|The River LEE, or LEY. ||47
do his Duty, according to the true Meaning of this Act, that then the Constable,
Deputy, which shall so refuse to do his Duty as aforesaid, shall forfeit and pay
every Time so offending, Three Shillings Four Pence. And the same Penalty of
said Constable to be recovered and obtained by Distress irreplegiable, to be
any of the Officers of the Chamber of London, to the Use of the Maior and
Commonalty of London."
And further, That no Person or Persons, having any Wharf or House by the said
side, make not their Lay-stalls nigh to the River aforesaid; except only the
Lay-stalls, where the common Rakers of this City use to repose and lay all their
Soilage, to be carried away by them with their Dung Boats. And that the said
shall lay their said
Dung, carried in their Dung Boats, to such convenient Place or Places, as shall
appointed by the Lord Maior of LONDON, for the Time being, with the Advice of
Brethren, the Aldermen of the same; and to no other Place or Places, upon Pain
forfeit for every such Default Five Pounds; to be recovered in any of the King's
within the City of LONDON, by Bill, Plaint, Moiety of Debt, or Information by
Person that will or shall pursue for the same: The one Moiety thereof to be unto
Maior and Commonalty of London, and the other Moiety to him or them that will or
shall pursue for the same. In which Actions or Suits, no Wager of Law, nor
shall be allowed.]"
The River LEE or LEY .
An Act for a Cut to be made in it .
Scowred and made Navigable .
A Commission of Sewers for the LEE. Cutts made on the Banks of it in the Night
time, to let out the Water .
BECAUSE a considerable River, gliding from
the North, falleth into the Thames about Limehouse, or Leymouth,
called Lee or Ley, or Leigh, or Lea; and a Right in it claimed for a
great way by the City; therefore as an Appendix to this former
Discourse, I shall remark a few Things of it.
The River Lee.
This pleasant and useful River, and the greatest in the County of
Hertford, streams along from Hertford and Ware, and so by the
Counties of Middlesex and Essex; washing Low Leyton on the East,
(a Village which hath its Name from thence) and so to Temple Mill,
Old Ford, and Statford Le Bow, and at length loseth it self in the
Thames. The City from ancient Times seems to have a Right to it.
For it is recorded in the Rolls of Parliament, 2 Hen. 5. that in all
Commissions touching the Water of Lee, the Maior of London shall
be one. The City received much Benefit from it.
The Cities Right to it.
L. Coke's Institut.
For in former Time it conveyed Corn, Malt, and other Commodities
to London; as appears by the Verdict of a Jury given Decemb. 10.
the 22d of Edw. IV. touching the Defaults and Impediments,
stopping and letting the full Course and Liberty of the River, called
the Water of Ley. Where it was among other Things found and
presented touching the Abbot of Walthams Annoyances, as
"Also the Head of the Entry of the said Abbots Mill,
where Water goeth out of the King's River, is of 10 Foot broad,
where it should be but Four Foot, by the which the Kynges Servant
is sore hurt. Also the said Abbot hath a Lock, which is but xv Fote
brode, wher it should be xviii Fote. For the which Cause it must be
broke up; for it is a great Jeopardy to all manner of Barges and
Boats which goeth by the Water there."
Of great Benefit to the City.
In the Year 1571, the 13th of Q. Eliz. was an Act of Parlament
made for bringing the River of Lee to the Northside of the City of
London. But it is questionable, whether this Cut was ever begun
at all, certain it is, it was never finished, and brought to any North
Parts of London: However, it is vulgarly said, that the Channel
over which the Bridge is built near Temple Mill is Part of that Cut;
but it is more likely an antient Branch of the Lee, and never cut
by Art. It would have been a good Work had it been done; which
the Preamble of the said Act sufficiently sets forth; mentioning
"Commodious it would be both
to City and Country, if the River LEE, otherwise called WARE River,
might be brought within the Land to the North Part of the City, to
be cut out of the said River for the Navigation of Barges and other
Vessels, to carry Merchandize, Victuals, and other Necessaries
from the Town of Ware, and all other Places near the said River
unto London; and from the said City to the same Places: And also
for Tiltboats and Wherries for conveying the Queen's Subjects to
An Act for a new Cut in the Lee to bring it to London, 13. Eliz.
And thereupon by that Act it was made lawful for the Lord Maior
and City of London, and their Successors, at any time hereafter, to
lay out convenient Limits of Ground, for making the Trench in the
said River, in such Breadth as to them and their Deputies and
Workmen should seem convenient, and in the Place they should
think most apt and meet for that Purpose: And to have, take, and
use, so much Ground all the Length, as the said new Channel or Cut
should pass, and 50 or 60 Foot in Breadth, on each side of the said
River all the length of the same: And not to take in Breadth both
in Channel and in Ground on both Sides, above the Breadth of
Eight Score Foot in all; which was thought necessary to be had,
because the Ground and Soil on each Side must be occupied, as
well for laying of the Earth that should be cast out of the said
Trench, to serve in the lower Grounds, especially near the said
River, to make substantial Banks to keep the Country from
Inundations, when the Floods should rise; as also for way to pass
with Trunks and Carts, to carry away the Gravel and other Earth
in very great Quantities from the Hills, whereas the Cut must be
very deep. And also when it shall be made, that the whole Ground
on both Sides of the River might lye in one Level from the City of
London to that Place, where the said Trench or River should have
his Beginning out of the main River of Lee: And to the End also,
that in all Places, within that Limit and Distance, all People might
with great Ease and Commodity go in and out of their Tiltboats,
and other Vessels without Peril; and so walk on Foot as long as it
should please them; and also that the Bargemen might upon the
same Ground draw their Vessels from Place to Place along the
The Maior and Commonalty were to have the same Grounds the
whole Length by Composition,