The city of Norwich, chapter 36: Of the city in the time of King George I

Pages 436-443

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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George the First was proclaimed King of Great Britain, &c. Aug. 1, 1714, the same day the Queen died; and in this city on the 3d of August, being solemnly crowned on the 20th of Oct. when there were great rejoicings here.

Febr. 1, a great storm of wind from the west did much damage.

In 1715, Dec. 17, Mr. Tho. Hall, late of London, merchant, son of John Hall of Norwich, Esq. lieutenant colonel of the militia regiment, justice of peace, and late mayor, was interred at St. George's of Colgate.

Before the corpse went 34 boys clothed at the expense of his executors, being the number of the years of his age; they were followed by most of the city clergy; the pall was supported by six bachelors, the artillery company, (fn. 1) near 100 in number, all in black cloaks, laced hats, swords, white gloves, and silk knots, (given at the funeral,) closed the procession. The Rev. Mr. John Clark preached his funeral sermon from Revelations xiv. v. 13.

He gave for erecting a monthly lecture, (now called by his name, (fn. 2) ) in the city of Norwich, 200l.

Towards the maintenance of Bethel hospital (or Bedlam) 200l.

To the charity schools in the city of Norwich 100l.; 50l. to those of the church of England, and 50l. to the Protestant dissenters.

An 100l. to be laid out in a gold chain, to be worn by the mayors successively, with which the present [1742] gold chain, to be worn by the mayors was purchased, which weighs 23 ounces and 6 penny weights; Mr. Aug. Metcalf was the first that put it on, on the Gildday when he was sworn.

Sir Peter Seaman, Knt. died in January this year, and was buried in a vault made for him in St. Gregory's by the north chancel door; he left provision by will, to bind out two poor lads yearly for ever; the first year, out of St. Gregory's parish, and then year by year out of all the parishes in East-Wimer ward, (of which he was alderman,) in their several turns, and then to revert again to St. Gregory's, &c.

On the 6th of March, about 7 at night, appeared a very strange and unusual sight in the north, a little above the horizon, which surprised many; several of the same nature (though not so fierce in appearance) having been since seen, make these auroræ boreales common, and consequently not taken much notice of.

In 1717, two mayors died in less than four months time.

In 1720, on the 20th day of Sept. a great riot happened, under pretence of destroying callicoes, as pernicious to the trade of Norwich stuffs; the rabble cutting several gowns in pieces on women's backs, entering shops to seize all callicoes found there, &c. beating the constables that endeavoured to apprehend them, opposing the sheriffs power to such a degree, that the artillery company was forced to be raised, upon the approach of which, they instantly dispersed.

In 1722, an act passed for the better qualifying the manufacturers of stuffs and yarn, in the city and liberties thereof, to bear offices of magistracy, and for regulating the elections of such officers. It took place on Midsummer day,

1723, and sets forth, that whereas anciently the chief manufactures of the city were russels, sattens, sattens reverses, and fustians, the makers of which, by an act of 1st and 2d of P. and M. (fn. 3) were obliged to become freemen, by means of which the city had a constant supply of able magistrates, but those manufactures being disused, and others introduced in their stead, the good designs of the said act were wholly lost; to remedy which, this act obliged all manufacturers or makers of any sort of stuffs made of wool, or wherein there is any mixture of wool; and all makers of wool into yarn, who are not journeymen or servants for hire, master-weavers, and master woolcombers, and persons dealing or trading as such, or employing servants or journeymen in any such manufactures, or having any interest, stock, share, or partnership, in any such manufactures, inhabiting or living within the said city of Norwich and county of the same, to be made free of the said city, and admitted freemen thereof. All persons then in trade were obliged to take up their freedom, paying a guinea each, before June 24, 1723, and all future manufacturers being foreigners, upon their request at any publick assembly, were to be admitted and made free of the city, paying any sum not exceeding 5l. and taking the usual oaths.

Every person exercising any of the said manufactures, and refusing so to take up their freedom, upon a prosecution commenced within six months after such fact committed, shall forfeit 10l. every kalendar month so long as he shall use the said manufactures contrary to this ACT.

And for the better qualifying persons for to bear office of magistracy, and to prevent false polling, it was enacted, that if any person elected sheriff, at any court of mayoralty between the 24th of June and 10th of August following, shall within 14 days after notice in writing given him of his being elected, make oath, or if a quaker, solemnly affirm, that he is not at that time worth 2000l. in the world, his debts being paid, every such person shall for that turn be excused serving the office, gratis; and any person that shall in like manner swear himself not worth 3000l. shall be excused serving the office, if he pays a fine of 50l.; and if under 4000l. he shall be excused serving the office for 80l.; but no person worth above 2000l. shall be excused from serving for above one year, without the consent of the mayor, sheriffs, citizens and commonalty, in common council assembled.

