Act for preventing Fires. 238

Act for preventing Fires.

Commons in this Common-Council assembled, and by the Authority of the same, in manner and form following; that is to say,

I. That the City, and the Liberties thereof, shall be divided and appointed into four equal Parts or Quarters; and the East Part or Quarter to contain these Wards following, viz. Portsoken, Aldgate, Tower, Billinsgate, Bridge, Langborn, and Lime Street. The West Part or Quarter to contain Farringdon within, Farringdon without, Castle Baynard, Cheapside, and Aldersgate. The North Part or Quarter to contain Cornhil, Broadstreet, Colemanstreet, Bassishaw, Bishopsgate, and Cripplegate. And the South Part or Quarter to contain Queenhith, Bread-street, Vintry, Cordwainer, Dowgate, Walbrook, and Candlewickstreet.

II. Item, That every of the said Quarters shall be furnished and provided at or before the Feast of the Birth of our Lord God next ensuing, of Eight hundred Leather Buckets, Fifty Ladders, viz. Ten, forty two Foot long; Ten, thirty Foot long; Ten, twenty Foot long; Ten, sixteen Foot long; and Ten, twelve Foot long; as also of so many Hand- Squirts of Brass, as will furnish two for every Parish, four and twenty Pickax Sledges, and forty Shod Shovels.

III. Item, That every one of the Twelve Companies provide and keep in readiness Thirty Buckets, One Engine, Six Pickax Sledges, Three Ladders, and Two Hand Squirts of Brass.

IV. Item, That all the other inferior Companies provide and keep in readiness Buckets and Engines, proportionable to their Abilities. Of which those least able, to provide portable Engines to carry up Stairs into any Rooms or Tops of Houses. The Number of which Buckets and Engines to be from time to time prescribed and allotted by the Lord Maior and Court of Aldermens Direction.

V. Item, That every Alderman who hath passed the Office of Shrievalty, provide Four and twenty Buckets, and One Hand Squirt of Brass. And all those who have not been Sheriffs, Twelve Buckets and One Hand Squirt of Brass, to be kept in their respective Dwellings. And all other principal Citizens and Inhabitants, and every other Person, being a Subsidy Man, or of the Degree of a Subsidy Man, shall provide and keep in their Houses a certain Number of Buckets, according to their Quality.

VI. Item, That the several Inhabitants and Furniture of each respective Quarter shall remain and abide within their own Quarters, and not go out farther; excepting only such serviceable Persons of other Quarters fit to take Pains in that behalf: who may be called to yield their Help as need shall require; and none other Persons or Furniture, without special Order of the Lord Maior and Sheriffs for the Time being.

VII. Item, It is farther ordained by the Authority aforesaid, that in every of the said Quarters or Parts of this City, by the Advice of the Aldermen and Common Council of each several Ward within that Quarter, there shall be chosen, retained, and appointed for each Ward, One honest and sufficient Person, dwelling within the same, to be Bellman there. Who shall from henceforth every Night, from the Feast of St. Michael, until the Annunciation of St. Mary, diligently walk up and down within the same Ward, from Ten of the Clock in the Night, till Five of the Clock next Morning. Their Wages or Salaries to be levied within their respective Wards, according as the same shall be assessed by the Common Council of the same Ward, or the greatest Part of them.

A Bellman.

VIII. Item, That every Housholder, upon any Cry of Fire, shall place a sufficient Man at his Door well armed, and hang out a Light at his Door, if in the Night-time; upon default whereof, every Party offending shall forfeit Twenty Shillings.

IX. Item, That every Housholder shall, during the Time of any Fire, have Water in a Vessel ready at his Door to quench and suppress all farther Increase of the Fire.

X. Item. That in every of the said Four Quarters or Parts of this City, a noted Bell be rung from Lady-Day to Michaelmas at Ten of the Clock every Night, and at Five of the Clock every Morning; and from Michaelmas to Lady Day, at Eight of the Clock every Night, and at Seven of the Clock every Morning. At which respective Hours the Watch shall punctually sit and rise, who as soon as they are met together, one out of every Watch shall be sent the Rounds into every Part of the Ward. And at his Return another shall be sent out, and so successively all Night long without Intermission, for Prevention of Fire, Robbing, or other Inconvenience.

A noted Bell to be rung.

XI. Item, That every Inhabitant prepare some secure Place in their Dwellings (not under or near any Staircase) to lay in their Seacoal-Ashes, Embers, or any other sort of Fire-Ashes; and that the said Ashes be quenched with Water every Night before they go to Bed. And that all Constables make Enquiry of the Security of Hearths, Ovens, and Stoves, and Places for laying Fire-Ashes in, twice every Year.

XII. Item, That Plugs be put into the Pipes in the most convenient Places of every Street, whereof all Inhabitants may take Notice; that breaking of the Pipes in disorderly manner may be avoided.

XIII. Item, That as many Wells as can be found may be provided in every Street, with Pumps placed conveniently for furnishing of Water, especially in frosty Weather, when other Water may be scarce.

XIV. Item, That the Lord Maior and Sheriffs, as also the Deputies and Common Council-Men of such Ward where any Fire shall happen, have speedy Notice thereof by several Messengers to be dispatched from the Constables upon the first Discovery.

XV. Item, That at all such times the Lord Maior be attended with all his Officers, with the Marshals and all their Men, as also the City Workmen, and their Labourers, the Bridge Master, with the Officers and Workmen, and their Labourers: Who are all upon Notice of any Fire forthwith to repair to the Lord Maior, and to observe such Directions as shall be given them; the Sheriffs also to be attended with all their Officers, upon Pain to them of forfeiting Three Pounds in default of such their Attendance.

XVI. Item, That the several Companies of Carpenters, Bricklayers, Plaisterers, Painters, Masons, Smiths, Plumbers, and Paviers, do yearly for each Company elect two Master-Workmen, four Journeymen, eight Apprentices, and sixteen Labourers, to be ready upon all occasions of Fire to attend the Lord Maior and Sheriffs, for quenching the same.

XVII. Item,