A decree concerning counterfeiting of seals, 1632

Pages 102-105

Historical Collections of Private Passages of State: Volume 3, 1639-40. Originally published by D Browne, London, 1721.

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Counterfeiting of seals

October 12 1632. A DECREE In the STAR-CHAMBER, About Counterfeiting of Seals to COLCHESTER Bays.

In Cam. Stell. coram Conc. ibid. xii. die Octob. Anno Octavo CAROLI Regis.

One Thomas Jupp a Cloth-worker of the City of London, being at the Bar of this Court, his Majesties Attorney-General informed this Court, that he had taken the Examinations of the said Thomas Jupp, concerning the counterfeiting of Seals usually affixed to the Bays of Colchester, and fixing them to other Bays of meaner condition, and shewed forth certain Iron Stamps and pieces of Bays, sealed some with the true seals of that Town; attesting that some of them were truly wrought, and that others of them were deficient, and others of them sealed with Counterfeit Seals, put to Bays not of the making of Colchester, but of less Estimation; which being shewn to the said Thomas Jupp, he acknowledged his Confession made upon that Examination to be true, and that these Stamps and pieces of Bays came from his Hands to his Majesties Attorney; which Confession followeth in these Words.

The Examination of Thomas Jupp, of Abchurch-Lane in the City of London, Clothworker, taken before William Noy, his Majesties Attorney General, the fifth day of September, in the eighth year of his Majesties Reign. He saith that in July last he bought in Leaden-Hall Bay Market of John Bryan of Bocking, one hunded and ten Flemish Ells of Mynikin Bays of Bocking making, at 21 d. ob. the Ell, and three other Pieces of about fifty like Ells, the Piece at 1 l. 13 s. ob. the Ell.

He saith also that Colchester Bays are commonly somewhat dearer than the Bays of Bocking.

He taketh it that Colchester Bays sell better beyond the Seas than other Bays, and hath long been of that Opinion.

He saith that he having long been a Workman, is able to discern a Colchester, or Sandwich, or Bocking Bay one from another; but other Men that are not Workmen, discern them by their Seals.

He saith that he bought these Bays for one Goddard a Sea-faring Man, then abiding about Deptford, but what his Christian Name is he knoweth not, but thinketh it is either George or William, and that he was allowed no more in those Bays but as he paid for them, save for his Labour in Buying and Bailing of them, and Canvas, he had about 25 s. and for some other Labour.

He confesseth when the Bays had been brought, Goddard asked the Examinant how he should do for Seals, and the Examinant told him he would do his endeavour or the best he could to grace his Commodity.

And further acknowlegeth that when the Bays were brought to the Examinant's House, he put Seals to them like the Colchester Seals used for Bay, and saith that the Seals shewn to him by the Attorney General, in one side whereof is depicted a Griffin or a Dragon, and the other side three Crowns, which he takes to be the Arms of Colchester, and another is written D. W. S. Colchester Bay, 1571. were stamped on by himself, but it is bungely and not well done: And those Seals that he put to one of those Bays, is closed up in a Paper sealed by the Attorney and the Examinant.

He saith that those Depictures are graven in Iron, and that the Irons are in the Examinant's keeping. And he saith that he will deliver the Stamps to the Attorney General.

Being demanded who did grave those Irons which he used for Seals, he saith that he knoweth not who did grave them, but saith that some of them were graved in Foster-Lane about half a year since, and the Examinant paid for the graving of them, for some of them more and for some less. Thomas Jupp, William Noy.

Upon Friday the seventh day of the same September, the said Thomas Jupp being again examined, delivered to the Attorney General seven Iron Stamps, in one a Griffin, in another three Crowns, in another D. W. S. Colchester Bay, 1571. in the other four several numbers are graven, and then being told that it appeareth by two of the Stamps that they had often stamped, and demanded how long he hath had them, saith at one time, that he hath had them about half a year, at another time about a year: he saith that one Thomas Downs who is in Ireland, as he hath heard, did deliver them unto him at his last being in England, but remembreth not the time. Being demanded for whom he hath stamped any Seals besides Goddard, he refufeth to declare.

He saith that the Buyers do commonly buy Bays for Colchester Bayes without further enquiring than view of the Seal.

He saith that those Stamps do differ from the Seal of Colchester.

He saith that those Seals of Lead shewn unto him sealed up in Paper by him and the Attorney General, were made of the Stamps, now produced by him, by himself without the help of any other, and fixed to one of the Bays which the Examinant bought and delivered to Goddard, as he formerly declared.

He saith that the ordinary price for baling of five Bays in Canvas, Ropes and Labour comes to about eight Shillings, and if in three Bales it comes to about a Mark, and those Bays were made up in three Bales.

The Iron Stamps are bound up in a piece of Canvas, which he hath sealed, and remaineth with the Attorney General. Tho. Jupp, William Noy.

Upon Friday the fourteenth of the same September, in presence of the Examinant and of the Attorney General and others, one piece of the Bays which he sealed with the Counterfeit Seals, was brought and shewn to the Examinant which he confesseth to be the same which he sealed for Goddard, and saith that it is no Colchester Bays, and he knows it by the Work. At the same time two other Pieces of Bayes were brought and shewn to him, which he knew by the Work (himself being a Workman) to be Colchester Bays, whereof one hath the whole Seal and is not faulty, the other is marked as faulty, by cutting off a piece and fixing the Seal at the Angle. And he saith that the Bay marked as faulty, is better than the Bocking Bay which he sealed with the whole Seal.