After the first of May, 1723, at every election of mayor, sheriff, alderman, or common-council-man, the mayor, or presiding officer, in case a poll be demanded by any of the candidates, or any three or more of the electors, shall appoint a convenient number of clerks to take the polls, which clerks shall be sworn indifferently to take the poll, and set down the name of each voter, with his addition and place of abode, and for whom be shall poll, but shall not admit any one to poll, unless he first swears (or being a quaker affirms) that he is a freeman of the city of Norwich, (and in case of an election for an alderman, or common-council-man,) that he is an inhabitant in the ward for which such election is made, and hath not been polled at that election. And at every election, on closing the polls, the number of voters in each poll shall be publickly proclaimed; and if a scrutiny be demanded by or in behalf of any candidate, or by any three or more of the electors voting at such election, within 24 hours after closing the polls, or proclamation made of the numbers as aforesaid, such scrutiny shall be proceeded in by the mayor or presiding officer, who within seven days after demand, shall deliver to the person or persons requiring such scrutiny, or some of them, under 500l. penalty, a true copy of the polls, paying only reasonably for writing the same, not exceeding the rate of 6d. for the names and additions of 20 voters, and such scrutiny shall begin within 12 days, and not less than 10 days after closing the poll, and shall be publickly proceeded in at the place of election, without any unnecessary delay.

And whereas it hath sometimes happened, that at the death of an alderman, the election of another hath been long deferred, it is enacted, that after the 25th of March 1723, upon the death or removal of any alderman, the mayor or his deputy appointed by him, shall within the space of five days at the longest, and not sooner than two days after such death or removal, and the said mayor or deputy have notice thereof, proceed to elect a new alderman, giving twenty-four hours notice of such election, to the freemen of the ward.

It is to be taken as a publick act, and all judges, justices, &c. are to take notice of it as such, without specially pleading the same.

And it is in no wise to extend to the palace of the Bishop, or the precinct of the cathedral.

About this time was passed an act also, (fn. 4) for clearing, depthning, extending, maintaining, and improving the haven and piers of Great Yarmouth, and for depthning and making more navigable the several rivers, emptying themselves in the said town: and also for preserving ships wintering in the said haven, from accidents by fire;

By which the channels of that part of the river Yare, leading from Great Yarmouth to Norwich, called Braydon, and that part lying between the new mills in Norwich, and Hardly-cross in Hardly, and also the rivers Waveny, and Bure, commonly called the North River, are to be depthned and made more navigable for boats and keels, for which the following duties shall be paid for 21 years to come, and to the end of the then next session of parliament, computing from Lady day 1723, for all goods unladen in Yarmouth haven, or in the sea called Yarmouth Road, extending from the south part of Scrathy town in Norfolk, to the north part of Corton town in Suffolk, viz. every chalder of coals, Winchester measure, last of wheat, rye, barley malt, or other grain, weigh of salt, every tun of other goods or merchandise whatever, (fish only excepted,) such sum or sums of money (not exceeding the sum o 12d.) as the mayor, burgesses, and commonalty of Great Yarmouth in common council assembled shall from time to time order and appoint, the produce of the said duties to be applied to the said uses in the following proportions, such part not exceeding the sum of 6d. for the town of Yarmouth, for their haven, &c. and three-pence, other part of the said duties, shall be paid by the chamberlains of Yarmouth, every Midsummer day, viz. one penny halfpenny to the chamberlain of Norwich, to be applied in cleansing and depthning the river from the New mills to Hardly cross, and for such other purposes as the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty, in common council assembled, shall appoint; and one halfpenny of each 3d. shall be paid to such person or persons as shall be yearly appointed by the justices of peace at the quarter sessions held at Norwich castle, to be applied towards depthning and clearing the river Bure, or North River, or such other purposes as the justices shall appoint, one other halfpenny to such persons as the Suffolk justices shall appoint at Beccles sessions for the river Waveney, or such other purposes as they shall appoint; and the other halfpenny to such persons as the corporation of Yarmouth shall appoint towards repairing the bridge and publick keys there, or for such other purposes as the said corporation shall appoint, and the other three-pence in the shilling, or so much thereof as shall be thought by the 12 commissioners, or any seven of them, necessary to be raised by this act, to be applied in the effectual clearing and depthning the channel in Braydon, in such manner as shall be ordered by the majority of the commissioners, at their meeting at Yarmouth; and the overplus, if any be, to be applied by the majority, to such other uses as they think convenient.

