The Annals of Bristol in the Eighteenth Century

By John Latimer

Author of ‘Annals of Bristol in the Nineteenth Century’.

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013


Mr. Dallaway, in one of his essays on local antiquities, expressed his sorrow at being unable to conjure up, for the benefit of his contemporaries, a vivid picture of Bristol in the time of William Worcester. A similar regret may be acknowledged that a perfect description of the city and its inhabitants about two hundred years ago is not to be obtained from the materials now available. Those materials consist, for the most part, of scattered fragments, gleaned from various records, and their combination will leave much of the following sketch to be filled in by the help of the reader's imagination. Imperfect as may be the result, it will at least serve to indicate the material and social progress that was made during the eighteenth century, and to render its annals more interesting and intelligible.

It may be observed in the first place that between the Middle-Age picture sighed for by Mr. Dallaway, and that of which the outlines are about to be drawn, the difference in substance must have been practically trivial. Town life in England marked a slight progress at the darkest periods of history; but it is certain that the Bristol of 1700 bore a far closer resemblance to the Bristol of the Plantagenets than it did to the city of the present day. A few great monastic edifices had disappeared, and the massive Norman castle that long frowned over the town had been, like the feudal institutions it represented, swept away. But in other outward respects there was little changed. The city was still surrounded by walls, and entrance could be effected only through the ancient gates of Redcliff, Temple, Newgate, and the rest. The High Cross, one of the most striking local erections of the Middle Ages, held its original place at the junction of the four leading thoroughfares, and had just


been repaired, gilded, and painted, at an expense denoting the honour in which it was held. The obscurity, narrowness, and intricacy of the streets, many of which are now fairly represented by the unaltered part of Maryleport Street, had undergone no improvement. The picturesque old bridge, with its double row of houses, between which the stream of traffic struggled painfully, was still one of the sights of the city. The muddy tide surged backwards and forwards twice a day in the Avon and the Froom, upon which rivers the local government, supremely indifferent to sanitary details down to the close of the seventeenth century, threw the functions of common sewers. “Washing places”, such as may still be seen in continental towns, were maintained on the sides of the Froom for housewives of the labouring class, and were used at ebb-tide just as William Worcester described two centuries before. With the exception of the new streets that had recently sprung up on the site of the Castle, the extent of the town was almost unchanged. The increased population, whatever was its amount, had occasioned no proportionate increase of area. The circuit of the defences, with the ancient extensions around St. James's Church and the Cathedral, sufficed for the accommodation of the inhabitants. Saving half a dozen houses edging what is now called Park Row - then the only carriage road to Clifton Church - and a few cottages in Frog Lane, the slope of ground extending from the Royal Fort to the harbour was occupied by orchards, fields, and gardens. Stoke's Croft was a rural promenade, having fields on either side, and was sheltered from the summer sun by rows of trees. Kingsdown was literally a down, ramblers on which beheld a “grove” of church steeples on the one hand and stretches of pasture land and orchards on the other. More to the west, the city-ended near St. Michael's Church and at College Green. Clifton “on the hill” was divided into about a dozen dairy farms, separated here and there by unenclosed common, gay with furze blossom. A single mansion, the Manor House, stood near the church, and another in Clifton Wood. Around them straggled a few cottages, the inmates of which earned a little money from the parish by killing the foxes, polecats, and hedgehogs that strayed from the downs into the cultivated fields. Even in the low-lying district, although a few lodging-houses had sprung up for the accommodation of visitors to the Hot Well, the road from College Green, until far into the century, ran between gardens, dotted at intervals by houses. Bedminster was


even more isolated than Clifton. Ogilby, in his Road-book dated 1698, stated that a clear space of half a mile separated the city from the village. As may be seen from Buck's view of the city, Redcliff and Temple Gates looked upon open country so late as 1730. In fact, Bristol had only one real suburb - the district lying beyond Lawford's Gate, inhabited by a few hundred weavers, colliers, and market gardeners.

The streets of the old city had been laid out at a period when the inland traffic of the country was exclusively carried on by means of pack horses, and when the wealthiest travellers moved from place to place on horseback. The average breadth between the base of the houses in the busiest thoroughfares was under twenty feet, while, owing to the practice of constructing the upper storeys so as to overhang the lower, the width was often greatly diminished towards the roofs. The central portion of Wine Street was of exceptional breadth, but upon this spot the Corporation had placed a market house, which, with the pump, a whipping post, and the frequent erection of a pillory, left the locality little better off than its neighbours. Building stone being expensive, owing to the cost of transport, and bricks being rarely made in the district, houses had been almost exclusively constructed of timber, with an outer covering of plaster. An order of the Common Council in 1703 forbade the use of thatch for roofs; but it is certain that slates and tiles were then in general use. The leading streets were paved with rough blocks of stone, but there were no footpaths for pedestrians; and owing to the ceaseless passage of trucks and sledges, called geehoes (the only vehicles permitted for moving goods in the centre of the city), the roadways were so slippery in wet weather as to be a fertile cause of accidents. The channel for carrying off water was in the middle of the street, and was often filled with mud. (Two generations after this date, two woollen drapers' apprentices, one of whom, Matthew Brickdale, was to be many years Member of Parliament for the city, were accustomed to play a nocturnal joke on their neighbours by sweeping the filth of the High Street gutter under the dark and narrow pass of St. Nicholas's Gate, with results to unwary pedestrians that may be imagined.) The shops had massive projecting heads, called penthouses or bulks, which were often very low and inconvenient to passengers. The shops themselves, with few exceptions, were without the protection of windows, and quite open, like butchers'


shambles of the present day. Occasionally they were furnished with “lattices” of chequered willow or laths, which must have increased the gloom caused by the penthouse and the overhanging roof. In many of those places of business articles were not merely sold, but made, for the simple retailer was still uncommon. In every thoroughfare, therefore, prevailed the discordant noises of smiths', coopers', braziers', and joiners' hammers, the click of looms, and the burr of lathes; while wayfarers were regaled with the penetrating fumes of the soap boiler, the tallow chandler, and the dyer. Every Saturday, Wine Street, Broad Street, and High Street were blocked by the markets for butchers' meat, butter, fowls, vegetables, and other produce, that were held in those thoroughfares; and fruit women screamed, porters fought, and garbage accumulated in heaps under the shadow of the Council House. The streets were resonant at all times with the bawlings of hawkers and petty dealers. Crowds of boys, who knew as little of school as of a palace, pursued their rough sport in the most crowded localities, there was no protection against the brutality of truck and sledge drivers, the manoeuvres of pickpockets, or the knavery of ring-droppers. The laws against vagrancy were severe; so late as 1729 the magistrates sentenced an incorrigible vagrant to three years' hard labour in the house of correction; but the number and the importunacy of professional beggars were ceaseless nuisances. One other difficulty in the way of locomotion remains to be noticed. In spite of the authorities, the streets could not be kept clear of the numerous pigs belonging to careless housekeepers. On one occasion the Corporation paid a fee to an officer “for cutting off the tails” of these wandering scavengers; but neither the maiming of the animals nor the fining of their owners was of much avail; and irrepressible porkers are heard of from time to time to the very end of the century.

A more picturesque feature of the time was due rather to necessity than to a desire to please the eye. In an age when not only the working classes, but practically the whole of the rural population and no small number of petty traders, were unable to read, a conspicuous shop sign was indispensable as a guide to customers. These ensigns, suspended over the roadway, were of varied designs, and, as enterprising shopkeepers declined to be eclipsed by their neighbours, there was often a rivalry as to size. From numberless advertisements dating from 1700 to 1760, when the practice began to lose favour, an idea may be formed of the curious


medley of figures which sought to catch the eye of spectators. Lions, spread-eagles, griffins, elephants and tigers were to be seen of every tint. Suns, moons, and stars were equally popular. Wheat-sheaves, bee-hives, horses, blackbirds, grasshoppers, dogs, hares, and various agricultural implements courted the attention of country patrons. A mercer sported an entire “Turkish Bashaw”; a jeweller rejoiced in a Golden Boy; and a calendar displayed a Watering Roll, whatever that may have been. A great number of tradesmen flaunted a double device, such as the Tye Wig and Griffin of a barber; the Hand and Pen of a schoolmaster; the Half Moon and Wheat-sheaf of a draper, and the Sword and Crown of a cutler. Booksellers frequently adopted the Bible and Sun; and at least one undertaker set up the lugubrious representation of a Coffin and Shroud. Even the business of the stamp office was conducted “at the sign of the King's Arms”. Wood carvers and painters must have reaped a good harvest in carrying out the eccentric conceptions of their patrons, for it appears that some of the signs cost from £20 to £40 each. Whatever may have been the artistic results of their labours, the swinging designs, which from morn till eve threw moving shadows over the pavement, must have presented a quaint attractiveness and variety now entirely lost. A serious inconvenience, however, was occasioned by the display. Only a scanty supply of lamps was provided for the public, and the lights were frequently so eclipsed by the overhanging signs as to be practically useless.

Bristol in 1700 was on the point of attaining the position of second city in the kingdom. Until the Restoration she had been surpassed by York and Norwich; but the subsequent development of commerce with America and the West Indies gradually secured her an unquestioned supremacy. Even in 1700, however, the wealth of Norwich appears to have equalled that of Bristol. In the previous year, the House of Commons, in granting a vote of money for the navy, fixed the amount to be contributed by each county and important town; and the figures, which were doubtless based on the best statistics then available, are of considerable interest. It is scarcely necessary to say that Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, and Birmingham do not appear in the return, being included, like other small towns, in their respective counties. The four chief cities assessed were:- Norwich, for £4,259; Bristol, £3,695; Exeter, £2,354; and York, £2,319. Other western towns were:- Gloucester,


£695; Wells, £241; Bath, £221; Bridgwater, £183. The population of the 42 parishes of Norwich, from an actual enumeration, was about 29,000. Lord Macaulay estimated the inhabitants of Bristol in 1685 at the same number; but it will be shown further on that the calculation was excessive. The actual population in 1700 was about 25,000.

In point of commerce the superiority of Bristol over all her provincial rivals was beyond dispute. Some statistics published by a Government official, Captain Grenville Collins, based on the Custom House returns for 1701-2, give the following details respecting the principal outports:-

 Ships.Average Tonnage.
Bristol165 105 
Newcastle163 73 
Hull115 66 
Liverpool102 85 
Yarmouth148 69 

Glasgow, in 1700, had no ships, and its exports - confined to a few barrels of herrings and a few pieces of coarse woollens - were shipped in vessels belonging to Whitehaven.

According to contemporary statements of good authority, Bristol was the only port which could pretend to enter into competition with London, and was able to trade with entire independence of the capital. In part this was due to the remarkable energy and enterprise of the trading classes of the city, who, not content with supplying the demands of the district, competed with their London rivals in the provinces, and conducted an inland trade in the southern and midland counties, from Southampton to the Trent, by means of their own carriers. They did not, moreover, confine themselves to domestic enterprise. Roger North, who, as Recorder of Bristol, had means of obtaining good information, observed twenty years before this date that petty local shopkeepers, selling candles and the like, would venture a bale of stockings or a piece of stuff in a cargo bound for Nevis or Virginia. It will be seen later on that Savage, in his rancorous satire of 1743, alleged that Bristol freights were owned, not by merchants, but by mechanics. A keener observer, in a “Journey through England”, published in in 1724, remarked that “The very Parsons of Bristol talk of nothing but Trade, and how to turn the Penny”. To a certain extent, the speculations of persons outside the mercantile class must have added to the aggregate commercial returns of the port, and may have extended that taste for


display to be referred to presently. In other directions Bristolians were keenly attentive to the progress of industry and manufactures, and so seldom let slip a new chance of profitable enterprise that some envious observer attributed to them the power of sleeping with one eye open. The importation of French brandy having been stopped during the war of 1689-96, the cheapness of coal (2s. to 2s. 6d. per ton) encouraged the erection of numerous local distilleries. In the manufacture of glass, which was then in its infancy in this country, the city soon took a leading position. Somewhat later, a few Bristol merchants, having discovered that copper ore was thrown aside as worthless by the Cornish tin miners, set up the manufacture of brass and the refining of copper on the Froom and Avon, securing great profits for themselves, and opening out a new field of labour to the working classes. More than one effort was made to establish manufactories of cotton fabrics. Several notices occur of salt refiners, carpet weavers, silt [sic] and velvet weavers, drugget makers. A pottery for making imitation Delft ware was opened about 1703, and was one of the earliest in England. These and other similar adventures were but supplements to the old industries of the city - the weaving of cloths, friezes, and fustians, the building of ships, the refining of sugar, and the manufacture of soap, tobacco, tobacco pipes, and pins; but they added sensibly to the general activity of commerce and the prosperity of the inhabitants. The development of the port would have been even more rapid than it was but for the erroneous views of political economy which then prevailed. For many years importations of Irish cattle, meat, butter, and cheese were absolutely prohibited as a “publick and common nuisance”. In times of scarcity the restriction was relaxed, but in 1696, during a severe dearth, when the Corporation petitioned the Government for leave to import 5,000 bushels of Irish grain duty free, for the relief of the distressed poor, the appeal met with an emphatic negative. The entry of even lean cattle, prohibited about the same date, put an end to a profitable local trade; and in 1699 the import of Irish woollen goods was interdicted under a penalty of £500 and forfeiture of the vessel.

Gregory King, whose statistics were compiled with care, and were generally accepted as trustworthy, estimated that in 1688 the profits of “eminent” English merchants averaged £400, those of the lesser merchants £200, and those of shopkeepers £46 per annum. As trade made rapid strides after


the peace of Ryswick, it is probable that King's figures ought to be increased by a fourth to represent the average returns of 1700. Even after making this correction the estimated incomes seem small; but it must be remembered that the rate of wages (about 1s. a day) and the price of the necessaries of life were correspondingly moderate. Whatever may have been their incomes, the Bristol merchants of the time were famous for their love of display. In spite of the narrowness of the streets, many of the upper classes paraded in private carriages, which were then a great luxury. (It is somewhat surprising to find from the records of the Society of Friends that in 1699 wealthy Quakers were accustomed on Sundays to proceed to chapel in their own coaches.) The baptism of children was an especial occasion for feasting and ostentation. According to a custom of the city, the religious ceremony took place at the house of the parents, in the presence of as many friends and relatives as could be accommodated, and was followed by a copious distribution of caudle. Every family which respected itself had a large silver caudle cup, and many had two or three. The practice of entertaining large parties to dinner in private houses had not yet become fashionable; but strangers, as Mr. Pepys' diary shows, were sometimes offered generous hospitality, and made agreeable acquaintance with the far-famed Bristol milk. Other visitors, it is true, refer to the manners of the citizens in less complimentary terms. Thus Mr. Marmaduke Rawdon, a York merchant, who made a tour in the West about the same time as Pepys, remarks of Bristol:- “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”.

But it was especially at funerals that wealthy families were prone to indulge in costly parade. Roger North, who seems to have taken a grudge against the citizens during his judicial connection with them, and who never lacked acrimony in criticising those whom he disliked, alleged that the vanity of Bristolians incited them to an extravagance “beyond imagination”. “A man”, he wrote, “who dies worth £300 will order £200 to be laid out on his funeral procession”. Unfortunately for the censor's credit for


accuracy, the wills of the Bristolians of his time may still be read, and as a matter of fact his assertion is not verified by a single testament. In the majority of cases, traders in easy circumstances directed that their burial should be conducted “decently”, at the discretion of their executors, who, being generally relatives and legatees, had no temptation to act wastefully. Many others stipulated that their funeral expenses should not exceed £20 or £30. Women were more disposed than the ruder sex to follow the pompous customs of the wealthy. A lady, who does not appear to have been rich, directed that “at least” £60 should be spent on her burial, exclusive of £18 for a collation for six bearers, £9 to be distributed to the poor, and £10 to two women who were to accompany the hearse. Other instances of feminine vanity in the same rank of life indicate the outlay that took place amongst the leading mercantile grandees. All the friends of a deceased merchant were invited to his interment, and were often provided with gold rings and mourning; a great number of poor people received money and food, and were furnished with hats and cloaks for taking part in the procession. The consumption of “funeral baked meats”, as well as of wine and other liquors, was profuse on such occasions; and from a deprecatory minute in the records of the Society of Friends at Frenchay, smoking seems to have been an ordinary incident in the proceedings. The great funerals took place at or about midnight, the coffin being borne along the streets with all the pomp of escutcheons, sconces, wax-lights, flambeaux, plumes, pennons, and mutes. The tolling of the parish bell before the ceremony must have been a dreary infliction on the neighbourhood, for an economical mercer, desirous of avoiding display, ordered in his will that the bell at his interment should not toll “above six hours”. The funeral service was followed by a sermon, for which testators left from one to six guineas to a favourite clergyman, frequently stipulating that he should preach on a text selected by themselves. Another item of expense may be mentioned. To gratify the clothing interest, an Act of Parliament was passed in 1678 requiring every dead body to be buried in a woollen shroud. But, as Pope's well known verses show, ladies thought the enactment fit to “provoke a saint”, and some of them in Bristol ordered their executors to pay the fine of £5, and bury them “honourably”. The unseemly show and dissipation of funeral ceremonies was then common to all wealthy communities, but it certainly seems to have been abnormal in Bristol. As an illustration,


it may be stated that in 1699 a gentleman named Taylor, the owner of about thirty houses in various parts of the city, ordered that half a year's rent of all his property should be applied to the discharge of his funeral expenses. His contemporary, Alderman Lawford, left instructions that eighty poor men should be provided with gowns, hats, and shoes in order to attend his burial, and that the grocers of the city who took part in the ceremony should be furnished with a dinner. In another will, of 1706, there is a curious conflict between personal economy and family conceit. Thomas Ivy, “gentleman”, also a considerable owner of house property, began his testament by ordering £50 to be spent on his burial in St. Nicholas's Church. Before the will was finished, however, his vanity got the uppermost, and he determined, “for-as-much as I have a desire to be buried in such manner as my father was”, to increase the outlay to £100. Many undertakers' bills of that period having been preserved, it may be safely asserted that an outlay of £100 in 1706 was equivalent to nearly thrice that sum in a funeral account of the present day.

The entertainment of friends at baptisms and burials being so generally practised, one might suppose that the comforts and luxuries of the citizens' dwellings would be commensurate with the feasting which took place in them. But such was certainly not the case. With the exception of large displays of silver plate, to be referred to presently, the furniture of a tradesman's house was generally as rude in quality as it was meagre in quantity. Many contemporary wills show the extreme simplicity of the arrangements, and the description of Bath dwellings given by John Wood, in his account of that city in 1727, applied with equal truth to those of Bristol a quarter of a century earlier. The floors of dining rooms, says Wood, were destitute of carpets, and were stained, to hide the dirt, with soot and small beer; the walls were of mean wainscot, never painted; the fireplaces and hearths were daily daubed with whitewash. Cane or rush chairs, oaken tables, coarse woollen or linen hangings, and a small mirror constituted the chief garniture of the apartment. The equipment of the bedrooms was equally common and scanty; the best chambers for gentlemen, according to Wood, being no better than the servants' garrets of the middle of the century. Allusion having been made to servants, it may be amusing to note the advice given by Mr. Cary, a Bristol merchant who wrote an “Essay on Trade” in 1696, in reference to menials. “As for


maid servants”, he said, “let them be restricted from excess in apparel, and not permitted to leave their services without consent, nor be entertained by others without testimonials: this will make them more orderly and governable than they now are”. While as to men, “no servant should be permitted to wear a sword, except when travelling; and if all people of mean qualities were prohibited the same, 'twould be of good consequence”.

Taking a more comprehensive view of the social and domestic peculiarities of Bristol, so far as they can be gathered from contemporary documents, it will be found that what has been said of the material aspect of the city applies also to the moral and intellectual condition of the inhabitants, and that the society of 1700 more closely resembled that of the Middle Ages than that of our own times. In the first place, although the energy and enterprise of the citizens were noted by every visitor, and although a knowledge of what was passing in the world must have been of great interest to the mercantile classes, the town, like every other provincial town in the kingdom, was without a newspaper. It is true that, if a local chronicle had existed, its circulation must have been limited; for a vast majority of Bristolians were “as illiterate as the back of a tombstone”. There were two or three bookshops in the city, or, rather, shops at which stationers undertook to obtain books if they were ordered; and John Dunton, the garrulous London bookseller, states in his curious autobiography that he regularly opened a stall at Bristol fair. But local purchasers generally contented them selves with almanacks, sermons, pamphlets, and other fugitive publications. Clergymen, ministers, and medical practitioners refer in their wills to their “closet of books”; but literary property is conspicuous from its absence in the testaments of well-to-do traders. A few thoughtful merchants may have amused their leisure with the poems of Milton or Dryden, the “Mariner's Magazine”, or Purchas's collection of voyages; but many artisans of the present day possess a wider range of literature than could be found on the best furnished local book shelves of 1700. In only one of the wills in the Bristol Prerogative Office dated before that year, that of a Quaker grocer, is there a bequest of a book (it was Rushworth's Collections). For many later years, the only volume that testators seemed to have owned, was a Bible, with perhaps a Book of Common Prayer. The lack of literature is sufficiently accounted for by the general deficiency of education. In Queen


Elizabeth's hospital thirty-six boys received the barest elements of schooling. In the Red Maids' institution forty poor girls were taught to read, but not to write, by two mistresses, one of whom could not sign her own name, and the other appended an unsightly blotch, to the quarterly receipts for their salaries of £5 each. It is possible that about a dozen children were received in Redcliff Grammar School, and a school maintained by Cole's trustees on St. James's Back may have benefitted as many more. The records of both institutions are lost; it is only known that the former was not always open, and that the latter was closed about 1700. Saving this provision, the many thousand children of artisans and labourers were destitute of the means of instruction. The first bequest towards the foundation of a parish school (there were only two such institutions in London in 1697) appears in the will of a Miss Mary Gray, of Temple, who, in 1699, left £50 for the purchase of land, the rent of which, after deducting 6s. 8d. for a yearly sermon, was to be devoted to teaching seven poor orphans of that parish to read. For the boys of tradesmen and others, there was the Grammar School, with three or four private “writing schools”, but the first mention of a school for girls does not occur until several years later. It is not surprising, therefore, to find that many men in prosperous circumstances, purchasing leases from, or lending money to, the Corporation, and disposing of large sums in their wills - some of them being styled gentlemen, merchants, tobacconists, and soapboilers were unable to write their own names. Churchwardens have always been selected from the “substantial” class of parishioners. Yet one of the churchwardens of St. Stephen's in 1702 was unable to write, and the civic records show that so late as 1718 one of those officials for St. James's parish attached his “mark” to a receipt, and that both the churchwardens for St. Philip's displayed the same illiteracy in 1725. Some of the men who conducted private schools would not a century later have been deemed fit to take the management of a charity school, for their extant letters and petitions abound with grammatical errors. Their pupils could not be expected to surpass them. It may be assumed that the clerks of the Corporation were selected from the best-instructed candidates that offered themselves on a vacancy; yet the civic records literally swarm with blunders in syntax and orthography. Turning to the other sex, there is abundant evidence that, even amongst the widows of mayors and the sisters and daughters of knightly


aldermen, an ability to write was, in 1700, unusual. As a safeguard against fraud, those incapable of subscribing their signatures possessed signet rings, or seals bearing their arms, and often learnt to form two rudely shaped Roman letters, the initials of their name, which were appended to documents as their “mark”. Wealthy testators of this class almost invariably disposed of gold coins, jewellery, and silver plate to an extent which at the first glance seems astounding. The explanation, however, is not hard to find. No facilities then existed for the profitable investment of the savings of a household; many cautious people declined to entrust their spare money to the goldsmiths and other traders who carried on the business of bankers; and, as the most convenient resource, purchases were made from time to time of substantial gold coins or articles of plate, which could be relied upon to fetch their value in an emergency. In this way tradesmen and owners of house property often hoarded a surprising quantity of old “broad pieces”, “sceptre guineas”, “Jacobuses” and “Caroluses”, that had ceased to circulate as current coin, together with a rich store of silver beakers, bowls, cups, tannards, salvers and salt cellars, which were distributed by will amongst their surviving relatives. The profusion of gold rings, which also formed part of the “portable property” of the period, was due to a less excusable custom. Amongst the indispensable features of a pompous funeral was the gift of rings to those invited to the ceremony. On the occasion of an interment in 1704, Luttrell noted in his diary that 1,600 rings were presented to the deceased's friends and acquaintances. And as in the case of an eminent Bristol alderman of far later date, when the fashion was nearly extinct, 91 gentlemen's and 67 ladies' rings were distributed by his executors, it is easy to understand how elderly citizens of 1700, outliving many acquaintances, became possessed of more rings than they could have displayed on their fingers.

The Will Office furnishes other curious information respecting the habits of the community. Tea and coffee in 1700 were expensive novelties beyond the reach of ordinary households, even had a taste for them been developed Their place at the breakfast table and at the afternoon meal was supplied by beer, the reported consumption of which would seem incredible but for the testimony of official documents. The price of malt was so low, and the duty so trifling, that good household beer was produced in 1690 at a cost of under twopence per gallon. The common-brewers'


charge for strong beer in 1700, when the duty had been increased, was only sixpence per gallon. The best ale, by an order of the Corporation in 1703, was to be sold by brewers at 3s. 4d. per dozen gallons, being less than a penny per quart; and common qualities were to be vended at the “accustomed rates”, which probably meant about one-half less. Indeed, by an Act of James I., which was still in force, the price of “the smaller sort of beer” was not to exceed one halfpenny per quart. The cost of home-brewed liquor being, of course, much below the price charged by retailers, every economical upper-class family, and the bulk of the trading community, in Bristol as elsewhere, brewed for home consumption, and quite one-half of the enormous annual total was produced by private persons. For this purpose nearly every household boasted of “great brass pots”, “great brass kettles”, “great bell-metal crocks”, and other utensils, the cost of which must have been considerable from the figure they make in testamentary bequests. (A brass kettle holding “about 16 or 18 gallons” was stolen from Long Ashton Court in 1726.) Smaller articles of brass are also frequently mentioned; indeed, as the art of casting iron vessels for kitchen purposes was unknown in England, and as tin plates were also a foreign import, the brazier had a practical monopoly of this branch of trade. Equally flourishing was the pewterer. English earthenware makers had not advanced beyond the manufacture of coarse dairy pans, loaf sugar moulds, and other rude utensils. A few Dutch plates and dishes were imported from Delft, but were too costly and fragile to be popular. The first Bristol will bequeathing dinner crockery was made in 1715, and it is also the first to mention table glass. The earliest bequest of china occurs in a will of 1703, but the articles were probably mere chimney ornaments. The dinner services of merchants and shopkeepers, in fact, were universally of pewter, of which some families could exhibit copious stores. Pewter platters of six different sizes are distributed by one testatrix. Yeomen and artisans, on the other hand, unwilling or unable to buy metal plates and dishes, continued to eat their food on the wooden trenchers that had served their fathers, and perhaps their grandfathers, and in their wills divided these homely articles amongst their children. In their anxiety to avoid the cost of a sale by auction, indeed, testators condescended to a minuteness of detail which may seem amusing to a later age, but which is of great service for the light it throws, negative as well as positive, on


the habits of the time. All the furniture in a house is sometimes described by its departing owner. Some men leave their best periwig to one relative, and their second best to another. Others particularly mention their various hats, great coats, shirts and leather breeches. Ladies recount all their gowns, good, bad, and indifferent, and there is sometimes a precise bequest of “my best silk petticoat”, “my best head cloth” (a prodigious structure a foot in height and costing about £20), “my green say apron”, “my worst little bed”, down to “my third best under-petticoat”. As an illustration of this custom, and also as affording some evidence of the personal effects of a wealthy widow, the following extract is taken from the will of Sarah Deane, who in 1696 left to a favourite god-daughter “my black flowered silk gowne and petticoat, my broadcloth petticoat with a gold fringe thereon, my under serge petticoat with a gold galoome thereon”, another petticoat, a silver great tannard, some other plate, a “brass kettle pot”, other brass utensils, and several pewter platters and plates; while to this legatee's brother there is a bequest - evidently intended as a compliment - of “a Scarlett petticoat to make him a waistcoat”. This lady appended a fine armorial seal to her will, but was unable to write her name. A more remarkable legacy appears in the will of a ship captain named Nightingale, who, in 1715, devised “the proceeds of his two boys and girls, then on board his ship”. Again, a merchant, named Becher Fleming, in October, 1718, left to Mrs. Mary Becher “my negro boy, named Tallow”. But it will subsequently be shown that negro slaves were numerous in Bristol until far into the century.

The economical instincts of the age come into prominence in divers social arrangements. The only source of artificial light ordinarily available was the tallow candle, the feeble gleam of which was hardly worth its cost. Evening reading was out of the question when there were no local journals or circulating libraries, and when most households were without books. Music had not yet become an item of a young lady's accomplishments, and the only musical instrument mentioned in contemporary wills is a solitary violin. Gossiping over the fire being the chief amusement of an evening circle, staid and thrifty heads of families, abhorring late hours, were naturally fervent believers in the old dictum of “early to bed and early to rise”. In Hippisley's farce of “A Journey to Bristol”, printed in 1731, and played too often before the citizens to have been a mere caricature, Mr. Doubtful, the


local merchant, referring to his wife's frivolity and his own good nature, observes, “Though I go to bed at eight o'clock, I let you sit up with your maid till ten”. If this was held to be a faithful picture of life in 1731, it is certain that the hours of 1700 were earlier still. Probably the nine o'clock curfew of St. Nicholas was the signal for the most belated Bristolians to retire to rest. On the other hand, the citizens were as wakeful as the “bright chanticleer” of the hunting song. In the parochial books of St. Thomas is a note made by the vicar in 1710, for the guidance of his successors in the then united livings of Bedminster, St. Mary Redcliff, St. Thomas and Leigh, in which it is stated that he “did not scruple” to marry couples bringing a licence at any hour “after four or five in the morning”. The ordinances of the Joiners' Company required journeymen to begin work by “between five and six”. An advertisement of a quack doctor, of 1704, notifies that he receives patients every morning between six and nine o'clock. By order of the Corporation, the boys in Queen Elizabeth's Hospital rose at five o'clock even in winter, and the Grammar School boys assembled during the summer months at six o'clock. The courts of quarter session were opened at seven o'clock. The Common Council assembled at nine o'clock. The first meal of the day must therefore have been disposed of in what a degenerate posterity may term the middle of the night. The elements of a modern breakfast being unknown, the meal was chiefly composed, as it had been composed for centuries, of cold meat or skimmed-milk cheese, according to the position of the household, and bread, accompanied with milk for the younger members, and beer for the adults. The food of the working population was of the rudest character. A petition of the Corporation to the House of Commons, dated 1699, stated that the bread eaten by labourers was chiefly made from barley, whilst Gregory King about the same time estimated that half the working classes ate animal food only twice a week, while the other half scarcely ate it at all. One cannot, therefore, be surprised at the great consumption of malt liquor, which was exceedingly cheap and to a large extent nourishing. According to the official statistics of 1695, the quantity of beer brewed in England was upwards of 408 million gallons. Taking the grown-up population at 2,700,090, the production averaged over a quart and a half daily per head, for women as well as men, irrespective of a vast consumption of cider.

