The city of Norwich, chapter 35: Of the city in the time of Queen Anne

An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part I. Originally published by W Miller, London, 1806.

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Francis Blomefield, 'The city of Norwich, chapter 35: Of the city in the time of Queen Anne', An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part I, (London, 1806), pp. 431-436. British History Online [accessed 25 June 2024].

Francis Blomefield. "The city of Norwich, chapter 35: Of the city in the time of Queen Anne", in An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part I, (London, 1806) 431-436. British History Online, accessed June 25, 2024,

Blomefield, Francis. "The city of Norwich, chapter 35: Of the city in the time of Queen Anne", An Essay Towards A Topographical History of the County of Norfolk: Volume 3, the History of the City and County of Norwich, Part I, (London, 1806). 431-436. British History Online. Web. 25 June 2024,

In this section



Anne Queen of England, &c. was proclaimed at London, March 8, 1701, being Sunday, about 3 o'clock in the afternoon; King William dying that day about 8 in the morning; and on the 12th following, at this city: and was crowned April 23, 1702, which day was celebrated here with extraordinary expressions of joy.

May 23, war was proclaimed here against the French and Spaniards.

At an assembly held on St. Matthias's day, the exchange was voted down, and was shut up the 15th of March following.

In 1703, Hardley cross, the utmost limits of the jurisdiction of the city upon the river, was new repaired by the city.

Nov. 25, in the night, was a great tempest; and on the 26th a most prodigious hurricane of wind, which did abundance of damage both in town and country, by blowing down houses, chimneys, &c.

In 1704, there were great disputes about electing an alderman in the room of Augustine Briggs, Esq. deceased, for the great ward of Conisford and Berstreet, the court swore Benjamin Austin, who displaced in 1706, by Thomas Dunch, who had the majority at the election, and obtained a mandamus to be sworn in Austin's place.

Waller Bacon, John Chambers, Tho. Blofieid, and Tho. Palgrace, Esqrs. were candidates for members of parliament; the two first had an evident majority, but not being freemen, the sheriffs made a double return, but after a full hearing, the two first were declared duly elected, it being alleged that whether cives meant freemen only, or no, it mattered not, because the citizens electing them made them such.

About this time, Will. Blithe, Esq. mayor, was committed by the parliament to the custody of a serjeant at arms, for irregular proceedings in the late election.

In 1705, the Weaver's Hall was broke open, and the books burnt, since which time, there hath been no scaling of stuff, &c. used in this city.

In 1706, in November, were two great floods.

In 1708, Oct. 28, died Prince Geore of Denmark, royal consort to the Queen, aged 55.

The Shire-house on the Castle-hill was altered, and made in the present form.

In 1709, the market cross was repaired, and the new mills built. Wheat was sold at 40s. a comb.

Peter Seaman, Esq. who had been mayor, and was now colonel of the city company, was made high-sheriff of Norfolk.

In 1710, the small-pox raged, and carried off great numbers.

On the 5th of Dec. at noon, was a great tempest of thunder and lightning, with a storm of hail; the lightning entered a pantry joining to a house just out of the walls by St. Austin's-gates, melted part of a pewter bason, and parts of four or five plates, but did no other harm.

In 1711, on the 18th of April, from 9 to 11 in the morning, was a violent tempest of thunder, lightning, and hail.

An address was presented to her Majesty, by Justice Blithe and Justice Peter Seaman, the last of which had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him.

Oct. 3, 20 persons were drowned on Braydon, in a wherry coming from Yarmouth.

This year was an act passed, to erect work-houses, and a court of guardians to take care of the poor: by this act, the whole county of the city of Norwich was made one parish as to the poor, which are maintained and provided for in the work-houses in the city, one of which is at the New-hall, another in the remains of the Duke's palace, and the third, commonly called the Infirmary, is on the right hand of the road out of St. Austin's-gates.

The act took place on the first of May, 1712, by which the mayor, recorder, steward, justices of the peace, sheriffs, and aldermen of the city for the time being, and 32 other persons, chosen out of the most honest, discreet, and charitable inhabitants of the said city and county, and liberties thereof, in the four great wards of the said city, viz. eight out of each of the great wards, to be elected every 3d of May, or three days after, at an assembly of the said city for that purpose to be held, (fn. 1) by the votes of the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty, or the major part of them then present, and such other charitable persons as shall give 50l. or more towards the work-houses, all which may be elected guardians, over and above the 32 persons aforesaid, at any court where 33 members are present, so that the majority of them approve thereof, are constituted a corporation and body politick for ever to endure, by the name of the governour, deputy governour, assistants, and guardians of the poor in the city and county of Norwich, and liberties of the same. By which name they may sue and be sued, and without license in mortmain, may purchase, take, or receive, any lands, tenements, or hereditaments, and any goods and chattels whatever, for the use and benefit of the said corporation

The guardians, or the majority of them, are to appoint a clerk to attend their courts at the cost of the corporation, and to provide books for such clerk to enter all their choices in.

