The Annals of Bristol in the Seventeenth Century

By John Latimer

Author of “Annals of Bristol in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”.

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013


Ill-conceived regulations devised for keeping down the price of bread crop up in the corporate records from time to time. A notion then universally prevailed that purchasers of large stocks of corn and flour, who sought to make a profit in times of scarcity by retailing at enhanced prices, were simply covert robbers, whose transactions demanded rigorous restraint. By an ordinance passed by the Common Council in January, 1651, no one was allowed to buy or sell meal or grain except in the market within fixed hours, and no grain landed at the quays was to be sold until three days after a proclamation of its arrival had been made by the bellman. Any person buying grain in the market and reselling it on the same day at a higher price was subject to heavy fine or imprisonment by the general law of the land. As the above civic ordinance was re-enacted, with slight modifications, in September, 1656, it may be inferred that the regulations had been frequently disregarded.

The laws prohibiting the entrance of carts into the city, referred to in previous pages, were revived in January, 1651, and made more stringent. It was decreed that no brewer, farmer, or other person should haul beer, fruit, hay, or other commodity excepting upon “drays or sleeds” - two species of sledges. In addition to the ordinary fine of ten shillings for each offence, it was ordered that the wheels of the intruding carts should be taken off and confiscated.

By a Government proclamation issued in January, all statues, heraldic emblazonments and other insignia in honour of the late King decorating public buildings, ships, etc., were ordered to be removed and broken to pieces. The statue of Charles was accordingly taken out of its niche in the High Cross; but the authorities, with commendable foresight, deemed it sufficient to conceal the monument in the civic cellars. The picture of His Majesty and the royal arms displayed in the Council House were doubtless dealt with in a similar manner.

Up to this time the two city coroners were so poorly esteemed by the Corporation that they received no higher stipend than 40s. per annum, and were apparently the worst paid of local officials. In February the Council, in a fit of generosity, raised their salaries to £3 0s. 8d. each, or about fifteen-pence a week, “to encourage them to proceed with cheerfulness in executing their office”. A curious


case connected with an inquest was discussed at the same meeting. A small vessel had lurched over in the harbour, causing the death of a labourer, and according to the ancient law dealing with such fatalities, the ship and its cargo were thereby forfeited as “deodand”; the medieval intention being that the value of the forfeiture should be devoted to the payment of masses for the soul of the person killed. The Council, recognising the hardship of the penalty, surrendered the ship to its owner on payment of £10, half of which sum was given to the deceased man's sister.

The Council, at the same meeting, resolved that the freedom of the city should be presented to Major-Generals Skippon and Harrison, and that the fact should be intimated to them in a “letter of thanks”. The parchment sent to General Skippon, still preserved, states that the honour was conferred upon him “for the love, respect and affection we have found that he beareth towards the city, and the welfare of the inhabitants thereof”.

By a deed of conveyance, dated February 11th, 1651, the commissioners appointed by Parliament for disposing of the ancient fee-farm rents payable to the Crown, in consideration of £1,260, granted to Alderman Richard Vickris the fee-farm rent of £142 10s. per annum for the town, markets, etc., of Bristol, reserved by Edward III. in his well-known charter; also a rent of 53s. 4d. reserved by Henry VII. in his patent for a water-bailiff; also a rent of one half-penny in lieu of a red rose, payable on St. Peter's Day, for land near Tenby; also a rent of sixpence for a shed in Bristol; also 5s. yearly issuing out of the former house of Jaspin, a Jew, in Wine Street; also 6s. 8d. yearly arising out of a house in Fishmonger Street; also 4s. yearly issuing out of houses of David Tott, hanged at Yorkshire assizes; also 9s. yearly out of a house on the Bridge, once belonging to Boniface, a Jew; and two or three other trifling rents issuing from places not described. (Some of these minor fee-farms must have been in existence for about four hundred years.) The connection of the Corporation with this purchase is somewhat obscure, owing to the disappearance of the audit book for the year. At a Council meeting in May, the conveyance was read, and was ordered to be sent to the Town Clerk, then in London, from which it is evident that the Corporation were interested in the transaction. But Vickris remained the legal owner throughout the Commonwealth period, and received the city fee-farm from the Chamberlain half-yearly. At the Restoration all


the fee-farms disposed of by the commissioners were seized as Crown property, and the whole of the purchase moneys was lost.

Simultaneously with the above purchase by Vickris, the commissioners conveyed to one Oliver Wallis the fee-farm rent of £40 per annum reserved by Charles I., when he granted the Castle and its precincts to the Corporation. The sum paid for this assignment does not appear.

The Corporation made a further purchase of fee-farms on its own account, securing a Crown rent of £20, issuing out of the estates formerly belonging to Gaunts' Hospital; another, of £41, issuing out of the manor of Congresoury, and a third, of £6 3s. 6d., payable out of lands at Winterbourne. The two latter estates belonged to Queen Elizabeth's Hospital; and the Council resolved that, as the yearly expenditure would be reduced, four additional boys should be admitted into the school, raising the total number to twenty-four. The sum paid for the above fee-farms was only £577, so that the investment produced a yearly return of nearly 12 per cent. The purchasers, however, in 1661, were fated to learn the truth of the maxim that high interest means bad security.

The Earl of Pembroke, Lord High Steward, had died in January, 1650, but the Council took no steps to fill the vacancy for upwards of a year, although Cromwell's sojourn in the city had in the meantime afforded an opportunity of following the usual practice of appointing a person of influence in the Government. At a meeting on March 4th Sir Henry Vane was elected on the accustomed conditions. The minutes indicate that Cromwell was nominated, but that his candidature was withdrawn before the question was put, a large majority of those present being Presbyterians. The new High Steward visited Bristol in November, 1654, when the long friendship betwixt himself and the Protector had changed to violent enmity. He was lodged at the Bell Inn, and was complimented by the Corporation with a banquet. Mr. Barrett has perpetrated a gross blunder in placing the name of Cromwell in his list of Lord High Stewards, apparently through reliance upon some worthless calendar. Further proof of Vane's occupation of the office will be found under 1658.

An ordinance of a somewhat puzzling character was passed by the Common Council in June, 1651. After setting forth that the number of “hot water houses” had greatly increased of late years, and that they were used


and frequented as common tippling houses, insomuch as divers persons spent their time and money in drunkenness to the scandal of the city, the new law ordained that vendors of hot water should not suffer any person to continue drinking hot water in their houses, or set up any seats in their shops for that purpose, under a penalty of 6s. 8d.; and persons found drinking were to forfeit 3s. 4d. “Hot water” really meant ardent spirits, and it would appear from this ordinance that the sale of such liquors was not customary in inns and taverns, but confined to a special class of retailers.

The Corporation, in August, established a “passage”, or ferry, for men and horses, from Temple Back to the St. Philip's shore of the Avon, to the great accommodation of the increasing population of those districts. The project was really due to an unnamed individual, who had set up a ferry boat there without asking the leave of the authorities, and was ignominiously driven off for his pains. The place, styled Bathavon, was let on the first occasion for five years, at an annual rent of 40s. A century later the rental was about £150.

The advance of Charles II. at the head of a Scotch army to Worcester, and his expected march on Bristol, aroused intense excitement in the closing week of August, awakening the hopes of the Royalists and the terror of their opponents. The Council of State, writing on the 24th to the Commissioners of Militia for Bristol, Somerset, and Wilts, gave them urgent directions to draw out all the available forces of horse and foot for the defence of the city, “being of extraordinary importance”; and to secure malignants and suspected persons, together with their horses, arms, and ammunition. By another despatch the Commissioners were ordered to take immediate steps to improve the fortifications, and an existing document shows that £320 were expended for this purpose within a few days. Governor Scrope was further instructed to get the ships in port sent down to Kingroad, so as to be out of danger of surprisal if the enemy approached. Whatever discontent might have been provoked by the proceedings of the party in power - and it was probably deep and widespread - Bristolians generally had no relish for a possible domination of semi-barbarous Scotchmen, and showed vigour and alacrity in arming to prevent it. On August 29th, whilst the issue was still in doubt, the Council of State, addressing the Mayor, Governor, Common Council, and


Militia authorities, expressed their thanks for the readiness and zeal displayed by the inhabitants for the preservation of the town. A laudatory resolution to the same effect was passed by the House of Commons, and another by the Common Council. Cromwell's overwhelming victory on September 3rd put an end to the crisis.

The escape of the young King after his defeat has been the theme of many disquisitions, but its local incidents may be disposed of briefly. Disguised as a servant attending upon a lady named Lane, the fugitive rode with her through Gloucestershire upon what was called a double horse, approached Bristol by way of Sodbury, Winterbourne, and Stapleton, and must have entered the city by Lawford's Gate. Lord Clarendon relates an idle story about the King being unable to forbear carrying his assumed mistress far out of the way, in order to ride around the place where the Great Fort had stood. The historian was perhaps thinking of the Castle, but as a matter of fact both the Fort and the Castle were standing unaltered when the visit took place, and both, as the last paragraph testifies, were garrisoned by troops of men whose suspicion of wandering strangers it would have been madness to arouse. A more reasonable supposition is that the King - if he did not cross Bristol Bridge, which would have been hazardous - made his way to Downham with all the haste consistent with safety, crossed the Avon by the ferry, which then accommodated horses, and arrived a few minutes later at Leigh Court, the seat of a country squire named Norton, whose wife was a relative of Miss Lane. Notwithstanding a pompous epitaph in Abbots' Leigh church eulogising Mr. Norton's eager loyalty in harbouring and entertaining the King at the risk of his own life, and in despite of the attempt of some local scribblers to do honour to the lord of Ashton Court by bringing him also into the secret, it is certain that Miss Lane kept her relatives in profound ignorance of the rank of her pretended groom, and left Leigh with him on her further perilous journey towards the south coast, whence he found an opportunity to escape.

Amongst the many novelties invented by the Republicans during their brief tenure of power was the introduction into election proceedings of voting by ballot. At a meeting of the Council in November it was “agreed that the election of officers and all ordinances hereafter to be made by the Common Council shall be by billets, balls, or tickets in


writing, denominating the party, or by assenting or gainsaying any order or not by I or noe”.

Mr. Edmund Prideaux, who had become Attorney-General after his election as Recorder, resigned his connection with the city in November, when the celebrated Bulstrode Whitelock, Serjeant at Law, and afterwards Keeper of the Great Seal, was appointed to the vacant office.

A corporate ordinance, undated, but inserted in the records between an order of August, 1651, and another of June, 1652, affords definite information as to the issue of the well-known Bristol farthings of the Commonwealth period. After reciting the permission granted by Queen Elizabeth to the Mayor and Aldermen to coin square farthings, the ordinance states that through the omission for some years to exercise this privilege, some shopkeepers had taken upon them to make and vend small farthing tokens for exchange in their trades, which, not being allowed to pass generally, were found to be a great prejudice to the poor. In consideration whereof, the Mayor and Aldermen had set on foot the making of new brass farthings, round, and circumscribed “A Bristoll Farthing” on one side and “The armes of Bristoll” on the other, which were allowed to pass within the city, all others being suppressed as unlawful. And to the end that none should suffer loss by the new issues, the Mayor and Aldermen had proclaimed their general use in the city, and undertook to accept them at the rate of four for a penny for any quantity. Contemporary memoranda in other books state that Alderman Aldworth, M.P., initiated the movement, obtained the sanction of the Council of State, and procured the round stamp from which the coins were struck at the Mint in London. And it would seem that he was allowed to receive the profits derived from the issue. In 1653 there is an item in the civic accounts:- “Paid Alderman Aldworth £65 for farthings”; but the charge is not carried into the column of payments, for which there is a marginal explanation:- “This repaid again”. It will be seen that the sum in question represents a coinage of upwards of 62,000 farthings. Six varieties of these coins are known to modern numismatists. They are all dated 1652, but vary in slight details.

It will be remembered that in October, 1644, a forced loan of £1,000 was extorted from the Corporation, or rather from its chief Puritan members, for the assistance of the Royalist party in Somerset. The Council, about the close of 1651, threatened legal proceedings for the recovery of the money


from the gentry of Somerset who had given bonds for its repayment, many of whom had saved their estates from confiscation only by the payment of heavy fines for their “malignity”. The borrowers necessarily submitted, the chief contributors towards paying off the debt being Sir Thomas Bridges, Sir Edward Rodney, and Mr. Speke. The Corporation had, at an earlier period, lent £500 to the Puritan gentry of Wilts and Somerset, payment of which was demanded in 1653-4. Colonel Alexander Popham forwarded £300, “being his proportion”, and subsequently sent £106 more, which had probably been collected from other squires, as his steward received a gratuity of £10 “for his pains”.

Early in 1652, one Major Samuel Clark, who had abandoned a military life for commercial pursuits, but had neglected an indispensable preliminary to local trading, got into trouble with the Corporation. Being a mere “foreigner”, he had, it appears, presumed to bargain for, and purchase, a quantity of fruit imported by another “foreigner”, and on the discovery of this enormity, the goods were forthwith confiscated as “foreign bought and foreign sold”. The culprit having applied for some relief, the Council resolved in March that if he would pay £30, and satisfy the Sheriffs for their dues, he should be admitted a free burgess and have his goods restored. Soon after it was found that the fruit had been seriously damaged during its long detention, and the fine was reduced to £20, which Clark paid. About this time two other “foreigners”, before being allowed to carry on trade, were required to pay fines of £50 each, and in 1654-5 a third stranger was mulcted £66 13x. 4d., equivalent to over £250 in modern currency.

The renewed misdoings of Mr. Morgan, of Pill, or rather of the son of the obstinate gentleman referred to in previous pages, were reported to the Common Council in June, 1652. It was stated that in despite of the former decree of the Court of Exchequer, and of the demolition of the alehouses erected on the river bank, the landowner or some of his tenants were raising fresh buildings at the same place, to the prejudice of navigation. It was ordered that a peremptory notice should be sent to Morgan to desist, and to demolish what had been built. Following the custom of his family, Morgan set the Corporation at defiance, and, though the civic minutes are strangely destitute of information on the subject, another action against him was raised, and another judgment in favour of the prosecutors pronounced after a


protracted litigation. In the State Papers for 1657 is a petition of divers sailors and shipwrights of Pill to the justices of Somerset, setting forth an order of the Court of Exchequer for the demolition of their houses fronting the river, “to the utter undoing of themselves and families of fifty persons”, and praying that the order be not executed, as the petitioners must otherwise perish under hedges. The justices had doubtless forwarded the petition to the Government, with what result does not appear.

A calendar in the Council House mentions a quaint fact that apparently occurred during the summer:- “Christ Church spire new pointed, and an iron spear whereon the cock standeth was set up in the old one's place, whereon was a roasting pig eaten”. The lucidity of the statement leaves something to be desired.

The picturesque almshouses in King Street belonging to St. Nicholas's parish had their origin at this period. The parishioners having petitioned the Council for the grant of a plot of land on which they might build an almshouse, the Chamber, in June, ordered that a piece of ground sufficient for this purpose should be laid out under the city wall, in the Marsh, near Back Gate, and should be conveyed in perpetuity at a chief rent of 6s. 8d. per annum. An additional plot, including a round tower on the town wall, was granted in 1656. The almshouse was one of the first buildings erected on the line of what was subsequently to become King Street, and, until 1663, the almsfolk had a pleasant outlook on the green Marsh and the busy Avon.

Amongst the multifarious losses of the Corporation brought about by the Civil War, the diminished income derived from the Castle Precincts was a not inconsiderable bereavement. Through military exigencies after the Castle became a garrison in 1643, a number of houses surrounding the Keep were entirely swept away, many others were burned or rendered uninhabitable by the soldiers, and rentals of course disappeared. On the other hand, heavy incumbrances accumulated in connection with the fee-farm rents originally due to the Crown, but since, as has been shown, transferred to private hands. The two ancient fee-farms were owing for the three years ending 1650 (previous to the purchase by Alderman VicKris), and the debt amounted to £435 10s.; and £140 were due for three and a half years' fee-farm of the Castle, ending March, 1651, when this charge was purchased by Oliver Wallis. In April, 1651, the Council appointed a committee to consider what could


be done towards restoring the Castle estate to its former value, and likewise to seek for a remission of the debt due to the State. If the silence of the minute-books may be taken as evidence, the committee took no steps in either direction; and a crisis arose in November, 1652, when it appears, from a letter of one Collins, a State official, to Alderman Joseph Jackson, that the Government had taken proceedings for the recovery of the arrears, and that a distraint on corporate lands was imminent. The writer stated that he would allow 2s. 6d. in the pound, or about £70, for taxes, provided the debt was forthwith liquidated, but not otherwise. It must have been about this point that a petition of the Corporation, a copy of which is preserved without date or address, was sent up to Westminster, setting forth the grievous hardships under which the civic body was suffering. Nearly all the houses in the Castle Precincts had been demolished, and nearly eleven years' rentals entirely lost. (Another paper estimates the total loss from these causes at £3,000.) The petitioners therefore prayed that they might be released from the arrears, “and from payment in time to come”, including in this extraordinary request the rent due to Wallis, who was also sueing them for arrears amounting to £100. The petition was considered by the House of Commons on April 5th, 1653, within a few days of its memorable dismissal by Cromwell, when it was resolved that the arrears of the fee-farms due to the Commonwealth should be discharged, and that £100 should be paid to the city in consideration of the use made of the Castle by the army (in other words, to wipe off Wallis's claim). It was further resolved that the fortress should be forthwith dismantled and the city dis-garrisoned. These resolutions were treated with scant respect by the coming dictator. In 1656 the Corporation were compelled to pay Wallis £200 for five years' arrears, and in September of the same year, the law officials of the Government seized the corporate estates in Somerset to recover the town fee-farm arrears, amounting as before to £435. Another urgent appeal for relief having been then made to the Council of State, that body advised the Protector to pardon the debt in consonance with the above resolution of Parliament, and this was eventually done. The sharp State accountants, however, discovered that another year's arrears - for the period ending Michaelmas, 1647 - had been overlooked, and a fresh claim was sent down for £145. But on an appeal, in October, Cromwell remitted this debt also.


Two ordinances regulating trade Companies were passed by the Council in 1652. The rules for the Barber-surgeons' fraternity provided that no barber should employ a “ foreigner” as journeyman, unless with the license of the Mayor, on pain of forfeiting 40s. a month, nor was any one, under the same penalty, to open two shops for “barbing or shaving”. A chirurgeon taking the patient of another member out of his hands without his consent was to be fined 20s. The other ordinance decreed that the Tobacco-pipe Makers' Company should consist of twenty-five members, from which it may be assumed that the export of pipes, afterwards considerable, had already commenced. Any inhabitant, not a pipe-maker, presuming to buy pipe clay to sell again was threatened with a penalty of 20s.

The earliest mention of a Baptist congregation in the city occurs in 1652. The members had separated from the dissenting body referred to at page 151, whose “Records” note that “divers of the church were baptised in a river” - probably the Froom. (The statement in Mr. Hunt's history of the city that “the new secession has left its mark in the name Baptist Mills, where a wholesale immersion took place in January, 1667”, is based on a silly fable. A map of the eastern suburbs, drawn in 1609, nearly half a century before the new sect arose in Bristol, styles the place in question Baptist Mills, and there can be no question that it is identical with the Bagpaths Mill mentioned by William Worcester about 1480.) The Baptists worshipped in the Pithay, where they built the first Nonconformist chapel in Bristol, some remains of which are still standing. About this time, the original sect met weekly at the house of Dennis Hollister, a prosperous grocer in High Street, in whom the Common Council placed much confidence, and who, perhaps on that account, was nominated by Cromwell in 1653 as a member of the Little, or Barbone's Parliament. He was also, for a while, one of the Council of State.

The honours conferred on Hollister led to unexpected results, which are noted with some acerbity in the “ Broadmead Records”, and may here be conveniently summarised by a slight deviation from chronological order. Whilst in London, say his critics, he “sucked in some upstart doctrines” from the sect of Quakers, who had just sprung up through the preaching of George Fox; and upon his venting these “poisonous” notions after his return, “the Church” shook the dust off their feet at his doorstep, and went to his house no more. Shortly afterwards (July,


1654), to the great horror of his old companions, Hollister entertained two missionary Quakers who had wandered here from Kendal, and countenanced them in visiting the Independent and Baptist meetings and preaching their “damnable doctrines” which were strongly suspected to be the invention of Jesuits or other Papists. To make matters worse, Hollister's example had already allured away about twenty members of “the Church”, previously diminished by the Baptist secession, and now reduced to less than sixty faithful. The Quakers at the above visit had preached only on one day, having a pressing call to Plymouth. But they must have caused a great sensation, for in the following September, when one of them returned, accompanied by a convert as illiterate but as zealous as himself, frequent services were held at the Red Lodge, the Great Fort, and the open fields, in the presence, according to a Quaker pamphleteer, of “two, three, nay sometimes near four thousand people”. Such spectacles were not calculated to calm the exasperation of other sects and parties. “The priests and rulers”, writes the Quaker aforesaid, with “Puritans, Presbyterians, Independents, Notionists, Ranters”, were for once in complete accord in their revilings and reproaches, and “the rude rabble of ignorant” re-echoed their cries. The Common Council, inspired by the general animosity, summoned the Quaker orators in October, and, after a sharp examination, angrily ordered them to leave the city; but this they refused to do, alleging that the mandate was contrary to law. And so, in despite of some being committed to prison, they went on with their meetings, although they could not appear in the streets without being molested by people of every rank, from gentlemen to errand boys: “abused, dirted, stoned, pinched, kicked, and otherwise greatly injured”. It must be added, in fairness to the persecutors, that the acrimonious and insulting language used by the preachers was exceedingly irritating, and that their conduct was as perverse and provoking as their speech. On December 10th, a Quakeress named Marshall entered “Nicholas steeple house”, where the Mayor was attending service, and, after denouncing the minister, Ralph Farmer, as a “dumb shepherd”, proceeded to bestow her own eloquence on the congregation until she was driven out of the church, and received a pelting from the crowd gathered outside. A similar disturbance took place at “Philip's steeple house” on the afternoon of the same day, the offenders being two Quakers. A week later,


at the cathedral, Mrs. Marshall turned up again, and raised such a tumult by her invectives against the minister that she was committed to Newgate. Next day an alarming riot occurred in Wine Street, owing to the populace having got hold of the two leading Quaker preachers, whose philippics had aroused the wrath of the mob. Soon afterwards, on a market-day, an enthusiast named Sarah Goldsmith clothed herself in sackcloth, leaving her legs bare, covered her flowing hair with ashes, paraded in this guise through all the Gates of the city, and finally exhibited herself at the High Cross, in company with two female admirers, “as a sign against the pride of Bristol”. As her procession through the streets had attracted a delighted throng of youthful idlers and other mischief-makers, the spectacle naturally ended in a protracted tumult, and the three women were saved from deadly peril only by the exertions of the magistrates, who, after enduring Sarah's flighty harangues, committed them to Bridewell for a few days - a sentence which a Quaker pamphleteer denounced as iniquitous. Many other disturbances arising out of Quaker outbreaks in churches are recorded, but the above cases are fair illustrations of what was a constant source of offence. Although the Quakers admitted no weapon but the tongue, they seldom failed to use it unsparingly. To return to Dennis Hollister, who provoked this digression. In 1656, “moved by the Evil One”, say the Broadmead Records, Hollister fulminated a pamphlet, entitled “The skirts of the Whore discovered”, against “the Independent baptised people who call themselves a church of Christ, but are a synagogue of Satan”, in which it was casually stated that a Quakeress - a deserter, like the writer, from the original flock - had been whipped and imprisoned in Bridewell for “testifying” in their meeting - in plain terms, reviling the preacher and his hearers. “The church”, adds the Broadmead scribe, was fain to put forth an answer, in which Hollister was complimented with the title of “Satan inthroned in the Chair of Pestilence”. Whereupon the Quakers, “moved by Jesuits”, made irruptions into the parish churches, in which Nonconformist ministers then preached, and yelled at them as hireling deceivers, never ceasing to scream until they were forcibly expelled.

The gallantry of General Blake as a soldier has been already briefly noted. The Somerset hero was at this period winning imperishable fame as a naval commander. In September, 1652, he dealt a heavy blow at the Dutch fleet,


sinking several vessels, and chasing the rest to their own coast; but this success was eclipsed by his brilliant victory over Van Tromp in February, 1653, when, with only sixty ships against eighty, he captured seventeen of the enemy's men-of-war, together with fifty merchantmen. The news of the restored naval supremacy of England was received in Bristol, as everywhere, with transports of delighted pride; and no time was lost in collecting subscriptions for the relief of those wounded in the action. The Mayor's Calendar records that £200 and much good linen were at once gathered and sent to Weymouth and other ports, earning a grateful letter of thanks from the Speaker of the House of Commons. The civic scribe appears from the State Papers to have understated the charity of the inhabitants. A naval agent at Southampton, writing to the Admiralty on March 3rd, says:- “The Sheriff of Bristol has brought in £250, collected there for the sick and wounded”; and the corporate audit book shows that £200 were carried to Weymouth by Sheriff Blackwell. Notwithstanding Blake's triumph and the consequent prize money, the demand for sailors to recruit the fleet aroused strong local discontent. In the Record Office is a letter of two naval agents in Bristol, stating that they found much difficulty in getting seamen on account of disaffection and unwillingness. The Mayor had readily assisted, and had impressed 164, but many of the men escaped; other self-interested magistrates complained that the port was being plundered of sailors; and some masters of Bristol ships had carried off part of the impressed seamen.

The subscription for the wounded tars had scarcely been disposed of before another urgent call was made on public benevolence. On April 28th a fire broke out at Marlborough, which, from the general use of thatch for roofs, rapidly spread over nearly the whole town, about 1,500 people being unhoused. The calamity excited great sympathy, and £227 were contributed in Bristol. The fact would have been unknown to us but for two small items in the civic audit book, noting the expenses of the Chamberlain, Swordbearer, and a sergeant, whose outlay on a three days' journey amounted to £2 18s. 6d., including 6s. “for a portmantle and pillion to carry the money”.

The royal licenses for exporting tanned calf-skins and Welsh butter, frequently noticed in previous pages, were not abrogated by the Long Parliament, partly, perhaps, owing to the benefit which the landed interest derived from the suspension of the old laws prohibiting such exports, and


partly from the absence of complaints from other classes. The only action taken by the House of Commons on the subject was to insert calf-skins and butter in the regular Customs tariff as dutiable articles, and licenses to export were granted to the Bristol merchants. This arrangement went on quietly for some years; but in the State Papers for February 8th, 1653, is a petition of the Merchant Venturers' Society to the House of Commons, complaining that, although they had conformed to the licenses and paid the Customs duty, they had been repeatedly informed against by one Michael Measy, who grounded his prosecutions on the old statutes prohibiting exports of the above articles, and that judgment against them at his suit would be applied for that day in the Court of Exchequer. Being put to very great straits and likely to be undone by these suits, which also threatened ruin to the whole commerce of Bristol, they prayed for the interference of the House. The Commons responded by an order to the judges, directing Measy's suit to be dismissed. After the disappearance of the Long Parliament Measy revived his prosecutions, and in 1655 he obtained a second judgment nisi, when the Merchants' Society applied for relief to the Council of State, by whose order the actions were quashed. Nothing daunted, and having the statute law clearly on his side, Measy, in 1656, petitioned the Government in his turn, alleging that he, in conjunction with Hugh Lewis (son of the original calf-skin patentee), had been prosecuting the merchants for many years, at a cost of £1,000, on account of their exports being in excess of their licenses. The petitioner was now ruined, and Lewis had died in utter misery. But if the Council would allow a new suit to be carried to judgment in the Court of Exchequer, the petitioner would obtain relief, and £20,000 a year would be added to the national revenue. Although the Council of State responded by ordering Measy to drop his prosecution, the irrepressible litigant drew up another appeal. In this document he alleged that Lewis raised the first suit for excessive exports in 1643; that when the King recovered Bristol in that year the merchants, out of spite, denounced Lewis to Lord Hopton as a rebel, when he was plundered by the soldiery; and that when Fairfax captured the city, in 1645, the same merchants denounced Lewis as a malignant to Parliament, by which he lost his office of Searcher in the Custom House. The Merchants' Society, moreover, discontinued to pay the rent due to Lewis under his patent, and he died without a


penny. The petitioner, having lent £500 freely to Parliament, therefore prayed that the law might at length have its course. The only reply being a repetition of the previous order, Measy made a final effort by laying his grievances before the Protector, but met with no better success, and then disappears into darkness. The above is but a brief summary of the voluminous papers in the Record Office. It is only too certain that the merchants availed themselves of Lewis's patent to make large illegal gains, and treated the patentee himself with exceeding harshness.

At the Somerset quarter sessions in January, 1653, the justices drew up a memorial to the Committee of Parliament, representing that they had been informed by the minister and chief inhabitants of Bedminster, and had, many of them, personal knowledge, that in September, 1645, the church of that parish was burned down by Prince Rupert's soldiers, and thereby made unserviceable for the worship of 800 inhabitants, and that the rebuilding of the edifice would not cost less than £3,500, which the parishioners, most of whose dwellings the troops likewise destroyed, were unable to bear. Their worships therefore prayed the Committee to empower the parish to collect the charitable benevolence of the well-disposed towards reconstruction. Nothing appears to have been done, however, until after the Restoration, when the Royalists, naturally ashamed of Rupert's havoc, began the work of rebuilding, and completed an extremely ugly edifice in 1663. In Tovey's “Life of Colston” the desecration of Bedminster church is characteristically laid to the charge of Puritan fanatics.

The odd ideas of the age in reference to the responsibilities of a municipal corporation are illustrated by a vote of the Common Council on March 4th, 1653. The secrets of the House, says the minute, having been divulged by some members, whereby contentions and animosities have been occasioned in the city, “Ordered, that any member divulging matters on which secrecy has been enjoined in debate shall forfeit £10, to be recovered by distress, or imprisonment until he pay”.

The memorable dismissal of the remnant of the House of Commons by Cromwell took place in April. About six weeks later, on June 6th, the imperious Lord General issued summonses to 144 persons, “having assurances [from the local Puritan churches] of their love to God and interest in His people”, requiring them to appear at Whitehall on the 4th July, and to take upon them the trust of legislators.


The member nominated for Bristol, as has been already stated, was Dennis Hollister. The “Little Parliament”, mockingly styled “Barebones'” from the unlucky name of Barbone, one of the members for London, was soon torn by internal dissensions, and surrendered its functions in the following December.

Although statutes had been long in force prohibiting the growth of tobacco in England, the profits of the culture and the widespread love of “the weed” caused them to be often violated, especially in Gloucestershire. In 1652 the House of Commons passed a fresh ordinance interdicting cultivation, and authorizing any one to destroy the plantations; but this was felt as a grievance in the district, and a number of petitions were sent up for its repeal, one of which, signed by the Mayor of Bristol, alleged that riots had been caused by the attempts made by certain persons to destroy the crops. Accordingly, the Barbone Parliament in August, 1653, resolved that a duty of 3d. per pound on all tobacco produced in Gloucestershire should be paid by the growers, who should reap the profits of the cultivation for that year only without molestation, after which planting was to be stopped. The cultivation, however, went on as before. In June, 1655, the Government issued an order to the army officers in Gloucestershire, Somerset, and Bristol, commenting on the prevalence and persistency of the unlawful industry, and ordering them to assist the persons authorized to destroy the plantations, and to suppress the tumults of those who might oppose them.

Serjeant Whitelock's inability to fulfil the functions of Recorder owing to the pressure of his duties in the Court of Chancery had been borne with patiently for some time; but all prospect of his immediate services being lost by his appointment as Ambassador to Sweden, the Common Council resolved in September that a letter should be forwarded requesting his resignation. The missive, which was couched in flattering terms, pointed out that several gentlemen who had been elected aldermen, as well as the newly appointed Chamberlain, could not fulfil their offices until they had been sworn in before the Recorder, according to the charter. Moreover, through the illness of the Town Clerk, quarter sessions could not be held, and the course of justice had been thus obstructed for two successive years, whilst the Chamber was in constant want of counsel. The letter ends with a clumsily framed remark that the Council did not


doubt that his lordship “will as favourably resent your resignation as it is unwilling but very necessary requested”. Notwithstanding this appeal, Serjeant Whitelock did not relinquish the office until May, 1655. The delay may have been due to the action of the Council of State, who in October, 1653, directed Dennis Hollister to move Parliament for the appointment, as Deputy-Recorder during Whitelock's absence, of John Haggett, who was probably nominated accordingly. The gaol delivery in 1654 was held by Whitelock in person.

