|Of the Jurisdiction of the THAMES. ||33
concerning the Extent of the Thames's Jurisdiction; which is, from a Place
Ditch, a little above the Bridge of Stanes, Westward, to London Bridge; and from
thence to a certain Place called Yendal, alias Yenland, alias Yenleet; and
likewise of the
Water of Medway, as being Matter more proper to the City of London's Survey,
any other Discourse else whatsoever. For many Years, the Authority and
of this River hath undoubtedly belonged unto the Lord Maior, Commonalty, and
Citizens of London, by the sufficient Testimony of divers Grants, Charters and
Confirmations, made by the precedent Kings and Queens of this Land, and by his
Royal Majesty, K. James I. now reigning; beside sundry Acts of Parliament
that End. But because some Question appeared to be made by the Lord High
of England, concerning that Case of Power or Jurisdiction, a full and final
was at length established, between the Lord High Admiral, and the Lord Maior and
Commonalty of London also, concerning the Prerogative then questioned.
Acts of Parliament for the Cities Prerogative on the River.
Whereby, as in former ancient Privileges, the Right and Title hath always been
so it appeared then a plain and manifest Case, that the Lord Maior of London for
Time being, and his Successors for ever in that antient Dignity, have full Power
Authority over the said Rivers, the Lord Maior bearing the Stile and Title of
CONSERVATOR or Preserver of them within the forenamed Bounds and Limits;
having absolute Power of inflicting Punishment for all unlawful Fishings, either
Fishermen, or any other fishing within the same at any time; yea, and to search,
oversee, and punish all such as shall abuse his lawful Authority in those
from time to time. And because his great and serious Employments, with-hold him
from such attending on this important Business, as the urgent Necessity thereof
almost continually require; He hath a Deputy or Substitute, named the Water
London, who under his Honour's Authority, and by vertue of his more absolute
Power, doth continually search, oversee, and punish all Offenders, that dare
those Rights of Duty belonging to so famous a River, or make spoil of that,
for general Benefit.
A Controversy between the Lord Admiral and the City, concerning the River Thames, ended in behalf of the latter.
The Lord Maior bears the Stile of Conservator of the Rivers Thames and Medway.
For this End he hath his Water Bailiff.
And whereas there are a certain Company of Fishermen, called Trinkermen [or
Tynkermen] frequenting the River of Thames, Eastward, who in times past, not
have been reported, but also manifestly proved and found out, to make an
Destruction of the young Brood and Frie of Fish, by use of unlawful Nets, and
unpermittable Engines; feeding and glutting their Hogs with them, as Mr. Dr. Dee
reporteth; by the diligent and extraordinary Cost and Care of the Lord Maior,
Brethren, and the rest of the Citizens of London; as also by the vigilant
Respect of his
worthy Officer the Water Bailiff, Day and Night attending to cut off such an
Abuse; those unlawful Nets and Engines are now quite supprest, and a true and
Form of Fishing brought into Use, that such Waste and Havock may no more be
Trinkermen, great Destroyers of the Fry of Fish, prevented, and stopt.
Through which Restraint of Robbery, and Application of continual Providence, our
River of Thames (the Honour and Beauty of this whole Island) is become again
rich and plentiful, yielding daily out of her bountiful Bosom great Store of
Fish of all
Kinds, and at much more reasonable Rates than in many Years past hath been seen;
our Weekly Markets in this honourable City can better testify than I report; a
highly to be commended, and no doubt but will be as heedfully continued.
The River of Thames restored to her Plenty.
Upon a general Complaint lately made to the Lord Maior, concerning Timbers
being in Tilbury Hope, beneath Gravesend, a Matter not only perillous to
upon the River, but a Cause also to destroy infinitely the young Breed and Fry
by the Harms those Timbers did to Fishermens Nets, by reason of their continual
standing in the main Course, and speedy Current of the Stream, which was
annoyed and injured thereby; his honourable Care extended so far, that by the
Diligence of the Water Bailiff, being thereto by his Office and Place
directed; those grievous Hurts and Annoyances were all taken up, and conveyed to
Guildhall in London, as an Example to all that should dare to offend in the like
or presume to prejudice such an honourable Course of our Fishing; as it is
reported, at every Tide by Day and Night, Four Bushels of small Fish and Fry
(continually throughout the whole Year) are saved and preserved by this worthy
Providence; which otherwise had remained to the former desperate Spoil, and
a great hindrance to the abounding Increase now likely to ensue thereby.
Timbers in the Thames, no mean hurt to the River, complained of and redressed.
The Lord Maior and Commonalty, within the Compass of three Years now last past,
have caused this noble River of Thames Westward, to be cleared and cleansed of
Seventy nine Stops or Hatches, consisting of divers great Stakes and Piles
Erected by Fishermen for their private Gain; and standing dangerously for
near unto the fair Deep, so that none of them do now remain upon the River, but
such as stand out of the passable fair Way, and can be no prejudice to
otherwise they serve as a great Succour to the young Breed and Fry, being
the Waters Bottom; and placed so remotely on the River, that they relieve and
many poor Fishermen thereon dwelling. Beside, in the great Heat and Drought of
Summer, when Water usually is most scanty, these Stops are the Cause of raising
Waters so high, that Barges may well and safely pass, with all kind of Goods to
antient Mother City; whereas else they would be grounded, how many soever, and
void of Passage by Lowness of the Water.
* That is, between the Years 1515, and 1518 when A. M. first wrote and published this.
The Lord Maior clears the Thames of many Stops or Hatches.
There is likewise a Number of Fishermen belonging to the River of Thames, some
stiled by the Name of Trinkermen [Tynkermen] of whom something was said before;
Hebbermen, Petermen, Trawlermen, &c. that have lived in preceding Times by
unlawful Fishing on this River, and to the great Injury of her abounding Store.
means of this well provided Restriction, so forwarded in the main Magistrate,
followed in the diligent Endeavour of the careful Water Bailiff, (making no
spare of his
Pains at all whatsoever) their Insolency hath been reduced to a more temperate
Qualification. And the awful Hand of Civil Government appeareth to carry much
Respect, than formerly it did.
Unlawful Fishermen restrained.
Nor let this provident Care, both for the Safety of Passengers on the River, and
Preservation of the Breed and Fry, be understood as a Matter of Novelty, without
precedent Example in elder Days; since it plainly appeareth, that the very like
was kept and effected in the Time of K. Henry IV. the Seventh Year of his Reign,
Anno Dom. 1405. Also more lately in the Days of K. Henry VIII, &c. As is
by Records in divers Chronicles, and so warranted and avouched, as already hath
said, and shall in more ample manner hereafter appear.
The Care the City had of the River in former Times.
Concerning the Controversial Question about the Rivers of Thames and Medway, all
Variance and Difference was absolutely concluded in the Year 1613, the 20th Day
May; Sir John Swinnerton, Knight, being then Lord Maior, and careful Conservator
the said River's Rights; and Thomas Sparrey, Esq; his Subsitute and re-
The Controversy about the Rivers decided, Sir John Swinnerton, Maior.