And that all persons qualified for guardians may in their turns have opportunity to be chosen, the first four persons, for each great ward entered in the books, shall yearly be declared off, and four others chosen in their rooms; the first four persons so declared off being capable of being rechosen the next year, if the majority of the assembly shall do so, and they will accept it, and not otherwise. On the 7th of May, or any other convenient time, this corporation must meet in the Gild-hall, and elect out of and from among themselves, one governour, one deputy governour, one treasurer, and 20 assistants, to continue in their offices one year, and no longer; and in case of death or removal, to meet and constitùte others in the vacant rooms for the rest of the year: the majority of the corporation having power at all times to remove any officers, and put others in their rooms; any person chosen governour, and refusing to serve, is to be fined any sum not exceeding 20l. nor less than 10l.; every deputy governour's fine is not to exceed 15l. nor be less than 7l.; every treasurer 20l. not less than 10l.; and every assistant and guardian, not exceeding 10l. nor less than 5l.; such fines to be set by the majority then present, and to be applied to the use of the corporation.

The governour, deputy governour, or, in their default, four assistants, are enjoined to hold a court the first Tuesday in every kalendar month, of 21 of the said guardians at least; the governour to hold it between two and three in the afternoon; and in his default, the deputy governour or four assistants, after three; to which court the members must be warned at least two days before, and in case of any emergency, 20 of the guardians signifying it to the governour under their hands, that they desire a special court, the governour shall be obliged to hold it at such a time as the 20 guardians shall so desire, and if he refuses, the deputy governour, and if he refuses, any four assistants shall and may hold it: at which special court, every member of the corporation must appear, and not depart without license of the court, or the major part of them, under penalty of being fined any sum not exceeding 10s. a man.

They have power to summon any of the inhabitants of the said city and county, to answer to all matters relating to the corporation, upon oath to be administered by any justice of the peace, or alderman of the city, and to fine every person so summoned, any sum for nonappearance, not exceeding 10s.

They have power to have a common seal or seals, and to ordain by-laws, rules, and ordinances, for the better government of the corporation, and the poor, or any trade or business that shall be set on foot by the corporation for employing the poor, with power to purchase, buy, or erect, any hospital or hospitals, work-house or workhouses, house or houses of correction, in the said city or county; and to provide all convenient necessaries to set on work, and employ the poor of what age or sex soever they be, with full power and authority to compel idle or lazy poor people, begging or seeking relief; or any other poor who receive collection money of their respective parishes, to dwell, inhabit, or to work in such work-houses; and to set all persons sent to such houses of correction, at work, and to detain and keep at work in the service of the corporation till they be 16 years of age, all poor children of the said city and county, begging relief, or which ought to be provied for by any parish, with power to bind them out at 16 or before, by indenture under their common seal, for any term not exceeding seven years; with power to punish and correct all such poor persons in the work-houses, &c. that shall not conform to the established rules and ordinances of those houses, or shall misbehave themselves in the same.

They had power to raise 5000l. the first year, and to set mulcts on every parish for the perpetual maintenance of the poor, to the payment of which all persons are to be rated in every parish for all lands, houses, tenements, tithes impropriate or appropriate, stocks and personal estates, in the city and county, or liberties of the same, or having money out at interest, in equal proportion as near as may be, according to their several and respective values and estates.

With power to distrain for non-payment of such moneys so assessed, and it there be no distress, to commit their persons to prison, which assessments are to be made by the church-wardens and overseers of the poor of each parish, or such other person or persons, as the said guardians shall appoint in every respective parish, by warrant under their hands and seals, and if any be unequally taxed, they may appeal to the justices of the peace at the general quarter sessions, or any adjournment thereof, who have power to redress any errour, and do what to them shall seem reasonable, and if the officers refuse to gather, they forfeit 40s. for every such offence;

With power to hinder all persons not legally settled, from residing in the city, and to take up all rogues, vagrants, sturdy beggars, idle, lazy, or disorderly persons, and commit them to any work-house or house of correction, and there make them work any time not exceeding three years; and any constable refusing to serve any warrant to take up any such, forfeits 10s. for each offence.

