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


John Oliffe, vintner, a former member of the Corporation, petitioned the Council in August, 1721, to grant him some relief, having been “reduced by losses to great necessity”. An annuity of £20 was granted, £5 being paid in advance owing to the extreme distress of the applicant. Oliffe was probably a descendant of Ralph Oliffe, a mayor who gained an infamous notoriety for harrying Dissenters in Charles the Second's reign. (The granting of money to impoverished aldermen or councillors was a common practice of English corporations. In 1712 one Alderman Hoar, of Hull, being greatly embarrassed, the Common Council “supplied him with money for the payment of his creditors ”(Tickell's History of Hull, p.597).

Another death of a mayor (Henry Watts) occurred on the 19th September, and owing to peculiar circumstances caused much embarrassment. A commission of gaol delivery had issued, and the assize was fixed for the 20th September; but the proceedings would be informal unless “the mayor” were present. A new mayor had been elected on the 15th, but by the charter of Queen Anne the next chief magistrate could not enter upon his functions until Michaelmas Day. The Council was therefore hurriedly summoned to meet on the 20th, when Sir Abraham Elton was elected to fill the chair for the intervening nine days. The ceremonies attending the transfer of the regalia (see p. 122) were again scrupulously performed.

Reference has been already made to the civic sport of duck-hunting, which was for many generations an incident of the annual perambulation of the city boundaries. About 1710 the chief members of the Corporation seem to have thought a regular attendance at this function beneath their dignity, and when the mayor was not present the duck-hunt was omitted. After a purchase of ducks in 1721, the item does not occur again until 1738. Six birds were usually sacrificed, but in 1742, the latest hunt recorded, nineteen


unfortunate ducks were purchased for the amusement of the worshipful spectators.

The salaries of the two civic coroners had been fixed at the paltry sum of £6 13s. 4d. each many years before this date. As a natural result, the duties had been often unsatisfactorily performed, and in 1716, when both coronerships were vacant, the Council minutes state that the office had “become contemptible”. More efficient persons were secured, but the new functionaries soon became discontented with their stipends, and in October, 1721, they prayed for an advance, owing to the “great enlargement of the city”. The Council thought they would be fairly remunerated if the payment were raised to £10. One of the coroners died about six months afterwards, when the candidates who offered themselves for the vacancy consisted of two “ marriners”, a brewer, a linen draper, and a “gentleman”, the last of whom was elected. So late as 1766, one of the coroners held the mean office of keeper of the city scales, at St. Peter's Pump.

Edward Colston, whose munificent gifts for educational purposes have been already recorded, died at his residence, Mortlake, near London, on the 11th October, 1721, in his 86th year. In pursuance of his instructions, his remains were removed to Bristol for interment in the ancestral vault at All Saints' Church. The funeral procession, which was a week or ten days upon the road, consisted of a hearse with six horses, covered with plumes and velvet, and attended by eight horsemen in black cloaks, bearing banners; and three mourning coaches with six horses to each. At the resting places on the way, a room was hung with black, garnished with silver shields and escutcheons, while upwards of fifty wax candles in silver candlesticks and sconces were placed around the coffin, covered with a silver-edged velvet pall. The gloomy cavalcade reached Lawford's Gate on the night of the 27th October, where it was met by the boys of deceased's schools in St. Augustine's and Temple, the almspeople in the hospital on St. Michael's Hill, and the old sailors maintained at Colston's charge in the Merchants' Almshouse. (The thirty old people received new clothes for the occasion.) The procession, accompanied by torches, with the schoolboys singing psalms, made its way to the church amidst continuous torrents of rain, and the interment took place about midnight, in the presence of as many persons as could crush into the building. The bells of the various parish churches tolled for sixteen hours on the day appointed for the funeral.


A portrait of Mr. Colston, engraved by Virtue, was published in London in 1722.

The precept to set a thief to catch a thief was literally adopted at this period by the local authorities. The London Daily Journal of November 2nd, 1721, says:- “They write from Bath and Bristol that their roads are much infested with robbers, and that application having been made to Jonathan Wild, that gentleman (!) has resolved to take a tour towards those cities as soon as his equipages can be got ready”. It will be seen presently that the following assizes at Gloucester brought several robbers to the scaffold.

The first notice of the existence of hackney coaches in the city occurs in the minutes of the Court of Quarter Sessions for January, 1722, when a hackney coachman was charged with assaulting Alderman Mountjoy. The carriages did not stand in the streets, but were kept in the yards of some of the principal inns. Glass being expensive, the windows of London hackney coaches were filled with tin plates “pricked like a cullender”, and it is unlikely that, the Bristol vehicles were better supplied. In December, 1741, the Common Council directed the chamberlain to provide great coats and laced hats for three hackney coachmen, “to attend this Corporation on publick days or occasions”. In 1749 the Chamber obtained Parliamentary authority to regulate hackney coaches. With characteristic supineness, the Council allowed more than a quarter of a century to pass away before putting its powers into execution. Ignorant of these facts, some local histories assert that hackney coaches were not established here until 1784.

Four local malefactors - three convicted of robberies in St. Philip's out-parish and one of a similar crime near Redland - were executed at Gloucester on the 21st March, 1722. Previous to their trials these men, with other desperate felons, having resolved to murder the turnkey of the prison and escape, requested a confederate outside to bring to the gaol a large pie, as if from some charitable persons in the city, within which he was to conceal pocket pistols, ammunition, chisels, etc. The conspiracy was, however, exposed by one of the prisoners.

The first septennial Parliament expired in the spring of 1722, and the election of members for Bristol opened on the 28th March. Sir William Daines retired, owing to failing health, but Mr. Joseph Earle solicited re-election, and Sir Abraham Elton came forward on similar principles. The Tory candidate was Mr. William Hart, who scarcely


attempted to conceal his Jacobite sympathies. At the close of the poll, on the 3rd April, the numbers were: Mr. Earle, 2,141; Sir Abraham Elton, 1,869; Mr. Hart, 1,743. This was the first occasion on which a “poll-book” was published, showing the votes given by each burgess. This exceedingly rare pamphlet was printed by “Joseph Penn, bookseller, in Wine Street”. There were only 22 electors living in the parish of Clifton, all of whom were artisans except John Baskerville, gentleman, Thomas Garland, mercer, Thomas Hungerford, draper, Edward Jones, merchant, Charles Jones jun., merchant, and John Williams, grocer. Mr. Hart petitioned against the return, alleging that he had more legal votes than Sir A. Elton, who, being an alderman, deterred many from voting by using violent threats, bribed others, and brought up many to poll who had no right to the franchise. The petitioner apparently produced no evidence, and his claim fell to the ground. Sir William Daines died in the autumn of 1724, and a London news letter of September 19th mentions a report that the prosperous Bristolian had left his son-in-law. Lord Barrington, £60,000 - an enormous sum in those days. But unless the statement refers to landed estates settled on the viscount's marriage, it is incorrect. By his will Sir William bequeathed £10,000 each to the families of his two daughters.

The extreme narrowness of the streets occasioned frequent minutes in the municipal records. On the 1st May, 1722, an agreement was made with Abraham Harris, “search maker” who was about to rebuild his house in Nicholas Street, whereby he agreed to set back the premises, so that the street in front might be 14 feet 8½ inches, and at the corner facing the church 13 feet 3 inches, in width. The breadth previous to this improvement is unfortunately not recorded. Thirty years later is a corporate minute referring to the width of the other end of the same street; the Council ordering, in May, 1754, that when a lease should be granted of a house at the corner of Corn Street, the entrance into Nicholas Street should be made not less than 16 feet in width.

Amongst the strangest engines of punishment devised by our ancestors was the trebuchet or ducking stool, an instrument which, with its companion the pillory, was required by law to be maintained in hundreds of manors in England. The ducking stool was originally devised for the castigation of brewers and bakers who used false weights and measures, or sold an adulterated article, and also for punishing common scolds, convicted by a jury of being public nuisances. In


course of time, roguish traders contrived to escape by paying fines, but the stool was still maintained for the correction of vixenish females. The Bristol instrument was probably somewhat similar to that still preserved at Warwick. A strong wooden chair was fastened upon the end of a long beam, which worked like a see-saw on a post fixed at the edge of a pool in the Froom, near Castle Ditch. A scold was strapped into the chair, which was then whirled over the river, and on the shaft being tilted up the culprit was plunged into the stream. Three duckings were administered to each culprit. When the Stewarts came to “their own again” in 1660, the Corporation ordered a new ducking stool - which cost £2 12s. 6d. - to do honour to the event, and a few years later there is a record of four women being ducked within a twelvemonth. In 1692 the engine was renewed and “coloured”, at an outlay of 30s. Unfortunately many of the sessions books about that period have been lost, and the fate of contemporary scolds is unknown. In 1716 an indictment was found against one Susannah Morgan as a common scold, and she was committed for trial, but the volume recording her fate has disappeared. In August, 1722, Maria Lamb was convicted before the mayor, Sir William Daines, Sir Abraham Elton, and other aldermen, who ordered “that she be ducked to-morrow at twelve of the clock in the common Ducking Stool, and remain in custody till the same be done”. No details as to her ducking have been preserved, every copy of the local newspaper of the week having perished. In March, 1723, one Susannah Tyler was found guilty of the same offence, but judgment was respited until the next court, and the culprit liberated on bail. Susannah was no sooner free than she fled from the city, and her sureties were ordered to be prosecuted. Eventually the scold surrendered, and then all trace of her case mysteriously disappears. In 1730, and again in 1731, a woman was brought up and solemnly tried for objurgating propensities, but in both cases the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. Although these appear to be the last local instances of judicial proceedings, the authorities continued to keep the instrument of punishment in good order. So late as September, 1754, Daniel Millard, carpenter, was paid £9 8s. “for making the Ducking Stool”. At that time the Westminster ducking stool stood in the Green Park; and Blackstone's Commentaries, published in 1766, contain nothing to indicate that the engine was then regarded as obsolete. Mr. Bellamy, clerk of assize on the Oxford Circuit, who attended the


assizes at Gloucester for sixty years, and who died in 1846, told a friend (Wiltshire Magazine, i.74) that the remains of ducking stools were to be seen at the sides of many village ponds when he first practised on the circuit. (The story recorded in Evans's Chronological History, under 1718, is apocryphal.)

An extreme dearth of copper coin existed at this date in Ireland, where employers were often obliged to pay their workmen with card tokens, or in counterfeit halfpence worth less than half a farthing. The Scotch, at the Union, had insisted on the maintenance of a mint at Edinburgh, but no similar institution existed in Ireland, and such issues of coin as had taken place there were made by private persons, to whom patents were granted rather for their private profit than the public good. Following these precedents, the urgent needs of the Irish were in 1722 made the basis of a job. The privilege of supplying a new coinage was granted to the Duchess of Kendal, one of the King's mistresses, who sold the patent to William Wood, an iron and copper manufacturer at Wolverhampton. A Treasury warrant of the 31st August authorised Wood to establish “his office” at or near Bristol. By the terms of the grant, a pound of copper, worth 13d., was to be coined into halfpence and farthings of the nominal value of 2s. 6d. The English coinage value of a pound of copper was 1s. 11d. To make the profits still greater, the patentee was allowed to coin to the value of £100,000, though the highest Irish estimate of the amount required was only £16,000. The nominal value of the coins minted by Wood in Bristol was £13,480, exclusive of £1,086 in farthings. But meanwhile the action of the Government had been denounced by Swift with characteristic unscrupulousness, and his “Drapier's Letters” lashed Ireland into fury. It was in vain that Sir Isaac Newton, after sending down a competent person to Bristol to assay the halfpence, demonstrated that the new coinage was greatly superior to any previously circulated in the island. It was equally in vain that the total amount allowed to be coined was reduced to £40,000. The Government were forced to withdraw the patent, and had to compensate Wood for his lost profits by a grant of £3,000 per annum for eight years. Wood had another patent for coining “ halfpence, pence, and twopences for all his Majesty's dominions in America”, and the London Post, of January 18th, 1723, stated that he was about to mint those pieces at Bristol. They were actually coined, however, in London.


At a meeting of the Council in June, 1722, a committee strongly condemned the training received by the girls in the Red Maids' School, the mistresses of which were declared to be incapable to fulfil the duties confided to them. The only work on which the children were employed was the “mean and unserviceable” task of spinning wool, which unfitted them to become good domestic servants. The report recommended that the mistresses should be discharged, and, as the existing allowance to them (of £4 per girl per annum) would not suffice to procure others of better capacity, that the yearly grant for each scholar (for food, clothing, and education) should be raised to £7; the new mistresses to have the profit of the children's work, as before. In a second report, three months later, it was suggested that the forty girls should thenceforth dwell in one house under a single head mistress, and be furnished with new clothing every two years. The committee's recommendations were adopted, but the extent of the improvement effected was insignificant. Down to the end of the century, the instruction of the girls was confined to reading, and some of the mistresses could scarcely scrawl their own names.

A desire for increased pomp and display frequently crops out in the corporate records. At the meeting in June, 1722, mentioned in the last paragraph, “Mr. Mayor represented that the maces born by the sergeants to him and the sherrives were much less and meaner than what were made use of in lesser corporations, and moved that hee thought twould be for the honour of the city to have them made larger and of a better fashion”. This suggestion was approved, and eight elegant silver maces, weighing 216 oz., were purchased in August, at a cost of £91 8s. 5d.

Two new charities were founded about this date. Abraham Hooke, merchant, and other wealthy members of Lewin's Mead meeting, erected in 1722 a school house in Stoke's Croft, to which was attached an almshouse for twelve poor women. The buildings and school endowment involved an outlay of £4,200. “Mrs.” Elizabeth Blanchard, an unmarried lady, who died in 1722, established an almshouse in her dwelling house in Milk Street for five poor spinsters. Baptists, “whose labour is done”; ordering in her will that her clock and furniture should be left in the house for the benefit of the inmates.

The first “umbrello” mentioned in our local records was purchased by the city treasurer in August, 1722, for £1 5s. His cash book states that it was “for the Guildhall”,


that is, for the protection of the judges and magistrates on wet days when they quitted and returned to their carriages - the only purpose for which umbrellas were then used in England. A fashionable youth, who about this date borrowed the umbrella of a London coffee house during a shower, found himself advertised in the newspapers, and made “welcome to the maid's pattens”.

The Corporation, in September, 1722, subscribed £60 towards a movement to obtain Parliamentary relief for the local tobacco trade, alleged to be in a state of “great decay”. The true motive of the agitation was far from creditable. Glasgow, hitherto despised by Bristol and Liverpool, had opened a considerable import trade with the American colonies, especially in tobacco, and offered that article in the English market at a great reduction in price. The undersold dealers, greatly irritated, raised a cry that the Scotch traders were evading the Customs duties, and clamorous demands were made to Parliament to suppress the alleged frauds. Owing to the influence of the English mercantile interest, the Government raised a number of vexatious actions against Scotch importers, and though in every case the charges of fraud proved to be groundless, the persecution reduced the northern tobacco trade to insignificance for many years, to the great joy and profit of southern competitors. A letter written by Mr. Isaac Hobhouse, an eminent Bristol merchant, admitting that the charges against the Glasgow firms were untruthful, is amongst the Newcastle MSS. in the British Museum.

The inscription placed in 1872 under the statue of Neptune, in Temple Street, asserting that the figure was set up in the reign of Elizabeth to commemorate the defeat of the Spanish Armada, is a remarkable illustration of the rapid development of local legends. The fiction is not mentioned by Mr. Barrett, or by any of the earlier historians of the city, and in Mr. Seyer's MSS. the erection of the figure is recorded to have taken place in 1723. John Evans, however, gave credit to the Armada story in his Chronological History, and that book being the vade mecum of many dabblers in archaeology, the fable is now recorded on granite for the edification of posterity. The true facts respecting the figure were known to Mr. Tyson, whose notes are preserved in the Jefferies MSS. From these it appears that in 1723 the old reservoir of Temple Conduit was taken down, and a new one constructed, chiefly of the old materials. Mr. Tyson adds that the statue of Neptune, cast by a person


named Randall, made its first appearance on the renovated structure. Two dates were upon the “front stone” of the reservoir when Tyson's note was written - 1586 and 1723 - the first denoting when the old conduit was erected, and the second when it was rebuilt. 1586 was two years anterior to the Armada, but legend makers do not stick at trifles, and the figures served to lay the basis of a now popular figment. The statement that one Randall produced the figure is confirmed by a paragraph to the same effect in Sarah Farley's Bristol Journal for December 22nd, 1787, when the Armada myth was clearly unborn. The name of “Joseph Rendall, founder”, appears in the Bristol Poll-book for 1734, It is not improbable that he turned out other similar works. Amongst a list of miscellaneous articles advertised for sale in Thomas Street in July, 1752, was “a large lead statue known by the name of the Gladiator, or Roman Prize Fighter”. The earliest printed mention of Neptune occurs in Farley's Bristol Newspaper for January 27th, 1728, a dealer in looking glasses announcing that at the approaching fair his goods would be exposed for sale “at the Barber's Pole and Sign of the Looking Glass, a little below the Neptune in Temple Street”.

The records of the local gaol deliveries previous to 1742 having been lost, while the files of newspapers are imperfect, it is impossible to state with accuracy the number of executions that took place in the early years of the century. At the Assizes of 1723, five men are known to have been sentenced to death, for Mr. Stewart, in his MS. annals, states that he witnessed their execution on St. Michael's Hill, and he expresses no surprise at the number of the victims. This was the first occasion, he says, on which convicts were carried from Newgate in a cart, they having previously been forced to walk to the scaffold. One of the five sufferers, convicted of coining, then styled petty treason, was dragged on a sledge, in pursuance of his sentence. In Mr. Pryce's list of local executions - the only one published by a Bristol historian - only five deaths are recorded previous to 1751. The following mournful catalogue, unquestionably incomplete as it is, gives a more adequate idea of the sanguinary jurisprudence of the age, the convicts numbering no less than seventy-seven. The cases in which the crime of the malefactor is unknown have been kindly furnished by Mr. William George, who obtained them from the burial registers of St. Michael's parish. Felons interred in that churchyard were persons destitute of friends, and


the fact that the five sufferers in 1723 were buried elsewhere shows that the register affords little evidence as to the total number of executions. Crimes committed in Clifton, Cotham, Redland, and the out-parishes of St. James and St. Philip were then dealt with at Gloucester, while Bedminster and Knowle prisoners were tried in Somerset, but there is no reason for excluding such cases from the following list:-

1705.September 12, John Roberts.
1711.Aug. 17, William Holland.
1713.Sept. , John Shrimpton - murder.
1714.April, Capt. Maccartny (gibbeted on the Down) - murder.
1714.September 8, Daniel Roberts.
 "    Ann Pugh.
1716.Aug. 29, Henry Pearson.
 "    Roger Wall.
1718.Oct. 8, Elizabeth Cowley.
1720.April, Two men - robbing the mail.
 Sept. 5, A blacksmith - murder of a girl.
1721.October, A sailor- rape.
1722.Mar. 21 (at Gloucester) Geo. Harver- burglaries, St. Philip's.
 "    "    John Bampton - do.
 "    "    John Smith - do.
 "    "    Richard Bayton - burglary in Westbury par.
 July 29 "    Isaac Linnet - housebreaking, Clifton.
1723.(no date). Five men - one for coining.
1724.Sept. 10, Constant Smith.
 "    James Williams.
 "    John Phillips - robbery.
 "    Richard Roberts - robbery.
1725.Sept. 8, William Morgan - robbery.
 "    Mary Tedman - robbery.
1728.June 15, Thomas Bell, soldier (shot on Downs)- desertion.
1729.Sept. 12, George Bennett - housebreaking.
 "    William Taylor - murder.
1790.July 23, George Bidgood, weaver - rioting.
 (no date, at Glouc). Another weaver - rioting, St. Philip's.
1731.Mar. 22 (at Glouc.) Wm. Crown - robberies on the Downs.
 Sept. 24, Thomas Sleep - horsestealing.
1733.Sept. 21, William Bussell - unrecorded.
 "    James Jones - unrecorded.
1734.Sept. 16, Thomas Kitchenman - murder.
 "    Martha Morgan - child murder.
1737.Aug. 26 (Glouc), John Willis - burglary, St. Philip's.
 "    "    John Gibbs - burglary, suburbs.
 Sept. 3, John Vernon - burglary.
 "    Joshua Harding - shoplifting.
1738.April 14, Thomas Boone - rioting?
 September, John Hobbs - coining.
1739.May 4, John Kimberley - murder.
 "    John Philips - robbery.
1740.April 1, A soldier (shot) - desertion.
 April 14 (Glouc), Benj. Fletcher ++ robberies on Durdham Down.
 "    "   Wm. Lewis
 Sept. 4 (Bedminster), J. Millard (gibbeted) ++++ robberies in Bedminster, &c.
 "    (Brislington), Com. York (gibbeted)
 "    (Ilchester), Wm. Derrick
 "    "    - Masters


1740.Sept. 19, William Roe - shoplifting.
1741.April 17, Samuel Goodere +++ murder of Sir John Dineley.
 "    Charles White
 "    M. Mahony (gibbeted)
 "    Jane Williams - child murder.
1742.April 8, Wm. Curtis - returning from transportation.
1743.May 13, Sarah Barret, alias Dodd - theft.
 June 6, John Woods - forgery.
 July 11, John Partington (shot)- desertion.
1744.March 22 (on Downs), Andrew Burnett (gibbeted) ++ murder near Downs
 "    "    Henry Payne (gibbeted)
1746.April, John Barry - forgery.
 Sept., Matthew Daly - murder.
1747.August 17 (Glouc), Robert Hine ++ robberies in suburbs.
 "    Samuel Baxter
1748.April 22, Wm. Nicholas, a boy (gibbeted) - poisoning his mistress.
 "    Eleanor Connor - stealing from person.
 Sept. 21 (Ilchester), J. Mundoso - murder, Knowle.
1749.Aug. 25, Jeremiah Hayes - murder.
 "    Joseph Abseny (gibbeted) - murder.
1750.April 19 (Somerset), J. Perryman ++ destroying a house, Bedminster.
 "    Thos. Roach

The Gloucester Journal for March 4th, 1723, contains the following account of a custom which has hitherto escaped notice:- “We have advices from Bristol that on the 27th past, being Ash Wednesday, [really on Shrove Tuesday], the blacksmiths of the city assembled in a body in St. Thomas Street, in order to engage their annual combatants, the coopers, carpenters, and sailors there; which last bore so hard upon the weather quarter of the smiths' anvils (notwithstanding the furious discharge of their wooden thunderbolts) that they drove every Vulcan into his fiery mansion. The noise of this defeat alarmed the whole posse of weavers, who joined the smiths, and made a general attack on the wrong wing of their enemies, for they then totally routed them, sending 'em home in the utmost disorder to show their wives, &c., a parcel of broken loggerheads. However, we understand the smiths and weavers are resolved to form another campaign next year, and try their success at arms on the same day therein”. The custom was not extinct in 1757, when Felix Farley's Journal of the 26th February says:- “Tuesday last, being Shrove Tuesday, the apprentices of coopers and ship-carpenters, with their respective colours and ensigns, made the usual procession through the streets. In the evening, happening to meet on the Quay, and contending for the upper hand, a fight ensued, in which several were wounded, and one of the carpenters had the misfortune to have his skull fractured”. At a later period the procession was postponed to Whit Monday, Sarah Farley's Journal recording its occurrence in May, 1780.


The Whit Monday “revel” held at Bedminster was at that time very popular.

Jacobitism continued to give anxiety to the Government. In the State Papers is the following letter to Sir Robert Walpole, dated Bristol, June 26th, 1723, from “a lover of his Majesty”, one John Eblass:- “There is a very dangerous person at Bristol, carrying on a design for to secure the Prince and young Princess, and so raise a rebellion while his Majesty's abroad. If you send a messenger ye minute you receive this, ye may have several letters on him to several people who are not yet come to Bristol and Bath, where they meet on pretence of drinking the waters. His name is Peter Hammond”, (lodging at a sugar baker's, near St. Philip's Church). The man was arrested, but no information of importance was obtained. On the 26th August the Gloucester Journal recorded that a Bristol Jacobite, Peter Cumberbatch, had just got his head broken by the dragoons encamped at Maisemore for having, with some fellow fanatics, raised a disturbance, crying “Down with the camp; down with the Roundheads; the King shall enjoy his own again”.

The popularity of the Hot Well at this period is proved by a scarce book of poems, entitled “Characters at the Hot Well, Bristol, in September, 1723”, published in London the same year. Amongst the personages mentioned by the writer are the famous Duchess of Marlborough, the Duchess of Kent, Lady Diana Spencer, Lady A. Grey, “Ld. R____y (late Sir R.M.)”, and “Sir D____y B____y”. [The two last named personages were Lord Romney and Sir D. Bulkeley.] Unfortunately, the writer throws no light on the amusements of the visitors, for whose convenience a “Publick Room” had been opened in the previous year (Weekly Journal, August 4th, 1722). Edward Strother, M.D., forwarded, in 1723, a paper to the President of the Royal Society, describing his experiments for ascertaining the constituents of the Hot Well water. The result of his researches, he said, showed that the spring was “Æqueo-salino-alcalino-cretaceo-aluminoso-cupreo-vitriolick” - which merely proves that the doctor was a skilful practitioner in the art of using scientific jargon to conceal profound ignorance. So far as concerned Clifton “on the hill”, the only important advance made since 1700 was the erection of a mansion by Thomas Goldney, a Quaker grocer in Castle Street, and one of the lucky owners of the Duke and Duchess privateers. (Following a taste made fashionable by Pope, Mr. Goldney constructed in his grounds an extensive grotto, the walls of


which were elaborately ornamented with Bristol diamonds, shells, and other curiosities. John Wesley, who visited this sparkling retreat, notes with a groan that Mr. Goldney spent twenty years and large sums of money in amassing its decorations. The grotto, which still exists, was an object of great attraction to visitors at the Hot Well.) Mr. Goldwin, the “poetical delineator” of Bristol, is reported to have said that in his time there was just sufficient society in Clifton to establish a whist table (Seyer's MSS). That the farmers who held parochial offices were determined enemies of “sport” will be seen from the following extracts (slightly curtailed) from the churchwarden's accounts:-

1723-For 2 foxes, 8 hedgehogs, and a polecat50
1726-For a fox10
1730-For 7 hedgehogs13
1731-For a polecat and 2 hedgehogs010
1731-For 2 foxes, 18 hedgehogs, and a kyte66
1731-For 2    "    and 10    "54
1733-For 35 hedgehogs in the year118
1734-For 34    "    "124
1735-For 6 foxes and 15 hedgehogs120

Similar items occur in the accounts for many subsequent years. (What seems still more strange in our day, premiums for killing vermin were also yearly paid by the churchwardens of St. Philip's, who disbursed 4s. 10d. for the destruction of 28 hedgehogs and 4 polecats in 1723). The local instruments for maintaining law and order were kept in a state of efficiency. In 1730 the stocks and whipping post were repaired at a cost of £1 4s. 4d.; and they were renewed four years later, when £2 1s. 10d. was expended upon them.

Reference has been already made to the popularity of cock-fighting. In March, 1724, a great match took place at the White Lion inn, Bath, between the gentlemen of that city and those of Bristol, the stakes being six guineas on each battle, and sixty guineas on the concluding fight. As the tournament extended over three days, a great number of birds must have been sacrificed.

The Gloucester Journal of April 27th, 1724, announced that the coaches to Bristol and Bath had begun to “fly” on the 22nd of that month, and would continue for the season to perform the journey “in one day (God permitting)”. The return journey from Bath via Bristol occupied two days, and the above rate of speed southwards was found too great in the following summer, when passengers for Bath had


to spend the night in Bristol - an arrangement which continued until 1763, and probably later. It does not appear that any coach travelled between Gloucester and this city during the winter months, when the traffic was abandoned to the wagons, occupying two days in the transit. The London Evening Post of May 23rd, 1724, announced that the flying, or two days' coaches from London to Bristol, and also the three days' coaches to the same destination, started from “the Sarazen's Head, Friday Street - the Flyers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and the others every Monday and Thursday”. The two days' coaches ran only during the summer half year, and the slower vehicles appear to have occupied four days in their journeys during the winter months. Even though their progress was so deliberate, a contemporary writer complains that the passengers “after being brought into their inns by torchlight, when it is too late to get a supper, are forced so early into their coach next morning that they can get no breakfast”. Pennant, the well-known antiquary, states in one of his works that in March, 1739, the coach from Chester to London, drawn by six good horses (helped by two extra ones where there were sloughs), was six days on a journey of 190 miles. “We were constantly out two hours before day, and late at night”.