The last three-pence is not to be raised, but upon notice, signed by seven of the commissioners, at their meeting at Yarmouth, acquainting the mayor there, that it is necessary to raise it, and for what purposes.

The justices of Norfolk may allot part of the money belonging to the river Bure, for depthning that branch of the said river leading from St. Bennet's abbey, to Dilham in Norfolk.

Yarmouth corporation is to nominate collectors and receivers, who are to pay the money into the chamberlain's hands.

There are 12 commissioners to have the inspection and take account of the money, &c. (except the three-pence paid to Norwich, Norfolk, Suffolk, and Yarmouth, as aforesaid.)

Three of which to be nominated every year, by the mayors, burgesses, and commonalty of Yarmouth, in common council assembled.

Three others by the city of Norwich, in common council assembled.

Three by the justices of peace for Norfolk, at their Christmas quarter sessions.

And three other in like manner by the justices of Suffolk; which commissioners, or any number of them, five being of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Norwich, may act, &c.

The mayor of Yarmouth, or his deputy, is to swear the collectors and receivers, who are to be allowed any sum not exceeding 6d. in the pound, and to remove them, &c.

The commissioners are to meet at Yarmouth every year, on or before the 20th of May, after their nomination any two of the commissioners of Norwich or the counties, giving the mayor of Yarmouth, or his deputy, fourteen days notice of such their meeting; and if five commissioners of the city and counties do not meet, the mayor, burgesses, and commonalty of Yarmouth, in common council assembled, may execute the powers given by the act.

All goods that are exported out of Yarmouth haven, upon oath made before a receiver, are to have the custom paid by this act allowed them again.

Watchers are to be appointed by the mayor, on the key, to take care of fire in ships, &c. from Nov. 1, to March 1, and each ship lying one month in the harbour, between those days, are to pay a halfpenny a ton towards finding them, and to forfeit 10s. for each fire or candle seen in their ships laid up to winter in the haven, and the watchers are to enter and extinguish them, such ships as have custom-house officers on board, only excepted.

The city of Norwich may assign over their part of this tonnage, by indenture under their common seal, as security for money borrowed by them for the said uses, and so may the justices of Norfolk, or the major part of them, at any quarter sessions.

This is to be deemed as a publick act, and taken as such without special pleading the same.

In 1724, the statue of Justice was placed on the hall in the market place, and the sheriff's office rebuilt.

In 1725, on Monday, Oct. 4, the court, attended with near 200 gentlemen and principal tradesmen, passed through the market to the New-hall, which was then opened, and solemnly proclaimed an exchange, to be kept from 11 to one of the clock every day, (except Saturdays and Sundays,) for the dispatch of business between merchants and tradesmen.

This year a petition of the mayor, sheriffs, citizens, and commonalty, of the city of Norwich in common council assembled, was presented to the house and read, setting forth, that the greatest part of the city of Norwich is encompassed with thick stone walls, wherein are 12 large gates, and there are also six large bridges over the river, running through the same city, also divers publick wastes, stathes, and wharfs, which are become very ruinous and out of repair, and that the revenues of the corporation of Norwich are so exhausted, that they are not able any longer to support the charge of the same: and likewise the roads leading from St. Stephen's-gate in the said city, towards Eaton, to the end of the Town Close, and from the said gate towards Hartford bridges, to the end of the said Town Close, being the great roads to London, are in a very ruinous and dangerous condition, and it is not known what towns or parishes ought to repair the same, and that it will require a large sum of money to defray the charges of the said several reparations; and therefore praying that leave may be given to bring in a bill to relieve the petitioners in such manner as the house shall think meet and convenient. Which was accordingly granted, and an act thereupon passed, which commenced May 1, 1726, by which there were laid divers tolls or duties upon all goods or merchandises brought up the river, higher than Thorp-hall, in Thorp, viz. every chaldron of coals Winchester measure, to pay 4d. every last of corn, malt, or grain, 4d.; every 3 hogsheads of sugar, tobacco, melasses, or hogsheads packed with dry goods, 4d.; every 3 puncheons of liquor, 4d.; every 8 barrels of soap, raisins, oil, pitch, tar, or packed with dry goods, 4d.; every whole butt or two half butts of currants, 4d.; every two pipes of Smyrna raisins, 4d.; every 24 bags of nails, 4d.; every 60 bars of iron, 4d.; every 50 pieces of iron called shortboards, 4d.; every 8 pigs or a fodder of lead, 4d.; every Peak milstone, or pair of Cologn milstones, 4d.; every 40 firkins of butter or archel, 4d.; every 22 hundred weight of cheese, 4d.; every 20 square feet of stone, 4d.; every thousand pantiles, 4d.; every 80 single deals and 40 double deals, 4d.; every 50 square feet of fir or other timber, 4d.; every two bags of hops, 4d.; every 8 horse packs of any sort of goods, 4d.; every ton of all other sorts of goods, 4d.; to be computed according to the custom of ship or water tonnage, and so in proportion for every greater or lesser quantity, which shall be water born or brought up the river higher than Thorp-hall, to be paid to the mayor, sheriffs, &c. or the collectors by them appointed; and when received; to be by them applied towards rebuilding or repairing the walls and bridges aforesaid, and towards amending, repairing, and maintaining the gates, wastes, stathes, wharfs, and highways or roads aforesaid, and other publick works within the said city, and to no other purpose whatsoever.