By about eight o'clock in the morning business affairs


were in full swing. The Merchants' Tolzey, a mean and narrow penthouse adjoining All Saints' Church, was thronged with shipowners, manufacturing, and traders; and Defoe found that “just as in London”, the surrounding taverns and coffee houses were crowded with bargainers, and “Bristol milk, which is Spanish sherry, nowhere so good as here, plentifully drunk”. The narrowness of house accommodation was doubtless one of the causes of the popularity of these places of resort. Medical men and lawyers in good practice, being without convenient consulting rooms at home, were to be conferred with at their favourite taverns, and the habits of each important practitioner were generally known. Merchants, whose only office was a room in their dwellings, found the coffee houses convenient for the transaction of business. Every alternate day, at irregular hours, depending upon the state of the weather and the roads, the accidents of the journey, and the caprices of the postboys and the sorry nags that carried them, there arrived a mail from London, with a handful of letters and newspapers, the contents of which gave an additional spur to the prevailing animation. The newspapers, about the size of a sheet of letter paper, went chiefly to the coffee houses, where any one found admittance by the payment of a penny for a tiny cup of Mocha. If the intelligence of the day was exceptionally interesting, it was read aloud for the benefit of the company. In times of peace, however, as in 1700, the humble chronicles offered nothing more exciting to their subscribers than the rates of exchange, a list of bankrupts, the price of stocks, an account of a robbery, or the execution of a highwayman. By midday every citizen was ready for dinner (the Grammar School boys dispersed for this meal at 11 o'clock), and great was the clatter of pewter plates in the hands of youthful apprentices, who were required to serve their masters' tables. Business was afterwards resumed, and continued until six o'clock, when a supper, of the same character as the morning meal, wound up the day. For an hour or two in the evening the taverns and ale-houses were filled with habitual customers, who, furnished with pipes and tannards, discussed the current topics of the day with their friends. As was natural enough, politicians selected a tavern where they were certain to meet with acquaintances of kindred principles. From an early period, the White Lion inn, in Broad Street, was the favourite rendezvous of the leading Tory merchants. The nightly potations were not generally prolonged, but, taking into consideration the liquor consumed


during the day, they were often too deep. Dr. Johnson, when once referring to the customs of this period in his native town, asserted that all the decent people of Lichfield got drunk every night, and were not thought the worse of. And it may be doubted whether Bristol, which had about 240 inns, taverns, and ale-houses in 1700, or one for every twenty families, could boast of much more sobriety than the sleepy, little Staffordshire city. Revellers, however, had good reasons for separating at an early hour, even if an order of the Corporation had not required the closing of public-houses at nine o'clock in winter and ten in summer. Locomotion after nightfall in the dirty, dark, and virtually unguarded thoroughfares, in which all the public lamps, or, rather, candle lanthorns, were extinguished at nine o'clock, was always disagreeable and sometimes perilous. The citizens, then, hastened home; the night constables, numbering twelve all told, and farcically called watchmen, slunk off to smoke or sleep; and night prowlers had free course for their drunken outrages.

The united energy of the community in affairs of commerce and trade disguised a very different state of feeling as regarded political and religious controversies. Nearly a hundred years after the period under review, Southey complained of the impassable barriers which hostile parties and sects in Bristol had set up against each other, to the almost total destruction of social intercourse. But the ill-feeling caused by the French Revolution was but a feeble reflex of the passions that had been aroused by our own political conflicts of the previous century. Cavaliers and Roundheads, Tories and Whigs, had by turns enjoyed a temporary domination, and each, in abusing power, had inflicted wounds on their adversaries which still rankled in 1700. Bristolians yet lived whose fathers had lost their lives in defence of the Crown and the Church, and who had been oppressed, and sometimes ruined, in subsequent persecutions. The clergy of the city parishes had been banished from their livings and reduced to beggary, and their flocks had seen the pulpits filled with ignorant fanatics. Then the tide had turned, and the exultant Royalists had hastened to better the worst instruction of their opponents. Obstinate nonconformity was punished with transportation, and even with death. The dissenting community - and it was locally numerous - suffered under every ignominy at the hands of the Government and its supporters in Bristol. The closing of meeting-houses and


the persecution of dissenting ministers did not satisfy the victors. In 1682 there were 120 god-fearing Quakers in the city gaol, where many of them died of pestilential diseases, for the so-called crime of non-attendance at church. The fines imposed upon local Friends in the following year for the same delinquency amounted to nearly £16,500. One of these culprits, condemned to death for incorrigible nonconformity, was saved from the gallows only by the exertions of his wife in London. Baptists and Independents had not been more mildly dealt with. During the High Church persecution upwards of 4,000 Dissenters died in the prisons into which they had been flung for infractions of the Conformity Acts. William Penn estimated the number of families ruined during this intolerant crusade at 15,000. And it is beyond question that Bristol produced a large contingent of these martyrs for conscience sake. The men who distinguished themselves in the local oppression were rewarded and honoured by the Government, being introduced by its orders into the Corporation, which was “purified” by the ejection of more moderate men. Later on, under James II., the Common Council was in the first place cleansed of every trace of Whiggery, and was subsequently stuffed with supporters of the memorable Indulgence, the bitterest feelings being stirred up amongst the persons successively degraded. The Revolution which followed only aggravated the animosities of politicians. Walter Hart, one of the prebendaries of the Cathedral, and three Bristol clergymen, Elisha Sage, - Burges, and - Edwards, followed the example of Bishop Frampton, of Gloucester, and Bishop Ken, of Wells, in refusing to swear fealty to William and Mary. It was notorious that many others were at heart disloyal, some of them refusing to allow the bells to be rung for the new king's successes in Ireland. A powerful section of the laity was equally Jacobitical, and scarcely disguised its aspirations for the overthrow of the “usurper”. Two illustrations will suffice to show the intense animosity of the factions into which the city was divided. On the death of Queen Mary the Bristol Jacobites, says a contemporary news-letter, “caused the bells to be rung out, and went dancing, through the streets, with music playing 'The King shall enjoy his own again'”. The fanatical admirers of the Commonwealth, on the other hand, though they did not dare to rejoice in public, held a feast in every populous town on the anniversary of the death of Charles I. The standing dish at those festivals was a calf's head, the appearance of


which was always greeted by a song, of which one verse will suffice:-

“Now let's sing, carouse, and roar,
The happy day is come once more,
For to revel
Is but civil.
Thus our fathers did before,
When the tyrant would enslave us,
Chopt his calf's head off to save us.”

For more than forty years after this date the fiercest passions were aroused by the Jacobite jubilations on the birthdays of the two Pretenders on the one hand, and by the holidays in honour of the reigning monarch on the other. On more than one occasion the mutual exasperation led to violent riots in the city, and once to loss of life. General elections, which then took place every three years, afforded the rival factions especially favourable opportunities for displaying their mutual passions. It seems unquestionable that in these contests a free expression of public opinion was frequently prevented by fraud or force. A popular candidate, with a majority of votes, if not defeated at the poll by riots and open violence, or defrauded of his votes by the partiality of the returning officers or the factious manoeuvres of his opponents, was all but ruined by the extravagant cost of his victory. The poll could be kept open for forty days, entailing an enormous expense upon the candidates, and prolific of bribery, treating, and disorder. During this period the public-houses were thrown open, and drunkenness and violence prevailed in the streets and at the hustings. Bands of hired ruffians, armed with bludgeons and inflamed by liquor, paraded the thoroughfares, intimidating voters, and resisting their access to the polling place. Candidates, often assailed with filth and missiles, braved the penalties of the pillory; their supporters were exposed to the fury of drunken mobs; while an outrage incited by one camp forthwith provoked a revengeful retort by the other. How little such chronic antagonism was compatible with social communion, courtesy, and good feeling between the hostile parties may be left to the reader's consideration. On one point, however, all ranks and parties seem to have been thoroughly in unison - namely, in the exclusion from the trade and industry of the city of those not born within its boundaries. Every one coming from outside those limits - even from Clifton or Redland, or the out-parishes of St. James or St. Philip - was stigmatised as a “foreigner”, and


often treated as an enemy deserving extermination. In 1696 the Corporation passed a by-law, prohibiting every person not a freeman from exercising a trade or opening a shop in the city, “whether with or without latesses or glass windows; botchers, coblers, and hoxters alone excepted”. The penalty upon an interloper was £5 a day. In 1703 the fine was raised to £20 on each conviction. The authorities, it is true, acted capriciously in the matter, sometimes shutting their eyes to incursions from outside, and sometimes encouraging informers to prosecute, and convicting all and sundry. Minutes exist of several foreigners' shops being “shut down”, and the goods therein seized to defray the penalties; while the dealings of “one foreigner with another” in the city were presented by one grand jury as a great grievance to legitimate traders. In 1696 William Bonny, a, printer, was permitted to set up business, the Chamber believing that a printing house “might be useful”; but he was forbidden to sell books. In 1700 a watchmaker was allowed to open a shop on presenting a “curious watch and dyall to be set up in the Tolzey”, and undertaking “to keep the same in repair during his life”. In the same year the Council empowered the mayor, “there being a confederacy among the cooks now in the city” to confer the freedom on any “able cooks” that might come down from London; the freedom being also granted to an interloping brushmaker, because there was no other in Bristol. The applications of other strangers were rejected, or such heavy fines were imposed for admission to the burgess roll as to be practically prohibitive. Many other restraints on business, mostly imposed_by the incorporated trades of the city, affected the citizens themselves, and must have operated grievously. Before commencing business on his own account, a man was required to serve seven years' apprenticeship in Bristol to a member of his trading company. No shopkeeper not being a tailor was allowed to make or sell linen or woollen stockings. A skinner was forbidden to buy skins used by the trades of whitetawers and glovers. No glover was to make points, and no pointmaker was to make gloves. No carpenter was to meddle with the work of a joiner, and vice versa. Neither joiners nor carpenters were to furnish customers with locks, bolts, hinges, etc., or to make use of any tools, save those made by the Smiths' Company. No one except a member of the Cutlers' Company was permitted to sell a knife. Articles produced by suburban joiners and carpenters, including rough boards and planks, were


forbidden to enter the city. A similar law interdicted the admission of casks and washing pails. No butcher was to cook meat for sale. No victualler was allowed to buy country bread, or even to bake in his own house. Tilers were forbidden to lend a ladder to a carpenter or mason. No baker or barber was to open two shops, (interloping artisans from the neighbouring districts, and enterprising country youths seeking to raise themselves by exchanging a rural tor a town life, but unable to pay an apprentice fee, were hounded out of the city as soon as they were discovered, and people harbouring such “inmates” were prosecuted. The law which prevented a trader or an artisan from changing his occupation for a more eligible one was common to the whole kingdom, but was not the less onerous. Under an Act of Elizabeth such a change could not be made without passing through a second apprenticeship of seven years, and the members of the trading companies were always on the alert to maintain this preposterous restriction on individual energy.

The exclusive monopolies which the trading community, in a short-sighted and erroneous view of its true interests, sought to establish for its own profit, do not appear more reasonable when one considers the difficulties which then exists in travelling from place to place, and the consequent immobility of the poorer classes of Englishmen. An account book of the Gore family, of Flax Bourton, shows that a public coach, one of the earliest known, was running between Bristol and London in 1663. The journey occupied three days in summer, and probably four or five in winter. The fare was 25s. Soon after 1700, “flying” coaches, in the summer months only, made the journey in two days by starting at two o'clock in the morning. No greater speed was attempted for upwards of half a century, for in 1764, the Bristol flying machine, setting off at the same hour, did not reach London until the night of the following day. There were then three of those vehicles weekly, and they were the only coaches on the road. As they carried no more than six passengers each, the aggregate conveyed in the summer half-year, supposing them to have been always full, did not exceed the number often transported in an ordinary railway train. A few additional persons of the poorer class were conveyed by wagons, one of which, with a load of two tons, required seven or eight draught horses; while the maximum distance covered in a day was twenty miles. In many districts the rate of travelling was somewhat slower.


Bristolians were thus in 1700 practically as far from the county towns of Somerset and Gloucestershire as they now are from Paris, and as far from Edinburgh as they are now from California. And the perils to life and property were certainly greater on the short journeys than they now are on the long ones. As robbers swarmed on every highway, travellers armed themselves on setting out as if they were going to battle, and a blunderbuss was as indispensable to a coachman as his whip. Taking all these facts into account, one cannot be amazed at the stay-at-home propensities of Bristolians. But why should they have dreaded greater restlessness on the part of their neighbours, whose movements were restrained by the same causes? The state of the highroads, even in the richest parts of the kingdom, cannot be fully realised at the present day. Their extreme narrowness is brought to light by an Act of 1691, which required local surveyors to make highways between market towns “eight foot wide at the least”, the minimum breadth for “causeways for horses” being fixed at “three foot”. Narrowness, however, was not their worst fault. Nothing was more common than for a coach to stick fast in its journey, and for a dozen horses or oxen to be called in for its rescue. The writer of “A Step to the Bath”, published in 1700, stated that a portion of the London road between Marlborough and Chippenham was got over in winter by the coaches at the rate of two miles in three hours. The risk of breakdowns on all the highways may be inferred from the fact that a box of wheelwright's tools was carried by every coach. In 1702, when Queen Anne visited Bristol, the chief road from Bath was in so founderous a condition that the royal carriages had to make a detour to Kingswood by way of Newton St. Loe. A few months later, when the Queen's husband travelled from Windsor to Petworth, one of his attendants recorded that “the last nine miles of the way cost us six hours to conquer them”, nearly every carriage in the procession being overturned at least twice. The road from Bristol to Brislington was frequently represented to the Common Council as dangerous to life. It was only seven feet wide at Temple Gate, and on one occasion Sir Abraham Elton narrowly escaped drowning near Totterdown, through his carriage encountering a coach at a point where two vehicles could not pass each other. Other instances of the difficulty of locomotion will be given in the course of these annals.

From what has been already said, the reader will find an


explanation of the undoubted fact that the Bristolians of 1700 never dreamt of travelling merely for recreation or amusement. A large majority of the citizens lived and died without having lost sight for even half a dozen times of their familiar church towers. Nobody then went to bathe in the Bristol Channel, unless he was under the apprehension of having been bitten by a mad dog. A taste for the grander beauties of Nature, or for the architectural masterpieces of the Middle Ages, had not arisen even amongst the educated and wealthy; and if a tradesman had been invited to visit the Wye at Tintern, the rocks at Cheddar, or the ruins of Glastonbury, he would have regarded the proposal as that of a lunatic or a Papist. (Even so late as 1752 a writer in the Gentleman's Magazine observed that a Londoner would no more think of travelling in the West of England for pleasure than of going to Nubia.) Resolutely confining themselves within the city walls, the inhabitants consequently sought their amusements during the summer evenings in the neighbourhood of their dwellings. The Corporation had stated festivities at this period, in which the public may have taken a certain share. The mayor and his colleagues paid a yearly visit to Earl's Mead, for what would now seem the preposterous purpose of fishing in the Froom; and mighty was the feasting that took place over the captured perch and eels. On another autumn day, the worshipful body, headed by the city trumpeters, and greeted by the bells of Redcliff, proceeded gravely to Treen Mills, to witness the sport of duck-hunting on the pool now covered by Bathurst Basin. From the copious potations which took place in honour of this pastime it may be conjectured that the civic magnates returned in scarcely so dignified a manner as they set out. The duck-hunting was followed by the perambulation of the city bounds, when those allured by invitations to partake in the carousal had often to pay for their rashness by being ingloriously “bumped” against the boundary stones. The inspection of the water limits, a rarer ceremony, was, if the weather proved favourable, an event never to be forgotten by the junior members of the Council, who saw the Holmes and the half score of hovels composing Weston-super-Mare for the first time in their lives. If “rude Boreas” was wicked enough to mingle in the festivity, their recollection of the “voyage” was doubtless acuter still. Although precise evidence is wanting until a later period, it is probable that previous to 1700 a horse race took place yearly on Durdham Down, then almost


covered with furze, and shunned by the citizens at ordinary times owing to the frequency of robberies and outrages. A more common amusement was cock-fighting, which was patronised and chiefly supported by the county gentry, but was popular with all classes. In 1656 Parson Allambrigge, of Monkton Farleigh, fought a main of cocks with a neighbour, and was so delighted by his victory that he recorded it in the parish register; while in 1700 a gentleman named Richards noted in his diary that he visited Wimborne School to see the cock fight annually held by the boys with the approval of their masters. The city cockpit, according to Mr. Richard Smith, was in a court in Back Street; but there was one in the Pithay, another in Redcliff, a fourth in Temple, and a fashionable one at the Ostrich Inn, Durdham Down. The stakes at the last-named were generally about five guineas a fight, and from 30 to 60 guineas for the concluding battle. Returning to every-day life, the City Marsh, planted with numerous rows of trees, and made cheerful at high tides by the movements of the shipping, had long been the favourite promenade, and at least one deceased lover of the spot had bequeathed a yearly rent-charge for keeping it in order. It had also the attraction of a bowling-green and tavern, constructed by public subscription after the fall of Puritanism, where grave and reverend fathers of the city were wont to take their pleasure. But in the spring of 1700 masons and bricklayers had invaded the quiet meadow, and the first steps were taken towards constructing a handsome square of mansions, worthy of the growing wealth of Bristol merchants. The closing of the bowling-green, necessitated by the operations, largely profited other places of the same character, of which there were several. There was a bowling-green in the Pithay, near the City Assembly Room, which was also placed in that oddly chosen nook. There was another bowling-green in St. James's Barton, another (then or soon after) at Redcliif Hill, another at Wapping, another, chiefly for visitors, at the Hot Well, and many more at the suburban taverns. A tennis-court, established in Broad Street, seems to have completed the list of public resorts. But many citizens had private greens adjacent to their dwellings. For although the original builders of the city had been so parsimonious in setting out the public thoroughfares, they had generally allowed ample space for gardens in the rear of dwellings. In 1700 some houses on the north side of Wine Street had gardens extending to the bank of the Froom.


Mr. W.H. Wills informs me that there was a bowling-green behind the old mansion in Redcliff Street in which his father was born, now covered by one of the manufactories of the firm. The mansions on the west side of Small Street possessed large plots of garden ground at the back. The orchards and gardens pertaining to houses in Lewin's Mead are mentioned in many legal documents. Reference will afterwards be made to a summer house and garden at the rear of Baldwin Street, and old maps show that the same conditions prevailed in many quarters now gorged with warehouses and offices. Indeed, a little before this date, one of the corporate books speaks of a mow of hay standing at the back of a house in Halliers' Lane (Nelson Street), and of another haystack near Old Market Street, which affords striking evidence of the semi-rural condition of those neighbourhoods. As regards indoor amusements for the winter months, the city had little to boast of. At some period between the Restoration and the Revolution, a theatre was erected on the south side of the bridge, on ground now occupied by Bath Street; and a company of comedians made its appearance from time to time. But the immorality of the dramas then popular in London scandalized sober-minded Bristolians, and shortly before the Revolution the play-house was converted into a dissenting chapel. Performances were still permitted in St. James's parish during the great fair, but the Corporation, after compensating the sheriffs for the loss of fees derived from this source, notified in the London Gazette for July 2nd, 1702, that “acting plays, interludes, or exposing poppets” was for the future forbidden. Billiard tables were sometimes introduced; but the magistrates promptly ordered their suppression, and imposed fines on their owners. Evening concerts were the invention of a later age; and although the Corporation maintained a band of musicians, or waits, their only recorded performances were at public ceremonies, which may have been supplemented by some nocturnal fantasias at Christmas. Thus the only source of gaiety in the monotonous winter season lay in occasional reunions in the Assembly Room, where the young danced jigs and minuets, while their elders relaxed in “whisk” and card games now forgotten. The entertainment began before the modern hour of dinner, and the dissipation was over before a modern ball has commenced.

The diversions of the lower classes, if diversions they should be called, were more varied than those of their


betters. The poor witnessed the horse-racing; they had their own cock-fighting, cock-throwing, and duck-hunting; and at the revels which took place yearly in all the suburban districts they rejoiced in backsword fighting, cudgel playing, climbing greased poles for legs of mutton, and hunting pigs with soaped tails; while young women ran races for smocks, or boxed for money. For their especial pleasure, it may be presumed, the Corporation provided an occasional bull-bait. The civic audit for 1697 records a payment for a bull rope, and that of the following year contains an item, “Paid for a collar to bait bulls in the Marsh, 6s.” Prize-fighting, in which Bristolians took a deep interest, and often displayed exceptional skill and endurance, also had the patronage of wealthy citizens, and was always in season. But it was to the local courts of justice that the labouring community were indebted for the most frequent interludes in the dullness of a life of toil. In 1703 the Corporation, renewing an old by-law, ordered that the authorities of each ward should “take care” that the stocks of each parish were kept in good order. Those instruments did not rust from want of work. Men and women convicted of drunkenness, or of profane swearing, and barbers caught shaving customers on a Sunday, were condemned to detention in the stocks, sometimes for as long as six hours at a stretch. Being wholly defenceless while thus entrammelled, the culprits were often the victims of the hard-hearted crowd which assembled to pelt them. After a quarter sessions court, again, prisoners convicted of cheating or petty thieving were - females as well as males - stripped naked to the waist and whipped at the cart's tail through several streets, or lashed at the whipping-post in Wine Street, or set up in the pillory in the same thoroughfare, in which latter case, if the mob was malevolent, a luckless wretch was in danger of being killed outright by missiles. Persons convicted of lewdness were, “by the ancient custom of the city”, say the records, set backwards upon a horse, and paraded about for the delectation of the multitude. Women found guilty of “common scolding” were punished by being dragged to the Wear, thrust into the city ducking-stool, and plunged into the Froom amidst jeering acclamations. Finally, as the result of a goal delivery, murderers and the worst class of thieves were compelled to walk to the gallows on St. Michael's Hill to suffer death. These executions were frightfully numerous; on two occasions within the space of twenty years five unhappy creatures were hanged in a batch. For various


crimes, the punishment of women was death by burning. On the 16th of June, 1695, according to a local calendar, a woman, a shopkeeper in Temple Street, was burnt for coin clipping; but Mr. Seyer alleges, on the authority of another manuscript, that she escaped from Newgate before the day fixed for her execution. A girl of fourteen years, for murdering her mistress, was burnt in London in 1712. A woman, who had murdered her husband, suffered at Gloucester in 1763; another for the same crime perished in Somerset in 1766; and a girl, eighteen years old, for murdering her mistress, underwent the same fate at Monmouth in 1764. The witches remain to be mentioned. In 1700 there were few Bristolians who were not in dread of them, and such apprehensions were common amongst cultivated Englishmen. The contemporary Bishop of Gloucester, according to Bishop Kennet (Lansdowne MSS., British Museum), avowed his belief not merely in witches, but in fairies; and John Wesley, long after this date, declared that non-believers in witchcraft were little better than infidels. In 1683 three women were hanged at Exeter for witchcraft. A wizard was tried about the same date at Taunton, and was rescued from death only by the sceptical ingenuity of the judge, Lord Guilford. In 1701 Luttrell records in his diary that a woman narrowly escaped conviction as a witch in London, the prosecutor's perjury being discovered, apparently, in court. In 1702 a so-called witch perished at Edinburgh, then the seat of a Parliament, and the chief centre of Scotch learning and science. And two more women were executed at Northampton in 1706. In or about the latter year a man named Silvester, in Bristol, fell under such deep suspicion of unholy arts that he prudently disappeared before his neighbours could take action (Stewart's MS. Annals, Bodleian Lib.). So late as 1730, at Frome, a poor old woman, suspected of being a witch, was, by the advice of a “cunning man”, thrown into a pool and drowned by twenty of her neighbours, in the presence of 200 persons, who made no attempt to save her life. To sum up what has been said respecting the punishments of the age, it seems certain that the frequency and brutalising character of the legal spectacles aggravated the vicious instincts of the ignorant population, and exasperated the evils they were devised to correct.

A brief account of the corporate body and of the Cathedral dignitaries may bring this review to a close. The evident intention of the early charters of the city, and especially


of that of Edward III., was to place the power of electing the local government in the hands of the free burgesses, or community at large. But by later grants solicited from the Crown the Corporation had gradually acquired the right of self-election and become wholly irresponsible. As was natural, its pride grew in proportion with its power. In the manuscripts of Archbishop Bancroft, preserved at the Bodleian Library, is some curious information respecting the arrogance of the city authorities. About 1679 they quarrelled with the dean and chapter of the Cathedral, because that body refused to give the Corporation precedence in the “bidding prayer” over the Church and the bishops. In 1681 the dispute was still raging, the Corporation claiming a right to have the state sword placed erect in the choir, while the Cathedral authorities wished it to be laid on a cushion - as was done at York, through a compromise effected by Charles I. Bishop Goulston, who sends this information to the Primate, adds that the mayor had just set off for London, and begged the archbishop's interest in support of various requests he was about to make to the Government, one of them being that Bristol should in future have a Lord Mayor. (The civic petitions were all rejected; but, to soften the disappointment, the mayor, Thomas Earle, and one of the sheriffs, John Knight, were presented to the king, and received the honour of knighthood.) At the assizes in the following year a violent struggle between the city and capitular authorities was about to take place in the Cathedral respecting the state sword, when Chief Justice North, urged by the bishop, induced the mayor and his retinue to retire sulkily into the palace until the conclusion of the service. The dispute was at last settled by the interposition of the bishop and the two judges of assize; it being arranged that the sword might be borne erect into the choir, but was there to be “turned down upon a cushion, and not erected or set up”. But it will be seen hereafter that the Corporation, taking fresh offence with the dean and chapter, and hankering after increased ostentation, treated themselves to a private chapel, where they could fix their own ceremonial. The arbitrary dismissals and nominations of civic functionaries by the last two kings of the house of Stewart have been already mentioned. At the Revolution the Corporation was emancipated from regal control, and the system of self-election was revived. Nevertheless, a remarkable and now inexplicable change soon took place in the political composition of the chamber. In 1690 the Council


was described by Sir Thomas Earle as “a nest of Jacobites”, which is not surprising when one remembers that the Whig element had been nearly eliminated in the reign of Charles II. Sir Thomas Earle had just been expelled from the Council by a great majority of his colleagues, professedly for having written offensively of the mayor and reflected injuriously on the Corporation, but really because he had drawn the attention of the Government to the disloyal designs of the chief magistrate and his Jacobite colleagues. Sir Thomas regained his seat by appealing to the Court of King's Bench; and after this defeat the high Tories lost ground in the Chamber, perhaps from inability to find eligible recruits. New members being generally drawn from the supporters of the Revolution settlement, the Jacobite party was in a few years reduced to insignificance. It cannot be said, however, that the ascendancy of the Whigs brought about any improvement in the government of the city. As before, the Corporation, which was mainly comprised of a narrow oligarchy of mercantile families, though drawing what was then considered the large average income of about £2,700 from the civic estates, practically repudiated its duties whilst tenaciously asserting its rights. The work of paving, scavenging, lighting, and watching the streets was thrown upon the inhabitants. (The efficiency of the cleansing operations may be judged by the fact that St. Stephen's Vestry paid 4s. a week for scavenging in 1690, whilst St. Leonard's parish got the work performed for £6 a year.) Now and then, when a thoroughfare like the Old Market was reported to be almost impassable, owing to the inefficacy of the by-law requiring house-owners to pave half the width of the street in front of their property, no matter whether that width was 16 feet or 100, the Chamber doled out a few pounds towards the repairs. Similar donations were made towards mending the roads leading from the city gates, the state of which was almost continually complained of as perilous to life and limb. But the Council held large trust funds specifically bequeathed to afford help in such contingencies. With respect to lighting, the Corporation was less liberal. Its contribution towards the protection of the streets is recorded in 1700 under the following item:- “Paid for repairing the city lanthorn, 3s.” (This instrument, furnished with a candle, served for “enlightening the Tolzey”.) Watching devolved upon the inhabitants of the twelve wards, who until 1700, when a new Act was obtained for improving the service, had paid a small rate to provide


wages for a solitary old man in their respective districts. Scavenging was delegated to the parochial officers, who, as far as possible, delegated it to the elements. The repair of the quays of the port devolved upon the Merchants' Company, to whom the wharfage dues had been transferred for that purpose. The city gaol was rebuilt in 1691 by the Chamber, but a rate was levied on the citizens to defray the expense. The corporate revenue being thus relieved of every important public burden, the Chamber applied it, as was the custom of similar bodies in other towns, to the maintenance of civic magnificence and revelry. A large staff of marshals, sergeants, yeomen, and club men, armed with maces, swords, and partisans, and finely apparelled, preceded and followed the mayor on public occasions, when, he was always arrayed in a stately robe, gold chain, and gauntlets, and accompanied by his sword-bearer. The etiquette of the Corporation was as fastidious as that of a Court. On the great Church festivals, during the assizes, and on certain political anniversaries, the mayor and aldermen blazed out in scarlet attire; at other seasons, they appeared in black robes trimmed with fur; at others again in black gowns trimmed with satin. The Great Sword, the Pearl Sword, the Mourning Sword were each paraded on certain special days; but there were other days when they were all out of place. The business of getting a new mayor into office, and an old mayor out of it, involved a prodigious complication of minute courtesies and ceremonies, it is almost needless to add that every civic incident was the occasion of more or less conviviality. Whatever was going on, much progress could not be made without a festive lubrication. Once a year the mayor and aldermen held a manor court at Portishead, and a supply of claret and sack (with sometimes “half a groce” of tobacco pipes) was sent down for their entertainment; yet a “refresher” was needed at Failand Inn both on setting out and returning, and a final booze took place at Rownham before the party re-entered the city. The Chamber was entitled to a banquet after every meeting; the aldermen had a feast after every quarter session. If a committee were appointed, creature comforts were essential to its deliberations. An important document could not be signed, or a contract entered into, without the assistance of “refreshments”. When an address was drawn up in 1702, to congratulate Queen Anne on her accession, the mayor and aldermen incontinently adjourned to drink wine at the Raven tavern in High Street. When


the same dignitaries assembled a few weeks later to proclaim war against France, visits were paid to six different taverns in various parts of the city, about two gallons of sherry being drunk at each. And a few weeks later still, when they accompanied Mr. Colston in an inspection of Queen's Elizabeth's School, a supply of liquor was at once commanded. On the proclamation and coronation of a new sovereign, the juice of the grape flowed in copious streams; and every royal birthday was similarly celebrated. The entertainment of the judges and of distinguished visitors, which was worthy of the city's fame for hospitality, was almost the only other item of expenditure in ordinary years. The salaries of the civic officials were trivial, the town clerk receiving £20, the recorder £20, the sword-bearer £40, the chamberlain £100, the coroners £6 13s. 4d. each, the vice-chamberlain £14, and the keeper of Bridewell £20 yearly, some other officers being chiefly paid by fees. But it repeatedly happened - notably between 1690 and 1700 - that the corporate income did not suffice to defray the prodigal expenditure of the city magnates. Although no evidence of public feeling on the subject has come down to us, it is scarcely possible that the inhabitants can have looked with affection and respect on a body which, through love of parade and feasting, had become indifferent to the duties for which it was created. At a later period the indignation of the citizens became manifest enough.

