The River LEE, or LEY. 47

The River LEE, or LEY.

" do his Duty, according to the true Meaning of this Act, that then the Constable, or his Deputy, which shall so refuse to do his Duty as aforesaid, shall forfeit and pay for every Time so offending, Three Shillings Four Pence. And the same Penalty of the said Constable to be recovered and obtained by Distress irreplegiable, to be taken by 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 Water side, make not their Lay-stalls nigh to the River aforesaid; except only the common 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 Rakers shall lay their said Dung, carried in their Dung Boats, to such convenient Place or Places, as shall be appointed by the Lord Maior of LONDON, for the Time being, with the Advice of his Brethren, the Aldermen of the same; and to no other Place or Places, upon Pain to forfeit for every such Default Five Pounds; to be recovered in any of the King's Courts within the City of LONDON, by Bill, Plaint, Moiety of Debt, or Information by any Person that will or shall pursue for the same: The one Moiety thereof to be unto the 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 Essoign, shall be allowed.]"



47

CHAP. XII.

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.

J. S.

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 followeth: "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 how "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 and fro."

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 same.

The Maior and Commonalty were to have the same Grounds the whole Length by Composition,

with