The Corporation, in August, 1724, voted £40 to the vestry of St. Nicholas, which had undertaken to renovate the ancient conduit on the Back, at an outlay of £100. The “fair castellet” mentioned by Leland as surmounting the fountain in his time had probably already disappeared.

The manner in which the estates of the dean and chapter of Bristol were managed at this period was that adopted by ecclesiastical corporations generally. The property was leased, generally for three lives, at a nominal rental, but heavy fines were levied on renewals. Thus, in ordinary years, the dean's income was only £100, and that of each prebendary £20; while in exceptional years the receipts were multiplied six or eight fold. One of those golden periods occurred in 1724, when the chapter exacted the sum of £2,000 for renewing the lease of the rectorial tithes of Halberton, Devon, while Sir Abraham Elton was charged £300 for adding a life to his lease of the manor of Blacksworth (in St. Philip's and Clifton), and other lessors' fines amounted to over £700. The dean reaped one-fourth of these occasional harvests, and each of the six prebendaries received an eighth.

An action at law, apparently for the recovery of tithes on


fruit, was pending at this time between John Hodges, impropriator of the parish of Clifton, and Edward Jones, Esq., who possessed a garden attached to his house there, valued at £4 a year. A commission to receive the evidence of local witnesses held a sitting on the 25th September at the “Blackmoore's Head, Clifton”. Almost the only point of interest in the depositions, preserved at the Record Office, is the statement of a witness to the effect that he had rented a farm of 26 acres in the parish for forty years, at a rental of £33, and paid two shillings in the pound additional for tithes. The result of the action does not appear.

The Jefferies collection contains a document, dated the 24th October, 1724, fixing the tares to be allowed to purchasers of sugar landed at this port. The paper is now interesting only for the proof it affords of the vast extent of the West India trade then enjoyed by Bristol. No less than 99 local firms appended their signatures to the arrangement. It may be doubted whether the West India merchants in London were much more numerous. In March, 1789, when another regulation concerning tares was agreed to at a meeting of planters and merchants at the Bush Hotel, the number of firms represented was only 35.

In the month of October, 1725, the Bristol ship Dispatch, the property of three influential merchants, Isaac Hobhouse, Noblet Ruddock, and William Baker, left the port for the coast of Africa, on a slaving voyage. The instructions of the owners to the captain and the manifest of the cargo having luckily been preserved (they are in the Jefferies collection), a summary of their contents will give the reader an insight into the manner in which the slave traffic was carried on. It may be well, however, to premise that the eighteenth century merchants who pursued this trade ought not to be judged by the higher moral code of the present day. Many of them were regarded in their generation not merely as honest and honourable, but as benevolent and kind-hearted men. John Cary, for instance, the founder of the Incorporation of the Poor, was conspicuous for his integrity and humanity; yet in his “Essay on Trade”, a work applauded by statesmen, he spoke of the commerce with Africa as “of the most advantage to this kingdom of any we drive, and as it were all profit, the first cost being little more than small manufactures, for which we have in return gold, teeth (ivory), wax and negroes, the last whereof is much better than the first, being the best traffic the kingdom hath, as it doth give so vast an employment to our people


both by sea and land”. When it is remembered that more than half a century after Cary's book was published, the Rev. John Newton, the friend of Cowper, was studying for the ministry when in command of a slave ship, one cannot refuse to make a liberal allowance for contemporary mercantile habits and ideas. It is, indeed, a melancholy but incontestable fact that although the most hideous cruelties were practised to procure slaves, many earnest professors of Christianity in Bristol and elsewhere felt no scruple in engaging in the traffic, and even in seeking divine sanction for their enterprises. The bill of lading of a slave cargo described the miserable captives as “shipped by the grace of God”; the captain (generally a ruthless brute) was declared to hold his office “under God”; the vessel was said to be bound “under God's grace” with so many slaves; and the document ended with the pious prayer, “God send the ship to her desired port in safety”. Turning to the documents relating to the Dispatch, the first important paper is the manifest of the cargo destined to be exchanged for human beings. The following is a summary:-

4,000 copper rods251120 
A quantity of cotton goods, called Niccanees, Bejutas, Chints, Romalls, &c.45596 
A cask Cowries13124½
2,000 Rangoes (?)1200 
206 cwt. iron bars, @ £19 per ton19613½
10 barrels gunpowder40176 
180 musquets @ 10/6 and chests96190 
4 casks Monelas (?)51119 
4¼ cwt. Neptunes (copper pans)3809¾
207 gals, brandy @ 2/6 and casks2814½
37 gals, cordial (gin) @ 2/9531½
12 cwt. bugles (glass beads ?)76210 
18 fine hats edged with gold and silver, and 8 doz. felts edged with copper2140 

With a few miscellaneous items the total value of the cargo amounted to £1,330 8s. 9¾d. The vessel also carried a quantity of provisions for the voyage from Africa to the West Indies, including 40 cwt. of bread, 6 cwt. of flour, 66½ cwt. of beef and pork, 190 bushels of beans and peas, 6 bushels of “grutts”, 12 tierces and 4 hhds. of ship beer. In the owners' letter of instructions to the captain, William Barry, he is ordered to make the best of his way to Andony, on the African coast, and there traffic with the cargo for “240 choice slaves” and a good quantity of elephants' teeth, “seeing in that commodity there is no mortality to be feared”. The slaves must be healthy and strong, and


between the ages of 10 and 25 - males to be preferred as more valuable. Attention must be paid to their feeding, and to prevent their being ill-used by the crew, “which has often been done to the prejudice of the voyage”. When loaded, the ship is to sail for “Princess”, where the unsold goods are to be disposed of, and the slaves sold if they will bring “10 moidores (£13 10s.) per head all round”. If this cannot be done, the vessel is to sail for Antigua to await orders, failing which the slaves are to be sold at Nevis or South Carolina. The captain is to have four per cent, commission on the net proceeds of the live cargo, and is allowed to buy two slaves on his own account. The chief mate may also have two slaves, but is to pay for their food. As another ship was ready to sail on the same enterprise, Capt. Barry was to endeavour to outsail her, and to “see that he is not outdone in slaving by other commanders”. Finally he is “recommended to the Good God Almighty's protection”. Captain Barry's signature is appended, acknowledging the above to be a true copy of his orders, which he promises “to perform (God willing)”. The results of the voyage are not preserved. In 1727 another Bristol ship, the Castle, proceeded to Andony, and took in a cargo of 271 slaves, for which iron, copper, etc., were exchanged, according to the ship's day-book, now in the possession of Miss Fry, to the value of about £2 15s. per head. Notwithstanding the lowness of the cost, and the increasing popularity of the trade, by which at least 30,000 Africans were yearly conveyed to America, the price of slaves was steadily rising across the Atlantic. In a letter to Mr. Isaac Hobhouse, from John Jones (his nephew and agent), of the firm of Tyndall, Assheton and Co., dated Jamaica, March 2nd, 1728, the arrival is reported “of the Virgin, from the Gold Coast, with 262 slaves to our address, and they comes at £30 17s. 6d. per head round, which is a good price considering there was so many small among them. . . . The demand for negroes continues; there is now 600 in harbour and all bought up”. In a letter of February, 1730, R. Assheton, a member of the same firm, reports to Hobhouse:- “Surely negroes were never so much wanted, nor can that want be supplied for two years to come, which the Days [a great Bristol firm] are very sensible of, and push all they can. The general terms Pratten buys at is £30 to £32 per head for men, women, boys, and girls”. Another letter from Assheton to Hobhouse reports that a Bristol cargo of 234 slaves had sold for £35 all round. It would therefore appear that in a fortunate


voyage the profit on a cargo of about 270 slaves must have reached £7,000 or £8,000, exclusive of the returns from ivory, and it is not surprising to learn that Mr. Hobhouse, like some other local adventurers, acquired “a very large fortune” (Felix Farley's Journal, Feb. 26th, 1763). Amongst the Jefferies MSS. is an account from Barbadoes, dated 1730, showing the produce of “Merchandize, being 329 negroes, per the Freke Galley, from Guinea, for account of. William Freke, Esq., and Company, merchants, in Bristol”. The cargo consisted of 141 men, 75 women, 65 boys, and 48 girls, but was not in good condition. Most of the men brought from £22 to £29, but a few sold at from £2 10s. to £7. The women averaged about £23, but two brought only 15s. each. The boys and girls produced about £14 a head. Altogether the “merchandise” realised £6,207. The agents' commission (including an import duty of 5s. per head, and £25 9s. “paid for treating customers during the sale”) amounted to £460 6s. 9d., leaving a net return on an indifferent cargo of £5,746 18s. 3d. Some adventures turned out more unluckily. Mr. Assheton informs Hobhouse, in 1729, that a cargo had sold for only £19 10s. a head, owing to the slaves being nearly all “children or grey headed”. (More than one-third of them died a few weeks after being disposed of, but this loss fell upon the purchasers.) The captain of the Greyhound galley, writing to Hobhouse, one of the owners, reports that out of a cargo of 339 “jolly, likely” slaves shipped at Bonny, he had landed only 214 at Barbadoes. Most of the survivors were sold at £40 a pair, “a very poor story after such a loss”. In another case Jamaica agents inform Isaac Hobhouse and his partner, Onesiphorus Tyndall, that two-fifths of the slaves on board one of their ships had died on the passage, many more had died after landing, and several were almost valueless. But the writers conclude with the encouraging intelligence that there was an immediate demand for 1,000 good negroes, “and fine cargoes will make agreeable sales”. Besides the losses incurred by the outbreak of pestilence during a voyage, the slave traders had occasionally to deplore a revolt amongst their unhappy victims. The Gloucester Journal of January 28th, 1729, has a letter from Bristol containing “the melancholy news that Captain Holliday, with all his crew except the cabin boy, have been murdered on the coast of Africa by the negroes” he was about to carry off. (As showing the slow circulation of news at that time, it may be stated that the disaster occurred in May, 1728.) Read's (London) Journal


of June 18th, 1737, published an extract of a letter from the Bristol ship Princess of Orange, stating that whilst proceeding to the West Indies “a hundred of the men slaves jumped overboard, and it was with great difficulty we saved as many as we did. We lost 33 . . . who were resolved to die. Some others have died since, but not to the owner's loss, they being sold before any discovery was made of the injury the salt water had done them. The captain has lost two of his own slaves”. It was possibly in the hope of cheering the poor captives that musicians were engaged in some slaving vessels. It is incidentally stated in August, 1729, that the ship Castle of Bristol had a piper, a fiddler, and a drummer on board.

It will be seen from the above extracts that the commanders of slaving vessels were allowed to transport a few slaves in each cargo for their personal profit. It was doubtless through this custom that so many negro slaves were brought to England, and lived and died here in servitude. The post of captain in a slaving ship was a lucrative one, and those who gained it were prone to make a display of their good fortune. Their gaudily-laced coats and cocked hats are often mentioned by contemporary writers. As their wills bear witness, they were accustomed to flaunt large silver, and sometimes gold, buttons on their apparel, and their shoes were decorated with buckles of the precious metals. But the most distinguishing mark of a captain in the streets was the black slave who obsequiously attended him, and who was often sold to a wealthy family when the owner again embarked for Africa. Sometimes, as has been already shown, a black servant was bequeathed to a friend by will. Female negroes reached this country in the same manner, and were purchased for domestic service. The House of Commons Journals for March 16th, 1702, in reporting evidence given before a committee, described a witness as a slave to a Jew merchant in Holborn. “She had lived with him”, she deposed, “14 years as a slave”. The newspapers of the first seventy years of the century contain scores of advertisements concerning the sale or elopement of blacks held in slavery. A few examples may be interesting. In the London Gazette of January 17th, 1713, Captain Foye, of Bristol, offers £5 for the capture of “a negro called Scipio, aged about 24”, who had escaped. In the same journal for July 5th, 1715, Mr. Pyne, the Bristol postmaster, undertakes to pay two guineas and expenses for the recovery of Captain Stephen Courtney's negro, aged about 20,


“having three or four marks on each temple and the same on
each cheek” - which were presumably testimonies of the affection of his master. (Captain Courtney, it will be remembered, was one of the commanders of the fortunate Duchess privateer.) Nothing, perhaps, better indicates the distance which separates us from the reign of George I. than the fact that the postmaster of Bristol was the agent employed to recapture a slave living in Bristol, and that this fact was published in the official organ of the Government. In Farley's Bristol Newspaper for August 31st, 1728, Captain John Gwythen offers for sale “a Negro man about 20 years old, well limbed, fit to serve a gentleman or to be instructed in a trade”. In the Journal of November 16th, 1746, Captain Eaton announces the evasion of his negro Mingo, whom he had owned for eight years, for whose recovery he promised a guinea. “All persons are hereby forbid entertaining the said Black at their peril”. Josiah Rose, of Redcliff Street, advertised the elopement of his negro boy, aged 13, in the London General Advertiser of April 8th, 1748. In the Bristol Journal of June 23rd, 1760, appears:- “To be sold, a negro Boy of about 12 years of age. . . . Inquire of the printers”. The Bristol Intelligencer of January 12th, 1764, offers for sale, to “any gentleman or lady who wants a Negro Boy”, a lad of 14 years, recently landed. The Bristol Journal of March 12th, 1767, publishes the elopement of a young negro called Starling, who “blows the French horn very well”. His owner, a publican in Prince's Street, offers a guinea for his capture. A week later it is announced that the negro of Captain Bouchier, of Keynsham, has escaped; while on the 22nd September the evasion is published of the negro servant of Captain Ezekiel Nash, who offers to reward the person giving him up, and threatens to prosecute any one secreting him. On the 16th April, 1768, the same paper offers £5 for the recapture of a “Malotta Boy”, absconded from one McNeal, of St. Philip's Plain, who also menaces legal proceedings against a detainer of his property; and on the 14th April, 1769, Captain Holbrook advertises a “handsome reward” for the recovery of his “Negro man named Thomas”. Felix Farley's Journal of August 2nd, 1760, contains a pithy advertisement:- “To be sold, a Negroe Boy about ten years old. He has had the small pox”. A Liverpool paper of 1766 has an announcement of the sale by auction in that town, on the 12th September, of “Eleven Negro Slaves”. In the Bristol Journal of June 20th, 1767, we have:- “To be sold, a Black Boy, about 15 years of


age; capable of waiting at table”; and the same paper of January 9th, 1768, offers for sale “a healthy Negro Slave named Prince, 17 years of age; extremely well grown”. Some of the fugitive slaves are described as wearing silver collars round the neck, engraved with the owner's name.

The only mode of travelling available to the poor at this period was by stage wagons, progressing at the rate of about twenty miles a day. No early advertisement of a Bristol wagon having been found, the following is extracted from the Whitehall Evening Post of April 24th, 1725:- “For the benefit of the distressed. In a few days (if God permit) will set out for the Bath, a large commodious waggon, which will conveniently hold 36 persons. Such weak persons as are willing to take the advantage of this conveyance are desired speedily to send in their names to Robert Knight, waggoner, at the Three Crowns in Arlington Street”.

Owing to the brutality with which persons exposed on the pillory were often treated by the mob, it was not unusual for the victims or their friends to hire a number of ruffians, who undertook to drive off the assailing rabble. The exhibitions in Wine Street thus occasionally produced “free fights” of a violent character. A paragraph in the Gloucester Journal dated August 25th, 1725, states that one John Millard, convicted at the Bristol assizes of forgery, by which he obtained large sums of money, was sentenced to a year's imprisonment, to pay a heavy fine, and to stand in the pillory on two market days. The latter part of the sentence had taken place during the week. (If the forgery affected real estate, Millard must have had his ears cut off and his nose slit.) “The last day he was severely pelted with rotten oranges and eggs by a common mob, after they had overcome the mob which stood up in his defence, though not 'till some of their leaders were taken up and carried to Bridewell”. Stewart records another case, of seven years later date, in his manuscript annals. Richard Baggs, who will be heard of again, had been sentenced to the pillory for a filthy offence. “Fearing the exasperation of the populace, he hired 100 colliers to protect him, and provided himself with an iron skull cap, and thickly covered his body with brown paper. The rioting was so violent that the magistrates permitted him to be removed before the time fixed by his sentence”. Felix Farley's Journal of June 21st, 1766, states that a lady who was looking at a pillory exhibition from a window in Wine Street, “had her eye cut entirely out of her head by a piece of glass”, the window having


been smashed by a cabbage stump. Returning to the first mentioned case, the quarter sessions records show that Millard was still in Newgate in December, 1737, twelve years after his conviction, being an insolvent debtor. The magistrates ordered his discharge, as concerned his private debts. “But as he stands indebted to the Crown for £103, a fine inflicted upon him at the gaol delivery in 1725, he is ordered to remain in custody”. As nothing more is heard of him, he was probably released only by death.

At the quarter sessions in October, 1725, Sir John Duddleston, grandson and heir of the first baronet, prayed for his discharge from Newgate as an insolvent debtor, under an Act of the previous session, and was liberated accordingly. The young man was regarded as a discredit to his family by his widowed grandmother, who “cut him off with a shilling” by her will, dated 1718. He afterwards obtained a humble office in the Custom House, but fell into such obscurity that his ultimate fate is unknown.

The upper portion of Prince's Street was constructed in the closing years of Queen Anne's reign, and the name of the thoroughfare was intended as a compliment to Prince George of Denmark. The mansions in the lower part of the street were not commenced until 1726, when the Corporation leased several plots of land to John Becher, Henry Combe, and other wealthy merchants, who undertook to build houses on the sites. One or two of these stately dwellings still bear the crests of their builders.

Owing to the increasing trade of the port, which rendered it difficult to find accommodation for the numerous market boats bringing provisions, the Corporation ordered the building of two new quays - one on the Avon near the east end of King Street, the other on the Froom at St. Augustine's Back. The quays, which were together about 160 yards long, were completed in December, 1725.

At a meeting of the Council in January, 1726, “the petition of Mr. John Legg, keeper of Newgate, was read, setting forth that he had within a year past been at very great charge in removing sundry prisoners to distant places out of the common way, and had executed two severall persons at the last Gaol Delivery who might have been tried in the adjacent counties, and had buried them at his own expense; and therefore prayed some allowance”. After an inquiry, he was voted £8 0s. 10d. The remarkable statements of the gaoler throw a little more light on the capricious treatment of criminals in that age. The reader has been


already shown that prisoners sentenced to death were frequently pardoned, when they or their friends could excite the sympathy of members of the Corporation. The above minute proves that civic officials sometimes went out of their way to bring convicts to the scaffold. The “removing of prisoners to distant places”, of which the gaoler boasts, was doubtless effected by transportation, a form of punishment which judges were first authorised to inflict on common felons in 1718, but which had been long adopted for saving the lives of convicts sentenced to death. The system was conducted with the looseness characteristic of the time. The Government standing wholly aloof - except when it accepted felons to recruit the army and navy - local authorities had to make their own arrangements for shipping off prisoners, who sometimes lay for years in gaol before being embarked. Occasionally, an enterprising shipowner, or a ship captain about to sail for America, offered to take a batch of convicts at a low price, intending to sell them as temporary slaves at New York or Baltimore; and a bargain was thereupon struck by the authorities. In 1727 Mr. W. Jefferis (mayor, 1738) received twelve guineas for transporting four felons, and the same gentleman, in several succeeding years, performed similar services at the same rate. In a few cases, during war with France, convicts were shipped in “letters of marque”, and may have had to fight. On several occasions, the off-scourings of the gaols were embarked in vessels carrying honest emigrants, as to whose general treatment revelations will be made presently. In these transactions the speculative shipper naturally demurred to accept aged or weakly felons, who were unlikely to find purchasers. Thus, in August, 1723, the Common Council voted a sum of ten guineas, “paid for obtaining pardons for seven prisoners (being mostly women who have laine long in Newgate under sentence of transportation, and no person would take them)”. In the State Papers of 1733 is a letter from Mr. William Cann, town clerk, to Mr. Scrope, M.P. for Bristol and Secretary of the Treasury, expressing the desire of the mayor and aldermen that one Phillips, condemned to death for horse stealing, should be transported for fourteen years, and that the necessary warrant should be issued at once, as “two lusty young fellows” were about to be shipped, and if Phillips did not accompany them “it would be difficult to prevail on any one to take him singly, by reason of his being in years”. In January, 1745, Alderman Lyde applied to the Council for the usual sum of three


guineas each for “eight convicts transported by him”, which was ordered to be paid, but the minute adds that four female convicts were still in Newgate, where they had lain “a considerable time”, so that the alderman had selected only the marketable prisoners.

The Dean and Chapter always studied economy in the arrangements of the Cathedral. According to the deed of incorporation there should have been six lay vicars, or singing men; but it was resolved on the 25th February, 1726, that the verger should be paid £9 a quarter, “including his salary as verger and the salaries of two singing men's places”. The lay vicars were paid only £12 each yearly. The then organist, Nathaniel Priest, was also organist at All Saints' and Christ Church, though it is difficult to imagine how he fulfilled those united charges.

The following curious advertisement in the London Weekly Journal of April 30th, 1726, indicates the popularity of Hot Well water. The trade of the vendor and the average rate of transit from Bristol are alike remarkable:- “Bristol Hot Well water. Fresh from the wells, will be sold and delivered to any part of the town at six shillings per dozen, with the bottles, from Mr. Richard Bristow's, goldsmith, at the Three Bells near Bride Lane, Fleet Street”. The advertiser offers to prove the genuineness of the water, and proceeds:- “These bottles are of the largest size, and by the extraordinary favour of the winds arrived but the last week in eight days from Bristol, the common passage being a month or six weeks”.

John Jayne, captain of a Bristol merchant ship, was hanged and gibbeted on the banks of the Thames on the 13th May, 1726, having been convicted in the Admiralty Court of the atrocious murder of a cabin boy at sea. In June, 1733, Rice Harris, commander of a Bristol slaving ship, underwent the same punishment for the murder of a seaman under circumstances of horrible barbarity. The trials in the Admiralty Court were so imperfectly reported in the London papers that other local cases have probably escaped attention.

The inconvenience to traffic caused by the “corn market house”, standing in the middle of Wine Street, having been much complained of, the Corporation, in July, 1726, resolved that the building should be cleared away. (It was demolished in June, 1727.) A house in Wine Street was purchased for £700, and the Swan Inn in Maryleport Street and some adjoining tenements were acquired from the trustees of Trinity Hospital. These premises were removed in 1727,


and a new market house of two storeys was erected on the site, at a cost of about £1,900. The building, which some sixty years later was converted into a cheese market, was demolished about 1885, by Messrs. Baker, Baker & Co., the site being absorbed in their extended warehouses.

The emigration to America early in the century was extremely limited. Those who quitted England, moreover, were generally so poor that they were obliged to sell themselves on disembarking to pay for their passage. Many were offered a free transit by speculative shipowners, on condition of their signing indentures binding them to work as “servants”, which really meant slaves, for a certain number of years. On the arrival of each vessel a sort of public market was held on board, the emigrants being sold to the highest bidder, and large profits were realized by this traffic in human flesh. The young emigrants brought the best prices, and it was not uncommon for parents to sell their children in order to avoid personal servitude. If a family lost a member on the voyage, the term of engagement of the survivors was lengthened, so as to recoup the shipowner. The traffic flourished in Bristol from an early period. The historian of Jamaica (1774) states that the Assembly of the island in 1703 relieved a ship from port charges if it imported thirty white servants, and that these emigrants, who were purchased at a minimum price of £18 in time of war, and £14 in time of peace, were required to serve - adults for four years, and youths for seven years - being treated as “little better than slaves”. Many of them, he adds, were known to have been kidnapped, yet the colonial law inflicted the penalty of death on a ship captain who removed an indentured servant from the island. From Jamaica letters of 1729, to Isaac Hobhouse and Co., of Bristol, in the Jefferies collection, it appears that the firm had just shipped thirteen “servants” at London for the colony. One of the emigrants escaped at Cork. The rest were sold in Jamaica at from £13 to £30 a head. Stewart, in his MS. annals, writes under January 9th, 1725, “Twenty four persons were put on board the Raphannah frigate bound for Virginia, who had bound themselves as servants for four years according to the custom of the colony. Another ship was then lying in the river bound for Philadelphia on the same account”. The captains of vessels of this kind were frequently suspected of securing passengers by force or fraud. The Gloucester Journal of March 25th, 1729, contains a Bristol paragraph stating that the water bailiff had been sent down to Hung Road, with


the mayor's warrant, to bring from a vessel bound to Jamaica a young man who was forced on board against his will by some relations, but that the people in the ship beat off the officer and threatened to drown him. The prisoner, who was secured in irons, had been shortly before left a legacy of £800. At the quarter sessions in August, 1736, an indictment was found against John Dryland, mariner, for kidnapping a girl “and spiriting her beyond the seas”, but his surety having come forward to assert that the accused was abroad and that the girl's friends declined to prosecute, the complaisant magistrates allowed the recognisances to be discharged! From a curious account, in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1744, of a girl who, dressed as a lad, shipped on board a Bristol vessel bound for Virginia, it would appear that the emigrants, after signing indentures, were sometimes kept three weeks in Bridewell until their ship was ready to sail. In an advertisement in the Bristol Journal of April 6th, 1755, inviting “handicraft tradesmen, husbandmen and boys to go over to the most flourishing city of Philadelphia” in a ship of 200 tons burthen, lying at the Quay, the captain held out the usual bait of “a new suit of clothes” to each passenger. A similar announcement appeared in the Bristol Intelligencer of May 7th, 1757. The vessel in this case was a privateer, and the emigrants were accompanied by “40 transports”, the dregs of the neighbouring gaols. The contaminating effects of herding thieves and cutthroats with honest workmen excited no remark, and the practice was common. To give one more example, Felix Farley's Journal of October 26th, 1754, pleasantly announced that “Captain Davis is arrived at Annapolis, in Maryland, from this port, having 50 indentured servants, and 69 of the King's seven year passengers”. The cargo was doubtless sold off indiscriminately to the neighbouring planters.

A revival of the movement for doing honour to Edward Colston's birthday took place in 1724, when a sum of £20 was raised by subscription in the parish of Redcliff, and handed to the vestry, “the profits thereof to be paid for ringing the bells on the 2nd day of November yearly, for ever”. In 1726 a society styled “The Colston” was established, and held its first dinner on the philanthropist's birthday, when £34 4s. were subscribed by twenty-three gentlemen, and ordered to be invested, part of the interest to be paid for an annual sermon at Redcliff church, and the balance to Temple school. In 1729 the society raised £50


18s., “the profits to be given to the poor (of Redcliff) in bread on the 2ad November for ever”. No further subscriptions are recorded, but it became the custom to fine such members as declined the office of president, and sums varying from £5 to £50 were occasionally received in this way. It may be as well, perhaps, to complete the story of this association, which eventually became known as the “Parent Society”. In 1801 its funds had accumulated to £1,100, when it was resolved that the interest should be given to poor lying-in churchwomen, the wives of freemen in Redcliff parish, and the surplus to other charitable purposes. The fine for declining the presidency was raised soon after to thirty guineas, and so many of these payments were made that the funds had increased to £2,300 in 1840, the interest continuing to be distributed as before. An odd blunder remains to be mentioned. In 1752, on the reformation of the calendar, the date of the annual gathering was altered from November 2nd to November 13th, with the intention of adhering to the actual date of Colston's birth; but as that gentleman was born in the seventeenth century, when there was only ten days' difference in the “styles”, the feasts should have been held on the 12th.

The churchwardens of St. James's parish petitioned the Council in November, 1726, representing the incapacity of the church to accommodate the greatly increased population, and seeking approval of a scheme for building a chapel of ease, for which a site was offered free of cost. The petition was referred to a committee, which never reported, and the subject remained dormant for sixty years.