Side by side with this exclusive corporation had recently been established an institution of a representative character - namely, the Incorporation of the Poor, for which the city was mainly indebted to the exertions of an able and thoughtful Bristol merchant, John Cary. Though not strictly within the limits of this work, a sketch of its foundation will be useful to elucidate subsequent events. During the war with France the local clothing trade had been much depressed, and many weavers, through want of work, had been reduced to pauperism, causing a serious increase in the rates. Much litigation, moreover, arose respecting the “settlements” of many of the people seeking relief, for as each parish administered its own poor rates, each was anxious to evade additional burdens. Whilst the subject was occupying public attention, Cary issued a pamphlet one of the first published in Bristol since the civil war - suggesting the erection of a central workhouse, in which able-bodied paupers might be provided with and be compelled to work, the infirm economically maintained, and


the young trained to fit them for a life of honest labour, “and not be bred up in all manner of vice as they now are”. To effect these ends the projector, propounding an idea which was to bear fruit over the whole kingdom nearly a century and a half later, urged that “the rates of the city being all united in a common fund” would be “enough to carry on the good work”. Mr. Cary's scheme having been approved by the Corporation as well as by a public meeting of the citizens (the earliest recorded), a petition was presented to the House of Commons in February, 1696, and an Act passed in the course of the session. Under its provisions four “guardians” were soon after elected by the ratepayers of each, ward, and these representatives, with the mayor and aldermen, who were ex-officio guardians, held their first meeting in May, in St. George's Chapel, in the Guildhall, when Samuel Wallis, mayor, a warm supporter of Cary, was elected governor, and Alderman William Swymmer deputy governor. Preliminary discussions and inquiries occupied the following months. The yearly amount to be raised by rates was fixed at £2,370 under the terms of the Act, being the alleged average outlay of the previous three years. Several parishes had maintained poorhouses, but none of the buildings were found eligible for a general workhouse. The Corporation, however, granted the loan of a house called Whitehall, adjoining Bridewell, which was ordered to be fitted up for the reception of 100 girls, to be employed in carding and spinning wool. The guardians were thus quietly proceeding with the work devolving upon them when they were smitten with sudden and somewhat ridiculous impotence by an unforeseen incident. The mayor's term of office having expired, he was succeeded in the chief magistracy by one John Hine, who was as antagonistic to the guardians as his predecessor had been helpful. Under the Act, the mayor's signature was indispensable to certain formal documents required for putting the new machinery in motion; but Hine flatly refused to sign them; and nothing remained for the guardians but to fold their hands for a twelvemonth. When the obstructive's term of office had expired, operations were resumed with renewed vigour; several prominent citizens offered loans to furnish Whitehall; a master of that workhouse was elected at a salary of £10, and a committee was appointed to treat for the purchase of “the Mint” - in other words, the mansion built by the Norton family in St. Peter Street, which, after having been many years a sugar


house, had been hired by the Government in 1696 and 1697 for carrying out in this district the great work of restoring the silver currency. In June, 1698, the Government having consented to surrender its occupancy, the house was purchased for £800 from its owners, Edward Colston, Richard Beecham, Sir Thomas Day and Nathaniel Day, and the guardians held their first court in the building on the 30th October. In the meantime another difficulty had arisen in the working of the new system; the overseers of the city parishes, annoyed at the loss of their former prestige as dispensers of relief, having refused to collect the rates assessed by the guardians. A singular expedient was adopted to defeat this manoeuvre. A Bill was then before Parliament for establishing a workhouse at Tiverton on the Bristol model. Into this Bill the guardians contrived to obtain the insertion of a clause (at a cost of £7 9s. 4d.) which dispensed with the signature of a reactionary mayor like Hine, and enabled distresses to be levied on recalcitrant overseers. The hospital, as the new workhouse was styled, now rapidly progressed. A hundred boys were received, and the making of fustians and cantaloons began; “a pair of stocks and a whipping post” being set up in the yard, and a place of detention, called “purgatory”, garnished with chains and locks, being provided in the house, for the encouragement of the inmates. As the outlay was considerable, a subscription, headed by the Members of Parliament for the city, was started to reduce the burden on the ratepayers, and in two years about £1,700 were received. In 1700 was published a pamphlet, dedicated to both Houses of Parliament, briefly recording the progress of the Bristol experiment. From a copy of this rare tract, now in the British Museum, and fairly attributable to Cary, it appears that the boys were earning £6 weekly, besides being fitted for an honest life; while the aged and impotent were decently maintained. “The success”, adds the writer, “hath answered our expectation; and the face of our city is changed already”. (Some years later, the guardians asserted in a memorial to the Council that the amount of the new poor rate did not much exceed the sum previously extorted from the citizens by strolling beggars.) Presently, the master of the workhouse reported that he had “kept the fair” with the cantaloons made by the boys, who had produced more than could be sold. The manufactory was not a pecuniary success, however, and the guardians will presently be found discussing other projects for dealing with young paupers. The


spinning of woollen by the girls at Whitehall was also unprofitable, and in June, 1700, it was resolved to employ half the inmates in spinning cotton yarn. In the same month the guardians bethought them that a little education might not be amiss, whereupon a house adjoining St. Peter's Hospital was bought for £160 and ordered to be converted into a school; but the number of boys taught to write was for several years limited to 20. That Cary's project as a whole excited much attention and was widely approved is sufficiently attested by the fact of its being speedily adopted at Norwich, Exeter, and other industrial centres.

There is not much to be said respecting the ecclesiastical dignitaries of the city. They came, indeed, but little under the notice of the inhabitants, for they were rarely in residence. The estates originally destined for the endowment of the bishopric having been for the most part appropriated by rapacious courtiers, the income of the see was less than that of many country rectories. Amongst the voluminous papers of Archbishop Bancroft, already referred to, is a scheme for augmenting the revenue, from which it appears that the fixed receipts of the bishop were about £360, from which had to be deducted £150 for certain charges, leaving a net receipt of 200 guineas. (So late as 1750 the clear income was only about £350.) In a letter in the archives of St. Paul's Cathedral, dated 1677, Bishop Carlton declares that his see was so beggarly as to make him a beggar likewise, and that unless the king would render him some additional support “the dignity must fall to the ground, and I with it”. The bishopric, in fact, was generally accepted by an ambitious clergyman only because he hoped, by courtly arts, to make it a stepping-stone to one of the prizes of the Church. In the meantime, such occupants pressed for sinecures and preferments that could be held with the see. At. the time when Carlton was lamenting his poverty (and also harrying local Dissenters) he held a rich prebend at Durham, and a valuable rectory which he never visited. After his intolerance had won him the well-endowed see of Chichester from Charles II., he set up a pack of hounds, and hunted foxes instead of Nonconformists. Bishop Lake, who held Bristol shortly afterwards, had a prebend at York, and a well-endowed rectory in Lancashire. Bishop Trelawny, whose elevation, according to contemporary critics, was due to his military exploits during the Monmouth rebellion, who continually “swore like a trooper”, and who in later life was a zealous canvasser at county elections, held many preferments


in commendum, and often asked for more. Bishop Hall, who held the see in 1700, was Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, where he, of course, resided. His successor, John Robinson, enjoying also the deanery of Windsor, was a member of the Government as Lord Privy Seal, and acted as principal English diplomatist in arranging the Peace of Utrecht. As a natural consequence, the episcopal residence, which ought to have been a refuge of literature set in a wilderness of counting-houses, was generally deserted. Besides the scantiness of the income, there seems to have been another reason why Bristolians saw so little of the prelates who followed each other in bewildering succession. In Bishop Tanner's MSS, at Oxford, is a petition from Bishop Goulston to Charles II., written about 1683, complaining that the dean and chapter had lately disposed of the “Canon's Little Marsh” (the ground extending from the back of the Cathedral to the Froom) for the building and repairing of ships, and, the workshops being contiguous to the episcopal palace, “the noise and stench is (sic) such an intolerable nuisance that your petitioner is not able to live in any part of his house with any health or comfort”. The king appears to have treated the grievance with his customary indifference. Perhaps he knew that the bishops and the capitular body of Bristol lived habitually at variance. The members of the chapter had each a substantial mansion near the Cathedral, but another of Tanner's papers, of about 1684, states that not one of them was in residence. The incomes, it is true, were not large. The fixed capitular revenue in 1700 was about £700, out of which the dean received £100, and each of the six prebendaries £20; but this did not include the fines for the renewal of leases, which were sometimes considerable. In 1700 the deanery was held by a man named George Royse, Provost of Oriel College, Oxford, whose non-residence cannot have been a misfortune. Bishop Kennet states that this worthy, “in his latter days, sank much into drinking, and kept an ill woman, who came to Windsor and waited with him when he attended at chapel to Queen Anne” (Lansdowne MSS., British Museum). The extreme poverty of the city incumbencies at this period will be noticed hereafter.

On the 1st January, 1701, in pursuance of an ancient yearly custom, the sheriffs of Bristol waited upon the mayor, and presented him with a new scabbard for the state sword


usually borne before him. The “scafford”, as it is called by Peter Mugleworth, sword-bearer, was always of silver gilt, and appears to have cost the sheriffs about £80. It is supposed that each mayor, on his retirement, retained this ornament as a souvenir of his civic grandeur. The sheriffs, in return for the gift, were each entitled to a pair of gold-fringed gloves, costing about £20. On the Sunday after the presentation, the “scafford” was carried to the mayor's parish church, and on the two following Sundays to the parish churches of the sheriffs, to rejoice the eyes of the respective congregations.

The opening of the century was marked in Bristol by the introduction of an improved system of lighting the streets. For the previous forty years this service had been imposed by the Corporation upon such of the inhabitants as it thought fit to select. The householders so burdened, between 500 and 600 in number, were severally required to hang a lanthorn and lighted candle at their doors from 6 until 9 o'clock at night “during the winter season”, artificial light during the remainder of the night and throughout the summer months being deemed a superfluous luxury. Although defaulters had been threatened with a fine of 3s. 4d. for each infraction of this order, its end had never been satisfactorily attained, and in some districts there were practically no lights at all. In 1700, when the Corporation was seeking legislative powers to suppress nuisances in the Avon and Froom, which, said the preamble of the Bill, were the receptacles of most of the ashes and filth of the city, it occurred to some one that the opportunity should be seized to institute a better lighting system, and three clauses were tacked to the scheme whilst it was passing through Parliament. They enacted that every householder paying 2s. per week towards the relief of the poor should, from Michaelmas to Lady Day, hang out a lighted lanthorn at his street door from dusk to midnight; but it was provided that if any parish agreed to pay a lighting rate, and erected as many lamps as were approved by the justices, the parishioners should be relieved of the personal burden. It was characteristic of the Corporation that while lights were required to be maintained before churches, and buildings like the Merchants' Hall, the Act was silent respecting the Guildhall and the Council House. A little time was needed to put the parochial machinery in operation, but the new arrangement was at work in January, 1701. On the 23rd of that month the Common Council confirmed the following


report from the mayor and aldermen: “The parishioners of Christ Church having at their charges set upp a larg fair double glass lamp at the corner of their church for enlightening the streets there, and applying for some contribution towards the same, which request the maior and aldermen thought reasonable, for that the chamber, which used to be at the charge of a lanthorn and candle at the end of High Street for enlightening the Tolzey is by means of that lamp eased of that charge, the said lamp affording far greater light than can be expected from many candles in lanthorns, and being of great credit and reputacon to the city, Do think proper that the yearly sum of 50s. should be allowed”. An early arrangement for parochial lighting under the Act further illustrates the corporate idea of what was needful for the public convenience. The parishioners of St. Stephen's escaped the personal burden on consenting to pay collectively for twelve lamps in that extensive parish, Prince's Street, Queen Square, and the Quay being allotted two each. The arrangement made for St. Peter's parish is shown by the following invoice, preserved in the Jefferies' collection:- “April ye 1st 1704. Mr. Charles Bearpacker for St. Peter's parish is to Daniel Fry and Wm. Curd Dr. ffor maintaining with Oyl, Lighters, &c., five Lamps, also 2/3 of one more Lamp and ¾ of another from Xmas last to our Lady Day £6 8s. 4d.” It will be observed that lighting was wholly discontinued from the 25th March to the 29th September. The above Act also required householders to sweep the streets twice a week in front of their respective doors; a rate was to be levied for the hiring of scavengers to remove the refuse; and the Corporation was to fix certain places where it should be deposited, the pollution of the rivers being prohibited under penalties.

In the closing months of 1700, the Post Office authorities in London, after being earnestly petitioned by local merchants, counselled the Grovernment to establish a “cross post” from this city to Chester. Up to that time, Bristol letters to Chester, Shrewsbury, Worcester, and apparently Gloucester, had been carried round by London, involving double postage and great delay. The effect of this system had been to throw nearly all the letters into the hands of public carriers, by whose wagons they were conveyed more quickly than by the post-boys and at a cheaper rate. Moved by the success of the cross post from Bristol to Exeter, established in 1697, and producing a “neat profit” of £360 yearly, the Treasury consented to the starting of a


similar service to Chester, commencing at Michaelmas, 1700. The people of Cirencester and Exeter, hearing of this concession, hastened to complain of shortcomings affecting themselves. The Devon clothiers had a considerable trade with the wool dealers of Cirencester, which town was served by post-boys riding between Gloucester and London, with a branch mail to Wotton-under-Edge. But there being no postal service of any kind between Bristol and Wotton, correspondence betwixt Exeter and Cirencester had to be sent viâ London, and a fortnight elapsed between the despatch of a letter and the receipt of an answer, the result being that not one letter in twenty was sent through the post. All that was needed to shorten the transit from fourteen days to four was to put Bristol in communication with Wotton, the expense being estimated at £30 a year. But the Government declined to comply, and nothing was done. (As a further illustration of the embarrassments of the time, it may be stated that in January, 1701, when some deeds had to be conveyed for execution to Leicester, the Corporation of Bristol was obliged to send its agent, with a servant and guides, all on horseback, to the midland town, the journey occupying nearly a fortnight, and costing £10.) Returning to the Chester post, the Post Office reported to the Treasury in March, 1702, that the profit for the first eighteen months had been only £156. The additional expense in future would be about £80 a year, and as the double postages earned when letters went round by London were lost, they apprehended a net diminution in the revenue. The accounts of Henry Pyne, the Bristol postmaster, appended to the report in the State Papers, show that he had received £168 for letters by this post, whilst his expenses had been £60.

This mention of the Bristol postal official appropriately introduces a document describing the humble dimensions of the establishment under his control. In the bargain books of the Corporation is the following memorandum:- “22 June, 1700. Then agreed by the surveyors of the city lands with Henry Pine, Deputy Postmaster, that he the said Henry Pine shall have hold and enjoy the ground whereon now stands a shedd having therein four severall shopps scituate in All Saints Lane, and as much more ground at the lower end of the same shedd as that the whole ground shall contain in length twenty seven foot, and to contain in breadth from the outside of the churchyard wall five foot and a half outward into the lane, with liberty to build upon


the same for conveniency of a post office, (viz.) the first story to come forth into the said lane to the extent of that ground and no farther, and the second story to have a truss of 18 inches over the lane, or more, as the said surveyors shall think fitt, that persons coming to the post office may have shelter from the rain and stand in the dry. To hold the same from Michaelmas next for 60 years absolute under the yearly rent of 30s. clear of taxes”. This agreement must have been afterwards modified. Perhaps possession could not be obtained of one of the “shopps”, the frontage of which, including the doorway, measured, it will be seen, only about six feet each. (Attorneys' offices were of an equally humble character. By a will dated in May, 1708, an attorney named Martyn Nelme bequeathed to his wife his “office, shed, or penthouse in All Saints' Lane”, held by lease from the Corporation.) At all events Pyne paid no rent until Michaelmas, 1705, when 25s. were received by the chamberlain, and “the Posthouse” produced the same yearly sum until 1742, when the rent was raised to £3, for reasons that do not appear.

It will be impossible to notice the innumerable discussions on the badness of the roads which are recorded in the civic records. The first of the century may serve as an example. In February, 1701, the churchwardens of Temple drew attention to the lamentable state of the great road leading “from Temple Gate to the bottom of the hill near Totterdown Castle”. (The latter spot probably owed its name to some remains of the defences raised during the Civil War.) The Common Council contributed £20 towards the repairs, and shortly after voted £30 more, owing to the heaviness of the outlay.

In July, 1701, the vestry of St. Nicholas' parish resolved upon demising, upon a lease for three lives, an estate called the Forlorn Hope, near Baptist Mills, purchased by the vestry in 1693, mainly from charity funds, for £690. The estate, which comprised a house and fourteen acres of land, was let in the following month to James Bush, linen dyer, for 40s. a year, in consideration of a payment of £360, and of two guineas (to be spent at a tavern) on the sealing of the lease. A renewal of the term took place on the dropping of a life in 1720, when a fine of £240 was demanded. The land has been in our own time converted into building sites, and the annual ground rents of the property must far exceed the sum which was originally given for the fee-simple. With reference to the above provision for a


drinking bout, it may be added that no lease was signed or any other parochial business transacted by the vestries of that age without an adjournment to a wine shop. In the St. Nicholas' accounts for 1746-7 is the following entry:- “Paid for wine, and spent with the vestry of St. Leonards, and signing leases £11 17s.” - a sum then sufficient to purchase an enormous quantity of liquor.

Attention will be directed at a later period to the capricious treatment of condemned felons by the magistracy of the city. At the gaol delivery in September, 1701, one John Rudge was convicted and sentenced to be hanged for horse-stealing. As he was a lusty young fellow, however, he was shortly afterwards pardoned, on condition of his entering the army! This system of dealing with thieves, which was common during the greater part of the century, accounts for the frequency of violent crimes committed by soldiers quartered in the city.

Amongst the devices for raising money attempted by the impecunious Government of William III. was a tax on births, marriages, and deaths. The birth of a child was taxed upon a sliding scale; the son of a duke brought in £26, and the impost gradually fell to 12s. on each child of persons worth £600 in personal estate, and to 2s. on the infants of labourers. A marriage amongst the commonalty incurred a duty of 2s. 6d., and the charge rose to £50 for the nuptials of a duke. Similarly, the tax on burials varied from £50 to 4s. Paupers were exempt from the impost on births, but not from that on burials. The two last-named burdens were repealed in 1700, but that on marriages continued until 1706. In 1701 the Corporation was applied to by a Government official for the arrears of the burial tax due on account of several Bristol paupers; but the Common Council repudiated its liability, and ordered payment to be made by the poor law guardians.

Another curious Act of Parliament came into operation on the 29th September, 1701, and caused much discontent amongst the fair sex. Since trade with France had re-opened in 1696, the use of woollen cloth for female attire, previously universal, had been diminished by a growing taste for foreign silk, and other light material. Bitter complaints of the change in fashion were raised by the clothiers of Bristol and the western counties, who represented to the House of Commons that the popularity of French and Indian tissues threatened ruin to their industry. The clamour forced the Government to take legislative


action, and the use of foreign-made silks and calicoes was absolutely prohibited after the above date. Ladies' tastes, however, were not to be changed by Act of Parliament. The smuggling of French silks enormously increased, and it is said that some Bristol mercers, playing on feminine weakness, were adroit enough to pass off large quantities of home-made silks as contraband imports from across the Channel.

A dissolution of Parliament took place in November, when the country was in a flame at the intelligence that Louis XIV. had just acknowledged the son of James II. as rightful King of England. No information can be discovered respecting the election for Bristol, saving that the members returned were Whigs - Sir William Daines, whose mayoralty had ended a few weeks previous, and Colonel Robert Yate, also a former mayor, and a wealthy and public-spirited alderman. The contest for Gloucestershire on this occasion excited intense interest in the political world, and readers of Lord Macaulay's History are aware that his work stops short in the midst of a brilliant account of the struggle. It may be useful, therefore, to state that John Howe, one of the former members, whom Lord Stanhope describes as an insolent and unscrupulous defamer of William III., was defeated by a majority of nearly a thousand. The Parliament had a brief career, the death of the king in the following March necessitating another dissolution. The members for Bristol were re-elected, probably without opposition. Howe again came forward for Gloucestershire, and, although at the bottom of the poll, he was declared duly elected by a sheriff of kindred principles.

Down to this date the Society of Merchant Venturers were content to assemble in what had once been the chapel of St. Clement, at the end of Marsh Street, but which was desecrated in the reign of Edward VI. Having become dissatisfied with this building, the Company, in 1701, erected a new hall of much larger dimensions upon the site and some adjoining vacant ground. In 1721 there was, says Tucker's MS., “a further addition to the grandeur of the hall by pulling down several old tenements and erecting a sett of steps there”. A view of this hall, which may have been commodious, but was certainly not ornamental, will be found in Barrett's History. The present front was added in 1790, when the building underwent extensive alterations.

The first house erected in the Marsh (afterwards Queen


Square) was finished during the year 1701. The builder was the Rev. John Reade, D.D., Vicar of St. Nicholas, who, by an agreement with the Corporation dated October 27th, 1699, obtained a lease of the site for five lives, at a rental of 40s., “being 1s. per foot in front”, on his undertaking to build a house 40 feet high, with a brick front and stone groins, within two years. This was probably one of the first brick dwellings constructed within the city walls. It is somewhat incomprehensibly described in a later deed as standing at “the east (north?) comer of the east row”. Other sites were leased on the same terms, but as the lives fell in pressure was put upon the Corporation for a relaxation of the conditions, and renewals were granted, first for a term of fifty-three years, and afterwards for one of forty years, renewable every fourteen years on payment of a year's rent.

The Merchant Tailors' Almshouse in Merchant Street (then called Marshall Street) was also built in 1701, when the inmates removed from the old hospital of the Company in Marsh Street.

The Quakers of Bristol and the neighbourhood established, in 1699, a boarding school at Sidcot, Somerset, which had a long and prosperous career. The fee for teaching was 20s. annually, 10s. extra being charged for classics. The cost of boarding was £9, but in 1701 complaints were raised that this was excessive, and it appears from the records of the Society of Friends that the charge at their boarding school at Skipton in 1728 was only £8 a year, teaching included.

The accession of Queen Anne was proclaimed early in March, 1702, with the ceremonies customary on such occasions. The disbursements of the Corporation amounted to £21 5s., about £7 of which was “for wine drunk at the Raven”; £2 for “wine at the Bull”, and £6 for “wine that the constables drunk”. Her Majesty was crowned on the 23rd April, amidst much popular rejoicing; for the late King's excessive attachment to the Dutchmen who had come over with him had caused much discontent, while the devotion to English interests adroitly expressed by Anne in her first speech to her subjects had naturally kindled their enthusiasm. There was a grand corporate procession to the Cathedral, a novel feature amongst the inevitable civic functionaries, city companies, school children, and bands of music, being “twenty four young maidens, dressed in night rails and white hoods, with fans in their hands, being led, as their captain, by a comely young woman, clad in a


close white dress, wearing on her head a perriwig and plumed hat, carrying in her hand a half-pike”, to the admiration of all spectators. Moreover, there were “twenty four young damsels in sarsnet hoods”, armed with gilded bows and arrows; also “the principal citizens' daughters wearing branches of laurel”, two of them supporting a gorgeous crown; and finally “Madame Mayoress”, and the wives of the aldermen and common councillors, “splendidly apparelled, with the city music sweetly playing before them”. The streets, churches, houses, and ships were plentifully decorated. The great guns in the Marsh fired numberless salutes. And for a certain time the conduits, decorated with garlands, ran wine for the delectation of such of the mob as could get at them. In the evening a party of young men, wearing “furbelo'd” white shirts over their clothes, led into the streets an equal number of young women in white waistcoats, red petticoats, night head-dresses, and laced hats. These strangely accoutred revellers were followed by other men, bearing an effigy of the Pope, arrayed in glaring robes and gilded tiara, and surrounded by unsaintly counsellors with masks and croziers. Having paraded this mockery to their hearts' content, the populace flung it into one of the numerous bonfires amidst loud acclamations. The Corporation spent £53 2s. 10d. over the day's rejoicings, of which more than three-fifths went for wine, £7 19s. for gunpowder, 2s. for a pound of tobacco, and 7s. 6d. for “hanging the High Cross”. Even this demonstration of loyalty seems colourless when compared with the great local event of the year. In August the Queen, who was a constant sufferer from gout, paid a visit to Bath for the purpose of trying the efficacy of the waters. The Corporation lost no time in appointing a committee to wait upon her, with an earnest prayer to visit the city. Her Majesty had had previous experience of the good feeling of the civic body. Some years before, whilst sojourning at Bath, the Common Council had forwarded to the Princess of Denmark a gift of sixty dozen of wine, besides a hogshead of sack sent on to London. Moved, perhaps, by this reminiscence, she received the deputation cordially, and responded to its wishes by graciously consenting to spend a few hours in Bristol. The royal party, occupying thirteen coaches, each with six horses, set out from Bath on the morning of the 3rd September. The only practicable coach-road between the two cities was on the north bank of the Avon; but as the portion between Bath and Kelston was


then founderous, while the narrow track by Keynsham was in a still worse condition, the carriages proceeded as far as Newton St. Loe, forded the river at Swinford, and then traversed the usual course through Kings wood. Her Majesty was received at Lawford's Gate by the mayor (John Hawkins) and the rest of the civic functionaries, arrayed in their scarlet paraphernalia. The corporators on this great occasion had mounted on horseback, to the no small tribulation and alarm, we may feel assured, of those unaccustomed to that mode of travelling. Mr. Seyer has copied from a contemporary chronicle so lengthy a description of the subsequent proceedings that it is unnecessary to repeat the details. Her Majesty was conducted into the city amidst the cheering of the multitude lining the way, passed under a gaily ornamented triumphal arch at St. Nicholas' Gate, and descended from her carriage at the “great house” of Sir Thomas Day, at the south end of the bridge. There she dined, having first knighted the mayor, and permitted the mayoress and other ladies and gentlemen to kiss her hand. From a curious note in the minute book of the Gloucestershire Society, it appears that that body postponed its annual feast, and “at the request of the city spared the provision” made for it, in order that her Majesty might be the better entertained. During dinner a salute was fired by 100 guns planted in the Marsh, the cannon of the numerous ships in the harbour adding their tribute to the din. As soon as the repast was over, at five o'clock, the Queen re-entered her carriage, and the royal party set off again by the same route for Bath, which was not reached until long after nightfall. This visit cost the Corporation £466; out of which a firm of vintners got £110, while the baker's bill amounted only to 10s. 6d. - facts which remind one of Falstaff's famous little account. The loan of pewter plates and cups - indicating the furniture of the dinner table - cost £12 12s. The sum of £6 14s. was paid for glasses; “beer from the mayor's brewery” ran up to £11 16s., but only 24s. were spent in “decorating the banqueting hall with flowers”. Sir Thomas Day received £22 19s. for the use of his mansion. The oddest item enumerated in the long account is:- “Apothecary, 2s. 4d”. What he furnished remains a mystery. To perpetuate the memory of this auspicious day, the mayor and aldermen resolved, on the 10th December, “that the square now building in the Marsh shall be called Queen Square”; and soon afterwards Sir Godfrey Kneller received a commission to paint her Majesty's portrait, for which he


was paid £20 in the following summer. In connection with this royal visit, a legend has become attached to an old mansion at Barton Hill, now popularly called “Queen Anne's house”, where her Majesty is alleged to have rested previous to entering the city. Such an incident, had it occurred, would scarcely have been omitted in the chronicles of the day. The house is known to have belonged to the mayor, and it is probable that it was selected as a convenient rendezvous for the members of the Corporation whilst awaiting the Queen's arrival.

In the spring of 1702 the dilapidated condition of Foster's Almshouse being reported to the Common Council, it was ordered that the building be taken down and reconstructed, at an expenditure “not to exceed £400”. The meanness and narrow accommodation of the new structure were the unavoidable consequences of this resolution. It was wholly swept away in 1883, when the present building was completed.

During the summer of 1702, whilst the great philanthropist, Edward Colston, was temporarily residing in the city (he had been drawn from his house near London in the closing months of the previous year by the fatal illness of his mother), he appears to have acquainted the Corporation with his desire to make a large endowment for local educational purposes. The details are unfortunately lost, for the civic records throw no light upon the precise nature of his communication. That it was deemed of considerable importance seems proved by the fact that he was requested to sit for his portrait to a London artist, who executed the picture still in the Council House. (The cost, including the frame and the case in which it was forwarded, was £17 11s.) Queen Elizabeth's Hospital boys, increased in 1701 to forty, were lodged and taught in the crumbling monastic buildings formerly belonging to the fraternity of “the Gaunts”. At a meeting of the Common Council on the 8th August, a resolution was passed setting forth “that Mr. Edward Colston, a very great benefactor to this city by several charities and bounties”, had that day proposed to add a further number of boys to those settled in the hospital, and ordering that a deputation should wait upon him with the thanks of the Council. The biographer of Colston has hastily inferred that the “proposal” here spoken of related to an addition of four boys which was temporarily made to the school soon after this time at the cost of the philanthropist. But this supposition seems irreconcilable with the


terms of a document which was signed by Colston and several leading citizens on the 26th August, only a few days later. The paper in question contains an undertaking on the part of the signatories to subscribe “towards the pulling down the hospital and rebuilding it convenient for the accommodation of one hundred and twenty poor boys”; and the name of Edward Colston heads the list, with a written promise to give £500. The names of twenty members of the Corporation follow, their donations amounting to £1,400. (The paper was probably drawn up and signed at the school, for an item in the civic accounts, already referred to, shows that the civic body visited the hospital in company with Colston.) It would be absurd to suppose that the parties to this agreement proposed to contribute large sums towards accommodating 120 boys without having reasons for believing that the existing forty scholars were likely to be largely increased. And as Colston certainly made some overture to the Council to furnish funds for the maintenance of fifty or sixty more lads, it seems reasonable to suppose that his “proposal” was then under consideration. Much contempt has been thrown upon the city authorities for the ignorance and indifference to education they are said to have betrayed in declining Colston's offer. But their conduct admits of a worthier interpretation. A body of men who had subscribed £1,400 (which, considering the commercial incomes of the age, would now be equivalent to nearly £5,000) towards enlarged school buildings cannot have been so selfish, churlish, and sordid as has been gratuitously asserted. And when it is remembered that Colston afterwards deliberately excluded from his school the children of Dissenters, and strictly forbade the use, in Temple charity school, of books containing any “tincture of Whiggism”, one may not unreasonably assume that, when he proposed to make a munificent addition to the funds of Queen Elizabeth's Hospital, he sought to impose conditions as to the future management of the institution which its governors were justified in rejecting. (To deepen the discredit of the Common Council it has been alleged by the same critic that “their autographs were crosses and unsightly blotches”, and that they could see no utility in a school, because “they could not write” themselves. These assertions, when tested by the corporate minute books, which every councillor signed on his admission, only afford another, and unfortunately a needless, proof of the prejudices and blundering that disfigure the censor's work.) The rebuilding of the


hospital began in the early months of 1703, when a house was taken for the temporary accommodation of the scholars. In 1706 the Corporation made another arrangement, by which the boys were boarded and educated in St. Peter's Hospital, a weekly allowance of 2s. 6d. per head being paid for victuals, firing, washing, and lodging. The new and stately buildings adjoining St. Mark's Chapel were finished in the following year, at a cost of about £2,600, of which nearly £600 were drawn from the funds of the hospital, and the boys took possession in September, 1706.

At the summer assizes in 1702 Mr. Justice Powell was entertained at the house of Mr. Alderman Lane, who remitted to the city chamberlain a detailed account of his expenditure during the visit. The items for food show the remarkable cheapness of provisions. For two turkeys, six ducks, four capons, and twelve pullets, the outlay was only £2 3s. (Five turkeys and six geese cost 12s. 3d. in 1708.) A buck cost £2 2s. 6d.; and fruit, vegetables, and “hartichoaks” £1 4s. 3d. His lordship's wine-bill amounted to £10 8s., although sherry was then only 7s. a gallon; and he required two pounds of tobacco, and two gross (288) pipes. Lemons were 6s. a dozen, and 4s. 6d. were paid for a pound of “choclat”. Neither tea nor coffee appears in the bill, which amounted to £28 5s. 1d. The chief justices travelled the circuit in coaches with six horses, but the puisne judges seem to have progressed on horseback, accompanied by a large staff of servants. In 1710 Chief Justice Parker had twenty-one “saddle horses”. Food and stabling for the animals were provided by the Corporation, which also paid the farrier for shoeing them and the coachmaker for repairing the carriages, which were always dilapidated, owing to the badness of the roads.

As Bristol was at this time the second city in the kingdom as regarded manufactures and commerce, it was fitting that she should be the first to follow the example of London in the establishment of a newspaper. Such of the local annalists as have not deemed journalism unworthy of the dignity of history have denied the city a newspaper until 1716. As a matter of fact the Bristol Post-Boy was published in Corn Street by William Bonny in 1702. A copy of the first number not having been preserved, the precise date of its publication is uncertain. The earliest copy known to be in existence was issued on the 12th August, 1704, and is numbered 91, from which it might be inferred that Bonny started his enterprise in November, 1702. The


early printers, however, were singularly careless in numeration. As an example, the Post-Boy issued on the 20th March, 1708, was numbered 281, and that published on Sept. 10th, 1709, nearly eighteen months later, bears the number 287. All that can be positively affirmed, therefore, is that the paper was in existence in 1702, or four years before the appearance of the Norwich Postman, which historians of the press have hitherto asserted to be the earliest provincial English journal. The publisher of the Bristol Post Boy, William Bonny, has been already briefly mentioned. Having been unfortunate as a London printer, he seems to have thought that a busy port like Bristol presented favourable ground for setting up a press, and his petition for leave to do so was laid before the Common Council in April, 1695. The Chamber, being of opinion that “a printing house would be useful in several respects”, conferred the freedom of the city upon him, on condition that he became an inhabitant; but for the protection of the existing booksellers he was restrained from exercising “any other trade but that of a printer”. He lost no time in removing from London, but cannot at that time have contemplated the starting of a newspaper; for until May, 1695, when the censorship of the press came unexpectedly to an end, there was no newspaper even in the capital save the official Gazette. Bonny's first known production in his new home was a pamphlet on English trade, written by John Cary, to whom the city owes the Incorporation of the Poor. This is dated on the title-page “November, 1695”. In the session of Parliament which opened in the same month a Bill was introduced to “regulate printing”, whereupon Cary, dreading the revival of restrictions, addressed a letter to the members for the city, desiring them to take measures for safeguarding the only press in Bristol. Mr. Yate, replying for Sir Thomas Day and himself on the 5th December, explained that the object of the Bill was to secure the privilege of printing for towns like York, Bristol, and Exeter. (This correspondence is in the British Museum.) The Bill was fortunately dropped, and the success of the London Post-Boy and other papers encouraged Bonny to make a similar adventure here; though he must have proceeded under painful difficulties, for John Dunton, the London bookseller, states that in 1705 he had wholly lost his sight. The Bristol Post-Boy was printed on both sides of a coarse and dingy leaf, somewhat less in size than half a sheet of ordinary letter paper. The contents of a number


would not suffice to fill three-quarters of a column of a daily journal of our time. No. 91 contains no reference to local events, and only one advertisement. Another extant copy shows that the restriction placed on Bonny by the Corporation had been relaxed or forgotten, for the publisher announces that he buys old rope and “paper stuff”, and sells Welsh Prayer-Books, Bibles, paper-hangings, music “with the monthly songs”, maps, blank ale licenses, and blank commissions for private men-of-war. On another occasion (May 31st, 1712) he informs the public that he has some “very good Bridgwater peas and large brown paper” for sale, and in 1716 he frequently supplied the Council House with charcoal. The number of May, 1712, is the latest known copy of the Post-Boy, If it long survived that date, which is improbable, its printer had to sustain the competition of a more enterprising rival - the Bristol Postman, the only known copy of which is dated July 15th, 1713, and numbered 24. The Postman was published by Samuel Farley, the earliest of a numerous and puzzling family of printers, “at the house in St. Nicholas' Street, near the church”. It marked a great improvement upon Bonny's tiny journal, containing twelve small quarto pages, with pictorial initial letters, and two woodcuts - a postboy and a full-rigged ship - on the title-page. The price was three-halfpence in the city, and twopence when delivered in the country. The deliverers, it may be added, hawked the books, quack medicines, mustard, snuff, etc., advertised in the paper, thus turning an honest penny for their employer. The third local journal, the Bristol Weekly Mercury, printed by Henry Greep, made its appearance on the 1st October, 1715. The price was three-halfpence “in town”, and the title declares that in point of news it far excels all other papers; but as the latest issue preserved is No. 61, it probably died in infancy. In April, 1725, a new stamp duty of one penny per sheet on newspapers came into force, in consequence of which Farley discontinued the twelve-paged Postman, and produced in its place a four-paged journal, entitled Farley's Bristol Newspaper, price twopence, “printed at my house near Newgate, in Wine Street”. The title of this paper, of which various copies have survived, is accompanied by a view of the city, including old Bristol Bridge. In April, 1727, either the Mercury or some other unknown journal ceased to appear, for Farley announced that, “after all ignorant and fruitless attempts of pretenders”, his was the only newspaper published in the city.


The printer, as is proved by a handbill in the Record Office, had taken two sons into partnership in or before 1718, but seems to have managed the paper himself. The issue of July 9th, 1737, is styled Sam. Farley's Bristol Newspaper. In 1743 the Bristol Newspaper had disappeared, the sons had separated, and a curious arrangement appears to have been entered into between them. On the 24th March, 1743-4, for example, was issued F. Farley's Bristol Journal, No. 17; and a week later appeared Farley's Bristol Advertiser, No. 18. The former was printed by Felix Farley in Castle Green; the latter by “Felix Farley & Co”. This alternation of titles continued until the summer of 1746, the last Advertiser being issued on the 23rd August, and F. Farley's Journal was alone published until the close of 1747. On the 9th January, 1748, the title was changed through some freak to F. Farley's Advertiser, but in the following week the printer altered it to Farley's Bristol Journal, which was stated to be published by S. and F. Farley, at the Shakespeare's Head in Castle Green, denoting a brief family reconciliation. Soon afterwards the word Farley was removed from the title, the paper being styled simply the Bristol Journal, (The final separation of the brothers will be recorded under 1762.) The numbering of the journal issued by Felix Farley is bewildering. For about four years it proceeded pretty regularly, though the printer on more than thirty occasions neglected to alter the figures. But on the 14th March, 1747, the issue, which was really the 171st, was called “No. 1”; whilst that of the 18th April following, actually the 176th, bears the astounding number “1560” - upon which all the subsequent numeration was based, with the effect of increasing the apparent age of the paper by nearly twenty-seven years. Though no explanation of this leap is offered by the printer, some light as to the motive is found in his previous asseverations that the figures appended to the title were no index, as some readers had fancied, to the number of copies issued weekly. “No. 1” seems to have been tried as a reductio ad absurdum. Probably from its failure, for the editor indignantly asserted a month later that he sold more than his two local rivals put together, a jump was made in the opposite direction. Farley's competitors, just referred to, may be dismissed briefly. The first was the Oracle, edited by “Andrew Hooke, Esq.”, a descendant of an eminent Bristol family in the previous century, but reduced in circumstances. (He was actually a prisoner for debt in Newgate when he started the paper.)


The first number was issued on the 3rd February, 1742, and the last about September, 1749. The title underwent constant changes, and the numbering seems to have been left to chance, for it never reached 70 in an existence of nearly eight years. (Since the above was written, some documents have been found in the Record Office from which it appears that Hooke was prosecuted by the Attorney-General for seeking to evade the advertisement duty on weekly newspapers by systematically altering the title of his journal. The result does not appear. At this period the advertisements in any of the local papers rarely exceeded ten, and sometimes fell to half that number. The earnings of the publishers were so meagre that they eked out a living in odd ways. Thus Felix Farley announced that he was the sole retailer of “the Bristol Tooth-water, made out of the noblest ingredients in the whole materia medica”. He also vended quack medicines, Durham mustard, and writing ink, lent Acts of Parliament to read at the rate of 3d. for two hours, and gave ready money for old books and paintings.) The other journal was a revived Bristol Mercury. The only copy known to exist is dated October 20th, 1748; and was printed by Edward Ward in Castle Street. Being numbered “24” one might assume that the paper had first appeared in the spring of 1748, but the Mercury is mentioned by name in the Bristol Journal of October 10th, 1747. It expired before the Oracle; and Ward, its printer, produced the first number of the Bristol Intelligencer on the 23rd September, 1749, stating that he had come into the field in consequence of there being only one journal “exhibited” in the city - the Journal of S. and F. Farley. Ward removed to Broad Street in 1760, and subsequently published his paper “at the King's Arms [the Stamp Office] in the Tolzey”. The latest extant copy of the Intelligencer is dated August 12th, 1768.

The practice of tobacco smoking was exceedingly popular amongst the upper classes of society at this period. The tobacco and pipes purchased for Mr. Justice Powell in 1702 have been already mentioned. The recorder was allowed 5s. for pipes and tobacco at the gaol delivery of the same year. The members of the Corporation were also ardent smokers, but therewithal economical, sending their foul pipes back to the kiln to be purified by burning. The vice-chamberlain was paid the following little account at the audit in 1704:- “December 22, 1703, paid for pipes, 5s. May 16, a gross of pipes and for burning pipes, 2s.


July 2, pipes at Muster, and burning of pipes, 1s. August 8, more pipes, and for burning fowle pipes, 1s. August 22, a gross of pipes and burning fowle ones, 2s.”. Another half-gross or pipes was bought in September at the celebration of the victory of Blenheim. The expenditure under this head increased in subsequent years, no less than nine gross of new pipes being bought in 1716, while several gross of old ones were reburned. At the yearly celebration of the King's coronation in 1723, the civic body, after ordering in 216 pipes, consumed 2½ lb. of tobacco, with “6 jugs of ale, 10 quarts each”, and upwards of 60 gallons of wine. In the petty payments for 1738 there are small payments for tobacco on every day on which the Council assembled.

An outbreak of fire in a city mainly constructed of wood and wholly uninsured was naturally regarded with terror; but to modern eyes the measures taken in Bristol to meet an emergency seem ludicrously inefficient. Some disaster having happened during the autumn of 1702, the Common Council revived an old order in November, requiring every alderman and councillor to keep six leather buckets in his house for the use of his neighbours in the event of a fire. This was an ancient duty of each corporator, but it had been evaded or overlooked. The churchwardens were at the same time requested to provide a “sufficient” number of buckets and ladders, according to the extent of their parishes. St. Nicholas' vestry added an “engine” to this provision. The Corporation also had two “engines”, similar to the garden utensil of later times, consisting of a vessel on low wheels, containing about twenty gallons of water, with a force-pump and nozzle. Fortunately for the citizens no serious fire occurred for several years. But on the 26th December, 1716, a calamitous outbreak took place in Wine Street, near the High Cross, when the deficiency of the apparatus was made manifest by the total destruction of three houses; and the Council, in a panic, appointed a committee to consider what should be done. In July, 1717, this body recommended that the two engines should be made serviceable, or replaced by better ones, and that a “fireman” should be appointed for each of the twelve wards, to be provided with two buckets, a pickhook, and an axe, and to be paid 1s. an hour during a fire. It was also suggested that four dozen buckets should be kept at the Council House, and that hose should be provided to feed the engines, and to convey the water from them to the burning


premises. The city accounts shortly afterwards show that a new brass engine was purchased at a cost of £8 15s., which affords the reader an idea of the efficiency of the apparatus. Six dozen buckets, costing £10 16s., were doubtless for supplying the instrument with water. In 1720, however, another engine was made out of the materials of two old ones at an expense of £17 11s.; and a few weeks later, after the destruction of a large sugar house and several adjoining dwellings, about £6 were spent in “mending and painting the city buckets”. The Wine Street disaster occasioned the first local movement for securing protection from losses by fire. In 1718 a number of leading merchants guaranteed a fund of £40,000, and thereupon founded the Crown Insurance Fire Office. The directors' meetings were held for some years in the court-room of St. Peter's Hospital, £4 per annum being paid for the accommodation. The charge for the insurance of house property was sixpence per pound on the rental.

A violent but now obscure controversy raged about this time between the Corporation and John Sansom, jun., who was the son-in-law of the town clerk, John Romsey, and had been appointed Collector of Customs in 1700. In June, 1703, the Council complained to the Government respecting the Collector's conduct, particularly for “notorious violations of her Majesty's peace upon private persons, indecently contemning the authority of the magistrates by words and writing, and exciting a challenge to a principal officer of the city for what he did by order of the Court of Quarter Sessions, and other unwarrantable actions”. The Sessions grand jury had already made a presentment accusing the Collector of “endeavouring the ruin” of the trade of the city by imposing illegal oaths on persons sending goods coastwise. The Government appears to have taken no action. In January, 1706, an instrument was read to the Council, signed by the town clerk, intimating that he was imprisoned in London “at the suit and eager prosecution” of his only daughter and her husband Sansom, and constituting Nathaniel Wade, an ex-town clerk, his deputy. In 1707 Sansom came to grief, the Government discovering that he was in arrears in the sum of £30,361, the larger part of which, however, was recovered. Romsey subsequently resumed his office, which he held until his death in 1721.

A resolution discussed by the Incorporation of the Poor at a meeting on the 3rd August, 1703, shows that Cary's scheme of united parochial management was passing


through another crisis in its career. The question put before the board was whether it was for the interest of the city that the incorporation should be continued, or the old system revived. After a debate, the former alternative was unanimously approved. The institution had doubtless encountered much opposition in certain circles. The mere fact that it was a novelty was sufficient for its condemnation in many prejudiced eyes; the training of young paupers so as to fit them for future self-support was offensive to artisans whose privileges were attacked; and the guardians themselves, so far from conscientiously performing the duties of their office, frequently thwarted Cary's design in a spirit of short-sighted parsimony. A casual minute dated Sept. 27th, 1701, shows that a number of the boy paupers were no longer being trained as weavers, but were engaged in “heading pins”, a juvenile occupation that could be of no service to them in later life. The court ordered the lads to be sent back to the looms, but changed its mind a fortnight later, and quashed its resolution. A few months afterwards it was determined to purchase a farm in order to teach the boys to labour in the fields, whereupon Hungroad manor-house and 112 acres of land near Shirehampton were bought for £1,600, all of which was borrowed, chiefly from the Corporation. Before the guardians got possession of the farm, however, they had repented of their action, and no steps were ever taken to remove the young paupers into the country. Further subscriptions in support of the hospital, amounting to about £1,200, were received about the same time, but the money was applied to meet current expenses, and the gifts were of no lasting benefit. Cary's idea, again, was to maintain the aged poor in a central institution where they could be economically overlooked. But the guardians, having accepted a number of small almshouses from the parish officials, filled them with paupers left to their own devices, and the old evils of mendicity and dissipation naturally reappeared. An amusing illustration of the intelligence of the age remains to be given. On the 21st September, 1703, when the Queen was again residing at Bath, the board resolved “that the several poor persons under the care of this corporation now afflicted with the King's Evil, not exceeding the number of twelve, be sent to Bath at the charge of this corporation, to have a touch from the Queen, for a cure”. (Her Majesty was exceedingly fond of dispensing her healing influence. During the year ending May, 1707, she “touched” upwards of 3,600 people at about


seventy religious services held for the purpose.) Unfortunately the local records are silent as to the results of the anticipated miracle. It will be shown later on that a robust faith in the magical powers of a “king by divine right” survived long after this date. The poor sought for superhuman influence at the other end of the social scale - amongst robbers and murderers. Mr. Johnson, an ex-governor of the Incorporation of the Poor, in some historical notes on that body published in 1826, observed that old Superstitions were still far from extinct. “I believe”, he said, “that few executions take place without persons touching the dying malefactor, in order, as they hope, to obtain a cure for the King's Evil”.

Queen Anne's second visit to Bath, just referred to, afforded the Common Council a fresh opportunity for displaying its loyalty. The mayor and aldermen were sent off with a congratulatory address, and were directed “to wait upon the Prince (of Denmark) with a compliment from the city” - which probably took the shape of “Bristol milk”. The party was graciously received, and the mayor (William Lewis) received the honour of knighthood.

Many of the ancient ordinances of the Corporation having become obsolete through various causes, the Corporation appointed a committee to revise the “Red Book of Orders” in which they were contained, or rather to produce a new code embodying such orders as ought to continue in force. The committee completed its task in September; and the revised code was ratified and confirmed by the Chamber. Several of the regulations have been already noticed in referring to restraints on trade. Amongst the others it is significant to find a prohibition of kidnapping. Complaint having been made, says the book, that certain persons had been in the habit of stealing maids, boys, or others, and of transporting them beyond the seas, and there selling them without the knowledge of their parents or others, it was ordered that no such young people should be removed unless their indentures of service were enrolled in the Tolzey Book. Masters of ships transporting such people contrary to this order were to forfeit £20. Another order deals with Sunday idlers. The deputies of each ward were ordered to perambulate it on the Lord's Day, to see that the constables cleared and quieted the streets, to close the conduits, and to prevent drinking in public-houses. The city gates were closed on Sunday mornings, apparently to prevent country excursions. In 1703 the Society of Friends, as had


been their custom for thirty years, paid 20s. to the porter of Newgate “for his pains in opening the gate”, so as to enable them to attend their chapel.

During the autumn the board of guardians forwarded a memorial to the Corporation, expressing their opinion that the exorbitant number of ale-houses in the city was one great cause of the increase of pauperism, and suggesting a diminution of licenses. In October the mayor and aldermen resolved that the number of these houses should be fixed at 220, the proportion of licenses to population being thus about one to twenty-two families. The guardians addressed another complaint to the authorities on the same subject in 1707, but their representations were disregarded, and in 1712 the magistrates increased the number of licenses to 253.

The “great storm” of November, 1703, has been so fully dealt with by Mr. Sever and others that it seems unnecessary to narrate its local ravages. A few facts not hitherto published have been found in James Stewart's MS. Annals in the Bodleian Library. “My father”, he writes, “was at that time usher to the Boys of the Gaunts' [Queen Elizabeth's] Hospital, and was called out of his bed to attend the children to the Chapter House in the Cloisters, where they remained and sung psalms all the night”. A part of the cloisters, he adds, was blown down during this strange nocturnal concert, and the great [north transept] window of the Cathedral was demolished, no doubt to the increased terror of the quavering little vocalists. Owing to the force of the wind, the tide was driven up the Avon to an unprecedented height, and boats are said to have been rowed in Thomas and Temple Streets. The damage sustained by the flooding of cellars was estimated - perhaps somewhat wildly - at £100,000. The vestry minutes of St. Stephen's parish record that the floor of the church was six feet under water, and that through the fall of three of the four pinnacles, with the battlements and the clock, the edifice was seriously damaged. (Mr. Colston forwarded £60 to the fund for its reparation.) One chronicler asserts that Sir John Duddleston, Bart., respecting whom a silly legend is to be found in some histories of Bristol, lost £20,000 in this storm, and was thereby ruined. But more than a year later Sir John made a donation to the city poor “in remembrance of his deceased daughter”; and in 1716 he was elected master of the Merchant Venturers' Society, in which office he died in 1716.

The first medical dissertation on the virtues of the Hot Well was published in 1703 under the whimsical title:-


“Johannis Subtermontani Thermalogia Bristoliensis, or
Underhill's short Account of the Bristol Hot Well water.
Printed and sold by William Bonny, at his house in Small
Street”. The author was a medical practitioner residing in College Green, where most of the visitors to the spring then lodged, owing to the scantiness of the accommodation at Clifton. Underhill cites a great number of cases in which sufferers from various maladies had been restored to health by drinking the water. Amongst the persons named is William Beckford, Esq., His Majesty's Slopster, who was cured of diabetes in thirteen weeks. The author adds that many persons of the first quality had ordered certificates bearing their names and the nature of their former diseases to be exposed in print, and to be exhibited at the Well, for the benefit of the public, the list including Viscount Stafford, the Earl of Meath, Viscount Devereux, Lady Spencer, and Lady Porter. For himself, the writer took the Hot Well water “to be the most certain and cheapest cure (yet known) of most diseases”. Underhill dedicated his pamphlet to the mayor and Corporation. The style of the work is fairly illustrated by a single sentence:- “Providence having cast me under your care and umbrage, I wholly submit it to your censure and promulgation”. The well was held, at this time, under a lease granted in 1696, by Sir Thomas Day, Robert Yate, Thomas Edwards, Thomas Callowhill, and other wealthy citizens, who had spent considerable sums in protecting it against the tide, and erecting the Hot Well House, to which the water was raised by pumps. The neighbouring rocks almost overhung the pump-room, and the narrow footway along the bank of the Avon passed through the house.

For the last fifteen years of the previous century, the Corporation, owing to the prodigalities of a previous age, was in great pecuniary embarrassment. A debt of about £16,000 having accumulated, and the yearly income being insufficient to meet the charges upon it, the Council, between 1690 and 1700, was compelled to effect retrenchments. The Members of Parliament for the city had hitherto been paid 6s. 8d, per day each whilst attending to their duties. This allowance was ordered to be withdrawn. The judges were politely informed that the hospitality usually offered them would be discontinued, “not from want of respect, but pure necessity”. By another resolution, entertainments and presents of wine to distinguished visitors were suspended “until the city debts were paid”. The


mayor's allowance was reduced by fifty guineas, the salaries of various officers were cut down, gifts to some of the parishes were retrenched; in fact, economy was for a season in the ascendant. In 1700 the Council even resolved to dispose of the silver trumpets used on state occasions, together with the trumpeters' laced coats, and these articles were actually sold; but as the payments to trumpeters soon reappear in the accounts it is probable that the civic dignitaries could not reconcile themselves to the loss of their sonorous heralds. By that time, indeed, the fines for renewing leases of the new property in the Castle precincts and King Street were becoming fruitful, and the distress of the civic treasury was consequently relieved. Signs soon became manifest of a turn in the financial tide. In 1700 the Council ordered that the judges should be again entertained at Sir Thomas Day's house at the charge of the city. In 1701 the Corporation paid £10 for three days' keep of Mr. Justice Powell's horses, of which he had no less than twenty-two, and also furnished him with six gallons of sherry, costing £2 2s.; six gallons of claret, £2; eighteen quarts of sherry, 21s.; and twelve quarts of claret, 20s. The return to ancient custom became definitive in 1702, a house of a leading corporator being annually selected for the reception of the judges. How munificently the Queen was entertained has just been shown. Though the city debt was still heavy, the improving prospects of the Chamber caused it speedily to ignore its former pledges of economy. The Council House in Corn Street, with the adjoining Mayor's Tolzey, had been constructed in the reign of Elizabeth, and meanly repaired after a fire which occurred soon after the Restoration. The building was no longer deemed worthy of the wealth and dignity of the city, and in January, 1704, the Common Council resolved to pull it down, and to erect a Council House that would be “honourable and useful”. St. Ewen's Church, however, was not interfered with, and the new edifice, though presenting a decorous semi-classical front, offered very meagre accommodation. Amongst the items of expense incurred during the reconstruction were:- “Wainscotting the great room £60; Chimney-piece £7; drawing, painting, and gilding the four coats of arms upon the new cloth £14; gilding and painting the carved coat of arms and two figures of Prudence and Justice, and the frame for the Sword £4 10s.; Frontispiece for Council House £12”. Bricks were then 16s. per thousand. The wages of masons and carpenters were 1s. 8d, and of


labourers 1s. 2d. by day. The building was probably the first in the central streets which was furnished with sashed windows. The timberwork and stone pillars of the Tolzey, being no longer required, were presented to the parishioners of St. Nicholas, “to the intent they be used in making a walk in the nature of a Tolzey, near the Custom House”, which then stood on the Welsh Back, and also had a covered “walk” attached to it. The Corporation granted £25 and the vestry of St. Nicholas £20 towards erecting the new penthouse, which was completed in 1707. Owing to the scanty accommodation which offices and shops then offered for business consultations, the “walk” was much frequented before the opening of the Exchange. It was removed in 1775, but the parish vestry, loath to part with it, erected it afresh in the churchyard on the Back.

An association styling itself the Society for the Reformation of Manners was established in London about the beginning of the century, and found active and influential supporters in Bristol. Apparently at their instance, the Common Council, in July, 1704, requested the mayor and aldermen that “by regard to the ill consequences by the introduction of lewdness and debauchery by the acting of stage plays”, players should not be allowed to act within the city. The magistrates must have held a deaf ear to this demand, for at the quarter sessions in the following December the grand jury delivered a lengthy presentment, in which, after acknowledging the exertions of the justices in suppressing music rooms, limiting the number of ale-houses, and “punishing idle walking on the Lord's Day”, they express their dread of an outbreak of immorality and profaneness from the increase of unlicensed ale-houses, where “the Lord's Day is much profaned by tippling, and also by the great concourse of people in public places under pretence of hearing news on that day. But that which puts us more especially under these sad apprehensions is the late permission given to the public stage within the liberties of this city”. The jury went on to predict that if play-acting were permitted, it would “corrupt and debauch our youth, and utterly ruin many apprentices and servants, already so unruly and licentious that they are with great difficulty kept under any reasonable order or government by their masters”. The magistrates, nevertheless, refused to take alarm. In the summer of 1705 the players again made their appearance, led by a popular actor named Power, and the pious horror of their opponents has preserved the information that they


performed “Love for Love” on the 23rd July, and “The Provoked Husband” on the 13th August. Their theatre was probably situated in Stoke's Croft, a few yards beyond the city boundaries. They met, moreover, with so large a measure of support that they not only returned in the summer of 1706, but audaciously entered the city, and built themselves a playhouse on St. Augustine's Back. Their enemies were, of course, intensely indignant. At the August quarter sessions the grand jury presented the offences of Power and his company; five days later the grand jury at the annual assizes appealed to the magistrates to “crush the newly-erected playhouse, that school of debauchery and nursery of profaneness”, which the Bishop of Bristol had been “ seasonably” denouncing from the pulpit; and the Common Council, on the same day, appointed a committee to take steps for the punishment of the delinquents and the suppression of the house. The Rev. Arthur Bedford, Vicar of Temple, also entered the field with a pamphlet, entitled “The Evil and Danger of Stage Plays”, one of the rarest of the productions of Bonny, the only Bristol printer in 1706. “The Enemy”, says the author, “lay sometime without our Gates, and is now come into the City in Defiance of the Magistrates”. The hands of the unwilling justices were evidently forced by the rash adventure of Power, and the playhouse was closed. Even the playing-booths which had been winked at during the fair were suppressed by the sheriffs, the Council granting them £12 in compensation for lost fees. Encouraged by public support, however, the poor players still ventured to return occasionally to the house in Stoke's Croft or the neighbourhood of the Hot Well. In December, 1709, according to the minutes of the Council, “players and other roving persons having been driven out of the city, and found shelter in Gloucestershire near it, and the justices of Gloucestershire being willing to assist that they may have no reception within five miles of the city”, a committee was appointed to co-operate with the county authorities. There is no evidence that this arrangement was ever carried out. At all events, the comedians returned from time to time, and in 1717 their manager accepted as a recruit a young Irishman named Macklin, who remained with the Bristol companies for about fifteen years, and afterwards attained great fame both as an actor and an author. (It appears from a note in Macklin's memoirs that the only playbills at this period consisted of two or three written notices, posted up at public resorts. Mr. Seyer's MSS. state that he was informed


by an aged citizen that the plays were announced in the leading streets by beat of drum, one of the principal actors accompanying the drummer.) Aroused by the continuance of what he deemed an evil, the Rev. A. Bedford produced a more elaborate work in 1719, “Against the horrid Blasphemies and Impieties which are still used in English Playhouses”. The book proved the extraordinary industry of the author, for no less than 7,000 passages were quoted from acting dramas, Mr. Bedford contending that they offended 1,400 texts of the Bible. Amongst the plays especially condemned as blasphemous were “Macbeth” and “The Tempest”; the same sin was even discovered in Addison's “Cato”. The reverend gentleman's efforts can have had little effect on public opinion, which was setting in the opposite direction. From Stewart's manuscript annals of the city, it appears that some players from Drury Lane had been permitted to reopen the theatre at St. Augustine's in the autumn of 1726, “Cato” being one of the plays performed. July 16th, 1728, the Gloucester Journal announced that a band of comedians, after having played the “Beggars' Opera” at Bath, under the supervision of its author, Mr. Gay, with great success, were then “playing of it at their great booth in Bridewell Lane, Bristol, and have been sent for by the quality to play it at their houses, and to the Long Room near the Hot Well several times”. Farley's Newspaper stated that one of the representations at the Hot Well was “attended by 200 persons of the first rank”, that the dresses of the actors had been presented by the nobility at Bath, and that Mr. Gay would be present at the next representation. It is a remarkable fact that the play was performed here no less than fifty times. (From the Tyson MSS. in Alderman Fox's collection it would seem that playbills were introduced at this date.) From another paragraph it appears that the company obtained leave from the mayor for the erection of their booth. Moreover, the playhouse in St. Augustine's was open at the same time (Farley's Newspaper July 30th, 1728). In September the grand jury at the assizes, much incensed, presented “the two playhouses frequently acted in here as public nuisances and nurseries of idleness and vice”; and the new mayor, holding different views from his predecessor, issued warrants against the St. Augustine's company, and ordered the actors to be arrested in the midst of a performance. The natural result was a disturbance, during which the players seem to have escaped; whereupon the Corporation ordered proceedings to


be taken against Joseph Earle, Esq., a member of an influential Bristol family, for abusing and assaulting the officers. Earle died, however, before judgment was obtained, and the Council made nothing out of the affair, except a lawyer's bill for about £35, which was paid in 1731, when another prosecution was ordered against “Thomas Lewis and company, common players at St. Augustine's Back”. Before that date, however, some of the players, harassed by constant persecution, had effectually baffled their opponents, and gratified the lovers of the drama both in Bristol and at the Hot Well, by building another theatre beyond the city boundaries. About the close of 1728 one George Martin, who held from the Society of Merchants a public-house called the Horse and Groom, and some adjoining land at Jacob's Wells, under a lease granted in June, 1723, transferred the vacant ground to John Hippisley, a native of Wookey, Somerset, who was a popular actor in London, and had played for several seasons in Bristol, his success as a comedian being largely due to a distorted face caused by a burn received in early life, when he fulfilled the humble functions of a stage candle-snuffer. Hippisley was supported by several prominent Bristolians - amongst whom were Abraham Isaac Elton, John Brickdale, John Peach, William Vick, the Clifton Bridge projector, and Stephen Nash - who lent him £300; and he forthwith erected a theatre, which was opened on the 23rd June, 1729, with the comedy of “Love for Love” (London Weekly Journal, June 28th). The new place of amusement, “being convenient”, as the reporter said, “for coaches, as well as for the Ropewalks leading to the Hot Well”, was largely patronised, and in June, 1736, Hippisley prudently obtained from Martin a transfer of his entire lease, and subsequently occupied the Horse and Groom as a dwelling. Finally, in June, 1746, Thomas Longman, John Blackwell and Joseph Brown, on behalf of the Merchants Company, granted to Hippisley the Horse and Groom, and also “the piece of ground called the Margaretts”, on which the theatre was erected, during the lifetime of his two children, on payment of two rents of 5s. each. Mrs. Green, one of those children, and long a celebrated actress, resided in the old inn until her death, in 1791. Hippisley himself died in 1748. (Much of the above information respecting Jacob's Wells has been obtained from the MSS. of Mr. Tyson, now in the possession of Alderman Fox.) The theatre might well be described by Chatterton as “a hut”. The accommodation for the players was so


contracted that an actor who left the stage on one side and re-entered on the other had to walk round the outside of the house. Adjoining it was another ale-house, the Malt Shovel, and a hole was made in the party wall, through which liquors could be handed in to the players, as well as to the upper class spectators who in those days crowded the stage. Instead of footlights, the stage was illuminated by tallow candles, stuck in four hoops, and suspended over the actors' heads. And it is recorded that on one occasion a personator of Richard III. wielded his sword so recklessly that he cut the rope of one of the primitive chandeliers, and had to be rescued from the hoop by the laughing spectators. The drama nevertheless flourished in this humble abode, and Mr. Smith (MSS. Museum and Library) states that Hippisley, and afterwards his daughter, Mrs. Green, paid his friends £41 a year for the above loan. An advertisement of July, 1759, announces that for the greater convenience of the public “an amphitheatre will be erected after the manner practised at the Theatres Royal in London, where servants will be permitted to keep places”. In the following year “ladies and gentlemen are desired to send their servants by five o'clock”, to secure seats. The great drawback of the establishment was the total absence of lights in the neighbouring roads. Sometimes the manager announced that men would be placed with torches from the theatre to College Green. One playbill informs the public that “the night will be illuminated with the Silver Rays of Cynthia”. Less poetically, some conclude with a prominent note:- “A Moon Light Night”. In 1763 Mr. Winstone, a popular comedian, added to the announcement of his benefit:- “It is presumed Madame Cynthia will appear in her utmost splendour”. But his wit nearly caused a riot, for the occupants of the gallery, complaining that “the foreign lady” was not forthcoming, became noisy and unruly, and were with difficulty appeased. The St. Augustine's theatre was converted into an Assembly Room previous to 1742, but the theatre in Stoke's Croft continued to be occasionally occupied. Advertisements of the “seasons” of 1744 and 1746 appeared in the Bristol Oracle, and the same paper of August 5th, 1749, announced the performance of “Scapen's Metamorphoses”, at Lloyd's Great Room, at the end of the Horse Fair, a place frequently used by strolling players during the annual saturnalia of the fair. Temple fair had also its patrons, and the Oracle of January 15th, 1743, stated that amongst “the many elegant divertisements to be


exhibited” at the forthcoming holiday, “something new and curious” would be given “at the large Theatrical Room, near the Counterslip”. Mr. Smith asserts that a theatre also existed about this time in Orchard Street, but this is unquestionably erroneous. The advertisements which led him into the mistake refer to the old theatre in Orchard Street, Bath, projected by Hippisley, in concert with Roger Watts, of Bristol, in 1747.

News of the great victory at Blenheim on the 13th August, 1704, was received in the city a fortnight later with every token of enthusiasm. The streets, says a contemporary chronicler, “were in a flame with bonfires”, and the enormous pile set on fire at the newly decorated High Cross so “tarnished and blistered it that it was grievous to behold”. The illumination of the houses, he adds, could not be surpassed in brilliancy, but the absence of coloured lamps at the residence of the mayor (Peter Saunders) gave offence to the populace. His worship was suspected of having made money out of his office, “giving no hospitality; moreover, he had a sour and lofty look, which made him much disliked”. Wherefore the mob called for the exhibition of more candles; and the demand not being complied with, they smashed the windows, and committed other mischief, giving the constables “sore discomfort”.

Previous to this time the road from Bristol to Kingsweston and Shirehampton was extremely narrow and inconvenient, having been originally designed only for horse traffic. By a subscription amongst the neighbouring landowners, the present road was laid out in the autumn of 1704, and the Corporation, “to encourage so good and useful a work”, contributed £20. The new road passed close to Stoke and Kingsweston Houses, so that visitors might alight at the doors of those mansions. Some years later, at the expense of the respective owners, the highway was slightly diverted, and assumed its present lines.

Allusion has already been made to the barbarous treatment of women convicted of petty offences. At the sessions in March, 1705, Mary James, “for a cheat”, was sentenced to stand in the pillory half an hour and on the pillory one hour for six successive market days. She probably suffered severely from the missiles of the mob, for about seven weeks later another woman, convicted of a small felony, “prayed transportation”, which was granted. A third female, found guilty of obtaining three yards of dowlais by fraudulent pretences, was sentenced to be stripped naked to the waist,


and whipped down one side of High Street and up the other. In the same year a man, for stealing a cheese, was ordered to be flogged from All Saints' Church to the White Horse inn, Redcliff Street, and thence back to Newgate, the cheese to be carried by his side.

A general election took place about the end of April, 1706. Unusual excitement prevailed throughout the country, and there was a “mighty stir” in Bristol on behalf of “Mr. Edward Colston's nephew” (name not given); but the former members, Sir William Daines and Colonel Robert Yate, appear to have been returned without opposition.

Mr. Evans, in his “Chronological Outline”, noted under the year 170B, “The first brass made in England at Baptist Mills”; and the statement has been accepted and republished by Mr. Pryce, Mr. Nicholls, and others. The truth is that brass was manufactured in this country from a very early period. The Parliaments of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. passed statutes to prevent the exportation of the metal, “lest there should not be enough left for making guns and household utensils”. During the reign of Elizabeth the monopoly of making brass was granted to two men, who sold their patent rights to a London “Mineral and Battery Society”; and this company, as appears from an Exchequer Commission in the Record Office, had permitted certain lessees to erect wire works at Tintern before 1604. Another Exchequer Commission refers to a “furnace of battery” seized by “the searcher of the port of Bristol” before 1638. The English copper mines, however, were so neglected in the reign of Charles II. that the Government had to obtain foreign supplies of that metal, and the manufacture of brass may have been cramped from the same cause; but from the multitude of “great brass pots” that has been shown to exist in Bristol households, the trade of the brass founder evidently continued a prosperous one. It is true that it underwent a great local development in 1706, when a company of Bristol merchants, having made arrangements for obtaining a cheap supply of copper ore from Cornwall, and of calamine from the hills around their own city, established a “brass battery works” at Baptist Mills. The copper, it is said, did not cost the undertakers more than from £2 10s. to £4 per ton for several years, and the profits of the brass works were consequently very great. Mr. Thomas Coster, of Bristol, who was largely concerned in the enterprise, invented a hydraulic engine, and introduced it into Cornwall, for the purpose of draining the mines, and made a large


fortune by working some of them himself. The water power of the Froom being insufficient for the growing business in Bristol, more extensive mills were erected by the company at Keynsham, where, at the end of the century, fully one half of the brass wire made in the kingdom was produced, besides an immense quantity of other goods. The same company (the principal partners of which in 1749 were Walter Hawksworth, Edward Harford, Harford Lloyd, Nehemiah Chapman, Trueman Harford, Henry Swymmer, Richard Champion, Andrew Lloyd, and Joseph Loscombe, but which was known for many years as Harford's and Bristol Brass and Copper Company) had smaller mills on the Avon at Weston, Saltford, and Kelston, and on the Wye at Redbrook. (The works at Baptist Mills were not removed to Keynsham until after 1814.) Competitors were naturally tempted into the field by the success of the first enterprise. Messrs. Elton and Waynes had extensive copper and brass works at Crewe's Hole and Hanham about 1760. A still larger concern was that of Messrs. Freeman and Bristol Copper Company, of Small Street, who had works at Swinford, Woollard, Publow, and elsewhere, and did not relinquish business until 1860. In Bonner and Middleton's Bristol Journal of March 3rd, 1787, it is stated that the works, mills, etc. of the United Brass Battery, Wire and Copper Company of Bristol had been sold on the previous Monday for £16,000). A very large spelter (zinc) manufactory, the ruins of which extend over some acres, was established at Warmley by William Champion, who had also a “commodious brass foundry” on St. Augustine's Back. Bishop Watson, who states that spelter was first made in Bristol in 1743, personally visited Champion's works in 1766 to see the process of making zinc, which was at that time kept rigidly secret. Champion, though a man of conspicuous skill and ingenuity, was unsuccessful in business, and his works at Warmley, described as “the most complete in the kingdom”, with smelting furnaces at Kingswood and forges at Kelston, were offered for sale in March, 1769, and were soon afterwards purchased by Harford's Copper Company. According to a story in Ellacombe's History of Bitton, the new owners acquired great riches from working Champion's processes, and having subsequently sought him out (he was found in Liverpool working as a mason), they offered him an annuity, which he declined. John Champion, Bristol, merchant, became bankrupt in 1798, and his brass and copper wire works, together with his copper and lead mills in Lewin's Mead,


were offered for sale in the Bristol Journal of December 1st in that year. Owing to the local demand for copper when the above brass works were in vigour, a large proportion of the metal consumed yearly was smelted around Bristol. The refuse ore, cast into square blocks of almost impenetrable hardness, were largely employed to form copings of walls. The well-known Black Castle at Arno's Vale, built by a copper smelter named Reeve, about 1760, is chiefly constructed of this material.

On the 12th December, 1705, Sir William Lewis represented to the Common Council “that the great noise made by trucks in this city by means of the iron materials about them is a great annoyance to the inhabitants thereof”. Whereupon it was resolved that no trucks should be permitted in the streets unless they were made wholly of wood (excepting the banding of the wheels). And the bellman was ordered to proclaim that offenders against this order would be fined 3s. 4d. for every offence. At a subsequent meeting, also on the motion of Sir William Lewis, a committee was appointed to take measures for preventing heavy carts, having wheels banded with iron, from traversing the streets. The obnoxious carts, it may be observed, were not the property of outsiders. The corn brought to the city by farmers, and the coal supply from Kingswood, were alike transported by pack-horses. The terms of the resolution show that the old interdiction of carts was frequently infringed, and Sir William's attempt to renew its vigour seems to have been abortive. Nevertheless, at the March quarter session in 1708, two tradesmen were presented by the grand jury for making use of carts with iron-bound wheels, when the bench gave orders that, “unless they took off their bandages by the 1st April”, they should be prosecuted at the next session.

The misfortunes of the family of a deceased member of the Corporation came before the Council about this time, and furnish an early instance of what afterwards became a regular custom. The case was somewhat peculiar. In the reign of James II., a mercer named John Bubb, who also held the office of Collector of Customs, was elected a common councillor, but refused to accept the honour on the plea that he was a servant of the Crown. The matter led to a correspondence between the Corporation and the Government, the former insisting on its right to elect any free burgess. Mr. Bubb's collectorship, it was urged, did not “disturb him in his trade of shopkeeping, which he


follows very considerably”. The King, however, sent positive commands that Bubb should be excused, and the royal word was at that time law. But when regal inter-meddling came to an end with the Revolution, Mr. Bubb was again elected a councillor, and in due course sustained the offices of sheriff and mayor. Dying about 1699 in embarrassed circumstances, his widow petitioned the Chamber for relief, and on the 12th December, 1706, she was granted a yearly annuity of £30 for life.

The war with France, although singularly glorious, was attended with the usual difficulty in raising reinforcements for the army and navy. In 1703 the court of quarter sessions ordered a number of the debtors imprisoned in Newgate to be liberated, on condition that they “listed as soldiers” or found substitutes, and some of them found means to adopt the latter course. In August, 1706, one Edward Taunton, sentenced to death for burglary in 1704, but repeatedly reprieved, obtained the Queen's pardon on condition that he entered the navy, and was thereupon released. A few months later a half-witted man named Stockman was brought before the magistrates charged with shouting “God save James III.”, and causing a riot in the streets. Evidence having been given that the culprit was of unsound mind, the bench consented to dismiss him if he would serve in the Marines; but as he was not only mentally but bodily infirm, he was granted leave to find a substitute, which he did, and was discharged! Early in 1706 an Act of Parliament was passed under which every imprisoned debtor owing less than £60 was permitted to volunteer into the navy, or, on his failing to do so, could be forced into the fleet by a magisterial order. The supply of men was nevertheless insufficient, and in May, 1706, a ship of war having been obtained “to take care of the vessels belonging to this port”, the Council resolved to advance £150, and the Merchants' Company £200, to promote the enlistment of a crew. Two months later there was a general muster of the militia forces of the district, when the entertainment of the Earl of Berkeley, Lord Lieutenant, cost the city £68.

One of the barbarous customs of the age was the branding upon the cheek of persons convicted of petty thefts. The practice, which was performed in open court, was so repugnant to the feelings of sensitive officials as to lead to evasions of the law. In one case the Bristol sheriffs were fined 40s. for not causing two women to be “well burnt”; in another instance the same functionaries were fined £5 for a like


offence. At the sessions at which the felon Taunton was transformed into a defender of his country, the keeper of Newgate was fined £5 “for not having his irons for burning ready”, but ultimately escaped with a reprimand. It would appear that prisoners frequently gave bribes to get the branding-iron applied cold, but that wily old magistrates, to defeat such shifts, insisted on seeing the smoke arise from the singed skin of each offender.

The Corporation had a windfall in 1706, upon the death of Queen Catherine, widow of Charles II. During the transports of the Restoration, the Council handed over to the king, for life, certain fee-farm rents that the Corporation had purchased of the Commonwealth in 1660, and these were transferred to the Queen as part of her dowry. On Sept. 30th, 1706, the chamberlain records:- “Received of Morgan Smith and Nathaniel Webb, sheriffs, being a year's fee-farm rents formerly paid to Queen Dowager but now faln to the city's hands by her death, £142 10s”.

The West of England weavers were probably the first artisans in the district to form what later generations have called a trade union. On the 25th February, 1707, a petition was presented to the House of Commons from the clothiers and serge and stuff makers of Bristol, complaining that their journeymen, having combined together, not only prevented youths being taken as apprentices without leave of the confederacy, but required the dismissal of such weavers as would not join in their combination. These demands, with others, had been urged with threats of leaving work, and with riotous conduct, attended with destruction of goods. A similar petition from Taunton stated that the weavers had provided themselves with a common fund, a common seal, colours and tipstaffs, and that the gaol had been broken open by them and several prisoners rescued. The Government soon after undertook to suppress disturbances and prosecute offenders. It appears from contemporary documents that there were many weavers at this time in the parishes of Westbury and Clifton, and in the out-parish of St. Philip. The complaint as to the workmen's combinations was renewed in 1726, when the corporations of Bristol and Taunton, in petitions to the House of Commons, stated that unlawful clubs of weavers and woolcombers had attempted to fix the rate of wages, assaulted workmen who refused to join them, and insulted the magistrates. The House ordered an inquiry, in the course of which some of the employers admitted that the insubordination of the artisans


was often due to the payment of wages in goods instead of in money.

The scanty demand of the rural population for books was supplied early in the century by hawkers and pedlars, whose packs contained a very miscellaneous assortment of wares. Dealers of this class attended Bristol fair in great numbers for the purpose of replenishing their stores, and the wholesale traders with whom they dealt found it convenient to address them through the London newspapers. The following example of these advertisements is extracted from the London Post Man of July 19th, 1707:- “This is to give notice to all chapmen keeping Bristol Fair, that Benj. Harris, book-seller, in Gracechurch Street, will (as usual) keep the said fair this year at his shop under Christ Church, in Wine Street, where they may be furnished with Bibles, Common Prayers, shop books, pocket books, as also all other chapman's books in divinity or history”.

On the 22nd July, 1707, Abraham Darby, blacksmith, was admitted a freeman of the city without paying a fine, on the nomination of the ex-mayor, Nathaniel Day, who exercised the right by an ancient custom. Darby, born in Dudley, had commenced business as a malt-mill maker at Baptist Mills in 1700. Being joined by three partners, Quakers like himself, he added brass and iron founding to his original business. At that time the art of casting iron pots for cooking purposes had scarcely been attempted in England, and Darby was as unsuccessful as had been many others in producing pots equal to those made in Holland. Resolved on overcoming the difficulty, he made a tour in the Netherlands, and engaged some Dutch workmen; but his experiments still continued to fail until a Bristol boy in his service, John Thomas, made a suggestion which brought about complete success. To prevent piracy, Darby applied for a patent, asserting that he had discovered and perfected “a way of casting iron bellied pots and other ware in sand only, without loam or clay”, by which such vessels could be sold cheaply, to the advantage of the poor and the benefit of commerce. A monopoly of the process was granted to him for fourteen years. Thomas was well rewarded for his ingenuity, and his descendants, agents of the Darby family for about a century, ultimately attained a high position in the city. Darby proposed to carry on his new manufacture on a great scale at Baptist Mills, but his partners having refused to advance the required capital, he removed in 1709 to Coalbrookdale, Staffordshire, where he established works


that acquired a European reputation whilst under the management of Richard Reynolds, who has been styled by Mr. Pryce the greatest of Bristol's great philanthropists. Darby died in 1717, and was succeeded by a son, also named Abraham. Reynolds, born in Corn Street in 1736, married in 1767 the only daughter of the second Darby, and assumed the management at Coalbrookdale on the death of his father-in-law, in 1762. During the first half of the century scarcely any iron was manufactured in England, the woods having been mostly cut down, and the attempts to use coal for smelting having proved unsuccessful. It was chiefly under Reynolds's supervision that the difficulty was overcome, and that coal was employed, not only to smelt the ore, but to convert the cast metal into malleable iron. The latter improvement, known as puddling, due to the sagacity of two workmen, was communicated in April, 1766, to Thomas Goldney, a Bristol Quaker who held a share in the works, with Reynolds's strong recommendation that a patent should be obtained for the discovery. The patent was secured in the following June, and produced enormous profits to the firm. Reynolds, who returned to Bristol in 1804, is said to have given upwards of £200,000 towards philanthropic and charitable objects.

Some notable regulations bearing upon infant labour and the education of the young were made by the Incorporation of the Poor on the 13th February, 1707. A committee reported that one Seth Shute had offered to employ sixty girls and boys, of about seven years of age, in spinning, the guardians granting him suitable accommodation for eight or ten looms for weaving linen in St. Peter's Hospital. Each child was to work six weeks without pay; afterwards the guardians were to receive 1s. per head per week. The hours of labour, it was recommended, should be “the accustomed hours of the house” - namely, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in winter, and from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer; half an hour being allowed for breakfast, one hour for dinner, and one hour for schooling. As the guardians had determined that twenty of the boy inmates should be taught writing and arithmetic, it was further proposed that this favoured handful should have two hours' schooling upon three days a week, but should “make good” the time thus lost by working from 6 a.m. to 8 o'clock at night in summer! The report was confirmed, but it will cause the reader no sorrow to learn that the scheme afterwards proved unworkable. The clerk to the board, who had a salary of £30, from which


£7 were deducted for rent, petitioned the guardians that, as his time was mostly taken up by its work, and as he had to instruct about twenty boys in writing, they would permit him to live rent free. This was granted; but in October, 1709, the guardians changed their minds, and reduced the clerk's income to £23. At the last-mentioned meeting the most valuable gift ever made to the incorporation was reported to the board - namely, the bequest, by John Knight, Esq., of London, deceased (supposed to be a son of the John Knight who was mayor of Bristol in 1670-1), of a house then known as the George, in High Street, occupied by a linen-draper.

At the quarter sessions in May, 1707, the justices, under their statutable powers, made a new table of rates for the carriage of goods by wagons and pack-horses between London and Bristol. The charges, which would be deemed onerous by modern tradesmen, were as follows:- By horse carriage: packages above 28 lb. at 5s. per cwt. in summer, and at 6s. per cwt. in winter; packages between 14 lb. and 28 lb., 1d. per lb.; above 6-lb. and under 14 lb., 1½d. per lb.; small parcels, 6d. each. By wagons: heavy goods, 3s. per cwt. in summer, and 4s. in winter; light goods, 5s. and 6s. per cwt. in the respective seasons.

The bellman was an important institution in an age in which newspapers and advertising were still in their infancy. In the civic accounts for 1707 is a payment to John Packer, founder, who charged 14s. for “a bell for ye bellman, for ye yous of the sitty, made of newe mettell”, and 8s. for “new casting and turning the bellman's bell”; but allowed 4s. 6d, for “a ould bell waying 6 lb”. The account, for some unexplained reason, had been outstanding for eleven years.

The Thanksgiving Day ordered by the Crown to celebrate the Union between England and Scotland evoked but little enthusiasm in Bristol. The corporate disbursements on the occasion amounted only to about £13. It may be worth recording that the postage of a congratulatory address, forwarded to the Queen on the occasion, amounted to no less than 11s. 6d., half a crown of the amount being “ye charge for delivering early”. The postage of a petition to Parliament, soon afterwards, cost 10s.

The church of St. Mary Redcliff was at this time in a state of great dilapidation through long-continued neglect, and the parochial authorities found it necessary to resort to extraordinary means for procuring funds. Probably


encouraged by the support of William Whitehead, then mayor (“the first mayor that past his mayoralty in Redcliff since the memory of man in this present age”, says a contemporary annalist), at the adjourned session in May, 1708, they represented to the justices that the estimated cost of repairing the edifice was upwards of £4,400. As the money could not be raised in the parish, they prayed the magistrates to certify the petition about to be sent to the Lord Chancellor for a brief, and their request was approved. A brief, it may be explained, was a royal mandate, ordering a collection to be made in every parish in England on behalf of a certain designated object. The document was obtained in due course, but distant congregations naturally displayed no great liberality in responding to the appeal, and the gross amount collected was only £1,400. Owing to the heavy fees extorted by officials in London, the net produce of the brief was reduced to about £700. In consequence of this disappointment only about £2,000 were spent on the church, the Corporation giving £200. “Nevertheless”, says the above annalist, “the inside was beautified and accommodated with abundance of rare things which it had not before, and in particular the chancell enlarged, and a new alter piece”. The reparations were effected with much less damage to the fabric than might have been expected from the barbarous architectural taste of the time.

During the many wars of the eighteenth century, privateering was a favourite pursuit of speculative Bristolians, some of whom profited largely by their enterprises, whilst others sustained heavy losses. The most successful and interesting of those adventures was that started in 1708 by a confederation of merchants, embracing Christopher Shuter (mayor, 1711), Sir John Hawkins (mayor, 1701), James Holledge (mayor, 1709), John Romsey (town clerk), Philip Freke (sheriff, 1708), Thomas Clement (sheriff, 1709), John Batchelor, Francis Rogers, Thomas Goldney, Thomas Dover, M.D., Richard Hawksworth, and others - several of the company, strange to say, being Quakers. With the joint capital subscribed, two vessels, called the Duke and the Duchess, were carefully fitted out for the purpose of preying upon the Spanish and French ships, laden with precious metal and goods, which were frequently passing from South America and the West Indies to Europe. The Duke, of 320 tons and 30 guns, was placed under the command of Captain Woodes Rogers, the second officer being one of the adventurers, Dr. Dover (afterwards a famous physician, and the inventor of


Dover's Powder). The Duchess, of slightly inferior size and armament, was commanded by Captain Stephen Courtney and Captain Edward Cooke. The pilot for both ships was William Dampier, a Somerset man, who had joined the South Seas buccaneers in early life, and had gained wide repute by two filibustering cruises round the globe. On the 2nd August, 1708, the sister vessels sailed from Kingroad, and convoyed several small ships to Ireland. The original complement of men, says Capt. Rogers in his account of the voyage, was 226. Only about forty of these were sailors; above one-third were foreigners; of the rest, “several were tinkers, tailors, haymakers, pedlars, fiddlers, etc.” A portion of this “mixed gang” ran away at Cork; others were got rid of, and the vacancies filled by a better class; the total number being raised to 334, so that the ships “were very much crowded and pestered”. With the exception of the capture of a small Spanish barque, nothing of interest occured until the 31st January, 1709, when, on approaching the island of Juan Fernandez, reported as uninhabited, they were surprised at the sight of a fire, and feared that it was a token of a French or Spanish fleet. The signal had been raised, however, by Alexander Selkirk, a Scotchman, who had been an officer in one of the ships led by Dampier on a former voyage, and had voluntarily separated from the party owing to a quarrel with his captain. Selkirk, who had lived alone on the island for nearly four years and a half, was offered the post of mate by Capt. Rogers, and proved himself an able seaman. Filibustering now began in earnest. After capturing six vessels, one of which was a Frenchman of over 400 tons burden, an attack was made upon the city of Guayquil with complete success, the inhabitants flying after a brief resistance. A portion of the town was burnt; the rest was plundered; and a party sent up the river despoiled some fugitive ladies of about a thousand pounds worth of jewels. Selkirk, who led this foray, was complimented by Rogers for his “modest” treatment of the victims. Finally, the privateers extorted 30,000 “pieces of eight” (about £7,000) for the ransom of the city, exclusive of their previous plunder. Four more vessels were next taken at sea, some of which were ransomed. The largest of the former prizes was now converted into a sister privateer, which was named the Marquis. Whilst she was being fitted out, there were found in the hold “600 bales of Pope's Bulls [indulgences], 16 reams in each bale”, so that there must have been nearly four millions of those documents, which


the Spanish colonists were accustomed to purchase of the clergy at high rates. “We should have made something of them”, said Rogers, “if we had taken the bishop” (who escaped). Making the best of the matter, “part were used to burn the pitch off the ships' bottoms when we careened 'em”; and the rest were thrown overboard. After sailing about some time in search of a Spanish treasure-ship expected from Manilla, the vessel in question, or rather the smaller of two ships which had departed together, hove in sight. A brisk engagement ensued, and although the Spaniards had twenty guns and twenty “pateraroes” (small breech-loaders), they were compelled to surrender. Capt. Rogers was severely wounded in the battle, but lost none of his crew. Learning from the prisoners that a still richer prize was not far distant, the privateers went in search, but were destined to “catch a Tartar”. The other Spaniard had forty guns and forty pateraroes, and defended himself so stoutly during a running battle of two days that his assailants found it prudent to sheer off. The captured ship was re-named the Batchelor, in honour of one of the Bristol adventurers, and was put under the command of Dr. Dover, Selkirk being appointed master. The Marquis was afterwards sold at one of the Dutch settlements. The remainder of the voyage presented few incidents. As was almost always the case in privateering expeditions, the chief officers had several violent quarrels respecting the best course to pursue. Finally, the ships made for the Cape of Good Hope, whence, under the convoy of some Dutch men-of-war, they sailed for Europe, and arrived in the Texel in July, 1711. Some of the lucky owners repaired to Holland to feast their eyes on the booty, the gross value of which was reported to be £170,000. On the 14th October the three privateers anchored in the Thames. The story of Selkirk, who had not been heard of for eight years, excited much interest. Some details of his singular career were given in 1712 by Woodes Rogers in his well-written account of the voyage, as well as in the rival publication of Capt. Cooke, and a fuller narrative was published in 1713 by Steele in the Englishman Magazine. Selkirk informed Steele that he had received £800 as his share of the prize money, but that he was happier when he had not a farthing. He spent some time in Bristol, doubtless to obtain his money, but the local tradition that Defoe obtained his “papers”, and was thus enabled to produce “Robinson Crusoe”, is an idle fiction. It is known that Selkirk had no manuscripts, and the immortal story of Defoe was not


published until nearly eight years after the return of the wanderer. Captain Woodes Rogers (who had built two houses in Queen Square before his privateering days) commanded an expedition sent out by the Government in 1717 for the purpose of crushing the formidable band of pirates that harboured in the Bahama Islands, and committed great ravages on passing vessels. His efforts were speedily successful, 200 of the sea brigands being forced to surrender at discretion. A curious paper written by Rogers to some one connected with the Government is amongst the State Papers for 1717. It states that the writer, out of his own money and on his credit with his friends, had raised £17,600, “to be employed towards making a settlement in the islands”. The Government appear to have rendered him the support he appealed for; as he established himself at Providence, and was appointed Governor of the Bahamas in 1728. He died at his post in July, 1732. The embarrassments of John Romsey, the town clerk, seem to have been removed by the profits of his privateering adventure. In August, 1712, he presented to the Cathedral a pair of massive silver candlesticks, which cost him £114. One chronicler states that these articles were actually captured from the Spaniards by the Duke and Duchess in 1709. After standing for a century on the Communion Table, they were removed by a Low Church dean and chapter, but were restored to their old position in 1891, soon after the death of Dean Elliot.

It has been already mentioned that the Corporation, owing to financial difficulties, had felt compelled to suspend its yearly payment to the city members for their services in Parliament. The last “wages” were paid in 1695, when Sir John Knight received £95 13s. 4d. for 287 days' service, and Sir Richard Hart £101 13s. 4d. The civic treasury being once more prosperous, the Chamber, on the 5th July, 1708, initiated a less costly method of recognising the services of the city's representatives. It was ordered that a present of wine be made to them, one hogshead for each. One may feel certain that the quality of the gift would not be unworthy of the Corporation, but the wine (130 gallons) cost only 8s. per gallon. It afterwards became the custom to offer this honorarium annually, the quantity of wine being doubled later on, and it was not discontinued until within living memory.

During the year 1708, when William Penn was in great pecuniary straits owing to frauds practised upon him in Pennsylvania by a rogue named Philip Ford, a Bristol


Quaker whom he had sent out as his agent, he applied for pecuniary help to his wife's relatives and other friends in this city (which he had left in 1699, after residing here about two years). The Callowhills, Goldneys, and others advanced him £6,800, taking as security a mortgage upon the entire province of Pennsylvania. The formal “lease for a year”, which formed part of the conveyance to them, is still amongst the archives of the Bristol Friends.

In February, 1709, the guardians of the poor, putting in force an Act passed in the previous century, resolved that all persons receiving weekly relief in the city should bear sewed upon the sleeve of their outer garment the letters [P.C.R.] cut out in red cloth. The poor were reluctant to wear this degrading badge, which placed the lazy drunkard and the honest but unfortunate workman on the same level; but in 1714 the guardians issued a warning that those who did not obey the order would be deprived of relief; and it continued in force for many years.

In the spring of 1709 it was resolved to dispose of part of the civic plate, which was regarded as old and unfashionable, and to purchase several new articles of a more ornamental character. The London tradesman employed accordingly furnished “a large tankard, newest fashion”, costing £17 5s. 2d.; “a large salver, newest fashion”, £11 7s. 7d.; “a large monteth”, £34 4s. 6d.; and “two paire of candlesticks, snuffers, and pan”, £33 10s. The plate, 300 ounces in weight, cost about 6s. 6d. per ounce. The silversmith allowed 5s. 4d. per ounce for the 214 ounces of old plate transferred to him.

Owing to a disastrous harvest in the preceding year, the price of corn in the early months of 1709 advanced to rates which placed the commonest bread almost beyond the reach of the poor, wheat rising to nearly 90s. per quarter. To add to the suffering, a terrible frost, “which rent and destroyed vast large trees”, continued without intermission from Christmas Eve until the middle of April. As an inevitable consequence of dearth in those days, the labouring classes had recourse to violence and rioting; and, as was usually the case in Bristol, the Kingswood colliers, perhaps the most neglected, degraded, and reckless community in the kingdom, took the lead in outraging the law. On the 21st May a body of about 400 miners, armed with cudgels, burst into the city demanding food, and speedily found sympathisers amongst the lower class of labourers, who had been intensely irritated by some shipments of wheat to


France and Spain. Warned by some previous disturbances, the authorities (“our maggotty governours”, as Tucker irreverently terms them) had a party of militia in readiness, of which Major Wade took the command. But previous to resorting to extremities, the magistrates acquainted the rioters that wheat should be sold on the following Monday at 6s. 8d, per bushel, and the mob forthwith dispersed. A few of the colliers remained in the streets, using threatening language, whereupon they were caught, after a sharp scuffle, and imprisoned in the Council House. This came to the ears of the party that had left the city, who returned to rescue them; but a sanguinary conflict was avoided by the escape (said to have been winked at by the justices) of those in durance, who broke the new sash windows of the municipal building and went off with their companions. The crisis was costly to the Corporation. Besides having to compensate several constables for the loss of “cimeters”, “fuzeys”, halberts, hats and wigs, and to pay for a huge supply of beer for the militia and for extra assistance, the authorities found it necessary to make arrangements for selling corn at a reduced price; and Alderman Batchelor was paid £275 13s. “for corn had of Mr. Hort, occasioned by the mob”. The corn, however, was resold, and produced £216. The sales to the poor exasperated the bakers, who “shutt up their ovens” on the mayor insisting that they should lower their prices; but they were compelled to submit on the magistrates giving the country bakers “free tolleration to come every day in the week to our citty and serve us with bread, tho' contrary to the citty libertys” (Tucker's MS.).

The Dean and Chapter and the neighbouring inhabitants having undertaken about this time to “level and beautify” College Green, which had long lain neglected and unfenced, the Corporation, in June, 1709, subscribed £40 towards the improvements, which included the planting of a double row of young trees (most of the old ones having been destroyed in the great storm of 1703).

Except under extraordinary circumstances, the yearly exercise of the train bands, or local militia, was confined to one day during the summer. The rural parishes seem to have been represented by a single man each, and the Corporation provided for only six. The arms and ammunition were furnished by the local authorities, and the charge for St. Philip's out-parish generally appears as “for serving in arms, and cleaning and mending them, and powder and


shot”, the total amounting to about 12s. In 1709, however, the parish was called upon for only 1s., for cleaning the musket, and 6d. for powder. In 1716 a new musket and bayonet cost 20s. 6d.

A movement started in London for spreading knowledge amongst the poor by the establishment of parochial charity schools extended about this time to Bristol, whose destitution in regard to education has been already noticed. The first to take action in the city was the Rev. Arthur Bedford, vicar of Temple, who, in a letter to the Christian Knowledge Society, stated that out of 232 poor children in his parish, only three were being instructed by the board of guardians, “whose pretence of their teaching the children has hitherto hindered all endeavours of this nature in Bristol”. The parishioners having promised to subscribe £35 yearly, to which Mr. Colston added £10 per annum, a school for thirty boys was opened in August, 1709. Shortly afterwards Colston undertook to clothe the scholars, and followed this up by transferring an annuity of £80 to certain trustees “for clothing and educating forty poor boys for ever”, also promising a site for adequate buildings “as soon as your parish is in cash to build a school”. The money required, to which Colston largely contributed, was soon forthcoming, and the new institution was opened in December, 1711. The first local charity school for girls, also in Temple parish, was founded in 1713. The next parish school was opened in 1714 by the combined exertions of the inhabitants of St. Michael's and St. Augustine's.

The Government were much embarrassed in 1709 by the arrival of about eight thousand German Protestants, who, ruined by the French excesses in the Palatinate, fled to England for refuge. In a letter to the mayor of Bristol, dated the 29th June, the Privy Council, using the old Tudor formula, “after our hearty commendations”, acquainted his worship with the Queen's order for a general collection on behalf of the unhappy fugitives, and went on to “earnestly recommend” the magistrates to find employment for some of the exiles in any local trade for which they might be fitted. Although the city had greatly profited by its reception of the industrious and skilful Huguenots and other foreign Protestants some twenty years earlier, the Corporation viewed the new appeal with extreme disfavour. Replying to the Government on the 9th July, the mayor had the effrontery to assert that “we have no manufactures save the making of cantaloons and woollen stuffs, which trade is so


far decayed and lost that the great number of French refugees and of our own people who were employed therein are grown so poor that many hundreds have lately become chargeable”; adding that “the trade of this city consisting wholely in merchandize, shopkeeping, and navigation, we are not able of making any provision for these poor sufferers”. Upwards of £15,000 were subscribed in London for relieving the immigrants, a number of whom were sent to the North of Ireland, and most of the others to Carolina and New York.

It was certainly true that the woollen manufactures of the city had shown signs of rapid decline. In October, 1709, the poor law authorities, unable to meet the cost of relief out of the amount of rates fixed by the Act of 1696, petitioned the Common Council to assist them in procuring further powers. The increased pauperism was alleged to be due to the general decay of the clothing trade, the high price of food during the previous three years, the draughts into the army and navy of men whose families were left destitute, and “the continual increase of buildings and inhabitants in the city, which increases the poor”. The Corporation at first imagined that the difficulty could be overcome by temporary expedients. It had already advanced the guardians £1,000, chiefly from charitable funds, free of interest. In 1710 further loans were made to the extent of £660, on which no interest was to be paid for seven years. In 1712 the guardians applied for, and received, £300, and in 1713 they obtained £300 more, promising interest on the two latter sums. How the guardians succeeded in establishing an equilibrium will afterwards be seen. In the meantime it may be recorded that their embarrassments furnished arms to their opponents, in the front of whom were the churchwardens, still indignant at being deprived of their ancient privilege of distributing the poor rates. In Alderman Fox's collection is an exceedingly rare pamphlet, dated 1711, entitled “Some Considerations offered to the citizens of Bristol relating to the Corporation of the Poor”. The writer, who denounces the institution as a “Whig device”, states that all the plans attempted for employing the paupers had proved costly failures. The sum of £5,000 [really £4,360] had been raised by gifts to relieve the corporation, “but all is unaccountably sunk”, while the workhouse is “crowded with idle, lazy, and lewd people”.

The police arrangements of the city continued to be very defective. At the quarter sessions in October, 1709, the


grand jury presented the officers of the rich parish of St. Stephen's, who, though they had only twelve public lamps to maintain, persistently neglected that duty. The scavengers were also presented for leaving the streets uncleansed - a neglect that remained chronic throughout the century.

In despite of the distress caused by war and bad harvests, the commerce of the port was making rapid strides. In 1710, the Custom House near Bristol Bridge being insufficient and inconvenient, the Commissioners suggested that the Corporation should erect a fitting building in Queen Square, for which they undertook to pay a rental of £120. On the 20th May the Chamber agreed to this proposal, and determined that the house should be built under its own supervision. The cost far exceeded expectation, being £2,726, exclusive of the value of the extensive site. The building, the basement storey of which was ornamented with pillars, was destroyed during the riots of 1831.

Although tea was extremely dear from 1707 to 1710, the cheapest being 16s., and the dearest 43s. per pound, tea-drinking was gradually increasing amongst the wealthier class of citizens. The first silver teapot mentioned in local wills was bequeathed by Robert Bound, whose testament was made during his mayoralty, in June, 1710. The next, accompanied with a silver milk-jug, occurs under 1719, in the will of Edith Morgan, whose daughter was married to a tea-dealer; and the third, to which a “tea table, with all the furniture of it, and my china ware”, are added, is found in the will of Lady Cann, in 1722. Earthenware continued a great rarity. Amidst a quantity of household goods left by a Mrs. Turford in 1716, the testatrix proudly bequeathed “my fine earthen basin, and three fine earthen platters, a white cup with two handles, and a glass mug”. There is no similar bequest until 1719, when half a dozen earthen plates are mentioned in a lady's will. No early record is found of coffee-pots. In 1708 the price of coffee rose, in consequence of the war, to 11s. 6d. per pound, and beer naturally maintained its supremacy.

The Common Council being of opinion, in June, 1710, that certain leaks in the wooden pipes laid by the Water Company on Bristol Bridge would gradually destroy the structure, ordered the managers to substitute leaden pipes. This is one of the rare references made in the Corporation minutes to the existence of the company in question, which never met with civic encouragement. From the “Act for supplying the City of Bristol with Fresh Water”, passed in 1696,


it appears that the promoters were Richard Bury, Bristol, silkman, Sam. Sandford, Bristol, wine cooper, and three London merchants. The capital was only £6,175, divided into 96 shares. Having purchased of the Corporation the right to take water from the Avon, for which they agreed to pay £166 13s. 4d. every seven years, the promoters erected some works at Hanham, whence the water was conveyed by gravitation to near Crewe's Hole, where it was driven by an “ingenious machine” - probably one of Savery's steam engines - to the higher level, and finally reached a small reservoir at Lawrence Hill. The supply pipes into the city were constructed of trunks of elms. The works were completed in 1698, for in October, 1699, a vote of thanks was passed to the company for having furnished, gratis, a twelve-month's supply to St. Peter's Hospital. The bulk of the citizens were dependent for water upon private wells (which in a town swarming with burial grounds and rank with surface impurities must have been often contaminated), or upon peripatetic vendors, who filled their buckets at the public conduits. But the yearly charge fixed by the company - 40s. per family - deterred many people from resorting to the improved supply. From some expenses incurred by the Corporation in 1739, it appears that the company had then ten customers in High Street, and that the cost of 100 feet of new elm pipes was £7 10s. After an unprosperous career, the company abandoned the works at Hanham and Conham about 1783.

Luttrell's Diary briefly notes an incident in July, 1710, which must have occasioned great rejoicing in Bristol. Intelligence, it says, had reached this city that two ships belonging to the port, whilst on their way to the West Indies, were attacked by two French privateers of 110 men and 90 men respectively, but that the Bristol crews successfully defended themselves, and actually captured their assailants, whom they triumphantly carried to Antigua.

Reference has been made under 1702 to the abortive proposal of Edward Colston to make an extensive addition to the endowments of Queen Elizabeth's Hospital. After long meditation, Colston, in March, 1706, addressed a letter to the Merchants' Society, stating that although his offer to provide for fifty boys had been “hardly censured, even by some of the magistrates”, yet he had not abandoned his design. Some thoughts had occurred to him of bestowing the gift upon London, where “I have had my education and spent good part of my days”; but as he had drawn his first


breath in Bristol, he inclined to benefit its poor, and if the Merchants' Company would undertake the trust, he besought their consideration of the conditions appended to his letter. His intended endowment, he added, would amount to £600 per annum, to provide food, clothing, and education for fifty Doys, at the rate of £10 each, and apprentice fees of £5, averaging £36 yearly; the salary of the master, etc., absorbing the balance. The company thankfully accepted the proposed trust, and soon afterwards recommended the purchase, for £1,600, of the “great house” on St. Augustine's Back, which had fallen from its ancient high estate, and been converted into a sugar refinery. Colston, by dint of higgling, obtained the mansion for £1,300, and the conversion to its new purpose was begun in August, 1707. In the following April, however, the founder informed the company that he had extended his design, and that accommodation must be provided for one hundred boys. He had been already told that the yearly outlay necessary for carrying on the school would not be less than £860, and estates valued at £18,000 had been secured to meet the charge. Further property was placed in the hands of the trustees to defray the additional expense, involving an outlay of, probably, nearly £10,000, the gross income being increased to £1,319. To complete his munificent purpose, Colston acquainted the Merchants' Society in April, 1710, that he should furnish the first hundred boys “each with a suit of clothes, cap, band, shirt, stockings, shoes, buckles, and porringer - one of each. Also brewing utensils, barrels, bedding, sheets, towels, tablecloths, notwithstanding the Hall was bound to provide the same” under the deed of settlement. Amongst other stipulations of that document it was provided that any scholar who should be taken to a dissenting chapel by his parents should be expelled, and that no boy should be apprenticed to a Dissenter. Colston nominated the first batch of scholars, but, as he was residing at Mortlake, the selection must have been made by his friends. The school was opened in July, 1710, when a special service took place in the cathedral. From an entry in St. Werburgh's parish accounts about this time, of a payment to the ringers when “Mr. Colston came to Bristol”, he was probably present on the occasion. Amongst the Treasury Papers in the Record Office is a memorial from Colston, presented soon after this date, stating that he had formerly [in 1691] endowed a hospital [on St. Michael's Hill] for 24 poor persons, and now had provided for the training of 100 poor boys, and praying


that the two charities might be exempted in the Land Tax Bill from the duty of 4s. in the pound. The answer is not recorded.

The following order was addressed to the civic chamberlain by the mayor and aldermen on the 6th July, 1710:- “The use of piques in the citty train-band being laid aside, you are hereby directed to provide three new musquets with suitable accoutrement for the [six] men appointed for the citty”. The muskets cost £1 14s. 6d., and the “catouch boxes, &c.”, 10s. 6d. The annual militia muster took place soon afterwards, when the six men who “appeared in arms” for the Corporation were paid 12s. for their day's work, and wine was drunk to the value of £3 12s. 6d.

The fit of High Church enthusiasm provoked by Dr. Sacheverell had at this time reached fever point, and the Government seized the opportunity to dissolve Parliament. The Bristol Tories, turning to advantage the great popularity of Colston, appealed to him to come forward as their candidate, and though he declined the honour on account of his age (74 years), it was nevertheless determined to nominate him in conjunction with Captain Joseph Earle, who was supposed to entertain kindred opinions. The result was disastrous to the previous members. Sir William Daines and Colonel Yate, who offered themselves for re-election. After a four days' poll in October, says the Bristol Post Boy, Mr. Colston was returned by a majority of “near a thousand voices, and Captain Earle by six hundred”. [The actual numbers, according to the local record of Edmund Tucker, a High Church apothecary, were as follows:- Colston, 1785; Earle, 1627; Daines, 940; Yate, 744. Tucker adds that the Quaker electors were excluded, because they refused to take the oath of abjuration, and that the mayor, aldermen and councillors, “to their shame, stiffly opposed” the philanthropist.] The hazy newspaper reporter goes on to speak of the joy manifested “when they carried their member that was present along the city with the miter and streamers before him, the whole city being illuminated”. Earle was a resident in Bristol, and Mr. Colston had apparently not arrived in time to take part in the celebration. He reached the city, however, on or before the 2nd November, his birthday, when a dinner was held to commemorate the triumph, at which he presided. His leading supporters seized the opportunity to found an association styled the Loyal Society, and the birthday dinners were continued by them (at Colston's School) until the death of Queen Anne, the Duke


of Beaufort presiding in 1711 and 1713; but there is no evidence that Mr. Colston ever revisited the city. An unpleasant feature of his character was brought into prominence by this election. Having assisted in founding a school in Temple parish, he appears to have thought himself entitled to the political subserviency of the vicar. Mr. Bedford, however, was a Whig, and a Low Churchman. He had supported Whig candidates for Gloucestershire at a previous contest; he supported them again in 1710; and, what was worse, he did not vote for the High Church candidates in Bristol. Although the vicar had previously acquainted Colston with his intentions, the latter was deeply offended, and wrote to the trustees of Temple school to denounce Mr. Bedford's conduct as a “scandal” on the part of “no true son of the Church”, adding that he should decline all further correspondence with this “favourer of fanaticism”. Colston's biographer is driven to confess that “his antipathy to dissent approached the confines of bigotry”, but it would appear that Low Churchmen were as obnoxious to him as Nonconformists. In 1712 the Corporation forwarded him a present of sherry, 16 gallons of which cost 7s. 4d., and 21 gallons more 8s., per gallon.

It was probably to the extreme bitterness of party feeling in Queen Anne's reign that the unwillingness of Bristolians to accept or retain municipal honours must be attributed. In the summer of 1707 four common councillors prayed liberty to resign their offices, while it was officially reported that several other members never attended, and that some who had been elected had never taken their seats. A few weeks later it was announced that Richard Leversedge, elected in 1706, and Thomas Hungerford, more recently chosen, had refused either to enter the Council or to pay the accustomed fine of £200. Some irregularity in the previous proceedings having been detected, the Chamber, in May, 1708, re-elected them, with just as little success. A committee was next appointed to devise a remedy, and upon its recommendation the Council resolved to apply for a new Charter, giving new and stringent powers for dealing with refractory citizens. After much secret negotiation between the Corporation and the Government, the sanction of the Queen to the coveted document was granted in July, 1710. The charter confirmed all the privileges conceded in previous reigns, ordered that the seven seats then vacant in the Chamber, through the “contumacious refusal” of certain burgesses to take the oaths, should be filled by fresh elections,


and gave further powers to enforce penalties from defaulters. Up to this time the mayors of Bristol had been required, soon after election, to proceed to London to take the customary oaths before the judges. This irksome condition was now abolished, and the Crown surrendered its power to remove any member of the Corporation. The Common Council, after expressing its gratitude for the “great grace of her Majesty”, bestowed ample largesses on the intermediary agents concerned in the transaction. Fifty guineas were voted for the purchase of a pair of coach horses for Sir Robert Eyre, the recorder (but preferring “your excellent sherry” he received a present of about sixty dozen); twelve dozen of the “very best sherry” were ordered to be sent to the Marquis of Dorchester, an equal quantity of “the best” to the Lord Chancellor (Cowper), and as much more (but not “best”) to the Attorney General. A butt of the same liquor was forwarded to the Duke of Ormond, Lord High Steward of the city; while Mr. Town Clerk Romsey and Henry Yate, a lawyer, received upwards of £450 between them for their fees, expenses, and trouble. The fines for non-acceptance of the office of mayor, sheriff, or councillor were fixed at £400, £300, and £200 respectively, but with an exemption for any person making oath of being worth less than £2,000. Elections to fill the vacant seats followed, and Messrs. Leversedge and Hungerford were for a third time chosen. Urging conscientious scruples in reference to the oaths, they remained as impracticable as before. In September, 1711, the mayor acquainted the Chamber that he had caused them to be arrested, “of which the House approved”, but their temporary detention was fruitless. A lengthy litigation followed, and in July, 1717, after judgment had been obtained against Hungerford, and execution levied, he paid £240, the fine and costs. Leversedge held out until 1721, when he paid the fine of £200, but prayed for a reduction of the penalty, asserting that his refusal to be sworn had arisen from “a rash vow”. The Council, satisfied with its victory, returned him £60, “as a gift”, towards paying his expenses.

Sir Robert Atkyns, whilst compiling his History of Gloucestershire, obtained statistics from Clifton in reference to the population. He was informed that the number of births in 1710 was 12, and that the inhabitants were estimated at 460. Probably about five-sixths of the parishioners resided on the low ground near the Avon.

The poor being again plunged in deep distress by the scarcity of food and the severity of the weather, the Council,


in February, 1711, voted £100, and forthwith privately subscribed £2,600 more, towards the relief of the sufferers - an extraordinary act of munificence, having regard to the average mercantile incomes of that generation.

The following curious account was paid by the city chamberlain on the 17th February, 1711:- “John Carter, Dr. to Joseph Bates. For two months and three weeks meat, drink, washing and lodging at 2s. 4d. per week, £1 5s. 8d.” Why the note was paid by the Corporation does not appear. Bates was keeper of Bridewell, and his cheaply provided guest may have been maintained to give evidence in some case tried at the quarter sessions. Other items in the civic accounts show the then low cost of living. On one occasion a man, his wife, and a child, having arrived with a magisterial “pass” on their way to Ireland, and being detained for seven weeks by contrary winds, were lodged and boarded for 5s. 8d. per week at the expense of the Corporation.

Owing to the narrowness of the streets, the civic officials kept a sharp eye on attempted encroachments. In May, 1711, a man who had built a house in Broad Street was found to have appropriated twenty-two inches of the roadway, and a similar offence had been committed in Corn Street. The Council gave orders that the “purprestures” should be removed and the offenders indicted. In February, 1716, the nuisance created by the vegetable markets in the central streets having become intolerable, the dealers in “garden stuff” were directed to migrate to Temple Street and Broadmead, a peremptory order being issued against the sale of such commodities in the principal thoroughfares. Another step in the same direction was taken in 1717, when the fish market, held in the middle of High Street, was removed to the Quay, near St. Stephen's Church. To make way for it, “the old Conduit was taken down, and a new one of a lesser bulk erected, somewhat nearer to the Aven” (Tucker's Annals).

The death of Dr. John Hall, bishop of Bristol, in 1711, enabled the Government to provide in an odd way for a retiring diplomatist, John Robinson, D.D., who had been the Englisn envoy in Sweden for twenty-six years, being appointed to the vacancy. The new head of the diocese entered the city on the 15th June, “being accompanied from Wells with severall hundred horse, near thirty clergymen, and many coaches with the great men of our citty therein” (Tucker's MS.). The new bishop forthwith gave


orders for a series of confirmation services, but was soon recalled to his old profession, and despatched to the continent to negotiate peace with France. A curious Runic inscription, placed in the Cathedral by Bishop Robinson, is the only local souvenir of his brief episcopate.

The importance of the trade between Bristol and the West Indies has been already indicated. It had largely increased since the beginning of the century, through the abolition, in 1698, of the monopoly previously enjoyed by the African Company - a handful of London capitalists - of the trade with Africa. Bristol merchants, who had long complained of the restrictions imposed upon the slave trade, lost no time in taking advantage of this new opening for commerce. Cargoes of goods suitable for bartering with the native slave dealers were made up in Bristol, where many of the articles soon began to be manufactured; the laden ships sailed direct to Africa, where the merchandise was exchanged for human beings; the latter were transported to the West India Islands; and the vessels finally returned with a cargo of tropical commodities. In 1709 the number of Bristol ships engaged in this trade was no less than fifty-seven. The impulse given to local trade was proportionate to the vast profits earned by the adventurers; and the discovery, in 1711, that the African Company were insidiously striving to secure a revival of their old monopoly excited dismay and wrath in local circles. The Corporation and the Merchants' Society took immediate steps to defend the interests of the city. Deputations were sent to Westminster to urge the advantages of freedom of trade, and the obnoxious scheme was defeated. Its baffled promoters renewed their efforts in the two following sessions, but were as pertinaciously opposed by Bristol and the other provincial ports. A petition to the House of Commons, forwarded by the Council in 1713, is now amusing for the frankness of its statements, and for the contrast they present with the Chamber's untruthful excuses for refusing to succour the German refugees in 1709. The Corporation alleged that the subsistence of Bristolians chiefly depended on their West India and African trade, which employed great numbers in shipyards and in “manufactures of wool, iron, tin, copper, brass, &c., a considerable part whereof is exported to Africa for buying of negroes”. Commerce with Africa and America being thus “the great support of our people at home, and foundation of our trade abroad”, the Chamber prayed that no favoured company should be allowed to


exclude the rest of her Majesty's subjects from the African coast. A similar petition was forwarded by the Merchant Venturers, who declared that they had many ships suitable only for the African trade, and would be ruined if excluded from it. The would-be monopolists, after three rebuffs, temporarily abandoned the field. The Council subscribed £100 towards the expenses of the first year's opposition, and Mr. John Day, who had remained on guard in London during the two following sessions, received £293 from the Corporation and others for his services. In 1720 the South Sea Company, when at the height of its popularity, made a fresh attempt to secure a monopoly of the African trade, much to the exasperation of Bristol merchants. The Council alone spent £140 in baffling this attack, and on the bursting of the gigantic bubble, the Chamber addressed the House of Commons, praising its diligence “in bringing to condign punishment those voracious robbers, the mismanagers of South Sea stock”, and praying that its rigour might not be slackened until they had met with their deserts. In 1726, and in successive sessions until 1731, the African Company made renewed but fruitless efforts to deprive the provincial ports of their share in a profitable trade. The cost incurred by Bristol in defeating the selfish manoeuvrers was little short of £2,000, nearly £900 of which amount (including the cost of about 200 gallons of wine sent up to the civic delegates) were defrayed by the Corporation. In a pecuniary point of view the money was profitably laid out. The African Company abandoned the transport of slaves, contenting itself with a traffic in ivory and gold dust, and the triangular voyages of the Bristol ships greatly increased in number and yielded rich returns.

An illustration of the peculiar customs of the age in reference to criminals occurs in the minutes of the Council in September, 1711. A woman had been condemned to death for a felony in the previous year; but the under-sheriff, at the instance of the magistrates, had obtained the grant of a pardon, at a cost of six guineas, and applied to the Chamber to be refunded. The demand was conceded with reluctance, a resolution being passed “that no pardons be sued out for the future at the city's charge without the previous direction of this House”. The order, like many other civic orders, soon became obsolete. On the 16th September, 1721, the Council resolved as follows:- “There being now four prisoners in Newgate who have layne under sentence of death for several years, being reprieved by the


magistrates, and they having by the mediation of the Recorder been inserted in the Western Circuit Pardon, for the doing whereof the Clerk of Assize claymed an expense of foar guineas per head, it is ordered that sixteen guineas be paid”. In the following year the same official was granted fifteen guineas for the pardons (obtained “without the order of this House”) of “eight or more” prisoners lying under sentence of death. This order was followed by a resolution indicating that ladies occasionally interested themselves in the fate of criminals:- “Several condemned persons having been begged off from execution by some persons of this body or their wives or relations, and afterwards the burthen of the expense in procuring the pardon has been upon the city: it is ordered that for the future such person who shall sue for any criminal's pardon shall at his own expense sue out the same”. Nevertheless, in 1727, the clerk of assize was paid £33 for “incerting the condemned prisoners in the Western Circuit Pardon”; and in 1740, it being intimated that Henry Fane, Esq., had taken trouble to obtain several pardons, but had received no acknowledgment, he was voted “a present of a gross of sherry as a compliment”. What seems still more strange to modern eyes, there is a record in the minutes that on one occasion the friends of a condemned criminal, being willing to purchase a pardon, were ordered to give security for £100 that they would transport the culprit; while in another case (April, 1711) a man charged with felony, but whose indictment had been rejected by the grand jury, was sentenced by the magistrates to be kept in gaol unless and until his father should give security to transport him to the plantations!

At a meeting of the Merchants' Society in December, 1711, a petition was read from Charles Harford, merchant, praying to be admitted a member of the body on payment of a fine. High Churchmen being then overflowing with intolerance, a resolution was passed rejecting the appeal, on the ground that Mr. Harford was a Quaker, and a further resolution was passed that “in future no professed Quaker should be admitted by fine into the freedom of the Hall”.

The churchwardens of All Saints' became dissatisfied about this period with the low Norman tower of the church, and resolved to substitute it by something more “ graceful”. The old tower was therefore destroyed; but a bitter controversy arose amongst the admirers of “jarring schemes” of rival architects, and the hideous design carried


out was not completed until 1717. The expenditure was about £600, of which Mr. Colston gave £260. Subsequently other “renovations” were proposed, and, the churchwardens having stated that £800 would be needed, the Corporation gave £100. The dome surmounting the new tower happily became ruinous in less than a century, and was replaced by the existing anomaly.

A considerable extension of the eastern suburb of the city took place about this time by the construction of Wade Street, Great George and Great Anne Streets, etc. The owners of the ground, Nathaniel Wade and Abraham Hooke, built a bridge in 1711 over the Froom, at Wade Street, for the development of the estate; and as Wade, though holding an important office under the Corporation, was generally unpopular from his abject confessions to James II., after being a leader in the Monmouth rebellion, the construction was universally known as Traitor's Bridge, and is even so designated in the minutes of the Common Council.

Early in 1712, the incumbents of the city parishes, encouraged by the exuberant High Church principles of the House of Commons, resolved on seeking the help of Parliament for the improvement of their incomes. Before narrating the issue, it may be interesting to show how pitiful those incomes were. Amongst Archbishop Sancroft's MSS. is a paper in the prelate's handwriting, from which it appears that the state of the Bristol clergy just before the Revolution had given him some concern. As his account of the livings has never been printed, and as little had occurred between Sancroft's deprivation and 1712 to improve the stipends, the document is here introduced, omitting the names of the incumbents, four of whom held two livings each:-

The parish Churches in Bristol with their present certain Endowment.

R. of S. Werburg.   A House worth £10 per ann.   Gift sermons £10 p.a.
R. of S. Stephens.   A House worth £10 per ann.   Gift sermons £10 p.a.
V. of All Saints.   A House worth £10 per ann.   Gift sermons £12 p.a.
V. of St. Augustins.   A House worth £4 per an.   Gift sermons 00.
V. of St. Nicolas.   No House.   [Gift sermons about £13.]
V. of St. Leonards.   House worth £2 per ann.   Tithe...
V. of St. Philip and Jacob.   House worth £5 per.   an.
R. of St. Peters.   House worth [blank]
V. of H. Cross als. Temple.   House worth £6 per an.   Gift sermons £10 per an.
V. of S. Jo. Baptist w. S. Lawrence.   Gift sermons £5 per. an.
R. of Xt. Church.   No House.   Gift sermons...
R. of St. Michael's.   House worth £6 per an.   Tithe...


Impr. of S. James.   House worth £8 per an.   Gift sermons £2 10s. per an.
R. of S. Ewens.   No House.
Capella S. Marie Redcliff.   A House.   Gift sermons...
Capella S. Thomae.   Gift sermons £8 per an.
R. of S. Mary port.   A House.

The parish Churches nigh Bristol in Gloucestershire.
Curacy of Clifton.   Ye Impropriator (Major Hodges) allows £10 per an.
___ Westbury.   Sr. Fr. Fane Impr. allows £10 per an.
V. of Almondbury.   Ye Bp. Patron and Impr. worth together £50 p.a.
V. of Henbury, w. Cap. Northwick and Aust.   Val. £100.
Curacy of Stapleton.   Impr. Mr. Walker.   Val. £15.
Curacy of Horvill.   Bp. Impropr.   Val. £4.
Curacy of Abbots Leigh.   Impr. Mr. Horton, Canon of Sarum.   Val. £14.

The clergy, in their published “Apology” for taking action, alleged that, by the confession of their opponents, they “had no legal claim to anything, and that their subsistence depended entirely upon the voluntary contributions of the people”, which were collected in some parishes by the ministers and churchwardens, and in others by the ministers alone, who went “from house to house in order to provoke the people's bounty”. That “bounty” seems to have been grudgingly bestowed. A physician or a barrister, says the writer, is not considered overpaid by a guinea for a single consultation; “but five shillings, by some who esteem themselves no common parishioners, shall be thought reward great enough not only for a single visit of a divine, but his sermons, his attendance, advise, throughout the whole year”. It was further asserted that the income of some livings did not reach “above £30 a year, if that”; the medium value being set down at from £70 to £80, while that of “the largest and best parishes, where two sermons were preached every Sunday”, did not exceed £100. During the Commonwealth, the Presbyterian clergy obtained a local Act for their better maintenance, by which a rate of 1s. 6d. in the pound was assessed on houses and warehouses, besides 5s. in the pound levied on tradesmen's stocks. Taking advantage of a precedent which many Dissenters would gladly have forgotten, the Bill produced by the clergy proposed to levy £1,500 a year on personal estates, to be collected by the parish officers. The sum intended to be raised in St. James's, St. Stephen's, St. Nicholas's, St. Philip's, and St. Michael's, where curates were kept, was £160 per parish, in Temple £110, and in All Saints' £100; smaller amounts being fixed for the ten remaining parishes, where only one sermon was preached on Sundays. The scheme was received with disapprobation, and the Common Council lost no time in


declaring that it would strenuously oppose the Bill in Parliament. The clergy, disheartened by the storm aroused in the city, abandoned the field.

The enactment of the Occasional Conformity Act by the High Church majority in Parliament added fresh fuel to the excitement of the citizens in the early months of 1712. The statute, which inflicted a fine of £40 on any member of a Corporation who attended service in a “conventicle”, rendered it impossible for conscientious Dissenters to accept or retain civic distinctions, and three leading members of the Council, Morgan Smith, Abraham Hooke, and Onesiphorus Tyndall (all ex-sheriffs) petitioned that they might be relieved of the office of counsellor without payment of a fine. Their request was complied with on the 22nd March by a unanimous vote. Mr. Tyndall was treasurer of Lewins Mead congregation in 1704. The Act which caused this secession was repealed a few years later.

Whilst the Corporation was deliberating on the case of the above aggrieved Dissenters, an extraordinary scene was taking place in the Cathedral. The records of the Consistory Court show that Ann Roberts, of St. Augustine's, had been convicted of having committed incest with her father, and that by the sentence of the chancellor she was ordered to repair to the cathedral at the hour of morning prayer on the 22nd March, and to stand in the choir before the minister and congregation, clad in a white sheet and bearing a white wand, during the whole of the service, and was further, after the second lesson, to make humble confession of, and profess penitence for, her crime. A certificate that the sentence had been carried out was signed by one of the minor canons.

In the session of 1699-1700 a petition was presented to Parliament by the corporation of Bath praying for powers to make the Avon navigable to that city, one of the chief advantages of which work, it was urged, would be to “bring down the dearness of provisions complained of by all persons who frequent the Bath”. Vehement petitions against the scheme were addressed to the House of Commons by the Quarter Sessions Court of Somerset and the gentry, farmers, and traders of the neighbourhood, who pleaded that they would be impoverished by the competition of commodities brought in by cheap water carriage. The opposition became so formidable that the Bill was withdrawn. Early in 1712 the corporation of Bath renewed their application, when it was opposed with as much obstinacy as before. Some of the petitioners declared that the carrying trade of


the district was threatened by the Bill with utter ruin; others, chiefly landed gentry, affirmed that the import of food “from Wales and other parts where the value of lands are low” would be so disastrous that they would be unable to pay their taxes. The grand jury at Wilts Assizes were amongst the most urgent suitors for the rejection of the Bill, as were the inhabitants of Marshfield, who affirmed that their malt trade would be destroyed if it had to compete with distant rivals. The measure, nevertheless, became law, but it remained a dead letter for several years. In March, 1725, a scheme for carrying out the work having been suggested by Mr. John Hobbs, a Bristol timber merchant, the corporation of Bath transferred the powers of the Act to thirty-two individuals, who undertook to open the navigation “at the equal cost of each copartner”. The thirty-two shareholders included the Duke of Beaufort, General Wade, John Codrington, of Wraxall, Ralph Allen, of Bath, and Dr. John Lane, Thomas Tyndale, James Hardwick, and John Hobbs, of Bristol The navigation extended only from Bath to Hanham, so that the remainder of the route was practicable only when the course of the Avon was filled by the tide. The works were finished in December, 1727, and on the 3rd January Lord Falmouth proceeded from Bristol to Bath by water, “being the first noble person who used that passage”. The barges were towed by men, power to construct a towing path for horses being wanting until a much later period. A Bath correspondent of the Gloucester Journal, writing on the 3rd November, 1729, recorded that “Mr. Hobbes, merchant, of Bristol, who was the chief instrument of making the river Avon navigable to this place”, had just been admitted a free burgess of Bath. The above facts dispose of the current story that all the credit of carrying out the undertaking was due to the Duke of Beaufort. The navigation was long obnoxious to the Kingswood colliers, owing to the quantity of Shropshire coal conveyed to Bath. In consequence of their violence, an Act of Parliament was passed, enacting that the destruction of weirs or locks should be punished with death. Nevertheless, in November, 1738, a disguised mob almost totally demolished the lock at Saltford, and escaped with impunity. The cost of the navigation works is not given in any local work, but in 1825, when the first proposal was started for a railway to London, a correspondent of a Bristol journal asserted that less than £160 each was contributed by the thirty-two original proprietors, and that one share had recently sold for £4,000.


The narrow-minded trading theories of the age are illustrated by a petition presented to the House of Commons in 1712 by Abraham Elton, Benjamin Coole, and Edward Lloyd, three Bristol merchants, and others representing the brass manufactories of the kingdom. The applicants, after pointing out that their goods were made by English workmen, and composed of English copper and calamine, complained that their foreign rivals were “encouraged” by the existing laws, and prayed relief. From the subsequent report of a committee, it appears that the encouragement of the foreigner consisted in his being mulcted with a protective import duty varying from £9 10s. to £30 per ton; and that the petitioners wanted this tax largely increased or foreign entries prohibited. It was stated that 21,000 men were employed in the home trade, and that at Bristol the two copper works consumed 2,000 tons of coal weekly, besides 400 tons of fuel used at the brass works. In opposition to the petitioners, a crowd of witnesses was brought forward by persons interested in the Dutch brass trade, who represented that the English-made goods were of an inferior quality, and that an increased duty on foreign brass would ruin many home industries depending on Dutch markets. To rebut this evidence a certificate was produced from the braziers of Bristol, asserting that the local manufacturers had brought their products to such perfection that satisfactory brass was now offered £20 per ton below former prices. A proposal to considerably increase the foreign duties was finally rejected.