A temporary quarrel between the Corporation and the Merchants' Society, arising out of the excessive eagerness of the latter to make profit out of the Welsh butter monopoly, was noted at page 149. A misunderstanding on the same subject again occurred at the period under review. The merchants were desirous that the Council should continue its long-established practice of buying butter wholesale and retailing it at a slight loss, because the system kept down the price of the article in the local market, and so enabled them to export under the terms of their license. But they raised a complaint when the corporate purchases were made in Welsh butter, because the quantity they desired to ship abroad was thereby diminished to their “prejudice”. Seeking a way out of the difficulty, the Mayor and Aldermen issued an ordinance in October, ordering the merchants to thenceforth pay one shilling per kilderkin on the butter brought in from Wales for exportation, the receipts from this source to be applied to the use of the poor. The difference subsequently became acute. On June 6th, 1664, the Mayor and Aldermen adopted another ordinance, setting forth that the buying up of large stocks of butter for export purposes had greatly raised the price, to the injury of the poor, and was contrary to precedents, by which such purchases were prohibited unless the market price was at or under 3d. per pound. Wherefore the water bailiff was ordered to search and detain all ships that had more butter on board than was required for the crews. The merchants, who had evidently refused to pay the tax of a shilling per kilderkin, but were powerless to resist the drastic measure of the justices, and perhaps dreaded the loss of their patent if their illegal practices came to the ears of the Government, now found it necessary to come to terms; and an agreement was made under which 8d. per kilderkin was to be paid on the butter brought from Wales, the proceeds to be applied for the benefit of the poor.


Trading in butter was thenceforth abandoned by the Corporation.

Several Bristol privateers were commissioned in September, 1653. Robert Yeamans equipped the Robert, Gabriel Deane and Thomas Speed (a Quaker) the Richard and Mary, Major Samuel Clark the Hart, Richard Stephens the Jane, and Thomas Leigh the Elizabeth. Francis Bailey, a notable local shipbuilder, made a contract with the Government in October to build a frigate of 400 or 500 tons, afterwards called the Nantwich, at £5 5s. per ton. He was building another, the Islip, when this agreement was effected. In the following May, in reporting progress to the Navy Board, Bailey begged for an order to enable him to pay his workmen more than two shillings a day without being liable to the penalty of £10 and ten days' imprisonment imposed by the Mayor on all who paid more. The Islip was launched soon afterwards, and was reported by the Collector of Customs to be “the best of her rate in England”, and by a naval captain as “the best sailer he ever saw”. The Nantwich, delayed from want of money, was launched in March, 1655. The above facts are extracted from the State Papers, local annalists treating the subject as unworthy of record.

The proposed tax for the benefit of the parochial ministers being still suspended, the Council of State issued an order in October for the payment to John Knowles, preacher at the cathedral, and to others, ministers of parishes, of “their several augmentations from first fruits and tenths”. The State Papers give no further information on the subject.

However bitter might be the political dissensions of the inhabitants, they always showed a laudable unanimity in maintaining the liberties and privileges of the city. The “Book of Remembrances” in the Council House contains a copy of a petition addressed in October to “His Excellency Oliver Cromwell, Captain General of the armies”. “The great experience we have had”, say the memorialists, “of your indefatigable care and endeavouring for the good of the nation in general, and of this place in particular, inviteth us to make our address unto you with a humble desire”. After a little more exordium, the citizens pray that Cromwell will “promote their request to Parliament and the Council of State that in all acts and decrees the city may remain a distinct county, according to the Charter of Edward III., and that they may have all manner of justice administered at their own doors”. The explanation


of this appeal seems to be that in the commissions for holding the customary summer assizes, Bristol, instead of being recognised as a separate county, had been treated as if it were part of Somerset.

The early plans of Bristol, as is apparent from a cursory inspection of them, were rude attempts made by unskilled persons to delineate the prominent features of the town, regardless of details and proportions. The fact that some of them represent the Castle as entirely surrounded by water shows how little the designers were acquainted with the locality. About the close of 1653 the Corporation directed one Philip Stainred, supposed to have been a land-surveyor, to make a new plan of the city, and perhaps, amongst the numerous civic documents that have perished in the course of centuries, the loss of this work is the most to be regretted. The cost of it cannot be stated, the surveyor's charge being lumped with the outlay for perambulating the boundaries; but the total amount of the item is only £5 9s. The Council were so pleased with Stainred's labours that they afterwards commissioned him to “amplyfy the map”, for which he was paid £1 1s. 8d.

On Bristol becoming a garrison town at the outbreak of the Civil War, the nightly watch previously maintained was abolished, in order to lighten the taxation imposed on householders. The troops having been for the most part removed, the Common Council, in February, 1654, resolved that the ordinance of 1621 for the regulation of the nightly watch should be revived on March 1st following. On the morning of the day on which this resolution was passed, a serious fire had occurred in Wine Street, when the absence of any provision for protecting property and suppressing disorder must have been painfully felt. Another ordinance that had long been practically obsolete, forbidding the boiling of tallow, oil and pitch in houses in the heart of the city, was also revived at the same meeting.

A combination of wood and faggot dealers, alleged to have been formed for the purpose of inordinately raising the price of fuel, was complained of by several inhabitants before the magistrates in February. The bench immediately ordered that all importers of such material should, before landing their cargoes, acquaint the Mayor with the price intended to be demanded from consumers, when permission to land would be given only if the rates were deemed reasonable. Complaint being also made of the huge piles of fuel lying on the quays, it was ordered that no faggots, etc.,


should be landed “above the lower brass post” - the earliest mention of brazen pillars in that locality.

A magisterial record states that in February, Thomas Hobson, innholder, and G. Linelle, gentleman, made oath before the Mayor, that the Commonwealth was indebted to the innholders of Bristol, for the quartering of soldiers, in the sum of £988 11s. 5d., as certified by the committee of Parliament which had sat in the city. The affidavit appears to have been required by the Government previous to the discharge of the debt.

The Council, in March, made one of its numerous, and invariably abortive, efforts to provide remunerative work for unemployed children. It was determined on this occasion to open a workhouse in the Smiths' Hall (a portion of the old Dominican Friary), in which spinning and knitting were to be taught; a hosier named Messenger having undertaken to manage the place for ten years, on being provided with sufficient stock; his salary and the rent being defrayed by the Chamber. The children were to be paid wages for their work, so that the parishes would be relieved of the cost of their maintenance, and in compensation the parochial authorities were ordered to provide the necessary stock. All Saints, “Nicholas”, and Christ Church were required to contribute £20 each; “Thomas'”, “John's” and Redcliff, £10 each; “Stephen's”, £6, and Temple, £4. The resolution was followed by a sort of proclamation addressed to the churchwardens and overseers, desiring them to see that unemployed people were made to work, and that children were trained, and to give information as to wandering beggars and idle children. The spinning scheme, however, was abandoned soon after as unprofitable.

The “Smiths' and Cutlers' Hall” mentioned in the above paragraph appears to have been acquired by the Company during the reign of Elizabeth, from the possessor of the Friary estate, who sold it on a fee-farm rent of £3 3s. The Company, in December, 1653, demised it to Giles Gough for a term of sixty-one years, and the lease was soon afterwards assigned to the Corporation, doubtless for carrying out their industrial experiment. Subsequently, in 1664, the civic body reassigned the lease to one Richard Baugh for a trivial consideration. The later history of this interesting relic of the Dominicans is given in the annals of the following century.

Although Cromwell had been proclaimed Protector in December, 1653, the Corporation incurred no expense in


notifying the event, and four meetings of the Council were held without any reference being made to the subject - a circumstance only explicable by the discontent and semi-hostility of the predominant Presbyterians in the Chamber. At length, on May 2nd, a committee was appointed to prepare “a humble address and recognition” for presentation to the new head of the State, and a few days later a deputation was selected to carry it to Whitehall. The affair seems to have been conducted with a strict regard for economy. The Chamberlain's expenses amounted only to £5, exclusive of £1 1s. 8d “paid for a dinner, &c, on those that went up”.

The genial and cultivated diarist, John Evelyn, paid a brief visit to Bristol on the 30th June, during a sojourn at Bath, and made a few interesting notes. He describes the city as emulating London in its manner of building, its shops, and Bridge; but the Castle, over which he was shown by the Governor, he thought of “no great concernment”. Here, he adds, “I first saw the manner of refining sugar, and casting it into loaves, where we had a collation of eggs fried in the sugar furnace, together with excellent Spanish wine; but what was most stupendous to me was the rock of St. Vincent, the precipice whereof is equal to anything of that nature I have seen in the most confragous cataracts of the Alps. Here we went searching for diamonds, and to the Hot Wells at its foot. There is also on the side of this horrid Alp a very remarkable seat” (the Giant's Cave?).

An election of members of Parliament took place on July 12th, and excited great interest, four candidates offering themselves to the constituency. The Presbyterian party was represented by Robert Aldworth, Town Clerk, and Alderman Miles Jackson, who had the support of the Corporation, and probably of many Royalists. The Independents and other sectaries favoured the pretensions of John Haggett, Colonel of the city militia, but a lawyer by profession, whose name has already occurred in connection with the deputy-recordership, and of Captain George Bishop, a leading Independent, who soon after became a Quaker. Nothing is known as to the number of votes polled, but Aldworth and Jackson were declared elected by the Sheriffs amidst the protests of the opposite party, who lost no time in presenting a petition to the House of Commons against the return. This document, signed by ninety-five citizens, asserted that the Sheriffs had encouraged those to vote who adhered to the late King, had insulted and threatened the petitioners,


debarred some of them from voting, and had stigmatised Haggett and Bishop as horse-stealers. “The Cavalier party carried things as if Charles Stewart were again enthroned”. Accompanying the petition was a deposition signed by the rough-tongued Quaker, Dennis Hollister, asserting that Miles Jackson, whilst the Royalists held Bristol, subscribed £30 towards the present to the King, and had signed the protestation condemning the bearing of arms against His Majesty (acts notoriously done under threats of ruinous plundering). In the State Papers is a letter of Governor Scrope to the Protector, coinciding with the allegations both of the petitioners and of Hollister, and adding:- “I beg you to consider the condition of the city, which I never saw in a worse posture. The Mayor and Sheriffs cannot be trusted, and were so insolent in the late election that it discouraged the godly party. One of them who had been in arms for the late King declared that all such might vote. . . . The enemies of God now exceedingly insult, and think to carry all before them”. The Corporation, on the other hand, vigorously defended the new members, sending up to London the Aldermen, Sheriffs, and numerous Councillors and officers. In curious contrast with the parsimony displayed in forwarding the address to Cromwell, the outlay on the election delegates amounted to nearly £90. The petition, if it were ever brought to a hearing, must have been dismissed.

Though the above Parliament was dissolved in the following January, the “instructions” prepared by the Corporation for the guidance of the city members are of interest for the light they throw on the opinions of the majority of the constituency. The representatives were desired, amongst other things, to promote the spreading of the Gospel in dark places, to settle the maintenance of ministers by tithes and otherwise, to establish order in the church, to relieve the people of burdens and taxes, to obtain for the city the restoration of the Castle, to rectify the mistake of the Government officials in classifying Bristol as part of Somerset, to procure an augmented income of £150 a year for the college (cathedral), to get Bristol farthings exempted from any general law dealing with small coins, to prevent “foreigners” from keeping shops in the city to the prejudice of freemen, and lastly to prevent the growth of English tobacco, which was to the “extraordinary prejudice” of local trade; “there being very vast quantities planted this year, and daily brought into this city”.

An example of the high-handed manner in which a


powerful Corporation could in those days usurp private rights was furnished at a Council meeting on August 25th. It must be premised that in or about the thirteenth century, the house of Carmelite Friars on St. Augustine's Back, who possessed a copious spring issuing near Brandon Hill, granted the parishioners of St. John's a “feather” from their main pipe (in Pipe Lane), which feather was conducted to a reservoir built against the church in Broad Street, and furnished the little parish with a good supply of water. On the suppression of the monasteries, the main conduit, with the conventual buildings, passed into private hands, and in 1654, the Great House, built on the site of the friary, having fallen from its ancient grandeur, had recently been converted into a sugar refinery by Mr. John Knight, junior, but of course retained its former water supply. The Council, alleging certain complaints from St. John's parish as to the scarcity of water at the reservoir, maintained at the above meeting, in flagrant defiance of truth, that all the springs supplying the city conduits, and consequently, the spring near Brandon Hill, were and always had been the property of the Corporation; that if a feather had ever been granted to the Great House, of which there was no record, it was conceded only to a “private family”, and that the arrangement of the pipes in Pipe Lane, by which the chief supply was diverted to the house, was a gross infringement of public rights! The city plumber was therefore ordered to cut the main pipe leading to the sugar refinery, which was thenceforth to be supplied with a feather, while the bulk of the water was to be diverted to the fountain at St. John's Church, the parish wardens being directed to superintend the operations. There can be no doubt that Mr. Knight, who had not lived long in the city, was ignorant of the true history of the spring, as he made a “humble submission” to the authorities, and sanctioned the alterations commanded.

A week or two after the above meeting, Mr. Knight was ordered to pay a fine of £100 for refusing to serve the office of Common Councillor, to which he had been elected in the previous year. (The fine was never paid, and he did not enter the Council until 1664.) On the same day, John Knight, senior, already mentioned as railing at “Parliament rogues”, was chosen a Councillor in the room of Luke Hodges, ex-M.P., who had left the city. Though generally styled senior and junior in the records, the two men were, it is probable, second or third cousins, the former being son of


George Knight, mayor in 1639-40, the latter a grandson of Francis Knight, mayor in 1594-5. Both afterwards served as aldermen and mayors, but a distinction between them was effected at the Restoration, when the senior of the two received the honour of knighthood, and was elected M.P. Later on, when their sons, both named John, became merchants, and when the son of the sugar refiner was also dubbed a knight and elected Mayor and M.P., the confusion in the minutes was extremely great, and has led local historians into innumerable blunders.

The Council, in August, revived the old ordinance prohibiting vessels of 100 tons and upwards from coming up to the quays, a fine of £10 being imposed for disobedience. A few days later the magistrates ordered the water-bailiff to seize a ship called the Good Success, “forfeited to the Corporation ”because the captain, being part owner, stood charged with murder! The order was subsequently rescinded, it being found that the captain held no share in the vessel. In June, 1661, the justices issued an order that all vessels lying at the quays above 60 tons burden, “which tended to the utter spoiling of the harbour”, should fall down to Hungroad within fourteen days, on pain, in each default, of a fine of £20. This order was re-issued in 1666, doubtless owing to numerous infractions, and was finally abolished in 1703 as confessedly obsolete.

One of the most unpopular of the Commonwealth enactments, especially amongst the fair sex, was the statute forbidding marriages to be celebrated according to the liturgy of the episcopal Church. On September 4th, a clergyman named James Reed was committed for trial at the sessions, for having, on his own confession, married two persons a few days previously “according to the old forms”. Cases of the same kind occurred in all parts of the kingdom, with the natural effect of exciting sympathy with the so-called offenders. The new system required, in lieu of the customary banns announced in churches, the proclamation of the intended marriage on a market day for three weeks at a public place, which in Bristol was the High Cross.

The administration of the law in other directions can hardly have tended to edification. In October, a blacksmith of the city and a woman from Tewkesbury, having been convicted of incontinence, were ordered to be set on a horse, back to back, and so exhibited through High Street, Redcliff Street, Thomas Street, and Wine Street, the bellman preceding the culprits and proclaiming their crime.


The man was then to be imprisoned until he found sureties for his good behaviour, and the woman whipped and sent home; whilst the drunken alewife in whose dwelling they were found was to be put in the stocks for three hours, and then committed for trial for keeping a disorderly house. In November, a butcher's wife was sent to the stocks for three hours for having in a passion uttered two profane oaths, and her husband, for forcibly attempting to rescue her, was committed for trial. Further instances of people similarly dealt with occur about the same time. A number of persons were also fined, or committed to gaol until trial, on charges of having taken a stroll or carried a parcel on a Sunday; and innkeepers or victuallers who allowed townsmen to eat, drink, or buy liquors in their houses on the “Sabbath” were heavily mulcted. By a magisterial ordinance, all the conduits in the city were kept closed throughout the same day, and the parish constables were required to lay informations against persons carrying water to their homes, in order that the culprits might be brought up on Mondays and duly punished. Still another order forbade the plying of the ferry at Temple Back on the Lord's Day. William Hobson, a cousin of Edward Colston, was sent to prison for six months and required to find securities for his future good behaviour for having said, perhaps in a joke, that drunkenness was not a sin. Many games and holiday amusements were interdicted, and though some of the sports, such as cock-throwing, dog-fighting, and bull-baiting, were cruel and deserved to be put down, it was strongly suspected that they were forbidden, not because they gave pain to dumb animals, but because they gave pleasure to the spectators. Maypoles entirely disappeared, and finally, by a Parliamentary decree, Christmas Day was appointed as a national Fast, and mince-pies, plum-puddings, and family festivities were attempted to be suppressed by police regulations.

A remarkable corporate ordinance was adopted on September 29th. It premises that many complaints had been made of the inveigling, purloining, and stealing away boys, maids, and others, and transporting them beyond seas, and there disposing of them for private gain, without the knowledge of their parents and friends. “This being a crime of much villany”, it was ordered that all boys, maids, and others thenceforth transported as servants should before shipment have their indentures of service enrolled in the Tolzey Book. A penalty of £20 was imposed on any ship


captain or officer receiving persons not so enrolled, and the Water-bailiff was directed to use diligence in searching ships for those designed to be carried off. Copies of the ordinance were ordered to be pasted up in convenient places, that none might plead ignorance. The offence was, however, too profitable to be suppressed by a mere bye-law, and it is certain that kidnapping was habitually encouraged by many merchants throughout the century, and was not uncommon even later (see “Annals of XVIII. Century”, p.152). In September, 1655, two men, convicted of “man stealing”, were condemned by the magistrates to stand one hour in the pillory on three market days, with the offence placarded on their breasts. If the sentence had ended here, the wrath of the populace would have inflicted such a vengeance on the malefactors as would have made a lasting impression on all engaged in the infamous pursuit. But the merchants, sitting as magistrates, with a tender regard for mercantile interests, ordered that the villains should be “protected”, - that is, guarded from the missiles of spectators, - so that the punishment was little more than formal. In August, 1656, a man was committed for trial “for spiriting away two boys”. In 1661, another wretch, who had robbed a boy of money on the highway, and then stolen the lad himself, “being known to be a common man stealer, and spirit that enticeth away people”, was also committed for trial; but as the Sessions record is lost, the fate of both those men is unknown. A little later, another knave was ordered “to stand in the pillory at the High Cross next market day for half an hour, with an inscription on his breast of his offence - kidnapping. To be protected”. The frivolous punishments inflicted on offenders, by a bench which evidently sympathised with them, of course had no deterring effect on a profitable traffic. In July, 1662, the Corporation, representing the trading class as well as merchants, petitioned the King for power to examine the masters and passengers on board ships bound to the plantations, with a view to prevent the “spiriting away” of unwary persons by man-stealers, and the escape of rogues and apprentices - a plain proof that mercantile cupidity had set at defiance the ordinance of 1654. The King's response is not preserved, but the traffic had already attracted the attention of the Privy Council. In July, 1660, the minute-book states that their lordships had received information that children were being daily enticed away from their parents, and servants from their masters, being caught up by merchants and


ship captains trading to Virginia and the West Indies, and there sold as merchandise; moreover that if such kidnapped people were found in a ship before her departure, the captain would not liberate them without he received compensation - “a barbarous and inhumane thing”. From the order which follows for the searching of three ships then in the Thames, and the rescue of the children they contained, the system appears to have been as common in London as in Bristol.

At another Council meeting in September, 1654, the trustees of the late Alice Cole, widow of an alderman, and sister of John Carr, the founder of Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, petitioned for the grant of a piece of ground on St. James's Back, on which to build a free school for poor children, with a dwelling for the master. The Chamber acceded to the request, expressing its approval of “so pious a work”. References to this day school - the first established in the city for the instruction of the labouring population - occur from time to time until the early years of the following century, after which all traces of it disappear.

A riot, of which scarcely any details are recorded, broke out on December 18th. So far as can be made out, the apprentices in the city, having taken offence at some of the eccentric practices of the Quakers, had concerted an attack upon the shopkeepers of that sect, with a view of forcing them to close their places of business. The tumult began on the Bridge, where several Quakers resided, and was resumed on the following day, when the magistrates, after being long contemptuously defied by a mob gathered around the Tolzey, issued a proclamation commanding all persons to refrain from disorder, and to retire to their dwellings. The disturbances were nevertheless renewed on subsequent days, about 1,500 youths and men taking part in them, and cries for Charles Stewart were not wanting to heighten the alarm of the authorities. On Christmas Day, which, as already stated, had been proclaimed a national Fast, the justices issued another proclamation, in the name of the Protector, enjoining the apprentices to return to their occupations, and to forbear from the “shutting down of shops which standeth open”, from which one may infer that the apprentices' love of a holiday had given a fresh edge to their ill-humour. The Royalists seem to have joined heartily with the malcontents, and boldly raised cries for “the King”; a Quaker pamphleteer, indeed, alleges that


the rioting of the apprentices was openly encouraged by many of their masters. The citizens are said to have been in “great affrightment”; but some troops were brought in to second the efforts of the authorities, and the disturbances at length subsided.

It is not unworthy of note that the above events were contemporaneous with the determination arrived at by the Government to remove the garrison outside the city walls, and to demolish the Norman Castle. On December 27th the Protector signed a mandate to Governor Scrope, desiring him within seven days to draw all the troops out of the fortress, except those needed to guard the Governor's house, and to place them in the Great Fort; a former order (which has perished) to demolish the latter and disband the soldiers there being suspended until further orders. On December 28th the Protector addressed the following laconic missive to the Corporation:- “These are to authorise you forthwith to dismantle and demolish the Castle within the city of Bristol; and for so doing this shall be your warrant”. The order was so acceptable to the civic body, who were naturally eager to recover possession of their property, that they bestowed a gratuity of £4 upon the messenger who brought down the letter. On January 3rd, 1655, after a conference between Alderman Aldworth and a Government agent named Watson, the latter gave permission to the Corporation to begin the work of dismantling “to-morrow”. On the same day, to facilitate matters, the Council appointed a committee to superintend the destruction, and authorized the Chamberlain to relieve the inhabitants of the Castle Precincts of all arrears of fee-farm rents. On March 10th, when the removal of arms, ammunition, and stores seems to have been completed, the Court of Aldermen issued an ordinance setting forth that the speedy dismantling of the Keep and the putting of the right proprietors of houses into possession were of great concernment to the city, but could not be effected without extraordinary expense. It was therefore ordered that, towards defraying the charge, all the inhabitants in every ward assessed in the monthly contribution upon personal estate should one day in every week either work in person or pay 12d. for the hire of a labourer; and officers were nominated to collect the impost and keep lists of the workmen. The members of the Council coolly delegated their personal responsibilities under this ordinance to the Chamberlain, who disbursed about £40 for his masters out of the city treasury. It turned out, a few days later,


that some people near the Castle displayed a super-abundance of zeal in the task of destruction, and the justices found it necessary to prohibit the removal of the fine Caen stonework, which was being carried off wholesale for private ends. The walls of Robert Fitzroy's gigantic Keep were of enormous thickness and great solidity; and, although another committee was selected in June to hasten operations, no great impression had been made on the building when, on July 24th, the Council of State issued an order for the removal of all military provisions from Bristol to Chepstow, and for the demolition by the Corporation of the Great Fort. Another onerous burden was thus imposed upon the citizens, who were required, by a magisterial order of September 6th, to severally contribute a labourer's wages for one day weekly until the demolition was completed. The progress made being still unsatisfactory, the justices ordered on October 19th that thirty labourers should be hired at the city's charge for dismantling the Fort and Castle, and payments of wages to these men went on for some weeks. These brief citations from the civic records suffice to explode the absurd statement made in some local histories that the Castle was demolished in a fortnight. In addition to the above expenditure, the Corporation made gratuities to the Governor and others for leaving their dwellings uninjured. “Paid Colonel Scrope, in consideration he should not deface the house in the Castle, . . . and for 27 sheets of lead he put on the Great House, £80”. (The Great or Military House is believed to have included the state apartments erected in the thirteenth century, some relics of which are still to be seen in Tower Street.) “Paid Captain Beale that he should no way deface the house in the Great Fort, £20”. “Paid Captain Watson for doors, dogwheels, &c., fixed in his lodgings, that he should not take them down, £2”. Further outlay was incurred in laying out a direct thoroughfare from the Old Market to Peter Street - the greatest public improvement of the century, affording a convenient approach to the city from the east in the place of the tortuous old route by Castle Ditch, Broad Weir, and Newgate. A bridge was also thrown over Castle Ditch, and was subsequently protected by a gate. These disbursements, however, were amply recouped by the receipts for building sites in what was soon afterwards called Castle Street.

On January 22nd, 1655, one George Cowlishaw, an ironmonger, appeared before the magistrates at the Tolzey, and


asserted upon oath that certain Franciscan friars from Rome had lately come into England under the guise of Quakers, and had drawn together large numbers of people in London, seeking to pervert their religion; and that two of them, calling themselves Quakers, had lately been in Bristol. A warning to the same effect having been received from the Government, the Mayor and Aldermen, on the 24th, issued directions to the parish constables to search for and arrest suspicious characters, naming especially, as probable Papist emissaries, George Fox, James Nayler, and four others, who were stated to have lately come to the city professing to be Quakers, and to have created great disturbances. As none of the persons named in the warrant were arrested, it may be inferred that the missionaries had departed. Fox, indeed, had not been here at all, and there is evidence that Nayler was soon afterwards preaching in Devon and Cornwall. The sect was by this time sufficiently numerous in Bristol to found a meeting-house in Redcliff Street, where a zealot named Mudford was apprehended, and was driven out of town by order of the justices; but he of course came back, and lectured the aldermen on their sins. The disturbance of worship in the parish churches by the zealots was still of constant occurrence; yet, in despite of the rough treatment that it frequently brought upon them, their numbers increased. In 1656, when George Fox paid his first visit to the city, his followers worshipped in an upstairs room of a house in Broadmead, and frequently held open-air services in the orchard of the old Dominican Friary, the property of Dennis Hollister. At this latter place Fox, after silencing a “rude jangling Baptist who began by finding fault with my hair”, pronounced his first discourse to “some thousands of people”, who listened to him for “many hours”, and he had what he terms in his diary “a blessed day”. Fox's hair was often a subject of merriment. It was long and straight, and is described by one of his critics as “like rats' tails”.

The severity of the restrictions on “foreign” workmen is illustrated by a case brought before the magistrates in January, when an Irish journeyman tailor, then in prison under a decree of the Tailors' Company for having worked at his trade without their leave, prayed for release, promising to depart with his wife and children within three months. He was, nevertheless, still in the city in September, when he signed a receipt for 45s., given him by the magistrates on his undertaking to leave within a fortnight.


Parliamentary contests have never been remarkable for the promotion of brotherly love amongst the partisans who engage in them, and the conflict in Bristol of the summer of 1654 appears to have left the rival parties in a state of rancorous animosity. Whether their fierce contentions kindled a feeling of hope in the down-trodden Royalists is not very clear; but the latter certainly seized an opportunity to make a demonstration. On the night of February 13th the body of Lady Newton, of Barrs Court, Kingswood, was brought in for interment in St. Peter's church, where her stately monument still remains. Her son, Sir John Newton, a notorious Cavalier, having invited a prodigious number of his friends to the funeral, between 300 and 400 armed horsemen made their appearance, and, as was alleged, endeavoured to extinguish the torches borne by retainers along the route to the church. During the procession, probably by accident, a haystack standing near Castle Ditch was destroyed by fire. No disorder, however, occurred, though there was. scarcely a handful of troops in the city, and most of the strangers departed after the ceremony. The incident was. nevertheless seized by Captain Bishop, one of the defeated candidates, to excite the alarm of the Government and to traduce his enemies in the Corporation, and his voluminous, letters, preserved in the Thurloe State Papers, insist that a Royalist outbreak had been designed, and that the civic body was disaffected and untrustworthy. The Protector thought it advisable to order an inquiry as to the alleged plot, and the City Chamberlain informed Thurloe a few days later that the allegations of Bishop, whom he stigmatised as a viper, had been utterly confuted. This assertion was confirmed by a letter of Cromwell to the Mayor, thanking the Corporation for their diligence.

The annual order of the justices was issued in February, prohibiting cock-throwing and dog-tossing on Shrove Tuesday; but it may be doubted whether the lower classes and the 'prentices would have paid much regard for it if they could have foreseen the Royalist outbreak which took place a few days later in Somerset and Wilts, tragical as were its results. On March 14th the Protector issued a mandate addressed to the Mayor, the Governor, five of the Aldermen, and thirteen other Bristolians, nominating them commissioners of militia, in view of the new troubles raised by the enemy, “now robbing and plundering the people”. The rising for a time caused great alarm. The Corporation entered into an “engagement” to stand by the Protector


with their lives and fortunes, raised a large body of troops, though there was a painful lack of weapons, engaged scouts to watch the hostile movements, and equipped a small vessel, “to prevent the rebels going into Wales”, where they had many sympathisers. In April, though the revolt was then quelled, the Chamber thought it prudent to take permanent precautions, and the number of trained-band companies was increased to eight, each commanded by a captain and furnished with drums, ensigns, etc. The colours and “trophies” for the regiment cost £53. At the close of the year Major-General Desbrowe came down to review the regiment (when he made a communication to the Mayor, of which more will presently be heard), and had, according to custom, a handsome present of wine and sugar.

Public sympathy was much excited during the summer by the infamous persecution of the pious Protestants in Savoy. A local subscription was opened for their relief, and £270 were speedily collected. The sums received from the various parishes indicate the localities chiefly favoured by wealthy citizens. More than two-thirds of the donations sprang from six districts, the parish of St. Nicholas contributing £64; St. Werburgh, £34; St. Thomas, £29; St. Stephen, £25; St. Leonard, £17; and Christ Church, £15.

Serjeant Whitelock having, at length, resigned the recordership, the Council, in August, elected Mr. John Doddridge. Although he held the office only three years, the new Recorder seems to have held the Corporation in high esteem, for by his will he bequeathed them two beautiful pieces of plate, which still embellish the banquets at the Mansion House.

The civic body occasionally offered hospitable treatment to a “foreigner” when it was thought possible to turn him to profitable account. One John Packer, a founder, having petitioned for the freedom, a committee of the Council reported in August that “he might be very beneficial to the inhabitants in the way of his profession”, which had no representative in the city, and he was consequently offered enfranchisement on paying 40s. within a twelvemonth.

Indications that the political opinions prevalent in the Common Council were antagonistic to the policy of Cromwell have been already noted. It will presently be seen that the hostility was dealt with in the favourite fashion of arbitrary rulers. In the meantime an amusing note may be extracted from the magisterial records, dated August 29th. “Whereas on the information of several persons


that Richard Jones, coppersmith, had said that the Mayor [the versatile John Gonning, now serving a second time] was a Cavalier, and that he was more like a horse or an ass than a mayor, a warrant was issued against him, when he refused to yield obedience, drew his sword, and endeavoured to wound the officers, and was of uncivil and peremptory carriage during his examination: ordered that he be committed for trial at the quarter sessions, and be imprisoned till he find bail”. There can be little doubt that the culprit was an old Ironside, many of whom, by order of Parliament, had been admitted, notwithstanding the privileges of the incorporated Companies, to trade and work within the city.

The Council, in September, passed a resolution setting forth that the old custom of joining in prayer before proceeding to business had been of late years discontinued, but that thenceforth Mr. [Ralph] Farmer, a godly, able minister, should be desired to pray at every assembly of the Chamber, and that £10 a year should be given him for his pains. Except on a single previous occasion, there is no evidence either in the minute or the audit books that prayer had ever previously been a preliminary to civic debates. (Mr. Farmer, described as Chaplain to the Mayor and Aldermen, received two years 7 salary in 1657, and, which is somewhat remarkable, was paid £30 more, as his stipend for three years, some months after the Restoration.) At the same meeting, a Councillor named Henry Roe, having absented himself from the Chamber for a twelvemonth, was fined 6s. 8d. for each of his ten defaults, and it was ordered that the money should be recovered by distraint. A year later, when the fines were still unpaid and ten more absences were reported, the sum of £6 13s. 4d. was ordered to be sued for, but the Chamberlain never received the money. At last Roe was fined £50 and dismissed from the Chamber, and after another long delay he escaped on payment of £40. Roe was a stout Republican, and was the father of another intractable man of whom much will be heard hereafter.