The Council, on the 7th November, voted a sum of £20 to Walter Hawkins, common brewer, “on account of his poverty and pressing necessities”. A further gift of £10 was made to him in the following year. It is probable that the recipient was a son of John Hawkins, brewer and mayor, who was knighted by Queen Anne.

Instigated by the trading companies, the Corporation occasionally undertook to punish roguish tradesmen. At the above meeting the Chamber ordered that 276 pairs of shoes “made of insufficient leather”, seized on the premises of a tanner named Weaver, should be appraised, and then purchased by the city treasurer. In the following May the Council was informed that the shoes had been valued at £9 4s. (eightpence a pair!), and that the appraisers had given up their right to one-third of that amount out of consideration for the poor. The chamberlain was thereupon


ordered to pay the money to the poor-law guardians. What he did with the shoes does not appear. Another seizure of a like character was dealt with in a different manner. In a Bristol paragraph dated November 29th, 1726, which appeared in the London Weekly Journal, the writer says:- “Yesterday was the general meeting of our shoemakers in this city, and at the High Cross, in presence of our magistrates, they burnt a great number of shoes made of seal and horse skins, which they lately seized at several places”. Another seizure, dealt with in the same manner, was reported in the Gloucester Journal of March 11th, 1729. The destruction of bad shoes was long in favour. A Bristol paragraph in the London Morning Post of October 2nd, 1751, states that a parcel of shoes brought from Scotland had been just burned in the market, having been “judged by a jury of six worthy men to be made of unlawful leather”.

The French Protestants, who had been deprived of the use of St. Mark's church by its conversion into a corporate place of worship, petitioned the Chamber in 1726 for a lease of a plot of land in Orchard Street on which to erect a chapel. A site was granted on a forty years' lease, at a yearly rent of £1 17s. 6d. The Corporation moreover subscribed £60 towards the building fund. The chapel was opened in 1727. In 1748 wine was advertised as on sale “in a vault under the French Chapel”.

The establishment of turnpike tolls, with a view to improve the wretched roads of the country, came into favour during the reign of George I. According to the ancient law of the realm, every farmer paying £50 rent was required to give the service of a wagon and team for six days yearly, to work on the roads in his parish, and the poorest country labourer or artisan was under the same obligation as regarded his own labour. These provisions, however, were often evaded, and in many districts were inadequate, and with the increase of coaching the state of the roads fell from bad to worse. In 1726, when a report was made to the Council that the roads leading to the city were “extremely ruinous”, a vote of £100 was made for their repair. But it was seen that more effectual measures were necessary, and a petition was presented to Parliament in the following session praying for power to erect turnpike gates. Evidence was given before a committee of the Commons as to the urgency of the case. It was deposed that all the roads near the city were dangerous to passengers, and that part of the London road, and several of the highways near Sodbury and


Wotton-uuder-Edge, were not wide enough to allow two horses, going in opposite directions, to pass each other. A witness swore that one of his horses had been suffocated in the mud, and another that his team had been saved from a slough only by being pulled out by ropes. The road to Bath from Temple Gate to Totterdown was still only seven feet wide. The Bill received the Royal assent in April, 1727. It enacted that the members of Parliament for Bristol, Gloucestershire, and Somerset, the justices of the two shires, the members of the Corporation, and a great number of local gentry should be appointed trustees for the reparation of the roads, with power to levy tolls. Wagons, etc., with six horses or oxen were to pay 1s., with four 8d., with two 4d., and with one 2d.; a pack horse 1d., if with coals ½d; there were also tolls for cattle and sheep. The limits of the trust extended from about ten to twelve miles on the chief roads out of Bristol, and the tolls were to continue for twenty-one years only. In accordance with the terms of the Act, turnpike gates were set up in order that tolls might be first collected on the 26th June. But the trustees forgot that they would have to reckon with the lawless mining population of Kingswood, roused to wrath by the charge imposed on the horses and donkeys which brought coal into the city. The colliers assembled in great numbers and pulled down all the gates, burning some, and throwing one barrier into the Avon. The mayor's letter to the Government, dated the 28th, and detailing the proceedings, is amongst the State Papers. His worship wrote:- “They are a set of ungovernable people, regardless of consequences. They extort money of people as they pass along the road, and treat them very rudely unless they give them some. They have passed through this city with clubs and staves in a noisy manner, but committed no violence here. I am persuaded, had any opposition been made, the consequences would have been fatal”. Some of the gates were again erected, only to be demolished in a few hours, and the colliers would suffer no coal to enter the city. The price of fuel, ordinarily sold at 1s. a horseload, having risen to 2s. 3d., the Council, on the 28th, ordered off messengers to “Swazey, [Swansea], to buy cole on account of the Chamber” for the use of the citizens - which turned out a somewhat costly procedure, for the Kingswood men returned to work, and the Welsh coal, when it arrived, had to be sold at a loss of £215, exclusive of £4 5s. worth of wine sent to the Customs Collector at “Swanzy” for his services. The turnpike trustees, supposing


the disturbances at an end, had the toll-gates reconstructed; but the colliers again rose, and burnt the gate “near Durdham Down”. Further outrages were prevented by a body of soldiers, who captured four of the rioters, and the gate was restored. But on the night after the troops had embarked for Ireland, all the gates were again demolished by men disguised in women's clothes and wearing high-crowned hats. To complete the joy of the mischief makers, the four men committed to prison had to be released. Parliament having omitted to impose any penalty upon assailants of turnpikes. After vainly struggling to perform their functions, the trustees asked for further legislative powers in 1730, stating that through their inability to borrow money, the roads remained wholly unimproved. It was hoped that by allowing animals carring coal to pass toll free, no further difficulty would be encountered, but the remission had little effect. In the State Papers is a letter from Sir W. Codrington to the Duke of Newcastle, dated July 14th, 1731, stating that the house of Mr. Blathwaite, of Dyrham, who had made himself obnoxious by attempting to defend the turnpikes, had been attacked by 400 colliers, who threatened to demolish it. The writer rode to the spot with twenty of his tenants and servants; but he was forced to release four of the rioters previously captured, and to give the rest a hogshead of ale, before they would depart. Nearly all the gates were then down. The following is highly significant: - “I am afraid, my lord, these wretches would never have been so impudent if they had not been prompted by men of some fortune and figure; and we have been informed that two or three bailiffs, as we call them, to some gentlemen, were seen to be a-drinking with the colliers the evening before they were at Mr. Blath waiters”. A week later, in a letter dated from Bristol, Sir William reports that “the insolencies of the rioters are greater than ever, they having cut down some of the gates even at noon day, and are now collecting money of travellers where the gates stood. . . . The remaining part of the inhabited turnpike house at Yate was burnt down last night”. Troops were sent to Bristol, but inspired no terror amongst the rioters, who continued to defy the law. The destructive spirit of the Kingswood men was singularly manifested in the following year, when a large body marched to Chippenham, and demolished the turnpike gate at Ford, near that town (London Journal, Sept. 23rd). Two years later, June, 1734, every gate between Bristol and Gloucester was destroyed by armed bands. In


August, 1735, Sir William Codrington informed the Duke of Newcastle that the colliers still held the roads, sometimes extorting 60s. in a single day, and that if the Government would not render more help, “God knows how it may end”. He added that a bailiff named Prichet, at Westerleigh, was “at the bottom of the whole affair”. To complete the chaos, the rural trustees quarrelled with those representing Bristol; and Oldmixon, writing in 1735, asserted that “the roads, as bad as most in England, remain unrepaired to this day”. Four years later, Ralph Allen, of Bath, in giving evidence on behalf of a local turnpike Bill, deposed that the Bristol Acts were still inoperative, “by reason the colliers have pulled down, and do constantly pull down, the turnpikes”.

The Bristol Newspaper of February 4th, 1727, contains the first reference yet discovered to a locality destined to enjoy a season of great favour, but now long fallen from its high estate. The paper announces as to be let, “a large new built house, with coach-houses, stables, &c., situate in the New Square in Dowry”, near the Hot Well. The square was not completed until many years afterwards.

The universality of wig wearing by the male sex at this date is amusingly testified by an advertisement in the Bristol Newspaper of February 25th, 1727, noting the elopement of one of the choristers of the Cathedral, 14 years of age, wearing “a peruke and a light drab coat”. (In school play-grounds, according to the first Lord Thurlow, the boys were accustomed to stuff their wigs into their breeches pockets.)

At the quarter sessions in May, 1727, John Boroston, a barber, was charged with pretending to be in holy orders, whereby he had defrauded various persons of their money after professing to have clandestinely married them. No prosecutor presenting himself, and the man having lain long in gaol, he was discharged on paying the usual fees. The Bristol Newspaper records that the accused had “made it a practice to marry people for so small a price as eighteen pence”. Prior to 1754, a valid marriage could be celebrated by a person in holy orders at any time or place, without notice, consent of parents, or record of any kind. The celebration of such marriages naturally fell into the hands of disreputable clergymen, who found competitors in rogues like Boroston. The scandal of these unions was nowhere greater than in the great seaports when a fleet of merchantmen arrived, and when drunken sailors were sometimes married by scores together at a low public-house. In the suburbs of


London at least one publican kept a priest on the premises, and married couples gratis provided they held their wedding feast at his house. At Bedminster, shortly after this date, the Duke of Marlborough inn was kept by a clergyman, the Rev. Emanuel Collins, and, if tradition is to be trusted, the shameless extent to which he carried on a similar traffic contributed to bring about the amendment of the Marriage Law in 1753.

Two prize fights took place at the Full Moon inn, Stokes Croft, during the month of June, 1727, one of the competitors in both battles being “Mr. Shiney, the champion of the West”.

The accession of George II. was proclaimed with the customary ceremonies on the 17th June, 1727. The High Cross having been hung with black cloth, as a mark of respect for the deceased monarch, the mayor and corporate body, clothed in funereal robes, marched round it, preceded by the “mourning sword”. The civic officials then returned to the Council House to array themselves in scarlet, and drink a bumper to the health of the new king; and the High Cross having in the meantime exchanged its gloomy gear for a blaze of coloured decorations, the sheriffs made proclamation amidst a flourish of trumpets. St. Peter's Cross, Temple Cross, and other places were afterwards visited for the same purpose, and the conduits ran wine for the populace. Further festivities took place on the occasion of the coronation, October 11th. The Corporation resolved in January, 1732, to obtain a permanent memorial of the new sovereign, directions being given by the Chamber for the purchase of a portrait. As no payment was ever made to the painter of the two handsome pictures of George II. and Queen Caroline, now in the Council Chamber, their history has hitherto been a mystery. It appears, however, from the diary of Peter Mugleworth, city swordbearer, of which Mr. Wm. Greorge possesses a copy, that the portraits were presented by the King, and that they were set up on the 12th June, 1732, when the military officers in the city, the clergy, and many prominent citizens were entertained at the Council House, the soldiers firing salutes in Corn Street in honour of the loyal toasts drunk within. No reference to the gifts is to be found in the civic minute books, but the chamberlain paid the carriage of the pictures from London, and also “Alderman Day's disbursements, £11 4s.”, chiefly fees to the Lord Chamberlain's staff.

An election was, in those days, an indispensable


consequence of a demise of the Crown. The writ was received early in September, 1727, when a vigorous contest took place. From some unexplained cause, Colonel Earle, who sought reelection, had lost his former popularity. Sir Abraham Elton retired in favour of his son Abraham, and the new Whig candidate was John Scrope, M.P. for Ripon in the previous Parliament, who may fairly be styled one of Fortune's favourites. The son of a merchant dwelling in Small Street, Scrope, when very young, took part with several other Bristolians in Monmouth's rebellion, and subsequently acted as an agent between the Whigs and the Prince of Orange, making one voyage to Holland in woman's clothes. After the Revolution he adopted the law as a profession, and in 1708 he was appointed one of the Barons of the Scotch Court of Exchequer, practically a sinecure office, for which he received £500 a year, while Queen Anne subsequently granted him a pension of £1,000, in consideration of his having given up his practice at the English bar. Having resigned his judgeship in 1724 (though he continued to enjoy its title by courtesy), he was now Secretary to the Treasury, and a trusted lieutenant of Walpole. The Tory aspirant was William Hart. The Bristol correspondent of the Gloucester Journal, writing on September 9th, gives the following account of the proceedings:- “The poll on Thursday stood thus: Baron Scroope, 766; Mr. Elton, 411; Mr. Hart, 386; Col. Earle, 4. Yesterday morning the poll was given up by Mr. Hart (as is generally said, for 1100 guineas), when he had, as his managers say, above 1500 men to go to the poll that could not have been corrupted, which so provoked his friends that the mob part of them would not let him go home [to Clifton] but under a strong guard of constables attended by the mayor and sheriffs, and threatened to pull down his house at night. Some of his managers threaten to hiss him wherever they see him, and some, instead of the [gilt] hearts they wore in their hats before, wore knaves of hearts to express their abhorrence of his action. But on the other hand Mr. Hart alleges . . . the treachery of the common people occasioned by the uncommon bribes given and offered by the opposite party, . . . and the satisfaction of seeing the corrupted part of the commonalty justly disappointed in their mercenary expectations”. Stewart, in his MS. Annals, says that seme thought the election was “sold” by one of Hart's managers, who feared the contest would ruin him.

It has been already mentioned that the works for


rendering the Avon navigable to Bath were finished in 1728. Even before their completion an enterprising person sought to make use of the water way for the transit of passengers, for Farley's Newspaper of September 2nd, 1727, records an accident to “the new Passage Boat between Bristol and Twerton”. As travellers by land were then liable to be pillaged by turnpike rioters and highwaymen, whilst the roads themselves were almost impassable, the boat had many patrons. “Samuel Tonkins, the first and only waterman on Bath and Bristol river”, announced in the Gloucester Journal for April 15th, 1740, that he had added three new boats to his previous stock, “with a house on each, with sash windows”, and that two boats plied daily. The journey occupied “about” four hours, and the fare was one shilling.

A musical festival, probably the first held in Bristol, took place in the Cathedral on the 22nd November, 1727. The programme consisted of “a fine Te Deum, Jubilate, and Anthem, composed by the great Mr. Handell, in which above 30 voices and instruments were concerned”. In the evening of the same day two “consorts”, conducted by musical rivals, took place in the Merchants' Hall and the Theatre on St. Augustine's Back, “the gentlemen of the Musick Society” taking part in the former. The festival in the Cathedral was repeated a year later.

In 1727 a topographical work of an elaborate character, in six quarto volumes, was published in London under the title of “Magna Britannia, or a New Survey of Great Britain”. A few extracts from the description of Bristol, which appeared in the fourth volume, may be worth reproduction. The city, says the writer, “is very populous, but the people give up themselves to trade so entirely that nothing of the gaiety and politeness of Bath is to be seen here; all are in a hurry, running up and down with cloudy looks and busy faces, loading, carrying and unloading goods and merchandizes of all sorts from place to place, for the trade of many nations is drawn hither by the industry and opulency of the people. This makes them remarkably insolent to strangers, as well as ungrateful to benefactors, both naturally arising from being bred and become rich by trade as (to use their own phrase) to care for nobody but whom they can gain by; but yet this ill-bred temper hath produced one good effect, which our laws have not yet been able to do, and that is the utter extirpation of beggars”. The author goes on to refer to the large importations of Spanish sherry, which “is therefore (sic) called Bristol Milk,


not only because it is as common here as milk in other places, but because they esteem it as pleasant, wholesome and nourishing. . . . The Exchange is situate in the heart of the city. It consisteth only of a Piazza on one side of the street, but hath something surprising in it, being planted round with stone pillars, which have broad boss [brass?] plates on them, like sundials, and coats of arms, with certain inscriptions on every plate. They were erected by some eminent merchants, for the benefit of writing and despatching their affairs on them, and at Change time the merchants every one taking up their standing about, one or other of these pillars, that masters of ships and owners may know where to find them”.

Sir Abraham Elton, Bart., one of the greatest magnates of the city, died on the 9th February, 1728, probably at his house in Small Street. The announcement of his death in the local newspaper credited him with what was then considered the stupendous fortune of £100,000, “which he acquired by his own industry, raising himself and wife from a state of meanness and obscurity into wealth and notice”. Stewart, the contemporary annalist, in copying this notice, explains:- “His father was a scavenger and his wife a milkmaid”. (Jacob Elton, the father, was in fact a market gardener in St. Philip's out-parish, but may have collected the town refuse for the improvement of his land.) Sir Abraham was treasurer of Lewin's Mead Chapel in 1693-4. By his will, after bequeathing the manor of Clevedon to his eldest, and the manors of Whitestaunton and Winford to his other surviving son, and leaving large legacies to his widow and grandchildren, he made bequests to the Merchants' Almshouse, Trinity Hospital, the poor of St. John's, St. Werburgh's and St. Philip's parishes, and all the workmen in his extensive copper works at Conham, where he had founded a chapel. He also left a piece of land in St. Philip's for the endowment of a school in the out-parish, and ordered small yearly payments to schools at Clevedon and Winford.

On the 28th March, 1728, an unfortunate Bristol bookseller, J. Wilson, appeared at the bar of the House of Commons, in company with Robert Raikes, printer of the Gloucester Journal, charged with breach of privilege. Raikes, it appeared, had ventured to print part of a news-letter (forwarded by the celebrated Edward Cave), giving a brief account of a debate in the Lower House. As Wilson had merely sold a few copies of the Journal, and pleaded


ignorance, he was discharged; but Raikes was kept in custody nearly a fortnight, had to make an apology on his knees to the Speaker, and was mulcted £40 in fees. In Raikes's copy of the Journal, the words, “The woful paragraph”, are written over the few lines which cost him so dearly.

A fiscal interference with the glass trade, exciting much local irritation, was resolved upon by the Government during the session. With the object of preventing smuggling, the importation of wine in bottles and small casks was absolutely prohibited. The Bristol glassmakers petitioned against the proposal, asserting that many thousand persons were employed in making bottles for exportation, which were reimported filled with wine, and that the stoppage of this business would cause the entire destruction of the bottle trade; but the protest was ineffectual.

The first circulating library in Bristol was announced in Farley's Newspaper of March 30th, 1728. The proprietor, Thomas Sendall, bookseller, “at the sign of the Lock's Head in Wine Street”, stated that he had begun “a method of furnishing curious lovers of reading with a great variety of books to read by the year at a very easy rate”. Mr. Sendall boasted in a later advertisement that his library contained no less than 200 volumes.

The pompous and costly funeral of Mr. John Day has been recorded under 1718. In April, 1728, Mr. Thomas Day, eldest son of Sir Thomas, died at Brentford, leaving instructions as to his interment which shocked the sentiments of the age. His executors were directed to bury his remains by daylight, in the churchyard of any parish in which he might die, permitting no hearse or coach to attend, and giving the parson a guinea for doing his duty, the clerk ten shillings “for doing nothing”, and the sexton as much for “making my bed”. No monument was to be erected, and his coffin was to be “without any gimcracks, or what some people call ornaments”. Nothing was to be given at the funeral, “no, not wine” (which was always given), but six labouring men were each to have a guinea and a bottle of wine for bearing him to the grave. The deceased left considerable property to his kindred, but excepted two of his nephews in Bristol, Nathaniel and Thomas, who had only 5s. each, “for reasons which to them are not unknown”. (Their grandmother, Lady Day, had “cut them off” in similar terms in 1721.) To Mary Blackwell, a grand-niece, he left £200, “with all the furniture in the Great House at the Bridge End”, so often referred to in local history. Thomas


Day is stated by a contemporary London journal to have taken an active part in the Revolution, and to have enjoyed a pension of £400 a year for his services to the House of Hanover.

One of the perennial outbreaks of disease having occurred in Newgate, the authorities, who dispensed with a regular medical officer, frugally availed themselves of the help of a surgeon or apothecary who was incarcerated for debt. In March, 1728, he was paid £10 “as a free gift for his medicines and services to the sick”.

The Princess Amelia, daughter of George II., paid a visit to the city on the 9th May, 1728, in compliance with an invitation forwarded by the Council during her sojourn at Bath. The Avon having just been made navigable from Bath to Hanham, her Royal Highness, who detested bad roads, and had travelled from London to Bath in a sedan chair, resolved on making the journey by water, and a roomy wherry was gaily decorated for the occasion. The reader shall be spared a lengthy account of the reception. The Princess landed at Temple Back, where she was complimented by the mayor, and, having been handed to a sedan chair, she was conveyed by way of Thomas Street, High Street, Small Street, and the Quay to Alderman Day's mansion in Queen Square, where an address of welcome was presented. After an entertainment in the Merchants' Hall, the royal visitor was driven to interesting points in the city, then partook of dinner privately at Alderman Day's, and finally departed as she had come. The entertainment of the Princess cost the Corporation £242 11s. 11½d., of which about £60 were for wine, £8 6s. for “14 black velvet capps” (for the rowers?), £5 3s. 10d. for the use of knives, forks, and pewter plates, and 1s. 6d. for Hot Well water.

The first celebration of Royal Oak Day after the death of George I. was marked by the Jacobites all over England with unusual rejoicing, and the display in this district was doubtless intensified by the royal visit just recorded. A paragraph in the following week's Gloucester Journal, dated Bath, May 29th, states that “this morning the whole city was as a green wood, and all the people like walking boughs”. The oak trees around Bristol were seriously mutilated to make a similar display. For the following thirty years the 10th June, the Pretender's birthday, and the 11th June, the date of George II.'s accession, invariably gave rise to rival demonstrations.

In proportion as the civic treasury increased in wealth,


the love of the city magnates for feasting and ostentation correspondingly developed. Down to 1714 the entertainment of the judges was considered to be satisfactorily accomplished at a cost of from £25 to £30, the money being paid to the alderman or councillor who lent his house for the occasion. The outlay then gradually increased, and in 1721 Mr. Jacob Elton received £105, while £32 10s, were paid for keeping the judges' horses. In 1728 the Chamber resolved that, as Alderman Shuter, who occupied one of the finest houses in Queen Square, had been “at great trouble and expense in providing pewter, linen, and other necessaries for the maintenance of the judges for so many [four] years past”, the sum of £315 should be granted him. Next year Mr. Peter Day was voted £134 for entertaining the judges and the recorder. About this time the practice began of giving “suppers”, or in modern speech dinners, to the judicial functionaries at the conclusion of their daily labours. In 1731 the expenditure included suppers to the judges £46 3s. 3d., and similar treats to the recorder £40 5s., besides the usual sums for lodgings, servants, and horses.

Farley's Bristol Newspaper for July 20th, 1728, contains an account of a remarkably gallant combat sustained by a Bristol captain and crew against heavy odds. The writer states that the Kirtlington galley of 280 tons, 12 guns, and 17 men, under the command of Samuel Pitts, was on her way from Jamaica on the 8th June, when she was attacked by a Spanish rover, with about 100 men, armed with two swivels and abundance of blunderbusses. The Englishmen, urged by Pitts, struggled bravely, but after an hour's fight within pistol shot, the overpowering fire of the enemy forced the little band to take shelter, and about fifty of the Spaniards boarded the galley. The crew then rallied, shot the man who was about to strike the English flag, and fell so furiously on the assailants that “in about an hour's time they despatched all the rest but two”, who were severely wounded, and finally killed. Hereupon the pirate sheered off, pursued by the galley, which fired three broadsides in the hope of sinking her, but night fell, and her fate was unknown. It was believed that the Spaniard had lost between sixty and seventy men. Captain Pitts “had only four or five men wounded, and brought home his ship and cargo in honour and safety”. His triumph occasioned a lively feeling of pride and joy amongst the citizens, and the Merchants' Society presented him with a splendid piece of plate, weighing 266½ ounces, bearing an appropriate record


of his bravery. (This testimonial was purchased by the Corporation in 1821 for £148 16s., and now forms part of the civic plate.) Through some unaccountable blundering, Pitts's brilliant feat is recorded in Evans's history under 1628, and by Mr. Nicholls under 1629-30.

The new representative of the city, “Baron” Scrope, received a new honour in July, 1728, being appointed Recorder of Bristol upon the resignation of Chief Justice Eyre, who had held the office for twenty-four years. The new functionary, as a member of the Government, rendered local merchants great service in Parliament by opposing the attempts of the African Company to monopolise the slave trade. In 1730, when he came down to deliver the gaol, he was met some miles outside the city “by a great number of gentlemen on horseback, and forty or fifty coaches”, as a demonstration of respect.

The rural character of Stoke's Croft is illustrated by an announcement in Farley's Newspaper for July 27th, 1728, of a house and five acres of garden ground to be let there. The same paper, about six months previously, offered “four good pasture grounds to be let on St. Michael's Hill”. Another Stoke's Croft garden, of eleven acres, is mentioned in 1730.

An advertisement in Farley's Newspaper of December 21st, 1728, notifies that the fair previously held at “Points Pool” every New Year's Day would in future be held in West Street. “For encouragement, the inhabitants will give the use of their bulks and standings gratis, and a very good ox to be roasted whole in the said street”. This fair continued throughout the Georgian era, and was often the scene of great disorder, the city authorities having no power to interfere.

The years 1728 and 1729 were marked by bad harvests, high prices of food, and much consequent misery and discontent. Robberies from the person in the public streets at night were of frequent occurrence. Owing to the dearth, no less than 199 shiploads of grain were imported, the duties on which amounted to over £26,000. The arrival of nine cargoes of wheat from New York and Philadelphia was an unprecedented feature of this traffic. The clothing trade being much depressed, the employers combined to effect a reduction of wages, with the result of irritating the weavers into acts of violence. A Bristol paragraph in the Gloucester Journal of October 8th, 1728, stated that on the previous Thursday about 600 of the workmen living without


Lawford's Gate, after seizing and burning thirty looms there, set off in a body for Chew Magna, Pensford, and Keynsham, where they destroyed a quantity of machinery, pulling down a house in the course of the raid. On the 1st and 2nd September, 1729, there was another violent outbreak “outside the Gate”, in which many looms were torn out of the employers' houses and burnt in the streets. A much more serious affair occurred on the 29th September. The weavers met at Kingswood, and, after marshalling their forces, marched to the house of Stephen Fecham, in Castle Ditch, where they threatened to pull down the dwelling and murder the occupier on the ground that he paid his workmen 1s. per piece less than was given by other masters. (They had demolished another house on the Saturday before, says a contemporary reporter, and beaten off a body of soldiers.) Fecham had made preparations for resistance, and fired “several musquetoons” into the crowd, whereby five of the rioters were killed and two mortally wounded. The regiment brought to the spot also fired several volleys, though only, it was believed, of blank cartridge. One of the sergeants was killed by an accidental shot from Fecham's house. The affair excited great popular indignation, and a coroner's jury in the out-parish of St. Philip returned a verdict of wilful murder against Fecham, who, to escape the consequences, appealed for the protection of the Government. In the State Papers is a letter from him stating:- “The coroner of the county of Gloucester intends to endite the officers of the out-parish for not taking me up, so I should be glad if any way can be found to move it out of his power”. Mr. Scrope obtained for him the King's pardon, which he pleaded at the assize, and was liberated. One of the rioters was sentenced to death, and afterwards hanged. At the summer assizes at Gloucester four weavers were convicted and sentenced to death for destroying looms and cloth in the eastern suburbs of the city. (These outrages, as well as a serious riot in Temple Street, occurred after the Castle Ditch tragedy.) One culprit only was executed. He declared that the riots were solely due to the masters having reduced wages at a time when the weavers were starving. Soon afterwards Fecham absconded under disgraceful circumstances, when the weavers (13th March, 1731) carried his effigy in a cart to the city gallows, hanged it there amidst loud acclamations, and afterwards gibbeted it at Lawford's Gate (Stewart's MS.). Three days later some of Fecham's friends attempted to cut the gibbet down, “but


the weavers immediately beat to arms with a frying-pan, and collected money on purpose to pay a watch, and guard at night-time” (London Journal, March 25th). In the following May the magistrates, by virtue of their statutable powers, established “a table of rates of wages payable to weavers for divers sorts of goods”, and all masters and men were required to abide by the same “under the pains inflicted by law”. It would appear that the men could not earn more than about a shilling a day, which was inadequate, in seasons of dearth, to supply an average family with bread.