Another local petition of the same year deserves a record. It proceeded from Nicholas Churchman, master of the Bristol Company of Tanners, and others, and set forth that the Irish people, having taken to purchasing bark in England, refused to ship their raw hides, preferring to make their leather at home, to the great loss and discouragement of English tanners. As the sale of bark caused all the mischief, the petitioners prayed that further exports should be prohibited. A committee was appointed, but without result.

The Rev. William Goldwin, M.A., master of the Grammar School, believing himself a poet, favoured the city in 1712 with what he was pleased to call “A Poetical Description of Bristol”, which was published by “Joseph Penn, bookseller, against the Corn Market in Wine Street”. Although Mr. Goldwin's verses can be qualified only as lamentably prosaic, they afford some interesting hints as to the appearance


of the city at the time they were written. High Street, which during the Civil War had been noted by a traveller as a chief centre of mercers, silkmen and linen drapers, was still the favourite resort of fashionable customers:-

Bedeckt with gawdy Shops on both its Lines.

And its shops had glass windows:-

. . . Piles of Plate refined with Art,
Refulgent Rays through glassy Barriers dart.
Here the whole Wardrobe of the female Dress
In wealthy Folds a standing Camp possess.

Temple Street also in fair time could boast of its splendours:-

The spacious (!) Street, where London Wares
Display the tawdry Pageantry of Fairs,
Temptations offered to the Virgins there
To choose a Marriage-dress of modish Air.
Observe the flippant Sparks in Smartness nurs'd,
With Fleet Street style and Ludgate Language vers'd, &c.

Mr. Goldwin is severe upon the wares of the Coffee Houses:-

Here wise Remarkers on the Church and State
O'er Turkish Lap and smoaky Whiffs debate.
Here half shut Authors in Confusion lye,
And kindling Stuffs for Party Heats supply.
Pernicious Scribblers, &c.

The charms of Clifton were still undiscovered. When merchants had grown rich with trafficking in the chief imports of the city:-

Florentia's Wines and Sherry's flavour'd Must,
Jamaicans Growth and Guinea's Golden-dust,

they retired to the healthful slopes of St. Michael's Hill:-

Here wealthy Cits discharged from worldly Cares
Conclude the downward Race of falling Years.
Here sickly Souls with broken Health repair
To suck the wholesome Drafts of healing Air.

In other parts of the city the glass-houses were a nuisance:-

Whose sootty Stench the Earth and Sky annoys,
And Nature's blooming Verdure half destroys.

Mr. Goldwin's rambling pen carries him to Newgate, where he sees “mournful debtors weep in ghastly hue” in company, with felons, both inhaling unwholesome air in dungeons, and both eking out existence by the help of a begging box at the gaol door. He goes to the Back, and sees


“cackling dames and feathered cacklers” in the Welsh Market. He passes on to Queen Square, and finds “ grandeur and neatness shine” in the newly built Custom House, and the “Praetorian dignity” well supported in the dwelling of the mayor. Perhaps his most surprising discovery, to modern readers at least, was “Florio's happy spot”, the Great Gardens, in Temple parish, now black, dismal, and sordid, but then, he said, fragrant with jasmin, roses, and orange flowers, and beauteous with fantastically cut yew and holly trees.

In 1712 a company of adventurous Bristolians, of whom the most prominent was Joshua Franklyn, a merchant, resolved upon constructing a dock for the accommodation of shipping at Sea Mills. The vanity of human aspirations was exemplified in the terms of the lease of the required land, which (by virtue of a special Act of Parliament) was transferred to the undertakers by Edward Southwell, of Kingsweston, for a term of 999 years, at an annual rent of £81. The site adjoined a Roman station, of which some vestiges still remain, and in the course of excavating the dock the workmen came across an ancient gateway, and a quantity of coins of Nero, Constantine, and Constantius. With the exception of a dock at Liverpool, commenced in 1709, but not finished until 1717, the Sea Mills dock was the first mercantile basin constructed in England. The adventure was divided into thirty-two shares, on which upwards of £300 each are said to have been called. Franklyn sank a large part of his fortune in the undertaking. There is no record of the opening of the dock. In a financial point of view, the place was a failure from the outset, the necessity of transhipping cargoes into barges overriding the advantage it possessed of keeping vessels afloat at low water. The dock was found useful, however, for the fitting out of privateers, and the discharging of whaling ships. Rudder, in his History of Gloucestershire, published in 1779, stated that the dock had then been “utterly abandoned for several years”, and that the shares had only “an ideal value”. One of the latest attempts to turn the property to account was made in January, 1798, when the dock, with its “spacious warehouses” and some adjoining tenements, was offered to be let.

Two ropewalks with some appended “tar houses” in close proximity to Queen Square having been much complained of, the Corporation, in August, 1712, agreed with the owners for the purchase of the ground, so as to remove


the nuisances. One of the roperies belonged to the Merchants' Society, who refused to sell unless a term of 23 years was added to the 68 years' lease of the Wharfage Dues then in their hands. To soften the rigour of this condition, they promised that “any member of the Council should have liberty to make any publick feast or entertainment in the Merchants' Hall”. The Chamber agreed to the conditions, but seems to have had a somewhat low opinion of the good faith of the Company, for a strict order was given to the town clerk to retain the new lease until the Merchants had delivered the conveyance of the ropewalk. Oddly enough, no complaint was raised against the receptacle for scavengers' sweeping, collected from all the central parishes, which was situated in the rear of the eastern side of the square; and it was not until many years afterwards that this nuisance was removed.

The members of the Corporation appear to have had a predilection for occasional sermons, but placed a low pecuniary value upon them. Perhaps in consequence of a remonstrance, the Council, on the 16th September, ordered “that the several ministers who have preached the publick sermons att the Quarter Sessions and gaole delivery for this year past shall have added to their usual allowances soe much as shall make itt upp one guinea for every sermon, and this order to continue till further order”.

Up to this time, the only means of communication between the central parts of the city and College Green lay through Christmas Street and Horse (now Host) Street. In October, 1712, in compliance with a numerously signed petition, the Chamber ordered the erection of a “movable bridge” over the Froom, from St. Augustine's Back to the opposite Quay. The work must have proceeded with great deliberation, for the structure figures in the corporate accounts until 1718. The cost was £1,044. A lanthorn, costing 20s., was placed upon the bridge in May, 1718, doubtless to protect it against shipping collisions. In April, 1722, it was ordered that no laden cart should cross the bridge, under a penalty of £l. In 1738 the Corporation bought another lanthorn, perhaps for the same place. The article must have been of unusual size, for the glass sides cost 45s., and the framework £6 11s.

A scarce book entitled “An Account of Charity Schools in Great Britain”, published in 1712, states that there was a school upon the Quay at Bristol, “endowed by Lady [Susanna] Holworthy, wherein eight persons are instructed


in the art of navigation”. This statement, although unnoticed by any local historian, is confirmed by the records of the Merchants' Society, a subscription of £2 having been yearly paid by them to the school, which in 1722 was removed to the Merchants' Hall, an old kitchen having been fitted up for its accommodation. In 1738, Lady Holworthy's bequest, then amounting to £260, and a gift of £100 made by Capt. John Price, R.N., were handed over by the Corporation to the Merchants' Company, upon the latter undertaking to pay £20 a year for ever to a master capable of teaching navigation.

Amongst the swords of state possessed by the Corporation is a handsome weapon presented to the city by John de Wells, lord mayor of London in 1431, and styled in civic records the Pearl Sword. As no traces of pearls are visible on the scabbard, a fiction has of course been invented to explain their disappearance, and the tradition of the Council House is that the jewels were pilfered by a succession of covetous mayoresses. A search into a quantity of old accounts, by the kind permission of the treasurer, has exploded this fable. In May, 1713, the sword was repaired by a silversmith named Cossley, who, after charging £17 for embroidering the scabbard, and £10 17s. 3d. for gilding and reparations, acknowledges the possession of “279 perls of noe use, neither could they be put on”. The Corporation assessed the value of the pearls at £3 12s., which Cossley allowed.

Peace with France, arranged at Utrecht by Dr. Robinson, Bishop of Bristol, and others, was proclaimed on May 12th, 1713, at the High Cross, St. Peter's Cross, Temple Cross, and other places, amidst formal demonstrations of joy. The treaty, although far from popular at the time, contained provisions which tended largely to the development of local commerce. France ceded to this country Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Hudson's Bay, and part of the island of St. Christopher; but to Bristol merchants the most popular feature of the treaty was the “Assiento clause”, by which England was granted the monopoly of supplying the Spanish colonies with slaves. Bishop Robinson was rewarded for his labours by being translated to the see of London.

The expenditure for corporate festivities in connection with the Peace denotes a change of taste in reference to wine. The civic dignitaries had long regaled themselves exclusively on sherry and claret; and although in 1703, soon after the outbreak of war with France, a treaty was


made with Portugal admitting her wines at an exceptionally low rate of duty, the Corporation at first forsook claret for Florence wine, which figures largely in the accounts. At the above rejoicings, however, the civic body consumed 21 gallons of claret, 11 of sherry, and small quantities of Canary and “Rhenish”, while, instead of Florence, there was a purchase of 17 gallons of “red Alicant”, costing 6s. a gallon. In the following year, on the accession of George I., Alicant gave place to Port, which is mentioned for the first time, and met with an enthusiastic reception, the wine bill on the proclamation day embracing 53 gallons of the liquor at 5s. 4d., 15 gallons of sherry at 7s. 6d., 15 gallons of claret at 10s., and other red wine to the value of £4 15s. 6d. The relish of the corporate body for the Portuguese import subsequently became proverbial.

It was the intention of the Government to follow up the Peace with a treaty of commerce, by which a system of free trade would have been established between England and France. Such a scheme, however, was opposed to the commercial ideas of the age, and many interests promptly raised an agitation. The distilling trade in Bristol was especially loud in its protests. During the war, the lack of brandy was supplied by distillation from domestic produce, cider and perry being made largely available. It being certain that “apple brandy” would be rapidly supplanted by the genuine French article, upwards of twenty Bristol distillers petitioned the House of Commons for protection. They produced, they said, a “good wholesome fine brandy” which answered every needful purpose, and, if only kept long enough, was hardly distinguishable from grape spirit; but if the latter came into the field local distillation would be stopped, the petitioners impoverished, and good crops of English fruit left rotting on the ground. Distillers from malt and sugar, raising a similar outcry, were supported by the West India interest. The silk manufacturers petitioned earnestly against the admission of French goods, while the clothiers prayed for the “discouragement” (meaning interdiction) of Spanish and Portuguese fabrics. The agitation was fatal to the Government Bill. It was found impracticable, however, to prohibit the importation of French brandy, which soon recovered its old supremacy. In the Bristol Newspaper of January 27th, 1728, John King, merchant, Queen Square, the ancestor of a still eminent mercantile family, announced that he had “fine Nance Brandy” on sale at 7s. per gallon by the butt, or 7s. 6d. retail; also


good rum at 6s. 6d. by the hogshead, or 7s. by the single gallon.

A general election took place in September. Mr. Colston having retired, the Tory party nominated Thomas Edwards, jun., who married Mary Hayman, the philanthropist's niece; Colonel Joseph Earle solicited re-election; and Sir William Daines endeavoured to recover his former seat. The polling went on for two days amidst perpetual tumult and blood-shed; rival mobs, stimulated by unstinted supplies of liquor, assailing not only each other, but peaceful electors. Ultimately the sheriffs, dreading loss of life, closed the poll, although less than a fourth of the citizens had voted. The numbers recorded for the candidates (communicated by the Rev. A.B. Beaven) were:- Colonel Earle, who was supported by both parties, 666; Mr. Edwards, 474; Sir William Daines, 189. The unsuccessful candidate petitioned against Edwards in the following session, alleging that his return (which was made only by one sheriff, the other admitting the illegality of the proceedings) was due to rioting and intimidation on the part of a hired multitude “who were not inhabitants”, meaning, doubtless, mercenaries from “outside the Gate”. The committee of privileges had not reported on this petition when the Parliament came to an end through the death of the Queen. A few months later, the Tory party, which had been instrumental in returning Mr. Earle, had a violent quarrel with that gentleman. In the British Museum is a very rare pamphlet, printed in 1714, and entitled “A few short and true Reasons why a late Member was expelled from the Loyal Society”. The writer alleges that the person in question - who could be no one but Earle - was scandalously loose in his principles, of so little reputation that he could not gain a handful of votes on his own account, so shabby that when president of the society (which Earle was in 1712) he starved the company at the annual dinner, and afterwards refused to pay the cook, so mean as to plead his privilege of Parliament to avoid payment of dues to his parish church, and so false that “though he solemnly promised Mr. Colston to stand by the Society and the Church, he keeps no correspondence with the city except with” Dissenters.

Flushed with the success of the election, the High Church party resolved on pursuing their victory into the Corporation of the Poor, where a revolutionary change was accomplished. As has been already shown, the guardians were staggering


under a constantly increasing load of debt arising from the growth of population. It was at length resolved to apply to Parliament for power to increase the total yearly rates from £2,370 to £3,600. A Bill for that purpose was introduced in 1714, but was bitterly opposed by the Tory party, who alleged that the Corporation of the Poor was a Whig device, and that the guardians had been guilty of mismanagement. The latter retorted that their difficulties had arisen through the deliberate misstatement by the churchwardens of the actual amount spent on the poor in 1696, which was £600 in excess of the sum reported. They showed, moreover, that the rates outside the city, still administered by the churchwardens, had increased 160 per cent. In the result, the guardians obtained increased rating powers only by submitting to be swamped. The High Church party having obtained the assistance of the Government, which was bent on persecuting Dissenters, provisions were introduced into the Bill by which the thirty-four churchwardens of the city parishes became members of the incorporation by virtue of their office. A clause was also introduced into the Act requiring every guardian to take the sacrament in a parish church, thus disqualifying Dissenters. (By another Act, passed simultaneously, though urgently petitioned against by Bristol Dissenters, every schoolmaster and private teacher was subjected to the same test.) The violence of the Tories, however, brought about a reaction. The exclusion of many experienced guardians, and the irruption of a crowd of men experienced only in party intrigues, were found to be disastrous to the working of the poor law machinery, and four years later, by another Act, the junior moiety of the churchwardens was excluded from the board and the sacramental test repealed. Some curious documents relating to the latter statute are in the British Museum. In one of these it is alleged that the Church party promoted the reform, having perceived “their mistake in encumbering themselves with offices unattended with profit, honour, or interest”, and being now desirous of forcing Dissenters to bear such offices, “and in some measure to ease churchmen”. But the Bishop of Bristol (Smalridge) offered a strenuous resistance to the Bill in the House of Lords, and signed an indignant protest against “letting in” Nonconformists and “shutting out” churchwardens. One may divine the political character of the guardians from the fact that they passed a vote of thanks to Dr. Smalridge for his opposition to the measure.


A murder that caused a great sensation was committed about this time, on Durdnam Down, by one Captain Maccartny on a person named Beechy, who had lodged with him in Bristol on the night before the crime. The facts are briefly summarised in the Common Council minutes dated April 12th, 1714. It seems that upon the murder being discovered the mayor despatched officers on the track of the culprit, who fled into West Somerset, and subsequently crossed the Channel, but was finally run down in Glamorganshire. The mayor further bestirred himself to procure evidence against the prisoner, despatching witnesses to Gloucester Assizes at his own expense. Being convicted, Maccartny was hanged and gibbeted near the great ravine on Durdham Down. The Council ordered the payment of £25 11s. 11d., the amount expended by the mayor, who received a vote of thanks for his exertions. The murder was long remembered with horror. From an official document dated November, 1787, the ravine appears to have been even then generally known as “Maccartny's Gully”.

The civic authorities displayed great liberality at this period in their presents of wine, but it may be suspected, from the position of the recipients, that an adequate equivalent was expected from them sooner or later. At a meeting of the Chamber in February, 1714, a letter was read from Mr. Southwell, of Kingsweston, who was Secretary of State for Ireland under a grant not only for his own life but afterwards for his son, acknowledging the receipt of 12 dozen bottles of sherry, and promising “on all occasions to be serviceable to the city”. He also intimated the arrival of 36 dozen forwarded to the Duke of Ormond, who “very highly approved” of the liquor. The Duke, who was Lord High Steward of the city and many years Viceroy of Ireland, had received numerous presents of the same kind; some of them for his “great services” to Bristol interests in the sister island. Another gift of wine is somewhat mysteriously recorded on the 7th July, 1714:- “Ordered that Mr. Chamberlayne pay for the 20 dozen of sherry sent to London to Collonell Earle, by him disposed of for the service of the city”. It ought to be added that Bristol sherry had at this date an unrivalled reputation. Mr. Ashton in his “Social Life of the reign of Queen Anne” states that the most eminent London merchants “brought wine by road from Bristol” (i. p. 200).

In the Bodleian Library is a curious and probably unique


pamphlet, entitled “An Account of the Lead Mines producing Callamie, &c., on Durdham Downe, near Bristol, with a Proposal for the Disposing of a small Part thereof”. It is undated, but a contemporary hand has written, “17 June, 1714”. The writer sets off by stating that Sir John Smith, of Long Ashton, Richard Orlebar, of Poddington, Beds., and Arabella Astry, of Henbury, owners of the manor of Durdham Down, had granted a lease for twenty-one years, from Michaelmas, 1712, of two thousand acres of the down, with leave to dig, sink, and mine thereon for iron ore, lead ore, manganese, and “callamie”, to John Glover, of London, gentleman, he paying yearly 1s. per ton for iron ore, 2s. for every 20s. worth of lead ore and callamie, and 4s. for the same value of manganese ore. The lessee, having discovered valuable deposits, had divided the undertaking into 400 shares, and transferred the lease, with 240 shares, to John Martin, of Hatton Garden. Martin had since sunk above twenty pits, whereby several hundred small veins of lead and callamie had been discovered, and the profit of three pits only, worked by six men, was equal to £4 19s. per share per annum. In order to carry on the concern more vigorously, Martin proposed to sell forty shares at £60 each; and it was estimated that, if thirty men were employed, the weekly output would be worth £240, from which would be deducted £24 for lords' dues, and £26 for expenses, leaving a profit equivalent to £24 16s. 6d. yearly on each share. What the profit would be if “300, nay 600 men were employed, as we despair not of doing in a little time”, the wily prospectus maker left “the reader to consider”. He added that a smelting furnace was about to be constructed “at the end of a large storehouse we lately built on the spot, together with another oven for burning the callamie”. Seven persons were then concerned in the enterprise, one of whom had given £360 for ten shares. Before engaging in the affair, Martin had sent down a mining expert, who had found lead veins in all the pits, while the head miner, who had accepted 26 shares in lieu of salary, declared that there was then “£1,000 worth of oar in view”. Persons desiring further information were directed to apply to Mr. Glover, “who is here in town ... at Tom's Coffee House”. Nothing more has been discovered respecting this enterprise, which was doubtless a product of the speculative mania of the time. From the promoter's assertion that Durdham Down was 2,000 acres in extent, whilst its actual area is only 212 (though possibly as much more was


subsequently enclosed), he clearly could have been taught little by modern bubble blowers. In October, 1721, complaint was made to the Bristol Council of the numerous and dangerous holes and pits on Durdham Down, “near the common ways”. The cost of levelling the ground was estimated at £100, and a vote of half that amount was agreed to, the Merchants' Society having undertaken to pay the other moiety. The wealthy owners of the manor, who in their pursuit of profit had permitted the down to become perilous to the lives and limbs of the public, characteristically stood aloof.

On the arrival, on the 2nd of August, 1714, of intelligence of the death of the Queen, the authorities ordered the immediate proclamation of her successor at the High Cross and other public places. A grand entertainment was given at the Council House, and the conduits ran wine for the populace. [Whilst the friends of the House of Hanover were celebrating its advent, hundreds of superstitious Bristolians were profoundly agitated by a discovery made that day. A cooper living in Baldwin Street had invited some friends to spend the afternoon with him, and proposed that they should smoke in the summer-house of the “pretty large garden” attached to his house. The pavilion was said to have been a rendezvous of the Bristolians concerned in the Rye House plot, and to commemorate the circumstance, a wooden crown surmounting a globe had been suspended from the roof. On entering the building, the revellers were horrified by observing that the ornament was completely hidden by an enormous black cobweb, measuring 3½ feet in length. The cooper averred that the place had been swept during the previous week. The phenomenon was regarded by many as an awful portent, and multitudes flocked to witness it. The web was destroyed by curiosity hunters, but some portions were long preserved. A drawing of the marvel is amongst the Catcott MSS. in the Museum and Library.] When George I. made a state entry into London in September, the Common Council resolved that his arrival should be observed “with the utmost pomp, splendour, and solemnity that this city is capable of”. A general holiday was ordered, the streets were ablaze with bonfires and tallow candles, and about £84 were disbursed by the Corporation in the customary festivities.

The new king's coronation, in October, afforded the Whig party another opportunity for rejoicing. Possibly the repeated demonstrations had irritated the Tories, the bulk of


whom were Jacobites, and they resolved to manifest their discontent. The alarming riot which marked the day has been described by Seyer and Pryce, and it seems unnecessary to reproduce their narratives. It will suffice to say that whilst the citizens were preparing to illuminate their houses, and the upper classes were assembling to take part in a grand ball at the new Custom House, a horde of colliers and labourers, hired for the purpose and primed with liquor by some fanatical Tories, burst into the city, where they were joined by great numbers of the lowest class, and soon worked serious havoc to the cry of “Sacheverell and Ormond, and damn all foreigners”. A report had been spread that the Dissenters had prepared effigies of Sacheverell, with the intention of burning them at the bonfires; and this malicious fiction provoked the populace to attack the dissenting meeting-house in Tucker Street, and several private houses. The dwelling of a baker, named Stevens, in Tucker Street, was three times assailed, and eventually plundered, but the mob were at last driven off by the occupant's son, captain of a West Indiaman, who shot at and mortally wounded a rioter. A well-meaning Quaker, named Thomas, who entreated the mob to retire, was trampled under foot and fatally injured. After committing much destruction in the same neighbourhood, the sufferers being invariably Dissenters or prominent Hanoverians, the rabble adjourned to Queen Square, where they smashed the windows of the Custom House, and forced the terrified ladies within to seek safety in flight. Upon being charged by a number of gentlemen and livery servants, the rioters scattered; but the disturbance was not quelled until midnight. The Corporation, angry and indignant, requested the Government to issue a special commission for the trial of such of the rioters as had been captured, and three judges were accordingly sent down in November. The Jacobites, who were not without audacity, rivalled the Whigs in their greeting of the ministers of justice. A great crowd assembled on the arrival of the judges, and their entry into the city was converted into a political demonstration, in which seditious cries were not wanting. An ultra-Tory merchant, named Hart, even ventured to exhibit his Jacobite sympathies in court, but was suppressed by Colonel Earle, M.P., who charged him to his face with being an instigator of the riot. The prisoners were of the lowest class, the ringleaders having absconded; and, to the exuberant joy of the Jacobites, the culprits were dealt with very leniently. Stevens's son,


impudently charged with murder at the instance of the Tories, was acquitted. Riots of a similar character to the above occurred at Bath, Gloucester, Bridgwater, and Taunton.

The general election caused by the death of the Queen occurred early in 1716, whilst the city was still seething with faction and disorder. The Whig candidates were Colonel Joseph Earle (the former nominee of the Tories) and Sir William Daines, who were opposed by Mr. Thomas Edwards, jun., and Mr. Philip Freke. Confused and contradictory accounts of the proceedings are given by contemporary annalists. The most amusing is that of Edmund Tucker, apothecary, whose manuscript is in the Council House. The writer, an enthusiastic Tory, states that the election began on the 9th February, and continued until the 16th. “During which election the mayor, aldermen, and com. councill (not so much for keeping the Kings peace as was pretended, but chiefly to cast an odium on the Loyal Society in order that they might be for ever dispersed, and so be baffled and dashed out of countenance, in order to raise a fresh mutiny for shutting up the poll) constituted and swore near 80 fresh constables of the most vile poor and scurrilous wretches of the citty, both free beggars and foreign ruffians”. But the “noble behaviour of the Church party frustrated their designed villainy”, the poll being as follows:- Freke, 1991; Edwards, 1976; Daines, 1936; Earle, 1899. The defeated candidates, however, demanded a scrutiny, “which thô never known in this citty yett was granted”. The sheriffs next spent two days “in bantering and caffleing with the Loyall freeholders” as to how the scrutiny should be conducted, proposing amongst other “bugbears” to strike off the votes of all who had children in the public schools; but as the Low party would have lost more by this operation than their opponents, it was abandoned. Finally, the sheriffs adjourned the scrutiny from the Guildhall to the Council House, “refusing the land owners attendance as much as possible, and in private signed a returne for Daines and Earle”. To please the other side, indeed, “that scrutinising tool, Dick Taylor” [sheriff] offered to sign “a double returne, altho like a villain he well knew it would never be sent up”, and so “the libertys and properties of this citty” were betrayed by men “with foreheads of brass, who could not blush, their crime being so hellish”. Messrs. Edwards and Freke petitioned for the seats in 1716, 1717, and 1718, contending that


they were duly returned, but the committee of elections never reported on their case. The expenses of the Whig candidates amounted to £2,267, about two-thirds of the money being spent in entertaining the electors in the various parishes. Amongst the items were:- “Woman's note under the Guildhall for beer”, doubtless drunk at the polling, “£47 17s.”, equivalent to about 1,000 gallons; and “Knots” (ribands), £78 18s. 10d.

The extreme poverty of many of the ecclesiastical livings in Bristol has been already noticed. In 1714 an Act of Parliament was passed for facilitating grants from Queen Anne's Bounty to places in need of help, and inquiries were soon afterwards made in local parishes in accordance with the provisions of the statute. Amongst the records in the Consistory Court at the cathedral is a certificate signed by the bishop's commissioners, Dean Booth and two of the prebendaries (who held their sittings at the White Lion inn, Broad Street), recording the results in St. James's, and the suburban parishes in Gloucestershire. Two of the principal inhabitants had been required to make an affidavit as to the “clear yearly profits demandable by law” by each incumbent. The account rendered was as follows:-

St. James's.   Gift sermons3120
Westbury.   Mr. Henry Fane pays yearly ...1000
"   Gift sermons368
Clifton.   One Gift sermon100
"   The impropriator of tithes pays yearly500
Stapleton.   Small tithes14100
"   Vicarage house (lets for)0100
Horfield.   Gift sermon0100
"   Interest on Bishop Hall's gift2100

The certificates relating to the rest of the city parishes are unfortunately missing. In 1718 Horfield, Westbury, Mangotsfield, and Stapleton obtained grants of £200 each from Queen Anne's Bounty, in consequence of donations of £100 each made in their favour by Edward Colston.

A tailor's bill, dated May, 1715, records the cost of a rich suit of clothes furnished to a Bristolian named Lane Hollister, who is believed to have been a Quaker. The garments were embroidered with 13¾ yards of silk, which cost £3 19s., and were lined with “sattin”, costing £1. The total was £12 11s. The tailor was unable to sign his name to the receipt.

The imminence of a Jacobite rebellion, and the


probability of the overthrow of the new dynasty, seem to have weighed at this period over the whole community. In the preparations made for a revolt, the hopes of the Pretender's friends in Gloucestershire and Somerset rested chiefly on the young Duke of Beaufort, Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, who, though he had renounced the Roman Catholic faith of his ancestors, was an enthusiastic supporter of the exiled family. Happily, perhaps, for his house, the Duke fell ill, and died a few weeks before the Queen, leaving as heir to his vast estates a boy of seven years. The Western Jacobites then accepted for leader the Duke of Ormond, Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, much being also expected from Sir William Wyndham, M.P. for that county. Owing to Ormond's popularity and reputation for energy, the leading Jacobites anticipated greater results from his action in the West than from the revolt already concerted in the North. “Before leaving London”, says Lord Stanhope, he “had concerted measures for seizing Bristol, Exeter, and Plymouth, had assigned stations for a great number of discharged officers in his interest, and had even provided relays of horses on the road to secure his rapid progress. But though personally a brave man, at the last moment his heart failed him. He slunk away, and crossed over to France”. He was impeached in June, 1715, and was thenceforth politically dead. In the meantime the rival parties in Bristol, as elsewhere, scented the approach of an outbreak, and fanatics on each side lost self-control. At the quarter sessions in June, an indictment was found against a clothier named Clisile, charged with “justifying the murder of King Charles I.”, and he was committed for trial. (He was afterwards convicted and fined two marks.) At the September Sessions, Francis Colston, merchant, a nephew of the philanthropist, charged with dispersing a seditious Jacobite pamphlet, entered into recognisances to appear for trial at the next gaol delivery (when the grand jury ignored the indictment). Other indications of party passion were visible in the streets. The 28th May was King George's birthday, and whilst loyal citizens hung out their banners, Jacobites carried thyme and rue in their coat breasts to denote their grief. On the following day, however, the tables were turned, the Tories jauntily ornamenting their houses with branches of oak, and their persons with oak leaves, in honour of the Stewarts, and humming, “The King shall enjoy his own again” - a strain still more in vogue on the 10th June, the birthday of the


Pretender, whose admirers, male and female, bedecked themselves with white ribbons. In September, in concert, as was supposed, with the northern rebels, the leading Jacobites of the West assembled at Bath, under pretence of drinking the waters, bringing with them a number of horses and a quantity of arms; while the situation in Bristol became so serious that the Government ordered the Earl of Berkeley, Lord Lieutenant, to take measures for the security of the city, which he forthwith did, calling up the militia, and putting them under arms. His Lordship was appointed Lord High Steward on the 23rd September - a fact overlooked by Barrett, while Pryce states that the office was vacant for 64 years. On Sunday, October 2nd, the authorities got wind of a plot, hatched by the Somerset Jacobites, to seize the city, whereupon the militia were mustered, and the gates shut, cannon being mounted at Redcliff and Temple. Several prominent members of the “Loyal Society” - patronised by the second Duke of Beaufort and Edward Colston, but described by their opponents as “a set of rakehells, who kept up a drunken club to carry on treasonable designs” - were arrested; amongst them, according to Oldmixon's History, being “Mr. Hart, a merchant, who was charged with having gathered a great quantity of warlike stores for the use of the disaffected”. The prisoners were confined in “the Marshalsea” (in Narrow Wine Street), which Tucker in his annals calls “the old Olliverian prison house”, adding that “the puritans” continued to search the dwellings and take away the arms of the real Churchmen of the city, “till they had even depopulated the city of its best members”; but the evidence against them was insufficient, and they were soon afterwards liberated. (The annual dinner of the Loyal Society on Colston's birthday was henceforth abandoned.) Oldmixon adds that in despite of the activity of the authorities, the Jacobites proclaimed the accession of “James III”. in Bristol on the 27th October. But the arrival of a large body of troops, coupled with the tragic failure of the Northern rebels, dashed the hopes of the disaffected. The Bath conspirators dispersed upon the arrival of General Wade, who was despatched with two regiments to secure against a surprise. Wade's troops seized 200 horses, eleven chests of fire-arms, two hogsheads filled with cartridges and swords, three small cannon, and a mortar. [So confident were the Western Jacobites in the success of the conspiracy that a report, founded on their boastings, spread through


Paris on the 29th October, that Bristol had actually fallen into their hands. This curious fact came to light only in 1889, on the publication of some letters of the celebrated Duchess of Orleans.] As Sir William Wyndham was suspected of being a ringleader in the plot, he was arrested, when compromising papers were found in his pockets. He subsequently escaped, but finding it impossible to leave the country, he gave himself up, and eventually was pardoned. The alarm cost the Corporation several hundred pounds, chiefly for the entertainment of the troops. Amongst the items are £114 12s. for two entertainments to Lord Berkeley (who also was presented with a butt of sherry), £107 10s. “paid the ten captains of the ten companies of the militia, for what they paid their serjants and drumers”; £11 6s. 6d. “paid for making batteries and persons to attend them”; £20 3s. 10d. for entertaining General Wade (including 1s. 8d. for a barrel of oysters and 38s. 5d. for a Westphalian ham), and £42 8s. for “candles for Guildhall guard and main guard”. (The gates of the city for some weeks were locked nightly at 8 o'clock, and remained closed until 7 o'clock in the morning.) A copy of a popular Whig song, denouncing the disaffected faction, has been preserved in the British Museum. The following are extracts:-

See now they pull down meetings
To plunder, rob, and steal,
To raise the mob in riots,
And teach them to rebel.
At Oxford, Bath, and Bristol
The rogues designed to rise,
But George's care and vigilance
There's nothing can surprise.
Base Ormond's fled and left them,
And Perkin dare not come.
And gibbets are preparing
For those we've caught at home.

