The River LEE, or LEY. 50

The River LEE, or LEY.

" a double Death to him. For he had rather be hanged. And so had they. And so they themselves confess.
This shall be
testified by the Testimony of
one hundred

The People in these Parts about Enfield, clamoured most of all against Mr. Fanshaw, for being chief in promoting the Carriage by the River Lee; and that he did it for his own Ends, and for the Benefit of his Town of Ware. In answer to which, the said Gentleman acknowledged, that the making of that Passage cost him above an 100 Mark, and he received only the Commodity, that he had London Beer brought him to his House at Ware Park for his Money; and all other Carriages better cheap by half than by Land Carriage; and other Profit he made none: For that all the Houses were holden by certain Rents, either by Charter or Copy; so that for any Thing he could save, he and his Son should not save their Charges in Sixty Years. And the Townsmen found so little Profit by it, that none of them sued for the continuance of the same, saving Five or Six that had Boats or Barges, (whereupon their Living rested) and the Smiths. And that the greatest Commodity that arose thereby to Watermen was to Men of other Towns: For of two and Twenty Barges or Boats, there belonged but Six to the Men of Ware.

Mr Fanshaw of Ware Park instrumental in clearing the River Lee.

The Number of Barges belonging to this River.

It was within two Years after, viz. Anno 1583, that the Town of Enfield put up their Complaints to those in Power, for carrying Goods by the Waters of Lee; consisting in several Articles: As the reducing so many Carriers to Poverty; the Discommodity of the Brewers of London; Hindrance of bringing of Grain into the City; the Rudeness of Watermen; the constant Charge to the Country of repairing the Banks of the River; Decay of the King's Subsidy in Enfield; and of the Swans and Game, and the treading down the Grass.

The Inhabitants of Enfield complain against this Water Carriage.

But substantial Answers were soon framed to this Complaint: As, "That the greatest Number of Carriers of Grain by Land were always very poor, carrying for other Men; and that many of them fell into Decay by the great Charge and Loss of their Horses. That there were about an Hundred and Fifty tall and serviceable Men maintained, besides those Farmers, Millers, and Malsters, which as Owners sent their Corn by Water to London. That all the Beer Brewers, in and about London, both English and Strangers, were much bettered by the bringing of Malt by the Water of Ley to London. And the Ale Brewers also saved by it, by reason the Price of Malt was always kept as low as the Plenty and Scarceness of Malt would permit; which before, might be, and was raised as it pleased the Maltmen. That Beer and Ale was continually made stronger than it was before. That the Watermen were and might be punished for their Disorders. That the Charges of repairing the Banks of the River, and taking away Shelves had been very small, since the first preparing it for passing, saving at Enfeld, Waltham, and Chesthunt, where disordered Persons riotously pulled down the Banks. That the Taxes were always small and certain; and the Subsidy in Enfield was but little decayed. And the Decay seemed to come, by reason that some that had been Assessed at good Rates were Dead; and none of such Ability were as yet in their Places. That it was no marvel there was little Hay last Year in the Marshes; for the like Scarcity was in every Place by reason of the dry Spring time. That these Supplicants, having perhaps, some of them, some little Piece of Marsh in Enfield only, and many of them none at all, complained in the Behalf of all Owners between Leymouth and Ware, to make their Complaints seem somewhat. That it was well known, that the Game of Swans was decayed, both there and throughout the Country, by the evil Dealing of the Officers. That there would be also Fowl enough for hawking in the By Streams and Mill Streams, and also lying upon the main River, were it not, that in breeding time the Young were killed or driven away with Spaniels, and in Winter the Old with Guns."


" In short it was answered, that the Passage by that River is, and ought to be, by the common Law and divers Statutes, free and common to all her Majesties Subjects, with all manner of Goods and Carriages at all times, even as her Highness Highway; and ought to be permitted for that Purpose, as the Queen's Highway by Land between London and Ware, or any other Highway within the Realm. And that it was found profitable for London, and for Hertford, her Majesties own Town, the Shire Town, and a Town fit to keep Term in; and also for Ware, which daily serveth her Majesty with Post Horses, and all other kind of Carriages, besides many other Towns, Villages, and Places adjoyning. That it maintained more able Men to serve her Majesty, either by Sea or by Land, than could be found out among all the Badgers of Enfield. That it was the Cause that the High Way to Ware by Land was more passable for those that rode Post, and all others than before, when it was pestered with Malt Horses. Besides very many other Commodities, and great Savings of unnecessary Expences."

Another Commission of Sewers, issued out July 17, 1589, for the River of Lea, and the Limits thereof; viz. From Ware to Waltham, from Waltham to Temple Bridge, from Temple Bridge to Bulifaunt, from thence to Clobshil, from thence to the Oldford, and so to Bow Bridge, and the Four Mill Locks, and so to Leemouth, in the River of Thames. For this Commission among many in Nomination, the City being so much concerned herein, were named the Lord Maior for the Time being, Sir Thomas Pullison, Sir George Barnes, Richard Martin, John Hart, John Spenser, Henry Billingsley, Aldermen of London.

Another Commission of Sewers for the Lee.

In the Year 1593, and the 35th of the Queen, an Order was made upon a Bill exhibited into the Star Chamber, by Sir William Roe, Knt. late Lord Maior of the City of London, Thomas Fanshaw, Esq; Richard Brook, Recorder, and divers Bargemen Plaintiffs, against William Thorowgood, and other Defendants, for the riotous stopping up of the Passage of Barges and Vessels in this River, by laying down of the High Bridge at Waltham Holy Cross, and choaking the River with Stones, Timber, Earth and other Things, cast therein at a Place near to the By-Stream, that leadeth to Waltham Corn Mill, and the riotous beating of the Bargemen, which did tow and draw the Boats upon the Bankside of the said River: It was ordered by the Court, Nov. 16. that the two Lords Chief Justices should, upon Information given by the Council, learned on both Sides, consider of the State of the Cause depending, touching the Right and Law for the free Passage upon the said River; as of the Conveniency and Inconveniency thereof; and how the same Passage hath been used for the most Part of Twenty Years last past. The said two Justices made their Report in Writing, the 20th Day of June, Anno Regis, 36. which was, That they, upon full Consideration of the antient Records, Statutes, and Evidences

An Order of Star Chamber concerning this River.

The two Chief Justices Opinion.