Although the country was at peace, the Government found it impossible to obtain the few men required for the navy except by impressment. Read's Journal contains a paragraph from Bristol, dated April 19th, 1729, stating that the press-gangs systematically seized the crews of vessels entering Kingroad, and that the captains of outward bound ships, to avoid similar losses, allowed the pilots to conduct the barques as far as the “Holmbs”, while their men stole down the country, and were taken up by boats.

The excessive prevalence of duelling amongst the upper classes at this period occasionally led to its adoption by hot-headed young tradesmen. In a letter dated May 3rd, 1729, a Bristol correspondent of the (London) Weekly Journal gives the following amusing account of a local “affair of honour”:- “There happening lately a quarrel between a young gentleman and a tradesman of this city, the latter gave the former a challenge to fight him at sword and pistol, which he accepted, and accordingly went this morning to the Nine Trees (the place appointed to decide the dispute, near the city) with one friend with him, where he was prepared with a sword and a brace of pistols, expecting his antagonist equipped with the like utensils; but to his no little surprise the tradesman brought up his mother, &c., for seconds, with a rusty pistol without a flint, and instead of performing his challenge declined fighting with pistols, and would have boxed the said gentleman, his mother offering ten guineas upon his head, which the gentleman declined, as not being according to the challenge given him”.

Prize fighting by women was also common at this date. Farley's Newspaper of May 31st contains the following:- “Monday next, at the Green Dragon, upon St. Michael's Hill, is to be a compleat Boxing Bout by Moll Buck, of this city, and Mary Barker, from London, for seven guineas. The latter has fought many prizes at Sword and Staff, and


she designs to perform the same at Bedminster one day next week”.

The city gaol was practically cleared of insolvent debtors about this time, by virtue of one of the haphazard “Acts of Grace” which Parliament was accustomed to pass when the complaints of the unhappy people wrung temporary attention to their sufferings. All this class of prisoners was released, save those owing more than £500. According to a London news letter of May 31st, the almost incredible number of 97,248 debtors applied for the benefit of the statute.

A costly local funeral is recorded in the (London) Weekly Journal of July 26th. “Cornelius Stevens, Esq., of Queen Square, the noted beau”, having died about the beginning of the month, his remains were placed in a coffin covered with crimson velvet, and lay in state for nearly a week. Twelve carriages with six horses each carried the mourners to St. James's Church, preceded by a hearse covered with heraldic escutcheons; but the mob, as was its custom, tore off the glittering panoply, “and acted so violently that the ceremony, for which the deceased had left £300, was shorn of its grandeur”.

The extraordinary looseness of the police of the streets is illustrated by the following minute of the vestry of St. Stephen's, dated September 4th:- “Inasmuch as many annoyances have been done to the church by many, by throwing grains, street dirt, ashes, rubbish, and likewise by putting tanners' bark, hides, bricks, hopps, hay, &c. against the church, as well as by putting boards and boxes against the walls and before the door”, orders were given to prosecute the persons committing such nuisances. The resolution proceeds:- “And we have also agreed that a turnpike shall be erected and set opposite to the vestry room”. A fortnight later, the vestry resolved that “whereas there hath been for time out of mind a turnpike in the lane near St. Stephen's Church which is now decayed”, a new one should be erected at the same place. The “turnpikes” were doubtless turnstiles.

A movement for the suppression of drunkenness and profanity sprang up about this time in Bristol and other towns. The remedy propounded for these offences was the stocks, which were in great favour amongst local aldermen during the last six months of 1729. Incorrigible drunkards were incarcerated for four hours. Persons convicted of cursing or swearing were held in durance for from one to four hours according to the number of their offences. One man, who


had been not only “prophane”, but drunk, was ordered to be exhibited no less than six hours. Females were frequently subjected to the punishment, and to the same painful extent as men. All these offenders, however, were rather pitied than tormented by the populace, and the magisterial severity was ineffectual. In December the last instance is recorded of another unavailing chastisement. A woman and two men having been convicted of lewdness, the aldermen (no less than nine of whom attached their signatures to the judgment) ordered “that they all three be put on horseback and ride” through the streets “according to the ancient custom of this city”.

A record of an unusually heavy rainfall in November, 1729, incidentally acquaints us with the state of the roads around Bristol. Several travellers, says a local newspaper, were obliged to swim their horses in order to reach the city, “as did the Bath coach for a considerable way”.

On the death, in 1730, of Robert Booth, who had been dean of Bristol for twenty-two years, the office was conferred on Samuel Creswicke, a descendant of an eminent local family in the previous century, and, by the gift, of the Corporation, incumbent of St. James's. Dr. Creswicke seems to have held clerical conventionalities in slight esteem. In the British Museum is a letter of Berkeley Seymour, a Bitton squire (murdered in 1742 by his brother William, who was hanged for the crime), to a neighbour, whose name does not appear. The missive, which is dated August, 1730, states that in default of a satisfactory answer by the bearer about the repayment of money arbitrarily taken from the writer's tenants, “I will demand justice of you this afternoon at your door with my sword. If your neighbour, Mr. Justice Creswicke, has a mind to divert himself that way, my cousin Bowles, who has come from Bristoll on purpose, has a sword at his servis; and if the tall learned divine. Dr. Creswicke, the present worthy dean of Bristoll, has any inclination to be of the party, the habit of a dragoon which he generally wears will be proper for the occasion: a young fellow of King's Collegde shall throw more Greek and Latin in his teeth than he will be able to digest in twelve months”. In 1739 Dr. Creswicke was promoted to the deanery of Wells, but continued to hold his Bristol parish. At his residence, Haydon, near Wells, he ordered a cockpit to be constructed, so that he and his guests could witness the “sport” from his dining-room, the window of which was enlarged for the purpose. The death of Dean Booth put an end to a long


standing quarrel between the cathedral authorities and the Corporation.

The year 1730 was made memorable in England by the outbreak of a previously unknown species of crime, invented by a few miscreants in Bristol, but which rapidly spread in all directions. The trick conceived by the knaves was of the simplest character. A letter was thrown into a warehouse or shop, threatening that if a certain sum of money - generally eight or ten guineas - was not deposited in a certain secluded place, the building would be burnt down or the owner murdered. It was not discovered when this practice commenced, for the villains at first exacted secrecy, and probably many persons submitted in silence to the extortion. About the end of September, however, a Mr. Packer, whose house adjoined the shipbuilding yard of Mr. Clement, near Trinity Street, received several letters with demands for money, with which he refused to comply; and the conspirators, resolving to strike general terror, set fire to his house on the night of Saturday, the 3rd October. The building was burnt to the ground, but the premises of Clement, from whom money had also been demanded, escaped uninjured. On the following day, a letter was flung into a Mr. Boltby's shop, stating that Packer could have prevented the fire if he had placed ten guineas in the place assigned, and that the writers would pursue him if he went into twenty houses, and murder him at the first opportunity. Another paper threatened to set the whole city in flames. Packer that day took refuge at a house in Canons' Marsh, adjoining the warehouse of Messrs. Teague and Farr, in which cordage and hemp to the value of £10,000 were stored. During the night fire-balls were flung into this warehouse, but the flames were extinguished. The whole city was aroused by the malignity of the criminals, the watch was doubled, and voluntary aid was plentifully offered to the authorities. In a few days several persons were arrested on suspicion, some being sent for security to Bath and Ilchester gaols; but the real culprits remained at liberty. Letters were still thrown about threatening to burn various buildings, as well as the shipping at Sea Mills dock, and a reward of £500 offered for the detection of the gang was without effect. Owing to repeated threats to destroy Mr. Clement's shipyard, it was guarded by soldiers for several weeks. The terrorism which had been so profitable to its original inventors speedily found imitators amongst the criminals of neighbouring towns, and “threatening letters” were soon disseminated in every


county in the kingdom, exciting universal alarm. The Bristol malefactors were doubtless ruffians of the lowest class, but many ruined gamblers and unscrupulous knaves in other localities had recourse to a proceeding by which money could be so easily gained.

The story of the panic gives us also a glimpse into the treatment of suspected but innocent persons awaiting trial in Newgate. A man named Power, son of a Dublin attorney, happened to be in Bristol on the day when Packer's house was destroyed. Being a stranger and in poor circumstances, he fell under suspicion, and upon a little girl declaring that she had seen him throw the letter into Boltby's shop he was arrested. Two other children next asserted that he had given them letters to throw into Packer's house, whereupon he was committed for trial and thrown into the “Pit” at Newgate - an underground dungeon generally reserved for condemned convicts. There, as he told the jury at his trial, he was “chained down to a staple, and was kept fourteen weeks and three days, in the winter weather, without pen, ink, paper, fire or candle, far distant from my relatives and destitute of money, and have now suffered almost twelve months' imprisonment”. The evidence against him being quite untrustworthy, he was acquitted, but he was compelled to pay the gaoler's fees before his liberation. The marvel is that he escaped with his life. During the spring assizes of 1730, at Taunton, the Lord Chief Baron, the sheriff of Somerset, a serjeant-at-law, and several judicial officers died from gaol fever, owing to the horrible condition of some of the prisoners brought from Ilchester gaol.

During the alarm caused by the incendiaries, the Common Council was inspired by the happy thought that it would be useful to the citizens to know where they could find a constable in an emergency. It was therefore ordered that a “painted staff” should be affixed at the door of each constable. Those officials, however, disliked a regulation which, in times of riot, exposed their dwellings to the vengeance of the rabble, and the symbol of law and order seems to have often disappeared when it was most sought for. Another order, issued by the magistrates, required the twelve watchmen who guarded the city during the night to remain on duty from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. during the winter months, each man to receive 9d. per night for his pains.

A coach undertaking to perform the journey between Bristol and Salisbury in one day, during the summer season only, started for the first time on the 26th March, 1730.


The Elizabethan mansion called Redland Court was demolished in or about 1730 by order of Mr. John Cossins, the owner, who commissioned John Strahan, a Bristol architect, to erect the handsome building in the Italian style now standing on the same site. Mr. Cossins afterwards built and endowed a chapel on Redland Green, for the use of his household and of the handful of families then dwelling in the neighbourhood. It was opened for public worship on the 6th October, 1743.

A paper war in the local press between rival practitioners affords a glimpse of the costume of the medical profession at this time. One of the antagonists sneers at the other's “monstrous wig, ornamental sword, velvet sleeves, and fashionable great cloak”. We learn from other sources that the cloak then worn by the middle and upper classes was always of blazing scarlet.

In consequence of numerous representations of the citizens, a committee of the Council reported in February, 1731, that the times fixed for holding the two great local fairs were inconvenient and prejudicial to traders, for whose relief it was recommended that the summer, or St. James's, fair should in future commence on the 1st September, and the winter, or St. Paul's, fair on the 1st March. The report was adopted, and there is nothing in the minutes to show that the alterations did not forthwith take place. As a matter of fact, the Corporation had no power to change the dates except under legislative authority, and an Act for that purpose was not even applied for until 37 years afterwards. The committee also reported that the standings set up in Wine Street during St. James's fair were a common nuisance, and should be suppressed, but as the sheriffs were entitled to exact fees from the stall-holders, it was suggested that similar standings might be erected in Broadmead. These recommendations were also approved, and the Council further resolved that the stalls annually set up about the High Cross should be thenceforth prohibited. The sheriffs subsequently complained that their income had been reduced by the removal of the Wine Street standings, and they were voted a yearly compensation of £20. It is to be regretted that no description of the city during fair time has been preserved. From casual references in newspapers and letters, the scene, especially during the summer fair, must have been one of remarkable animation and gaiety. Lengthy preparations were made for the great local event of the year. The corporate records show that other business was frequently thrust aside


until “after the fair”, in order that the civic mind might not be disturbed in maturing its arrangements. When the day at length arrived, gentry, farmers, and well-to-do tradesmen, with their families, arrived from the neighbouring counties and South Wales, and the citizens offered generous hospitality to their country friends. Home manufactures of every description poured in by means of wagons and pack-horses, and London mercers and milliners eagerly hired shops in the oddest localities - the Pithay was one of their favourite nooks - in order to dazzle provincial eyes with their fashionable wares. What seems still stranger to modern ideas, the fair was extensively attended by wholesale purchasers of foreign merchandise. A London journal of July, 1729, contains a report from Bristol lamenting that “sugars are very scarce here for want of the Jamaica fleet, which is a great disappointment to our fair”. How extensive was the business transacted may be imagined from a petition presented to the House of Commons by the Corporation in 1697, in which it is estimated that at least £160,000 in old silver coin would be brought to the next fair from Wales and other districts. Goldsmiths, the bankers of the time, arrived from distant places and set up standings for carrying on their business in the Meal Market (afterwards the Guard House) in Wine Street. The week was as notable for its amusements as for business. A company of play-actors was rarely wanting, and all the peripatetic conjurors and showmen of the midland counties and the south of England flocked in to compete for the smiles, and pence, of a public eager to be entertained. The grossest impostures were practised with impunity. Southey records, as a youthful reminiscence, that he once saw a shaved monkey exhibited as a veritable fairy; while a shaved bear, in a checked coat and trousers, was sitting in a great chair, and styled an Ethiopian savage.

On the 16th Februar5% 1731, a petition was presented to the House of Commons from the merchants of Bristol trading with America, complaining of harassing interruptions to trade, caused for several years by Spanish ships of war. Several Bristol ships having been plundered and captured, the petitioners prayed for relief. A committee having been appointed to investigate the case, a number of Bristol captains and sailors gave evidence as to the cruel treatment they had undergone. The committee reported that the petitioners had fully proved their allegations. A message was soon afterwards read to the House, declaring that the


King would take steps to prevent depredations, and to procure satisfaction for the damages already sustained. The truth was that the English merchants were carrying on an extensive smuggling trade with the Spanish colonies, for which their vessels were often seized by the Spanish coast-guards. The matter, as will be seen later on, brought about a war between the two countries. The Bristol merchants appear to have suffered severely before appealing to the House of Commons. In a memorandum book once belonging to Edward Southwell, M.P. for Bristol in 1760, now in the British Museum, is a brief jotting to the effect that a Mr. Hawksworth and other Bristolians claimed £60,000 as compensation for losses between 1718 and 1721.

Although the growing traffic caused by increased population gave rise to complaints as to the inconvenience of the gateways into the city, the Corporation was in no humour to remove those ancient defences. Lawford's Gate was “ repaired and beautified” in 1721, although it was so narrow as to cause a daily block of traffic. A petition of the inhabitants of Temple parish, in 1730, asserting that Temple Gate was so low and narrow as to be highly incommodious and dangerous, met with no response. The people of Redcliff having complained of the Gate in that parish, and being more influential, the Council resolved, in 1731, not to remove the obstruction, but to rebuild it, and £260 were spent in rearing a very ugly and inconvenient structure. In 1734 it was found indispensable to improve Temple Gate also. It was consequently rebuilt in a “rustic classic” style, with an extremely narrow roadway for carriages, and two passages for pedestrians. The expenditure was £476. As the gates could not accommodate the traffic, the Chamber persisted in accommodating the traffic to the gates. An influential committee, in February, 1731, asserted that the entry into the city of wains and carts having iron-bound wheels was a public nuisance, and recommended that all such vehicles, except the London wagons unloading at St. Peter's Pump, and a few others, should be forbidden to pass along the streets. The Chamber adopted this advice, and the fine for infringing the regulation was fixed at 6s. 8d. The “nuisance” nevertheless was not abated; for in January, 1736, a committee was fruitlessly appointed to suppress “the growing evil” of heavy cart traffic. A misdated note amongst Mr. Seyers MSS., founded on the remembrance of an old citizen, must belong to about this time. The statement is to the effect that the Corporation prohibited carts


and wagons from crossing Bristol bridge, compelling the drivers to unload hay, etc., on sledges, but that “about 1720”, Mr. Smyth, of Long Ashton, denying the right of the authorities to do this, one day took the whip from one of his carters and personally drove a loaded wagon over the bridge, “since which time the passage of wagons has been permitted”. Another civic report, presented in 1731, was inspired by the old prejudice against “foreigners”. A committee reported that they had obtained evidence that a freeman named John Clark, a mercer in Wine Street, had been secretly in partnership with one John Steward, a foreigner, whose merchandise he had “covered” from town dues, contrary to his oath. Clark, who was Steward's brother-in-law, was disfranchised by the Chamber. In December, 1736, it was reported to the House that Clark continued to carry on business in Wine Street. After being persistently worried, he at length begged for readmission as a free burgess, and paid a fine of £30.

In the meantime, a number of unfortunate people were arrested for following a trade to which they had not served an apprenticeship of seven years. They were generally committed for trial, and, if unable to find bail, they often lay several weeks in the unhealthy gaol. The absurdity of the law was admitted by all except the selfish interests that put its powers in force, and on only one occasion did the prosecutors obtain a conviction, with a fine of 40s.

Although the early newspapers were remiss in chronicling local disasters caused by the flooding of the Froom, there can be no question that that river was a frequent terror to the inhabitants of Broadmead and the adjacent district. In the summer of 1731 the Corporation spent the large sum of £337 12s. 6d, in “making new sluices at St. James's Mills for the better venting of the water in great freshes”.

The Council, in September, 1731, ordered that markets for the sale of hay should be established in Broadmead for Gloucestershire produce, and in Temple Street for that of Somerset. Hay arriving by water was to be sold on the Quays. The chief intention of the arrangement was to prevent the passage of heavy carts through the central streets. A machine for weighing loaded carts, the first introduced into the city, was purchased for the Broadmead market in 1738.

The year 1731 is notable for the definite establishment in Bristol of a manufacture for which the city continues to be famous. Farley's Bristol Newspaper of August 21st contains the following advertisement:- “His Majesty having been


pleased to grant to Walter Churchman, of Bristol, Letters Patent for the sole use of an Engine by him invented for the expeditious, fine, and clean making of Chocolate to greater perfection than by any other method in use, the patentee purposes to sell his Chocolate at the common prices. . . . N.B. Buyers of shells may be furnished with any quantities of them at a low price at his house in Broadmead”. After the death of the inventor, the business was carried on by his son Charles, a solicitor, who lived at the premises in Broadmead. The latter died in May, 1761, and in the following month the Bristol Journal announced for sale “the Castle Mills of Bristol, with all the buildings adjoining, late the estate of Mr. Charles Churchman. . . . And also the said Mr. Churchman's Chocolate Mills and works there, which being a Secret cannot be exposed to view”. Another local chocolate manufacturer had entered the field before Churchman's demise. Joseph Fry, born in 1728, settled in Bristol as an apothecary about twenty years later, and was admitted a freeman in 1763, on payment of a fine of fifteen guineas. The Bristol Journal of March 24th, 1759, announced that “Joseph Fry, Apothecary, is removed from Small Street to a house opposite Chequer Lane in Narrow Wine Street, where he makes and sells Chocolate as usual”. Mr. Fry forthwith negotiated for Churchman's premises, and in November, 1761, an advertisement in the same paper announced that “Churchman's Patent Chocolate is now made by Joseph Fry and John Vaughan, jun., the said Churchman's executor, the present sole proprietors of the famous Water Engine at the Castle Mills”. In 1763, Fry, still styled an apothecary, had a house and shop in Wine Street “next door to the Crispin inn”; but in 1777, soon after the construction of Union Street, he announced his removal there, “opposite the upper gate of St. James's Market, where he keeps his shop for the sale of Churchman's Patent and other sorts of Chocolate, nibs, and Cocoa”. The fame of Churchman's preparation was so widely spread that the name was and still is retained by the Frys for some of their productions. The founder of their house appears to have been a man of great ingenuity and enterprise. In conjunction with a printer named Pine he established a type foundry in Bristol, which was removed in 1770 to London, where “Fry and Son” were type-founders to the Prince of Wales in 1786. In a handbill announcing the publication of the Bristol Mercury, January. 1790, it is stated that the paper would be “printed in a new and most beautiful type by the


ingenious Fry”. We shall subsequently find him connected with Champion in the celebrated Bristol China works. In 1771, in conjunction with Samuel Fripp, he purchased the soap and candle manufactory of Farell, Vaughan, and Co. in Christmas Street. The works were removed to Castle Gate, and developed into the extensive manufactory carried on in later days by Messrs. Thomas Brothers. And besides these businesses, he had chemical works at Battersea. By his brethren of the Society of Friends Joseph Fry was greatly respected for his earnest efforts to raise the moral tone of the denomination, which in his youth had degenerated from its pristine purity and simplicity. Extravagance of dress was common amongst youthful Quakers, who flashed to chapel in gay clothes and powdered wigs. Drunkenness and gambling were not unknown. Many wealthy Quakers were engaged in privateering. These annals will record a challenge to mortal conflict proffered by a Bristol Quaker to a lawyer. In August, 1722, at Gloucester, an Irish Quaker exhibited his skill with broadsword and dagger, falchion and quarter-staff, in combats with a Bristol gladiator. The minutes of the Bristol Friends refer with grief to the dealings of some of the members in smuggled goods. And in the Jefferies Collection is a singular document showing that a family of Quakers at Alveston bought, and enjoyed for many years, under the name of an attorney, half the tithes of the lordship of Tockington. Against the various backslidings Fry urgently remonstrated, and his efforts, with those of others, eventually succeeded in accomplishing a complete regeneration in the Society.

In the autumn of 1731 a movement was started by the Whig party in London for the erection of a statue of William III. A large sum was soon raised by subscription, but when a site for the monument was requested, the Common Council, in which the Tories had gained predominance, refused even to receive the petition. The incident caused much comment throughout the country, and notably amongst the merchants of Bristol, a great majority of whom were Whigs, and steps were forthwith taken to prove the loyalty of the city to the Revolution settlement. On the 8th December, say the minutes of the Council, “a memorial, inscribed by a great number of gentlemen, setting forth that the memorialists, with many other inhabitants, were willing at their own charge to erect a public statue to the memory of our great and glorious Deliverer, William III., was produced”. The document, which prayed for a suitable


site for the monument, was cordially received. The Chamber fixed upon Queen Square as an appropriate site, and unanimously voted £600 towards the expense, adding that the subscription might be increased if “occasion required”. The Merchants' Society, equally enthusiastic, voted £300 (having previously negatived a proposal, insidiously made by the Tories, to erect a statue to George II.). A few weeks later a committee of nine gentlemen - three appointed by the Corporation, three by the Merchants' Company, and three by the subscribers - proceeded to carry out the undertaking. Two designs were received in July, 1732, one by the celebrated Rysbraek, the other by a Mr. Schymaker, the former of which was selected. In September, 1733, the ground was broken in the centre of Queen Square for the purpose of laying the foundation of the monument, when, says a mocking paragraph in the Gloucester Journal, Alderman John Becher “uttered this pious ejaculation, 'My shepherd is the living God, in whom is my defence', and out of his abundant generosity gave the workmen two shillings and sixpence to drink his worship's good health”. (Becher had shortly before been paid £413 by the Corporation for his exertions in defending the interests of the local slave traders against the African Company.) From some unexplained cause, there was a long delay between the casting of the statue and its erection. In December, 1734, the Hull monument, by Schymaker, was uncovered with great ceremony, when the mayor and corporation “drank prosperity to the friends of the Revolution, particularly in the city of Bristol”. But it was not until September, 1736, that the work in Queen Square was reported to the Council to be “handsomely finished”. Rysbraek received £1,800 for one of his finest productions. Schymaker had £50 for his model. The subscriptions being insufficient, the Council voted a further gift of £600 in December, 1736.

Another of the great cockfighting “entertainments” of the time was announced in the Gloucester Journal of the 9th November. The match was between “the gentlemen of Bristol and the gentlemen of Bath”, who were to produce forty-one birds each, “for four guineas a battle and sixty guineas the odd battle”.

A Latin inscription in the old church of St. Nicholas recorded that in the year 1731, when the building threatened to fall to ruins, four new columns were erected by the churchwardens, serving both for strength and ornament. It appears from the vestry records that one of the piers was three times


rebuilt, and that John Podmore - styled “the ingenious” for his erection of a great crane on the quay - vainly contrived a cast iron machine to screw up the neighbouring pillars to their capitals. John Wood, of Bath, was at length engaged, and the danger of a complete collapse was averted. The total outlay was very great, and crippled the vestry for several years.

Whilst the above reconstruction was proceeding, the dean and chapter evinced their culture and sense of beauty by ordering the destruction of the original Romanesque windows in the Chapter House of the Cathedral, including the graceful ornamentation surrounding them. Four ugly sash windows were inserted in their place.

After having taken breath for ten years, the Corporation, on the 5th January, 1732, resolved to resume operations for the building of an Exchange, and a committee was appointed to negotiate for a site. This body reported in July that it had contracted for the acquirement of the Guilders tavern (rental £46), the Guilders inn (rental £80), and other premises for the sum of £2,600, and also for the possession of the Three Tuns tavern (rental £89), and other buildings for £2,000. The contracts were confirmed by the Council. The owner of the Guilders estate resided in London, and some difficulty was encountered in remitting the purchase money. Eventually ten bills of exchange and two promissory notes were bought up from various mercantile firms, and the balance was forwarded in Bank of England notes. As all the money had to be borrowed, the Chamber again shelved the matter for some years.

A shocking illustration of the barbarous military punishments of the age is recorded in a Bristol paragraph, dated March 18th, 1732, in Read's Weekly Journal. The writer states that a soldier, convicted of drinking the Pretender's health, had just received a thousand lashes with a cat of nine tails in Queen Square, and was afterwards drummed out of the regiment. (Mist's Journal of June 22nd, 1728, contains a report that an Irish Roman Catholic soldier had been whipped at Bristol two days in succession with a cat of nine tails for persevering in his religion and refusing to go to church, the punishment being so severe that he begged to be shot or hanged.) In another case, about the same date, a sergeant in the Fusiliers, for desertion and fraud, was sentenced to receive 2,000 lashes; but at the intercession of several ladies the frightful punishment was remitted. The prisoner, stripped to the waist and with a halter round


his neck, was drummed through the streets, and finally driven out of the city.

The church and tower of St. Stephen being reported in a state of great decay, and the cost of restoration being estimated at £1,000, the Common Council, in May, 1732, voted £100 towards the renovation.

The Chamber, at the above meeting, appointed a committee to consider the charges imposed by the trade companies of the city upon the admission of new members, it being alleged that these demands were in many cases “exorbitant”. The committee never reported, and as it does not appear that the Corporation took any further action in the matter, the companies seem to have been allowed to persist in a system which gradually brought about self destruction. In 1719 there were twenty-three of these fraternities, which embraced nearly every mechanical trade in the city, seniority being claimed by the merchant tailors. To all of them the Corporation had delegated powers for regulating their respective trades. Thus, so late as 1730, the Common Council approved of new ordinances for the Carpenters' Company, by which no person save a member of that society was allowed to exercise the trade of a carpenter in the city, either as a master or a journeyman, under a penalty of 10s. a day, while no employer was to take an apprentice without the leave of the company. As population and business developed, however, it was found impossible to coerce young tradesmen into entering societies which demanded large fees on admission and offered nothing in return. Moreover, as local goldsmiths, drapers, grocers, and stationers were never incorporated, the Bristol companies had neither the wealth nor the prestige of the similar associations in London. As a natural consequence, the societies gradually faded out of existence as the old members dropped off. Of only one or two have we any record. The annual meetings of the richest of the companies, the Tailors, were generally attended by some 60 to 70 members about the beginning of the century. But in 1757 the attendance sank to 27; in 1767 to 24; in 1777 to 20; in 1787 to 7; and in 1797 to 6; the members being soon after reduced to 2, who alternately elected each other master until 1815, when a Mr. Amos elected himself, and continued to do so until his death (Minutes of the Company, Jefferies Collection). The Mercers numbered about forty in the first decade of the century, but the last mention of their hall occurs in 1718.


At the Gloucestershire quarter sessions in April, 1732, the justices made an order respecting the wages of labour throughout the county, which affords an insight into working-class life in Clifton, Westbury, and the out-parishes of St. James and St. Philip. The magistrates seem to have considered every labourer entitled to consume a quart of beer daily. The daily wages of every carpenter, wheelwright and mason, as well as a mower in hay harvest, were to be 1s. 2d. “without drink”, or 1s. “with drink”. [The same rates for artisans had been fixed by the justices of Somerset some years earlier.] An ordinary labourer, without diet or drink, was to be paid 10d., with drink 8d., and with diet 4d. A head maid-servant or cook was to have £2 10s. a year; a second maid-servant £2. On farms, a driving boy under 14 years was allowed £1 yearly, a head labourer £5, and a second labourer £4, with food. The magisterial scale was accompanied by a notice that any master presuming to give higher wages than those fixed would on conviction be imprisoned for ten days and fined £5, while servants accepting higher earnings would be imprisoned for three weeks. Any servant who, after concluding his term of service, should remove from one parish to another, without a certificate from the constable and two householders, was declared incapable of being hired, was to be imprisoned until the certificate was forthcoming, and was “to be whipped and used as a vagabond” if he failed to obtain it. Any person hiring such a servant was to be fined £5. Artificers and labourers were to work, from the middle of March to the middle of September, from five in the morning until between seven and eight o'clock at night, two hours and a half being allowed for breakfast, dinner, and “drinking”. In the winter half year, they were to labour from dawn to night.

A minute of a meeting of St. Stephen's vestry, dated July 18th, deals in a characteristic manner with one of the most shocking customs then prevalent throughout England - the practise of burying deceased parishioners in the interior of churches. The vestry had discovered that their fabric had been much injured by the frequent interments within it, “which is wholly owing”, says the minute, “to the low price fixed for burying there”. It was resolved that the fee for breaking the ground should be increased to three guineas, a charge which may have brought in some additional revenue, but which could have had little effect in improving the sanitary condition of the church. In


despite of this order, moreover, the vestry, in 1740, permitted an ordinary grave to be dug within the building on payment of a fee of 13s. 4d. It was not until 1763 that burial in the church was forbidden unless the grave was lined with bricks.

The wholesale price of wine at this period was exceedingly moderate. In the local Prerogative Court is an inventory of the estate of John Duval, a Bristol merchant, dated 1729, whose stock comprised upwards of ninety pipes of “new Port”, appraised as of the value of £26 10s. each; and one pipe of “old Port”, valued at £30, equal to 4s. 9d. per gallon. In the Jefferies Collection, amongst some accounts of James Cadell, a prosperous Bristol merchant, is the following:- “Aug. 2, 1732, Received of J. Cadell, Esq., £11 for half a pipe of wine, spared him. B. Webb”. The wine remained in the wood nearly six years, when Mr. Webb received £3 16s. for “bottles, corkes and botteling”. The total cost of the well-matured liquor was therefore equal to about 9s. 6d. a dozen.

The Corporation, in August, 1732, paid £6 to one John Mason, for “turning six large posts for the brass heads to be put on at the Tolzey, near All Saints Church”. These articles were similar to the brazen pillars now standing in front of the Exchange.

One of the kindly habits of the time was the annual gathering of prosperous Bristolians, born in one or other of the neighbouring shires, for the purpose of assisting other natives of the respective counties who had been less fortunate in the battle of life. A Bristol paragraph in a London newspaper of September 2nd records that the yearly feast of the Wiltshire Society had just taken place. The members walked in procession to Christ Church to hear a sermon. “There was a fine appearance, and a shepherd, with his habit, crook, bottle and dog attended them”. The proceedings of course concluded with a dinner, which took place in the Merchants' Hall. The subscriptions were generally appropriated to the apprenticing of boys. Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Somerset men held similar festivities at the same period, whilst the families of poor Welshmen were relieved by the Society of Ancient Britons.

On the 10th January, 1733, the Common Council drew up a representation to the members of Parliament for the city, desiring them to strenuously oppose any project of an Excise “on customable merchandise or home manufactured goods”. The instruction, like a similar memorial of the Merchant


Venturers, was drawn up in consequence of a rumour that the Government was maturing such a proposal; and in fact Sir Robert Walpole, two months later, introduced a scheme for placing the tobacco trade under the supervision of the Excise authorities. The chief reason offered for the change was that enormous frauds were perpetrated under the existing system, with the effect of reducing the produce of the tobacco duty from a gross receipt of £760,000 to a net sum of £160,000. The arguments of the Minister, though unanswerable, had no effect in calming the popular clamour, and, after a vehement struggle in the House of Commons, the measure was dropped on the 11th April. As Bristol enjoyed a large share of the tobacco trade, the joy of those concerned in it was naturally exuberant. (The Corporation and the Merchants' Company each spent £81 5s. 6d. in furthering the agitation against the Bill.) An express announcing the failure of the scheme was forwarded from London by Sir Abraham Elton, M.P., and reached the city at eleven o'clock in the evening of the following day. Whereupon, says the only local newspaper, the merchants and traders (at the mayor's invitation) assembled at the Council House to drink the health of Walpole's opponents. Thirty-six gallons of port and sherry and 42 bottles of claret were consumed by the revellers, while 108 gallons of strong beer were distributed to the populace at the High Cross, all at the expense of the Corporation. The London Daily Courant stated a few days later, on the authority of a Bristol letter, that the mayor sent orders “to have the bells tuned; all the schoolmasters in town were ordered to keep holiday \ the boys were employed in making squibs; and the mayor erected a battery of seven great guns behind his house, to the great annoyance of the small beer in the Square. Fagots and tar barrels were erected into monstrous bonfire piles [one of them blazed before the Excise Office in Broad Street] and some ships showed their dirty colours: few of the fires were without some instruments of execution” (by which, as we learn from Stewart's MS., it was meant that the unpopular Minister was hanged and burnt in effigy). This account, which concluded with some caustic remarks on the mayor's sympathy with the mob, caused great irritation in corporate circles, and after being stigmatised by the grand jury at the next sessions as a scandalous libel, the newspaper was ordered to be publicly burnt. In the following June, when Sir Abraham Elton returned to Bristol, his warm opposition to the Excise Bill was rewarded by a


popular demonstration. He was met, on his approach, and ushered into the city by 600 horsemen, many of whom wore knots of gilded tobacco in their hats, and the procession was wound up with coaches and sedan chairs; Temple Street was dressed with boughs, and the towers of the churches were adorned with scarlet cloth (Stewart's MS.). (After Walpole's fall, the unpopular features of his Excise scheme were enacted by his opponents.)

Trinity Street, which for many years commonly bore the odd name of the Masonry, was in course of erection at this time. The minutes of the dean and chapter, dated the 17th January, 1733, record the renewal to Mr. Jarrit Smith of his lease of “the Masonry and Covent Garden”, on payment of a fine of £73 14s. The lease was again renewed in 1746, when the chapter accepted a fine of £750. A larger extent of ground may have been included in this document, for in September, 1743, an exchange of lands took place between the bishop and the capitular body, the former surrendering the Bishop's Orchard, for which he accepted certain “ gardens in Dean's Marsh”. In 1761, when Jarrit Smith's lease again crops up in the chapter minutes, the place is styled “the late Masonry, now Trinity Street”. The fine for renewal, including “the Bishop's Orchard, lately improved by buildings”, was £1,076, as it was again in 1774.

A discreditable exposure was made at the meeting of the poor-law guardians on the 8th February, 1733. It was discovered that Richard Baggs, of Temple Street, a member of the board (who in the previous year had been convicted of an abominable offence, for which he was sentenced to stand in the pillory for an hour, to pay a fine of £200, and to be imprisoned for six months), had obtained sums of charity money from several of the churchwardens, undertaking to distribute the amount amongst “sundry poor people”, but that he had defrauded the intended recipients, and put the money into his own pocket. His prosecution was ordered, but at the next meeting, in consequence, no doubt, of the supplications of the knave, still in prison, it was ordered “that Mr. Matthew Purnell do wait on Mr. Richard Baggs and receive of him the sum of £200, for which he hath given bond this day, for his having defrauded the poor, and that the same be paid to Mr. Nehemiah Champion, treasurer to this corporation, and that he [meaning Baggs] shall have a general release from this corporation, and that he shall make a resignation of his guardianship”. The guardians thought the scandal deserving of a permanent record, and a


board was set up in the court-room narrating the offence and the punishment as a memorial and a warning. The inscription still remains.

At a meeting of the Council on the 21st July, 1733, a “representation” of several of the inhabitants of High Street and the neighbourhood was read, suggesting the removal of the High Cross. A portion of this document is worthy of record:- “It hath been insinuated by some that this Cross, on account of its antiquity ought to be lookt upon as something sacred. But when we consider that we are Protestants, and that Popery ought effectually to be guarded against in this nation, we make this our request to you to consider. If the opening of a passage to four of the principal streets in this city ought not to outweigh anything that can be said for the keeping up a ruinous and superstitious Relick, which is at present a public nuisance”. After a discussion, the question as to the removal of the Cross was put to the Chamber. “It was voted in the affirmative by a great majority, and Mr. Chamberlain is ordered to cause the same to be forthwith pulled down, and to dispose of the images and materials as shall be thought fit”. According to tradition, the chief agitator for the destruction of the Cross was John Vaughan, a wealthy goldsmith and banker, whose shop and dwelling were in the curious wooden house still standing at the corner of Wine and High Streets, and who, it is said, offered to swear that his life and property were endangered in every high wind by the shaking of the weather-worn “relick” before his door. But Mr. Vaughan's name was not appended to the memorial. The Cross was removed in the following month, the stones being deposited in the Guildhall. Its dishonoured condition, however, gave pain to many citizens, and Alderman Price, with a few other gentlemen, provided funds for its re-erection in College Green. It is characteristic of the loose business habits of public bodies in that age that there is no record, either of the Council's permission to remove the materials, or of the dean and chapter's grant of the new sits. The Cross was, however, reconstructed in the spring of 1736, and somewhat garishly ornamented with gold and colours.

A resolution passed by the Common Council in August, 1733, proves that the old dislike of “foreigners” was still an active force. On the motion of Alderman Becher, it was determined “that no person residing without the liberties of the city shall henceforth, upon any consideration whatever, be admitted into the freedom of this city”. Honorary


freedoms were of course excepted from the regulation, which was carried by 16 votes to 13. The order, which soon became obsolete, may possibly have been intended to discourage the residence of merchants in Clifton and other suburban districts.

The Council, on the 12th December, voted a pension of £10 yearly to Elizabeth Joy, grand-daughter of Edward Morgan (mayor, 1667), and niece to Sir Robert Yeamans, Bart, (mayor, 1669), she being “reduced to very great straights for the necessaries of life”.

The accounts of the parochial vestries about this time contain references to an instrument called an umbrella, which, as the St. Nicholas' books explain, was used for the purpose of protecting clergymen in wet weather whilst reading the burial service in churchyards. The earliest discovered mention of the article occurs in the St. Philip's accounts for 1723, when 5s. was paid for “mending the umbrella”. In 1733 the same parish paid for “6 yards oil'd cloth for ye umbrella, 12s. 6d.”, from which it would seem that the apparatus was something in the nature of a portable canopy. Christ Church vestry, in 1740, ordered the purchase of “another umbrelloe for the use of this church”, in 1744 St. Nicholas' vestry laid out £2 16s. for the same purpose; an umbrella “for the use of the rector” was ordered for St. Stephen's in 1761, and in 1765 a new umbrella cost the St. Philip's authorities £3 3s. As evidence that these instruments were not adapted for locomotion, the corporate accounts for 1760 show a payment of £5 17s. “for saile cloth used in the umbrelloes for the market”, and four similar items, amounting to over £30, occur between 1757 and 1762. The portable umbrella of the present day was, in fact, then unknown in England.

The Prince of Orange, who was about to marry the Princess Royal of England, being on a visit to Bath, the Corporation resolved, in January, 1734, “in regard of his illustrious descent and firm attachment to the Protestant religion”, to invite him to Bristol. His Highness, in response to the request, came to the city on the 21st February, and was entertained to dinner at the Merchants' Hall, conducted to the Hot Well and the Quays, and treated to a sumptuous supper and ball. Having slept at the house of Alderman Day, the Prince next morning received the city clergy, and shortly afterwards departed. The cost of the entertainment was £297 1s. 3d., exclusive of £52 10s. spent upon the visitor's servants. From one item in the accounts.


26s. “paid for the use of Cheny”, it would appear that pewter platters were for the first time deemed unworthy of the guest's table.

The piratical vessels sent out by the barbarous States of Morocco and Algiers were at this period the terror of the seas. The London Journal of February 16th, 1734, published a letter from Philip Graves, master of the Bristol ship Ferdinand (of only eighty tons and seven men) to Thomas Pennington, a local merchant, announcing that his vessel with three other English ships bound for the Peninsula, had been captured by the Admiral of Sallee, and himself and the other men thrown into prison. Captain Graves craves Christian assistance for the redemption of the party, and unconsciously reveals the strange conditions then permitted to exist. Relief in money, he says, could be sent to a certain mercantile house at Gibraltar, one of the partners of which, “a worthy countryman of ours”, carried on business at Sallee, and would faithfully apply the sums forwarded. The affair appears to have stirred up the English Government, not to suppress the pirates, but to buy off their victims. In the following November the same journal announced that 136 persons, redeemed from slavery in Morocco, had been brought to George II., who presented them with £100 for their relief.

A plot of ground at the west end of Milk Street was sold by the Corporation in March, 1734, for the erection of an almshouse for the maintenance of five old bachelors and five old maids, in conformity with the will of “Mrs.” Sarah Ridley, an aged spinster, who died in 1726. The site cost £160. The building was finished in 1739.

A dissolution of Parliament occurred in the spring of 1734, and the election of new members for Bristol commenced on the 14th May. Sir Abraham Elton, who was generally popular, solicited re-election, as did his colleague, Mr. Scrope. The energetic support which the latter had rendered to Walpole, in the Excise struggle, had raised him many enemies, and the Tory party brought forward, in opposition to him, Mr. Thomas Coster, who was largely interested in the local copper trade and a hearty opponent of the Excise scheme. At the close of the poll on the 24th May, the figures stood: for Sir A. Elton, 2420; for Mr. Coster, 2071; for Mr. Scrope, 1866. The issue excited great irritation amongst the Whigs. Upon the opening of Parliament, a petition was presented from the mayor and Corporation asserting that the return of Mr. Coster was due to


invalid votes, and paying for relief. The Commons resolved on taking evidence at the bar, and a large part of one sitting was occupied in hearing counsel and witnesses. Before the case came on again the petition was withdrawn. In the British Museum is a printed poll book of the election, with manuscript notes describing the disqualifications of many of the voters, according to which about one-sixth of the votes polled were bad. The writer appends to the names of some of the dubious electors such observations as “stood in the pillory”, “burnt in the hand for felony”, and “a common beggar”, but in most of the cases the voters are described as paupers, receiving relief. (To the name, in Redcliff parish, of John Chatterton, weaver, grandfather of the poet, is added, “Sexton; received a loaf every 14 days”.) The result given by the writer is that 362 bad votes were recorded for Coster, and 91 for Scrope, leaving the latter a majority of 66 good votes on the entire poll. But the hasty withdrawal of the petition shows that this assertion could not be sustained. The Corporation paid the whole of the expenses incurred in prosecuting the case, amounting to £563. On comparing the poll book with a list of members of the Merchants' Society, printed in 1732, it appears that 66 members voted for Scrope and 18 for his opponent. Out of about 3,800 Bristolians who took part in the election only four had two Christian names. Only 26 voters, apparently artisans, lived in Clifton. At the gaol delivery in the autumn the friends of the recorder manifested their regret at his defeat by offering him a magnificent reception. The local newspaper says, “The gentlemen on horseback, coaches, &c., were very numerous, and the weavers and combers, dressed in their customary habits, made the cavalcade extend a great length”. What seems still more strange, the grand jury presented the recorder with an address regretting the late “incident”, and hoping that the “reproach lying upon the city” would be removed by the parliamentary inquiry.

At a meeting of the Council in August, 1734, a petition was produced from the Innholders' Company, representing their “inability to preserve their ancient rights and customs from want of good laws, orders and customs”. A committee was appointed with power to draw up ordinances, but it never reported, and the Company gradually died away.

“In 1734”, writes David Hume, in his autobiography, “I went to Bristol with some recommendations to eminent merchants, but in a few months found that scene totally


unsuitable to me”. The future historian was then twenty-one years of age. His employer was Mr. Michael Miller, a merchant, residing at 16, Queen Square, who had made a fortune by his enterprise, but whose education, in the opinion of his new clerk, left much to be desired. It is said, and the story is practically confirmed in a letter of Dean Tucker to Lord Hailes, that Mr. Miller, exasperated at the criticisms passed on the style of his business letters, told Hume that he had made £20,000 with his English, and would not have it improved. The offended Scot, who hated all Englishmen, many years later took an odd opportunity of displaying his scornful opinion of Bristolians. Describing in his history the progress of Naylor, the Quaker fanatic, Hume says:- “He entered Bristol riding on a horse; I suppose from the difficulty in that place of finding an ass”. There is a tradition, nevertheless, that he kept up friendly relations with Mr. John Peach, of Maryleport Street, to whom he sent the manuscript of the first volumes of his history, desiring him to remove any dialectical barbarisms. The story, if true, does not redound to Mr. Peach's credit, for the first edition abounded with Scotticisms.

The first Clifton boarding school appears to have been established in this year. The Gloucester Journal for April 30th, 1734, contains the following advertisement:- “This is to give notice that on the 26th March was opened (to be continued), at a pleasant part of Clifton, a boarding school for the education of young ladies: where in the best manner they will be taught Dancing, by Mr. Lewis, dancing master, and by his wife Needlework and genteel Behaviour; and by the best masters will also be taught (at the parents' pleasure) the French language, Musick, Writing, and Arithmetic, or any of them. The known healthful situation of Clifton has occasioned this boarding school to be fixed there, but Mr. Lewis will continue to teach dancing at the Coopers' Hall in Bristol”.

A Bristol paragraph in the Gloucester Journal of November 26lh announces that “Mr. Onesiphorus Tyndall, jun., an eminent drysalter of this city, is appointed by his Majesty Verderer and Chief Ranger of the forest of Kingswood, with a grant or feoffment for letting the coal mines, &c., as soon as the lease is expired held by Thomas Chester, Esq., Thomas Player, Esq., and several other gentlemen ever since the reign of King Charles II. The said coal mines chiefly supply this great city and the neighbouring country with their production, and bring in a great revenue”. On a


reference to the State Papers it appears that the lease was granted for thirty-one years, on condition of the payment of 40s. yearly, and on the lessee trying the title of the Crown to the estate, any composition with persons pretending to possess portions of the premises being forbidden. Tyndall was also demised, for the same term, all the coal pits and mineral mines within the forest, on rendering one-tenth of the yearly profits. This appears to have been the last of the many fruitless attempts made by the Crown to recover those rights over the ancient forest which had been gradually undermined by the acquisitive artifices of the neighbouring landowners, and were totally lost during the troubles of the Civil War, when the royal deer were eaten up and the woods utterly destroyed. The forest originally comprised, under the name of Fillwood, a large tract of land in Brislington and Bedminster, but through the negligence of the Crown officials the royal rights over that district had been usurped and lost before the death of Elizabeth. Verderers were appointed for Kingswood after the Restoration, but some made no effort to perform their duty, and others reaped nothing from their action but interminable and ruinous law suits. Mr. Tyndall's appointment seems to have been wholly resultless either to himself or the Government. The low price of animal food during the year 1734 seems almost incredible to modern readers. Cary, in his Essay on Trade, stated that the average cost of beef in Bristol in his time was 2½d. per lb. But the Weekly Journal of November 16th, 1784, recorded that at the cattle market of that week, “the best beef sold at 10d. per stone [of 8lb.] alive, and the best mutton at 9d”.

In the closing years of the previous century, the corporation of Newcastle, then the wealthiest of provincial municipalities, erected an imposing Mansion House for civic receptions and entertainments. A similar building was erected at York in 1728, and about seven years later the Common Council of London resolved to follow the example. An impulse being thus given to the local weakness for display, Mr. William Jefferis, at a meeting of the Chamber in June, 1736, “represented that it would tend to the Honour and Grandness of this city if some convenient Mansion House was purchased by this Corporation for the mayor of the city for the time being to reside in during their respective mayoralties; and signified that the late dwelling house of Peter Day, Esq., one of the aldermen of this city [who died about six months previously], together with its furniture


was to be disposed of, and was very fit for the purpose in his judgment . . . and thereupon the House being called over the question was carried in the affirmative by a great majority”. The project was soon afterwards abandoned, and fifty years elapsed before Mr. Jefferis's proposal was carried out. The above minute, however, has led several local writers into error as to the history of the subsequent Mansion House.

At a meeting of the Council in August, 1735, a letter was read from Mr. Scrope resigning the recordership on the ground of age and infirmity. The learned gentleman, whose laborious services at the Treasury had led to a perfunctory performance of his duties in his native city, had refused to receive any salary from the time of his appointment. He had already been complimented with a present of plate, which cost £119, and it was resolved to forward him another gift of the same kind, value £150, together with a butt of sherry. The precious articles selected were a basin and ewer, which the recipient, in a graceful letter of thanks, described as “the most curious that ever was seen”. Having been requested to recommend a fitting person for the vacant office, Mr. Scrope, observing that more frequent gaol deliveries were desirable, and that it would be convenient to have a recorder living in the neighbourhood, suggested Mr. Michael Foster, then clerk of the peace for Wiltshire. Mr. Foster, who was unanimously elected, relinquished his previous office, took up his residence at Ashley, and, until his elevation to the judicial bench, was an active and useful member of the Chamber by right of the aldermanic office then attached to the recordership. Mr. Scrope, who continued to hold the secretaryship of the Treasury, died in 1763, aged upwards of ninety years.

Bristol was visited in September by a traveller from the East, apparently in pecuniary difficulties. The Council gave directions to the chamberlain to pay five guineas “to Scheck Schidit, one of the nobility of the city of Beritus, to help support him in his travels”. Beritus was probably the modern Beyrouth, the seaport of Damascus.

A horrible incident, only recorded because of the light that it throws on the barbarity of the age, occurred in September. A ship captain, named James Newton, was convicted of the murder of his wife, by trampling upon her in a fit of passion, and was sentenced to be hanged. Two days after the trial, however, he succeeded in committing suicide in Newgate, by means of poison, whereupon the


coroner's jury returned a verdict of self murder, and the body, according to custom, was buried at four cross roads, with a stake through the middle. Newton had long borne an evil character. He had been previously tried for piracy, and it was believed that his brutality had, at various times, caused the death of four of his sailors. The populace were so exasperated at his escape from the halter that they dug up his body, which was literally torn to fragments, and scattered about the highway. There is little doubt that, if this revolting scene had not occurred, the wretch's remains would have been appropriated by others. Farley's Bristol Newspaper for January 27th, 1728, says:- “The shoo-maker that hang'd himself last week without Lawford's Gate, was bury'd in the Cross Road called Dungen's Cross, but we hear some young Surgeons have since caused it to be taken up again to anatomise”.

Jacobitism had still many devotees in the city, who, by a liberal distribution of beer, could easily excite the passions of the lower classes. A local correspondent of a London journal, writing on October 30th, the King's birthday, says:- “Party violence is grown to such a height here that as the magistrates and other gentlemen were met at the Council House to celebrate the evening, and had made a fine illumination representing his Majesty's name in cypher, and under it an Orange, from which issued a spear wounding a dragon [hieroglyphics understood with no great difficulty], the mob arose, and pelted out the lights with dirt and stones”. To about the same period may be attributed a printed pasquinade on the statue of William III. - a monument which was naturally the object of Jacobite spleen. The writer represents the magnates of the city “gathered together unto the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up”.

The extreme inconvenience caused by holding the public markets twice a week in High Street and Broad Street at last induced the Corporation to deal with them. In December, 1736, a committee was appointed to treat for the purchase of property, and to build a fitting market house. This step ultimately led to the inclusion of markets in the Exchange scheme. In the meantime a curious regulation was enforced in the existing markets. The civic Fine-book records that in December, 1744, nine butchers were mulcted 10s. each “for staying in Broad Street market after six o'clock in the evening”, and there were many subsequent convictions for this offence.


In Evans's Chronological History is an entry under 1736, alleging that a survey of the city and suburbs made in that year showed the number of the houses to be 1,300, with 80,000 inhabitants. The writer does not seem to have observed that his figures represented an average population of sixty-one in each house. A more trustworthy record of this census is amongst the Cole MSS. in the British Museum, in the handwriting of Browne Willis, the eminent antiquary, who resided here for some time, and had many influential, local friends. From Mr. Willis's notes it would appear that an enumeration had also taken place in 1712; and as in January, 1713, the Corporation of the Poor drew up a petition to Parliament for power to levy a larger rate, owing to “the city being considerably enlarged, and its inhabitants increased”, it is probable that the survey was made under its authority. As Willis's paper is very brief, it may be given entire:-

"Houses in Bristol48115701
"Encrease in 23 years, 1390.    Besides what are in the suburbs.
"N.B. - Lawford's Gate not reckoned, nor what are out of the city liberties,
wherein may be computed upwards of a 1000.
In 1752 I was at Bristol [which had] increased above 2000 since 1735.
Burials in St. James's parish, 400 a year".

Estimating the average number of inhabitants at a fraction over five per house, the population of 1712 must have been about 23,000, and that of 1735 about 30,000, or, with the suburbs, 35,000.

A belief became prevalent amongst the local merchants about this time that the so-called mayor's due of 40s. on each vessel of sixty tons burden entering the port was an illegal exaction, and several firms consequently refused to pay the charge. In order to insure the receipt of the due, the Corporation had frequently issued orders forbidding vessels above the taxable tonnage from coming to the quays without obtaining a warrant from the mayor - the license being granted only on receipt of the impost. This arrangement being set at defiance by the recalcitrant firms, the Chamber resolved, in January, 1736, to prosecute the pilots who brought up ships without a warrant; but subsequently a bolder course was adopted, and actions at law were instituted by the mayor against Messrs. W. Hart and Sons, and others, who had repudiated the civic claim. On the 14th July, 1737, one of the actions, taken as a test case, was tried at the King's Bench sittings in the Guildhall, London, before a special jury, and the Weekly Journal of the 16th


has, for those days, an unusually full report of the proceedings. “The Plaintiff”, it says, “pleaded custom immemorial by very antient men and much antienter writings; that the property was vested in the mayor for the time being by a bye-law of the Corporation, and proved that the mayor, burgesses and commonalty had power to make such a law vested in them by Act of Parliament. He further assigned the reason for it - the great expence of keeping in repair the quay, the use of which saved the trader twice the sum demanded in lighterage only. . . . For the defendant it was urged that the demand was an imposition and of no older date than 1711 . . . that he was not the only person that denied the payment, and produced evidence thereof, who upon their examination declared their dislike and denial of it, but that nevertheless they had paid it. . . . After a trial of several hours, in the course whereof . . . half the archives relating to the city of Bristol were read by order of counsel on one side or the other, the jury gave a verdict for 40s. damages [the amount claimed] for the plaintiff, and confirmed the custom, which brings in upwards of £1000 per annum”. The last observation is of interest, as it throws some light on the business of the port. Until many years after this date, no information as to the receipts from the due is to be found in the civic accounts, the money being paid directly to the mayor. In the course of this dispute, the Chamber ordered the publication of several of the charters of the city, translated from the Latin originals. The Rev. Charles Goodwyn is supposed to have been employed as translator. The book is now extremely scarce.

The Merchants' Society having solicited the Corporation to concur with them in opposing Bills about to be laid before Parliament for permitting the exportation of sugar from the West Indies to various continental ports without being first landed in England, and for allowing the Irish people to export their wool to foreign countries, the Chamber unanimously agreed in March, 1736, to petition against these “dangerous” proposals. The Government, however, persisted with the Bill allowing British ships to carry sugar from the colonies to the continent direct, and the scheme became law in 1739, amidst the wails of local merchants. The scheme for permitting the export of Irish wool was dropped, to soothe the English clothing trade, to which the interests of Ireland were deliberately sacrificed.

A change in the habits of the age is denoted by the


resolution of the Council, at the meeting just mentioned, to alter the time of assembling for civic business from nine o'clock in the morning until two hours later. A fine of twelvepence was imposed on members who neglected to appear in their robes. A few weeks later, leave of absence for three weeks was granted to the mayor, in order that he might take a tour “on horseback” for the benefit of his health. Up to this time the mayors had been required to remain uninterruptedly at their post during their year of office, a fine of £100 being imposed on anyone absent for more than three successive days. But the above concession became a precedent for a summer holiday, which was at first limited to a month, but during the last half of the century was extended to six weeks. By another regulation, made in June, 1736, the mayor and his successors were granted the privilege of nominating such keepers of game on the corporate manors - then numerous and extensive - as they might deem necessary. The right of shooting was of course reserved to the members of the Corporation.

Reference will be found in a previous note to the restraints imposed upon English cotton manufactures by an Act of 1719, and to the depressing effects of that law on a rising local industry. By 1736 the production of cotton fabrics had much increased in England, and the restrictions of the statute became irksome. The Merchants' Society, amongst other bodies, petitioned Parliament for relief, alleging that the cotton mills employed vast numbers of people, that large quantities of the raw material were imported into Bristol to the profit of the West India trade, and that the goods made therefrom were “very essential in purchasing negroes on the coast of Africa”. In spite of the opposition of the clothiers, the restrictions of the Act were abolished as regarded fabrics of which the weft was cotton and the warp linen. This may have given a temporary stimulus to the industry in Bristol. In October, 1787, the poor law guardians empowered a committee “to treat with Mr. Alker concerning the employing of the poor of this house for the cotton manufactory”. but no result is recorded.

The marriage of Frederick, Prince of Wales, in April, 1736, was celebrated in Bristol with the customary tokens of rejoicing. A grand corporate entertainment was given in Merchants' Hall at a cost of £110, while bell ringing, salutes, bonfires, and 600 gallons of beer, distributed at Merchants' Hall and Brandon Hill, entailed a further charge of £28. The Jacobites, to console themselves, made an


unusually ostentatious display of white roses on the following 10th of June.

The magistrates still attempted to suppress the trickery of knavish tradesmen. On the 17th June a butcher was convicted of “exposing for sale in Broad Street an old ewe, dressed up in the same manner as a lamb” for which he was fined 40s. The hand of the law, however, fell most heavily on “foreigners”. In the same month, a poor non-freeman, convicted of trading as a hawker, and exposing goods for sale, was condemned to pay £12 for his “offence”.

It has been already stated that the protection of the streets was confided at night to twelve constables, one being appointed for each ward. On the 6th July, 1736, the magistrates ordered that in addition to this force, a body of fifty-one “able men” should be enrolled as watchmen, and distributed amongst the wards for the better security of the city. As the justices had no power to levy a rate, and the Corporation offered no pecuniary assistance, this order soon became a dead letter.

At a Council meeting on the 25th August, it having been reported that the recorder, Mr. Serjeant Foster, had delivered the gaol three times since his appointment in the previous year, and had also resigned his post of clerk of the peace for Wiltshire “in honour of this city”, it was unanimously resolved to present him with 200 guineas. Subsequently, a present of 60 guineas was usually made after each gaol delivery.

During the gaol delivery in August a prisoner named John Vernham, charged with a burglary on St. Michael's Hill, obstinately refused to plead to his indictment. The recorder warned him of the terrible consequences of his persistence in “standing mute”, but though told that he would be pressed to death according to the ancient custom of the realm, he continued stubbornly silent. Orders were therefore given for carrying out the peine forte et dure in Newgate. As a man had been pressed to death at Lewes assizes in the previous summer, the case excited intense interest. At the last moment, however, the horrible nature of the punishment overcame Vernham's resolution, and he was forthwith tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. Another man, named Harding, convicted of shoplifting, was also left for execution; and both convicts were taken to the gallows field at St. Michael's Hill on the 3rd September. The careless manner in which executions were then conducted, frequently noticed in contemporary newspapers,


was strikingly manifested on this occasion. After the two men had hung for the usual time, the bodies were taken down, but whilst being placed in coffins both showed signs of life. Surgical assistance having been rendered, Vernham recovered consciousness, and was able to speak to several of the bystanders, but died during the following night. Harding, who also revived after being bled, was removed to Bridewell, where great numbers of persons were allowed to visit him. A local newspaper afterwards announced that as he had been “always defective in his intellects”, he was not to be hanged again, but “to be taken care of in a Charity House” - meaning, apparently, an almshouse! His strange story can be traced no further.

To what extent the “gin madness” of London affected Bristol contemporary records are silent. In consequence of the delirium of the capital, where, in some streets, one house in every six was converted into a ginshop, a Bill was brought into Parliament imposing a license of £50 on each retailer, and a duty of 20s. per gallon on all spirits (the duty previously had been 5¾d. per gallon); and although the Bristol Merchants' Society represented that the tax on rum would be “destructive to them and to many thousands in the colonies”, the measure became law. On the 29th September, when it came into operation, the lower classes in Bristol, says a local paper, made merry on the death of Madam Gin, and “got soundly drunk at her funeral, for which the mob made a solemn procession”. The Act, however, had no practical effect. Amongst many liquors concocted to evade the law, “Mr. Thomas Andrews, distiller, in Back Street, Bristol”, produced a compound which was called “A New Invention found out in Time”, and alleged to be a substitute for all spirituous liquors. “The price too is upon a par with geneva, &c. Sold at 4s. a gallon or three halfpence the quartern or nogin” (The Weekly Journal, December 18th, 1736).

In October, 1736, the vestry of St. Mary Redcliff addressed a petition to the bishop, stating that they had recently erected a “fair organ” in the church, for which they had neglected to obtain the necessary faculty. The petition further set forth that a charity school for forty boys had been maintained for some time at Redcliff Back by voluntary subscriptions in St. Mary's and St. Thomas's parishes, but that the owner of the schoolroom had demanded an additional rent of £6 yearly, which could not be paid without injury to the charity. The petitioners went


on to allege that the east end of the Lady's Chapel in St. Mary's was a convenient place in which to make a school-room, and as no other suitable place could be found, they prayed for a faculty to remove the school there. The bishop's reply has not been preserved. No difficulty was probably raised respecting the organ, but the chancellor issued an order requiring dissentients to the school scheme to show cause against it. The design must have been abandoned, for in 1739 a school-house for the education of forty boys of the two parishes was erected in Pyle Street, to which Thomas Malpas, who had made a fortune as a pin-maker, added a dwelling for the schoolmaster in 1749. (Chatterton's father became subsequently master of the school, and the poet was probably born in this house.) About the period when the school changed its quarters, the trustees of Edward Colston, under powers conferred upon them by his will, endowed it with a sum of £20 a year, originally bequeathed for an annual series of lectures.

The court of mayor and aldermen, in November, 1736, fixed the number of alehouses in the city at 331, exclusive of inns, wine-shops, and coffee houses. It has been shown that the number of houses in 1736 was 6701, so that there was one alehouse for every sixteen private dwellings. St. James's parish had sixty of those places, St. Stephen's and St. Nicholas' ninety between them, and St. Michael's, forty-five.

At this date the roadway from St. Augustine's Back to College Green was a dark and narrow alley, very difficult of ascent owing to the steepness of the hill. In December, 1736, the Council directed a committee to improve the thoroughfare, the traffic having greatly increased since the opening of the Drawbridge. The committee did not venture to widen the lane, but the gradient was improved by an outlay of £369.

In the closing months of 1736 Mr. John Elbridge, deputy comptroller of the Customs, with other philanthropic gentlemen, started a movement for the establishment of an Infirmary in Bristol. The proposal being favourably received, a meeting of citizens was held on the 30th December, when, says a local reporter, “persons of all persuasions appeared and subscribed. . . . Among several other good laws, it was resolved that no person be admitted who has not been resident in the city or the out-parishes of St. James and St. Philip for the space of six months, except mariners or in the case of casualties in the city or out-parishes”. The


promoters soon afterwards obtained, on a lease of 1,000 years, a plot of ground in Jobbings Leaze, adjoining Magdalen Lane, and it was resolved to at once erect the central portion of the design adopted, leaving two wings to be added at a future time. The building arose under the unwearied superintendence of Mr. Elbridge, who subsequently equipped it with furniture, linen, and surgical appliances, at a personal cost of £1,600. The Infirmary was opened for in-patients on the 13th December, 1737. In the following year, Mr. Elbridge added an additional ward, and just before his death, a few months later, he bequeathed £6,000 to an institution of which he may be fairly termed the founder. The example of Bristol occasioned similar movements at Bath, Edinburgh, York, and Exeter.

Owing to the want of a lighthouse at the Holmes, disasters to Bristol ships were of frequent occurrence in foggy weather. During the later months of 1736 the wreck of a vessel having sixty soldiers on board, all of whom were drowned, caused a great sensation, and the Society of Merchants, supported by the mercantile body, memorialised the Trinity House authorities in London for the erection of a lighthouse on the Flat Holme. The building was finished in November, 1737. The lamps of the time being useless for such a purpose, the beacon consisted of a large brazier, fed with wood or coal. Strange to say, this primitive arrangement continued without improvement until 1820, although many fatal disasters had occurred in rough weather owing to the inefficiency of the light and the carelessness of the warders, who sometimes fell asleep and allowed it to disappear. An agitation on the subject having arisen in Bristol, it was discovered that the corporation of the Trinity House had at the outset permitted the owner of the island to erect and maintain the beacon, guaranteeing him, by lease, a passing toll on the vessels supposed to be benefitted by it. The representative of the lessee was alleged to be enjoying a clear income of nearly £4,000 a year from the lighthouse, and to have refused to incur an additional outlay of £100 annually for its improvement. Owing to the indignation aroused by the affair, the outlying interest in the lease was purchased by the Trinity House for £14,000 in December, 1823.

The introduction of Methodism into Bristol by the Rev. George Whitefield took place in January, 1737. Whitefield may be almost claimed as a Bristolian, his father, Thomas, having been a wine merchant in the city before his removal to the Bell inn at Gloucester, whilst his mother, originally


Elizabeth Edwards, was of Bristol birth, and related to the reputable civic families of the Blackwells and the Dinmours. Their son was ordained at Gloucester in June, 1736, and had just completed his twenty-second year when he paid this memorable visit to his Bristol friends. Being already famous as a preacher, the pulpits of several churches were placed at his disposal, and he stated in a letter that the attendance on week-days forthwith became as great as it was previously on Sundays, and that Dissenters of all sects flocked to hear him. Amongst other marks of respect, he was requested to preach at the Mayor's Chapel. Occasionally he preached four times a day, yet his admirers continued so numerous that the churches were sometimes filled to overflowing. Whitefield's primary object in visiting the city was to take leave of his relatives previous to sailing to the new colony of Georgia, to which he was called by his friends, John and Charles Wesley, then about to return to England. The vessel in which he was to sail being detained for many months, he was again in Bristol in May and June, when the multitude of his hearers largely increased, all ranks, sects, and classes falling under the spell of his eloquence. Some people, he wrote, unable to gain admission into the churches, “climbed up to the leads” in the hope of hearing him. After his farewell sermon “multitudes followed me home weeping”. At the close of 1738, when he returned from Georgia to receive priest's orders and to raise funds for his new orphanage near Savannah, he found that the Wesleys' evangelising efforts in London and Oxford had given great offence to the clergy, and he was himself refused admission to many pulpits. In Bristol, where he stayed with friends in Baldwin Street, he was allowed to preach a few times, but met with a rebuff at St. Mary Redcliff, and was threatened with similar treatment at other churches. On appealing to the Dean of Bristol against the proscription. Dr. Creswicke (whose love of cockfighting has been already mentioned) replied:- “We would rather not say yea or nay to you; but we mean nay, and greatly wish you would understand us so”. Whitefield thereupon took a step which he had often meditated. The moral and spiritual destitution of the Kingswood colliery district at that period seems almost incredible to a later generation. Many hundreds of families were scattered over what had anciently been a royal forest, grovelling in wretched hovels, utterly uncared for by the half dozen “lords” who had usurped possession of the soil, and dreaded far and near from their barbarous ignorance and brutality.


A large tract of the “chase” was in the parish of St. Philip, but it contained no place of worship, and of course no school, while the area in the parish of Bitton was, if possible, still more uncivilized. On this race of domestic heathens Whitefield resolved to exert the powers which he was forbidden to employ in the city; and one Saturday in February, 1739, the day after his interview with Dean Creswicke, he repaired to a place called Hanham Mount, and addressed about a hundred men who gathered round from curiosity. On the following day he preached to overflowing congregations in St. Werburgh's and St. Mary Redcliff, and on Monday there was an immense attendance at his lecture in St. Philip's. This was too much for the patience of the authorities, who summoned him before them. On Tuesday he attended the chancellor of the diocese, a worldly cleric named Reynell, afterwards an Irish bishop, who asked him why he presumed to preach without permission, in defiance of the canons. Whitefield replied that licenses had become obsolete, and observing that there was another canon, forbidding clergymen to haunt taverns and to play at cards, he inquired why greater offences than his were practised without rebuke. The chancellor, exasperated at the reply, declared that if Whitefield repeated his illegal conduct, he should be first suspended and then excommunicated. A license was then formally refused - probably against the wishes of the estimable Bishop Butler, who seems to have expressed sympathy with Whitefield, and afterwards made a donation to the funds of his orphanage. Next day, undismayed, the obnoxious “Methodist” went again to Kingswood, where he had 2,000 eager listeners, and the audience was more than doubled two days later, when he preached at the same place. “The first discovery of their being affected”, he wrote afterwards, “was by seeing the white gutters made by their tears, which plentifully fell down their black cheeks as they came out of the coal-pits”. At subsequent services the number assembled was computed at 20,000, Bristolians of all ranks being attracted in crowds. The desire of the citizens to listen to the fervent missionary soon afterwards brought about an invitation that he should preach in “a large bowling green” within the walls. The green was situated in the Pithay, and 6,000 persons were present at an early morning service in this novel place of worship. Receiving an appeal from Wales, Whitefield records that, whilst on his way to respond to it, he was temporarily delayed at the New Passage, where he encountered a clergyman who refused to


enter the passage boat “because I was in it. . . . He charged me with being a Dissenter. I saw him soon after shaking his elbows over a gaming table”. On returning to Bristol, he found that the mayor (William Jefferis), following up the action of the clergy, had forbidden him to preach to the neglected prisoners in Newgate. He consequently held services in the yard of one of the glass-houses, which was filled by the neighbouring poor. Georgia, however, could not be neglected, and Whitefield, before leaving for America, appealed to the Wesleys to continue the work he had begun in Bristol. The brothers were strongly indisposed to accede, but John, after frequently resorting to his practice of biblomancy, believed that the passages he hit upon conveyed approval of the undertaking, and on the 31st of March, 1739, the founder of Wesleyanism reached Bristol, and was introduced to Whitefield's friends. Wesley, who had hitherto stickled for “decency and order”, recorded that he could scarce reconcile himself to the “strange way of preaching in the fields” - an example of which was given him on the following day, Sunday, when Whitefield held three open-air services, and preached a farewell sermon in a private room, the way to which was so thronged that to gain admittance he had to mount a ladder, and climb over the roof of an adjoining house. The orator departed next morning, passing through excited crowds, and laying the foundation stone of a school on his way through Kingswood. [A more convenient site having been afterwards obtained, the foundation stone of the school actually built was laid by John Wesley in the following June. It was opened about a twelvemonth later.] Wesley's first service had been held on the previous evening, “to a little society in Nicholas Street”. Next day, whilst Whitefield was bidding adieu to the Kingswood colliers, “I submitted”, says Wesley, “to be more vile . . . speaking from a little eminence in a ground adjoining to the city to about 3,000 people”. Two days later he preached again at Baptist Mills, to an audience of 1,600. This distinct repudiation of the custom of the Established Church was a turning point in the career of Wesley, and led to unforeseen results. Little “societies” had been already formed in Nicholas Street, Baldwin Street, Castle Street, Gloucester Lane, Back Lane, and Temple Street, where frequent services were held, and within a few weeks Wesley records many of those scenes of agonised “conversion” which afterwards marked the movement. He was also allowed to preach in Clifton Church, and at Newgate. But a building suitable


for regular services was needed, and on the 9th May “we took possession of a piece of ground in the Horse Fair, where it was designed to build a room large enough to contain both the societies of Nicholas and Baldwin Streets, and on Saturday, 12th, the first stone was laid”. This “New Room”, the first chapel of the denomination, which Wesley built without knowing how to defray the cost, was first used on the 1st July, for evening service. (It was not, however, certified by the magistrates as a place of worship until the 17th October, 1748, on which day “the house of Joseph Matson, glass-maker, Great Gardens”, also obtained a certificate.) Two apartments were added, in which Wesley and the early preachers lodged - described by the former as “a little room, where I speak to the persons who come to me, and a garret, in which a bed is placed for me”. Services were afterwards held at six o'clock in the morning, “by which means many more attend the College [cathedral] prayers, which immediately follow, than ever before”. But in despite of his respect for the Establishment, Wesley was excluded from all the pulpits in the city. Some felons under sentence of death earnestly desired to speak with him, but Alderman Becher gave orders that he should not be admitted into Newgate. The new chapel was soon afterwards attacked by a raging mob, and one of the rabble subsequently admitted that they were hired for the purpose, while another, a ringleader, committed suicide in a fit of remorse. About the same date - one of great Methodistic development - Wesley began to employ lay preachers, the first of whom was John Cennick, who laboured at Kingswood, and the second Thomas Maxfield, a Bristolian, who was sent to London. Wesley's divergence from Whitefield, which occurred soon after, belongs to the general history of Methodism; but it is painful to read that, in 1741, the former expelled two of his followers because they had gone to hear Whitefield preach. Intolerance, however, was then deemed a virtue. Whitefield himself denounced the Wesleys, and in the Broadmead Records, under September, 1742, it is noted that three Baptists, after being reproved for frequenting the Wesleyan services, were repelled from communion for having lapsed into Methodistic heresies. The second Wesleyan Conference (the first was in London) was held in the New Room, in August, 1745; and the Bristol Conferences were very numerous during the following thirty years. In 1749 Charles Wesley, on his marriage, became a resident in Bristol, occupying a house in Stoke's Croft, at a rental of £11 a year. He resided there


until 1771, and his brother often lodged at the house during his numerous visits.

The estate known as the Montagues, on Kingsdown, having been purchased by Giles Greville, a prosperous apothecary, from the representatives of the four daughters of Henry Dighton, Esq., the new owner, in February, 1737, laid out the land for building, and commenced by erecting the Montague Tavern. (R. Smith's MSS.) The intended new suburb made little progress for many years. A house with a turret, or gazebo, on the roof, known as Wint's Folly, was advertised to be let in March, 1750; and a house “in the Parade” was for sale in March, 1756. In the Bristol Chronicle of July 5th, 1760, is the announcement of a sale, at the sign of the Duke of Montague, of “two new built houses situated on Kingsdown”. In another contemporary advertisement the inn is styled the Montague's Head. One or two houses were built in Southwell Street about 1740.

From an early period in the century, the industry and enterprise of the American colonists had excited the jealousy of home manufacturers and traders. Hats, for example, were naturally produced at a cheap rate in regions where fur was plentiful; but, on the appeal of English hatters, an Act was passed in 1732 forbidding colonial makers to export their hats, or even to transport them from one settlement to another. In 1719 a Bill passed the House of Commons forbidding the manufacture in the colonies of “any ironwares whatsoever”, but the measure was dropped in the Upper House, and the American iron works slowly developed. At length, in March, 1737, the ironmasters and ironmongers of Bristol petitioned the House of Commons, alleging that the people of New England were producing much bar iron, and not only supplying themselves with nails and other iron ware, but were exporting large quantities to neighbouring colonies, to the great prejudice of the English iron trade, which, if not relieved from this competition, must certainly be ruined. Other petitions to the same effect being presented, a committee of inquiry was appointed, which soon after reported that, upon trials at the dockyards, the American iron had been found equal to the best Swedish, and that if the import of pigs were encouraged by removing the customs duty, this country would be rendered independent of the continent, while the colonists would be no longer encouraged to work up their raw material to the prejudice of English manufacturers. A great difference of opinion arose amongst the domestic interests affected, one party urging that the


colonial iron should be permitted to enter in bars, while another wished to restrict the imports to pigs. On behalf of the latter, Mr. William Donne, ironmonger, of Bristol, the owner of two furnaces in Virginia, represented to the committee that if the New Englanders were allowed to make bars, they would infallibly compete with home manufactures in the production of iron ware. Some Gloucestershire landowners next alleged that if colonial bar iron was allowed to enter, their woods would be rendered valueless, and a large population impoverished. The subject was shelved; but in 1738 was brought again before the House by the iron merchants of Bristol, who represented that the home trade was in a state of manifest decay, and prayed for the “ discouragement” (meaning prohibition) of American imports. The Commons passed a resolution affirming the advisability of prohibiting the extension of the colonial works; but nothing further was done. In 1760, however, an Act was passed for encouraging the import of American pigs and bars, and for prohibiting the erection of rolling mills or steel furnaces in the colonies. How trumpery were the grounds of English jealousy may be judged by the fact that the colonists even then possessed only two slitting mills, one plating forge, and one steel furnace. The measure excited the customary resistance of domestic monopolists; the Gloucestershire iron interest vehemently protesting that the success of the Bill would lead to their “entire ruin”. Probably in consequence of these and other appeals, the American imports were confined to London, whence the iron was not to be removed either by land or sea - a restriction repealed in 1767 on the petition of the Bristol Merchants' Society and others, amidst renewed clamour from the protected industries.

At a meeting of the Council in May, 1737, a petition was presented from Rachel Day, widow of Alderman Peter Day, stating that by reason of heavy debts contracted by her late husband's partners in Jamaica, his creditors had seized his personal estate, whereby she was reduced to the greatest necessity. The Chamber granted her an annuity of £30. The Days, in the previous generation, had been one of the richest families in the city.

In the spring of 1737, Dr. Thomas Seeker, who had held the bishopric of Bristol for three years, in conjunction with a prebend at Durham and a rectory in Westminster, was translated to Oxford. He was subsequently advanced to London, and ultimately to the Primacy. Like Bishop Butler, Dr. Seeker was the son of dissenting parents, and


was educated at a Presbyterian school at Tewkesbury. His successor at Bristol was Thomas Gooch, who was granted permission to hold with his bishopric the rectory of St. Clement's, London, a prebend at Canterbury, another at Chichester, the office of residentiary at Chichester, and the mastership of St. Mary's hospital in that city. Only fourteen months later - July, 1738 - the well-endowed prelate was translated to Norwich, and was succeeded here by Joseph Butler, the most distinguished bishop that Bristol has ever possessed.

What is called by the contemporary press “a merry accident” occurred at the Michaelmas quarter sessions. Some days previously, a man, intending to inform against a woman who clandestinely sold spirituous liquors, went to her house and asked for a quartern of gin for his alleged sick wife. The woman, suspecting his design, put a measure of vinegar into his bottle, which he at once carried to a magistrate, but the latter, declining to take action, told the informer he might bring the matter before the sessions. This the man did, with the effect of being sentenced to the stocks for affronting the court by the production of his vinegar. Being incontinently placed in the instrument of punishment, he was pelted almost to death by the mob, who finally “brought a pitch kettle, pitched him all over, and afterwards rolled him in feathers, by which means he made a grotesque figure”. - The pillory was also popular with the justices this year. Sarah Elliott, convicted of “discolouring the face of an infant and endeavouring to impose the same on a negro as his child”, was sentenced to stand in the pillory an hour, and to undergo three months' imprisonment. Two knaves were sentenced to be twice exposed on the pillory, but at their first exhibition in Wine Street, according to the Sessions' Book, “the mob grew outrageous, broke down the iron bar of the pillory, threw down the malefactors, and treated them in so cruel a manner as that one of them was near expiring at the place”. The magistrates thereupon ordered the second exposure to be remitted. In February, 1738, a surgeon was paid two guineas for attending two men grievously injured in the same manner. The humours of the populace in reference to the pillory are amusingly illustrated by a Bath paragraph in the London Weekly Journal of June 16th, 1739, in which it is gravely stated that a local culprit was pelted so vigorously during his exposure “that eggs sold for two a penny” - about three times the ordinary price.


One of the great funerals for which the city was famous took place on Sunday, the 30th October, 1787. About 8 o'clock in the evening, the body of Alderman Robert Yate, colonel of the militia, and father of the city, was carried from his mansion, the Red Lodge, in a magnificently apparelled hearse, to Christ Church, followed by the officers of the Corporation, the boys of Queen Elizabeth's school chanting a dirge, and thirty-one coaches, containing the mayor, aldermen, and other gentlemen. The way was lighted at intervals with large flambeaux, and the streets were thronged with spectators, but, says a London journal, “according to a rude unmannerly custom, the hearse was dismantled of the escutcheons, streamers, &c, before the procession was half over”.

A prodigious flood occurred in the Avon and Froom on the 10th January, 1738, owing to protracted rains. A high tide aiding in the inundation, many low-lying streets were submerged, and the destruction of goods on the quays and in cellars was enormous. A local correspondent, who communicated a few details to a London newspaper, estimated the loss at £100,000. Another great flood took place in January, 1739, when two houses in the Shambles (Bridge Street) were undermined by the water, and became a heap of ruins.

The migration of many of the leading families to Queen Square led to the abandonment of the old Assembly Rooms in the Pithay. About 1737, according to the memory of an aged citizen (noted in Mr. Seyer's MSS.), Messrs. John Wallis, John Summers, and Roger Elletson succeeded in establishing winter assemblies at the Merchants' Hall. An incidental notice in a London paper of December, 1738, states that the Bristol Assemblies were held in Coopers' Hall - then near Corn Street; and balls were probably given in one or the other of these buildings until the conversion into an Assembly Room of the theatre in St. Augustine's. Mr. Seyer's informant added that ladies used to be lighted home from the balls by their maid servants, who attended with lanthorns.

A remarkable disaster to the Bristol ship Charming Sally occurred on the 8th March, 1738. While the vessel was on a voyage from Jamaica it struck during the night upon a whale, by which it received so violent a shock that it almost immediately foundered. The crew were luckily picked up by a passing vessel.

Owing to the difficulty experienced by the sheriffs in


prevailing upon a clergyman to attend condemned felons in Newgate, the Council, in April, resolved that a sum not exceeding £5 yearly should be granted to any clergyman who would undertake to visit the gaol and accompany convicts to the gallows. A few months later a physician to the prison was appointed at a salary of fifteen guineas.

Upon the death of the third Earl of Berkeley, the Council, in June, elected Lord Hardwicke, who had been appointed Lord Chancellor in 1737, to the office of Lord High Steward. In December, 1739, his lordship received the first of the numerous butts of sherry with which he was complimented by the Chamber.

The low rate of wages prevailing in the clothing trade - doubtless due to its declining prosperity - has been already recorded (see p. 168). As a natural consequence in those days, the workmen broke into disorders whenever there was an advance in the price of food. Great distress existed in the spring of 1738, and there were numerous disturbances. A Bristol paragraph in the London Country Journal of May 20th states that the weavers had been suffering for years under inexpressible hardships. They complained that their masters had “engrossed into their hands the most necessary commodities of life, such as corn, butter, cheese, eggs, salt, milk, mutton, pork, &c.”, and that when they carried home their work, they received only a tenth of their earnings in money, and were forced to take the rest in provisions at twenty per cent above market price. “At this time of the year eggs may be bought of the country people hereabouts six for a penny, but no more than four is allowed by their masters”. Moreover, “those who will not take provisions are obliged to take goods fifty per cent dearer than the shopkeepers will sell for, which they are obliged to vend at any rate, to get a little money to support their poor distressed families”. The writer alleges that the riotous conduct of the workmen had been occasioned by these practices (which were common in the western clothing districts).

The abortive attempt of Mr. Jefferis to extend the fame of the city by setting up a mansion house is noted at page 101. In June, 1738, the same admirer of display moved in the Council that “for the honour and grandeur of the city, a public coach should be provided at the expense of the Chamber, for the use of mayors for the time being”. As Mr. Jefferis was already designated as mayor for the following year, the lack of modesty shown by his proposal seems to have provoked opposition, and the motion was negatived.