The premises originally granted for the boarding and teaching of Whitson's Red Maids being found insufficient and inconvenient, an agreement was made in September between the Corporation and the feoffees of the charity, by which the latter undertook to erect new school buildings on the Council granting them £90 per annum for two years. (The new hospital, completed in 1658, cost £660.) A few weeks later, the Chamber took into consideration the salary of the master of Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, which was only


£7 16s., in addition to board and lodging, and increased the stipend to £16 a year.

At the Michaelmas quarter sessions the attention of the court was directed to the frequent presentation of complaints by grand juries as to the mischiefs and inconveniences arising from the darkness of the streets during the winter months, owing to the want of candles and lanterns at the doors of the inhabitants. A recommendation of the grievance was made to the Corporation, but the Chamber treated it with indifference, and took no action for several years.

The maintenance of the nightly watch, a frequent source of trouble to the civic authorities, was found in November to again need reconsideration. Many complaints, say the Council minutes, being made of the inconsiderableness of the watch, it was ordered that 27 men should be summoned every night, 17 of whom, of ability of body, were to be hired, receiving sixpence a head per night for the winter, and fourpence for the summer naif-years: while the remaining ten were “to watch for themselves” - that is, to be drawn from the householders. The pay of the hired men was to be raised by levying sixpence daily on 22 of the non-watching citizens in turn, out of which money the two night bellmen were to have ninepence each, and the overlooker of the watch one shilling. Two councillors, taking the duty in rotation, were to see the watchmen sworn in nightly, after which four of the ablest guardians of order were to enter inns, alehouses and hot-water houses, and turn out all persons found tippling there after ten o'clock at night. As usual, many householders strove to evade the duty imposed upon them. In November, 1658, the Council gave orders that any one refusing to watch, or to pay for a substitute, should be sent to prison and kept there until he complied with the regulations. Perhaps to mitigate the rigour of this edict, the number of watchmen was reduced a few weeks later to 24, and it was provided that no householder should be forced to pay or to watch more than once in two months, and that a day's notice should be given to each person of the night of his service.

Outstanding liabilities dating from the Civil War are still frequently noted in the corporate minutes and audit books. In November, the Chamberlain was ordered to pay Henry Creswick £160, a sum which his father had lent to the Corporation during the Royalist occupation in 1644, together with eleven years' interest. In 1666 the Keeper of


Newgate and of the House of Correction laid his claims before the Council. He had been appointed in 1643 at a salary of 40 marks a year, which he had never received, and he had spent £15 upon repairs. The Chamber ordered that he should be paid, in full of all demands, £33, less than one-tenth of the promised stipend, the repairs being ignored! At the same meeting a Councillor who had laid out £100 for the relief of the Plague-stricken in 1646 was ordered to be reimbursed. In 1657-8 a man was paid £70 for pulling down, in 1643, the windmill which then stood on the site of the Great Fort. Finally, in 1659, Jonathan Blackwell, a wealthy Councillor and wine merchant ( afterwards an Alderman of London), received £34 10s. for wine purchased from him for presentation to General Fairfax, fourteen years before.

Acting, it may be assumed, under the directions of the Common Council, the Chamberlain about this time stripped off a portion of the leaden roofing of the cathedral. As sermons were preached on Sundays in the building, the destruction cannot have been committed on that part of the edifice reserved for services. Indeed, a contemporary annalist expressly states that the devastation was confined to the cloisters and the nave (that is, the transepts). The Chamber in January, 1656, repented of the sacrilege, and gave orders that the lead “lately taken off some part of the cathedral or cloisters” should be sold, and the purchase money employed in necessary repairs of the fabric. And in October, 1658, on the petition of the sextoness, who sent in an account of her disbursements for repairs, the Chamberlain was ordered to pay her £77 8s. 6d.

At this period much of the garden produce, fish, poultry, butter and wood fuel consumed in the city was brought from the valley of the Wye, in boats called wood-bushes, which carried back considerable quantities of domestic and foreign goods. The conditions of navigation in the above river were therefore of importance to Bristolians. In the State Papers for January, 1656, is a petition of the Mayor and Aldermen, and others “deeply concerned in the incommodities from the weirs in the Wye”. These annoyances, says the petition, were ordered to be pulled down by Queen Elizabeth and King James, but were kept up by the influence of the Earl of Worcester and others, and the Government are prayed to have them destroyed, by which the river might be made everywhere four feet deep, “and thus would carry large vessels”. Nothing was done in the matter


until 1663, when an Act was passed empowering three men to make the river navigable, and to levy tolls on the trade carried on in boats between Bristol and Hereford. The promoters, however, were unable to prosecute the undertaking. In 1697 another Act was passed, declaring the Wye to be a free river, and appointing trustees to carry out the provisions of the previous statute, to borrow £16,000 for that purpose, and to impose a rate upon the county of Hereford to meet the outlay on the works.

Reference has been made to the visit of Major-General Desbrowe to the city about New Year's Day, in connection with the trained bands. On February 13th, this formidable official, in whom the government of the district was practically vested, addressed a letter to the Mayor, reminding his worship that, whilst in Bristol, the writer had directed him to advise three of the aldermen - Gabriel Sherman, John Locke and George Knight - to tender a resignation of their offices, they being in no measure qualified for their position on the public stage, whilst their retention of it could not tend to the reputation or honour of the city. ( According to Desbrowe's letter to the Protector, in the State Papers, this step had been taken in consequence of the information of “some honest people” that the aldermen in question were “retaining their old malignant principles and upholding the loose and profane”.) The General now renewed his request, and desired the impeached aldermen to be told that, if they would not voluntarily resign, he must take a course that would not stand with their credit, as no persons scandalous in their lives or enemies to the Commonwealth could be suffered in places of trust. On the receipt of this missive a meeting of the Court of Aldermen was convened for February 18th, when, “in pursuance of the aforesaid letter”, the three proscribed gentlemen “by writing under their hands and seals requested to be discharged from their places”, forasmuch through age and weakness of body and other infirmities, “they were unable to fulfil their duties in a proper manner”; and the Court, “taking the same into consideration”, at once accepted their resignation. The plea was truthful in the case of Alderman Knight, who was 86 years of age, but his two colleagues were much younger men. The Mayor communicated the result to General Desbrowe, adding that the displaced dignitaries had offered to resign when his disapproval had been first made known to them, and that the writer would faithfully perform any further commands. The vacancies were not filled until the


following September, when a fourth seat was void through death. The new aldermen were Richard Balman, Arthur Farmer, Walter Sandy and Edward Tyson, all stanch Cromwellians.

In the State Papers of this year are numerous letters addressed to Secretary Nicholas, the exiled King's minister, then living at Cologne, by various spies and correspondents in England, showing that Royalist conspiracies for a revolt were then rife in many districts. A man named Ross informed Nicholas in February that 1,000 foot and 600 horse had been promised in Gloucestershire, of whom two-thirds would be raised in Bristol. In April the same emissary made the preposterous assertion that 3,000 men were ready in Bristol, and were well furnished for the field, but that the King's friends would not settle there, preferring to be nearer to Gloucester, where they had 1,000 men. A little later there is a note of offers made to a royal agent by two persons, whose names are given in initials, promising to appear in Bristol at twenty days' warning with 3,000 men, armed, and arms for 2,000 more. “These are many prisoners there, but only 60 soldiers, and not meat for one meal”. The same persons were also ready to surprise Gloucester, having 500 men in the city and 600 to assist them at the Gates, and then both towns could “quickly be made tenable”. The King's agent was afterwards informed by these enthusiasts that they could increase their troops to 6,050. Another letter, apparently of a later date, is amongst the Clarendon MSS. in the Bodleian Library. The writer asserted that if the King effected a landing Major W.C. would have 1,400 men in readiness to march from Bristol within four days, besides many who would be left to guard the town and fort(!), whilst the gates of Gloucester would be opened by D.F. to Colonel V., who was assured of the assistance of 600 “malcontented tobacco planters”. At Shepton Mallet, again, 300 men were ready to join with Bristol, and in three days the force there would number 6,000. Though the figures are obviously much exaggerated, the statements as clearly indicate the smothered hostility of many men towards the existing despotism.

At a meeting of the Council in March a lengthy ordinance was passed for the instruction of the deputy-aldermen, officials who, though established by ancient custom, had never been properly made acquainted with the duties of their position. Their chief functions, it is stated, were to perambulate the wards on Sunday, and to suppress every


visible sign of profane desecration of the “Sabbath”. To strike terror in evil-doers the deputies were also to see that a pair of stocks was provided in every parish “as formerly”. This arrangement for the promotion of Sabbatarianism being deemed insufficient, it was resolved to appoint six fit men as marshals, who were to inform against children playing in the street, ships passing up and down the river, women drawing water from the conduits, and men rambling in the fields during sermon time.

In the general reconstruction of the buildings within the Castle Precincts the ancient royal apartments referred to in a previous page were to a large extent swept away. A considerable portion of the great Military House, with some gardens, was granted on lease to the Chamberlain. Another part, which had been occupied by Captain Watson, with other gardens, passed in the same way to John Knowles, the cathedral minister, who afterwards transferred his estate to Thomas Goldney, a prosperous Quaker grocer living in the neighbourhood. Permission was granted to these lessees to take stone for building purposes out of the wall originally surrounding the Castle. But the most interesting feature of the documents is the mention of an ancient chapel that had stood to the east of the state apartments, and was probably entered by a still existing Early English porch. Another of the corporate grants of the year was a lease to the Sword-bearer of the Gate-house and lodge in the late Great Fort, supposed by some writers to have been once occupied by Prince Rupert, and unquestionably the dwelling of Mr. Seyer, the historian, at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Down to this time the roadway from Lawford's Gate to the city, through the Old Market, was an undulating unpaved track, the condition of which, after heavy rain, was on a par with that of the sloughy highways in the rural districts. The Council were informed in May that the inhabitants of “Philip's” were making endeavours to level and pitch the thoroughfare, and the undertaking being deemed “very much to the honour of the city, and commodious for travellers”, they were granted permission to take as much as they thought fit of the stones and rubble out of the Castle (thereby relieving the Corporation of a nuisance), whilst gardeners and others using the road were ordered to assist in levelling it, and the scavenger was directed to carry out a large part of the rubbish from the town for the same purpose. At the gaol delivery in


September the parish petitioned for relief, stating that the householders, though taxed to the utmost, could not complete the work unless helped to the extent of £200; whereupon the Council, seldom unwilling to be charitable out of other people's pockets, ordered £100 to be levied at once upon the whole city, and promised more from the same source if the gift proved insufficient.

An order was received in August from the Council of State respecting a frigate called the Royal James, sent out by the “enemy”, which had attempted to capture the Bristol ship Recovery, but had not only been beaten off with great loss of life by the latter, but was captured herself and brought as a prize into this port, with twenty-seven prisoners. The captain and crew of the Recovery were granted the frigate as a reward for their valour., and diet money at the rate of 4d. per head daily was ordered for the support of the vanquished sailors.

An election for members of Parliament took place on August 20th, when Robert Aldworth, Town Clerk, was again returned, in conjunction with the Recorder, John Doddridge, who was also chosen for Devon. Barrett states that the latter was displaced, and that General Desbrowe was nominated in his room; but Desbrowe was already elected for Somerset, Gloucester, and two other constituencies, and there is other evidence that the statement is without foundation. In fact, upon Doddridge's death, early in 1657, Alderman Miles Jackson was chosen M.P. in his place. The Common Council seems to have been reminded by the election that the “wages” of the members in the Parliament of 1654 were still unpaid, and Messrs Aldworth and Jackson were voted £50 each for 150 days' service. Subsequently Aldworth received £138 (including some arrears) and Alderman Jackson £53 for attending the Parliament of 1656-7.

Schemes for effecting a communication between London and Bristol by means of a canal to unite the Thames with the Avon were laid before the Protector during the year, and the citizens of Bath at the same time revived their proposal for improving the navigation of the Avon (see p.71). The Corporation of Bristol looked askance on both these designs, the mercantile interest being strongly opposed to any competition with the shipping trade; and a committee of the Council reported in October that they would tend to the prejudice of the city, when Mr. Aldworth, M.P., was desired to obstruct the projectors in seeking to secure


the approval of Parliament. Both the plans were soon afterwards abandoned. The Thames and Avon canal scheme was revived in 1662 by one Francis Mathew, who seems to have met with opposition from the landowners on the proposed route. A bill to authorize the project was read a first time in the House of Lords on April 14th, 1668, but made no further progress.

Josias Clutterbuck, grocer, was elected one of the Sheriffs on September 15th, but declined to serve. A fine of £300 was imposed for the contumacy, and upon his refusal to pay he was expelled from the Council, and threatened with prosecution at law. Then the Chamber relented, reduced the fine to £160, and postponed legal proceedings. At last, two years later, Clutterbuck brought in the money, disclaiming any want of respect, but pleading losses and family troubles; whereupon the Council returned him £75, “which he received very thankfully”.

The Corporation made another unlucky purchase of church property at this time. The Chamberlain records the matter as follows:- “Paid to the trustees for the sale of Dean and Chapter lands, for the purchase of £6 3s. 4d. per annum (issuing) out of Stockland to the Church of Wells, £68”. The Chapter of course recovered their fee-farm rent at the Restoration.

An almost incredible spectacle, inspired by religious fanaticism, was presented to the citizens on October 24th. The first visit of a Quaker enthusiast named James Nayler, and his departure to the Western counties, have been already reported. During his wanderings in Devonshire his fanaticism unquestionably developed into absolute insanity, and he vehemently asserted himself to be a re-incarnation of Christ. That he should have fallen into mental derangement was no uncommon incident in that time of morbid religious excitement. The extraordinary fact is that he communicated his delirium to many of his admirers, especially to several women, some of whom openly worshipped him as superhuman. On his return journey through the towns in Somerset, accompanied by a part of his strange flock, his path was strewn with garments and tokens of thanksgiving, and the streets resounded with shouts of “Hosannah”. On departing from Bedminster for Bristol on the 24th, a procession was formed on that part of the road reserved for carts, where, says an observant spectator, the mud reached to the knees of the impassioned pedestrians; and Nayler, on horseback, was escorted by his friends into


the city amidst singing and screams of rejoicing. Soon after he had reached the White Lion Inn, in Broad Street, the scandalised magistrates gave orders for the arrest of all the strangers, and on the following day they were examined at the Tolzey, where Nayler repeatedly proclaimed his Messianic character, whilst one of his female adorers positively asserted that two days after her death he had restored her to life. Somewhat perplexed as to how to deal with the fanatics, the magistrates forwarded a copy of the examinations to Mr. Aldworth, M.P., for the consideration of Parliament. The result was an Order of the House for the removal of the prisoners to London, to which they departed on November 10th. The Corporation found horses for the company, the hire of which cost £4 10s.; but the Government paid the expenses of the journey, amounting to £37. The case was referred to a committee of the Commons, who repeatedly examined the party, and took further evidence, while the reverence of Nayler's companions towards his person continued unabated. After a long enquiry, the committee reported that all the charges of blasphemy were proved, after which, the House, forsaking public business, deliberated for no less than thirteen days upon the punishment to be inflicted. A motion that Nayler should suffer death as a grand impostor and blasphemous deceiver was negatived by the narrow majority of 96 against 82. Finally, on December 17th, it was resolved that the hapless maniac should be exposed for two hours in the pillory at Westminster, and for the same time in London, after being whipped from one city to the other; that he should have his tongue bored through with a red-hot iron, and his forehead branded with the letter B; that he should then be sent to Bristol, where he was to ride through the streets on a bare-backed horse and be publicly whipped, and that he should then be carried back to London and kept in solitary confinement, debarred the use of pen and paper, and compelled to earn his food by hard labour, until Parliament thought fit to release him. It does not appear that a single voice was raised in the House against the inhumanity of the sentence. In the State Papers is a letter of a Royalist to Secretary Williamson reporting the case, adding:- “The Protector wrote a letter for some moderation, but the House would not hearken to it”. Many of those who concurred in the judgment doubtless lulled their consciences by pleading the urgent complaints against the misconduct of the new sect which were addressed to the House from various counties


from Northumberland to Cornwall, the Corporation of Bristol especially denouncing Nayler as a ringleader of the zealots, and clamouring for relief from “the insolencies of these people, that so the reproach, not only of this city, but of the whole nation, may be rolled away”. Public opinion, however, was shocked at the prolonged barbarity of the proposed punishment, for after the culprit had stood once in the pillory, and been brought to the verge of death by the infliction of 310 lashes, a petition for the remission of the remaining horrors, signed by Governor Scrope, of Bristol, and many eminent persons, was presented to the Commons by an influential deputation. It was nevertheless unsuccessful. The second pillory exhibition, with the tongue-boring and brow-branding tortures, took place on December 27th, and it was noted as significant of the feeling of even the populace, of whom many thousands were present, that instead of the sufferer being reviled or pelted with missiles the spectators uncovered their heads when the red-hot irons did their work. As for Nayler's devotees (who appear to have been all discharged), they availed themselves of the opportunity to manifest their unshaken faith. An enthusiast named Rich, as insane as his idol, placed a paper over the victim's head, inscribed “This is the King of the Jews”. Nayler's entrance into Bristol took place on January 17th, 1657, when the Keeper of Newgate received orders to have the prisoner tied on horseback, with his face to the tail, and thus led from Lawford's Gate to the Tolzey, and thence over the Bridge to Redcliff Gate. Nayler was then to alight and walk to the market-place in Thomas Street, where he was to be stripped, tied to a carthorse, and whipped; he was next to walk to the south end of the Bridge, where he was to be again whipped; and four more lashings were to be administered at the north end of the Bridge, in High Street, at the Tolzey, and finally in Broad Street, he being all the while tied to the horse's tail. Lastly, his clothes were to be thrown over him in Tailors' Court, and he was to be carried to Newgate “by Tower Lane, the back way”. These instructions were punctually carried out, but a contemporary pamphleteer complained that an ugly Quaker coppersmith was suffered to hold back the beadle's arm during the whippings. Throughout the proceedings the madman Rich rode before the prisoner singing “Holy, holy”, etc. After his wounds were healed in prison, Nayler was taken back to London, where he was imprisoned for some time. Subsequently he resided permanently in Bristol,


apparently delivered from his mental distemper, and it is asserted that at a meeting of the local Quakers he made a recantation of his errors, and apologized for the offence he had given to the society.

As may be supposed, his persecution gave rise to a cloud of polemical pamphlets, the writers of which vied with each other in scattering insults and invectives. One of the most furious, entitled “The Quaker's Jesus”, was written by a Bristol tanner and leading Presbyterian, William Grigge, who was so anxious to disseminate his tract that he announced “there are a store of them in Bristol, to be sold at Nicholas Jordan's for three farthings a piece”. The writer, not content with charging the Quakers with drunkenness, blasphemy and murder, attacked the Baptists and other sects with equal virulence, and conjured Parliament to silence all “soul-infecting parsons”, and to compel every one, however unwilling, to conform to Presbyterianism. This intolerant rant provoked a reply, entitled “Rabshakeh's Outrage Reproved; or, A Whip for William Grigge ... to Scourge him for many notorious Lies”, etc., which from its references to local events was probably also penned by a Bristolian.

A singular intervention of the Corporation in a business entirely beyond its sphere is recorded in October, 1656. Information having been obtained that certain private persons were applying to the Government to increase the number of wine licenses allowed in the city, it was resolved that Mr. Aldworth, M.P., should solicit the grant of four additional licenses on behalf of the Corporation, raising the number to sixteen, “which are as many as the city can well bear”, and should exert himself to hinder the concession of any grants to other people. The Town Clerk's success in the affair exceeded the hopes of the Council, which was apprised in November that six new licenses had been obtained for the exclusive benefit of the civic body. Six Councillors were thereupon nominated to take out the licenses in their own names, they in the first place undertaking to transfer them at the pleasure of the Chamber. The State received £13 6s. 8d. yearly for each document, but the Council disposed of them at £20 a piece, making a clear profit on the transaction of £40 a year. There were numerous petitioners for the licenses, and one of the six successful applicants was Mr. Sheriff Vickris.

“This year”, notes a contemporary annalist, “the bowling green in the Marsh” - which had been destroyed when batteries were formed there prior to the siege of 1643 - “was


new made and walled-in, in the place where formerly it was; moneys being given by several townsmen”. There was another bowling green in the Castle Precincts, a new lease of which was granted by the Corporation in 1657. A new lease of the Marsh bowling green, which had been furnished with a lodge for the entertainment of bowlers, was granted in June, 1660, at a rent of £12 yearly. The place had then become a favourite resort of wealthy citizens, and continued popular until the close of the century.

At a meeting of the Council on January 7th, 1657, a resolution was passed setting forth that an Act of Parliament formerly obtained for the maintenance of preaching ministers in the city (see p.227) had, through the death of several of the commissioners and various defects, become unworkable; and requesting Mr. Aldworth, M.P., to make efforts for obtaining another and more efficient measure. At another meeting, on April 1st, it was determined that, as the parish of St. Ewen contained only twenty-two families, and as the church, which had no provision for a minister, was separated from two other churches only by the breadth of a street, while there was great want of a library in the city for public use, Mr. Aldworth should be desired to use his best endeavours to procure an Act for vesting the building in the Corporation for a library or other public purpose. An Act by which both these proposals were sanctioned was passed during the session. By this statute the taxes on real property and on trade stocks, authorized in 1650, were reimposed, and the Mayor, Sheriffs, and other commissioners were empowered either to distrain for their recovery, or to sue defaulters in the local Courts for double the unpaid rate. As to St. Ewen's, the parish was annexed to that of All Saints, and the commissioners received power to convert the church into a public library. The fate of this enactment resembled that of its forerunner. In October, a few weeks after it had received the Protector's assent, the Council drew up lengthy resolutions with a view to carry it out. The cathedral and the churches of St. Mark, St. Augustine, and St. Michael were united into one parish; St. Werburgh's was united to St. Leonard's; All Saints' to St. Ewen's; Christ Church to St. John's; and St. Maryleport to St. Peter's; but the existing ministers were to continue in office, and all the churches were to be maintained. The sum to be levied from each parish was as follows:- St. Augustine's, £30, and St. Michael's, £20 = £60; St. Werburgh's, £50, and St. Leonard's, £35 = £85; All Saints', £50, and St. Ewen's,


£20 = £70; Christ Church, £65, and St. John's, £55 = £120; St. Maryleport, £36, and St. Peter's, £60 = £96. In the parishes remaining independent, St. James' was to contribute £50, St. Thomas', £120, Temple, £48, Redcliff, £40, St. Philip's and Castle Precincts, £20, St. Stephen's, £90, and St. Nicholas', £120. The Council expressed their willingness to delegate the power of taxation to the parochial vestries, which were requested to meet and assess their proportions as they thought fit, with a view to the rate being “submitted to cheerfully”; and in order that the ministers might be acceptable to the people, it was promised that each parish should choose its minister, provided it nominated an ordained person or a member of a university. These proposals did not allay public hostility. In March. 1658, a committee that had been appointed to carry out the above scheme reported that they had prepared an assessment for each parish, but that the vestrymen had withheld their approval. They had then sent for three inhabitants of each parish to assist in making a rate, but had met with a general refusal. The Corporation nevertheless resolved to proceed, and directed the committee to reconsider the proposed assessments and to return them for final confirmation. A long delay followed, and in September, when a rate had been imposed, apparently with little success, the Council, alleging the insufficiency of the ministers' incomes, voted £100 a year for their “better maintenance and encouragement”, but ordered the grant to be repaid out of the rates. Out of this vote, £80 were divided equally amongst four men - John Paul, minister of St. James's; Henry Jones, of St. Stephen's; Ralph Farmer, of St. Nicholas'; and Edward Hancock, of St. Philip's. The last-named had held the appointment only a fortnight, and, in view of the above disqualification of unordained persons, the story in Walker's “Sufferings of the Clergy” as to Hancock having been a menial servant when appointed seems very untrustworthy.

The Council of State, in March, 1657, issued an order for the payment of £40 per annum to Thomas Ewens, minister of “a church” at Bristol, with permission for him and his congregation to freely use “Leonard's church” for religious services. The congregation in question was the original Dissenting body whose history has been preserved in the “Broadmead Records”, the writer of which states that Mr. Ewens was induced to come to the city by the magistrates, and that he preached for some years in St. Nicholas, Christ


Church, and Maryleport churches. If Walker's “Sufferings” is to be believed, this minister was by trade a tailor. In June, 1658, the Common Council, on the petition of the parishioners of Christ Church, approved of a Mr. Till-Adams as a preacher in that church, and, “as much as in them lay”, presented him to the living (from which the legal incumbent, Mr. Standfast, had been expelled several years before).

At this period the extremely contracted dimensions of the Tolzey and Council House, constructed about a century earlier upon the site of the south aisle of the little church of St. Ewen, must have been a constant source of inconvenience to the Corporation, and their desire, just recorded, to convert the church itself into a library, instead of appropriating it for a much-needed extension of the civic premises, is not a little extraordinary. The Council, however, had contented itself with purchasing an adjacent private house, standing at the corner of Broad Street and Corn Street, with a view to obtaining additional elbow room by its demolition, but the old embarrassments caused by the Civil War still impeded the improvement. In consequence, whenever the Council assembled in full force and delegates came in with petitions, the city officials were unable to find standing room inside the House. Adopting a pitiful expedient for relief, the Chamber, in March, 1057, ordered that the stalls of some stocking-makers, huddled against the walls of Christ Church, should be swept away, and the sellers forbidden to congregate there, in order that space might be provided for the Mayor's and Sheriffs' retinue “to wait upon the Mayor and Aldermen upon meeting days”.

At the above meeting, a letter was read from the legal advisers of the Chamber in reference to the four attorneys allowed to practise in the local Courts. The document stated that one of these favoured persons was also practising in the Courts at Westminster, causing his frequent absence from the city, to the detriment of his clients; and the writers advised that he should be ordered to abandon his business in London. It was further suggested that, as another of the attorneys was “very unserviceable”, he should be dispensed with in favour of an efficient practitioner, but that, for the encouragement of ingenious persons, it was not desirable that more than four attorneys should be admitted. The Chamber approved of all these recommendations, the unserviceable gentleman being removed, another


elected, and the third man threatened with dismissal unless he confined himself to local business. The Corporation were always jealous of the superior Courts. An ordinance of 1576 imposed a fine of £10 on any burgess sueing a fellow freeman except in the Mayor's or Sheriffs' Court, and the penalty had been enforced against an offender only a few weeks before the above meeting.

The bribing of influential personages for the promotion of corporate designs had not been extinguished by the fall of the monarchy. With revolutionary ascendancy had come corruption. It was found that suitors to the Government could make no progress except by offering gratifications, and that so-called saints and patriots were not above making scandalous gains. The following significant resolution was passed by the Council in June:- “Ordered that it be referred to the Town Clerk and Chamberlain to present such gratuities to persons of honour above as have been and still may be friends to the Corporation, according to ancient presidents in the like case”. Six months later the following entries appear in the audit book:- “Paid by Robert Aldworth (Town Clerk) to the city's friend, for a present, for soliciting city business, £31”. “Paid by him to clerks and others about soliciting for the fee-farm, £20”. The “friend” had doubtless influenced the Council of State in recommending the Protector to remit the heavy arrears of the town fee-farm noticed at page 238.

In the corporate Bargain Book, dated 30th June, is the minute of a license to “Giles Gough, and other inhabitants of St. James's”, to erect, at their own charge, a bridge over the Froom from Broadmead End to Duck Lane, and to make a passage through the Town Wall there; the bridge to allow of the passage of vessels as usual, and the parties to set up a strong double gate in the wall like to the other city Gates. The latter proviso does not appear to have been carried out; and the new bridge was immediately designated Needless Bridge by everybody, the corporate scribes included.

The progress of building operations in the Castle Precincts is attested by a resolution passed by the Council in July:- “Whereas the Castle now is demolished, and a common street and highway made therein. And whereas there was formerly a house in the Castle called the George inn. A new house having been built on part of the old site, and it being very commodious for entertaining men and horses, Ordered that the said house be used as a common


inn and hostelry”. Another resolution, of a few months later date, decreed that there should be no other inn within the precincts “or elsewhere in the city”, the existing number being considered sufficient. The George inn, which was in Castle Street, and became a valuable property, was afterwards sold to the Merchants' Society.

Owing to the loss of the records of the Courts of Quarter Session, the regulations made at intervals for equalizing the poor rates in the various parishes cannot now be explained. At a meeting of the Council in September, certain districts that had been ordered to contribute to the relief of Temple parish, where the unemployed poor were very numerous, petitioned to be delivered of the burden owing to the weight of their own charges “in these dead times”; and £12 yearly were thereupon voted to Temple so that the rates of the contributories might be abated. It was further ordered that 1s. 4d. paid (weekly?) by All Saints' parish to Redcliff should thenceforth be paid to St. James's, the Chamber voting £3 yearly to Redcliff in compensation. The extreme triviality of these rates in aid and the impatience with which they were borne are not unworthy of remark.

The procrastination frequently displayed by the civic body in settling many matters that a modern Council would deal with off-hand may be illustrated by a case that was discussed at this time. Seven years previously (September, 1650) Mr. Giles Gough was elected a Common Councillor. After giving him two years to make his appearance, without any result, he was fined 100 marks for his recusancy in 1652. Five years more having elapsed, the Chamber awoke to the propriety of recovering the fine; whereupon Gough put in a plea that, at the instigation of the then Mayor, in 1651, he had spent upwards of £150 in “arching over Broadmead”, and that more than half that amount was still due to him. It was next discovered that he had been fined £10 a long time before for cutting down forty trees on the city estate, and that the money had never been recovered. After much deliberation, it was resolved that he should be dismissed on giving a receipt in full for his claim in reference to Broadmead.

The Council, in September, appointed a committee to consider the rules of the House for the regulation of debates, “and also by what means the magistracy and government of the city may be carried on with better port and honour, thereby to gain the more reverence and respect from the


people”. The committee, on November 3rd, reported on the rules of debate, but altogether eluded the other and much more interesting subject referred to them by a body evidently dismayed at its increasing unpopularity. The suggestions offered to the Chamber were approved, but they possessed no feature of interest; except that the House was to assemble at nine o'clock in the morning, when a half-hour glass was to be set up, and that those entering after the glass had run out were to be fined 12d. each.

The unfortunate people known as hucksters again fell under the displeasure of the Corporation at this time. Their number in the High Street market was condemned as unnecessarily great, whilst their forestalling and regrating were declared to be absolutely injurious. Order was therefore given that nine only should be licensed for the future, that their business should be done on stalls, and not in the street, and that they should be all freemen or freemen's wives or widows. The goods of unlicensed vendors were ordered to be seized, and sold for the benefit of the poor.

A letter of the Protector to the Corporation, dated December 2nd, shows that the Royalist conspiracies in the city, referred to at page 200, were not unknown to him. “Remembering well”, he writes, “the late expressions of Love that I have had from you, I cannot omit any opportunity to express my care of you. I do hear, on all hands, that the Cavalier party are designing to put us into blood. We are, I hope, taking the best care we can, by the blessing of God, to obviate this danger; but our Intelligence on all hands being that they have a design upon your city, we could not but warn you thereof, and give you authority, as we do hereby, to put yourselves in the best posture you can for your own defence, by raising your militia by virtue of the Commissions formerly sent you, and putting them in a readiness for the purpose aforesaid; letting you also know that for your better encouragement herein you shall have a troop of horse sent to you, to quarter in or near your town. We desire you to let us hear from time to time from you what occurs to you touching the malignant party. And so we bid you farewell”. This missive was read to the Council on December 6th, when it was resolved that the city should be forthwith prepared for defence by raising the militia, and a very numerous committee was appointed to consider and carry out what further measures might be thought needful. In March, 1058, the Protector, avoiding the “trusty and well-beloved” formula of his previous communication,


addressed another letter to the Corporation “of our city of Bristol”, as follows:- “Gentlemen, We have certain intelligence that the old Cavalier party and those who favour their interest in these nations do design a sudden insurrection in this nation, and are to be encouraged therein by the Spaniards, who, together with Charles Stuart, intend an invasion. And we are informed that your city is particularly designed upon, and that some of their agents are sent down privately to prepare both persons and things against the time they shall be ready. Wherefore we have thought it necessary to give you timely notice hereof, to the end you may be upon your guard, and be in a position to defend yourselves either against open foes or secret underminings. And we shall be ready, as you shall let us understand your condition, to give you assistance as it shall be necessary for the preservation of the peace of your city. We rest your very loving friend, Oliver, P.” The Council, on the receipt of this warning, ordered the superior officers of the trained bands to report on what was fit to be done and on the proper provision of ammunition to be made, and the Chamberlain was directed to disburse funds for an extraordinary guard if the officers thought such a precaution expedient. The reply made to the Protector has not been preserved.

