm, was openly read and agreed to. And towards the latter end of that year, the engagement, appointed by parliament to be taken and subscribed to, was tendered by the bailiffs to those who were present at an assembly then holden, but many refused to comply with it.
After the death of Oliver Cromwell, in 1658, a committee was appointed, and an address drawn up and presented to his son Richard, acknowledging him his successor, as Lord Protector, and offering their submission to his government; which, as it is a most curious specimen of abject servility, and fulsome adulation, (not to say blasphemy) we cannot refuse it a place, disgraceful as it is to the annals of the town, and the principles of the progenitors of the good people of Yarmouth.
"To his Highness, Richard, Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland, the dominions and territories thereto belonging.
"The humble petition of the bailiffs, aldermen, and common-councilmen of the Corporation of Great Yarmouth, in common council assembled.
"We cannot without deepest, and most sad resentment remember that late dark dispensation of the most wise God, in taking out of this world your highness's most renowned father, the prince and leader of his people, in the three nations, translating from a temporal to an immortal crown; which we have great cause to lament, being smitten of God, for our many sins, and afflicted; so good, so great a man, the captain of the Lord's host, being fallen in Israel, and who is not made weak? But as that is far better to him, so it proves not so ill to us as was justly feared, our punishment being far less than our deserts; it pleasing our good God to bind up our wounds, and to heal the breach of the daughter of his people, by your highness's so immediate peaceful succession, after so many cursed plots of the sons of Belial, and children of darkness, to cut him off before his time, so as he might not go down to his grave in peace, nor leave those nations a quiet habitation, for his people to dwell in, under your highness's protection. The which blessed providence is more transparent to our view, it breaking forth out of so great and thick a cloud of darkness; which as it was the only hope and desires of your's, and the nation's enemies, so it began to clothe the face of your's, and the nation's truest friends with paleness: but it no sooner appeared than vanished, and the sun arose with those glorious and resplendent beams of light, dispelling all those former malignant and stupendous vapours, which as it cannot, without great unthankfulness, but turn our sorrows into joys, so it cannot, without great stupidity, but return their fears upon them, and their high raised expectations of light, into the shadow of death, inevitably sinking their spirits into an everlasting despair. Especially when they shall consider, how, by a special series of providence, they have met with nothing but saddest disappointments, yea, when their hopes were at the highest, in the late wars, both the then contesting parties solemnly appealing to the great God of hosts to make a just and righteous decision, when clouds and darkness were round about him, that he made it appear in our sights, and in the eyes of all the nations, that judgment and righteousness were the habitation of his throne, for he clothed himself with vengeance, as with a cloak, and went forth travelling in the greatness of his strength to save the poor, and deliver the needy from him that pushed at them; and now hath called forth your highness in peace, to protect his people in those gospel and civil liberties which were chiefly in the eyes, and upon the hearts of all those who did at first conscientiously engage and hazard their lives, in the high places of the field, where many fell, leaving us to inherit them, as the prices of their blood. In prosecution and security thereof, through the assistance and grace of the most high God, we, though unworthy to be numbered amongst the least of the tribes of Israel, shall not be wanting in our utmost to follow your most hopeful and happy conduct, and continually to pray that the Lord that hath called you, would enable you with a spirit of wisdom, a spirit of council, and of the fear of the Lord, to go in and out before this great people, and to feed them according to the integrity of your heart, and to guide them by the skilfulness of your hand. Then will our God say, I have found one, the son of my servant, a man after mine own heart, he shall fulfill all my will; and then shall Jacob rejoice, and Israel shall be glad, and not cease to pray for the precious things of heaven above him, and of the earth beneath, and the fulness thereof, and for the good will of him that dwelt in the bush. Let this blessing come upon the head of your highness, and upon the top of the head of him, that is separated above his brethren. Of this assembly we are,
George England, John Albertson, &c. &c. &c.
Two years after the presenting of this piece of sanctified cant, (in 1660) the town changed hands, and presented a congratulatory address to Charles II with a surrender of the fee-farm, before purchased of the parliament, as we have elsewhere observed. And it was ordered, "That a former grant made by this house to Henry Cromwell, Esq. of the high-stewardship of this town, be from hence discharged; and that where his name stands recorded here, it be defaced, and rased cut of the records of this town."
The town had the further grace, also, to order, "That the address made to Richard Cromwell (the late pretended Protector) by this house, be utterly disclaimed, obliterated, and made void, and the ordinance made for the presenting thereof be defaced, to all intents and purposes."
After this, they obtained of Charles II. a confirmation and renewal of their charters, as we have before related, and remained firm loyalists. The reason is pretty obvious. The king had ordered prosecutions against such corporations as to his attorney general seemed meet.
Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis.