Tower Street Ward. Custom House. 51

Tower Street Ward. Custom House.
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the good Service of her Majesty, the Merchants and Shippers, by the gentle and mild Nature of the late Lord Treasurer (Marquis of Winchester) deceased, all the Officers and Clerks were suffered to break, and in manner did what they would without Comptrolment. And by long Sufferance, both they, the Merchants, Shippers, Key- keepers, and other Watermen, were now nestled, and grown into that disordered Liberty, which had been, and was so profitable to them, that it would be hard to bring them to good Order again, without some Severeness to be used.

The method of doing this, this Man laid before the present Treasurer, the Lord Burghley, in certain Articles, and offerd himself to be employed therein, having this Warrant from the said Treasurer, and he making it his own Device and Doing, so as it might not be known to come from him, [this Proposer] for his avoiding of farther Displeasure.

A Method to redress them.

This Person the Queen had 12 Years ago put in trust to travel in these Matters of Custom: And he had according to his Oath and Duty, without respect of Favour or Malice to any Persons, shewed his Opinion how to reform the Abuses as well of the one as the other; as one desirous to see her Majesty truly answered her Rights and Dues, and that honest Merchants and Shippers might well be used, and Offenders punished.

A special Searcher.

In the Year 1572, a List was brought in to the Lord Treasurer of the Queen's yearly Customs, Subsidies and Imports, since the beginning of her Reign to that Time. Which stood thus:

An Account of the Queen's yearly Customs.

Secundo8490556 q.
Tertio7593816 di. q.
Quarto71365151 ob. di. q.
Quinto57436410 ob.
Sexto457831811 di. q.
Septimo10560612 di. q.
Octavo69184186 ob.
Nono6350272 ob. di. q.
Undecimo65307108 q.
Duodecimo7129505 q. di.
Decimo tertio6924345 ob. q.

The Names of the Officers the same Year 1572, in and appertaining to the Custom House of London, besides Commissions appendent, were these:

Names of all the Custom House Officers.

For Petty Custom.


1. Mr. Billingsley, Collector of Custom inwards.
2. Mr. Bird, Collector of Custom outwards.
3. Mr. Rivet, Comptroler of those two.

Subsidy by Statute.


4. Mr. Tho. Smith, Collector of Subsidy inward.
5. Mr. Francis Robinson, Collector of Subsidy outwards.
6. Mr. John Chapman, Comptroler of those two.
7. Mr Colshil, an odd Man for a Surveyor, which overlooketh all the rest.
8. Mr. Richard Gray, a Searcher, whose Service always is upon the Water.
9. The Ninth is the Office of the Waiters, whose Service is always on the Land, without Head, as they term it, because every Man catcheth for himself, &c. And they are in Number Sixteen.

The other Eight aforesaid are termed Head Officers, because every one of them have their Deputies and Servants, some two, some four, and some six.
10. Mr. Yong, the Tenth is an Officer called the Packer. The Gift and Profit of which Office appertained to the City of London. The Gift of all the rest to the Lord Treasurer of England.

Commissions Appendent.


Smith and Morley for Survey of Cloth; Danbeny for Survey of Beer; Fabian and Wanton for other Devices; Broke and Hunt for Barrelled Fish; Ansto and Farnham for Coney Skins; Mr. Robinson's Lease for the Ferme-Wines.

The Queen lost considerably by Concealments of Customs, as appeared by a Nore Brought in, about the eighth or ninth year of Q. Elizabeth, by the Customers of the Port of London, of all the Value of the Goods shipped out or brought in by the English and Strangers, for the Queen's first eight Years: taken out of the Accounts delivered into the Exchequer. Which one Carmarthen of the Custom House drew up for Queen's own Use: Wherein he set down what was, in those eight Years, concealed of Customs inward only, all things allowable deducted, viz. 96720l. 13s. 7d. Besides the petty Customs of Strangers inwards, which is not herein reckoned. Whereupon there was a Commission for Concealment of Customs granted to one Edmond Matthews. But he was menaced and threatned to be made a Pattern of Destruction, for ever to attempt the like Service.

Concealment of Customs.

About the Year 1590, Thomas Smith was the Queen's Customer; to whom she let the Customs and Subsidies in the Port of London inwards to Farm; (who had long before been a Collector of them.) For which he paid her Rent 20000l. per annum. Whereas, as it was discovered, all the Incomes of those Customs amounted yearly to 30309l. 15s. 5d. So as it appeared the Queen lost yearly by that Farm 10309l. 15s. 5d. This the said Carmarthen cast up; thereby intending to let the Queen understand how much she lost by Farming out her Customs, viz. above 10000l. a year.

Tho. Smith the Queen's Customer.

There was a new Officer propounded about the Year 1572 to be brought into the Custom House, viz. a Clerk for the Execution of Penal Statutes, namely, one Middlemore; who had moved for this Place for himself, and obtained a Patent for it, upon pretence, that Forfeitures and Penalties made by Merchants might be the better answered to the Queen. About this the Lord Treasurer consulted the chief Officers of the Custom House, who gave in their Reasons against it; which were these: First, That there was no Place for any more Officers or Clerks than were already there placed; but rather Lack of Room, for Expedition of the Merchants and Shippers, when they came there. That there had been divers like Grants made for having of Places in the Custom House; to whom Denial had been made by the Lord Treasurer to have any Place there. And that for Middlemore's Patent, they thought it not profitable for the Queen's Service, that any Penal Laws should be executed in her Custom House: For that it would much hinder her Revenue in her Customs and Subsidies; and also grieve the Merchants, who daily did diminish in their Trades, and employed their Monies upon Exchange, whereof her Majesty had no Benefit. Finally, the Custom House had always been a quiet Place, appointed only for the Receipt of the Queen's Revenues and Duties, and not for Execution of Penal Statutes; which were repugnant one to the other.]

A Clerk for Execution of Penal Statutes.

Near unto this Cutomers Key, towards the East, is the said Water Gate, and West from it,