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William III, 1698-9: An Act for the Explanation and better Execution of former Acts made touching Watermen and Wherrymen rowing on the River of Thames and for the better ordering and governing the said Watermen Wherrymen and Lightermen upon the said River between Gravesend and Windsor. [Chapter XXI. Rot. Parl. 11 Gul. III.p.3.n. 12.]

Pages 611-614

Statutes of the Realm: Volume 7, 1695-1701. Originally published by Great Britain Record Commission, s.l, 1820.

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In this section

Reasons for passing this Act.

Former Laws in force to be executed; Lightermen working between Gravesend and Windsor deemed the Watermens' Company.

Whereas notwithstanding the Laws that have been heretofore made for good Order Rule and Government amongst the Watermen and Wherrymen useing and rowing on the said River of Thames it hath oftentimes happened that divers People passing by Water upon the said River have been put in Danger of their Lives and Goods and many times have perished and been drowned and this occasioned by [the (fn. 1) ] Unskilfullnesse and want of Experience in Wherrymen and Watermen and Persons out of the Rule of any Master or Governor And for that in and by the said Acts the Rulers and Overseers of the Company or Society of Watermen are not sufficiently impowered to make Rules Orders and Constitutions for the Order Rule and Government of the Watermen and Wherrymen rowing on the said River with Pains and Penalties to enforce their due Obedience to such Orders Rules and Constitutions and easie Recovery of the said Penalties And whereas the Lightermen rowing on the said River of Thames are growne very numerous and are at present without Rule and Government amongst them by whose Rudenesse and Unskilfullnesse in working of Lighters and other large Craft Ships and Vessells are hindred in the Delivery of Coals and thereby frequently stopped in the Proceed of their Voyages and the Goods and Lives of divers of His Majesties Subjects are likewise frequently endangered and lost and Notorious Disorders are occasioned For Remedy whereof Be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That all and every Law and Statute now in force touching or concerning Watermen and Wherrymen and every Article and Thing in them contained and not herein or hereby altered or repealed shall be duely put in Execution by all Persons therein concerned according to the Tenour of the said Laws and under the Penalties therein contained And that all and every Person being a Lighterman or Owner of any Lighter or Lighters or having and keeping any Lighter or other large Craft or working in the same betweene Gravesend and Windsor shall be and be deemed and taken to be of one and the same Society or Company with the said Wherrymen and Watermen and the said Wherrymen Watermen and Lightermen are declared to be and are hereby made and constituted one Society and Company and as such shall be hereafter deemed and taken

II. Persons working Lighters or other great Craft upon the River Thames,

(Exception) to be registered in Books of the Company, and subject to their Rules.

And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That all and every Person and Persons who now keepe or shall hereafter keepe or work or shall be employed in rowing or any Waies navigating any Lighter or Lighters or other great Craft on the River of Thames (Trinity Men Fishermen Ballast Men Westerne Barges and Mill-Boats ChalkHoys Faggot and Wood Lighters and other Craft carrying the same excepted) shall be duely and truely registred in a Book or Books for that Purpose to be kept by the Company of Watermen and Lightermen and shall likewise be lyable to such Orders Rules and Constitutions made or to be made for the better Rule and Government of the said Society or Company of Watermen and Lighter-men and the Pains and Penalties to enforce due Obedience thereunto

III. Rules for Choice, &c. of Overseers and Rulers, by Court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London.

Duty and Powers of the said Overseers and Rulers; May summon Lightermen, and register them; and take general Order respecting the said Matters.

And be it alsoe enacted by the Authority aforesaid That there shall be Yearly appointed elected and chosen by the Court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London for the time being the Number of Eight Persons of the most wise discreete and best sort of Watermen and the Number of Three Persons out of Twelve Persons to be Yearely nominated by the Lightermen of the most wise discreet and best Sort of Lightermen being Householders having Two Lighters or Flat Boats upon the said River between Gravesend and Windsor which Elections shall be Yearly at the First Court of Aldermen to be holden within the said City next after the First Day of June And the said Eleaven Persons soe elected shall be named and called the Overseers and Rulers of all the Wherrymen Watermen and Lightermen that from and after the said First Day of June shall use occupy or exercize any Rowing upon the said River of Thames betwixt Gravesend and Windsor aforesaid Which said Overseers and Rulers shall keepe and maintaine good Orders and Obedience amongst the said Watermen and Lightermen according to the true Meaning of this present and former Acts And the said Eleaven Overseers and Rulers or the greater Part of them are hereby authorized from Time to Time to convene and call before them at the Hall of the said Company within the City of London and Liberties thereof all and every such Person or Persons which from and after the Nine and twentieth Day of June One thousand seaven hundred shall keepe or use in rowing or any Waies navigating any Lighter or other great Craft (except as before excepted) betwixt Gravesend and Windsor aforesaid and shall enter and register the Name and Names of them and every of them for Lightermen to row on the said River in a Book to be kept for the same Intent and Purpose and from Time to Time to take such Order and Direction therein with every of the said Parties by Authority of this present Act as it shall seeme meet and necessary by the Discretion of the said Overseers and Rulers for the Time being or the greater Part of them for the common Benefitt of His Majesties Subjects