The Examinant also saith that he hath often made the faulty Bays have the whole Seal, by cutting off the Puckle of the Bay at the Angle, and drawing it and fixing that Seal in another place, so as in view it is sealed with the whole Seal; which he did shew the manner in the presence of the Attorney and others, and saith that he hath so done above a hundred and a hundred times for Merchants, and many of them he hath done within this month; a piece of each Bay remaineth with the Attorney marked by the Examinant. Thomas Jupp; William Noy.

Which being read, and view taken by their Lordships of those pieces of Bays, and the Stamps and Seals, his Majesties Attorney General humbly prayed their Lordships that some exemplary Punishment might be inflicted upon the said Tho. Jupp: whereupon their Lordships taking into consideration the many Laws that have been provided for the true draping of the Wool of this Realm; by ordaining the searching, measuring, marking, affixing Seals of divers places where they are draped, and the publick Seals of the Aulnager unto the Cloths; that the People of this Town of Colchester and of the parts adjoyning, receive a great part of their Sustenance by making of Bays; that for many years past, by occasion of the careful Search there made, they have been truly and not deceitfully made, and of a known Goodness; that such of them as are fully wrought are sealed with a Seal attesting their Goodness; if upon search any prove not so good, they are marked for such, so as the buyers both within the Realm and abroad may be ascertained of the goodness of the Merchandize by view of the Seal, wherein (the Law requiring it) such great care hath been had from time to time, that upon the credit of the Seal alone they were plentifully and readily vented in all places. And albeit there had not been hitherto any discovery made of Delinquents in this kind: Yet their Lordships taking into their serious consideration, that the Offence of the said Thomas is a false Cozenage, by which the Buyers being deceived, will not be so ready to buy any other Cloths upon the credit or attestation of the Seals, so as the good and true Workers of Cloth will not receive encouragement to make true Workmanship as they were wont, but be enforced for vent, to make their Cloths like unto those whereunto such Counterfeit Seals shall be affixed, and in time produce a disaffiance to the attestations of the Seals, whereof will ensue many Inconveniencies; and they can foresee that if this new falsity should be unpunished, it will grow further abroad.

And therefore their Lordships have thought fit, ordered, adjudged, and decreed that the said Delinquent, Thomas Jupp, shall stand and be committed to the Prison of the Fleet during his Majesty's Pleasure, and not to be thence enlarged until he shall discover and make known the names of such Merchants for whom he hath used and practised the said deceit. And if at any time his Majesty shall be pleased to enlarge the said Jupp, It is then Ordered before his enlargement he shall find good Sureties for his Good Behaviour.

And it is also Ordered and Decreed, that the said Delinquent shall pay a fine of one thousand pounds to his Majesty's Use.

And the Court doth further declare, that in case the said Jupp shall continue stubborn, and shall refuse to discover the Names of such Merchants or other Tradesmen for whom he hath used and practised the aforesaid Fraud and Deceit, their Lordships do reserve a power of inflicting some further compulsory means to cause him to confess their Names.

And to the end the World may take notice how much this Court doth dislike and condemn such notorious Cozenages and Deceits, their Lordships have further ordered, adjudged, and decreed, that the said Thomas Jupp shall on some Market-day be set upon the Pillory in Cheapside, with a Paper on his Head, wherein shall be inscribed Words declaring the nature of his Offence. At which time it is also thought fit and ordered, that this Decree shall be publickly read, and that several Copies thereof be printed and set up upon Posts and other eminent places about and near the said Pillory, to remain there, so as the cause of his punishment may be generally known, and other like lewd Persons deterred from committing the like Offences.

And it is further ordered and decreed, that the said Jupp shall in like manner be set upon the Pillory in Cornhil, and against the Exchange, at Blackwell-Hall, Bocking and Colchester, upon several Market-days, with the like Paper on his Head, inscribed as is aforesaid. At all which said several times and places it is ordered, that this Decree be publickly read, and that several printed Copies of this Decree shall also be set up on several eminent Places, on and about, and near the said Places and Pillories, to remain there for the purposes aforesaid; and specially at Blackwell-Hall, the Officers there shall continue the said printed Copies upon Posts and open Places in and about the said Hall, so long that the Clothiers of all parts of the Kingdom coming thither may have notice thereof, whereby it may be divulged in all the Clothing Towns and Countries in the Kingdom, how unlawful and how dangerous it is to use any falsities and deceits tending to the discredit of the Clothing of the Realm, and how careful his Majesty and the State and all his Courts of Justice will be to see the same severely punished.

And Lastly, to the end such Merchants or other Tradesmen as have set this Delinquent or any other Clothworker at work, to practise this deceitful sealing of Bays, may be known and discovered, the Court doth hereby publish and declare, that such Person or Persons as shall make such discovery, and bring the Delinquents to receive the Sentence of this Court, shall, for their Reward, have half the Fine or Fines which shall by this Court be imposed upon them. And if any Cloth-workers who have used and practised such deceit, shall discover their Procurers and Encouragers, such Persons so confessing shall receive the Mercy and Favour of this Court.