|The Jurisdiction of the THAMES. ||34
spective Water-Bailiff, for the performing of such a main Trust reposed in him,
appertaining justly to his Place and Office.
At Eight several Times yearly , within the Four Counties of Middlesex, Surrey,
and Essex, the Lord Maior of London for the Time then being, with his Brethren
Aldermen, for the better maintaining of the River's Rights and Privileges, do
Person judicially, and charge Four Juries by Oath, to make Inquisition after all
Offences, committed upon the said River. And as the Verdict, presented by the
Jury, maketh Appearance, so do they accordingly proceed to the Punishment of the
Transgressors, answerably to the Nature of their Offences, and as to Justice
expedient. Wherein the River's Prosperity, Safety of Passengers, and general
the Commonwealth, are their chiefest Respects.
Courts kept eight Times a Year, in four Counties, for taking care of the Thames.
And because it may appear more probable to all Men, in what worthy manner the
Maior and his Brethren do proceed in this Case, by the Help of Mr. Edmund Howes,
Gent. I have hereto added the last Courts that were kept about this River's
the Time of Sir John Jolles, Knight, to take away all sinister Scruple or Doubt,
that can be otherwise alledged. For he being present in the Journey, (as I my
might have been, if Leisure would have so permitted) observed the Course of all
then passed; and as he delivered it to me, so have I set it down; with some few
Collections of mine own, out of such Antiquities as have come to my Hands.
Courts kept in the Time of Sir John Jolles, Maior.
And not only the Water of Thames, with the Fish therein, belong to the City, but
Soil and Ground under it is theirs also; being given to them by former Kings of
Land: As appears from a Writing in Q. Elizabeth's Days, (found among the MSS. of
the Lord Treasurer Burghley) proving the Sea Lands and Salt Shores thereof to be
Queen's Property. Wherein are these Words:
for Proof of the Princes Interest in Rivers flowing from the Sea, the Thames,
Conservation thereof, was not only given to the City of London; but by their
Suit, the King gave therewithal the Ground and Soil under the same: Whereupon if
that hath a House or Land adjoining, do make a Strand, Stairs, or such like,
forthwith a Rent to the City of London, how high soever they be above the
Mark. Such is the Prince's Interest in all Rivers that ebb and flow."
The Soil and Ground under Thames is the City's.
A further Testimony concerning the River of
and of the Right and Authority of the Lord Maior of London to the Conservacy of
the said River :
Proved learnedly, in a Charge given by the
Common Serjeant, Anno 1616 .
An Order from K. Charles I. to the Judge of the
IN the Year 1616, on Wednesday, being the 3d of July,
Sir John Jolles, Knight, Lord Maior of the City of London, and Conservator of
River of Thames and Waters of Medway, assisted and accompanied by Francis Jones,
Edward Rotheram, Alexander Prescot, Martin Lumley, Aldermen of London, and
William Gore Alderman, and Sheriff at that Time of the said City, Thomas Jones,
Common Serjeant of the said City, (in the Absence of Sir Henry Montague, Knight,
Recorder of the same City) attended by Thomas Sparrey, Esq; Subconservator of
said River of Thames, with Fifty Officers and other Servants; took Barges at
Belingsgate, and within few Hours arrived at Gravesend in Kent: Where a Session
the Conservacy of the said River was kept before the said Lord Maior, and his
A Progress made by the Lord Maior to Gravesend and Lee, to keep Courts there.
At which Time and Place, a Jury of Freeholders of the said County, being sworn
enquire of all Offences, committed in any Part of that River within the said
Master Common Serjeant delivered them a Charge to this Effect:
The Common Serjeant gives his Charge to the Jury at Gravesend.
"THAT forasmuch as there had not been any Session of Conservacy, in many Years
past, kept by any Lord Maior of London in that Place, it was probable, that they
not be well informed, neither of the Lord Maior's Jurisdiction and Power, to
Annoyances and Offences there, nor of the Nature of the Service by them to be
performed in the Course of their Enquiry. And therefore he thought it fit to
known unto them both the one and the other. And hereupon he shewed them, that
Jurisdiction of the City of London in the River of Thames, from
Stanes Bridge Westward, unto the Points of the River next the Sea Eastward,
to belong to the City, in Manner and Form as followeth; both in Point of Right,
Point of Usage:"
The City's Claim to the River proved.
In Point of Right,
I. By Prescription.
II. By Allowance in Eire.
III. By Ancient Charters.
IV. By Acts of Parliament.
V. By Inquisitions.
VI. By Decrees upon Hearing, coram Rege ipso, & in Camerâ
VII. By Letters Patents.
VIII. By Proclamations.
IX. By Report of the King's Council Learned.
X. By a Quo Warranto.
In Point of Usage,
I. By Ancient Ordinances.
II. By Punishment of Offenders.
III. By Writs and Precepts.
IV. By Accompts for Charges of Searches, from the 17th of Rich. II. till
the 2d of Q.
V. By Commission.
VI. By continual Claim ever since 37 Hen. VIII. when the Lord Admiral
interrupted the City, to exercise her Authority below London Bridge.
And to crown all these Points both of Right and Usages, & ad omnem
Temporibus futuris tollendam; the City of London hath the
K. James's Charter to the City for the Thames.