IV. Rulers and Assistants yearly to appoint Watermen at Places of plying, between Gravesend and Windsor.

Watermen and Lightermen to choose Assistants; The Duty and Powers of such Assistants; Rulers and Assistants to choose Auditors; The Duty and Powers of such Auditors; Accounts to be entered; Inspection thereof; Rulers, &c. refusing to execute or negligently executing Office; Penalty £5; May make Rules and Orders; to be laid before the Court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen, and afterwards confirmed by Lord Chief Justice of either Bench.

And in regard the Numbers of Wherrymen [Watermen (fn. 2) ] and Lightermen are more numerous and disorderly than heretofore Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That for the better Order and Government of the said Society and Company the said Rulers and Assistants for the Time being shall and are hereby required on the First Court Day after the First Day of June next and soe Yearly and every Yeare by their Order appoint the Watermen of the Principall Townes Stairs and Places of plying or the major Part of them respectively betweene Gravesend and Windsor And such Watermen shall and are hereby required to choose One Free Watermen being an Householder to be of their Assistants soe as they exceed not Sixty nor be lesse than the Number of Fourty Watermen And on the First Day of June next the Lightermen which shall meet at the Hall of the said Company betweene the Houres of Eight and Twelve in the Morning or the Major Part of them then present and soe Yearly and every Yeare shall choose Nine Lightermen who together with the said Watermen shall be and be called the Assistants of the said Society and Company to advise and assist the Rulers of the said Company for the Time being in the Discovery and Regulation of Miscarriages from Time to Time done on the said River of Thames for putting the former Laws and this present Act in due and full Execution and in preserving good Rule and Government amongst the said Society and Company And the said Rulers and Assistants or the major Part of them shall Yearely and every Yeare on the First Day of July present to the Court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen for the Time being for their Approbation Five Persons able and fitt Watermen and Two Persons able and fitt Lightermen to be called Auditors of the said Society and Company who shall or the major Part of them auditt the Accounts of the Rulers and others of the said Society and Company for the Time being And that upon auditting and true stating of the said Accounts the same shall be fairly entred in a Booke to be kept for that Purpose and signed by the said Auditors or the major Part of them to be sett in some Publick Place of the Company's Hall aforesaid to be inspected by any Person concerned at Times convenient And if any Person or Persons which at any Time hereafter shall be elected or appointed Ruler Assistant or Auditor of the said Company doe after Notice given him or them obstinately refuse to take upon him or them the Place or Places to which he or they shall be soe elected or shall negligently exercize or use such his or their Place or Places that then every such Offender or Offenders shall forfeite and pay Five Pounds And the said Rulers Auditors and Assistants or the major Part of them present being all duely summoned by Summons in Writing left at the Place of their usuall Aboad shall and may and they are hereby impowered and authorized from Time to Time for the better and more effectuall keeping and maintaining good Order and Obedience amongst the said Society and Company to make ordaine and provide such reasonable and lawfull Rules Orders and Constitutions as in their Discretion they shall thinke fitt with reasonable Pains and Penalties to the same annexed Which said Rules Orders and Constitutions shall from Time to Time be laid before the Court of Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London for the Time being to be by them examined altered or approved and afterwards confirmed or altered by the Lord Chiefe Justice of either Bench for the Common Good and Profitt of His Majesties Subjects And all such Rules Orders and Constitutions soe made and examined approved ratified and confirmed shall from Time to Time and at all Times be well and duely observed and putt in Execution

V. Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, and Justices of Peace herein mentioned may examine upon Oath, and may determine Offences; and may levy Penalties by Distress.

And for the further and better inforceing due Obedience to the said Rules Orders and Constitutions and more easie and speedy Recovery of the Pains and Penalties to the same annexed Be it further enacted That the Lord Mayor of London and the Aldermen of the same City and the Justices of the Peace within the Shires next adjoyning to the said River of Thames betweene Gravesend and Windsor every of them within their severall Jurisdictions and Authorities shall have full Power and Authority by virtue of this present Act upon Complaint made to them or any of them by the said Overseers and Rulers or any Two of them to examine heare and determine by the Oath of One or more Witnesses which every of them are hereby authorized to administer or by the Confession of the Offender all Complaints or Offences to be done or committed by any such Person or Persons that shall offend contrary to the true Meaning of this present Act or any Rule Order or Constitution to be made pursuant to the Authority hereby given and by Distresse and Sale of the Goods of every such Offender by Warrant under the Hand and Seale of the said Lord Mayor and Aldermen or One or more of the said Aldermen or Justices to cause to be levied from time to time all the Penalties inflicted by former and this present Act touching Watermen Wherrymen or Lightermen or by any such Rule Order or Constitution that shall (fn. 3) by virtue of this present Act be forfeited

VI. Persons owning, &c. Lighters or Flat Boats, registering themselves on or before 29th Sept. next, deemed Lightermen within this Act; and such Persons (Exception) and no other, may use Lighters;

Penalty.

And be it further enacted and declared by the Authority aforesaid That all and every Person or Persons now owning haveing useing keeping or working any Lighter or Flatt Boats commonly used for the lading and unlading Goods and Merchandizes to or from any Ship or Ships or other Vessell or Vessells who shall register the Names of themselves and their Servants with their respective Places of Aboad in the Booke or Books of the said Company kept for that Purpose on or before the Nine and twentieth Day of September next shall be deemed and taken to be Lightermen and they are hereby declared to be Lightermen within the Intent and Meaneing of this present Act And it shall and may be lawfull to and for all and every such Person and Persons soe registred and no other Person or Persons but such (Free Watermen who are not at present Lightermen) that shall be registred as Lightermen at any time or times hereafter and such Person and Persons who shall have beene or are lawfully retained and served his Apprenticeship with a Lightermen excepted) to use keep and worke or be imployed in the working of or in any Lighter or Lighters or other great Craft upon paine that every Person or Persons doing the contrary shall from time to time for every such Offence forfeite and loose the Summ of Five Pounds for every Weeke that he or they shall have use and worke or worke in any Lighter or other large Craft Any thing herein contained to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding

VII. Descriptions of Persons allowed to work Boats, &c. for Passengers betwixt Gravesend and Windsor.

Penalties to be paid to Rulers and Overseers for the poor Members.

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid That no Person or Persons whatsoever (except Trinity Men) be admitted or allowed to worke rowe or ply on the said River of Thames betwixt Gravesend and Windsor in any Boats Wherry or Barges ordinarily serving for carrying Passengers for Profit Gaine or Reward except such Person or Persons as shall have served his Apprenticeship to a Waterman or is a Servant or Apprentice to a Watermen and shall in all things be duely qualified as by former Statutes and this Act is directed for the Security and Safety of Goods and Passengers carried by Water And that all and singular the Forfeitures and Penalties in the said former Lawes and this present Act contained shall from time to time and at all times be paid unto the Rulers and Overseers of the said Wherrymen Watermen and Lightermen or the major Part of them for the Use of the poor aged decayed and maimed Persons of the said Society and Company of Wherrymen Watermen and Lightermen

VIII. Proviso for Lessees, &c. of Quays between Hermitage Bridge and London Bridge, using their Lighters, &c. and for employing Watermen, &c. and for their acting as heretofore.

Proviso for Woodmongers who keep Wharfs for retailing Fuel, to use Lighters, &c.

