The River LEE or LEY. 51

The River LEE or LEY.

shewed to them, did find it sufficiently proved, that the Passage in and upon the River of Lee hath been, and in their Opinion ought to be free, and the same River a Navigable River, for Carriage and Recarriage of Vessels, and all other Things in Boats and Vessels, thus named in antient Records; and other, viz. Naves, Batelli, Neifes, Batteux, Showts, Barges, and Boats. And by express Words, in a Presentment or Inquisition, taken in the Time of K. Edward IV. that the same Passage upon the said River should be free. And that they the said two Chief Justices, did find by a Record in the Time of K. Edward III. that there passed Boats of that Time upon the River, of four Tun a piece. And in the Time of K. Henry IV. it seemed by another Record, that there past upon the said River a Boat of twelve Tun.

The Passage on the River to be free.

But they found withal, between the said Plaintiffs and Defendants some great Difference, which Way the antient River of Ley went in Waltham Holy Cross; viz. Whether down the great River, called High Ley or Great Ley; and so under the Bridge called the High Bridge, as the Plaintiffs say; or else down a Lake called The Shire Lake; and so under the Bridge called The small Leigh Bridge, as the Defendants allege. And therefore, the two Chief Justices thought good to leave that to the Consideration of the Court [of Star Chamber] upon view of the Records, to testify of the same.

Which Way the River went at Waltham antiently.

And the said Justices did find also, that the Passage for the most Part of Twenty Years last past, before the said Order, viz. for Fifteen or Sixteen Years together, was continually used with Barges up and down, the Burthen of Six and Seven Tun; and some under, through a New Lock made, as is affirmed, by the Authority of the Commissioners of Sewers at Waltham Holy Cross, near the Corn Mill there: Which said Commissioners gave Authority, as was said, to the Passengers, that when they could not pass through that New Lock, they might open a Lock in Waltham Holy Cross, made in the same River to draw Water to the said Mill, where the antient Passage, as it seemed to the said two Justices, was thought by the Commissioners to have been. After which Order, the Bargemen being denyed of late to pass through the New Lock, did open the Old Lock, and pass through the same, until they by other Means were interrupted.

In what Case lawful to pass through the Old Lock in Waltham.

And the said two Chief Justices did find also, touching the Conveniency or Inconveniency, that the Water Carriage is far better cheap than the Land Carriage; and that the same Land Carriage by Horses and Carts is more chargeable; but it doth set more on Work than the Water Carriage doth. And therefore they did leave the same to the Consideration of the Court, which shall be most meet, or both, to be used, as they have been.

Which more convenient, the Water Carriage, or the Land.

Whereupon, after a full Hearing of the Council learned on each Part, in the Opinion of this Court, it must needs follow, That it is more profitable to the City of London, and Commonwealth, to have free Liberty of Carriages both by Water and Land, as it was before the supposed riotous stopping of the same Passage, than to be restrained thereof. And it was that Day ordered, that the Passage in and upon the said River shall be and continue free, and in such Sort, and in such Place thereof, and for such Barges and Boats as were used in the Time of, or before, the late stopping thereof, until the Cause were there heard, and otherwise ordered. And where it was alledged in this Court by the Defendants, that it was not lawful for the Bargemen to go on the Bankside to draw and tow their Barges and Boats, for that the said Passage of Boats could not be continued without the Bargemen had Liberty to go on the Bankside: It was therefore in like manner ordered, that the Bargemen should, and might go upon Land by the Bankside, to tow their Barges up and down, as before they did, without any violent Resistance of any Person. And that if any Person or Persons interested in the Lands, where the said Bargemen should pass, should find himself grieved therewith, it should be lawful for him in such Case, if he should so think good, to sue or implead the said Bargemen, or any of them in any of her Majesties Courts of Kings Bench or Common Pleas, and there to procede to a due and lawful Trial of the same, whether it be lawful for the said Bargemen, to draw or tow their Boats, going on the Bankside of the said River; and after due Trial had thereof, this Court minded to take such further Order therein as should be meet.

The final Determination of the Star Chamber.

There is one Thing more I have to add concerning this River; Namely, that hence it was that the City was chiefly furnished with Bread Corn, and the Brewers of London with Malt. And therefore the Magistrates of the City much concerned themselves, that none of this Corn thus conveyed by the Lee, might be sold elsewhere, but brought fairly to the Markets of the City. Wherefore in the Year 1584, they came to understand of, or suspected, some underhand Dealing of the Victuallers; that is, those that bought up and brought Corn by this River; and that they did privately sell it before it came to the Market, to Ships Dutch and English, that lay at Hand in the River of Thames to receive it; or secretly Housed it at the Brewers Wharfs. Of this a Complaint was made to the Lord Treasurer, praying him to take some Remedy to prevent it, for the good Estate of the City, that depended so much upon it. And this was the Information and Petition they of the City preferred to the said Lord.

The City chiefly supplied with Grain from this River.

"First, Forasmuch as beforetime, all such Corn as now cometh by the River of Lee to London, was either brought by Land, or else by some other Water by Cocket; whereby the City from time to time was assuredly served, and certified of whatsoever was brought: It is now to be feared, for that the like Order is not so directly observed, that divers Dutch and English Vessels, lying in the Passage to London, may intercept and take up (as some of them late have done) such Corn and Grain as accustomably is brought by the Victuallers; whereby the Store and Market of the City may be greatly hindred and forestalled."

Abuse of the Victuallers, that came down the Lee.

" Secondly, Whereas it is provided, that all Wharfs and Keys shall keep due Hours in the Day, for Charge and Discharge of Ships, Boats and Vessels that come to the City; it is manifest, that those Victualers that come down the River of Lee, have, both by Day and Night, free Recourse into and thorough the Brewers Wharfs and Houses; making their Market Places at their Pleasure, without Controulment. And for that they are for the most part Open Boats of great Stowage, it is to be feared, and presumed greatly upon, that fine Wares and Merchandizes may as well be conveyed and brought by them from Ships, as Corn to be carried aboard Ships by them; and the rather so to be doubted, insomuch as Dutch Hoys and Ships lie commonly at, or near unto Brewers Wharfs, which have Cranes."

" Thirdly, This Sufferance and Subornment of the Victuallers by the Brewers, as it is supposed, is not only for some private Gain had, and gotten by them, but also for the Benefit of their Servants, whom they advantage by measuring of Corn in their own Houses, allowing them a "

Peny