The head-mastership of the Grammar School at this time was held by Walter Rainstorp, who had a salary of £40 a year. This amount was increased to £60 in December, but Mr. Rainstorp died a few weeks afterwards. In March, 1658, the Council, taking into consideration his many years' services, his great success as a teacher, and the little advantage he had derived from the post, granted his widow and children a pension of £10. In 1670, the Rev. John Rainstorp, son of Walter, educated at the school, and Fellow of St. John's, Oxford, was appointed head-master, and was so much in the favour of the Common Council that he was also preferred to the rectory of St. Michael, in despite of the rule forbidding a head-master to hold a benefice.

The first distinct admission of the financial embarrassment of the Corporation occurs in the minutes of a meeting held on January 5th, 1658, as follows:- “Whereas the Chamber is at present many thousand pounds in debt, and thereby necessitated to pay many hundred pounds a year interest more [than] the yearly public revenue of the city can discharge”. It was therefore resolved that the manors of Torleton, West Hatch and North Weston should be disposed of at the


best prices obtainable. Torleton, as has been already noted, formed part of the purchase of Dean and Chapter lands in 1649. It was now disposed of to Giles Earle, Esq., a member of a wealthy Bristol family, who accepted such title as could be produced, and paid down £1,275 for an estate which he was destined to lose in little more than two years. The other estates did not meet with purchasers.

A new corporate office was created at the above meeting, a man being appointed sworn Measurer of draperies and linen cloth. He was to measure with a “silver thumb or thimble containing one inch” - nothing being said about longer measures - and his fee was fixed at one penny for all sorts of cloth except Shrewsbury cottons, for which he was to have 4d. per piece. The fee was to be paid by the seller, but in cases of dispute, when both parties submitted to his decision, the charge was to be divided between them.

A lengthy ordinance was passed by the Council in March to regulate the admission of freemen. Many of the clauses were revivals of old laws. It was ordered that a widow or daughter of a freeman should not have the privilege of making more than one husband free. Women of these classes, if they had lived out of the city for seven years, were to be deemed aliens; but for shorter terms of absence, their husbands were to be admitted on payment of £2 for each year that their wives had lived elsewhere. No “foreigner” was to be made free either by fine or marriage, unless two burgesses became sureties for his good behaviour, for the payment of his rates, and for safeguarding the parishes from poor relief as regarded his family.

“Foreigners” - even though natives of suburban parishes - were nearly always treated as outcasts by the city rulers. Whilst the above ordinance was being drawn up, the Council learnt, with great indignation, that two strangers had intruded into the city, and had been so presumptuous as to open shops in Wine Street. It was immediately ordered that the sheriffs' officers “do attend at the doors and houses of the said foreigners, or of any other foreigners, and shall shut down their windows as often as they open them, according to ancient custom”. As no exceptional fine was paid during the year for admission as a burgess (except by one Griffen, a “labourer”, who paid £5), there is little doubt that the interlopers were driven out of the place.

Intimation having been received that the Protector's son, “Lord” Richard Cromwell, was about to visit Bath, accompanied by Major-General Desbrowe, the Council, on June


8th, requested the Mayor and Aldermen to make a present to the visitors, as an expression of love and respect, of wine, sugar, and such other things as were thought fit; also to invite them to Bristol, and to offer such entertainment to them and their retinue as should be agreeable to their honour and the laudable customs of the city. Forgetting that the Chamber was “many thousand pounds in debt”, according to the resolution of January, it was further determined that a handsome house should be provided, not merely for the entertainment of the expected guests, but for “the future reception of persons of honour, judges, &c”, resorting to Bristol; but this premature conception of a Mansion House perished still-born. The magistrates fulfilled their commission by purchasing four hogsheads of wine and about a hundredweight of loaf sugar, which were conveyed to Bath and presented by the Chamberlain, together with a letter of invitation, which was accepted. The visit took place on July 3rd, on which day “the most illustrious lord, as he is styled in Mercurius Politicus, was met, about three miles from the city, by the sheriffs and about 300 gentlemen on horseback, and conducted, amidst many salutes of artillery, to the Tolzey, where the Mayor and Council were in attendance to do him honour. The mansion of Colonel Aldworth, the Town Clerk, in Broad Street, which, with its garden, occupied the whole of the site of what is now John Street and Tower Street, had been prepared for his reception. On the following day, after a promenade on horseback, he sat down to a ”noble dinner, for which a supply of wine (costing no less than £140) had been provided; but the above reporter notes with approval that excess and noise, so common at great feasts, were carefully avoided. (Perhaps gravity was partially furthered by an ample store of tobacco and a gross of tobacco pipes.) The visitor next made the obligatory promenade in the Marsh, where the great guns roared a grand salute; then he attended another “banquet” provided by the Mayor; and finally departed in state for Bath. On all hands, concludes the newspaper scribe, “duty and affection” were never more apparent. The Town Clerk's “note” of expenses at his house amounted to £70 9s., and the outlay for gunpowder was £14 15s., while the present sent to Bath, including a small gift to the Recorder, cost £83. A further sum of £28 was paid for “a butt of sack given away by the Mayor and Aldermen”. Nothing is said as to the destination of the liquor, but possibly the


“perfecting of the fee-farm business”, referred to in a previous note, may have had some connection with the gift. One more item connected with the banquets may be noted as characteristic of the age:- “Paid Mr. Ralph Farmer [minister of St. Nicholas] for prayers and graces, which was extraordinary, 13s. 4d.”

On what pretence does not appear, the Corporation from time to time claimed the right of imposing poor rates. At the meeting in June just referred to, the Chamber ordered that, in consequence of the destitution prevailing amongst the widows and children of many Bristol sailors, killed in the recent wars with Spain and Holland, the parochial rates for relieving the poor should be at once doubled. The city ministers were directed to publish the reason of the increase in their pulpits, in order that householders might pay the more cheerfully.

The proposed establishment of a civic Mansion House has just been recorded. The Corporation, in August, adopted another device for striking the eye of the vulgar. It was ordered that a handsome barge, rowed with eight or ten oars, after the manner of the barges of the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, and also a proper place for keeping it, be built at the city's charge. The vessel was not finished until August, 1662, when a few gallons of wine were drunk at the launch. In the following month the Mayor and Aldermen took an excursion down the Avon, and were supplied by the Chamberlain, for their entertainment, with sixpennyworth of nuts and abundance of wine until a great banquet was ready for them at Pill. But the tidal peculiarities of the river did not lend themselves to corporate pageantry of this kind, and the gay barge - the cost of which was not fully discharged until 1670 - seems to have soon fallen into disfavour. After lying neglected for many years, it was offered for sale in 1686, and no purchaser being forthcoming, it was ordered to be ripped up and the material sold.

A brief note in a contemporary calendar states that on August 12th a number of gentlemen, natives of Bristol, held a “feast” at the Great House at the south end of Bristol Bridge, once occupied by the Rogers family, but at this time, it is supposed, converted into an inn. The Mayor (Arthur Farmer) presided, also acting as treasurer, and the company paid 5s. per head for the banquet - an unusually large sum at that period. There can be little question that the dinner in question was the first held by the


Gloucestershire Society, whose records state that it was founded for charitable purposes on December 1st, 1657, at a meeting of about fifty gentlemen of the city and neighbourhood. The first Steward of the infant institution was Thomas Bubb, Common Councillor, who probably yielded the chair to the Mayor to give greater éclat to the proceedings. The “collection”, which probably means the surplus over expenses derived from the dinner tickets, amounted to £5 14s. 4d., a sum exceeding the average annual receipts during the remaining years of the century. At a later period the collections were of a very liberal character. The amount received in 1771 reached £306, more than double the sum collected in that year by the three great Colston Societies put together.

At a meeting of the Common Council on September 6th, a letter from the Council of State to the Mayor was produced, announcing the death of the Protector, and the succession of his son, Richard Cromwell. The dispatch requested that the magistrates should be forthwith assembled, and steps taken for proclaiming the new head of the State with fitting solemnity, and for securing the peace against all machinations of the evil-minded. It was thereupon resolved that one of the Sheriffs should make proclamation that day at the High Cross, in the presence of the civic body arrayed in scarlet, the city companies, the officers of the trained bands, etc., and directions were given for bonfires, music, bell-ringing and cannon firing, as well by the great guns in the Marsh as from the shipping in the harbour. There is no record of the subsequent ceremony. No enthusiasm was possible under the circumstances, and it would seem from the corporate accounts that not a single bottle of wine was broached on the occasion.

Sir Henry Vane had been elected Lord High Steward of the city at a time when he was a personage of great political importance. Soon after the appointment he was reduced to impotence through the failure of his resistance to Cromwell, and the Corporation, thinking it needless to maintain relations with him, judiciously forgot for several years to offer the customary honorarium. The aspect of public affairs having been greatly altered by the Protector's death, a change was thought advisable in the civic policy, and the sum of £20 in gold (costing £21) was sent to Sir Henry in September, 1658, in part payment of the arrears. In September, 1659, it must have been determined to forward £20 more, being payment in full, for the item is


actually entered in the audit book; but the figures are not carried into the column, and the Chamberlain adds in a note:- “This was stopt and not paid”. Coming events seem to have cast their shadows before. Sir Henry Vane was arrested in the following year, and was executed in 1662, after a gross breach of faith on the part of Charles II.

A lengthy code of rules for regulating the Grammar School was approved by the Council in October. It was ordered that the boys should be in their places at seven o'clock in the morning in the summer, and eight in the winter months, should leave for dinner at eleven for two hours, and should depart at five in summer and half an hour earlier in winter. Two half-holidays weekly were granted, when the lads were expected to attend a writing school, but any boy going to the latter school except on those afternoons was to be punished, and for a third offence expelled. The holidays were limited to a fortnight at Christmas, ten days each at Easter and Whitsuntide, two days at St. Paul's fair, and four days at that of St. James. All the boys were to attend church on Sundays, and on Mondays the elder youths were to produce notes of the sermon, while the younger were to give an oral account of it. An examination before the Mayor and Aldermen was to take place yearly at Easter, when the best deserving pupil was to receive a prize of ten shillings. This ordinance was re-issued in 166Y with some modifications, one of which required the scholars to be present at six o'clock on summer mornings. The admission fee for freemen's sons was increased from fourpence to 5s. Other boys were to pay what the Master and their parents agreed upon; but all were to contribute a shilling each for fire in winter and twopence quarterly for sweeping the school.

Another singular instance of magisterial arrogance is recorded in the minutes of the Court of Aldermen, dated October 1st. “The Mayor and Aldermen being informed of a lecture set up without any authority at all in St. Maryport church at seven on Sunday mornings, the churchwardens are forewarned not to suffer the bells to be rung or the door opened any more, or any suffer to preach without orders from the Mayor and Aldermen”!

Directions were given by the Council in December for the erection of a Gate in Castle Street for the protection of the new approach to the city. An order for a second Gate “at the further end of the Castle Bridge” was given in the following month. The Chamberlain superintended the


workmen engaged, and items for wages occur in his books for many weeks. The Gates, one of which was decorated with a carving of the arms of the city and supplemented by a porter's lodge, were completed in the following year.

Great distress prevailed at this time amongst the working classes owing to the high price of provisions. The Council, in January, 1659, having considered “the manifold and extraordinary necessities of the poor”, resolved that a collection should be made from door to door for the relief of those in want. The subscription was started in the Chamber, where it produced £37 10s. A request for contributions was sent to absentees, and the Mayor was directed to urge the parochial ministers to stir their flocks to give freely.

A Parliament having been summoned to assemble on January 27th, an election of representatives took place a few weeks previously, when Robert Aldworth, Town Clerk, was returned for the third time, his colleague being Alderman Joseph Jackson. The local chroniclers, as usual, afford no information as to the proceedings, but we learn from the memoirs of General Edmund Ludlow, a well-informed and trustworthy Parliamentarian, that Sir Henry Vane came forward as a candidate, and had a majority of the votes polled, but that the Sheriffs refused to return him as a member. Mr. Aldworth on this occasion received no “wages” from the Corporation, but Mr. Jackson was paid £28 6s. 8d. for 85 days' attendance. Although the existing form of Government was evidently tottering, the Council thought it worth while to instruct the new members “to consider of any enlargement that may be convenient for the city charters”. They were also desired to make endeavours to get the government of the local militia invested in the Corporation. The speedy dissolution of the new House rendered these instructions futile. But the relics of the Long Parliament, which reassembled in the summer, practically fulfilled the corporate wishes as to the militia, by appointing as commissioners the Mayor and Sheriffs for the time being, and several Puritan aldermen and councillors.

Amongst the State Papers for January and February are three letters to the Admiralty from one Shewell, a navy agent in Bristol, respecting a number of maimed soldiers landed at the quays. As to the first batch of thirteen, he states that he had begged help for them, and sent them to the Mayor, who gave them “passes” to beg, and a dole of 5s., “which is Bristol charity to such as serve the State”. Two days later he wrote that more men had been sent ashore,


who were cripples, carried on men's backs; but the magistrates took no more care for them than if they had been so many crippled dogs. He had given them 40s. In his third despatch he reported that after pressing the justices closely, they had consented to advance money to send the men up to London in wagons.

The Council, in March, elected as Recorder John Stephens (son of Edward Stephens, Esq., of Little Sodbury), then M.P. for Gloucestershire, vice Mr. Doddridge, deceased. The new official had been a stanch supporter of the Commonwealth. In a letter acquainting him of his appointment the Council stated that amongst many others nominated, no name was in so great an estimation as his; God's providence had directed the judgment of the Chamber; and it was hoped that he would “clearly see the footsteps of divine appointment in this your call”. Mr. Stephens returned thanks to the Chamber in a missive of a similar character.

The researches of the Historical Manuscripts Commission (vol. x. part 4) have disinterred a number of letters, written about this time by Sir Edward Hyde, the future Lord Clarendon, in reference to Royalist projects in Bristol and Gloucestershire. Addressing one Mordaunt, who had been sent over to England by Charles II. to promote a Restoration, Hyde expressed an anxious hope that “Colonel” Massey (the hero of Gloucester, who, like many discontented Presbyterians, had gone over to the royal camp) would attempt to secure Bristol and Gloucester, for which, “in spite of his weaknesses”, the King's friends thought him very desirable. On May 27th, Hyde proposed to move the King to land 3,000 men in the district, “which would give a new life to his business, and make the wariest fly to him. This we have their promises for”. On June 4th he wrote that there would be nothing rash in the above venture, which would spread a fire through the kingdom. Mordaunt threw cold water on these sanguine views. Writing to the King on July 6th, he stated that Massey had assured his friends positively of the certain surprisal of the two cities. “But 'twas found we could not assure ourselves of ammunition nor foot arms sufficient for the numbers that would appear. For these we always depended on your Majesty”.

In the State Papers for April is a petition to the young Protector from Sarah Norris, of Bristol, praying for relief. “I was ruined”, she writes, “by my good affection in the late war in helping prisoners and giving intelligence to our


armies, especially in warning them of an intended attack, which being discovered I had to fly for my life, leaving my goods to plunder. My husband [James Reade] died in prison leaving six small children. My losses and my husband's loans to Lord Fiennes come to £3,000”. The truth of these statements was certified by Colonel John Haggett and others. On the report of General Skippon and other officers, the Government granted the applicant an allowance of 20s. per week; but the pension of course ceased on the restoration of the monarchy.

The Council, on April 12th, adopted a singular resolution in reference to a crying evil:- “For the more easy suppressing of the innumerable company of [unlicensed] alehouses”, it was determined to impose a fine on brewers supplying such places, the penalty being fixed at 6s. 8d. per barrel; and the officers of the Brewers' Company were to be compelled to see this order strictly carried out. The idea of fining the unlicensed pothouse keepers, some of whom probably brewed their beer at home, does not appear to have occurred to the city senate.

“In consideration of the poverty of the parish of St.
James, and of the small and uncertain maintenance of Mr.
Paul, the minister”, the Council resolved in July to grant a lease to the parish, for the life of the incumbent, who was to enjoy half the profits, of the churchyard, the benefits of the standings there during the great yearly fair, the tithes, tithe pigs, etc., reserving a rent of £3 6s. 8d. The parsonage, stated to have been recently built, was declared to be for the minister and his successors for ever. There is reason to believe that in the opinion of the parish vestry the Corporation, in granting this lease, were practically laying claim to an estate that did not belong to them. The parish had for centuries enjoyed the profits of the standings in the churchyard during the fair, and had collected money for tithes and tithe pigs, and for the grazing of horses in the burial ground, and any corporate right there, excepting the fee-farm rent of £3 6s. 8d., was flatly repudiated. The matter afterwards became the subject of prolonged litigation (see Sept. 1677).

According to numerous papers in the Record Office, the Royalist conspiracies in Bristol and Gloucestershire, to which reference has been made in previous pages, threw the Council of State into great alarm during the summer. On July 25th, President Lawrence, in a letter to Colonel Haggett, Nehemiah Collins, Edward Tyson, and three other


Bristolians, announced that the Council, hearing of the designs of the enemy, had thought fit, for the safety of the city, to send down commissioners for the enlistment and arming of six companies of foot from amongst the well-affected, to be commanded by the persons above named, who were ordered to put themselves in an attitude of defence. Two days later the Government resolved on securing the city by an army corps, and two days afterwards President Whiteloek, in a despatch to Colonel Okey, a prominent local officer, stated that the Council, apprised of an intended insurrection, and of the design of a large number of the enemy to assemble in Bristol, required Okey to dispose of his forces not merely for defence out offence, and to make the security of the city and adjoining county his special care. He was further requested to search Colonel Popham's house near Bristol, as many arms were suspected to be stored there. (Popham, the ardent Parliamentarian of 1642, had, like Massey and many others, become a Royalist.) In August, the Council empowered the militia commissioners to raise money by the levy of a month's assessment on the inhabitants; but the alarm had subsided in the following month, when General Desbrowe reported from the Committee of Safety that the militia authorities should be authorized to pay off and dismiss the troops of horse and foot that they had raised. Nevertheless a panic must have occurred in the city soon afterwards, probably arising out of a Royalist revolt at Chester, for on November 1st, the Common Council ordered that, towards paying off the sergeants, drummers and others employed for the defence of the city “on the late insurrection”, the Chamberlain should temporarily advance £42. The regiment of soldiers sent down by the Government next began to give serious trouble. Their pay fell many weeks in arrear, and being unable to obtain food in a regular manner they threatened to help themselves by force. Their commanding officer thereupon proposed that the citizens should provide the men with a week's pay “in lieu of free quarters”; and on December 25th the Chamberlain paid £60 “to certain officers and soldiers of Mainwaring's regiment to prevent plundering”. Further sums must have been extorted, for at a Council meeting on January 6th, 1660, the minutes state that with a view to preventing disturbances, and relieving both soldiers and citizens, the Chamber had advanced £105. The money seems to have been recovered by levying a rate on the householders. The troops were removed a few days


afterwards; and the Council of State having authorized the Mayor to raise a sufficient local force for the preservation of peace, the trained bands were formed into a regiment of militia, commanded by Colonel Aldworth, Town Clerk, with James Powell, Chamberlain, as lieutenant-colonel, and Nehemiah Collins as major.

John Hicks, mercer, having refused to accept the office of Common Councillor, was fined £200 in September, and orders were given for his committal to gaol if he refused to pay. Mr. Hicks, unable to bear this rigorous treatment, consented to enter the Council, and in due course served the offices of Sheriff and Mayor. It may be noted that about this date the minutes of the Chamber begin to be written by a scribe whose execrable caligraphy would alone render them almost unintelligible, but who also occasionally recorded them in shorthand, and sometimes wrote only the initials of the persons named in resolutions!

Probably the last surviving tradesman dealing exclusively in bows and arrows for military and sporting purposes made his appearance in the city at this time. On September 15th, James Price, “fletcher”, was admitted to the freedom. “There being”, says the minute, “none of the same trade in the city”, no fine seems to have been demanded.

The occasional eccentricity of corporate proceedings is illustrated by a resolution passed by the Council on September 29th. It was ordered that the number of boys in Queen Elizabeth's Hospital should be increased from 28 to 40, and that the addition should be made as revenues fell in hand. As a matter of fact, no increase in the number of boys took place until 1681 - twenty-two years later.

The Council being informed in October that the head of the conduit near Green's Mill, supplying the Quay and Back Pipes with water, was in a defective state, and the supply much impeded, a committee was appointed to make the necessary reparations. (Green's Mill, of which some remains still exist, was situated about 200 yards to the south of the present Ashley Hill railway station.) The above minute is almost the only one in which any reference is made to the principal city conduit, though it is superabundantly mentioned in the Chamberlain's accounts. The reservoir near the spring must have been entirely unprotected, as there are numberless payments for opening the conduit in various places in order to remove the bodies of dead cats that stopped the supply. In one audit book there are four such items within three months, and in 1660, after


the above committee had presumably fulfilled its commission, the Chamberlain was compelled to disburse money to a plumber “for taking cats out of the pipes”. Similar payments occur in connection with “the Gaunts' Pipe” supplying the City School and neighbouring houses in College Green. Seven or eight dead animals were sometimes taken out of this conduit within a twelvemonth.

In despite of the precautions taken by the Protector's ministers, the Royalists in this district were still preparing for an outbreak. Amongst the State Papers for December is a letter from Secretary Nicholas to a local agent, stating that he will advise the King to send Major-General Massey to take charge of “the Bristol business”, for which, says the ingenuous writer, “he is the fittest person, being an excellent commander, faithful and loyal”!

The removal of Mainwaring's regiment gave the local loyalists fresh encouragement to prosecute their design for a popular rising. One of the most industrious of the intriguers was a merchant named Richard Ellsworth, who, clearly with the countenance of some influential citizens, sedulously sought recruits amongst apprentices and young men, urging them to take united action for the overthrow of the existing Government and the restoration of the monarchy. The reception by General Monk of petitions for a free Parliament whilst advancing with his army towards London lent additional strength to the secret agitation in Bristol, and on February 2nd, 1660, a considerable number of youths gathered in the Marsh in a tumultuous manner, some raising cries for “a free Parliament”, and others for “Charles Stewart”. Emboldened by this successful defiance of the authorities, the apprentices and their confederates returned into the city, where they seized the main Guard-house before the militia could be collected, broke into various houses, carrying off the arms found there, and, after attracting many more adherents by beating drums about the streets, and making “great brags of what they would do”, had the audacity to set a guard on the Mayor and confine him to his house. Notwithstanding proclamations by the magistrates on the 3rd and 4th, requiring the apprentices to return to their homes, the disturbances were renewed daily for a week, during which many Royalist gentry flocked in from the country to stimulate the rioters; whilst ordinary business was practically suspended, and the authorities were apparently paralysed. Had there been any solid foundation for the statements of


Royalist conspirators as to 3,000 Bristolians being eager to rise for the King, no circumstances could be imagined more favourable than these for securing the city for His Majesty and effecting a revolution. But the arrival of a single troop of horse completely changed the situation. Ellsworth and other instigators of disorder sought safety in precipitate flight, and after a proclamation of the Mayor and Council at the High Cross, requiring immediate submission, the apprentices repaired to the Marsh, and laid down their arms. The Corporation were enabled to inform the Government on February 10th that order was restored. The Council of State promptly replied, thanking them for their good affection in subduing by God's help the mutinous distemper raised by malignant spirits, and for the diligence that had been displayed, and desiring care to be taken for the discovery of the fomentors. Three or four youths are said to have been committed to prison, but there is no record of their punishment. The Government, indeed, discountenanced severity. Addressing Colonel Okey on February 25th, the Council of State sharply demanded to know why he had, contrary to instructions, removed Bristolians out of their houses, imprisoning some, and threatening to send others to Chepstow Castle. Nothing of that kind was to be done without orders, except in case of insurrection, and the military must not trench upon the civil authority, or on the inhabitants in their lawful rights. Nearly the whole of the above facts have been gleaned from the State Papers, the local annalists affording scarcely any information on the subject. Ellsworth stole up to London, and on February 16th, a pamphlet that may be safely attributed to him was published there, entitled “A Letter of the Apprentices of the City of Bristol to the Apprentices of the City of London”, denouncing the Government and the House of Commons, declaring that the pretended writers would resist the payment of taxes until the meeting of a free Parliament, and trusting that “you will quit yourselves as free-born English gallants, and play the man for God, religion and the country”. Ellsworth's attempts to excite rioting in the capital, of which he afterwards boasted, were, however, speedily suppressed, and he fled back to Bristol, whence, on February 25th, he sent a letter to General Monk. Carefully concealing his recent doughty deeds, the writer stigmatised the Mayor, the Town Clerk, Alderman Yate, and others, as fanatics, who excluded the “sober and judicious” aldermen, Gonning, Joseph and


Miles Jackson, Balman, Farmer, Sandy and White, from their consultations, “so that the most factious are now the only actors”, and a number of insinuations follow as to the alleged hostile intentions of the Mayor, the Baptists, and the Quakers. This earliest specimen of Ellsworth's malignant penmanship is amongst the Popham MSS. at Littlecote.

The authority of the magistrates had been greatly shaken by the youthful mutiny, and by the impotence of their efforts for its suppression; and the lower classes were soon ripe for further disturbance. On March 5th, the day before Shrove Tuesday, the justices made their customary proclamation by the bellman, prohibiting the ancient sports of the season - cock-throwing, dog-tossing, and football-playing in the streets. But the bellman was knocked about by a mob, and had his livery destroyed, and next day the apprentices threw at geese and hens instead of cocks, and tossed bitches and cats instead of dogs, committing some of these pranks before the Mayor's windows, and breaking the head of one of the Sheriffs into the bargain. The turmoil, which is reported by Royalist chroniclers with great glee, had no serious consequences. The Corporation, soon afterwards, were so satisfied with the aspect of affairs that on March 25th the Chamberlain paid £20 “to two troops of horse that were in town, to send them going”.

The last effort of the civic Council to maintain the Commonwealth was made at a meeting on March 15th, when it was resolved to present an address to Parliament - “the Rump” - recognising its authority, and expressing “good affection” towards it. The Chamber further determined, if London and other places pursued the same course, to petition for a continuance of the existing Parliament - convoked nearly twenty years previously - and for filling up the hundreds of vacancies occasioned by deaths and ejections. A third resolution directed that speedy measures should be taken to obtain from the Government the repayment of upwards of £600 owing to the Corporation and the inhabitants for the quartering of soldiers. It would be interesting to know whether the desire of recovering the debt had any influence in prompting the offering of “good affection”. At another meeting, on the 27th, letters were read from General Monk and Vice-Admiral Penn, and as no record of their purport appears in the minutes, it may be safely surmised that they enunciated views respecting the Parliament in flat contradiction to those so recently advocated by the Council.


Admiral, or, as he was often styled, General Penn, had taken an early opportunity of deserting the Commonwealth Government and paying his devotions to the rising sun. In promotion of his personal ambition, he now contemplated offering himself for the representation of his native city in the Convention Parliament, and as a then indispensable qualification for the position, he applied to the Council for admission as a freeman, a privilege that he claimed by right of birth. A committee was appointed to search the records, and as his father, Giles Penn, was found to have been a free burgess, he was admitted in the usual manner.

The election of members took place in April. Admiral Penn had rendered distinguished services at the conquest of Jamaica in 1655, but the vast importance of that island in a local point of view was not then appreciated, and the candidate's conversion to Royalism was not likely to commend him to the bulk of the Corporation. The other aspirants were John Knight (senior), a fervent Royalist, and the Recorder, John Stephens, who had, while member for Gloucestershire, been a supporter of the Commonwealth. Penn was rejected, but the poll has unfortunately perished. The Town Clerk, Robert Aldworth, was elected for Devizes. The Admiral was immediately afterwards returned for Weymouth, which he represented until his death. He was charged in 1668 with embezzling naval prize goods, and he admitted that, by permission of the Admiralty and with the knowledge of the King, goods were distributed to the flag officers to the value of £1,000 each, and that he took double that amount for himself. Pepys, in his Diary, rarely loses a chance of vilipending Penn as a rogue and rascal, but those railings probably sprang from nothing more than vexation at having to serve under him, and irritation at finding personal schemes of aggrandizement detected and overthrown.

An ordinance of the Court of Aldermen, issued about the end of April, may be regarded as the last protest of expiring corporate Puritanism. The document condemns the liberty lately taken by rude persons in setting up may-poles, occasioning disorderly gatherings, especially on the Lord's Day, forbids such assemblies and the erection of may-poles, and orders the constables to remove those that were standing. It is probable that the command was ignored by the parish officials. The truth was that Puritanism, aiming at an unattainable standard, had denied the multitude, not merely brutalising pleasures, but the innocent


amusements of the drama, the may-pole, the Christmas feast, the Sunday walk, and other pleasures which are a moral necessity of human nature. The consequence of a tyranny of godliness when the Republican yoke was felt to be shaken to pieces was a recoil that soon developed into uncontrolled licentiousness.

In the civic audit-book of the year is the following entry, dated May 10th:- “Charges for putting the wine in the Key Pipe at the proclaiming of the King, 4s. 10d”. This is the only known record as to the date of the ceremony, but an annalist states that the proclamation was read by Francis Gleed, one of the Sheriffs, in the presence of the Mayor and Aldermen robed in scarlet - as they had been at the proclamation of Richard Cromwell less than two years before. The wine drank in the Tolzey and that “put into the conduits” at a cost of about £19, were, however, innovations signalling the dawn of a new era. The revolution in the State was accompanied by a startling revulsion in national manners and customs, political consistency going as much out of, fashion as personal sobriety, pious enthusiasm, and Puritanical garments. The object most eagerly pursued in the Council House, even by many men who had been ardent advocates of the Cromwellian system, was the favour of the new monarch, a favour which, as seems to have been well known, could be secured only in one way. On May 29th the Chamber debated as to what gift in money should be offered to His Majesty as a token of love and affection, when a considerable majority determined that the present should be £600, only three members - one of them a captain under the Commonwealth - voting for £1,000. It was easier to approve of such a donation than to produce it, for the civic treasury was empty, and the Corporation were deeply in debt. It was at first proposed to borrow the money from a number of members, nearly all of whom had been prominent anti-Royalists. Eventually, the whole sum, with £50 extra for its conversion into gold, was borrowed, on the security of the city, from Aldermen Joseph Jackson and Farmer, two leading Puritans; and the money was sent up to London, accompanied by a congratulatory address of thoroughly loyal ring, for presentation to His Majesty by the members for the city, and a numerous deputation of aldermen and councillors. Even before the gift was tendered, however, it was not deemed sufficiently ample to testify the devotion and open-handed zeal of the new converts to Royalism. The purchase of certain Crown


fee-farms from the Commonwealth Government for £577 has been noted at page 232. At a hastily convened meeting of the Council on June 8th, it was resolved that these rents, producing £67 a year, should be freely returned to the King when the gift in gold was offered to him; and a deed under the city seal, testifying this free-will surrender, was hurried up after the deputation, who, as may be conceived, met with a gracious reception from the throne. A few days later, the Council again assembled to make preparations for duly celebrating the day (June 28th) fixed by the Government for a national thanksgiving on the happy Restoration. It was resolved that the Corporation should proceed in state to the cathedral to hear a sermon, and the members of the trade Companies were desired to attend “in their formalities”. Further instructions were given for the firing of salutes from the great guns, and for fireworks in the evening. Altogether, the gunpowder burnt “at his Majesty's coming in” cost the Chamber £76 19s. 9d.

Mucn more required to be done for perfecting and embellishing the new order of things. The statue of Charles I., which had been concealed after its removal from the High Cross, was again brought forth, but had suffered so much in the civic vaults as to be unfit for restoration to its original place. The Chamberlain had the “old picture”, as he called it, taken to the house of a carver named Thorne, who produced a new statue, set it up in the Cross, and repaired the other figures there, for £13. A painter was next engaged to re-decorate the royal arms, also drawn from a hiding-place, and to illuminate the new statue, and received £5 10s. for his pains. The corporate plate, tarnished from disuse, was regilded, and the state sword refurbished, at a cost of £20. A new silver mace was obtained for the Chamberlain. The custom of ducking vixenish women, long suspended, was revived, for which end a new cucking-stool was set up at the Weir. The perambulation of the city boundaries was revived with unusual ceremony, and was wound up by a grand banquet in the Guildhall. And this was naturally followed by a formal survey of the water boundaries, when; the monotony of the voyage was relieved by continuous feasting.

Whilst these matters were proceeding, the Court of King's Bench was applied to for the redress of irregularities alleged to have been committed in the Common Council. John Locke and Gabriel Sherman, who had, in 1656, tendered a resignation of their aldermanships in a


formal document (see p.265), applied for and obtained a mandamus to recover their places, and similar mandates were issued on behalf of Henry Creswick, Nicholas Cale, Richard Gregson, and John Knight (senior), who had all been aldermen, but had been expelled (though, with the exception of Creswick, ejected in 1645, there is no record of their expulsion in the civic minutes). Except in the case of Locke, who was generally unpopular, the Council offered no resistance to the writs, and Locke was also reinstated a few weeks later.

The triumphant Royalists, dissatisfied with these legal victories, next sought to expel from the Council Chamber every vestige of the Puritan party. The State Papers of the year contain numerous documents concerning their manoeuvres, which have wholly escaped local historians. Early in September, Henry Creswick, the restored alderman, and some of like principles, secretly addressed a petition to the King, asking permission to turn out of the Council all such as had been elected for their support of the late Government, to restore loyal men that had been ejected, and to elect others chosen by themselves. Speedy action was requested to prevent the other party from electing officers on September 15th. The petition passed through the hands of the Lord Chancellor (Clarendon), who informed Secretary Nicholas that the King would write to the Mayor. These men, he added, were impatient to have all done at once, but it must be done by degrees. In the result, the elections came on before the King thought fit to interfere; but the secret intriguers had no cause for complaint. The system of voting by ballot was, of course, abolished as a relic of Puritanism, and the chief magistracy was conferred on Creswick himself, while the sterling Royalist, John Knight (senior), and Thomas Stevens, a convert, were appointed Sheriffs. (Knight, urging that his duties as member of Parliament required all his attention, was excused; Stevens, refusing to accept office, was fined £200, and was ordered to be committed to gaol until he produced the penalty, but was ultimately pardoned, and served as Sheriff in the following year.) The meeting had next to consider a missive from the King, received some time before. His Majesty stated that he had received information of the sufferings, through loyalty, of Alexander Gray, a Bristol merchant, and that the office of corporate Chamberlain was executed by James Powell, said to have been elected on the recommendation of Cromwell. Gray being


represented as fit for the place, the King recommended his appointment. Profusely loyal as the Chamber had now become, it was shocked by this characteristic specimen of Stewart meddlesomeness in behalf of an obscure Scotch intruder, who, being a “foreigner”, was disqualified by the express terms of the city charters. A petition was forthwith drawn up, declaring that Powell had been chosen out of numerous candidates as the most deserving, without being recommended by Cromwell or any other, and having always faithfully exercised his office, it was prayed that the royal request would not be pressed. Charles abandoned his nominee, but the determination to displace Powell continued, and was effected, as will be shown, in April, 1662.

To return to the intrigue of Creswick and his confederates. On September 24th, 1660, nine days after Creswick's election as Mayor, the expected letter arrived from the King. His Majesty, professing anxiety to remove difficulties between his subjects if they conducted themselves well, desired that former members of the Council removed for their loyalty should be restored, that the legal number of forty-three should as far as possible be made up from such survivors as were chosen before the Civil War, and that all the rest of the aldermen and councillors should be expelled. It is a remarkable fact that although Creswick was now empowered to deal root and branch with his opponents in accordance with his previous request, he took no action whatever against them. On April 2nd, 1661, the King, in another letter, repeated his previous orders, but the matter was never brought before the Council throughout Creswick's mayoralty. His ultra-Royalist colleagues were naturally furious. Ellsworth, the virulent mouth-piece of the malcontents, complained to Secretary Nicholas that the Mayor still kept in their places his relations by marriage, such as Alderman Joseph Jackson, a factious Anabaptist, who had fined a man 6s. 8d., for drinking the King's health, and Robert Aldworth, the Town Clerk, who opposed the Restoration; whilst the loyalists expelled in 1645 had not been brought back, in spite of the King's instructions. Aldermen William Colston and Nathaniel Cale, two extreme partisans, wrote to the Secretary in a similar strain, affirming that the Mayor was favouring Aldermen who were mortal enemies of the King, and who, being as six to one in the whole number, would throw all chargeable offices upon loyal men, who were disabled to bear them through sequestrations. The Mayor, it was added, had


endeared himself to the sectaries, who abounded, by making Alderman Vickris his deputy, and was now in London seeking to get the militia into the hands of the Corporation, which might be of “ill consequence”. Prebendary Dashfield also denounced the Mayor's remissness and the fanaticism of the Aldermen, and sent up the names of “untainted men”, fit for service. Eighteen barrels of gunpowder, he added, had been found in the house of Major Roe, a Quaker, who had borne arms against the Crown, yet the Mayor had returned three barrels to the owner, which the writer considered scandalous. The purification of the Chamber under Creswick's successor will be narrated presently.

The insatiable craving for appointments under the Crown, or procurable by its influence, was one of the most conspicuous incidents that followed the Restoration. The King had scarcely settled down at Whitehall before he was up to the knees in memorials for compensations, rewards, and honours. Amongst the crowd of local solicitors, Captain Richard Yeamans petitioned for a surveyorship of Customs, representing that his brother Robert was murdered, another brother cut to pieces, and himself wounded, imprisoned, and banished, after being deprived of an estate of £2,000. (He was appointed Comptroller, but died soon afterwards.) The six children of George Bowcher, executed with Yeamans, prayed, but unsuccessfully, for a continuance of the pension of £100 that had been received by their mother. William Colston, the father of Edward, pleading heavy losses during the war, sued for, and eventually obtained, the post of English Consul at Marseilles for his son Richard, a youth of about 20 years of age. John Fitzherbert coolly applied for two Customerships because he had been concerned in the Yeamans' plot, for which, he alleged, he had been chained to another man in the Castle for nine weeks, and had lost £5,000 in the royal cause. William Baber, gunpowder maker, whose sufferings under the despotism of Charles I. are recorded in previous pages, sought for a good place in the Customs, alleging that he had supplied the late King with £2,500 worth of powder, never paid for. Then Samuel Farley, who had been a leading innkeeper in the city, begged for a good appointment because he had carried letters for General, now Sir Edward, Massey and other Royalist conspirators in 1659 at the hazard of his life. His appeal being neglected, Farley had the impudence to ask for a blank warrant for a baronetcy, for the purpose of selling it to the best bidder (then a common practice):


Being again rebuffed, he besought the King to procure for him the office of Sword-bearer of Bristol; but, though a recommendation to that effect was sent from Court, the Common Council elected another candidate. The King at length silenced the sturdy mendicant by granting him a surveyorship in the Customs at London. A son of one Sir Peter Rycaut sued for the office of Town Clerk of Bristol, and the King actually granted him an order demanding the dismissal of Robert Aldworth, appointed during the usurpation. Aldworth, however, found protectors at Court, and the order was cancelled; but Rycaut made strenuous efforts for its revival, first by an abortive Quo Warranto, and afterwards by trumping up calumnious charges that he was unable to prove. John Thruston begged for the chamberlainship of Bristol in consideration for his loyal exertions and losses, and soon after succeeded in his aim. Hester Adams petitioned for the place of one of the Queen's starchers, pleading that her late husband lost £800 by the burning of his house at Bedminster for the King's service, by order of Prince Rupert. Lord Bristol's valet applied for the richest place in the local Custom House, simply on the ground that the existing official had served under the Commonwealth. One Laurence Drake asked for another Customs appointment, producing Lord Poulet's certificate that he had lost £2,500 for his loyalty. Several clergymen supplicated for prebends in the cathedral, and four of them, including two popular men, Richard Towgood and Richard Standfast, were appointed. Probably the most clamorous and persistent of all the applicants was Richard Ellsworth, a relative of the Poyntz family of Iron Acton, who alleged he had been wounded during the siege of 1645, and contended that, in spite of the pretensions of various other citizens, he was entitled to the entire credit of inciting the apprentices to insurrection in the preceding spring, though he, of course, said nothing of his desertion of them on the appearance of a few troops. His pretensions were supported by the Mayor and some old Royalists in the Council, and by Sir Robert Poyntz, while the Duke of Albemarle testified that the applicant had rendered useful service in London just before the Restoration. By dint of strenuous efforts, Ellsworth obtained one of the offices of Customer in Bristol, being apparently directed to keep the Government informed upon local political movements. Later on, he got a petty office in the King's household, and was dubbed a knight. He


was afterwards occasionally employed as an agent for furthering Bristol business at Court, for which he appears to have been largely rewarded.

Corporate sympathy with the necessities of the poor in reference to butter temporarily revived after the Restoration. At a Council meeting in November, six members offered to advance £20 each for the purchase of butter to be retailed at cheap rates, and a resolution was passed guaranteeing them from loss. It is known that efforts were being made at this time to obtain a new patent for the exportation of calf-skins; and it may be fairly surmised that, concurrently with the above benevolence, endeavours were being secretly prosecuted to revive the old butter monopoly. Nothing being obtainable from the Government in this direction, corporate butter transactions came to an end. At the same meeting the Council, “ taking note of the great number of cottages lately erected and now erecting outside Lawford's Gate, and conceiving it to tend to the great impoverishment of the city”, directed the Mayor and city surveyors to confer with Mr. Chester, on whose land the houses were built, “for putting a stop to further building”. The district, however, soon became the most populous, as it was also the most disorderly, of the suburbs.

Mr. Richard Ellsworth, the new Customer, with certain colleagues of his own stamp, was engaged during the autumn, under a commission from the Government, in summoning all the inhabitants over sixteen years of age, and commanding them to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. In a letter to Secretary Nicholas, dated November 21st, he complains that he and his friends are much obstructed by Quakers and Anabaptists (whose principles forbade the taking of oaths), adding that loyal people felt aggrieved if those dangerous and disaffected sectaries were excused. He ends by asking for power to imprison all who refuse to swear. “These monsters”, he says, in a second letter to the same effect, “are more numerous in Bristol than in all the West of England, and hold meetings of 1,000 or 1,200, to the great alarm of the city”. His statements illustrate the treatment to which Nonconformists generally were subjected, though their persecution was then only beginning. Ellsworth's policy having been approved by the Government, before the end of the year 4,000 Quakers were in gaol throughout the kingdom, many for refusing to bind themselves by oaths, some for


disobedience to the proclamations forbidding religious meetings by Dissenters, perhaps all through the fear of the Court that they sympathised with the Fifth Monarchy fanatics. In Bristol a party of sixty-five, caught whilst holding a prayer-meeting at the house of Dennis Hollister, were carried off to Newgate, their number being subsequently increased to 190 by captures in Temple Street and other localities. The only charge against the majority of the prisoners was their refusal to be sworn. Eventually they were liberated, in common with their co-religionists elsewhere, through the unaccountable influence exercised over the King by a Quakeress named Margaret Fell, the widow of a judge, and afterwards wife of George Fox. It may be added that on the recovery by Mr. Towgood, Mr. Standfast and other clergymen of their parish churches the original Nonconformist congregation were allowed for some time to hold meetings at the house formerly occupied by Colonel Scrope, in Castle Precincts; but being straitened for room they lured a building “in the Friars” (meaning probably the old Dominican convent), where Mr. Ewens., who still remained with his flock, officiated until July, 1601, when he was committed to prison for preaching in defiance of the interdiction of the magistrates. The story of the other Dissenting bodies at this period is not recorded.

Although many presentments had been made by grand juries at quarter sessions, pointing out the inconvenience and peril arising from the total absence of street lighting, the civic authorities showed great reluctance to promote improvement in that direction. At length, in December, the Court of Aldermen issued a warrant to their officers, ordering them to give notice to about 530 of the principal householders to hang out at their respective doors during the winter months a lantern and a lighted candle from 6 to 9 o'clock every night; a penalty of 3s. 4d. being threatened for every default. The persons on whom this duty was imposed were classified in parishes, and it appears that the largest numbers lived in the parishes of St. Nicholas (61), St. Thomas (52), St. Peter (47), and St. Stephen (43). Christ Church parish had to provide thirty-one lanterns, the inhabitants of Wine Street including three Aldermen, Colston, Cale and Yate. The fashionable parish of St. Werburgh contained the residences of the Mayor (Henry Creswick), Aldermen Gonning and M. Jackson, and Messrs. Long, Cann, Langton and Yeamans,


but the total number of lights was only thirteen. Five Aldermen, Tyson, White, Sandy, J. Jackson and James, lived in St. Nicholas' parish. Having imposed this duty on the inhabitants, the Corporation seem to have thought that some effort of a public character could not be omitted without discredit. The Chamberlain accordingly expended 20s. “for a great lanthorn for the Tolzey”, which was followed, a year later, by the outlay of the same amount for lanterns at the Blind Gate and Small Street Gate, completing the civic display.

The first public coach from Bristol to London for the conveyance of passengers is believed to have been established in 1660. It was certainly running in 1661, and was one of the six then plying between leading provincial towns and the capital. The “machine” succeeded in completing each journey in three days, by dint of starting early each morning, and struggling onward until late at night, the accomplishment of forty miles a day being then considered a Herculean task. The feat was practicable only in the summer half-year, and traffic was suspended during the winter. In some papers of the family of the Gores of Max Bourton, now in the Museum and Library, is a note of the cost of a coach expedition in 1663. “Paid Jerrat Gore's coach higher from London to Bristol, £1 5s; his expenses by the way, 15s.” The same sums were laid out on the return journey.

Amongst the grants by the King in February, 1661, was one to Colonel Humphrey Hooke (grandson of the gentleman of the same name referred to in previous pages) of the Keepership of Kingswood and Fillwood forests, with a fee, according to the minute in the Record Office, of 7½d. “yearly”. The last word is an error, 7½d. per day being the sum payable for several centuries to the Keepers of Kingswood out of the royal fee-farm of Bristol. The tergiversations of the elder Hooke, who, like the famous Vicar of Bray, was always ready to cheer the winning side, have been noted at page 215. Having died on the eve of the Restoration, his wealth, and apparently his principles, descended to his grandson, who became, of course, a vehement Royalist, and was speedily rewarded with the honour of knighthood. The Keepership of the two Chases must have been practically valueless, the deer which once swarmed in Kingswood having been extirpated during the Oivil War by the colliers and labourers, who invaded the woods and worked havoc uncontrolled, while Fillwood, as


was shown in page 61, had been appropriated by the neighbouring landlords at least as early as the reign of Elizabeth, and existed only in name. Soon after Hooke's appointment, the state of Kingswood appears to have been represented to the Government by Sir Gilbert Gerard and Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, two distinguished Royalists during the Civil War; and in October, 1661, Lord- Treasurer Southampton issued a warrant to them and others, constituting them Commissioners to negotiate with the persons claiming ownership over the Chase. According to their report, the grasping pretenders speedily found it prudent to offer terms. Sir John Newton, the Widow Player, and Philip Langley, three of the largest “lords”, undertook to set out one-third part of the area claimed by them, as well as a tenth part of the coal, as the King s share, and to give up the same proportions for the use of the commoners and the poor. John Tooke, who held the royalty belonging for life to Lady Berkeley, had subscribed to the same conditions, but as the estate was entailed, and no good title could be made without an Act of Parliament, he wished to become a leasehold tenant under the King for His Majesty's share. The guardians of the infant heiress of John Mallet were willing to set out the two third shares, but sought to become tenants as in the last case. Thomas Chester, lord of the manor of Barton Regis, consented to set out two third parts of the land to the King and the commoners, but refused to part with any of the coal; he also was desirous to become tenant of the King's share, provided that all the very numerous cottages erected by him and his predecessors, with plots of land attached to them, might be allotted to himself. Most of the inhabitants of Bitton, Mangotsfield and Stapleton holding common rights had subscribed for an enclosure of the Chase, but those living on Chester's liberty had mostly objected, owing to Chester's nonconformity as to coaling. The Commissioners concluded by recommending that a Commission of Oyer and Terminer should be issued to settle the matter, and there seems to be little question that if this advice had been followed, the rights both of the Crown and the public would have been secured. Nothing, however, was done, and on the death of Sir John Newton, before the inquiry had terminated, he was succeeded by a stranger of the same name, who at first undertook to confirm what his predecessor had agreed to, but afterwards repudiated the arrangement, and induced the other landlords to follow his example.


Sir Humphrey Hooke having introduced no deer into the Chase, as he had undertaken to do, the King, in March, 1663, was pleased to grant, out of consideration for their loyal sufferings, to Sir Gilbert Gerard £1,500, and to Sir Nicholas Throckmorton £1,000, out of compositions to be made for the royal rights; but the opportunity for a compromise had passed away, and Throckmorton died in great poverty in 1664, having incurred heavy debts in vainly prosecuting his claim. On the petition of Sir Baynham, his son, Charles II. granted him the royal franchises in the Chase in May, 1666, for a term of sixty years, at a rent of £20, in lieu of the former grant. Sir Humphrey Hooke afterwards surrendered the office of Hanger on receiving £100, and the new lessee then obtained commissions out of the Court of Exchequer offering the landlords and commoners the royal pardon for past offences and a grant of the King's rights, provided a third of the soil were surrendered in compensation (nothing being now said of the third due to the poor). According to Throckmorton's petition to the King in 1667, some of the lords and many of the commoners would have agreed to this proposal providing that the consent was unanimous, but, as one lord (Newton) and some commoners were refractory, the large sums of money spent by the lessee and his predecessors were likely to be lost - as was in fact the case. After some consideration of Throckmorton's case, the King in Council, in June, 1668, came to the absurd resolution that the Chase should be again stocked with deer, and constituted Sir Baynham Ranger; and two years later a new lease of the Chase was granted to him for sixty years, rent free, on his covenanting to replenish the woods with 500 deer. As Sir Charles Harbord, a royal official, reported in 1672 that the place contained a “multitude of coal pits, and was stuffed with cottagers and alehouses, and overlaid with horses used for carrying coal” to Bristol, some idea may be formed of the lessee's hopeless task.

The Court of Aldermen, on March 5th, laid a heavy hand on some “foreigners” described in the minutes as “ translators”. Griffen Brown, translator on St. James's Back, being a stranger, was ordered to leave the city within six days, or in default to be punished according to law. Four other translators were also warned to depart, one within a fortnight, the others in a month. Similar cases occur in the records from time to time. Lord Macaulay, who was once questioned as to the occupation of these men,


replied that they were doubtless employed by merchants and others to translate foreign documents. As a matter of fact, they were cobblers, who converted old boots into shoes.

The revival of compulsory fasting in Lent was another outcome of the Restoration. Butchers were forbidden to expose meat for sale from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, but for the sake of aged and infirm people the magistrates granted licenses to three butchers to sell flesh, during the first three weeks in Lent, while five others were permitted to sell during the following three weeks.

At the general election in April, three candidates offered themselves before the electors of Bristol - namely the Earl of Ossory, son of the Duke of Ormond, Sir Humphrey Hooke, and John Knight (senior). All being Royalists, the voting must have hinged upon personal considerations, but the contest was nevertheless severe, and in the result there was a double return, Lord Ossory and Knight being declared elected in one indenture, and Hooke with Knight in the other. On the case coming before the House of Commons in May, the fact that Hooke had subscribed his name to Ossory's return (probably through some private arrangement between the parties) was held to bar his election, and Lord Ossory was ordered to sit until the merits of the case were investigated. His lordship, in fact, held the seat until September, 1666, when he was raised to the peerage. Sir Humphrey then put in a renewed claim to the seat, contending that he had had a majority of votes, and the House, on a report from the Committee of Elections confirming his assertion, not only declared him duly elected, but ordered Thomas Langton, one of the Sheriffs in 1661, to be summoned to the bar for making a false return! Langton, who was Mayor when this extraordinary resolution was arrived at, was thereupon carried in custody to Westminster, and actually committed for the alleged offence, but was liberated on the following day. Barrett's History (p.158) is more than usually inaccurate in reference to this election.

At a meeting of the Council on April 9th a proposal was drawn up for the consideration of the Merchants Society. The existing quays being insufficient to accommodate the increasing commerce of the port, the Corporation offered to grant the Society a new lease for eighty years of the dues for anchorage, cannage and plankage, at the old rent of £3 6s. 8d. (see page 17), provided the lessees would construct


a new quay from the Lower Slip to Aldsworth's Dock (that is, from about the middle of the present Broad Quay to a point a little beyond the end of Thunderbolt Street), and also make the road from Rownham to the Hot Well passable for coaches, towards which the Chamber offered to contribute £100. The Society seem to have asked for more liberal terms. At all events, the new lease, executed in September, not only demised the above dues, but also the wharfage dues created by the Council in 1606, the receipts from which had been up to this time received by the Chamberlain. It is somewhat strange that this important concession, involving a large loss of income to the Corporation, was never approved by a vote of the Council until the lease was actually sealed and in operation.

Another important matter was discussed at the above meeting, when the Mayor produced a writ of Quo Warranto, procured by the Attorney-General, requiring the Corporation to show by what authority they exercised the rights and liberties claimed by them. The threatened attack on the charters was apparently based on the action of the Council during the Commonwealth in ejecting Royalist members, replacing them by persons of the opposite party, and generally supporting the Republican cause. After much deliberation, two petitions were drawn up for presentation to the King, praying for the suspension of the writ, and the grant of a new charter. The first supplication, after setting forth the joy of the Chamber at His Majesty's return, expressed ignorance of having committed any offence, but, fearing through indiscretion they might have fallen under the King's displeasure, they fled to him for sanctuary and relief. The other petition was of a totally different character. It alleged that the government of the city had been divested of its ancient lustre through the refusal of able persons to accept public offices, whilst the city itself was much decayed through losses at sea, deadness of trade, and the interloping of artificers and others, who traded as merchants without having served apprenticeship, to the loss of the Customs and the discouragement of those best able to serve the Crown. It was therefore prayed that the King would confirm, not merely the city charters, but those of the Society of Merchants, who were desirous of further powers for the regulation of trade. It is clear that this second petition was adopted at the instance of the Merchants' Company, who were once more attempting to secure a monopoly of commercial business, and that the


Council were only half-hearted in supporting their efforts, for the two documents were confided to the Mayor, who was empowered to omit the clause relating to the merchants, if he were advised to do so by the Recorder, the Town Clerk, and the members of Parliament, all then in London. He was, however, especially requested to ask that the new charter should empower the Chamber to impose a fine of £400 on any one refusing to serve as Councillor, Alderman, Sheriff, or Mayor (unless such person could swear that he was not worth £1,500), and to imprison him until he made payment. Finally, his worship was to press, for insertion in the charter, that the election of members of Parliament should be vested “as formerly” in the Council and local freeholders exclusively. Even these requests were considered too modest, for the Court of Aldermen held three independent meetings to draw up further demands, and the Mayor was directed to ask for powers for the better preservation of the Avon, for preventing the erection of houses outside Lawford's Gate, for placing the government of the militia in the hands of the Corporation, and lastly for compelling capable persons to take up the freedom, so that they might be made amenable to the above fines on being elected as Councillors. It being well understood that new privileges could be obtained only by liberal expenditure, the Council resolved to borrow £300 by way of mortgage, to defray “all manner of charges” incident to the furtherance of their desires. On May 18th the Mayor presented himself at Whitehall with some parade, his retinue of civic officials being furnished with new robes and liveries for the occasion. A Privy Council meeting was summoned to receive his petition, and the King condescended to preside. After hearing his worship, their lordships ordered that the petition should be remitted to the Attorney-General, who was directed to send in a report. No record was kept of the negotiations, but the judicious disposition of the funds entrusted to the Mayor may be divined by the fact that the Quo Warranto proceedings were stopped, and that, although the grant of a new charter was delayed, the Common Council were encouraged by the apparent good humour of the Government to enhance their demands. In June, 1662, when the Mayor was again sent up to Court to renew the application, the Chamber desired that the fine for refusing to take office should be increased to £500, that all fines for breach of ordinances should be leviable by distraint, and that persons of good condition who lived outside the city to


avoid election should be compelled to dwell in the town; while the previous request for the disfranchisement of the freemen was urgently repeated. On August 5th the Mayor reported to the Council that he had been graciously received at Whitehall - a circumstance by no means surprising when one discovers that his worship had found it needful to expend no less than £584 during his mission - and that a new charter was certainly in preparation. In the meantime he had been furnished with a warrant signed by the King, commanding every burgess elected to a civic office to accept the same on pain of being summoned before the Privy Council to answer for his contempt. The charter was not forthcoming until 1664.

Whether the corporate recommendation, in one of the petitions recited above, of the Merchant Society's desire for additional powers to regulate trade was laid before the King or “omitted”, it is impossible to decide. In any case, the Society took measures to obtain such powers by independent action. The minutes of the Privy Council show that when the Mayor presented the corporate petition for a new charter on May 18th, 1661, he was accompanied by representatives of the Merchants' Company, who tendered a similar supplication on their own account, and that this, document was also remitted to the Attorney-General. But probably despairing of such a royal rescript as would suffice to establish the monopoly for which they had been striving* for a century, the Society determined to resort to the more powerful help of Parliament. The result is briefly but satisfactorily reported in the Journals of the House of Commons. Towards the close of the year, a measure bearing the innocent-looking title of “A Bill for confirming letters patent incorporating the Society of Merchant Venturers of Bristol” - in plain words, a scheme for giving* the force of law to the monopoly of trade conceded to the Society by the charter of Edward VI. - was introduced into the Lower House. But its real intention was detected and exposed by some sharp-witted member; and on January 7th, 1662, when the Bill was read a second time, a motion was immediately put that it should be “laid aside”, and this was carried without a division. Subsequent attempts of a similar character having proved equally unsuccessful^ the application to the King was renewed in 1668, when His Majesty granted the Society a new charter. But it was simply a confirmation of the charter granted by Charles L in 1638, and was practically valueless.


A curious but obscurely reported dispute between one John Pester, a Bristol draper, and the Dean and Chapter came before the Privy Council in April, 1661, upon a report from the Commissioners appointed to inquire into “pretended” alienations of church lands; the matter in difference being a lease claimed by Pester of “33 acres of meadow commonly called Canons' Marsh”. In order to clear up the case, the Council ordered the respective parties to appear before them, and at another meeting, May 18th, the question was further considered. On examination of the facts, say the minutes, it appeared that the Dean and Chapter, contrary to the request of the above Commissioners, who ordered them to grant a lease of the Marsh to Pester, had granted one to John Knight (doubtless the senior). The Dean (Glemham) now failing to give the King and Council any satisfactory explanation of this proceeding, His Majesty ordered him and the Chapter to revoke the lease to Knight, and make a new one to Pester, and to pay the latter, who had been at great charge in improving the land, the full sum they had received from Knight. All parties were then ordered to appear again on June 7th, but on that day, when the Council reassembled, five of the prebendaries absented themselves, and it was found that nothing had been done. The King, highly offended with their obstinate disobedience, ordered that until they complied neither the Dean nor any of the prebends should presume to appear at Court. No further reference to the matter has been found, but as the Dean continued to be a sedulous courtier, and was preferred to the bishopric of St. Asaph in 1667, it is probable that the Chapter obeyed the royal commands.

At a meeting of the Council on August 23rd, the office of Lord High Steward was conferred upon the Duke of Ormond, who had been appointed Lord-Lieutenant of the city and of Somerset in the previous year. The civic dignity was not really vacant, but the Council, desirous of pleasing the Government, ignored the existence of Sir Henry Vane, who was then in prison, and was tried and executed in June, 1662.

Notwithstanding its obsequiousness, the composition of the Common Council was by no means satisfactory to the ultra-Royalists, still intoxicated with success, and thirsting to enjoy the double pleasure of recovering predominance in local affairs and humiliating their detested opponents. Having represented their desires to the Court, the King, on September 29th, addressed a mandate to the new Mayor,


Nathaniel Cale, one of the most vindictive of the party. His Majesty, after stating that many loyal subjects in the city were removed from places of trust during the late disturbances, and persons of contrary principles settled in their offices, ordered that all the men so unduly brought in, as well as others notoriously disaffected, should be displaced, in order that those ejected during the evil times should be restored, and that the latter, in conjunction with such persons of integrity as remained, should fill up vacancies by a free election, whereby the Corporation might enjoy the benefit of their charters. As sixteen years had elapsed since the government of the city had fallen into the hands of the Parliamentarians, the practical effect of the mandate was to sweep away the existing Council. In fact, at a meeting on October 4th, when the above mandate was read, the Recorder, two Aldermen and twenty-nine Councillors were removed; while at another meeting, on October 30th, only three persons out of the forty-three that formed the Council two years before put in an appearance - Aldermen Sandy and Ballman, and Councillor Stephens. These were joined by Aldermen Locke and Sherman, whose recovery of their seats has been already noticed, and by five others, some of whom had been elected since the Restoration. This select gathering then proceeded to “elect and choose” sixteen Councillors; but what it really did was to re-elect sixteen gentlemen out of the Council as it had been constituted under the Commonwealth, the most prominent being John Knight (senior), John Lawford, William Yeamans, Robert Cann, John Pope, Robert Vickris, John Willoughby, Thomas Langton and Andrew Hooke. On November 2nd, when twenty-one of the new body attended (including William Colston, who resumed his seat), ten more Councillors were elected, none of whom had previously held office, the most notable being John Knight (junior) - who refused to serve - Richard Streamer and Ralph Olliffe. And five days later another batch of nine were appointed, including Robert Yeamans, Richard Hart (who refused to serve) and Richard Crump. The Mayor and five or six Aldermen next held a Court, and filled up vacancies in that body, five Commonwealth dignitaries - John Gonning, Miles Jackson, Joseph. Jackson, Walter Sandy and Arthur Farmer - being reinstated. Finally, on November 28th, the Council elected five more Councillors, one of them being Thomas Day. It will be seen that the number of persons chosen was by this time greatly in excess of the forty-three prescribed by the


charters; but several had not come forward to be sworn, while some had positively refused to serve, and only thirty-eight were on the roll on November 28th. An incident soon after occurred that, in less excited times, would have caused a lively sensation. An Act of Parliament was passed for the purpose of expelling Puritans out of every municipal Corporation, and on April 4th a royal warrant was laid before the Council, constituting the Mayor and a few kindred spirits commissioners for carrying out the provisions of the statute. Cale, however, had so vigorously fulfilled his previous instructions that the commissioners' task was almost confined to tendering the newly invented test oaths to those present. Aldermen Vickris and Gibbs appear to have been the only members who refused to be sworn, thereby losing their seats. The only other victims were the Chamberlain, James Powell, whom the commissioners curtly dismissed, appointing the King's nominee, John Thruston, in his place, and John Haggett, the Steward (judge) of the Tolzey Court, the King requesting that office for another unqualified stranger, named John Robins. Rycaut, His Majesty s former nominee for the Town Clerkship, made another pertinacious effort to get Aldworth ejected, but his malignity in fabricating false charges at Court as to the disloyalty of the Corporation had made him detestable even to the commissioners, who refused to listen to him. On August 21st, the Council elected nine more members, of whom five were immediately sworn in. The recusants had now become so numerous that the Chamber determined to take action. It was resolved that as John Knight (junior), Richard Hart and ten others had refused to take the oaths, warrants of imprisonment should be issued against them for their contempt. Knight had been previously fined £400, and Hart £300, for refusing to take office, but there is no evidence that the money was recovered, and nothing seems to have resulted from menacing them with the gaol. The Council was doubtless perplexed by the fact that, if any of the recusants had offered to submit, the number in the Chamber would have been in excess of the legal limits, the acting members in August, 1663, being forty-three, the maximum fixed by the charters. The subject will be resumed under 1664.

Having provided the city with a new ducking apparatus, much to the delight of the juvenile lower classes, the magistrates seem to have been unwilling that the machine should grow rusty from disuse. In October, 1661, Goodwife Orchard,


of St. Michael's, was ordered, being a disorderly scold, to be ducked in the Froom, and sent to the House of Correction. In July and August, 1664, two women were ordered to be ducked three times each. John Willoughby, Mayor in 1665-6, was an especial admirer of this form of punishment, and sent seven vixens to be ducked during the summer. Three women suffered in 1667, three in 1669 and two in 1670, after which the instrument fell somewhat into disfavour. Another spectacle, dear to the youthful population, and often exhibited at this period, was the carting of incontinent women through all the principal streets, preceded by the bellman proclaiming their offence.

Mention of another local sugar refinery occurs in the Council minutes of January, 1662. The parishioners of St. Thomas's having complained that the sugar-house of John Hind, grocer (afterwards Mayor), was very dangerous owing to its liability to take fire, Hind was ordered to remove his works within two months.

A great storm of wind in March caused much damage to city property. Amongst numerous items referring to it in the audit book is the following:- “The Chamberlain asks allowance for the trees blown down in the Marsh, belonging to him by custom time out of mind as a perquisite of his office; they being worth above £30, but sold underhand, £22”. The claim was allowed.

Robert Cann, a wealthy Bristol merchant, son of the Mayor who proclaimed the abolition of the monarchy in 1649, received the honour of knighthood in April for his services to the royal cause. Sir Robert, as Roger North, his relative by marriage, has stated with his customary spitefulness, was a somewhat arrogant and pompous personage, fond of parading his riches, and prone to speak his mind with little regard for the feelings of others. No member of the Corporation had previously been knighted, and the honour having somewhat turned the heads of himself and family, he took occasion, at some corporate function shortly after receiving the King's accolade, to claim precedency, although but a Common Councillor, over all the Aldermen by virtue of his title. His pretensions were so indignantly resisted that at a meeting of the Council on May 27th - when Sir Robert Atkyns, K.B., was elected Recorder, vice Mr. John Stephens, resigned, or rather expelled - he absented himself from the Chamber. Being forthwith summoned, he made his appearance, but only to request his being excused from further service, without offering any reason for the demand, and


then unceremoniously departed. The Council thereupon resolved that his conduct was contrary to his oath, tended to the dissolution of corporate government, and was wholly “dissatisfactory”; but when this resolution was read to him at the next meeting, a week later, his answer gave no more satisfaction than the previous one. The offended Aldermen thereupon thought it desirable to seek the advice of the Heralds' College on the question, and the Mayor, who carried up their application when despatched to negotiate for a charter, also brought back the result, which was read to the Council in August. The College stated that a similar dispute had arisen in 1611, amongst the members of the London Corporation, when, after a three days' hearing, the knights had withdrawn their claim to precedence over their untitled seniors, and that the practice then established had since been always followed. Sir Robert Cann seems to have treated the Heralds' certificate with contempt, and his pretensions were put forward with still greater obstinacy in the following month, when - probably through the purchase of one of the “blank warrants” that were being freely offered for sale - he was created a baronet. With a view, perhaps, of tiding over the difficulty, the Council immediately elected him Mayor; so that, for a time, there could be no question as to his pre-eminence, and a few months later he was chosen an Alderman. But when he quitted the civic chair his claims were revived, and the dispute grew hotter than ever. In October, 1663, hoping to bring the fuming baronet to reason, the Council applied for the opinions of Sir Robert Atkyns, the Recorder, and of Sir John Frederic, an ex-Lord Mayor of London, both of whom approved of the decision of the Heralds' College, the Recorder adding that a similar rule was followed in the Inns of Court and Westminster Hall, where his own Order of the Bath gave him no precedence over his professional seniors. If, continued the learned gentleman, Cann was so ill advised as to carry his claim before the Privy Council, “it will expose us to the merriment and contempt of those who hear it”. But Cann remained impenetrable to argument, and unluckily he had by this time found a sympathiser and supporter in Robert Yeamans, who had been knighted in the previous month, and was even more petulant and impracticable than his colleague. On January Bth, 1664, the Common Council passed a lengthy ordinance, founded on the decision of the College of Heralds, declaring that precedency was regulated exclusively by seniority, “any dignity of knighthood or


baronetcy to the contrary notwithstanding”. Nevertheless, on February 9th, Sir Robert Yeamans, a man of a most irascible temper, scouted the Chamber's decree, and for contempt and incivility to the Mayor, refusing to wear his gown, and insulting the Aldermen, was ordered to be committed to Newgate, but escaped from the city before the sentence could be carried out. Cann, about the same date, raised a disturbance in church during service, in trying to maintain his claim. The two rebellious worthies had already resolved on carrying their complaints to the Crown, and now concocted a petition in which they insinuated that contempt had been shown to the King, by giving untitled Aldermen “and their wives” - a notable expression - precedency over the petitioners and their titled helpmates. (A suspicion that feminine vanity lurked at the bottom of the dispute has perhaps suggested itself to the experienced reader.) Furnished with this document, and having gained the co-operation of Sir Humphrey Hooke, who alleged in a petition that the King's honour would be eclipsed and his prerogative encroached upon if commoners were allowed to usurp the places due to men of title, the two knights made their way to Court, where they pressed their case so earnestly that, for a brief season, the thoughtless and easy-going King was inclined to decide in their favour, and sent down a mandate requiring the ordinance of the previous January to be remitted to the Privy Council “for rectification”. The Corporation, however, had also friends in high places, and finally the case came on for a solemn hearing before His Majesty in Council on February 24th. The issue was communicated to the Mayor by Secretary Bennet on the following day. The Privy Council ruled that, in all meetings of the civic body, knighthood was in no case to avail against seniority; and the same regulation was to apply to ladies when they assembled for a corporate function, such as occurred in London when the Lady Mayoress went to the Spittle - wives there taking their places according to the seniority of their husbands. On the other hand, in all indifferent places, where the Corporation were not solemnly represented, the knights and their wives were to have their rightful precedence. Being informed during the hearing that the two petitioners had absented themselves from their duties and countenanced disaffection, the Privy Council severely reprehended them, commanding them presently to return home and submit themselves to the Mayor for their disrespect to him and his office. The mortified gentlemen


thereupon departed, and at a meeting of the Chamber in March, Sir Robert Yeamans, after manifesting some refractoriness, took his place as fixed by seniority. In the following month, however, one of the mutineers contested the precedency of a sheriff when in the execution of his office, leading to a fresh complaint of the Mayor to the Government, and an irritated repetition by the Secretary of State of the royal decision. Discord nevertheless continued to rage for a year and a half. In a letter to Sir Robert Atkyns, dated “Sept. 10” (1665), Lord Clarendon, by the King's direction, desired him to examine earnestly into the disorders still going on, so that His Majesty might apply a remedy. “It is a very sad thing”, wrote the Lord Chancellor, “that from so ridiculous contention between women for place there should such furious animosities arise as threaten the very peace of the city”. The character of the incorrigible knights receives further illustration from an order of the Privy Council of October 25th, 1665, showing that the Mayor had again complained of their persistent misbehaviour in claiming illegal precedence, that Sir John Knight on behalf of the Corporation, together with Cann and Yeamans, had been summoned before the King in Council, that the whole case was heard over again, and that His Majesty gave peremptory orders that the custom of London should be followed in Bristol as well by the knights as by their wives. This seems to have terminated the protracted quarrel. A number of documents relating to the case are preserved amongst the State Papers. Sir Robert Yeamans, styled “of Redland”, was created a baronet in 1666. As he had rendered no services to the Government, but, on the contrary, given much trouble by his mutinous behaviour, it is probable that he had purchased one of the “blank warrants” already referred to. The lengthy squabble, and especially the masterful attitude of the ladies interested in it, appear to have afforded amusement to the West of England generally. In 1668, when Mr. Pepys was on the tour so graphically recorded in his Diary, he noted that the landlord of his inn at Salisbury “made us mighty merry at supper about manning the new ship at Bristol with none but men whose wives do master them; and it seems it is in reproach to some men of estate that this is become common talk”.

Robert Taunton, an organ builder, petitioned the Council for the freedom in May, 1662, and on the ground that there was no similar “artist” in the city, he was admitted at the


low fine of £5. Taunton, in the same year, made a contract with the Dean and Chapter of Wells to build “a well-tuned, useful and beautiful double organ” in their cathedral for the sum of £800. The Corporation were very capricious in fixing the fine for the freedom. In 1653. Richard Barlow, “gentleman”, paid no less than £100 on being admitted a free burgess.

The earliest evidence of the existence of a local Post Office is afforded by a letter preserved at the Museum and Library. It was despatched in August from Oxford and is addressed:- “This to be left at the Post-house in Bristol for my honoured landlord, Thomas Gore, Esquire, living at Barrow in Somerset. Post paid to London”. There being no direct post from Oxford to Bristol, a further postage of sixpence was demanded here. Evans mentions, in his Chronological History under 1663, a letter addressed:- “To Mr. John Hellier, at his house in Corn Street, in Bristol Citty”, from which it may be inferred that a postman was then employed for deliveries in the principal streets. This supposition is confirmed by a letter of 1670, now in the Baptist College, with the address:- “To . . . Mr. Terrill, at his house in Bristol. To be left with Mr. Mitchell, near the Post office”.

The Government were much disturbed during the summer by reports of alleged revolutionary designs by disaffected people in Bristol and Somerset. Instructions were sent down to the Deputy-Lieutenants to take precautions for the maintenance of law and order, but the early papers on the subject are missing at the Record Office. On July 12th, Sir Hugh Smyth, of Long Ashton, and Mr. Edward Phelipps informed Secretary Nicholas that they had discovered further disorders, and feared a great design to distract the nation. They had secured some suspicious persons, and desired orders to draw part of the militia into Taunton, as the discontented refused to pay all rates and taxes. On July 21st, Henry Creswick and William Colston, Deputy-Lieutenants of Bristol, addressing the same Minister, said they had deferred the muster of the militia until after the great fair, but in the meantime had ordered the trained bands to keep guard. On August 6th, Sir John Sydenham and Phelipps informed Nicholas that they had failed to make discoveries in Bristol owing to their agent being suspected, but many men had been committed till the assizes for talking of a coming change. On the same day a resident at Tormarton reported that every day there was rumour of rebellion, and that although men would buy land in the late


troubled times they would not do so now. He added that the militia were being called out to destroy “the tobacco planted here, which many are interested in”. The Secretary of State in the following month sent down the Duke of Ormond's deputation to the Mayor and others, with orders to settle the militia forthwith, and to prevent the designs of the disaffected, “of whom there are not a few in the city”. The Deputy-Lieutenants repeatedly expressed their determination to prevent wicked designs, and on December 17th they informed Secretary Bennet that they had discovered a dangerous plot for a general rising on January 1st, but hoped to apprehend the local conspirators. They feared mischief, however, from some officers of Customs who were engaged in the former rebellion. Two prisoners in Ilchester gaol next alleged that a fellow-prisoner, a suspected plotter,, had assured them that 2,000 men would rise in Somerset, and that fifty old army officers were lurking about Bristol and enlisting men for a revolt. Then an apothecary's servant in the city told a Government spy that 700 Bristolians had engaged to rise on January 1st; they met at Stapleton inn, and had money and arms enough. Similar information was received from the wife of one of the conspirators, the man having absconded when she threatened to betray the plot. Other letters report numerous arrests of suspected persons, some of whom were kept long in prison, but no satisfactory evidence could be obtained as to the ringleaders, whose designs were doubtless frustrated by the above disclosures.

The Council, in March, 1663, resolved that a new street should be laid out in the Marsh “from Weare's house to the Marsh Gate”, of which the almshouse of St. Nicholas's, parish, already mentioned, formed an original feature. The thoroughfare soon received the name of King Street, probably by an unrecorded order of the Council. The ground was let on leases for five lives, or for 41 years certain, at a reserved yearly rent of from 1s. to ls.6d. per foot of frontage. The lessees were placed under a covenant to erect uniform buildings, but they appear to have paid little regard to the engagement. A few fine examples of the original houses still remain.

The King, on March 24th, granted a charter to a number of noblemen and gentlemen, constituting them a corporation under the name of the Lords Proprietors of Carolina, for the settlement and government of that region of North America. Amongst the patentees were John Lord Berkeley and Sir


William Berkeley. By another charter of June, 1665, the Lords Proprietors were empowered to confer titles, build forts, and levy soldiers. Many changes subsequently took place in the body of patentees, and though no Bristolians took part in the government of the colony, a considerable local trade sprang up with the settlement. In 1728, when seven out of the eight existing lords surrendered their rights to the Crown on receiving £17,500, the only persons concerned in the assignment connected with this district were the executors of the Duke of Beaufort.

In the State Papers of July is a singular document entitled a “Statement and certificate” which sets forth that its author, Captain Fawns Urrey, had, in November, 1661, laid an information before the Mayor and Sir Hugh Smyth (Deputy-Lieutenants), averring that John Casbeard, of Bristol, had called the King an arrant tyrant, and declared that he would venture his blood against kingly rule. Whereupon, the information having been forwarded to the Government, Casbeard was arrested, carried up to Westminster and imprisoned, but was afterwards released without trial; when he came back to Bristol, caused Urrey to be arrested on an action for £10,000 damages, and kept him in Newgate for nearly twenty weeks. This document, which was doubtless a sort of begging letter addressed to the Government, indicates the perilous state of society at that period, when no one, however innocent, was safe against the malignity of an informer or of a private enemy. It is clear that Urrey could produce no evidence in support of his charge against Casbeard, and that the latter must have shown grounds for his action satisfactory to the authorities of the Tolzey Court.

In August, when it was announced that the King and Queen were about to visit Bath for the purpose of drinking the waters, the ultra-royal Corporation of Bristol became immediately solicitous to offer an entertainment to their Majesties. On August 24th, it was resolved to send a deputation to Bath to greet the 5royal visitors on their arrival, and invite them to this city; and, as a favourable response was anticipated, a committee was appointed to make fitting preparations for their reception. A serious difficulty, however, at once presented itself. The civic treasury was empty, the Corporation were struggling with financial embarrassments, and they do not appear to have ventured on applying to tradesmen for credit. Another meeting was therefore convened for the 28th, when loans


were solicited from individual members, with a promise of repayment and 5 per cent, interest. The Mayor headed the list with £180, and his son, William Cann, followed with £100. Alderman Knight subscribed £110, Aldermen Creswick, Lawford and Yeamans £60 each, and some twenty others various sums, from £50 to £25, the total reaching £1,150. Subsequently, another loan subscription was started for the special purpose of furnishing provisions for the intended banquet, when Thomas Speed and George Bishop, on behalf of the Quakers, offered £100, and Thomas Langton £50, other contributions bringing up the fund to £450. (This fund received additional help from the generosity of the Gloucestershire Society, who had laid in a large store of delicacies for their annual feast, but handed over the whole for the entertainment of the royal visitors.) The first outlay was for a present of wine and sugar, carried to their Majesties at Bath by the Mayor, when he went there with the civic invitation, and which appears to have cost £160. The liberality of the gift was calculated to smooth over difficulties, if any existed, and the King promised a visit on September 5th. Accordingly, on that day their Majesties, accompanied by the Duke and Duchess of York, the Duke of Monmouth, and Prince Rupert, and followed by a glittering crowd of courtiers, were received at Lawford's Gate by the Mayor and members of the Common Council, arrayed in scarlet, when the ancient ceremonies of surrendering and returning the Sword of State were gone through by the respective parties with the usual solemnity. The Recorder having next delivered an address breathing loyal congratulation and welcome, the royal procession started for the city, preceded on horse-back by the Mayor, bareheaded, carrying the State Sword. With judicious forethought, the Corporation had concealed all defects in the roadway by a plentiful covering of sand, and the cortege successfully made its way to the Great House at the south end of the Bridge, where a magnificent dinner was in readiness. After the banquet (it may be presumed, though the time of the incident is not recorded), the Mayor presented the Queen with a handsome purse containing 100 guineas of 22s. each, and was graciously thanked. A generous potation followed, an enormous quantity of wine, to the value of £120, having been provided with a thoughtful regard for the capacity of courtly revellers. The King showed his gratification by dubbing four knights, Aldermen Knight and Creswick, William


Cann, son of the Mayor, and Robert Atkyns, son of the Recorder. (Robert Yeamans, one of the Sheriffs, on being sent to Bath in the following week with a complimentary letter, received the same honour.) The Corporation had hoped that their Majesties would spend a night in the city. But neither the King nor Prince Rupert had any desire to revisit the scenes of their youth. The royal party, indeed, had no sooner done justice to the famous “Bristol milk” than they showed a manifest anxiety to depart, and left for Bath within four hours of their arrival, being sainted, as at their coming, by 150 great guns planted in the Marsh. The Corporation hired nine cooks to dress the dinner, and paid them £50 3s. for their services. Pewter dishes and platters were borrowed from seven tradesmen, who received £18 for the accommodation. Perhaps the item most characteristic of Stewart days is:- “Paid Francis Brown, one of the King's servants, for his fees, £36 6s.”

A letter from William Colston to Secretary Williamson, referring to the above visit, is in the Record Office. Writing on September 19th, the Alderman states that, having been injured by the overthrow of a coach - the first local mention of such a vehicle - he rode with much pain to Lawford's Gate to meet the King. He had prepared his own house for the reception of his correspondent, expecting that His Majesty would have made a longer stay. He had since been to Bath, where Mr. Godolphin reproved him for not offering expected civilities, but he gave the Secretary a horse-load of wines, as the King was to dine with him that day. The real object of the letter, as of several from the same hand amongst the State Papers, was to procure Williamson's help in removing difficulties encountered by Colston's youthful son, Richard, in securing the Consulship at Marseilles, the previous Consul refusing to quit his office. Richard got into possession soon afterwards, and held the post for many years, being eventually knighted for his services.

On September 9th, the local Commissioners for Subsidies, appointed by an Act of that year, consisting of the Mayor, the Sheriffs, four Aldermen and three Councillors, held a meeting to set about the duties confided to them. The Mayor opened the proceedings by producing a letter from the Privy Council, which is of some interest as well in a historical as in a local point of view. Addressing the Commissioners as “our very loving friends”, their lordships stated that, the supply for the King having been restored


to the ancient way of subsidies, with which, through long disuse, the public were unacquainted, it was thought proper to let them know that, though the tax was four shillings in the pound on land, and 2s. 8d. on goods, yet that men had not paid ordinarily above the twentieth part of these rates. The tax could not therefore press hardly on any one, but if it were not duly assessed it would not answer the required end. The Commissioners were therefore urged to order a just assessment and a faithful collection. No Commissioner or magistrate, who by law must have land of £20 yearly value, should be assessed for a less sum, as when such persons fairly rated themselves others would cheerfully bear their part. Such proceedings would also give the best proof of good affection, and deserve the King's thanks. Thus exhorted, the meeting appointed assessors for the several wards, who brought in their assessments in the following week, and the Commissioners then proceeded to the delicate task of assessing themselves and the ward assessors. Their decisions were truly remarkable. All the assessments were on goods, and two subsidies - nominally 5s. 4d. in the pound - were to be collected. The goods of the Mayor, Sir Robert Cann, a merchant of great wealth, were adjudged to be worth £10, and he was required to pay £2 13s. 4d. The goods of Sir Henry Creswick, Alderman Lawford and John Knight, three of the most prosperous men in the city, were assessed to be each of the value of £8; those of Sir Robert Yeamans and Sir John Knight were valued at £7; those of Sir Humphrey Hooke at £13, and those of Thomas Langton at £9. These were the plums in the dish. The other Commissioners modestly valued their entire wealth in goods at from £6 to £3 each. William Colston was assessed as being worth only £4. The assessors were, of course, treated with equal leniency; nearly all were assessed at £3 or £4, Andrew Hooke alone being rated on £8. The leading merchants and traders were also tenderly dealt with. Arthur Farmer was the only person assessed to pay on £10, and Richard Vickris was alone in paying on £9; the goods of all the rest were valued at from £8 downwards. It may be regarded as certain that the stocks of many of the above persons were valued at much less than a hundredth part of their value. In February 1664, when assessments had to be made for two more subsidies, the Privy Council sent down a letter expressing great surprise at the pitiful amount collected, which was below what had been returned in times


when the city was far less prosperous; and after plainly expressing their opinion that the Commissioners had acted with partiality, not merely to themselves, but to the chief inhabitants generally, their lordships asked for an improvement in the forthcoming collection. The missive, however, was quietly ignored, and the new assessments were almost invariably the same as before, though some half-dozen householders, assessed on £5 each, were added to the list. This farcical manner of dealing with the tax prevailed in every part of the Kingdom, with the result that each of the above subsidies produced only about a fourth of the amount raised by a subsidy a century earlier. This ancient form of taxation was thenceforth abandoned.

An incident apparently unprecedented at the time, and causing much excitement, occurred in September. Alderman John Pope was elected Mayor, but instead of accepting the honourable post, “he contemptuously and obstinately withdrew himself”, says the minute-book, “into secret places”, and could by no means be laid hold of. (The offender was a convert from Republicanism, and it is not impossible that the Royalists maliciously sought to force him into an office involving a heavy demand on his purse.) At a subsequent meeting the Council, professing much indignation, fined him £1,000, failing payment of which he was to be imprisoned in Newgate. He was also expelled from the aldermanic bench and from the Chamber, disfranchised as a free burgess, and ordered to be reputed thenceforth as a “foreigner”. Sir John Knight was elected chief magistrate. Pope, still in concealment, afterwards petitioned for a hearing, and a committee was appointed to confer with him, assuring him liberty to appear and return without molestation. In the result the culprit signed a bond for £2,000 as security for payment of the fine, but prayed an abatement, and the penalty was reduced to £100, which he paid. He was also re-admitted as a burgess, and later on the Chamberlain was ordered to refund £30 of the fine.

Renewed reports of disaffection and intended revolt in Bristol and the district alarmed the Government in October. In the State Papers is a document endorsed:- “Information concerning the Plot, sent from the Duke of Buckingham to His Majesty”, alleging that a rising was being prepared for October 13th, when 7,000 or 8,000 men were to surprise Bristol, with arms and ammunition for ten or twelve days, when they hoped to be masters of the country. Warning


was forthwith despatched to the deputy-lieutenants by Secretary Bennet (his letter is in the possession of the Rev. J.H. Way, of Henbury), and Bennet was informed by Sir Hugh Smyth on the 14th that two companies of foot would mount guard that night to secure the city, and that next day the regiment would be summoned, though it was imperfect. He and other deputy-lieutenants had been “much slighted by some of Bristol”. Sir Humphrey Hooke and his colleagues in the city despatched information as to their precautions on the same day, adding that they had arrested divers persons of ill principles, and asked for instructions for dealing with them, and power to levy contributions for the payment of soldiers. Further intelligence was sent up by Sir Thomas Bridges, of Keynsham, and Sir John Knight, whilst Alderman Cale, the ex-Mayor, seized the opportunity to forward some worthless papers respecting the plot of the previous year, which he had the effrontery to assert was defeated by his vigilance. The panic subsided soon afterwards.

There is some reason to believe that the alleged conspiracy had little other basis than the bitter complaints of injustice wrung from the Nonconformists by the oppression under which they were suffering. In despite of the King's pledges before his restoration, dissenting ministers were forbidden to preach, and their flocks were systematically persecuted by order of the Government. Sir John Knight, just become Mayor, assured Secretary Bennet in October that he would do his utmost to execute the King's pleasure against the sectaries, and had already committed Evans, an ejected minister, who, he wrote, was “the most dangerous Anabaptist that ever lived”. He might have added that he had sent another preacher to gaol to keep Evans company. At the following quarter sessions the two prisoners were charged with rioting, - that is, with having gathered more than five persons together, contrary to law, - and they were fined £60 each, and committed to Newgate in default of payment. After remaining in the loathsome prison for nine months, the Sheriffs liberated them on their friends paying 40s. for each. In emulation of the Mayor, Sir Hugh Smyth and Sir Thomas Bridges were harrying the numerous Quakers in North Somerset. Their usual course was to summon prominent Quakers, and command them to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. As the principles of the victims compelled them to refuse, they were forthwith committed to Ilchester gaol. The day after


the King's visit to Bristol, thirty-three of these sufferers petitioned His Majesty for relief, declaring that they were ruined by fines and imprisonment, and that the gaoler's cruelty exposed them to famish; while another Quaker, lying in Bristol gaol, gave the King a candid piece of his mind respecting royal excesses and wantonness, and reproached him with the blood of innocent men who had died, and were dying, in nasty dungeons. It will presently be seen that these cases were but a slight foreshadowing of the persecutions yet to come.

The efforts of the Common Council to procure a confirmation of the old city charters and the concession of additional privileges were recorded at page 306. After much delay, the chief purpose of which seems to have been to wring more money out of the applicants, a royal warrant for the coveted document was signed on December 26th, “for the satisfaction given by the late entertainment of the King and Queen”. The instrument, which did not receive the Great Seal until April 22nd, 1664, is of prodigious dimensions, and its cost was enormous. The Town Clerk, who appears to have stayed several months in London attending to its progress, had £400 remitted to him to keep greedy officials in good humour. There is also an item of £50 “remitted to London to be made use of”; and Sir John Knight, in addition to his “wages” as member of Parliament, was paid £426 6s. 8d. “disbursed for the city”. The Corporation would probably not have begrudged this outlay had it succeeded in its aims. But the new charter neither disfranchised the freemen nor conferred any of the additional privileges that had been solicited. It was, in fact, simply an unnecessary confirmation of existing rights, the only new feature being a clause levelled at Dissenters, requiring persons elected as Councillors to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy.

Sir John Knight had entered upon his mayoralty at Michaelmas with a determination to make it long memorable to Nonconformists. Raids on dissenting places of worship began in October, and his worship was able to inform the Privy Council on November 11th that he had dealt effectually with all the conventicles, and committed some of their leading supporters to prison; for which their lordships, on the 16th, returned him “hearty thanks”, praying him to continue his vigilance until he had secured all the principal heads of the faction, and made them give heavy bail to answer for their offences at the assizes. The


Mayor soon found a zealous coadjutor in Richard Streamer, one of the Sheriffs. The latter, on December 27th, received the Mayor's instructions to proceed to the Quakers' meeting-house, put a stop to the service, and apprehend some of the members. The directions were promptly obeyed, and the obnoxious oaths having been tendered to three leading Quakers, which they, of course, declined to take, Streamer ordered them off to prison. At this point, John Knight, the sugar refiner, commonly called “junior” to distinguish him from his cousin, the Mayor, offered himself as bail for those in custody, and, being rebuked by the Sheriff for his tenderness to sectaries, retorted upon the official, declaring that he valued him no more than his dog, boxed the ears of some one else, and ultimately drew his sword - a weapon still ordinarily worn by the upper classes. The Sheriff, greatly incensed, soon after complained to the deputy-lieutenants, asking that the Mayor might be rebuked for not treating his namesake with severity, and that the, latter should be arrested; whereupon the deputy-lieutenants wrote to Secretary Bennet for instructions, observing that the sugar refiner was a man of full fortune but violent passions. Streamer also besought the Government to punish Knight, and the choleric gentleman was haled before the King in Council in the following February, where, according to a letter of Secretary Bennet, “he had very severe reproof for his misbehaviour”, and matters would have “yet passed worse for him” if the Duke of Albemarle had not interposed, and represented his good services at the time of the Restoration. The Minister, in narrating these facts to the Mayor, added:- “His Majesty bade me tell you how much satisfied he is of your care of the good government of his city, and to thank you in his name for it”. Elated with this approval, the Mayor made preparations for a grand battle. It was well known that the Quakers held services in a large upstairs apartment in Broadmead (on the site of the present Broadmead Chapel) in the house of one Samuel Tovey. On Sunday, February 28th, 1664, his worship, accompanied by Sir Henry Creswick and others, repaired to this place, where about 300 Quakers were assembled, and commanded them to disperse. Several showing unwillingness to obey, fourteen of the more obstinate were arrested and sent to Newgate. On subsequent Sundays similar scenes took place at the chapels of the Baptists and Independents, after which the pastime was suspended for a while owing to the Mayor's departure


for London to fulfil his duties in Parliament. He there energetically supported the Conventicle Bill brought in by the Government, under which a person thrice convicted of attending a dissenting place of worship was subjected to transportation for seven years, with the confiscation of his property to defray the charge of his removal. Sir John, in expressing his delight at this provision, informed the House of Commons that he hoped to send 400 Quakers out of the land before the end of his mayoralty. The Bill having become law the jubilant knight returned to Bristol to carry out his intended policy, in which he had the assistance of a troop of cavalry, despatched by the Government on that especial service. Early in July, 200 Quakers, caught in their room in Brcadmead, were arrested. The man found preaching was sent to gaol for three months; all the rest were ordered to pay fines, and on the refusal of all except nine to produce the money, they were severally committed to prison for a month. A fortnight later the raid was repeated, but owing to the number lying in Newgate only 100 Quakers were assembled. An old acquaintance, Dennis Hollister, was captured on this occasion. Refusing to pay a fine of £4, he was sent to Newgate for six weeks; five others were condemned to a month's incarceration, and all the rest were convicted, but had their sentences respited in terrorem. On the three Sundays ending August 14th, the Mayor pursued his prey relentlessly, and committed about thirty, chiefly women, for a week, about forty for three weeks, and a great number for a month. In consequence of the multitude of victims, the condition of the prisons was appalling. Fifty-five women consigned to Bridewell, whose piety was their only offence, had but five beds to lie upon, and two died from the effects of the stench. A renewed onslaught was next made on the other conventicles, and the original Nonconformist body was so persistently harried that it was forced to abandon its meeting-place in the Friars, and assemble in the garrets or cellars of private houses. On one occasion the Mayor captured thirty-one gathered in this way, and consigned all of them to Bridewell for a month. Before the end of his mayoralty Sir John was entitled to boast that he had driven into filthy dungeons about 900 sufferers for conscience sake, who were forced to board with criminals of the vilest character. He was succeeded in the civic chair by Alderman John Lawford, who continued to break up the unlawful services, but generally committed only the persons


in whose houses the meetings took place. The outbreak of the Plague in 1665-6, and the moderation of Alderman Willoughby, then Mayor, put a temporary stop to the persecutions.

Evidence has been adduced from the State records that Sir John Knight, in pursuing the course just briefly described, was acting with the express encouragement of the Government, whose ostensible pretext for its policy was its anxiety for the promotion of religion and morality. Nothing need be said here respecting the dissoluteness of the Court, or of the “profane swearing fellows”, as Pepys terms them, who composed the bulk of the House of Commons and passed the intolerant Acts against Dissenters. But it is edifying to examine the character of the letters which a Secretary of State was addressing to the magistrates of Bristol whilst applauding their treatment of Quakers and others. Amongst the iniquities that arose after the Restoration was the introduction of fraudulent gambling establishments licensed by the Government. Gangs of knaves were empowered to prowl about the kingdom, setting up what they styled lotteries, and reaping enormous profits out of the credulous public, a portion of the spoil being handed over to high officials at Court to secure a continuance of the privilege. Secretary Williamson seems to have been deeply interested in those secret transactions, for letters in the Record Office show that he sent repeated requests to Bristol for magisterial sanction of the lotteries at the great local fairs. In reply to one of these missives, Alderman Cale promised to forward any of the lotteries except that called the Royal Oak, which he said “broke half the cashiers [people with cash] in Bristol” at its previous visit. But the Royal Oak swindle was one under Williamson's protection, and after being again pressed, Cale wrote a few days later that he had prevailed on the Mayor to sanction the Royal Oak lottery during Paul's fair, and that the leave might be extended, though when it was last in the city many young men ruined themselves, and his own son lost £60. In the following month Cale stated that the Mayor was anxious to comply with the Secretary's desire to have the lottery prolonged, but some of the Aldermen had opposed him. Rarely losing an opportunity to calumniate his colleagues, Cale, as he had done in the previous letter, prayed for the prosecution of John Knight (junior), who, he said, had gone to London, to join Sir Robert Cann and Sir Robert Yeamans, men of


similar bad principles, and enemies of the late King! The libeller sent up another dispatch to the same effect three days later. The Mayor next sought to curry favour with the Minister by acknowledging Williamson's letters on behalf of the lottery men, who had been permitted to practise for three weeks, and would, he said, be allowed to continue for some time longer. They were, he added, five months in the city in the previous year, though the cry of the poorer sort was great against them, and they were clearly against law. Williamson next requested still further license for the sharpers, and the Mayor, on February 24th, promised to “obey his commands”.

The predominance of the Royalists in local affairs was so complete that they found it necessary to seek excitement in hurling offensive charges against each other. Worthless as was the character of Alderman Cale, he was outrivalled as a calumniator by Richard Ellsworth, of apprentice fame. Writing to Secretary Bennet on February 15th, the Customer forwarded some papers alleged to have been obtained from one of the ruined Quakers, whom he had bribed, he said, to tell what passed at their meetings. He went on to assert, in defiance of facts already recorded, that owing to magisterial lack of vigilance, the sect was able to meet thrice a week in a house opposite to the Mayor's (in Temple Street), thus insinuating that Knight was not doing his duty. Some Quakers and Baptists had, he admitted, been sent to prison; but one of the Sheriffs had been so weak as to order the gaoler to let the chief culprits go abroad to take the air. This lenity he attributed to the prisoners being cherished by Sir Robert Cann, Sir Robert Yeamans and others. John Knight (junior) and Yeamans had moreover been active against the King, and were still abetting factions in the city. No doubt they would pretend that they were entitled to the credit of raising the apprentices in 1660, but “they had no hand in it”, the writer claiming all the glory of the riot as exclusively his own. In the following month, whilst the Mayor was harrying the Dissenters every Sunday, Ellsworth wrote again to the Secretary - obviously in the interest of a congenial libeller, the office-seeker Rycaut - denouncing his worship and the Town Clerk for disaffection. The cream of this correspondence, however, is to be found in Cale's petition to the King for the reversion of a Tellership of the Exchequer, one of the richest offices in the gift of the Crown. The application was founded on alleged losses


during the war, and on exertions to drive suspected persons out of the Corporation, by which the petitioner had “ contracted much envy and malice” - which was true in a sense that the writer did not mean to convey. In 1669 the Common Council pardoned a debt due from Cale, owing to his poverty, and granted him a yearly pension of £40 for life. After his death, in 1672, a pension of £30 was voted to his widow.

Unexpected information respecting the ancient hospital of St. Catherine, near Bedminster, has been found in the State Papers for April, 1664. One John Borcel petitioned the King to have the government of the hospital, with power to bring to account Francis Nevil, who, being Master of the place thirty years previously, had illegally demolished it, and converted the lands and goods to his own use. Annexed to the document is a report from the Archbishop of Canterbury in favour of the applicant. The King accordingly granted the Mastership to Borcel, together with all arrears due to the hospital. The petition was probably drawn up under false information, and its success can have been of little avail. The Nevil family held a grant of the estate from the Crown, and disposed of the site of the hospital to Sir Hugh Smyth so early as 1606. A glass-house and afterwards a saw-yard occupied the ground in the eighteenth century. Some of the ruined buildings were afterwards divided into miserable hovels, and eventually, in 1887, the site was entirely cleared previous to the construction of a vast tobacco manufactory.

Two ordinances passed by the Council in April raise a suspicion that grave irregularities had arisen in the local administration of justice. It was decreed that the Town Clerk and Under-Sheriff, under pain of forfeiting £100 each, should make arrangements for the regular holding of autumn assizes. Under the same penalty every Mayor for the time being was required to provide for the sitting of the court of quarter sessions, as “being of great concernment to good government”.

As has been remarked, the King's concession of a new charter had proved a bitter disappointment. The Corporation, in applying for it, had sought for power to compel wealthy inhabitants to become freemen, in order that they might be qualified for election as Councillors, and also to fine them heavily if they refused to serve; but these powers had not been conceded. Appeals for royal help were consequently made through private channels, and at a


meeting of the Privy Council on September 8th, their lordships drew up a letter to the Corporation, which was produced at a special meeting of the Cnamber, held in the Guildhall, preliminary to the annual elections. Evading the corporate desire to persecute non-freemen, the Government's language in reference to burgesses was satisfactory enough. Their lordships stated they had been informed that several persons of quality and ability, nominated Aldermen and Councillors, had refused to do His Majesty service in their places, to the great prejudice of good government, and that it was surmised they intended to again absent themselves at the approaching elections, to avoid being chosen to the chief offices. The King felt very sensible of such neglect and contempt, which might lead to the subversion of the civic body, and now expressly commanded that no one should presume to absent himself at the approaching elections, when more than ordinary care should be taken to choose men of integrity and ability, or refuse to take office if elected. The names of any wilfully disobeying this mandate were ordered to be sent up to the Government. Probably through dread as to the consequences of further resistance, nearly all those who had been elected Councillors, but had refused to take their seats, attended this meeting, and six of them, including John Knight (junior), Richard Hart, Alexander Jackson and John Aldworth, submitted, and took the oaths. Thomas Moore and Shershaw Cary prayed to be excused; and, on their appeal being rejected, flatly refused to swallow the test oaths. Joseph Creswick pleaded that he was not qualified, being a non-freeman, and declined to accept the freedom when offered to him. One more, Thomas Cale, was dismissed on his own petition. Alexander James, who had been elected an Alderman, did not appear, and was afterwards dismissed. The result of these proceedings was testified three days later, at the annual elections, the members on the roll having swollen to forty-eight, or five in excess of the legal number, and forty-five were actually present. It will be seen later on that the unreasoning perversity of the civic leaders on this point afforded the Government an unanswerable pretext for demanding the surrender of the city's liberties.

The Admiralty gave orders about this time for the building, at Bristol, of a royal frigate of fifty-two guns, to be named the St. Patrick. The first mention of this ship of war occurs in the State Papers of January, 1665, when one Adams, the naval agent, acquainted his employers of a


difficulty respecting anchors. Good iron from the Forest of Dean, he said, was procurable at £16 per ton, - equivalent in modern currency to about £50, - but the local blacksmiths would not contract for the great anchors, having no workshops fitted to make them. Perhaps the smiths had another reason for holding aloof, for Adams adds that they had asked how they would be paid if they undertook the work. Evidence will be produced hereafter as to the scandalous treatment of local shipbuilders by the Government of Charles II. A frigate was also being constructed at Lydney in 1665, and the naval agent there applied to the authorities for power to impress shipwrights at Bristol. In March, Sir William Coventry sent a letter to Pepys, Secretary to the Admiralty, eminently characteristic of the age. Sir John Knight, he wrote, had taken up the George, of Bristol, for the service of the Board, and as the ship would carry twenty guns she would need a good complement of men. “It will be a way to get volunteers in that sea, and being thus trepanned they can be used other ways”. Sir John Knight was then, and for several subsequent years, an active agent of the Admiralty, and was nearly always begging for money to carry out his instructions. On April 19th, he informed the Navy Board that the George had departed, with 226 able seamen; so that the trepanning had been successful. A week later, he reported that he had impressed many more sailors, but was afraid they would run away, as he had no place for their detention. A warrant to press four hundred additional seamen was sent to him in the following month. The Corporation, in March, having been informed that the Duke of Ormond, Lord High Steward, would soon arrive in the city on his way to Dublin as Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland, arranged that his grace should be suitably entertained in Sir Henry Creswick's mansion at the city's expense, and a committee was appointed to prepare for his reception. The Duke did not reach Bristol, however, until the end of August. After receiving a royal salute, his grace descended at the Council House, where the city fathers, arrayed in scarlet, were assembled to do him honour. A mighty entertainment followed, the outlay on which exceeded £150. Westphalian hams and tongues, specially sent for from London, were novel and costly items of the banquet, while as regards liquor, including a separate provision for the ducal retinue, about two hundred gallons of wine were purchased and doubtless consumed. From references to the state of the Corporation to be found in


preceding pages, it is not surprising to learn from Ormond's biographer that the Duke discovered the city to be “ divided into factions, and ready to break out into tumults”. He consequently prolonged his visit for four days with the object of conciliating the hostile cliques - probably with little success. He then departed, via Gloucester, for Milford Haven.

Owing to the scarcity and high price of corn, the exportation of grain was temporarily prohibited, but licenses to evade the royal order could generally be obtained “for a consideration”. William Colston, writing to Secretary Williamson in February, prayed for a permit for his small ship, The Angel Gabriel, which he wished to despatch with a grain cargo to Portugal; and bluntly offered the Minister £10 to have the license quickly. Some delay occurring - perhaps Williamson was looking for a larger gratification - Colston fired off a second letter, hoping that he would not be denied the favour of sending a ship of eight men, when others had been granted leave to despatch vessels of thirty men. The Secretary's reply is missing. It will be noticed that Mr. Colston had named his little bark after the famous Bristol vessel of the then popular ballad (see p.99).

Some interesting facts respecting a renewed dispute between the Levant Company of London and the Merchant Venturers' Society of Bristol occur about this time in the minutes of the Privy Council. As is mentioned in page 65, the Levant Company claimed a monopoly of trade in Eastern Europe, but were required by the Government in 1618 to permit Bristolians “on trial for three years” to import a small quantity of dried fruit, on paying a royalty of 6s. 8d. per ton. For some unknown reason, the London confederacy took no further steps in the matter, permitting the Bristol merchants to continue their traffic, without any restriction as to its dimensions, and even neglecting to demand the royalty reserved to them. Suddenly, in the spring of 1665, when local commerce with the fruit islands had largely developed, the Levant Company made vehement complaints to the Privy Council against those invasions on the monopoly, and their lordships ordered the Mayor of Bristol, on April 28th, to give notice to those concerned to appear before them in the following month. The Merchants Society, apparently in much alarm, petitioned for further time to defend themselves, and from various causes, especially from the interruption of Council meetings during the Great Plague, the matter was not brought to a hearing until


May 23rd, 1666, by which time the Merchant Venturers had recovered their courage, and stoutly pleaded their chartered privileges. The case of the respective parties was heard before the King himself, and, after a deliberation, the Council pronounced a formal order that no impositions should thenceforth be demanded by the Levant Company from any Bristol merchants trading to Venice or Zante, for the goods of those places only. Although this decree debarred Bristolians from Turkey, they hailed it with intense satisfaction as a signal triumph over their grasping rivals.

The terrible pestilence known as the Great Plague broke out in London in December, 1664, but does not appear to have excited much local apprehension until the following June, when, in view of the approaching St. James's fair, the Corporation appealed to the Privy Council for a proclamation prohibiting its being held during the current year, and by dint of spending £24 in gratuities at Court the required order was secured. On the 19th the Chamber passed a series of resolutions in the hope of barring out the disease. All the householders in turn were to keep watch and ward at the entrances to the city, armed with halberts. No Londoner was to be admitted unless he brought a certificate of health, and goods sent from the capital were to be aired thirty days before passing through the Gates. But there is no evidence that anything was attempted of a sanitary character. Towards the close of the year the scourge was fatally prevalent in Bedminster and in the suburb outside Lawiord's Gate; and the Council, in great alarm, ordered that a Pest House should be constructed near Baptist Mills on some land known by the strange name of Forlorn Hope. The “filthiness of the streets” is now admitted in the minute-book, which contains an order for the removal of vast heaps of noisome refuse in eight different parishes. Isolated cases of plague occurred in Horse Street, Pile Street, Tucker Street, Redcliff Street, and St. Philips parish, the infected families being severally shut up in their houses, or removed to the Pest House, and supplied with food. A rate was levied monthly on the citizens for these purposes, and a considerable sum was also contributed by the Chamber. A Privy Council order was afterwards issued forbidding the holding of St. Paul's fair. The epidemic lingered on until the following summer. In April, 1666, the Corporation ordered the levying of £460 by a rate for relieving necessitous families suffering from the


infection, and another rate for the same purpose was ordered in August. The total mortality due to the pestilence is not recorded. In reference to the Plague in London, an account has been preserved of the funds subscribed in provincial towns and sent up for the relief of poor families. The total amount was £1,258, of which Bristol contributed £205, Exeter £222, and Taunton £155.

Owing to the decay of the Navy under the restored monarchy, ruinous losses were sustained by Bristol merchants during the war with Holland. There are many papers on the subject in the Record Office. Sir John Knight, writing to the Navy Board in July, reported that five more ships belonging to the port had been captured, at a loss to the citizens of £30,000. Hardly a ship, he added, escaped the enemy. On the other hand, the almost total suspension of business in London, caused by the long- continued pestilence, gave a marked impetus to local commerce. In September, a fleet of twenty-four Bristol ships was expected home from Virginia, and in November a letter sent to London reported that thirty merchantmen had just sailed from the Avon for the West Indies, and that half as many more would follow in a few days. In July, 1666, letters to Secretary Williamson announced the safe arrival of the Bristol fleets from Virginia and Barbadoes, the former embracing nineteen ships laden with tobacco and four with sugar and cotton, while the latter comprised thirteen vessels, chiefly laden with sugar. The writer added that they were in time for the fair, and rejoiced the town, which had lately sustained so heavy a loss in the capture of the Nevis ships, worth £50,000. (No other record of this disaster has been found, but there is a note that six Barbadoes ships were lost about the same time.) The Customs duties derived from the above arrivals amounted to what was then regarded as the stupendous sum of £30,000. In October the Secretary was informed by a Bridgwater correspondent that the Bristol merchants were making vast profits on their imports, having taken advantage of the destruction of London stocks by the great fire to demand exorbitant prices. A Bristol letter of the same month stated that thirty ships were preparing to return to Virginia and Barbadoes, but would carry slender cargoes, Bristol goods being bought so cheap and selling so dear that a small quantity brought in a large return.

Notwithstanding the purification of the Common Council from Puritan elements, the Government seem to have put


little trust in the test oaths that had been imposed on the members, and, probably with the help of Ellsworth, kept a vigilant eye on local affairs. A few days before the annual elections, the King, through Lord Arlington, sent down a mandate expressing his displeasure at the contrivances of disaffected persons to disturb the good government of the city, and requested that men of fidelity might be chosen as officers, and especially that the Mayor should be selected from the aldermanic body, and not from the councillors. The Chamber, of course, obeyed, and placed Alderman Willoughby in the civic chair on September 15th.

On the following day, at quarter sessions, seven of the Aldermen, Messrs. Lawford, Willoughby, Creswick, Locke, Sandy and Morgan, and Sir John Knight, were able to manifest the “good affection, prudence and fidelity” so much esteemed by the King. Six men and three women were indicted for having taken part in Nonconformist services, after having been twice before convicted of the same crime. After being found guilty, the Recorder, as chairman of the Court, condemned them to be transported to Barbadoes for the term of seven years, with a warning that, if they escaped and returned to England, and did not pay down £100 each for such offence, they would be hanged as felons, with confiscation of goods. A warrant, ordering the proper officer to embark the prisoners forthwith on board ship, was then signed by the justices. A copy of this order is preserved at the Council House. There is reason to believe that some of these victims escaped the tender mercies of the law. In the Colonial State Papers is a singular document, dated January 7th, 1665 (the new year then began in March), entitled a “certificate”, signed by eight of the crew of the ship Mary Fortune, of Bristol. It states that in December three Quakers were brought to their ship for transportation, but that the writers durst not carry away innocent persons, and were persuaded the King did not wish to make void the Act that Englishmen should not be carried abroad without their own consent. Moreover, there was a law in Barbadoes forbidding persons to be brought there against their wills, and requiring them to be carried home again. They had, therefore, put these men ashore. How the tars were treated for this honourable insubordination does not appear.

By an order of the Common Council, the ancient Court Leet of the city, which had been discontinued for many years, was revived in October. A sitting took place in each


ward, and complaints were made in the form of presentments. One of the juries bestowed practical approval on the ducking-stool, for the Chamberlain was presented for not keeping it in repair. The same official was also censured for neglecting the two “washing slips” near the Weir - that is, the places where women gathered to wash clothes by the river-side, a practice still common in French country towns. A man living in or near Castle Street was presented for roofing his house with thatch. At the Court held in 1666 two men were presented for having made haystacks at the back of their houses - one in Hallier Lane (Nelson Street), and the other in the Old Market. In All Saints' ward, four men were presented for selling “coffey” and ale without a license - the first mention of coffee-houses, afterwards very common. The churchwardens of All Saints' were complained of “for not mending the place where the play is in Christmas Street, being very much decayed” - the only explanation of which seems to be that some building for theatrical purposes had been erected there. The roadway in Castle Street was pronounced to be ruinous and deep in filth through the neglect of the Chamberlain, while Sir John Knight and Mr. Colston were presented for defective pitching in front of their property.

Excepting only the poll-tax, the impost known as hearth money was the most unpopular ever sanctioned by Parliament. The duty was leviable upon every dwelling that had more than two chimneys, and the rapacious men who “farmed” it were entitled to enter houses whenever they had a suspicion that fire-places were concealed, and to seize even the bed of a labourer if he refused, or was unable, to pay the tax on demand. In spite of the notorious brutality of the collectors, the Government invariably supported the farmers in their efforts to increase their profits. In November, 1665, the Privy Council addressed a letter to the Mayor and Aldermen, complaining that some of the justices (who had power to grant certificates of exemption in certain cases) made undue use of this privilege to favour people liable to the duty, wherewith His Majesty was much dissatisfied, and required amendment for the future. The answer of the magistrates is not recorded; but at a later period their worships sent a long letter to the Privy Council, stating that they had given the utmost assistance in securing payment of the tax, but that the farmer and his officers had exacted it from persons clearly exempt, seizing even the miserable chattels of people begging from door to door, and


the working tools of poor labourers. They had proposed to the farmer that a return should be drawn up of all houses liable to pay, and of those free from the duty, but this was not complied with; lists were brought in by the officers that included many exempt dwellings, and the Clerk of the Peace had been menaced for refusing to return them to the Exchequer. “The cry of the poor is so great that we are inforced to lay their complaints before your honours”. The justices concluded by hoping that the compassion shown to the poor of some other places would be extended to those of this city; but there is no evidence that relief was afforded. In September, 1667, a local agent of the Government informed Secretary Williamson that the collectors caused much murmuring by purposely going to demand the tax when they knew persons were from home, breaking into their houses, seizing goods, and then making the owners pay double duty to redeem them. They had, he added, so served the Dean of Bristol (Dr. Glemham), when he was dining with the Mayor. In 1671 one of the civic sergeants - a miserably paid class of men - had his furniture seized for nonpayment of the tax, and happening to have the Sword-bearer's state apparel in his custody, the Chamberlain was forced to come to the rescue.

The Lord's Day being much profaned by barbers shaving their customers, an ordinance was passed in November prohibiting the practice, a penalty of £10 being imposed on every master, and one of £5 on every journeyman, detected in the commission of this profanity. Any master allowing his apprentice to shave on Sunday was to be fined £5 for each offence.

About 120 Dutchmen, doubtless captured in the victory over the Dutch fleet in June, were brought here towards the close of the year, and were lodged in the crypt under Redcliff church, or possibly in a portion of the great caverns still existing in that locality. The Corporation was thrifty in providing for their accommodation, a load of straw and fifty bed mats, costing £4 7s. 8d., being all that was furnished. No charge for food is recorded. The men were immured in this dungeon until the following April, when £18 were disbursed for conveying them to Chepstow Castle.

On Christmas Day, a number of Quaker tradesmen thought proper to manifest their principles, or, as Secretary Williamson's correspondent put it, “to shew their contempt of authority”, by keeping open their places of


business. Some soldiers of Lord Oxford's regiment, however, were stationed in the city, and dealt with them so brutally that they lost no time in bringing their manifestation to a close. The news was forwarded to the Minister as an excellent joke. The real character of the pleasantry is revealed in a record of the persecuted sect, which states that three of the tradesmen were tied neck and heels, with heavy weights laid on their backs, and were not released until the punishment threatened to end in their murder.

During the year, Mr. Marmaduke Rawdon, a York merchant, made a tour in the West of England - then a very unusual enterprise - and kept an interesting diary of his experiences, which was reproduced by the late Camden Society. Of Bristol he wrote:- “In this city are many proper men, but very few handsome women, and most of them ill-bred; being generally, men and women, very proud, not affable to strangers, but rather much admiring themselves; so that an ordinary fellow who is but a freeman of Bristol, conceits himself to be as grave as a senator of Rome, and very sparing of his hat, insomuch that their preachers have told them of it in the pulpit. They use in the city most sleds to carry their goods, and the drivers such rude people that they will have their horses upon a stranger's back before he be aware”. Mr. Rawdon stayed about five weeks in the district owing to the Plague raging in London, and must have been a person of some reputation, as he was entertained by the Sheriffs, the Collector of Customs, and several “gentlemen and merchants of quality”. Before leaving, he gave a parting feast to all his friends at the then noted Star tavern.

A letter from the Privy Council to the Mayor and Aldermen, dated February 8th, 1666, announced that, in consequence of the outbreak of war with France, the Government required powerful and speedy supplies of seamen. The justices were therefore directed to procure the names and addresses of every sailor, and of every able man that had formerly gone to sea, and to deliver such lists to the Press Masters, to the end that on those officers leaving a shilling at the house of an absent seaman, the man should be deemed impressed, and compelled to serve. Any one absenting himself on his return home was to be sent to prison. Another royal mandate was issued on February 14th, setting forth that the Parliament in voting a supply had permitted the raising of part of the money by way of loans, a course which the King now recommended


to the Mayor, asking him to promote subscriptions, which should be repaid. The Council appointed a committee to further this service. Its proceedings are not recorded, but references to the matter in the corporate books show that the bulk, if not the whole, of the money collected was not raised by voluntary subscriptions, but was levied by forced rates upon all the householders. The sum demanded was £200 monthly, and was exacted for three years. Of this amount, omitting shillings and pence, St. Nicholas's parish contributed £30; St. Thomas' £26, St. Stephen's and St. James' £14 each, and the other parishes smaller amounts, the least being St. Ewen's and St. Philip's which each paid £3 a month. The burden, coming as an addition to the rates for relieving the poor and the Plague-stricken, was so onerous that many inhabitants sought to evade it by removing into the country; but the Council promptly announced, through the bellman, that no one should be allowed to depart without giving security for the payment of the imposts,

The yearly proclamations of the Protectorate Government prohibiting the culture of tobacco in the West of England continued to be issued after the Restoration, but as before were ineffectual. In March the Privy Council, in a letter to the Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, stated that, from information received, the quantity of the root then growing in the county was greater than in any previous year, and that some of the cultivators, in resisting the King's officers, had declared they would rather lose their lives than obey the law. The Lord-Lieutenant was ordered to make use of the militia to reduce the mutineers, and was promised the assistance of a troop of cavalry. A despatch was sent on the same day to the judges of assize at Gloucester, urging them to see the law put in execution, and to censure the local magistrates for their remissness. As the Council issued similar orders in the following year, it is clear that the cultivation was still unchecked, to the great annoyance of Bristol merchants interested in the American trade, who naturally disliked home competition. In the State Papers of August, 1667, is a representation to the Government from local firms respecting this grievance, pointing out imperfections in the Act prohibiting domestic culture. The plant, it was alleged, was grown throughout Gloucestershire, even on the estates of magistrates, whose interest forbade them to interfere, as they received half the profits in the shape of rent. Probably in response to this


appeal for more vigorous measures, a considerable body of the King's guards was sent down to assist in the destruction of the plantations.

On April 3rd, the Common Council, on the petition of John Harvy, stone-cutter, who offered to present the city with a statue of the King, admitted him as a freeman, provided he gave a bond “not to paynt any work but his own proper work”, from which it might be inferred that he was really a painter. The Chamberlain subsequently paid £1 for erecting the figure in the Tolzey, and £2 5s. for “work done about it”. In course of time, Mr. Harvy repented of his generosity, for in June, 1668, upon his petition, the Council ordered £15 to be paid to him “for the King's effigies”. This poor pieces, of statuary, which one of the King's mistresses is said to have condemned as “more like a great clumsy porter” than His Majesty, is still preserved in the Guildhall.

Amongst the State Papers in May is an account of the time spent in carrying the mails on the chief routes throughout the country. Although the speed fixed by the Government for the post-boys was seven miles an hour in the summer months, the actual rate attained on the Bristol, Chester and York roads was only four miles, and was half a mile less on the Gloucester and Plymouth routes. An appended note states that a man spent seventeen or eighteen hours in riding from Winchester to Southampton! In December, Lord Arlington complained to the postal authorities that the King's letters from Bristol and other towns were delayed from ten to fourteen hours beyond the proper time, and ordered that the postmasters should be threatened with dismissal unless they reformed. No improvement, however, was effected for more than half a century.

Francis Baylie, the builder of the frigate St. Patrick, succeeded in launching the ship from the Marsh early in May. Some rejoicing took place on the occasion, the Corporation inviting many of the country gentry to witness the spectacle, and liberally entertained them. (The frigate was taken in the following January by two Dutch privateers.) The St. David frigate, of 64 guns, built at Lydney, ought to have been finished about the same time, but the builder could obtain neither money nor materials from the Government, and complained that the keel would be rotten before the ship was completed. She was, however, launched in the following year, and was brought.


down to Kingroad to be fitted, but lay long unfinished, the workmen vainly clamouring for wages. The builder informed the Admiralty in July that he was unable to relieve the distress of his family, whilst the poor shipwrights were being daily thrown into prison for debt, and everyone was upon him for money. Upwards of 500 sailors were impressed in Bristol to man this and other vessels.

A piece of sharp practice on the part of the Corporation of Bath came to the ears of the Bristol authorities in June, although, singularly enough, the only reference to the matter has been found in the minutes of the Privy Council. On June 27th their lordships received a petition from the Corporation, stating that they had received information that the civic body at Bath had secretly instigated “some few clothiers” to memorialise the King, praying for the removal for the present year of St. James's fair from Bristol to Bath, alleging the prevalence of Plague in the former city. This assertion was stigmatised as false, no fresh case of the disease having occurred for ten days, while none were suffering from it except those immured in a remote Pest House. A number of other reasons were adduced against any interference with ancient privileges, and the Privy Council at once gave orders that the fair should be held at the usual place.

After an interval of inactivity, the Common Council in September began a new crusade against the “foreigners” carrying on trade within the city. A stranger who had ventured to open a shop in Castle Street was ordered to pay £5 “for his contempt”, but the money was never recovered. An ordinance was also fulminated against all interloping persons carrying on arts and trades, setting forth that divers persons by subtle and sinister means were “defrauding the charters”, to the great hurt of the freemen, and ordaining that after Michaelmas Day no such intruders should offer or sell any wares whatsoever, or use any art, trade or handicraft in any house or shop, on pain of forfeiting £20 for each offence, one third of which was to be given to the informer. Persons bringing in victuals, or selling fire-wood in St. Thomas's Market, were alone exempted from the decree. In February, 1667, the magistrates, acting upon an older ordinance, which the Merchants' Society had urgently prayed the Council to put in execution, took vigorous action. A ship belonging to strangers (probably London men) had brought in a cargo of sugar and molasses, some of which, instead of being carried to the


Back Hall, according to local law, had been sold by a Londoner and put on board a Swansea vessel. The justices, deciding that these goods were “foreign bought and foreign sold”, ordered the Sheriffs to seize them forthwith, and to defend any action brought for their recovery at the expense of the city.

A great panic occurred at the Council House in September, through the outbreak of a fire in the adjoining house, standing at the corner of Broad and Corn Streets. The Chamberlain munificently distributed half a crown amongst “those that did help me down with the books and boxes out of my office”, and bestowed twenty shillings' worth of liquor upon some “that took extraordinary pains to quench the fire”, which fortunately did little damage.

At a meeting of the Council in November, it was announced that Sir Henry Creswick, who had sued the Corporation, and obtained judgment, for money advanced by him, apparently many years before, had distrained upon several citizens to recover his claim. The Chamber, which seems to have made no defence to the action, now proposed that the matter should be settled by arbitration, to which Creswick consented, and William Colston and Isaac Morgan were appointed arbitrators. From some unexplained cause this arrangement broke down, and three months later Creswick obtained a decree in Chancery for the payment of £134 and costs. A new reference to umpires followed, and the Corporation finally paid £160 in full of all demands.

Disaffection was still very prevalent in the West of England, and the state of public feeling in Bristol and Somerset was especially disquieting to the Court. In the State Papers is a letter written by Richard Dutton, an old Cavalier, to Colonel Pigott, reporting that on December 4th a party of horse had marched towards Bristol, through the town where he lived, two miles from the city, and that on the Mayor and deputy-lieutenants being apprised, the inns were searched for suspicious persons. He added that the city was so disaffected that there were not sufficient active honest persons to make the search effectual. He knew only of himself and three others out of 20,000 in the town who had served the late King as general officers. The inhabitants, he added, should not be left to do as they pleased, without a good guard of soldiers.

On January 23rd, 1667, the Privy Council considered a petition of “Thomas Thomas and all other booksellers and paper sellers in Bristol”, stating that the stoppage of the


importation of paper from France, owing to the war, had caused great hindrance to trade, and praying that they might have a license for two small vessels to bring paper from Normandy. Their lordships thought the request reasonable, and authorized the Duke of York to issue the license. Except coarse material for packing purposes, no paper was then made in England; and in 1688 the expedition of the Prince of Orange brought with it the Dutch paper upon which the Deliverer's proclamations were printed at Exeter. Thanks to Huguenot emigrants, paper mills were opened in this country in 1690.

An unexampled humiliation to England - the triumphant entrance of the Dutch fleet into the Medway - was little calculated to increase the popularity of the Government. On June 17th, 1677, the Mayor (Sir Thomas Langton), Sir Henry Creswick and William Colston, addressing Secretary Williamson, narrated the steps they had taken on learning of the disaster. The militia had been put in a good posture, and all letters coming by post addressed to persons suspected of disloyalty had been opened, in the hope of making discoveries. One of these missives was enclosed. It was from a man named Mansell, in London, to Hugh Parry, merchant, Bristol Castle, and stated that at present “the great business must lie dormant. There is such a general exclamation against two great men that it is not safe for them to go about the streets”. Parry was examined by the magistrates, but nothing could be extracted from him.

As it was notorious that the calamitous state of the Navy was due to the profligate extravagance of the King, the moment was not a favourable one for placing money unreservedly in his hands. On July 9th, however, a royal letter was laid before the Common Council, in which the danger of the country and the necessity of defensive measures were adduced as reasons which should inspire all loyal subjects to make a voluntary liberal offer of what they could afford, by way of loan. A subscription was opened, but the Council displayed little enthusiasm. The Mayor and Sir Henry Creswick gave £50 each, Sir John Knight £100, and five others contributed £100 amongst them. The rest held aloof. How the appeal was received by the citizens does not appear.

Several fires having occurred since the alarm at the Tolzey, and the appalling devastation of London having struck general terror, the Council were moved to renew the often revived and always neglected ordinance for the provision of


a plentiful supply of water buckets. In August, for better preservation from fire, and for the apprehension of disorderly persons, it was resolved that the night watchmen should be discharged, and their duties imposed upon the householders personally, by turns. The resolution had hardly been passed before it was found to be unworkable. Early in September the old system was re-established, and able-bodied householders were offered the alternative of watching in person or providing a substitute as their turn of duty came round. A few months later, it was discovered that many members of the Council had ignored the order for fire buckets, whereupon the Swordbearer was ordered to make a general visitation, and to inform against defaulters. In November, 1668, the Chamber resolved on the purchase of another fire engine, and gave orders for a profuse supply of buckets, it being determined that the Corporation should provide 70, the Parochial Vestries 208, the Dean and Chapter 24, and the Trading Companies 146, whilst requisitions for several hundreds more were made on the principal inhabitants. As soon as the alarm subsided, the resolution was treated as so much waste paper.

A curious example of the practice of kidnapping human beings for transportation to America is recorded in the minutes of the Court of Aldermen in July. The justices note that one Dinah Black had lived for five years as servant to Dorothy Smith, and had been baptised, and wished to live under the teaching of the Gospel; yet her mistress had recently caused her to be put aboard a ship, to be conveyed to the plantations. Complaint having been made. Black had been rescued, but her mistress (who had doubtless sold her) refused to take her back; and it was therefore ordered that she should be free to earn her living until the case was heard at the next quarter sessions. The Sessions Book has perished. From the peculiar manner in which she is described, it may be assumed that Dinah was a negro woman captured on the African coast, and had lived as a slave in Bristol.