For nearly three-quarters of a century previous to this date, scarcely any mention occurs in the corporate records of the Library House given to the city by Robert Redwood in 1613, or of the books presented to it by that eminent native of Bristol, Tobias Mathew, Archbishop of York. Entries, indeed, are made from time to time of the election of librarians, but the office held by those worthies (who had £2 a year and a residence) was practically a sinecure. On the 8th December, 1725, a petition was presented from the Rev. Robert Clarke, vicar of St. Leonard's, and styling himself “librarian by will of the donor”, setting forth that the building was ruinous and unsafe, while the books were in danger of being spoiled, whereupon a committee of inquiry was appointed. The interest taken in the institution may be judged by the fact that nothing more is recorded about it for thirteen years. In September, 1738, however, the recorder (still taking an active part in corporate affairs) drew attention to the forlorn state of the Library, and obtained the appointment of another committee, which soon after reported that the books were in so much danger in the ruinous building that they had been removed to the Council House. It was recommended that the house in King Street should be forthwith rebuilt, some old hovels in front of it removed, and an adjoining piece of ground purchased. The Council having adopted those suggestions, the Library as it now stands (excepting the western wing of later date) was completed in 1740. An interesting feature in the principal room - the beautifully carved chimney-piece by Grinling Gibbons - is said to have been given by Alderman Michael Becher. In 1743, when the librarianship became vacant, the Chamber appointed the Rev. W. Williams, much to the wrath of the vicar of St. Leonard's, the Rev. Wm. Pritchard, who claimed it by right of his incumbency, contending that several of his predecessors had so held the office, “or at least”, he ingenuously added, “received the rent of the librarian's house”. His threat to seek relief in the law courts was never, however, carried out.

A robbery of the postboy carrying the mails between London and Bristol was so common an occurrence in the early part of the century as to be unworthy of record. To give an illustration, two men were executed in April, 1720, for having twice committed this crime, yet the letter bags were again stolen seven times during the following twelve months, the London Journal of August 27th remarking, “It is computed that the traders of Bristol have received £6O,000


damages by the late robberies of the mail”. In 1722 the postboys were pillaged twice in a single week, and three men were executed in London for the robberies. The only other incident of this kind worth mentioning occurred in September, 1738. The bag then carried off by three highwaymen contained a reprieve for a man lying under sentence of death in Newgate, and a second reprieve, despatched after the robbery became known, would have arrived too late to save the man's life, had not the magistrates postponed the execution for a day or two, in order that it might not clash with the festivities of a new mayor's inauguration.

A singular entry occurs in the minutes of a Council meeting on the 23rd September. “Alderman Becher complained that this city had been reflected on, in that the Butchers' Company here was by their ordinances restrained from killing any fresh meat on Mondays for the accommodation of strangers and others, an inconvenience attending no other town in England”. A committee was appointed to consider the matter, but it never reported. Mr. Becher's statement is not corroborated by the Butchers' ordinances, which had been confirmed by the Council in 1714. According to these regulations, no animal was to be killed on Thursday for sale on Friday, nor on Saturday for sale on Sunday or Monday. Any citizen, not a free butcher, who killed an animal for sale in the city was liable to a penalty of 20s.

A breach in the ancient fortifications, with a view to accommodate the increasing traffic of the streets, was resolved upon by a reluctant Council in the autumn of 1738. The first of the old gateways ordered to be removed was the Back Gate, which had long been a great inconvenience to carriages proceeding to and from Queen Square. The strongly conservative instincts of the Chamber in reference to the defences of the city were shown three years later (May, 1741), when orders were given that the porter's lodge at Redcliff Gate should be taken down and rebuilt. In 1753 a sum of £1 18s. was paid “for making three city locks for the city gates”. The porters at Redcliff and Temple Gates received a salary of 37s. per annum each from the sheriffs, and probably eked out a living by imposing a toll on persons passing the barriers during the night.

A violent rising of the Kingswood colliers occurred early in October, 1738. It was occasioned by some of the petty coalowners having undersold the other proprietors in the fuel used by the glass and sugar houses, whereupon the injured firms reduced the miners' wages from 1s. 4d. to 1s.


per day to meet the competition. Refusing to work at this rate, the colliers rose in a body, filled up the shafts of several pits, cut off communication with the city by carts and packhorses, stopped the coaches, demanded money from travellers on the London road, sacked Totterdown House (an inn), and forced the Brislington miners - called by a local paper the “civilised colliers” - to join them. Rioting continued for several days, many suburban public-houses being sacked. The justices sent off an express to the Government asking for troops, the watch was doubled, and the city gates were guarded. The arrival of a regiment struck the Kingswood colliers with a panic. Upwards of sixty were arrested, and the corporate accounts of the following year contain the following unique item:- “Recovered from the colliers who was prosecuted for a riot, Oct., 1738, £51”.

Responding to an invitation from the Common Council, the Prince and Princess of Wales, then sojourning at Bath, paid a visit to this city on the 10th November. As the accounts hitherto published of the proceedings are very meagre, it may be amusing to read some additional details from contemporary documents, especially from a lengthy narrative which the civic scribes, for some inexplicable reason, inserted in the midst of the Council minutes for 1744. As soon as the royal journey was determined upon, the parochial officers along the intended route summoned the inhabitants to perform their statutable duty in mending the roads, which had become almost impassable since the turnpike riots. Fortunately, says the London Evening Post, Colonel Brydges, of Keynsham, invited their royal highnesses to proceed through his park, which extended almost to Brislington Common, and one of the worst portions of the miry highway was thus avoided. The civic chronicler states that the sheriffs met the distinguished party at Totterdown, where a procession was formed, headed by “the wool-combers in their shirts, with wigs and other emblems of their trade in wool; the weavers in the same manner, with a loom, and a boy in it making a piece of stuff”. (The boy had a gift of five guineas from the Prince.) Then came a long file of citizens on horseback, the sheriffs with an imposing retinue, a band of music, and a great number of coaches, followed by “the glassmen in white shirts, on horseback, with glass swords and other devices”. At Temple Gate, where the corporate dignitaries were assembled in a booth covered with scarlet cloth, the cavalcade received a salute from 200 cannon, and the recorder made a “most


excellent speech” to the Prince, concluding with a humble desire that he would accept the freedom of the city. The Prince assenting, the certificate of freedom in a gold box was presented by the mayor. The procession was then reformed. “The throng grew now exceeding thick. The citizens seemed to vie with one another in adorning their houses; some hung out velvet, others silk tapestry, carpets, and cloth of gold; so that the streets appeared to be covered with the richest furniture of the inhabitants. The city companies contributed a great share to the grandeur of the solemnity. The church steeples and towers made a splendid show, and the ships in their marine gaiety and glory”. The royal guests having reached the house of Mr. Henry Combe, in Queen Square, which had been specially prepared for their reception, they were met on the stairs “by Mrs. Mayoress and Mrs. Recorderess; and then they showed themselves to the populace from the windows”. The mayor and recorder next came forward to pay their compliments; the master of the Merchants' Society presented the Prince with the freedom of the company in a gold box; the clergy offered a loyal address; and every one who took part in these ceremonies kissed the princely hands. At 4 o'clock the visitors and their hosts adjourned to the Merchants' Hall, where the wives of the civic notables were assembled, and there was much more hand-kissing for their satisfaction. At length the party sat down to dinner. “As there was no limitation to the expense of the entertainment, it was immensely grand, and no livery permitted to be in the hall, but the tables of their Royal Highnesses were served by gentlemen's sons, and the others by officers of the Corporation”. After dinner, “the Prince began the healths of his Majesty and Prosperity to the City of Bristol in sherry and sugar in the city Gilt Cup, and delivered it to the mayor, and so each gentleman drank it, and the cup being replenished was by the mayor presented to the Princess, who drank of it with the usual healths, as did the rest of the ladies”. On rising from the table, the visitors went for a short time to their lodgings, while the hall was rapidly converted into a ball room, two chairs of state being placed at the upper end. At 9 o'clock the Prince opened the ball with the mayor's daughter, and afterwards danced with “the recorderess” and other ladies. During the evening “the Princess diverted herself with a short pool at Quadrille, and the Prince did the company much honour in talking with many of them till about 12 o'clock. Then being mightily fatigued (they) withdrew to


their lodgings, attended by the mayor as before”. (The royal suite were accommodated at the mansions of Sir Abraham Elton, Alderman Elton, and Mr. Calwell.) Fireworks forthwith began to play around the statue of William III., “and lasted till 2 in the morning, and thus ended that glorious day”. Next morning the Prince, after visiting the Hot Well, partook of a grand breakfast with the Corporation. His Royal Highness gave the mayor £200 for releasing poor prisoners for debt in Newgate, whilst the Princess presented the mayoress with a bloodstone repeating watch, and finally the Prince gave Mr. Combe's son a snuff-box set with diamonds. The visitors then returned to Bath, where a deputation afterwards waited upon them to return thanks for the honour they had been pleased to confer on Bristol. Such is the record of the civic scribe, much shorn of uninteresting details. The chamberlain's accounts show that the entertainment entailed an outlay of what was then considered the enormous sum of £955. Amongst the payments are £6 0s. 6d. for “Shampeighn” (probably drunk for the first time in Bristol), 12s. for about 800 tobacco pipes, £78 10s. for gunpowder, £14 10s. for the hire of pewter plates and dishes, and thirty guineas to the weavers and woolcombers for their display. The London Evening Post stated that upwards of 600 partook of the great dinner, for which some tickets had been eagerly purchased at five guineas each.

The reader will have observed that the road out of Bath was put in order on the occasion of the Prince's progress. Nevertheless, early in the following January, after heavy rains, access to Bath became almost wholly impracticable owing to the state of the highways. The farmers seized the opportunity not merely to raise the price of butter to four times its usual price in Bristol, but “to bring a great deal to market several ounces under weight”.

The temper of the authorities was much exercised at this time by an impracticable baker. On the 2nd December, 1738, the mayor reported to the Council that he had lately sent a warrant to Thomas Tawman, ordering his attendance, and that the man, on appearing, had behaved insolently, and stood in open defiance of his worship's orders and of the Bakers' Company. The Chamber ordered that he be summoned to show cause why he should not be disfranchised. The baker continuing rebellious, he was deprived of the freedom in May, and the bellman announced the fact in the streets. Tawman, however, coolly took no notice,


and went on selling his bread. The Council next ordered that the culprit should be prosecuted for obstinately keeping open his shop, and the opportunity was seized to make a raid on all “foreigners” carrying on business in the city. As non-freemen were wholly defenceless, many of those threatened paid fines for admission to the freedom. Tawman and the rest were doubtless expelled.

The minutes of the Dean and Chapter record, under the 6th January, 1739, that the capitular body had that day sealed a lease to the “Mayor or Burgesses and Commonalty” of Bristol for liberty to make a way or passage, nine feet wide, through the croud or crypt of St. Nicholas's church. Soon afterwards, a “faculty”, authorising this strange design, was issued by Carew Reynell, chancellor of the diocese. This document, preserved in the Consistory Court, recites that owing to the narrowness of St. Nicholas's Gate and the increase of carriages and carts, traffic was frequently interrupted, and foot passengers could not proceed without peril of their lives, to the great impediment of trade. The Corporation having obtained permission to make a passage through the croud, the chancellor granted this faculty, enabling the civic body to open out the proposed footway. Strange to say, although a yearly way-leave of £6 had been promised to the vestry of St. Nicholas by the civic body, the minutes of the Council contain no reference to the subject, and the footway was never constructed.

The exasperation of the English merchants at their losses in carrying on a vast illicit trade with the Spanish American colonies has been already noticed. As they persisted in pursuing that trade, while the Spanish Government was equally obstinate in maintaining its monopoly, British ships were frequently captured, and Walpole's policy of peace became gradually unpopular. In 1788 the nation was roused to madness by a ship captain named Jenkins detailing to the House of Commons his alleged sufferings at the hands of the Spaniards, and producing one of his ears, which he said they had cut off with taunts at the English king. (Jenkins seems to have been a knave; Alderman Beckford afterwards assured Lord Shelburne that if the House had caused the fellow's wig to be removed they would have found his ears as whole as their own; and it is satisfactory to add that Mr. Nicholls' assertion that the man was a Bristolian is erroneous.) Cases of alleged ill-treatment continued to pour in. Amongst the Newcastle MSS. is a letter to the Duke signed by R. Farr, Thomas Roach, and two other Bristol


merchants, dated January, 1739, complaining “of a flagrant instance of cruelty and injustice” offered to British subjects by the Spaniards, and trusting that effectual measures would be taken for relieving the sufferers and obtaining compensation for the writers' loss. It appears from an enclosed document that the Bristol ship Sarah, whilst on a voyage home, was stopped and searched by a Spanish man of war, which, finding “one stick of logwood” (smuggled goods) on board, made prize of the vessel, carried her into Havanna “ignominiously, with the Union Jack turned downwards”, sold the cargo for one-tenth of its value, set the crew adrift, appropriated 1,800 pieces-of-eight, which the captain had hid in a cask, and then sent him to prison, where he still remained. The ship and cargo were valued at £9,000. The Ministry replied to complaints of this kind by pointing out that the English laws against smuggling were as harsh as those of Spain, but the plea, though true, did not mitigate mercantile discontent. The Cabinet negotiated a convention with the Court of Madrid with a view to obviating disputes; but the English shipowners denounced the arrangement as a sacrifice of British rights, and petitions against it having been forwarded to Parliament from Bristol and other leading ports, Walpole's opponents, taking advantage of the general clamour, joined in a violent attack on the policy of peace. After a vain struggle, Walpole submitted to the popular will, and war was proclaimed in Bristol on the 29th October amidst demonstrations of joy. Preparations for the struggle had been going on for some time. The London Weekly Journal of August 4th contained intelligence that, in pursuance of orders from the Government to impress landsmen as well as seamen for the king's service, the magistrates of Bristol had remained sitting at the Council House until between two and three o'clock on Sunday morning, whilst the constables were scouring the city and throwing their captures into Bridewell; similar scenes being repeated on the two following nights. Permission having been granted to fit out privateers, a correspondent of the London Country Journal stated that the breast of almost every Bristol citizen “was fired with martial ardour and an ambition of plucking off as many Spanish ears as would serve to nail on every gate throughout Great Britain”. A few weeks later the Gloucester Journal announced that “some eminent merchants of Bristol had subscribed £5,000 for the glorious purpose of fitting out privateers to go upon an expedition in quest of the Spanish


villains who insulted and robbed British subjects, and especially those belonging to the port. It was expected that £6,000 more would be raised at the next meeting”. A number of such vessels, in fact, were sent to sea in the following year, one of which, the Vernon, captured a prize valued at £18,000.

A craving for news, excited by the war, led to curious innovations in the Council House. The members of the Corporation had hitherto sought for intelligence of public events at the coffee houses; but it was now determined to subscribe for two of the London daily newspapers for the use of the civic body, who lost no time in converting the municipal building into a sort of free club house. The arrangement soon became very popular amongst the aldermen and councillors, and almost daily charges are recorded for bread, oysters, cheese, wine, ale, porter, cider and tobacco, consumed by them at the expense of the city. In the quarter ending June, 1742, the items include 132 bottles of wine, 4lb. tobacco, 288 pipes, and 1lb. of “smoaking candles”, with a great quantity of ale and cider. Another daily newspaper and the London Gazette were shortly afterwards ordered, and the items for “refreshments” became larger than ever. The system gave rise to abuses that brought about its suppression. On the return of peace the newspapers were discontinued.

The watching and lighting arrangements of the city being much complained of, the justices requested the parochial waywardens to report on the number of lights and lamps in each district. No return was made for the parishes of St. Nicholas and Redcliff, or for Castle Precincts. In St. James's and St. Michael's it was stated that there were few lights (lanthorns) and no lamps at all. In the rest of the city, including the out-parish of St. Philip's, the total number of glimmering oil lamps was 128. Three of the central parishes had four each, and the populous district of Temple only six. On the 10th February, 1739, the Council adopted a petition to Parliament praying for further powers. The document alleged that in several parishes the number of persons paying 2d. weekly in poor rate (who alone were liable to the lighting rate) was so small that an adequate number of lamps could not be maintained, while the nightly watch was equally defective. The Chamber desired to take the two matters into its own hands, and to be enabled to levy a general rate to meet the future outlay. It also sought for power to make regulations for paving and cleansing the


streets, and for preventing the erection of houses with wooden fronts and over-hanging storeys. The design, however, became known to the inhabitants, and excited so many threats of resistance that the Bill was summarily dropped. The measure was again proposed in 1740, with a similar result.

Mr. John Elbridge, whose zeal and munificence in promoting the establishment of the Infirmary have been already noticed, died on the 22nd February, 1739, at Cote House, Durdham Down, a mansion which he had erected. Descended from the Bristol family of the Aldworths, from whom he inherited a large estate, Elbridge obtained the deputy comptrollership of the Custom-house in the reign of William III., and held it for many years. During his residence in the Royal Fort he erected a school house on part of the garden, adjoining St. Michael's Hill, and bequeathed £3,000 to trustees for the clothing and education therein of twenty-four girls.

After another long slumber, the Corporation, urged by the practical and energetic recorder, again took up the question of the proposed Exchange. In May a committee reported that the most convenient site for the building, and also for the proposed market-house, was the area stretching from All Saints' Lane to Cock Lane in Corn Street, and extending backwards to Nicholas Street. The proposal was adopted, and the committee were empowered to purchase such additional property as might be required. (The project is said to have been condemned by the citizens generally as too costly to be practicable.) Amongst the payments soon after made on this account was “The feoffees of All Saints for the Old Maids' Alms-house, £420”; but Mr. Nicholls' statement that this building occupied the whole site of the present Exchange is absurdly incorrect. A new almshouse was built by the trustees in 1741, in St. John's Lane.

Much dismay was created in the municipal body in May, 1739, by the discovery that the chamberlain, Mr. Holledge, had not accounted for several thousand pounds of the money entrusted to him. He was, however, possessed of valuable property in Prince's Street and elsewhere, and the loss was reduced by its sale to £2,400. His sureties were answerable for the remainder, but they pleaded inability to pay, and only £500 appear to have been obtained from one of them, Richard Hart. Holledge, who had been mayor in 1708-9, petitioned the Council for relief in September, alleging that he had been ruined by his son's recklessness, and


other misfortunes. The Chamber granted him an annuity of £50. Upon his death, in 1742, his widow obtained a pension of £25; in 1751 one of his daughters was granted an annuity of the same amount; and in 1759 another daughter was voted £15 a year for life.

The old difficulty of inducing prominent citizens to enter the Corporation revived about this date. John Tyndall and David Dehany had been elected councillors, but both refused to accept the office, and actions at law were commenced to recover the penalties. Dehany soon after surrendered, and, after paying the fine of £200, was re-elected, and the money refunded. After a further struggle, Tyndall adopted the same course; but he soon wearied of his new dignity, and relieved himself of it in 1741 by paying the penalty of £200.

The combination in the same trading company of educated and prosperous surgeons with humble barbers and wigmakers was a medieval anomaly certain to become mutually disagreeable as society progressed. In May, 1739, a number of peruke makers and barbers, freemen of the Barbers' Company, presented a petition to the Council, complaining of “diverse impositions and grievances” inflicted by their surgical brethren. A petition of the masters and wardens of the company was also produced, in which surprise was expressed that some “uneasie members” should importune the Chamber with unfounded discontents. The documents were referred to a committee, and were heard of no more. In later years many surgeons refused to become members of the company, which gradually died out. Its hall was in or near Shannon Court.

The London Weekly Journal of July 21st, 1739, contains a brief paragraph illustrative of the effects of the Methodist crusade in Kingswood. The astonished writer states that a sheriff's officer with two assistants had ventured into that barbarous district, and had even levied an execution upon the chattels of an inhabitant, “without meeting with the least obstruction. No officer within the memory of the oldest man living has been able to effect an undertaking of this nature in so peaceable a manner”.

About the end of July, 1739, Richard Savage, a poet of some genius, but whose extraordinary career as narrated by his friend Dr. Johnson has secured for the man an undeserved rank in English literature, was induced by Pope and other well wishers to remove from London, where his health had been shattered by alternate plunges into debauchery and misery, and to take up his abode in Wales, where they


undertook to provide him with the then sufficient yearly income of £60 for life. He set off provided with fifteen guineas for travelling expenses, but the money carried him only a few miles, and another remittance was needed to enable him to reach Bristol. Here, as he alleged, he found an embargo laid upon shipping, and was compelled to remain for some time; but as the Welsh mail by the New Passage was never interrupted, the pretext alleged for delay was merely one of Savage's habitual shifts. The truth is that the poet, to use Johnson's words, “ingratiated himself with many of the principal merchants, was invited to their houses, distinguished at their public feasts, and treated with a regard that gratified his vanity”. At last he sailed for Swansea, where he remained a year, eking out his income by a trick not then uncommon - soliciting subscriptions in cash for a new edition of his works which he made no effort to produce. In the meantime, having offended many of his London friends by insolent importunities, they withdrew their support, and, after denouncing their inhumanity, he resolved to return to England. On reappearing in Bristol, says Johnson, “a repetition of the kindness which he had formerly found invited him to stay. He was not only caressed and treated, but had a collection made for him of about £30”. To offer help to Savage, however, was only to provoke further demands; he asked for assistance as if it were legitimately due to him; and instead of being grateful for what was offered, he became insulting when further importunities were unsuccessful. The hospitality he continued to meet with was recklessly abused. He could not brook the trammel of stated hours; he treated all family regulations with scorn; and could neither be induced to retire to bed at night nor to leave it next day for dinner. As was natural, every door gradually closed upon him, and he was driven, with empty pockets, to seek for sustenance at the taverns. The debts incurred in this way becoming troublesome, he took refuge in the garret of an obscure inn, from which he sallied by night to beg from his former admirers. At this crisis a remittance of £5 arrived from London, to enable him to return, but the money was forthwith squandered in a debauch. Help and shelter were nevertheless still extended to him by a surviving friend, in despite of his perverse habits. At length, on the 16th January, 1743, he was lodged in Newgate for nonpayment of a debt of £8, due to a coffee-house keeper, and was treated, as Johnson admits, with great humanity by Mr. Dagg, the


gaoler, who provided him with food, and even accompanied him in country walks. Some Bristolians suggested a subscription to pay his debts, but as he was to reap no personal gain by the operation, “he treated”, to use his own expression, “the proposal with disdain”. The occasional gifts sent to the prison were accepted in the poet's characteristic fashion. He took the money and impudently asked for more; and, as he deemed the response illiberal, he snatched up a pen to revile his benefactors. While engaged in this congenial task, he was smitten with fever - never long absent from the unhealthy prisons of the age - and died on the 1st August, 1743. He was buried in St. Peter's churchyard, about six feet from the entrance to the south porch, at the expense of Mr. Dagg. The vigour of Dr. Johnson's sympathetic memoir long protected Savage's greediness, dissipation, and ferocity from general discredit. Since the publication of Mr. Moy Thomas's researches, there has been practically no question that the poet's account of his noble birth and subsequent persecution by a cruel mother was as gross an imposture as the story concocted in our own time by the Tichborne claimant. A few lines of the unfinished satire on Bristol, entitled “London and Bristol delineated”, are subjoined.

In a dark bottom sunk, O Bristol now
With native malice lift thy lowering brow!
*    *    *    *    *
Present we meet thy sneaking, treacherous smiles;
The harmless absent still thy sneer reviles,
Such as in thee all parts superior find,
The sneer that makes the fool and knave combined;
When melting pity would afford relief,
The ruthless sneer that insult adds to grief.
What friendship canst thou boast? what honours claim?
To thee each stranger adds an injured name.
What smiles thy sons must in their foes excite!
Thy sons, to whom all discord is delight;
Thy sons, though crafty, deaf to wisdom's cull.
Despising all men and despised by all;
Sons, while thy cliffs a ditch-like river laves,
Rude as thy rocks, and muddy as thy waves.
Of thoughts as narrow as of words immense,
As full of turbulence as void of sense.
*    *    *    *    *   
Boast swarming vessels, whose plebeian state,
Owns not to merchants but mechanics freight.
Boast nought but pedlars' fleets . . .
Boast thy base Tolsey, and thy turn-spit dogs,
Thy halliers' horses, and thy human hogs.
Upstarts and mushrooms, proud, relentless hearts,
Thou blank of sciences, thou dearth of arts.
Such foes as learning once was doomed to see,
Huns, Goths, and Vandals, were but types of thee.


In November, 1739, another and more celebrated poet, Alexander Pope, paid a visit to the Hot Well for the purpose of drinking the water. In two letters to Martha Blount he gives a description of Bristol which, amidst some amusing cockneyisms, is not without vivid touches. After describing the journey from Bath, Pope states that the first view of Bristol presented him with “twenty odd pyramids smoking over the town (which are glasshouses)”. Then “you come first to old walls [Temple Gate], and over a bridge built on both sides like London bridge, and as much crowded, with a strange mixture of seamen, women, children, loaded horses, asses, and sledges with goods, dragging along altogether, without posts to separate them. From thence you come to a key along the old wall, with houses on both sides, and in the middle of the street as far as you can see, hundreds of ships, their masts as thick as they can stand by one another, which is the oddest and most surprising sight imaginable. This street is fuller of them than the Thames from London bridge to Deptford”. When the tide was out, the ships grounded, and then “a long street full of ships in the middle, with houses on each side, looks like a dream”. The picturesque road to the Hot Well is next described. “Passing still along by the river, you come to a rocky way on one side, overlooking green hills on the other; on that rocky way rise several white houses, and over them red rocks, and as you go further more rocks above rocks, mixed with green bushes and of different coloured stone. This at a mile's end terminates in the house of the Hot Well”. Here the wondering writer found “several pretty lodging houses, open to the river, with walls of trees. When you have seen the hills which seem to shut in upon you, and to stop any further way, you go into the house [pump-room], and looking out at the back-door a vast rock of an hundred feet of red, white, green, blue and yellowish marble, all blotched and variegated, strikes you quite in the face; and turning on the left there opens the river at a vast depth below, winding in and out, and accompanied on both sides with a continued range of rocks up into the clouds, of a hundred colours, one behind another . . . very much like the broken scenes in a play-house (!) Upon the top of those high rocks there runs a large down of fine turf for about three miles. It looks too frightful to approach the brink, and look down upon the river. . . . There is a little village upon this down called Clifton, where are very pretty lodging houses, and steep cliffs and very green


valleys. ... I am told that one may ride ten miles further on an even turf, on a ridge that on one side views the river Severn”. Turning to Bristol again, Pope writes:- “The city itself is very unpleasant, and no civilised company in it: only the collector of the customs would have brought me acquainted with merchants, of whom I hear no great character. The streets are as crowded as London; but the best image I can give you of it is, 'tis as if Wapping and Southwark were ten times as big, or all their people ran into London. Nothing is fine in it but the square, which is larger than Grosvenor Square, and well builded . . . and the key, which is full of ships, and goes half-way round the square. The College Green is pretty, and (like the square) is set with trees, with a very fine old cross of Gothic curious work in the middle, but spoiled with the folly of new gilding it, that takes away all the venerable antiquity”. The poet thinks of returning to Bath, and of drinking there the Bath and Bristol waters mixed. “Not but that I am satisfied the water at the Well is very different from what it is anywhere else; for it is full as warm as new milk from the cow; but there is no living at the Wells without more conveniences in the winter”. From a letter written by Martha Blount, addressed “To be left with Mr. Pyne, the postmaster, Bristol”, and bearing internal evidence as to its date, it is certain that Pope paid a second visit to the Hot Well in 1743. It must have been on this occasion that, as an aged citizen informed Mr. Seyer, the poet once attended service at Redland Chapel (Seyer MSS.).

The Gloucester Journal of August 29th, 1739, reports “an outrage against immemorial custom which had excited great resentment” in Bristol. A few days before the opening of the assizes, a regiment of infantry was marched into the city, and, in spite of the protests of the mayor, the troops continued in quarters after the commission was opened. The judge (Aland) summoned the commanding officer before him, and demanded the removal of the soldiery, but it was not until his lordship threatened to despatch a messenger to the Government that his order was complied with.