This act does not extend to give this corporation any power over any alms-house or hospital, or any other charitable gift or usage in the said city or county, already given, used, settled or erected. The treasurer and all other officers, are to account at all times on reasonable warning given them by the governour or deputy governovr, or corporation, and if they refuse so to do they may be committed to goal by the mayor, or any two of the said aldermen, being justices of the peace, there to remain without bail, till they pass a true account, and pay all that remain overplus in their hands, or give such security for it, as the majority of this corporation approves of.

No poor child who doth not legally belong to the city or county, shall be taken apprentice by any journey-man weaver inhabiting in the said city or county, without the consent of the governour or deputy governour, and two assistants, and all indentures to the contrary are void, and the mayor or justices of peace may by order remove all such persons to the last place of their legal settlement, notwithstanding such indentures.

No person is to be chosen guardian, unless he be rated at 12d. a week at least, to the relief of the poor, or dwell in a tenement of the yearly rent of 10l. or give 50l. to the benefit of the corporation. If the mayor or his deputy do not at any time call a court in 14 days time after it be demanded by the major part of the guardians, in order to elect any guardians or officers, in case of death or removal, then the major part of the guardians may hold such court, and do all things as well as the mayor or his deputy.

The mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty of Norwich, in council assembled, may convey and assure, for so long lime as they shall think fit, all the Town-close, or any part thereof, as a security for any sums of money that they shall borrow at any time, for, and towards the charge of setting the poor at work.

Nothing in the act is to extend to the limits of the palace of the Bishop of Norwich, or any of the precincts of the cathedral church, and it is to be taken as a publick act, and all judges and justices are to take notice of it without pleading the same.

The act is not to extend to, or charge any of the present members of the Walloon, French, and Dutch congregations in the said city or county, or such alians as shall hereafter become members thereof, with any charge other than, and except to the poor of the respective parishes, where they respectively dwell, and that for the houses and grounds they occupy only, provided the said congregations for ever hereafter, do with their stocks, estates, and values, provide for their own poor as formerly.

1713, May 11, peace was proclaimed with much pomp and great joy, between Great Britain and France.

The Duke of Ormond was made Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk and Norwich, and the Lord Viscount Townshend displaced.

Feb. 15, a violent wind (though it lasted not long) did great damage by sea and land, as did such another storm on the 23d.

March 8, peace was proclaimed here between Great Britain and Spain.

In 1714, Aug. 1, about seven in the morning died the gracious and pious Queen Anne, in the 50th year of her age, and 13th of her reign, to the great sorrow of all her good subjects.

To save her country, twice she try'd, First she fought and then she dy'd. (fn. 2)

Mayors and Sheriffs.

1702, John Atkinson. Nic Helwys, John Goose.
1703, John Freeman. Edw. Bayspool, Will. Cockman.
Steph. Gardiner, Esq. recorder, on Davy's death,
Aruthur Branthwait resigned his place of steward.
Rich. Berney. Esq. chosen in his room.
1704, William Blithe. John Riseborough, Ben Austin.
1705, Peter Thacker. Will. Brereton, John Norman.
1706, Will. Cook. Peter Attlesey, anth. Parmenter.
1707, Peter Seaman, Esq. Rob. Chickering, James Daniel.
1708, Tho. Havers. Tho. Monsey, Will Rogers.
1709, Mat. Nall. George Vertue, Thomas Bubbin.
1710, Rob. Bene. Hen. Shardelow, George Gobbet.
1711, Will. Cockman. Anthony Ransom, Rich. Manby.
1712, John Goose. Joseph Wasey, Jehosaphat Postle.
1713, Nic. Helwys. † Tho. Vere, † Tho. Harwood. (fn. 3)
1714, John Norman. Joseph Burton, Rich. Lubbock.

Burgesses in Parliament.

1702, Parl. at Westm. Rob. Davy, Esq. recorder. Tho. Blofield, Esq. alderman.

1703, Ditto. At Davy's death Tho. Palgrave, Esq. elected.

1704, Ditto. Waller Bacon of Earlham, Esq.

John Chambers of Norwich, Esq.

Tho. Blofield, Esq.

Tho. Palgrave, Esq. Double return. The two first served.

1707, Ditto. The two last members rechosen.

1710, Ditto. Robert Bene, mayor, Richard Berney, Esq. steward.

1713, Ditto. Rechosen.


  • 1. In case of death or removal, the mayor or his deputy, in 10 days after, to hold an assembly, of which he must give notice at least two days before, and others are to be chosen by the majority, as those on the 3d of May are.
  • 2. Mss. Johnson.
  • 3. All having this † mark are new [1742] living.