The malicious disposition of Richard Ellsworth has been noticed in previous pages. At this period his evil nature induced him to cast insinuations against the honesty of Sir John Knight, who, whatever might be thought of his treatment of Dissenters, enjoyed a high reputation for probity and capacity as a man of business, and was frequently employed as an agent of the Admiralty. Ellsworth's earlier calumnies against Sir John have been lost,


but on July 31st he informed Secretary Williamson that he was enabled to confirm his previous hints. If, he adds, Sir John holds shares with the buyers of the King's prizes, which he will not deny that he does, there is great suspicion that his appraisements will be too low. This is all he is able to adduce in support of his charges, and he concludes by praying that he be not named as the informer, as that would render him incapable of doing further service. The Navy Board appear to have disregarded the libeller, for Knight continued to act as their agent both at Bristol and Plymouth.

intelligence of a serious disaster arrived from Virginia in August. Nine Bristol ships and nine other English vessels, together with a royal frigate, had been attacked in the James River by a large Dutch man-of-war, and completely destroyed, inflicting a heavy loss on local merchants and shipowners. A richly laden fleet from Barbadoes arrived safely in Kingroad a few months later; but one of the ship, the Royal Charles, belonging to Bristolians, capsized in Broad Pill, and all the cargo, save some cotton and wool, was practically lost.

The possession of a unique statue of Charles II. being insufficient to satisfy the Council's admiration of his most religious Majesty, an order was given to William Starre, arms painter, for a suitable portrait to adorn the Council Chamber. Mr. Starre received £4 10s. in November for his production. After this art treasure had been enjoyed for seven years, a house-painter was paid £8 “for gilding his Majesty's picture”, meaning presumably the frame. The work is still in the Council House.

The important character of Bristol trade with Newfoundland and the Peninsula is shown by a petition presented to the Privy Council on December 6th on behalf of the Merchants' Society and several local shipowners. The petitioners, in praying for the better protection of Newfoundland against the French and Dutch cruisers, who threatened to destroy their trade, asserted that the Customs duties paid at Bristol on the wine, oil, and fruit brought in from Spain, Portugal and Italy, in exchange for the fish they carried to those countries, amounted to £40,000 yearly.

A few days later, the Privy Council were called on to consider the griefs of another party of Bristol merchants. These applicants stated that during the late war with the Dutch the enemy had captured six of their ships laden with 3,300 hogsheads of tobacco in 1665 and 1666, while in 1667


nine ships, with 6,003 hogsheads, had been taken and burnt in the James River disaster. On all this tobacco an impost of 2s. 3d. per hhd. had been levied by the Governor of Virginia, - professedly for the erection of fortifications, though no such works had been built, - and the petitioners prayed that the money might be refunded. The Council promised an inquiry, but there is no evidence that relief was afforded. In November, 1670, Sir John Knight asserted in the House of Commons that of the 6,000 tons of shipping possessed by Bristol, one half was employed in the importation of tobacco.

During the year, the members of the Quaker congregation worshipping in the upstairs room in Broadmead, mentioned in previous notes, resolved on building a large meeting-house “on the ground”. A difference of opinion having arisen as to the most eligible site, the matter was decided by the casting of lots, and the choice fell upon Dennis Hollister's property - the remains of the old Dominican Friary. Whilst the chapel was under construction, the society made an agreement with the porter of Newgate, whereby he was paid 5s. quarterly “for his pains and love in opening the Crate to Friends” attending service on Sundays. This payment continued until 1708. A school for the children of poor members was established in 1668, the master's yearly salary being fixed at £10. The new chapel was opened in 1670, when the house in Broadmead was abandoned; but it was purchased and occupied in 1671 by the Baptists, who subsequently erected Broadmead Chapel on the site. Another Quaker meeting-house was built about 1670 in Temple Street.

The crusade against “foreigners” was still being pursued. In December, the Council was informed that one Walter, a cook and freeman, had been “colouring” (buying or selling) strangers' goods, alleging them to be his own, whereon he was at once disfranchised; the Chamberlain was ordered to shut down his shop windows; and the bell-man was instructed to proclaim his offence up and down the streets, especially at his shop door. On humbly petitioning for pardon, he was re-admitted a freeman on paying a fine of £15. A similar case occurred in the following year, when the offended escaped banishment by paying £5.

An amended ordinance for the regulation of the Carpenters' Company, passed during the year, shows that a marked improvement had taken place in wages since the


middle of the century, when a workman never received more than 1s. per day. It was now ordered that a master carpenter should have 2s., a journeyman or oldest apprentice 1s. 8d., and a younger apprentice 1s. 4d. daily. No one was “to presume to give any greater wages than as aforesaid, upon pain to be proceeded against according to law”, which excites a suspicion that wages were still advancing. The hours of labour were fixed at from 6 or 6 o'clock in the morning until 7 at night, with intervals for breakfast and dinner. Any joiner presuming to undertake carpenter's work was to be fined 10s.

Another trade ordinance was issued by the justices in January, 1668. It set forth that the Company of Innholders, existing time out of mind, obtained from the Crown in 1606 a confirmation of their privileges, whereby certain houses were declared to be inns and ostrys, and no others were permitted. But there being a house outside Temple Gate called the George, commodious for men and horses, and trade to and from the city having increased, it was ordered, at the request of the Company, that the house should be allowed as an inn or ostry, provided the occupier were a freeman, and the Company gave sureties for his payment of the customary duties.

It has been already stated that a pair of stocks was maintained in every parish for the punishment of drunkards and others. In consequence of complaints, the magistrates, in March, issued peremptory orders to the vestries of St. Stephen's and St. Peter's for the reparation of these terrors to evil-doers.

The Council, in April, dealt sharply with one John Wathers, apothecary, who, although entitled to the freedom, had never taken the oath of a burgess, and had unlawfully kept open shop for twelve years. For this enormity he was fined £20, and his shop was ordered to be shut up until he paid the money. A man who had served eight years' apprenticeship to Wathers, and was ignorant of his irregularity, was denied the freedom until he paid a fine of £5. At the same meeting, a Councillor named Haynes was released from the Chamber and freed from holding any office, on payment of £100.

In the State Papers of April is a proposal made to the Government by Richard Ellsworth, offering to prosecute a Bill in Parliament for suppressing deceits in the making of cloth, as petitioned for, he alleged, by the merchants of Bristol. In compensation for this service, in promoting


which, he asserted, he had travelled 600 miles and spent a year's labour, he modestly requested the gift of three blank warrants for the creation of baronetcies, to be sold at his discretion. His proposal was not entertained. As a matter of fact, his repeated journeys to London were due to his being engaged as agent by the Merchant Venturers in their suit for a new charter, for which he was no doubt bountifully rewarded by his employers. He renewed his application to the Ministry in 1670, but was again rebuffed. Pehaps to silence him, he received the honour of knighthood.

An interesting item occurs in the Chamberlain's accounts in May:- “Paid Thomas Chatterton, mason, for work done about Redcliff horse-pool” [in the moat, near Redcliff Gate], £5 5s. 8d. William and John, sons of Thomas, were admitted freemen in 1681. Both of them were masons, and William was occasionally employed by the Corporation. John is probably the man who was sexton of Redcliff Church in 1734, and if so was grandfather of the poet.

On June 13th, the quaint diarist, Samuel Pepys, then on a tour in the West of England with his wife and retinue, paid a brief visit to the city, hiring a coach for the purpose at Bath to save his horses. He was set down at the Horse Shoe, a posting house, where he was “trimmed” by a handsome barber for 2s. and then repaired to the Sun inn. “The city”, he notes, “is in every respect another London, that one can hardly know it to stand in the country. No carts, it standing generally on vaults, only dog carts” - at which he marvelled. From the quay, which he described as “a most large and noble place”, he proceeded to inspect the fine man-of-war then being built by Baylie in the Marsh. Before his return, Mrs. Pepys' too pretty maid, Willett, otherwise “Deb”, a Bristol girl, had sought out her uncle Butt, whom Pepys found to be “a sober merchant, very good company, and so like one of our sober, wealthy London merchants as pleased me mightily”. Mr. Butt took the visitors to his “substantial good house, well furnished”, and after Deb had been joyfully welcomed by her family, the host “gave us good entertainment of strawberries, a whole venison pasty, and plenty of brave wine and above all Bristol milk”. After a little more sight-seeing, the party returned to Bath by moonlight, the badness of the road being noted both in coming and going.

It will be remembered that in the early years of the century the Corporation were accustomed to bestow


gratuities on travelling companies of players for the entertainments they afforded. The position had become singularly inverted in 1668, when the authorities, instead of rewarding the visitors, demanded money for allowing them to perform. In July, a man named Devottee was “ permitted to show his play at the fair on paying 50s.”, and one Cosley had leave “to dance upon the ropes, paying 40s”.

On learning that Lord Arlington, Secretary of State, was about to visit Bath, the Council resolved, in July, to make him a present “in acknowledgment of his services to the city”. The gift consisted of three hogsheads of wine - sack, claret, and French white wine- the cost of which was £39. The Chamberlain and two others escorted the consignment to Bath, laying out 6s. for the hire of three horses, and 23s. for the use of a waggon.

The ship of war Edgar, of nearly 1,100 tons burden, and pierced for 70 guns, was launched on July 29th, from Baylie's yard in the Marsh. The size of the vessel greatly exceeded that of any previously built in Bristol, and the ceremony, which took place in the presence of the members of the Corporation, is said to have attracted upwards of 20,000 spectators, many of whom were attending the great fair.

Early in September, the civic magnates were thrown into some consternation by the unforeseen arrival, from Bath, of the Duchess of Monmouth, one of the most distinguished personages at Court. Being unprepared to give her a fitting reception, the authorities hurriedly provided her grace with a “banquet of sweetmeats” and about 80 gallons of wine, the former costing £9 13s. 8d., and the latter £20. Part of this feast was laid out at the house of Mr. Hurne, vintner, on St. Michael's Hill, where the Mayor offered his respects; and a second entertainment took place at Mr. Streamer's residence in Corn Street, where the Mayoress was in attendance. The Duchess having had her frolic, the civic dignitaries gravely escorted her as far as Castle Street, and thankfully bade her farewell.

Two remarkable funerals took place during the autumn. On October 6th, the body of Sir Henry Creswick was interred in St. Werburgh's Church with great ceremony, the pall being supported by six knights - an unexampled occurrence. Pompous funerals were at this period always held at night. A month later, Captain George Bishop, one of the local Puritan leaders during the Civil War, and afterwards a prominent Quaker, was buried in the Friends' Cemetery


at Redcliff Pit. A correspondent acquainted Secretary Williamson that the attendance was greater than he had ever seen at a funeral, and it is probable that the occasion was seized by Nonconformists to demonstrate their strength in despite of persecution.

How imperfectly the civic minute-book was often kept is illustrated by an entry in March, 1669. Orders must have been given at some previous meeting for the recovery of fines due from members for non-attendance, for the minute states that distraints were then proceeding against “many” gentlemen, and that further fines had been incurred, and a few paid. It was resolved that, “in hopes of better conformity for the future”, the distresses should be withdrawn, the fines forgiven, and those paid refunded. The only mention of such fines for several previous years is a record of 6s. 8d. imposed on, and paid by, Alderman Hicks, who once left the Chamber in a passion without leave, and came back again in a cloak instead of his gown.

The Government, in July, granted a license to Sir Robert Cann to transport fifty horses for service on his plantations in Barbadoes. Few negroes having been shipped to the West Indies at this period, horses, and still oftener mules, were largely employed in cultivation, and exports of these animals are frequently recorded.

In 1544, just three years after the suppression of St James's Priory, the estates and monastic buildings of that convent were granted by Henry VIII. to Henry Brayne, a London tailor, for the pitiful consideration of £667. Brayne, who was one of a busy gang of church-plunder brokers, established himself in Bristol, and converted the refectory, dormitory, and other apartments of the monks into what was styled a “capital mansion or manor house”, with extensive gardens and outbuildings, the premises extending from the great gateway nearly fronting the east end of Lewin's Mead to a pound and smaller gate at the east end of what is now St. James's Barton. In 1579, after the deaths of Brayne and his son, the property, with the other priory estates, was divided by agreement between the husbands of his two daughters, Sir Charles Somerset and Mr. George Winter; and as both those gentlemen had country seats the vast mansion house was soon abandoned, afterwards alienated, and greatly altered to fit it for trading purposes. From a deed in the Council House it would appear that the eastern half of the premises, apportioned to Somerset, had come into the possession of Henry Hobson, a wealthy


innkeeper (Mayor in 1632), previous to 1637, when the “barton” was still really a farmyard, and Stokes Croft was a pasture. At what date Winter disposed of the western moiety, comprising the state rooms of the mansion, has not been discovered; but in 1666 it belonged to William Davis, a Bristol merchant, and John Teague, of London, who then sold it to Thomas Ellis, another local merchant. Like two other imposing dwellings in the city - the Great House in St. Augustine's and the mansion behind St. Peter's Church - Brayne's place had already been converted into a sugar refinery, and was let on lease at £90 per annum. A deed of September, 1669, when £800 were borrowed by Ellis on mortgage, gives a description of the estate, which shows its great extent and the transformations that had been effected. Mention is made of a messuage, three gardens, an orchard, a sugar refinery and warehouses, all held under the above lease; a tenement and court at the western gate, then called Whitsun Court; two plots called the Cherry Garden and the Liquorice Garden, and a number of other buildings, with two gardens, occupied by various tenants; “all or most of which premises”, says the deed, “are built upon part of the ground whereon the mansion house of St. James formerly stood”. In 1660, Hobson's grandson raised a mortgage on that part of Brayne's dwelling once possessed by Somerset, and this deed speaks of the great parlour, the little parlour, and a number of chambers and galleries. It may be added that in 1898, when the Tramways Company constructed extensive stabling on part of the site, relics of what were supposed to have been the great cloisters, and some fragments of ancient effigies, were disinterred by the workmen.

A royal proclamation commanding magistrates to strictly put in force the penal laws against Dissenters was issued during the autumn of 1669, but a Bristol letter sent to Secretary Williamson laments that it had produced little effect. One of the obnoxious preachers, indeed, had been sent to gaol, but he preached through the grating at Newgate, and large crowds flocked to hear him. George Fox was again in Bristol at this time, and was married at the Quakers' meeting-house on October 18th to the remarkable woman, Margaret Fell, already referred to as exercising a strange influence over Charles II.

A victory of the Bristol merchants over the Levant Company, in reference to the dried fruit trade, was recorded at page 332. The Privy Council books show, however, that the decision was not accepted by the Company, who entered


a caveat against it, and threatened further legal action. In the State Papers for October, 1669, is a report of a Government committee on the renewed dispute between the two parties, the Londoners having complained that Bristolians were violating the exclusive rights of trading conferred on the Levant Company by charter. No doubt through a secret understanding, another London confederacy, the Hamburg Company, raised a simultaneous lament over the intrusions of Bristol merchants into the trade with northern Germany - a happy hunting-ground which the complainants alleged to be exclusively their own. As was usual in those days, both bodies of monopolists asserted that they would be ruined if their rights were ignored. Oddly enough, however, both the corporations offered to admit Bristolians into their companies, the Hamburg clique on payment of 20 marks and those of the Levant on the receipt of £25 a head. The Privy Council held numerous meetings to consider the subject, and probably there was much secret negotiating at Court. At length the Merchant Venturers insisted on the right of freedom of trade conferred on them by Edward VI., and the Levant Company were compelled to withdraw their pretensions, a course which was doubtless followed by the Hamburg Company, for their claims were never revived.

An interesting ceremony took place in September. Down to this date the thoroughfare now known as Christmas Steps was merely a break-neck footpath, very perilous to passengers in winter weather and dark nights. The improvement of the track had been undertaken early in the year by the directions and at the expense of Jonathan Blackwell, a wealthy vintner, who, as already noted, had removed to the city of London, of which he was now an Alderman. A calendar in the Council House describes the alterations made by his orders:- “Going up, there is steps, on the last of which there is a turned style, or whirligig, over which there is a lantern; then about 100 feet pitched; and then steps, with a court with six seats on each side; and then steps and a turnstyle like the former”: a statement which disposes of the fable about the “sedilia” having been constructed as begging stations for the mendicant Friars. The new thoroughfare was opened by the Mayor and the members of the Corporation, who went in solemn procession for the purpose, and the place was called Queen Street, perhaps at Blackwell's request. The position of the “sedilia” has been twice greatly altered during the present century.


At the quarter sessions in October, the grand jury drew up a very lengthy presentment on local grievances, throwing some light on the then existing state of society. Amongst the diversified evils demanding a remedy, much was said of the “horrid impiety” of Sabbath profanation, of the prevailing gross immorality, of the frauds of traders in using unjust weights and measures, of the extortions of the Mayor's and Sheriffs' officers, of the unruliness and recklessness of hauliers, of the filth that many householders allowed to accumulate at their doors, of the darkness and dangers of the streets by night, of the Corporation's shortcomings in dealing with charity funds and neglectful treatment of nuisances both in the city and the harbour, of the rudeness and exactions of porters, of the excessive number of alehouses, and of the abuses committed in many inns and victualling houses. But the jury were especially eloquent on the loss and injury suffered by freemen from the dealings of “one foreigner with another” in the city, in defiance of law. The only action taken by the authorities on any of these subjects appears in a minute of the Court of Aldermen in December, forbidding a man from exercising the art of a worsted comber, and from employing non-freemen in that trade. The Council soon afterwards forbade porters and hauliers from moving the goods of foreigners except to or from the Back Hall, and the shops of one or two strangers were peremptorily ordered to be “shut down”.

The Shrove-tide gambols of the youths of the city have not been mentioned since they were turned to account by the Royalists in 1660. Public opinion had somewhat changed in the meantime, and juvenile disorders were no longer applauded. A Government agent, writing to Secretary Williamson on February 19th, 1670, says:- “The apprentices of Bristol took more than ordinary liberty on Tuesday last, and at night met together with staves and clubs, intending to fight, but were prevented by the Mayor, who persuaded them to depart. He prevailed with most, but some, being abusive, were sent to gaol, which aroused some resentment; and about 60 or 60 were up on Wednesday and Thursday nights, threatening to force the others' freedom; but Sir Robert [Yeamans] and some officers dispersed them. Had it not been for his great vigilance, mischief would have been done”. More serious symptoms of discontent will be mentioned presently.

The first foreshadowing of what was to be eventually known as Queen Square appears in the following minute of


a Council meeting in March:- “Towards discharging the heavy debts of the Corporation, ordered that the Mayor and Surveyors view the void ground in the Marsh, and consider how it may be leased in plots for the uniform building of houses by persons willing to accept leases of the same for five lives. Reserved rent, 12d. per foot at the least for the frontage”. For some unexplained cause, the project was suffered to sleep for more than a quarter of a century.

The office of Haven Master was created at the above meeting, “for the better preservation of the harbour and the prevention of abuses daily committed there”. John Jones was elected to the post, with a salary of £20 a year.

The Government, dissatisfied with the working of the Conventicle Acts, procured the passing, in 1670, of a still more drastic measure for crushing the Dissenters, who, to the exceeding wrath of their enemies, had visibly increased under persecution. On May 21st, the Mayor, addressing Lord Arlington in a letter now in the Record Office, encloses a copy of an anonymous pamphlet “of dangerous consequences”, and narrates what he had done under the new statute:- “I have committed some, and imposed fines, &c., and shall use my utmost skill to prosecute the Act; but the numerous criminals of the several sects seem obstinate to tire out the magistracy, as well as affront them by threats, so that the face of things has a bad aspect. The factious party are more numerous than the loyal, and unite, though of different persuasions, and seem so discontented that little less than rebellion is to be read in their faces”. Truly a remarkable contrast to the outburst of enthusiasm ten years previously, on the revival of the monarchy. In the opinion of the Mayor even the Aldermen of the purified Corporation were no longer trustworthy. Some of them had absented themselves that day from the Tolzey (whilst his worship was dealing with a large troop of the sectaries), “so that I fear they retain some of the leaven of the bad old times”. A letter to Secretary Williamson from his local agent is to much the same effect. The face of things, he wrote, looked scurvily; the factions were united and spoke treason in parables; they scoffed at the justices' efforts to put the Acts in operation, and uttered veiled threats as to the danger of disobliging them. Subsequent letters assert that the parish constables refused to perform the duties imposed on them by the Act (a statement confirmed by the Mayor), and that the conventicles were still being held as usual. Informers,


it was added, were much needed, so many stratagems being used by the sectaries in making trap-doors and back outlets to their meeting-houses that they often escaped before the officers could find an entrance. Bishop Ironside, however, supplied this want by hiring a gang of spies, who attended the services in order to identify those present. A London newsletter of June 14th states that the King in Council had just given orders for the pulling down of the seats and pulpits in all the meeting-houses in London, Bristol, and other places. This process not sufficing to drive away the worshippers, the buildings were systematically broken into and the hearers carried to prison. Finally the magistrates locked up the chapels, and surrounded them by the trained bands, forcing the congregations to gather in suburban lanes and fields. Williamson's informant wrote in September that many distresses had been levied on the furniture of the fanatics, but nobody would buy the goods distrained. On September 14th the King in Council was informed that on Sunday, the 4th, the Quakers, who had met in the street since their meeting-house was seized for the King, had boldly gone to the building and broken open the doors four times, for which sixteen of them had been sent to gaol by the magistrates. The justices, however, stated that they were unable to suppress the sect owing to their tricks and rural gatherings. The Privy Council desired the Recorder to inquire and report, apparently without result.

It is evident that these proceedings, however they might be applauded by extreme partisans, gave great offence to moderate-minded citizens. As if to show disapproval of Sir Robert Yeamans' conduct as chief magistrate, the Council, in September, passing over an Alderman who in the ordinary course would have succeeded to the civic chair, and also two of his colleagues next in seniority, elected as Mayor Mr. John Knight, the sugar-refiner, whose sympathy with the persecuted sects has been already recorded. The choice of the Chamber threw Sir John Knight into transports of indignation. In a letter to Secretary Williamson, he angrily urged that the King should order the election to be annulled, and begged that a mandate to that effect should be sent down before Michaelmas Day, otherwise “the person” elected would be sworn in. This letter, which is among the State Papers, is a mild affair compared with a furious tirade which was addressed to the Privy Council, in which Sir John denounced his cousin, the Mayor, and the majority of the Common


Council as “fanatics” - that is, Dissenters. Even Sir Robert Yeamans was included in the wrathful indictment. The latter had been requested, before the voting took place, to read the King's former directions for the selection of an Alderman as Mayor, but he had refused to do so, and thus the sugar-refiner had been chosen by a majority of two. The Privy Council on September 20th lent a ready ear to these allegations. Lord Arlington was directed to send a demand in the King's name for an immediate convocation of the civic body and the election to the chair of one of the Aldermen. The Common Council, however, showed unexampled spirit by ignoring the royal behests. No second election took place, and Mr. Knight was duly sworn in as Mayor on September 29th. Moreover, on October 4th, at a special meeting, the Chamber directed the Mayor and Aldermen to draw up a memorial to the King, setting forth the facts, and praying for a gracious interpretation of what had been done. Their worships were further instructed to select fit persons to present the petition, and to “make answer in defence of the privileges of the city” - a covert protest against regal dictation which must have increased the irritation of the courtly minority. The firmness of the Council was applauded by the public, and at the following quarter sessions the grand jury formally thanked the bench for the choice, as chief magistrate, of a “worthy person”, whose good services to both the King and the city were referred to in laudatory terms. Sir John Knight was not, however, discouraged. Having gone up to London, he laid fresh charges against Sir Robert Yeamans and the Mayor, and both the alleged offenders were summoned before the Privy Council, and, it is said, were detained in custody. At this point the records of the Privy Council and the statements of local writers become hopelessly irreconcilable. According to the former, Yeamans and his accuser were confronted before His Majesty on February 10th, when, after a full hearing, His Majesty, “having regard to the good character he had received of Mr. John Knight, was pleased to overlook the fault committed at his election, but ordered that his instructions should be faithfully obeyed in future”, whilst Yeamans was curtly dismissed; whereby the whole affair would seem to have come to an end. But this was certainly not the case, for nearly a month later (March 6th), the Mayor being still unreleased, the Common Council drew up a “Remonstrance”, in modern language a declaration, as to his


unexceptionable qualifications and deportment as well before as since his election, especially eulogising his sober life, peaceable disposition, sterling loyalty, devotion to the Church, and general ability and wisdom in public affairs. In despite of this certificate, which was presented to the King, the unfortunate Mayor, did not obtain liberty to depart from London until the middle of April. The affair naturally caused much local excitement, and gave rise to two significant demonstrations. Sir Robert Yeamans, who returned to Bristol soon after his discharge, was met outside Lawford's Gate by 220 gentlemen on horseback, who cordially welcomed him, and conducted him to his house amidst the cheering of the citizens. The long detention of the Mayor evoked still more general sympathy, and on April 20th he was met in a similar manner by 235 horse-men, and had a joyful public reception. It was now the turn of the accuser to make a reappearance. He had not been forced, as a chronicler avers, to beg the King's pardon on his knees for his wrongful accusations, but though he still had many influential partisans, neither he nor they were prepared to invite a popular manifestation. Sir John accordingly arrived in a private manner at Lawford's Gate, avoided the main streets by taking the ferry at Temple Back, and so slunk to his neighbouring mansion to digest his discomfiture.

A singular revival of ecclesiastical pretensions occurred at this time. In a petition to the Common Council, the Master and Company of Barber Chirurgeons complained of the proceedings taken against them by the Chancellor of the diocese, Henry Jones, for practising chirurgery without having obtained his license, although, say the petitioners, they were one of the ancientest sub-incorporations in the city, and had never taken licenses from any Chancellor. The Council in September, 1670, ordered that any action taken by the meddlesome official should be defended by the Corporation. Mr Jones, who had raised an obsolete claim in the hope of extorting fees, then beat a judicious retreat.

The state of Kingswood Chase had not improved in the hands of Sir Baynham Throckmorton. Secretary Williamson's local agent reported in September that several of the cottagers had been indicted “for their tricks” at Gloucester sessions, but that, when the sheriff's officers came to arrest them, 300 or 400 met riotously at the call of a trumpet and drum, and beat the officers severely. Two days later he announced that the cottagers had driven out Sir Baynham


and all his staff, so that the tumult was over. He then narrated the story of the Chase, much as it is given in a previous page. The cottages and coal works, he said, had been increased by the self-styled proprietors, and 800 families were living there without any means of subsistence. On the same day, Sir John Newton, of Barrs Court, whose repudiation of his predecessor's undertaking to surrender two-thirds of his “liberty” has been already noted, and whose personal unscrupulousness comes out in many documents, wrote to the Secretary in defence of the cottagers, impudently asserting that the violence had been all on the side of the ranger and sheriff's officers, some of whom, he characteristically added, “were formerly in the rebellion”. The Government directed Sir Robert Atkyns, Recorder, to inquire into and report upon the subject, but the issue of his labours cannot be found.

Sir William Penn, perhaps the most distinguished Bristolian of the century, died on September 16th at his seat in Essex, in his fiftieth year. His body, by his own directions, was brought to his native city for interment by the side of his mother in St. Mary Redcliff. His remains lay in state in the Guildhall until October 3rd, when they were conveyed to the grave with much heraldic pomp, the trained bands being mustered to guard the route. The Corporation, having a long-standing grudge against the gallant admiral, forebore from taking any part in the proceedings.

After having suspended the issue of small tokens for several years, the Corporation about this time put in circulation a number of “Bristol farthings”, struck from two dies showing slight variations, but both bearing the date 1670. No reference to these coins is to be found in the civic accounts, and it is clear that they were circulated without the sanction of the Government, for at a Council meeting on October 3rd, the Chamberlain announced the receipt of information that a Quo Warranto was suspected to be preparing against the Corporation for unlawfully stamping and issuing the farthings. As the matter does not turn up again, the Corporation apparently succeeded in obtaining forgiveness from the Ministry.

Notwithstanding the elaborate ordinance of 1668 for maintaining adequate protection against fires, the grand jury at the October sessions emphatically protested that the provisions were illusory. A sugar-refinery in Redcliff Street had recently burst into flame, threatening wide


destruction owing to the force of the wind, but no buckets were forthcoming until after a long delay, and “scarce one was sound”. The jury offered various suggestions on the subject, one of which was that the Corporation should keep a stock of torches for such emergencies, as “candles could not be kept lighted” during the late calamity.

The minutes of the annual Court Leet for St. Stephen's parish are somewhat puzzling, and do not say much for the qualifications of the scribe. The jury “present John Keemis, cooper, not fit to sell ale, having no child; he keeps a tapster which is no freeman that have a wife and child”. “We present Richard Rooke, shipwright, not fit to sell ale, having no child, and brews themselves”. A barber surgeon was also pronounced disqualified to keep a pot-house, having no child, “and also for entertaining a strange maid which is sick”.

A “charity school” - the first parochial institution of that kind in the city - was founded in St. Nicholas's parish in or about 1670. Very little is known of its subsequent history. In 1835 it was held in the upper room of a house in Nicholas' Street, where the master lodged free of charge, with a salary of £20, the pupils then numbering only ten boys and ten girls.

M. Jorevin de Rochefort, Treasurer of France, made a European tour in the reign of Charles II., and published his experiences in a work of seven volumes, the first of which appeared in 1672. The sixth contains an account of this city, which he visited in or about 1670. Bristol, he stated, was the third city in England, and the best port after London, and was situated in a mountainous country. The Bridge was covered with houses and shops, kept by the richest merchants. Much puzzled by the churches standing on the old city walls, the traveller described St. Nicholas's Gate as a grand arcade sustaining a little church, and forming the entrance to several fine streets. He lodged with a Fleming, and was well treated, man and horse, for two shillings a day, living being cheap in England, provided little wine were drunk. Like Mr. Rawdon, already mentioned, he was taken to Hungroad to see the great ships lying there, and to the Marsh, well shaded with trees, and the favourite promenade of the citizens. His Flemish host had formerly entertained a priest, who said Mass secretly, but this had been discovered and forbidden, so that a Mass could not be heard in the city, though many Catholics, Flemish, French, Spanish, and Portuguese,


frequented the port. The traveller left on his way to “Glochester”, managing “to enter into the mountains” before he passed “Stableton” and “Embrok”. A little later in his tour, whilst at Worcester, M. Jorevin noted the prevalence of tobacco smoking. “Supper being finished”, he says, “they set on the table half a dozen pipes, and a packet of tobacco for smoking, which is a general custom amongst women as well as men, who think that without tobacco one cannot live in England, because they say it dissipates the humours of the brain”. He goes on to allege that smoking was common amongst schoolboys in that neighbourhood. A Swiss gentleman named Muralt, who wrote a description of English manners towards the end of the century, seems to have seen nothing in London that surprised him more than the spectacle of clergymen seated in all the inns and coffee-houses, with long pipes in their mouths.

The purchase by the Corporation of certain fee-farm rents from the Government of the Commonwealth, and the precipitate surrender of them to the King in 1660, have been noted in previous pages. The Council, in June, 1671, resolved upon another transaction in these securities. Two Acts of Parliament having been passed empowering the Government to dispose of a multitude of Crown rents of this character, it was resolved that the fee-farms issuing out of the corporate estates and from the lands of various city charities should be forthwith secured. It was easier to pass such a resolution than to carry it into effect, for the purchase money amounted to nearly £3,000, and the Corporation were already deeply in debt. However, it was further ordered that certain chief rents, payable to the city, should be sold at not less than 18 years' purchase, and that the remainder of the required sum should be raised by loans, to which the members of the Council were requested to contribute, and nearly £1,000 were subscribed in the Chamber. The sales to tenants were insignificant, and practically the whole of the purchase money - £2,989 - was raised by borrowing. The bargain was a profitable one to the Corporation, who obtained a number of small fee-farm rents, amounting to £29 14s. 6¾d., at 16½ years' purchase; others, amounting to £72 8s. 11d., at 16 years' purchase, and the fee-farms of the borough and Castle, together £182 10s. (subject to the life interest of Queen Catherine), at 8 years' purchase.

The King, in November, nominated Guy Carleton, D.D.,


Dean of Carlisle, to the bishopric of Bristol, in succession to Dr. Gilbert Ironside, who died in the previous September, and was one of the few Bishops interred in the cathedral. At the beginning of the Civil War, Carleton, though already in middle age, quitted his clerical preferments for the camp, adopted the language and habits of the roystering Cavaliers, and took an active part in the field, being once captured in an engagement. His promotion to the episcopate was due, partly to his military services, partly to his ability to sustain the dignity independent of the income of the see, which did not exceed £300, but mainly, it was alleged, because an iron-fisted prelate was needed to deal with the Bristol “fanatics”. In the last respect, though 76 years of age, he must have satisfied his patrons, for the whips of Ironside were endurable compared with Carleton's scorpions. The new Bishop was allowed to retain one of the “golden prebends” in Durham Cathedral, and a well-endowed rectory in the same county.

OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in August & September 2013.

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