Every one giving a false account more than of three tons of the number of tons of his lading, to forfeit 20s.

An office to be erected somewhere between Thorp-hall, and St. Anne's stath in Norwich, where a collector or receiver shall constantly reside for receiving such duties, from five in the morning to eight at night, from the 10th of March yearly, to the 10th of Sept. and from seven in the morning to five in the afternoon, daring the rest of the year.

And if the city erects a boom, they shall place near it an office as aforesaid, and an officer shall attend day and night and let pass all boars, wherries, keels, &c. on their giving an account of their lading, and paying the duty, and let all pass at all times down to Yarmouth without interruption; and if any be voluntarily stopped above half an hour, the officer so offending shall for every half hour forfeit to the person so aggrieved, 2s. 6d. to be levied by any justice of pence in the city, on the oath of the party aggrieved.

The city under their common seal, may borrow money, and assign over the produce of the customs, or part thereof, to repay it with legal interest.

The act is not to lessen or take away any duties, which before the making of it were due and payable to the mayor, sheriffs, &c. at their common stathe, or any other stathes, in the city, but they are to continue in like manner as they were before the act.

And whereas the inhabitants of Norfolk must necessarily bear some share of the duty arising from this act, and to put an end to all disputes between the county and city, relating to the repairing, amending, or rebuilding the bridges called Trowse bridges, Harford bridges, Cringleford and Earlham bridges, the city agreed to pay yearly for bridgemoney, to the treasurer of the county of Norfolk, 30l. towards the charges of the said bridges, every 25th day of March, for which all the said bridges are to belong to the county of Norfolk, in the same manner as other publick county bridges do.

The act is to be deemed and allowed as a publick act in all courts, without specially pleading the same.

In 1726, Berstreet gates and Brazen door were rebuilt.

In 1727, the fish-market was new paved, and the stalls built.

The extreme heat in July and August occasioned many to be carried off with fevers and agues; and the contagion was general.

On Sunday the 11th of June, about three in the morning, died King George I. at the palace of the Bishop of Osnaburgh, in Germany.

Mayors and Sheriffs.

1715, Peter Attlesey. † Jacob Robins, Sam. Freemoult.
1716, Augustine Metcalfe. Tho. Newton, Ric. Mott.
1717, Richard Lubbock, died July 26. Edm. Hunton, Edw. Colebourn.
Tho. Bubbin, died Oct. 30.
Ant. Parmenter.
1718, Ric. Mott. † Ben Nuthall, John Osborn, died Aug. 27.
Daniel Meadows.
1719, John Hall, 2. Dan. Fromanteel, † Rob. Marsh.
1720, Edw. Colburn. John Croshold, John Harvey.
1721, † Ben. Nuthall. † Tho. Harmer, † Tim. Balderstone.
1722, Tho. Newton. † John Pell, Nat. Paul.
1723, Edm. Hunton. Francis Arnam, Tho. Tawell, died May 4.
† John Custance.
1724, John Croshold. John Black, † Philip Meadows.
1725, Daniel Fromanteel. † Will. Clarke, † John Langley.
1726, † John Custance. Jeremiah Ives, Abraham Yestis.
1727, John Harvey. Sept. 23, Sam. Morgan died, and Will. Pearce was elected for the remaining five days of Mr. Morgan's year. † Rob. Harvey.
June 7, died Steph. Gardiner, recorder, and on the 14th.
Ric. Berney, Esq. was chosen.

Burgesses in Parliament.

1714, Waller Bacon of Earlham, Esq. † Rob. Britiffe of Norwich, Esq.

1722, They were re-elected.

1727, They were chosen the third time.


  • 1. This company was erected this year, Mr. Will. Hall was their captain, who was succeeded by Mr. † Timothy Balderstone.
  • 2. Hall's. Sacramental Lectures are to. be preached in one or other of the churches in the city, the preacher to be appointed by the court, and paid 10l. per annum.
  • 3. See p. 270.
  • 4. Statutes at large, vol. v. fo. 459. 9 George 1.