And be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That it shall and may be lawfull to and for the Lessees Owners or Occupiers of any Key or Keyes betwixt the Hermitage-Bridge and London-Bridge or any or either of them to use their and every of their Lighters or large Crafts as has been heretofore lawfully accustomed for the carrying of Goods and Merchandizes to and from their respective Keyes and Wharfes and to and from Shipps loading or unloading and to employ any Person or Persons being Watermen or Lightermen duely qualified as in and by this present Act is directed or appointed to row and worke in their respective Lighters or large Craft and to doe and act any thing as heretofore they might lawfully doe from such their respective Keyes and Wharfes to any Shipps or Vessells as aforesaid Any thing in this present Act contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding And that it shall and may be lawfull for any Person or Persons who now are or hereafter shall be a Woodmonger or Woodmongers and doe keepe a Wharfe or Wharfes for [retaining (fn. 3) ] of Fewell to keepe use and rowe by themselves or Servants any Lighter or Lighters or other large Craft for carrying of their owne Goods soe to be retayled and none others Provided such Servants be Watermen or Lightermen within the Meaneing of this Act Any thing herein contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding.

IX. Proviso for Owners, &c. of Laystalls using Lighters for carrying off Soil, &c. and for Gardeners bringing to London, &c. their Fruit, &c.

Provided alwaies That this Act nor any thing herein contained shall not extend or be construed to extend to prohibit any Owners Proprietors or Lessees of Laystalls to carry off the Soile from the said Laystalls in such Lighters or Vessells and by such Persons as have hitherto beene accustomed nor to prohibit any Gardiner from bringing to the Markets of the Cities of London and Westminster and the Places adjacent their owne Fruit Herbs Roots and other Products of their Gardens or Soile and Dung in their Boats and by their owne Servants as they have formerly accustomed to doe Any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding

X. Limitation of Prosecutions.

Provided alsoe That no Person: shall be punished for any Offence against this Act unlesse such Offender shall be prosecuted for the same within Thirty Daies after the Offence committed

XI. In Actions brought for executing Act,

General Issue may be pleaded; Public Act; Double Costs.

Provided alwaies That if any Action Bill Plaint or Suite shall at any time after the First Day of June be commenced or brought against any Person or Persons whatsoever for or by reason of any Matter or Thing which he or they shall doe in pursuance of or by Colour of this Act it shall and may be lawfull to and for the Person or Persons soe sued or prosecuted to plead the Generall Issue or that what was done by him was done by vertue of this Act without saying more and give this Act or any other Speciall Matter in Evidence which Act is hereby declared to be a Publick Act And if the Verdict shall passe for the Defendant or Defendants in such Action or the Plaintiffe or Plaintiffs become nonsuite or suffer any Discontinuance thereof that in any such Case the Defendant or Defendants shall have his or their Double Costs which he or they shall have sustained in Defence of such Action or Suite for which the said Defendant or Defendants shall have the like Remedy as in other Cases where Costs by the Laws of this Realme are given to Defendants

XII. No double Penalties.

Provided That where any Offender shall be punished by Force of this Act he shall not be prosecuted nor incurr the Penalty of any other Law or Statute for the same Offence

XIII. Reasons for this Enactment.

Rulers, Overseers, &c. to appoint Watermen to ply on Sundays, between Vanxhall and Limehouse; Rates for crossing the River; Watermen so employed, to pay Money received to the Overseers, &c. who are to pay the Watermen for their Labour; Overplus employed for poor Members; Watermen not so paying Money received; Penalty 40s.

And whereas great Numbers of idle and loose Watermen and Boyes doe worke on the Lords Day commonly called Sunday and exact large [Prices (fn. 4) ] from Passengers whose necessary Occasions oblige them to passe and repasse the River of Thames and generally spend such their Gaines in Drunkennesse and Prophanenesse the succeeding Weeke For Prevention whereof and to the end that what shall be gott thereby may be applied to the charitable Releife of such aged and maimed Watermen and Lightermen their Widows and Children whose Circumstances want Assistance Be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid That from and after the First Day of June next it shall and may be lawfull to and for the said Rulers and Overseers Auditors and Assistants of the said Society and Company for the time being or the major Part of them on their respective Court Dayes to appoint any Number of Watermen not exceeding Fourty to ply and worke on every Lords Day betweene Vaux Hall above London Bridge and Lime-house below the same Bridge at such common Staires or Places of plying as to the Rulers and Overseers Auditors and Assistants or the major Part of them shall seeme most convenient for the carrying and recarrying of Passengers crosse the said River betweene the Limmitts aforesaid at One Penny each Person soe to be carried And all the Watermen soe to be appointed on every the Daies aforesaid shall on every Munday Morning respectively pay unto the Order of the said Overseers and Rulers Auditors and Assistants all such Summ and Summs of Money as by them respectively shall be received for conveying Passengers on the Lords Day as aforesaid And the said Overseers and Rulers Auditors and Assistants or the major Part of them or their Order shall pay to each respective Waterman working as aforesaid for his Daies Labour soe much as they shall agree for and the Overplus shall from time to time be applied to the Use of the poor aged decayed and maimed Watermen and Lightermen of the said Society and Company and their Widows And if any Person appointed to worke as aforesaid shall neglect to pay on every Munday to the Order aforesaid the full Summ of Money that he shall have earned and received on the Lords Day next before he shall for every such Omission or short Payment forfeite and pay to the Order of the said Overseers and Rulers Auditors and Assistants or the major Part of them the Summ of Forty Shillings to be recovered as aforesaid