Owing to the increasing population of the out-parish of St. Philip's and of Kingswood, the “cage” maintained near Lawford's Gate by the county magistrates was found no longer adequate, and an application was made to the Common Council for a site on which to construct a “Bridewell”. The Chamber, on the 23rd September, accordingly granted in fee, at a yearly ground rent of 10s., a small plot of ground in Well Close, on which a house of correction was soon after erected.

A curious windfall benefited the poor of St. Stephen's during a remarkably inclement winter. Butter being unusually dear, some one connected with an Irish trading


vessel attempted to smuggle into Bristol four casks of butter from the sister country, where the article was worth only twopence a pound. The casks were, however, detected by the Custom House searchers, and the forbidden import was seized, half the value being handed over to the officers of the parish where it was found, for distribution amongst the poor.

In spite of the failure of the Northern insurrection, the Jacobites continued to conspire. In January, 1716, a manifesto of the Pretender was audaciously flung about the city, and the Government spies having reported that another plot for seizing Bristol was in preparation, some infantry reoccupied the city, and two troops of horse were voluntarily formed by the inhabitants. The precautions were justified, for on the morning of the 16th a wagon, ostensibly laden with goods for Bristol fair, took fire at Hounslow, when great quantities of arms and ammunition were found concealed amongst the packages. On the 10th of June, to the exasperation of the civic authorities, an enormous bonfire blazed on Brandon Hill in honour of the Pretender's birthday. About the same time a spy living in the city forwarded to the Government a list of disaffected persons into whose society he had insinuated himself. His letter is amongst the State Papers. The spy stated that he had dined with the Jacobites on several occasions at the King David's Head, at a house on the Back, at the Blue Posts in Thomas Street, at Penworth (sic), and at “the camp on the Down”, and that King James's health was always drunk, the company sometimes toasting their idol “on their bare knees”. On the 10th June, 1718, the rebel bonfire was again raised on Brandon Hill, while so many white roses were displayed by Jacobites of both sexes that the Corporation issued two placards denouncing the seditious manifestations. In the following October, doubtless in consequence of private information, a descent was made by the county authorities upon Badminton, the seat of the Duke of Beaufort, where were seized three concealed field pieces, a “pateire” (a small breech-loading cannon), two blunderbusses, 84 muskets, 12 matchlocks, eight carbines, 12 swords, a barrel of gunpowder, a barrel of musket balls, and 18 bandeliers, (cartridge cases) with shoulder belts (Berkeley Castle MSS.). No prosecution followed, the Duke being a mere child. In March, 1719, a still more serious affair came to the ears of the Government, doubtless through the treachery of some Jacobite agent. Amongst the documents relating to the subject in the State Papers is a letter


from the Commissioners of Customs, reporting that their officers had captured, at the King's Head, Holborn, two cases of arms consigned to Bristol, one of which was directed to “Mr. James Bernard, at Mr. Deane's, in Balance (Baldwin) Street”. Immediately afterwards, the magistrates of Wilts at Chippenham acquainted Secretary Stanhope that “a considerable quantity of gunpowder (an enclosed paper says 30 bales of one cwt. each) had been stopped at Calne, directed to John Darkin, of Bristol”. This formidable store had been sent off from the Holborn inn before the Customs officers made their seizure. These discoveries put an end to the conspiracy.

With reference to the volunteer movement referred to above, the Council, to mark its approval of the loyal zeal of the citizens, resolved that “two banners, two trumpets, and two standards, and two new coats for the trumpeters be provided at the city charges, and that the said trumpeters be added to the city musick, with salaries”. The banners and standards, embroidered in gold and silver, with gold “torsells”, cost £79, the trumpets £21 7s. 6d., and “four” trumpeters' coats £34 10s. Several pounds were also spent on a “pad saddle with cloth hoosing and bays embroidered with gold”, which may have been provided to display the martial capacities of the mayor. As a further mark of its loyalty, the Chamber gave an order for a portrait of the King, for which it paid 30 guineas.

It is a remarkable scientific fact that the aurora borealis was so completely unknown in England at this period that its appearance on the 6th March, 1716, excited great alarm amongst the superstitious in all parts of the island. “Mighty dismall apparitions”, says E. Tucker's MS., “appeared in the Element at about 8 o'clock at night, to the great amazement of the spectators, it being so terrible to behold; it held to 2 or 3 o'clock the next morning, and returned a few nights after, but not in so dismall a manner”.

The increasing population of the city was indicated at this time by building operations in the northern and western outskirts. St. James's Square, begun about 1707, and containing some fine examples of the genuine Queen Anne's style, was finished in 1716, and forthwith occupied by wealthy families. The space between what is now Park Row and St. Augustine's Parade, consisting chiefly of fields and gardens, began also to be converted into building sites. Especial earnestness was exhibited to appropriate the orchard of the old hospital of “the Gaunts”, adjacent to St. Mark's


Chapel, owing to the amenity of the site. The Council, in March, 1716, resolved that this ground should be offered in building plots, many of which were quickly disposed of, and Orchard Street soon became a fashionable locality, although it could be reached by carriages only through Frogmore Street. For the improvement of the estate, the Corporation, as trustees, leased some property from the dean and chapter, “to make a way from St. Augustine's Back to Frogg Lane”, which was followed later on by the conversion of Gaunt's Lane into Denmark Street. Hanover Street was built about the same time by the Combe family, on a plot of ground leased for 1,000 years by the Corporation so early as 1693, at a yearly rent of 28s. 8d,

At this period the celebration of divine worship according to the rites of the Church of Rome was forbidden by law. It was equally illegal for a Romish priest to dwell in any English city. The statute was, however, often transgressed. M. Jouvin, a Frenchman who travelled in England in the reign of Charles II., states that the Fleming with whom he lodged in Bristol had “long entertained a priest who said mass secretly in his house” for the benefit of the many foreign sailors frequenting the port, A few years later, the House of Commons received information that Henry Carew, a friar, had for several years executed the office of surveyor in the Bristol Custom House, and secretly acted as a priest About 1710, there is reason to believe, a few of the persecuted faith were accustomed to assemble for worship in the upper room of a house at Hooke's Mills, outside the civic boundaries. The authorities were nevertheless vigilant. In April, 1716, one Ward, a gunsmith, “suspected for a popish priest”, was brought up at the quarter sessions, but was liberated on offering recognisances for his good behaviour. About the same time, a list of Roman Catholics living in the city was forwarded to the Government by the town clerk. They were all workmen, and consisted of two tailors, a shipwright, a weaver, a cordwainer, a gardener, and “a stranger” (State Papers). During the rebellion in 1745 all the “professed Papists” in the kingdom were required to take the oath of allegiance. Only nineteen such persons were found in Bristol. They had, however, a small chapel on St. James's Back, where a priest named John Scudamore began to officiate about 1738. The chapel accommodated only about 80 persons, and many of the congregation are said to have been Flemings, employed in the local spelter works. The cost of a parochial feast at this period is shown by


the records of St. John's parish for April, 1716. The following are the chief items:- “3 dozen Pidgings, 10s; 2 pigs, 5s.; a loin of veal and side of lamb, 8s. 6d; a rump and middle cutt beefe, 17s.; 1 gallon Rhenish, 7s.; 2 gallons port, 12s.; 3½ gallons sherry, £1 6s. 3d.”

At the midsummer quarter sessions the constables of the wards received special instructions to suppress “all gaming houses, bileard tables, and other unlawful games”. The proscription of billiards was maintained for many years. In 1732 a man who had ventured on importing a table escaped prosecution only by promising to remove it and not offend again. The magistrates had also a strong antipathy to fencing. A peripatetic teacher of the art was sent to prison for some weeks in 1780 as a rogue and vagabond.

The Council, in 1716, appointed a committee to settle terms for the sale of two houses in Temple Street to the trustees of Alderman Stevens, “for the purpose of building an almshouse”. The minute illustrates the peculiar manner in which corporate business was transacted, for it is an unquestionable fact, as the conveyance sealed soon after bears witness, that the hospital was built before the negotiations for purchasing the site appear to have been opened. As a gross error respecting the founder of this charity appears in a local work, it may be stated that Thomas Stevens (mayor, 1668) devised estates in 1679 for the erection and maintenance of two almshouses (for twenty-four poor persons), one in St. Philip's and the other in Temple parish. The former was erected in 1686 in the Old Market. Funds having accumulated, the trustees, in 1715, ordered the construction of the other.

Clifton parish church, which in its original form accommodated a very limited number of worshippers, was enlarged in 1716 by the addition of an aisle.

The incursion of “foreigners” within the corporate boundaries for trading purposes roused the indignation of the Council in December, 1716. A number of those audacious intruders had been already brought before the justices, and fined £6 each, and the chamberlain was ordered to proceed rigorously against every “unfreeman keeping shoppe”. At a subsequent meeting he was charged with remissness, but contended in his defence that through his numerous prosecutions many of the “usurping foreigners” had left the city. Further legal proceedings probably followed, as an unusual number of persons applied for the freedom, and were admitted on paying fines varying from £100 to £30. One of the


men taxed at the latter amount was a “gingerbread-baker”.

Nearly all the houses in Queen Square having been erected, the Common Council gave directions for ornamenting the quadrangle with trees, of which no less than 240 were planted; fifty loads of fresh earth being brought from Stokes Croft to improve the soil. The improvement cost only £20.

At the quarter sessions in December, a man named Plumley, who may possibly have been one of the “usurping foreigners” just referred to, was solemnly indicted for the scandalous offence of having publicly “cursed the late mayor”. In dread of exasperating the indignation of his aldermanic judges, the culprit pleaded guilty, and escaped with a fine of “five nobles” (£1 13s. 4d.) and costs.

At the same sessions, the grand jury presented, as a great danger to the navigation of the Avon, a ship named the Delaval, which had stranded on the side of the river near Pill, and threatened to fall into the stream. Nothing being done, the wreck fell as was anticipated, and the Corporation was then forced to employ men for its removal. The cost exceeded £114, but £58 were recovered by the sale “by beat of drum” of the ship and materials to John Hobbs, a merchant whom the reader has already encountered. The owner of the Delaval could not be discovered. But fourteen years later, after the ship had made twenty-eight voyages for Mr. Hobbs, a man named Martin, claiming to be the original owner, commenced an action for the recovery of the ship and the entire profits made since her sale! In this he was of course defeated, but as he had carried on his suit in formâ pauperis Hobbs was unable to recover his costs. The Corporation, in 1731, vetoed the latter £50 towards his expenses.

In January, 1717, a great sensation was produced in the city by the return - apparently in good health - of a labourer named Christopher Lovell, who had been sent to Avignon at the expense of a number of local Jacobites, to be “touched” by “James III”. for the king's evil, a disease from which he had long suffered. The assertions of his patrons that he had been miraculously relieved were enthusiastically accepted by the ignorant and disaffected, and even some educated people expressed themselves convinced that the royal finger had effected a cure beyond the power of medical science. The man was visited, says a believer, by “infinite numbers”, who deemed their examination completely satisfactory, and the joy of the Jacobities as the marvel spread through the


kingdom was unconcealed. Unfortunately the so-called cure of Lovell was of brief duration. He was again frightfully attacked by his old malady, and those who had paid the expenses of his pilgrimage, and gloried in its results, could find no decent pretext for declining the cost of a second experiment. The poor man was again smuggled to France, but succumbed under the ravages of the disease before he could reach the Pretender. It was now the turn of the Whigs to rejoice over the chapfallen Jacobites. The incident would probably have been lost to posterity but for the credulity of a man of learning and culture, Thomas Carte, a non-juring clergyman. In his History of England, published in 1747, under the patronage of the Duke of Beaufort, the Corporation of London, and many of the leading Jacobites at Oxford, Carte, who was ignorant of the ultimate fate of Lovell, spoke of the regal unction as of infallible efficacy in healing scrofulous diseases, and narrated the cure of the Bristolian as one which he was able to attest personally, having visited Lovell at his home “in the week preceding St. Paul's fair, 1717”, and found him “without any remains of his complaint”. Intelligence, however, had made some progress in 1747, and the author's superstition, which was triumphantly exposed in the London Evening Post (by Josiah Tucker, afterwards Dean of Gloucester), was fatal to the success of an otherwise valuable work. Tucker was subsequently styled “Josiah ben Tucker ben Judas Iscariot” by the exasperated Jacobites.

The leisurely manner in which the Corporation habitually dealt with public improvements is impressively shown in the story of the Exchange. The civic minutes of the 16th January, 1717, contain the following entry:- “Several members of the House took occasion to mention many inconveniencyes, that there was not a more convenient place than the Tolzey for the assembling of Merchants, and that there had been discourse of building a place in nature of an Exchange for that purpose. Whereupon the Mayor [and several others] are appointed a committee to receive any proposall that shall be made for that purpose”. The subject was then allowed to sleep for over four years. In October, 1721, a petition of merchants and shipowners prayed the Council to take action, and the Chamber resolved to obtain an Act to authorise the necessary works, undertaking to bear half the expense of the building. The corporate petition to the House of Commons stated that the Tolzey was insufficient to accommodate those attending it, and that many persons


suffered seriously in health there, owing to being unprotected from the weather. The Act was obtained without difficulty early in 1722, and a committee was appointed to exercise its powers; but, in consequence of the persistent obstruction of “a senior gentleman” (Mist's Journal, December 25th, 1726), the vigour of the Corporation was again exhausted. As will afterwards be seen, the Tolzey remained the only rendezvous for mercantile men for more than a quarter of a century after it had been condemned by the Chamber.

The Rev. William Goldwin, whose “poetical description” of the city has been already mentioned, resigned the headmastership of the Grammar School in July, 1717, under peculiar circumstances. In the previous year, the Rev. Benjamin Howell, rector of St. Nicholas, refused to take the oath of allegiance to George I., and was consequently deprived of his living. The dean and chapter, the patrons, immediately presented a clergyman to the vacancy; but the Crown intervened, claiming the right of presentation to all the incumbencies forfeited by non-jurors. Mr. Goldwin, having been recommended to the Government by the Corporation, was soon afterwards presented to the living; whereupon Bishop Smalridge opposed the royal nomination, and excited so much ill-feeling towards Goldwin amongst High Churchmen that one-third of the boys in the Grammar School were withdrawn. (Smalridge's sympathy for High Church principles threw suspicion on his own loyalty, and he was dismissed from the office of Lord High Almoner.) After some delay, the episcopal obstruction was overcome, and Goldwin, on entering upon the preferment, relinquished his previous post. In a letter to the Council he gave an account of his mastership. “In 1710”, he wrote, “I found 47 boys. Since that time to the present I have disposed of the youth as follows, viz:- To Oxford, 12; to law, 7; to physick, 1; to the army, 1; to shop trades, 66; to merchants and the sea, 63”, which with 25 others variously distributed or dead made a total of 156. The number attending the school had nearly doubled while it was in his hands, but owing to the bishop's hostility it had fallen to 56. After his departure there was a further decline, the scholars numbering only 20 in 1722; but eighteen months later, under the Rev. A.S. Catcott, the institution was again flourishing, the youths having increased to seventy.

The Council, in August, 1717, resolved upon the purchase of the “Great Tower on the Quay”, a huge structure originally built for the defence of the western side of Bristol,


about the time of the excavation of the modern course of the Froom. The tower, which was about 100 feet in circumference, and stood on the Quay near the site of the late drawbridge, had long been an inconvenience to traffic. It was secured for £250, and was removed in 1722.

Mr. Edmund Tucker, the amusing Tory annalist, was greatly incensed about this time by the resolve of his Whig fellow citizens to celebrate the coronation-day of George I. He records the matter as follows:- “This year on the 21st 8ber (October) a poor ragged society of fellows, terming themselves the Hannoverian Society, mett and walked up to Redclift Church with the fidlers before them, where was a sermon preached before them by Mr. Arthur Bedford, in opposition to the Loyall Society's commemoration of the 2nd 9ber yearly in the late raigne. The said fellows were treated by the at a paltry alehouse on St. Austin's Back”. The blank in this angry note ought doubtless to be filled by the word Corporation. Mr. Bedford was the vicar of Temple denounced by Mr. Colston in 1710.

Readers of Lord Macaulay's History will remember his severe condemnation of Sir John Knight, M.P. for the city in 1693, who made a virulent attack on William III. in the House of Commons, and whose speech, printed by tens of thousands at the Jacobite presses, was burnt at Westminster by the hangman. (Mr. Nicholls commits the extraordinary blunder of fixing the latter event in 1744, fifty years after the actual date.) Sir John subsequently gave much offence in Bristol by extorting from the Corporation, under a threat of legal proceedings, his “wages as a Parliament man”, and, falling into poverty, he retired to Congresbury, where he had a small estate. In October, 1713, his daughter Anne set forth her “deplorable state” in a petition to the Council, and was granted £20. In December, 1717, Sir John himself made a similar appeal, asserting that he was reduced to great necessity and want by the unnatural treatment of his son, and praying for the charitable assistance of the Chamber. Little sympathy seems to have been felt for the old persecutor of Dissenters, for the sum accorded was only £20. The Merchants' Society, a few weeks previously, had granted him an annuity of £20; but Sir John died in the following February. In June, 1722, his daughter presented her “very poor and mean condition”, and her inability to support herself owing to failing sight, whereupon the Council granted her a life annuity of £12.

A beautifully engraved view of the city, drawn by au


artist named Blundel, was published in 1717. The sketch was taken from Totterdown, and shows that only five buildings, clustered against the city wall, stood outside Temple Gate. The road to Keynsham, as well as that to Bedminster from Redcliff Gate, was a mere track through unenclosed land.

On the 31st March, 1718, John Bracegirdle, a tide surveyor, appeared before the mayor to give information of a seditious sermon. The officer had attended service at St. George's church, near Pill, a few days before, when the Rev. Edward Bisse, incumbent of that parish and of Portbury, had delivered a scurrilous Jacobite tirade, denouncing William III. and George I. as usurpers, denying the validity of laws to which “the rightful king” had given no assent, and declaring that the country was doomed to misfortune until James III., whom he called “his master”, was restored. The mayor hastened to forward this information to the Government, and the latter was equally alert in ordering the arrest of the culprit. It appeared that Bisse, who had taken the oath of allegiance to George I., had repented of his submission, and had sought to appease his conscience by venting seditious opinions in various parts of the country. Five treasonable discourses were reported against him, and for these he was arraigned and convicted at the following assizes for Bucks, Wilts, and Somerset. In November he was brought up for judgment, and was ordered to be imprisoned for four years, to be exposed twice in the pillory, and to be fined £600. As he had taken the oath, he could not be deprived of his livings, which he held for several years.

The evils of mendicancy were a chronic source of trouble to the Incorporation of the Poor. In their earlier days the guardians, taking the law into their own hands, sentenced incorrigible vagrants to three years' hard labour in Bridewell. Having abandoned this course, the board, in 1718, requested the churchwardens and elected guardians to meet at 8 o'clock in the morning, seize all beggars they could lay their hands upon, and carry them before a magistrate. This practice also became obsolete, and in 1726 the court ordered its two beadles to arrest all vagrants, and “bring them to this house; and that they do not go to the Tolzey or Council House any more”. The magistrates could scarcely have been complained of for excessive lenity. In March, 1729, Mary Edwards, an incorrigible vagrant, was sentenced to three years' hard labour in Bridewell.

Mr. John Day, mayor, died suddenly from apoplexy on


the 20th June, 1718. His funeral, which was attended by nearly every person of note in the city, took place about midnight, and was the most imposing ever witnessed. The growing wealth of the mercantile class was displayed in the long procession of private coaches, a luxury which had become fashionable amongst wealthy merchants. It is recorded that upwards of fifty carriages followed the remains from Queen Square to St. Werburgh's church, and that nearly 600 persons were presented with gloves. On the 26th the Council assembled to fill the civic chair, and the minutes record the ceremonial, stating that it was dictated by the “ president” of 1607. The sheriffs having obtained from Mrs. Day the deceased's insignia of office, “the Mayor's Sword, with the Scabbard presented to him by the present Sheriffs the Sword of State, the Sunday's Sword, and the Mourning Sword, the two Charters and boxes, the Red Book of Ordinances, both parts of the Seal of the Statute Merchant, the Mayor's Pocket Seal of office, the Keys belonging to the Mayor as Clavinger or otherwise (sic) of the great Chest at the Tolzey wherein the City Seals and the Iron Caskett are kept”, were laid upon the table. Thomas Clement was then elected chief magistrate for the remainder of the civic year; whereupon, “the whole House, being all in their black Gownes, removed from St. George's Chappell into the Guildhall, where Nicholas Hickes Esq., the last Mayor living, was by the House called to the Chair”. The usual oaths were then taken. “After which all the Insignia were in the usual manner delivered to Mr. Mayor, whereupon the attending Company were ordered to withdraw. And the new Mayor with the Sword before him was attended in the same form in Black Gownes to the Tolzey, where they all separated”.

The Historical Register for 1718 records, under the 19th August, the death of Sir Edward Longueville, Bart., “killed by a fall from his horse, as he was riding a horse-race near Bristol”. This appears to be the first printed record of the annual gathering on Durdham Down. Farley's Bristol Newspaper of October 9th, 1726, announces that a velvet saddle, value £5, would be run for on the following Friday, “the best of three heats, two miles each”, after which a laced Holland smock would be run for by maidens, “on the same Down, near the Ostridge”.

Amongst the fashionable company which visited the Hot Well in the autumn of 1718 was Joseph Addison, who had just resigned a high office in the Ministry, but is now better known as the most distinguished of English essayists. The


locality may have been familiar to him in early life, for his mother was a sister of Dr. Goulston, Bishop of Bristol, and, according to Mr. Seyers's MSS., he offered during this visit to promote the interests of two youths, sons of a near relative named Addison, a merchant in the city. In a letter to Swift, dated “Bristol, Oct. 1, 1718”, Addison wrote:- “The greatest pleasure I have met with for some months is in the conversation of my old friend Dr. Smalridge” (Bishop of Bristol), “ who is to me the most candid and agreeable of all bishops. . . . We have often talked of you”. The two friends were in declining health, and both died in the following year. Owing to the inadequate income of the see, the bishop's wife and three children were left in penury, but they found a zealous patron in the Princess of Wales, afterwards Queen Caroline, who obtained a pension for the widow and preferments for the sons.

The Recorder, Sir Robert Eyre, one of the justices of the King's Bench, having scrupled to receive the small yearly salary attached to his civic office, the Council, in November, 1718, forwarded one hundred guineas to Sir William Daines, M.P., to “make a present” to Lady Eyre. The gift was renewed three years later, when Sir William was repaid 10s. 6d. for a purse he had purchased “to make the city's present more acceptable to ye lady”.

The existence of a local cotton manufactory seems attested by a corporate minute of December, 1718, noting the admission to the freedom of a “calico printer”. Another man admitted the same day is styled a “translator”, which Lord Macaulay, in replying to a local inquirer, supposed to mean a foreign interpreter, but who was really a cobbler who converted old boots into shoes. Amongst other trades recorded in the freemen's admission-book about this time are found whisk-binders, stuff makers, lace weavers, wool combers, drugget weavers, bellows makers, steel-mill makers, needle makers, clog makers, framework knitters, scribes, a fan maker, corn badgers (travelling dealers), velvet weavers, and a vice maker. The last named, in consequence of the utility of his trade, was charged only 40s. on becoming a burgess. In 1722 Mr. John Jones was admitted to the freedom gratis, on account of his skill as a teacher of writing, and his ability as an author of treatises on arithmetic and book-keeping.

The bitterness of party feeling at this period is indicated by the minute books of the poor law guardians. When the board was first formed, the Council granted it the use, rent


free, of Whitehall, for the purpose of employing children in spinning. This industry, proving unprofitable, was given up, but in February, 1719, when the Corporation demanded re-possession of the building, the guardians impudently required the Council to prove its right to the property. The Chamber, again, had paid the expense of obtaining two Acts of Parliament for the board, and had lent it large sums of money free from interest. At this date upwards of £2,100 were due on these loans, most of which had been outstanding for over ten years. But when the Council requested two years' interest on the Shirehampton mortgage, according to the bargain made in 1710, the guardians, or at least the Tory majority, flatly repudiated the liability. Legal measures were taken for the recovery of Whitehall, and the guardians sulkily came to terms respecting the loans. In 1723, when a mortgage of £600 on St. Peter's Hospital was paid off, the civic body generously remitted the heavy arrears of interest.

A letter dated the 6th April, 1719, illustrative of the system of political patronage in the Georgian era, is amongst the Treasury Papers. Sir William Daines, addressing the board, asserts that he had represented Bristol in Parliament for about twenty years, at a cost of above £10,000. As a trifling compensation, he prays that his sister's son, Thomas Cary, may be appointed a landing-waiter in the Custom House. The application was ordered to be acceded to “upon a vacancy”.

In 1719 the woollen manufacturers of the kingdom, dissatisfied with the restrictions already placed on lighter textile materials, raised a strong agitation against the use of printed calicoes and linen, the popularity of which, they asserted, threatened them with ruin. In December the weavers of Bristol petitioned Parliament for relief on “ behalf of many thousands” locally employed in woollen manufactures, alleging that most of them were destitute owing to the growing taste for lighter fabrics. Similar appeals were made by the Corporation, the merchants of the city, the weavers of Bedminster, Barton Regis, Keynsham, and Chew Magna. Being in consonance with the ideas of the age, the cry of the clothiers met with sympathy in the House of Commons, and a Bill to prohibit the obnoxious foreign imports was passed, in despite of the protests of the linen interest. The measure was rejected by the Lords, but in 1720 the peers also yielded to the pressure, and an identical scheme became law. It enacted that, after a delay of


two years, any person wearing a garment of printed calico, foreign linen, or coloured linen mixed with cotton, should be liable to a fine of £5. The use of coloured calico or mixed goods for bed curtains rendered the offender liable to a fine of £20. An attempt to exempt home-made calico of which the raw material was grown in our colonies was defeated, but by special favour the Act exempted such calicoes as were dyed “all blue”. The Bristol weavers attempted to put this statute into operation by means of brute force. On the 8th July an exciseman and his wife, whilst walking through the city, were set upon by a party of weavers, who tore the woman's calico gown off her person. As they were continuing to insult her, the husband stabbed one of the ruffians, who died soon afterwards. A gentleman's daughter was treated with similar indignity, and was left nearly naked in the streets (London Journal, July 16th, 1720). There is good reason to believe that the above legislation prevented Bristol from becoming the chief seat of English cotton factories, for which the city then possessed unrivalled advantages. The cotton produced in the West Indies was mainly brought here. It was not until 1758 that any Jamaica cotton was imported into Liverpool. To appease the discontent of the local makers of needle-worked buttons, another Act was passed in 1720, imposing a penalty of 40s. a dozen on any person wearing clothes of which the buttons were made of cloth!

The Company of Weavers and Dyers petitioned the Corporation in December, 1719, representing “the serious inconvenience to their woollen manufacture by the foulness of the water at the Horse poole, near the Wear Bridge, by the frequent washing of horses there - the only place the petitioners have to wash their goods”. In spite of the latter remarkable statement, the Chamber seems to have taken no action.

Owing to a great inundation of the Froom on the 17th and 18th May, 1720, Earl's Mead was several feet under water, which “rose as high as the wall at the Ducking Stool”. Broadmead and Merchant Street were flooded for some hours.

At a meeting of the Council in August, 1720, it was resolved that Bridewell, a mean and inconvenient edifice, should be demolished and rebuilt. The new prison, which was no great improvement upon its predecessor, was finished in the following year, at a cost of about £1,040. It was destroyed in the riots of 1831. The condition of the


prisoners in Newgate came also before the Chamber, “a raging distemper” having caused many deaths. Nothing was done to improve the sanitary state of the gaol, but Dr. Chauncey, who had voluntarily attended several of the victims, was presented with a piece of plate, which cost £21, and an apothecary received £26 for supplying drugs.

For many previous generations it had been the custom of the Corporation to attend divine service at the Cathedral, except on stated festivals when visits were paid to certain parish churches. No inconvenience had therefore resulted from the grant of St. Mark's Chapel to the Huguenot refugees in the reign of James II. The growing wealth and love of display of the Corporation, however, brought about new arrangements. In September, 1720, the Chamber gave orders that “the Gaunts Chapel” should be repaired and beautified. For some reason this resolution led to no immediate action. But in October, 1721, the mayor, addressing the Council, “mentioned the affront the city had lately received from the dean and chapter, and recommended the repairing, new pewing, beautifying, and adorning” of St. Mark's, with a view to its constant use as a civic place of worship. Fresh orders were thereupon given and rapidly carried out. Happily for the fabric, the beautifying and adorning involved less destruction than was then common. The worst deformity was an ugly gallery, erected against the great west window. In April, 1722, when the alterations were nearly finished, the mayor suggested to the Chamber that if the four bells in the tower were recast and the number increased to six, “it would be for the grandeur of the city”, and his hint was at once adopted. The renovated building, henceforth called the Mayor's Chapel, was probably opened for service in the following September, when the Council empowered the mayor for the time being to appoint a clergyman to preach on such Sundays as his worship should think proper; the chamberlain receiving instructions to pay 10s. for each sermon. (This fee was raised to 20s. in 1726, and to 21s. in 1738, the latter advance being made because 20s. was “not so genteel a satisfaction as a guinea”.) The Rev. A.S. Catcott read prayers, for which he received 5s. a week until 1729, when his salary was fixed at £20 per annum. A deplorable act of vandalism was ordered in February, 1725. The mayor having alleged that the “altar piece” of the chapel needed “beautifying”, the Chamber permitted him to display his taste, and the result was the mutilation of the ancient reredos in order to


introduce a huge oaken screen carved in the Dutch Corinthian style. The “adornment” seems to have been finished in 1729, when a marble “altar piece”, costing £80, was added. The total cost of the alterations was about £650, exclusive of £190 for bells.

The great South Sea “bubble” burst in 1720, scattering desolation and ruin throughout the kingdom. Amongst the victims was Dr. Boulter, Bishop of Bristol, who in a letter to a member of the Government, dated October 11th, writes, “In the general ruin I have lost the little imaginary wealth I took myself to be master of” (State Papers). Many prosperous Bristolians were reduced to bankruptcy, amongst them the mayor, Abraham Elton, jun., who “submitted to the fate, and withdrew into France as soon as out of office” (Tucker's MS.).

Some documents in the State Paper Office under the year 1721 bring to light the existence of a trade carried on by Bristol merchants of which no inkling can be obtained from ordinary sources of information. The vessels which left the Avon to transport slaves to the West Indies were all ostensibly bound to the west coast of Africa. As a matter of fact, many of them secretly proceeded to Madagascar, then a great resort of smugglers trafficking with India, where slaves could be obtained at much cheaper rates than prevailed in the Gulf of Guinea. The clandestine traffic was by some means discovered by George Benyon, a landing-waiter in the Custom House at Bristol, who acquainted the East India Company of the infringement of its monopoly in the Indian Ocean; and the company, in great wrath, appealed to the Government. Compassion for the unfortunate beings torn from their families and country had of course nothing to do with the company's indignation. What aroused its ire was the conveyance of arms and stores to Madagascar, whence they were brought into competition, by so called “pirates”, with the goods forwarded from London direct to India. The Government responded to the company's demand for the protection of its privileges by issuing an Order in Council on the 2nd October, 1721, forbidding any interference by private merchants in the trade with Madagascar, and probably measures were taken at the Custom Houses for checking clandestine adventures. Amongst the Treasury Papers for 1725 is a memorial from the East India Company praying that Benyon might be promoted, and also protected from the resentment of the merchants whose profits had been curtailed. The first avowal of the


illicit traffic was made about thirty years later by William Beckford, one of the slave kings of Jamaica, whose brother Richard was shortly afterwards elected one of the members of Parliament for Bristol. Speaking in the House of Commons in 1762, Beckford said, “Many gentlemen here know that formerly the sugar colonies were supplied with negroes from Madagascar, a vast island abounding with slaves, from whence the colonies drew large quantities till the East India Company interfered and prevented private traders from carrying on a commerce which they despised”.

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

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