The Bounds thereof.
A Free Market for Fish here.
St. Botolph's Church.
St. Mary at Hill.
The Corps of a Woman found whole 170 Years
after her Death.
St. Margaret Pattens.
St. Andrew Hubbert.
St. George in Botolph Lane.
The present State of this
BILLINGSGATE WARD and BRIDGE WARD Within
BILLINSGATE Ward beginneth at the West end of Tower
Street Ward in Thames Street, about Smarts Key, and runneth down along that
on the South side, to Saint Magnus Church at the Bridge foot, and on the North
the said Thames Street, from over against Smarts Key, till over against the
Corner of St. Magnus Church aforesaid.
The Bounds thereof.
On this North side of Thames Street is S. Mary Hill Lane, up to St. Margaret's
and then part of St. Margaret Pattens Street, at the end of St. Mary Hill Lane.
of Thames Street is Lucas Lane, and then Botulph Lane, and at the North end
Philpot Lane: Then is there Rother Lane, of old time so called, and thwart the
Lane is Little Eastcheap: And these be the Bounds of this Billingsgate Ward.
Touching the principal Ornaments within this Ward: On the South side of Thames
Street, beginning at the East end thereof, there is first the said Smarts Key,
so called, of
one Smart, sometime owner thereof.
The next is Billinsgate, whereof the whole Ward taketh name; the which (leaving
the Fable thereof, faining it to be builded by King Belin, a Britain, long
Incarnation of Christ) is at this present a large Water Gate, Port or Harbrough
and Boats, commonly arriving there with Fish, both fresh and salt, Shell-fishes,
Oranges, Onions, and other Fruits and Roots; Wheat, Rye, and Grain of divers
for service of the Citie, and the Parts of this Realm adjoining. This Gate is
frequented than of old time, when the Queens Hith was more used, as being
by the Kings of this Realm, to be the special or only Port for taking up of all
of Merchandiszes, brought to this City by Strangers and Foreigners; and the
bridge of Timber at London Bridge was then to be raised, or drawn up for Passage
Ships with tops thither.
Touching the ancient Customs of this Billingsgate, I have not read in any Record
than that in the Reign of Edward III. every great Ship landing there, paid for
two Pence; every little Ship with Orelockes, a Penny; the lesser Boat, called a
halfpenny. Of two Quarters of Corn measured, the King was to have one Farthing;
Comb of Corn a Penny; of every Weight going out of the City, a Halfpenny; of two
Quarters of Sea-coals measured, a Farthing; and of every Tun of Ale going out of
England beyond the Seas, by Merchant Strangers four Pence; of every thousand
Herring, a Farthing, except the Franchises, &c.
Customs of Billingsgate.
*Strandage, First Edit.
These Payments were made in the Reign of King Edward III. beyond which Stow
had not met with any Records relating to the said Customs. But they were paid
before, as appears in Brompton's Chronicle inter Leges Ethelredi, which was Ann.
1016. namely, that Tolls were then paid at Billingsgate: as Mr. Bellamy, the
Remembrancer hath well observed to me.]
Customs paid here in King Ethelred's Time.
Of late an Act of Parliament was made, (to wit 10. and 11. Will. III.) to make
Billinsgate a free Market for sale of Fish, Then it was enacted,
1699. Billinsgate Market should be every day in the Week (except Sunday) a free
open Market for all sorts of Fish. And that it should be lawful for any Person
to buy or
sell any sort of Fish without disturbance."
Billingsgate a free Market for Fish.
This Act also settled the Tolls to be paid by the Fisher Boats: Enacting,
the said 10th May, no Person selling any sort of Fish in the said Market, should
any other Toll or Duty to any Person or Persons, for coming with his Boat or
or landing, standing or selling in or at this Market, than it was hereafter
For every Vessel of salt Fish, for Groundage, 8d. per Day, and 20d. per Voyage,
no more in full of all Duties and Demands; to be distributed and disposed of, as
Maior, &c. shall yearly order and direct, according to the right of the
thereunto. For a Lobster Boat, for Groundage per Day 2d. and per Voyage 13d.
no more, in full, as aforesaid. For every Vessel of fresh Sea Fish, Groundage
2d. and per Voyage 13d. For every Dogger Boat, or Smack with Sea Fish, for
Groundage per Day, 2d. and per Voyage, 13d. For every Oister Vessel, or Cock,
Groundage, per Day, 2d. for Metage one Halfpenny per Bushel.
And that it should be lawful for any Person, that bought any Fish in the said
sell the same again in any other Market, Place or Places within the City of
elsewhere, by retail, being sound and wholesome Fish, without any disturbance or
And that from and after the 10th of May, that Person that should take or demand
Toll or Sample, or any Imposition or Set-price of Sea Fish, of English catching,
forfeit the sum of 10l. the one half to his Majesty, and the other half to him
that will sue
for the same."
And because the Fishmongers caused the greatest part of the Fish to be bought up
Belinsgate, and then divided the same by Lot among themselves, in order to buy
sell at what rate they pleased, it was also enacted,
"That no Person "
Fishmongers not to engross.
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