XIV. Proviso for Right of the late Duke of Richmond to hold the Curia Cursus Aquæ; and for all other Rights relating thereto, belonging to the said late Duke.

Provided alwaies That this Act or any thing therein contained shall not extend or be construed to extend to the lessening takeing away abridging hindring prejudiceing or otherwise howsoever impeaching of any Right belonging to or lawfully claimed by the late Charles Duke of Richmond and Lenox Lord of the Mannor of Gravesend his Heires Executors Administrators or Assignes for the holding a certaine Court within the said Mannor called Curia Cursus Aquæ or The Court of the Watercourse for the better Government of Barges Boats and Vessells useing the Ferry or Passage from the Towne of Gravesend to London and of the Persons owning or working the same or of any other Rights Liberties Powers and Priviledges whatsoever belonging to the said late Duke his Heires Executors Administrators and Assignes relating to the said Ferry or Passage [or to the Barges Tiltboates or other Boates and Vessells useing the said Ferry or Passage (fn. 5) ] or plying at the Bridge of the said Towne of Gravesend or the Persons owning or working the same or otherwise howsoever

XV. Proviso for Rights of Mayor, &c. of Gravesend and Milton, in respect of Passage from those Places to London.

Provided alwaies That this Act or any thing therein contained shall not extend or be construed to extend to the lessening takeing away abridgeing hindring prejudiceing or impeaching of any Grants Liberties Franchizes Customs Priviledges or Usages now or heretofore lawfully used held or enjoyed by the Mayor Jurats and Capitall Inhabitants of the Villages and Parishes of Gravesend and Milton in the County of Kent touching concerning or relating to the Passage and Ferry upon the said River of Thames from the said Villages and Parishes of Gravesend and Milton to the said City of London or touching or concerning the Government or Gubernation of the said Passage and Ferry but that the said Mayor Jurats and Inhabitants and their Successors shall and may doe and execute all and every such lawfull Act and Acts Powers and Authorities touching the said Passage and Ferry and the Government thereof as they might or could have done if this Act had not been made Any thing herein contained to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding

XVI. Proviso for the Watermen of Saint Margaret's Westminster, plying at Places herein mentioned on Sunday.

How Money so earned to be employed; Two Justices of Peace may call Watermen to account for such Monies; Watermen of the said Parish may choose Stewards, &c.

Provided alwaies That this Act or any thing therein contained shall not extend to hinder or prevent the Watermen of the Parish of Saint Margarets Westminster from plying or working crosse the River of Thames from Westminster Bridge to Standgate and from the Horse-ferry to Lambeth Bridge on every Lords Day in their severall Turns as they have lately accustomed and used to doe And the Moneys earned by them or any of them on that Day is hereby directed to be from Time to Time imployed for the Use of the Poor aged decayed and maimed Watermen and their Widowes of the Parish of Saint Margaret Westminster And any Two Justices of the Peace of the said Parish are hereby authorized from Time to Time to call the Watermen soe working to account for the Moneys by them earned on the Lords Day as aforesaid and to cause the same to be applyed and disposed as aforesaid And that the said Watermen of the said Parish of Saint Margaret for the Time being shall choose Two Stewards and a Clerke on the Three and twentieth Day of Aprill in every Yeare Yearely and such Watermen of the said Parish or the major Part of them which shall be present at a Meeting of their Society shall and have hereby Power to appoint such of the Watermen of the said Parish as shall in their respective Turns worke on the Lords Daies as aforesaid Any thing in this Act contained to the contrary notwithstanding.

Footnotes

  • 1. interlined on the Roll.
  • 2. interlined on the Roll; omitted in King's Printer's Copy.
  • 3. retailing O. & King's Printer's Copy.
  • 4. Prizes O.
  • 5. interlined on the Roll.