A civil action was tried at the above assizes between a baker and a butcher, both of Lawford's Gate, the former claiming £30 as won during a single sitting at “the favourite game of Hussle Cap”. He obtained a verdict, with 40s. damages.

The prevalence of superstition amongst the wealthier class


of the city is illustrated by a Bristol paragraph in the London Weekly Miscellany of September 1st, stating that only one prisoner received sentence of death at the local gaol delivery just concluded, “namely Halley Price, convicted of stealing (under the guise of a fortune teller) twenty guineas. This is the creature who stole (under the same delusion) a gold chain and several gold rings from a creditable inhabitant of this city lately”. Price escaped the gallows. When the victims of the fortune tellers were of low degree the knaves got off lightly. The Bristol Journal, of September 15th, 1752, states that six of those impostors had just been “handsomely” whipped at the whipping post, outside Lawford's Gate.

Banking in provincial towns being still in its infancy, the Corporation of Bristol was sometimes much inconvenienced in remitting Sir Thomas Whitens yearly gift of £104 to the distant civic bodies which were, as they still are, entitled to it in rotation. The case of Cambridge, in 1739, indicates how the matter was arranged. The corporation in question sent an acquittance and a power of attorney to one Samuel Herring, “woollen draper, at the Artichoke, Lombard Street, London”. The Bristol authorities on their side handed the money to John Vaughan, a local goldsmith, whose agents, Spindler and Co., of Gutter Lane, were ordered to pay the money to Herring. The chamberlain, in acquainting the latter where the money was lying, writes:- “Bills are very scarce with us. I was obliged to pay ½ per cent, for negotiating this affair”.

Mr. Thomas Coster, M.P., of College Green, died on the 30th September, to the great regret of his friends. A contemporary notemaker recorded that the great bell of every parish church in the city tolled an entire day by order of the family. An election to fill the vacant seat commenced in the following November. The candidates were Mr. Edward Southwell, of Kingsweston, nominated by the Tory party, and Mr. Henry Combe, merchant, a Whig. (Mr. Serjeant Foster, the recorder, also offered himself, but retired in favour of Mr. Combe.) The Gloucester Journal of November 27th says:- “The Hon. Mr. Southwell has kept open house at Shirehampton ever since he has declared. There are constantly employed a baker, a butcher, and two brewers to provide for the reception of all comers and goers”. The singular coalition of Jacobites, Tories, and “Patriots” then raging against Walpole in the House of Commons was not without influence in the provinces, and Mr. Combe's


support of the Excise scheme told heavily against him. The contest closed on the 12th December, when Mr. Southwell had polled 2,651 votes, and Mr. Combe 2,203. In singular contrast to a modern election, only about one twenty-fifth part of the voters refrained from polling, the total number of abstentions being 214. Only thirty-seven electors resided in Clifton. The Tory party rejoiced greatly over their success, and a local poet produced an enthusiastic ode, commencing:-

O glorious victory, divine defeat!
Hail mighty Southwell, eminently great!

Various improvements were resolved upon by the Council during the closing months of 1739. The ascent in High Street being very abrupt, some alteration was made in the gradient at a cost of about £160. The scheme for making a footpath through St. Nicholas's crypt having been abandoned, it was determined to remove two houses on the east side of St. Nicholas's Gate, so as to make a footway from High Street to the Bridge, thus protecting pedestrians from the peril of struggling through the always crowded gate. Works were ordered at Bridewell for the purpose of making the prison more secure, and for enlarging it by the incorporation of Whitehall. The provisions against fires being again found insufficient, a new fire engine was purchased at a cost of £61. Finally, the mayor having stated that there was a considerable sum of money in the Council House, the lower windows of which were unprotected, a motion was made that substantial shutters should be provided. The civic scribe omits to note the result. The following winter was one of great severity, and owing to the sufferings of the poor the Chamber voted £200 for their relief; while twelve starving insolvents were liberated from Newgate, their creditors consenting to accept 6s. 8d. in the pound on their debts, which on the average amounted to only £6 each.

One of the most curious items in the civic account books of this period is as follows:- “Oct. 16. Entertaining Captain Rais Condela, Admiral of Salle, £39 17s. 3d”, This is followed by:- “Paid to his passage to Milford, 5s. A sack for him, 5s.” The mystery hanging over those items has been cleared up by the discovery of the detailed accounts, the innkeeper's bill describing the visitor as the “Embaseter of Murroker”. The Admiral being a Mahometan, and consequently an abstainer from intoxicating liquors, the civic dignitaries were unable to entertain him in a manner congenial with their own tastes. They however appreciated his


own, by presenting him with a handsome scarlet cloak fringed with gold, and other apparel, including shirts and “Morocco pumps”, conducted him to the Hot Well and Sea Mills dock, paid for his modest entertainment at an inn, at the rate of 7s. 6d. per day, and defrayed his passage from Milford to Bristol (5s.), and from Bristol to London (three guineas.) A treaty of commerce with Morocco, by which British ships were protected from the raids of “Sallee rovers”, was concluded soon afterwards.

At a meeting of the Council in February, 1740, the mayor explained to the House the cause of a grave infraction of ancient customs. It was the time-honoured duty of one of the sheriffs to give a dinner to the Corporation soon after his appointment, and Mr. Dehany had intended to comply with the usage, but owing to the bustle caused by the election and the severity of the weather he had been prevented from doing so “in so handsome a manner as the nature of the thing required”. He therefore proposed that, in lieu of the dinner, he should give 100 guineas to the Corporation, to be distributed amongst the poor. The Chamber, after passing a solemn resolution that this proceeding was not “to be drawn into a president”, accepted the money.

The Exchange scheme was now making substantial progress. At the Council meeting in March a committee reported extensive purchases of property with a view to clearing the site for the Exchange and markets, and for opening approaches. The total amounted to £19,343. As showing the intricate net of lanes and alleys swept away by the improvement, it may be stated that one of the new purchases comprised certain “premises in King's Head Court and Thorough Lane, in or near Foster Lane, otherwise St. Martin's Lane”, in St. Nicholas' parish. The vendors were the right honourable Giles Earle, one of the Lords of the Treasury, and William Earle Benson, son and great grandson of Sir Thomas Earle. A large portion of the site having been cleared, the foundation stone of the Exchange was laid by the mayor on the 10th March, 1741, amidst much rejoicing, to which a bountiful distribution of ale to the populace may have contributed. A few weeks before the ceremony, Mr. John Wood, one of the creators of modern Bath, had been appointed architect of the new building, which made rapid progress under his supervision.

Having just referred to a local work which was in hand nearly thirty years, the opportunity may be taken to note


the deliberation with which a much more important public improvement was carried out. On the 9th August, 1740, the Council granted to Alderman Nathaniel Day, on payment of £20 a year, the reversion of certain land near the Boar's Head inn, to enable him to open a street forty feet wide in Bullock's Park, “to lead from College Green up into the road towards Jacob's Well”. The project thus oddly described was the first sketch of what was to become Park Street, but more than twenty years elapsed before a house was built, and some sites remained vacant at the beginning of the present century.

The suburbs of the city were infested about this time by a number of ruffians who seem to have had no qualms in supplementing robbery by murder. In April, 1740, two men were executed at Gloucester for two violent highway crimes on Durdham Down. In the following July a servant of Mr. Thomas Knight, of Southmead, Westbury, was found, nearly dead, on the Down, with twenty cuts on his skull, and his pockets rifled. “The young man's horse was found near the gallows”. A week or two later two soldiers, named Millard and Masters, were charged with the crime by a comrade named York, who confessed that he had been their companion in the perpetration of two atrocious robberies at Brislington and Bedminster, in a burglary in Wine Street, and in stealing twenty-one sheep at various times in the southern suburbs. York was thereupon arrested, and, at the following Somerset assizes, the three men were sentenced to death and afterwards hanged, together with a fourth culprit, convicted of a robbery at Brislington. Millard and York spent the night previous to their execution in “Bedminster Bridewell”, a prison maintained by the county of Somerset. The former was hung in chains on Bedminster Down, and the latter on Brislington Common, in the presence of thousands of spectators. A few days later Millard's father-in-law, a cobbler in Thomas Street, strongly suspected of being concerned in the above crimes, was executed in Bristol for a shop robbery.

Much trouble and expense being caused by the influx of paupers from Ireland, the court of quarter sessions, in August, 1740, by virtue of an Act passed in the spring, fixed the rates to be paid to masters of ships for the reconveyance of vagrants to their native country. In this matter, at all events, the aldermanic body studied economy. The amount fixed for each adult was 6s. 6d., including food; for children half price. As the voyage frequently lasted a week.


and occasionally a month, shipowners must have found the business far from profitable.

The minutes of Christ Church vestry contain the following record, dated December 1st, 1740:- “It was ordered that Mr. John Berrow do erect another butcher's standing on the porter's walk adjoining on to this church”. It will be shown at a later date that, in consequence of the excrescences that had been permitted to grow around the church, the width of Wine Street at this point was only seventeen feet.

One of the most audacious and cold-blooded fratricides ever recorded was committed at Kingroad on the 10th January, 1741, on Sir John Dineley, Bart., by his brother, Samuel Goodere, captain of H.M.S. Ruby, then stationed in the port. Sir John, who had dropped his family name on succeeding to a maternal estate in Worcestershire, married the grand-daughter and heiress of Alderman John Lawford, of Bristol, in whose right he possessed a mansion at Stapleton and another at Tockington, near Thornbury. For many years the baronet and his brother had been on unfriendly terms, and the former, whose conduct was described as scarcely consistent with sanity, took advantage of circumstances that will be hereafter mentioned to cut off the entail of the family estates, with the intention of leaving them to two nephews named Foote, and thus impoverishing the captain, his heir presumptive. The ill-feeling of the latter was inflamed by this proceeding to deadly hatred, and soon after his appointment to the command of the Ruby (through the suicide of the previous captain at Kingroad, in October, 1740). he resolved on the murder of his brother, and devised a plan for candying it out. Knowing that Sir John had business relations with Mr. Jarrit Smith, a solicitor, in College Green, the captain urged that gentleman to endeavour to bring about a reconciliation, stating that it might be effected in an interview at Mr. Smith's house. The solicitor assented, and prevailed upon Sir John to promise a meeting on the first day he should visit Bristol. Subsequently, upon Mr. Smith being informed that the baronet would call upon him on the 13th January, he acquainted the captain, who lodged in Prince's Street, of the fact: whereupon the latter, in pursuance of his deadly project, brought up a number of sailors from the Ruby, and hired some ruffians belonging to the Vernon privateer, giving them orders to seize Sir John when he quitted Mr. Smith's. (The site of his house is now occupied by the Royal Hotel.) The baronet, who was then


negotiating a mortgage for £5,000 with the attorney to clear off some of his debts, kept his appointment, but declined to see his brother until his next visit to Bristol, fixed for the following Sunday, the 19th January; and as both he and his servant were well mounted and armed with pistols, the intended attack was postponed. A day or two later, Captain Goodere made elaborate preparations for the coming tragedy. Nearly opposite to Mr. Smith's residence stood the White Hart alehouse, which on the first floor had a room projecting over the porch, affording an outlook over the traffic to and from the quays. Captain Goodere having again assembled his mercenaries, directed them to take up their quarters in this room on Sunday afternoon, adding further instructions which they faithfully followed. The ambuscade being laid, the captain called upon Mr. Smith at the hour appointed, and met his intended victim, whom he kissed, and then congratulated on his apparent better health. Mr. Smith, pouring out a glass of wine, drank to “love and friendship”, to which Sir John responded, “With all my heart”. The captain also drank to the toast, and Mr. Smith believed that the reconciliation was complete. After an amicable conversation the party broke up, the solicitor accompanying his guests to the door, whence he saw Sir John walk down towards the quay, while the captain was joined by several sailors from the alehouse, and was heard to say, “Is he ready?” adding an order to make haste. Mr. Smith, supposing that the captain was giving orders for returning to Kingroad, thought no more of the matter, and closed his door. Only a few seconds afterwards, Mahony, the leader of the captain's gang, seized the unfortunate baronet under the wall of the churchyard, and, with the assistance of others, partly carried and partly dragged him along the Ropewalk towards the Ruby's barge, which was moored near Mardyke. Captain Goodere followed a few steps behind his myrmidons, who were about sixteen in number, and who, in reply to the questions of timid wayfarers, stated that their prisoner was a murderer, about to be tried on shipboard. Acts of brutal violence by press gangs were then of constant occurrence, and this fact, joined to the ferocious ruffianism of the privateer's men, who threatened to throw a bystander into the river, accounts for the apathy of the spectators. The captive shouted “Murder. I am Sir John Dineley”, several times, but his red cloak was thrown over his head, and he was soon thrust into the barge, of which Captain Goodere took the command, and which was rapidly rowed to Kingroad, the


captive protesting all the way against the barbarity of his treatment. On boarding the Ruby, the captain told the officers that the prisoner was insane, and ordered him to be placed in the purser's cabin, which had been specially cleansed for his reception some days before; a sentinel was directed to keep guard over him; and two large bolts were fastened upon the door. Suspicions as to the captain's purpose were excited amongst the officers by the repeated cries of the unhappy man, but habits of discipline prevented interference, and they retired to rest at the usual hour. “ Between 2 and 3 o'clock” (in the morning), said Captain Goodere in his confession, “I ordered Mahony to call Charles White - for Elisha Cole, who was intended to assist Mahony in the murder, was dead drunk - and to bring him into my cabin. White came presently, and I believe I made him drink a quart of rum out of gill glasses. When he was near drunk, I asked him if he would kill a Spaniard. The poor fellow seemed surprised, but Mahony and myself worked him up to a proper pitch, so that he was ready enough to assist. All the night long Mahony was to and fro in deceased's cabin, and the sentry thought he was sent by me to assist Sir John. ... I gave him a handkerchief and a piece of half-inch rope about ten foot long, bidding him and While follow me. The rope was to strangle him, and the handkerchief to thrust into his mouth to stop his making a noise. ... I ordered the sentry to give me his sword, and to go up on deck, which he did”. Mahony and White then went into the cabin and finished their work, the victim's cries of “Murder” nevertheless awakening several persons in the ship. “I stood at the cabin door”, added the captain, “with my sword drawn, and gave them the lanthorn, which hung up in the cabin [gunroom], just as they had got the rope about his neck. The sentry, seeing me without a candle, brought one to the cabin door, but I held my sword to his breast and ordered him away”. On the murderers reappearing, the captain went in and felt his brother's corpse, observing:- “'Tis done, and well done”. Thereupon locking the door, he took the two miscreants to his own cabin, where Mahony gave him his brother's gold watch, and received the captain's silver one in return. The gold found in the dead man's pockets, about £28, was shared by the assassins, who immediately left the ship. The horrible nature of the crime soon after excited some of the petty officers to a daring breach of discipline. Early in the morning, the cooper, who lay in an adjoining cabin, having


related that he had seen the closing scenes of the tragedy through chinks in a partition, the carpenter broke in the cabin door, when the state of the body left no doubt as to the crime; whereupon the cooper, finding that the lieutenant was too timid to take action, boldly arrested the captain with the help of eight or ten of the crew. After an unaccountable delay on the part of the Bristol magistrates, the water-bailiff was sent down, and took charge of the prisoner. The other culprits were apprehended in the city by four sailors, and with their tempter were brought before the justices, when Mahony and White made voluntary confessions, each throwing the guilt upon his companions in the dock. Previous to the trial the Government made an attempt to remove the case into the Admiralty Court, alleging that the city authorities had no jurisdiction; but the recorder clearly demonstrated that the scene of the murder was within the boundaries conceded to Bristol by ancient charters. The gaol delivery took place in March, when Captain Goodere boldly denied his guilt, alleging that his brother was really insane, and that, being heir to the family estates, it would have been folly in him to commit an act certain to deprive him of £40,000. If his counsel had been sharp-sighted, he might have availed himself of a more successful line of defence. At that period, if the slightest inaccuracy in names or descriptions occurred in an indictment, the charge against a prisoner was vitiated, and he was entitled to be discharged. Now the chief prisoner was indicted under the name of Samuel Goodere, “Esquire”, though he had unquestionably succeeded to the baronetcy on the death of his brother, whilst the latter was styled John Dineley Goodere, though he had for some years dropped the latter surname, and is said to have obtained the royal license to do so. The prisoners having been convicted, Goodere insisted upon walking through the streets to Newgate, arrayed in the red cloak then generally worn by the upper classes. Still professing innocence, he forwarded a petition to the Crown, as did his wife and daughter. Finding this step hopeless, according to an early edition of the Newgate Calendar “he got some person to hire a great number of colliers to rescue him while going to the place of execution; but some notice of his design having transpired, the sheriff raised all the people in the city that were able, in order to frustrate any attempt of that nature”. The authorities certainly feared an attack on Newgate, for a new door, plated with iron, was set up, and watched by a guard. At last Goodere fully admitted his


guilt in the written “confession” quoted above. Mahony and White made a joint confession, alleging that they were made almost insensible with liquor before they consented to commit the deed. The three murderers, accompanied by a wretched woman convicted of killing her child, were executed on the 15th April. The body of Mahony was gibbeted on Dunball Island, near the scene of the murder. Goodere's body was removed to the Infirmary, where, in the presence of as many spectators as could crush into the hall, a surgeon stuck a scalpel into the breast. In this state it was exposed to the popular gaze until the evening, and then despatched to Herefordshire and buried in the family vault. It was reported at the time that both the brothers had been subject to fits of insanity. One of the murderer's sons, who succeeded to the baronetcy, died in a lunatic asylum.

Some additional curious facts, hitherto unpublished, respecting the Dineley family, have been kindly furnished by Mr. William George, from his extensive collection of local manuscripts. The most amusing is a letter from Lady Dineley, the widow of the murdered man, to a cousin, Miss Bubb, written a few days after the tragedy. This missive, indicating the education acquired by the heiress of a wealthy Bristol alderman, is as follows:-

Dr Cosen: Whatt your hard in the new [news] of poor Sr Jon is to trow and itt have all mostt ben my Deth for I am frit outt of my wits. So horrid a murder I never hard of, I can nott till you how but refure you to the newpaper which is very il ritt. I have a greatt deall to say butt my Hartt is to full Dr Mis bubb I mustt still be troblesume to you, to by me moung [mourning] I wood have itt in the very pink of ye mode & very sollom a weed of Silk as is made on this a Kaons (occasions?) & everthing as be Long to a Wedw butt no Shou or Stokin thett I can have here I have sentt my seys [size] butt lett itt be to big and Long thatt [it] may be alltud [altered.) I have a blak nightt goond & Dr Cosn pray lett it be sentt the beginn of nextt weeke for Mr Smith and I am abligd to be in wostershera the Latta Inn [latter end] of the week in greatt bisness I live itt to you, if I could a till how to sentt ye money up wood butt belive if you go to Mr Howard he will lett yu have money, or yu lett me know how to remitt itt to you.

On the back of the leaf containing the above, in the same hand, is the following note, addressed to “Mr. Howard, Inner Temple”:-

Sr, I bag you will lett Miss bubb have wit money she sholl whantt to by me some things, and will pay you itt as soon as I see you which I hope will be in may nixtt after I have dun with ye egstt [executors] I hope yu had my letter in hastt Sr your humbll Sertt M Dineley.

Miss Bubb's acknowledgment of the receipt of £15 follows. Lady Dineley, whose “hartt was to full”, but who required a mourning dress in the pink of the fashion, does not


improve on further acquaintance. In May, 1732, the Gentleman's Magazine recorded that “Dingley Goodere, Esq., son of Sir Edward Goodere, Bart., recovered of Sir Robert Jason, Bart., in the Court of Common Pleas, £1000 for crim. con. with his wife”. A subsequent suit for a divorce was not prosecuted, probably from the pecuniary embarrassments of the husband. Sir Edward, the father of the two brothers, survived until March, 1739. At that time Sir John had an only son, Edward Dingley, who had reached manhood, but was evidently another sufferer from the mental weakness of the family. Owing to his dissipated habits as a boy, his father apprenticed him to a saddler, and he appears to have been afterwards wholly discarded. According to an affidavit of an attorney's clerk, dated the 22nd January, 1740, in Mr. George's possession, this Edward, in the previous month, was lodging at a low alehouse in Southwark, when he expressed his willingness to serve his father, and spite his uncle, “who had used him very ill”, by destroying the entail of the family estate. By order of Sir John, the young man, who was in the last stage of illness, was removed to the house of an attorney in Fetter Lane, where, in consideration of being promised £200 a year, he executed, only two days before his death, the necessary deed for effecting what was called a “common recovery” of the property. Captain Goodere attempted to defeat the proceeding, and alleged in court that Edward Dineley was dead when the deed was executed, and that the signature was the forgery of Sir John, who had put a pen in the hand of the corpse. This charge, which was disproved by the witnesses and rejected by the judges, increased the exasperation of the baronet, who was himself so ill as to apprehend death, and he made a will before the end of the same month, leaving his Worcestershire estates to his sister's son, John Foote, and his Gloucestershire property to another nephew, the afterwards celebrated Samuel Foote. The testator appears to have forgotten the existence of his wife, who was entitled to enjoy the latter estates (her father's) for life, and had also a jointure on the former. Shortly after the murder, however, she asserted herself in a remarkable manner, by producing a boy, aged about eleven years, to whom she alleged she gave birth about two months before flying from her husband's house owing to his ill usage. In the case drawn up under her directions for the opinion of counsel, it was stated that all the witnesses of the birth were dead, that the boy's existence had been concealed from his father,


and that the proof of his rights would mainly rest on the mother's testimony. Her legal adviser - the Mr. Howard already referred to - endorsed the document as follows:- “This was the fictitious case Lady Dineley made me draw and take opinion on when she wanted to set up and pretend she had a son by Sir John then living, and which was all false”. The adventurous lady afterwards married one William Rayner, a printer, in London, who disposed of her rights to the Tockington and Worcestershire properties. She died in 1767, at Stapleton.

A successful battle against heavy odds was fought by a Bristol privateer on the 8th February, 1741. The Princess Augusta, a vessel of 14 guns and 26 men, commanded by Captain Gwynn, was attacked to the West of Scilly by a Spanish privateer with 24 guns and 78 men. The Bristol ship delivered the first broadside, which was of so effective a character that the enemy's vessel blew up, and all her crew, save five men, were drowned. A still more adventurous affair was soon afterwards announced. The Boyd privateer. Captain Colt, with 60 men, had made prize of two Spanish merchantmen in West Indian waters, when one of the enemy's men of war hove in sight. Desirous of securing the prizes, Colt drafted into them 48 of his crew, with orders to make all sail for Jamaica, while he remained to fight the Spaniard. After a long engagement, the Boyd was, of course, captured, and the captain and crew were sent prisoners to Carthagena. On the night after being landed they broke out of prison, seized a yawl in the harbour, and escaped, subsequently plundering houses on the coast for provisions. On arriving safely at Jamaica they rejoined their comrades, with the prizes. Jamaica was raised to a state of great prosperity by the war, which largely increased the prices of colonial produce. In a letter from a planter to a Bristol merchant, published in the London Journal of July 21st, 1741, the writer asserts that he has longed for many years to return to England, and “especially Bristol, the place of my birth”; but that he would have been condemned to perpetual exile or to beggary but for “the happy change in public circumstances. 'Twas 'poor Jamaica', before the war broke out, but 'tis now rich Jamaica I assure you”. He is selling his three plantations on his own terms, and hopes to embark with others in an early ship. “We have some of us got enough, thank God”.

A dissolution of Parliament took place in 1741, but led to no change in the representation of the city, Sir Abraham


Elton and Mr. Edward Southwell being reelected without opposition.

The growth of trade and population at this period encouraged the citizens to appeal to the Ministry for an improvement in the postal communication with London, which was still limited to three days per week. Yielding to the pressure, the post office authorities established three additional mails in June, 1741, so that letters might pass to and fro every working day.

During the discussion on the Mutiny Bill in the House of Commons this year, the Ministry stated that to allay many complaints respecting the relations betwixt innkeepers and marching regiments, they proposed to allow fourpence for each man billeted, in return for which the victualler would provide bedding, candle, fire, cooking utensils, and three quarts of cider or small beer. Some West of England members protested against the quantity of cider allowed, declaring that the excess would lead to drunkenness; but it was retorted that the average quantity of liquor daily consumed by gentlemen's servants was at least three quarts. Eventually the allowance to the troops was reduced to five pints. It was estimated that this quantity of light beer would cost the innkeeper 1¼d. The working class consumption of beer was still prodigious. In December, 1742, the Bristol magistrates increased the number of alehouses in the city to 384, exclusive of 28 inns and many vintners' shops, being nearly double the number granted in 1700. Yet 30 more alehouse licenses were granted in 1744, and the number was raised to 600 in 1747, and to 625 in 1754, although the entire city, at the latter date, did not contain more than about 6,260 houses.

A four sheet plan of the city, from a survey made in 1741 by John Rocque, was published soon afterwards by Benjamin Hickey, an enterprising Bristol bookseller. The Council, in 1744, voted Hickey £20 for the “great pains, trouble, and expense” he had bestowed on the production. The price of this finely engraved plan was only half a guinea. Chatterton incidentally states in one of his poems that Hickey was ruined by this adventure.

An extraordinary but well authenticated story, illustrative of the state of the marriage laws, was published in the Bristol Oracle of January 8th, 1742. One Edgar, a stuff maker, of Bristol, left about £3,000 to the only daughter of his son Thomas, to be paid when she married or came of age. Thomas having died, and his widow having promptly


married a second husband, named Allen, the trustees under the will sent the child to a boarding school; but the mother, having determined on making money out of her daughter, succeeded in abducting her by stratagem, and refused to give her up. Mrs. Allen next opened negotiations with a clerk, nineteen years old, offering to sell the child in marriage for the sum of £600. The terms being agreed upon, the parties requested an attorney to draw up the necessary deed, but the lawyer warned the mother that the youth's proposed bond would be valueless, as he was under age. Mrs. Allen thereupon dismissed the clerk, and made a fresh bargain of a similar character with a sheriffs officer named Taylor, who secretly conveyed the child (under thirteen years of age) to Bath, and there clandestinely married her.

The prediction of Walpole, on the declaration of the Spanish war, that bell-ringing would soon give place to hand wringing, was only too soon realised. The conflict proved very calamitous to the English mercantile marine. Spanish privateers hovered near every port, and Bristol was an especial sufferer from their raids. In January, 1742, a petition of the Merchants' Society was presented to the House of Commons, representing that trade was becoming daily more precarious owing to the ravages of the enemy's cruisers, and praying that adequate provision might be made for the protection of commerce. It was found impossible, however, to prevent disasters, which were far from being counterbalanced by the occasional captures of Spanish vessels. The local clothing trade suffered a check, from which it never recovered, and there was a marked increase of pauperism. A loan of £1,000, free of interest for three years, was made by the Common Council to the guardians. It was stated in May, 1742, that the poor rate in Frome had been raised to 12s. in the pound, and that although 1,000 weavers there had been driven by starvation to enter the army, yet that many of the remaining workmen were destitute of the necessaries of life.

An odd occasion for rejoicing notwithstanding presented itself. From the beginning of the reign, George II. and his eldest son, the Prince of Wales, had lived on exceedingly bad terms, and the heir to the throne, through hatred of his father, eventually made his little court the focus of opposition against the Ministers of the Crown, even Jacobites receiving a cordial welcome. The quarrel having threatened such grave results as to cause disquiet throughout the


country, the patching up of a reconciliation assumed the aspect of a great political event. Its announcement in Bristol on the 19th February, says a London journal, “occasioned a general joy on all faces. The churches of Temple and St. Stephen were adorned with colours, and large bonfires were made in each parish. The mayor, aldermen, common council, clergy, and gentlemen met in the evening at the Council House, and unanimously expressed their great satisfaction at this happy event”.

It is probable that the above incident was intended to be commemorated by the name of “Unity” given to the street leading from College Green to Orchard Street, which the Corporation laid open at this date.

At a meeting of the Council on the 1st March, an account sent in by Abel Dagg, the keeper of Newgate, was refused payment, on the ground that the charges were “ unprecedented”. It is impossible to identify the items objected to. About two-thirds of the claim were for “allowance of 2d. a day for felons under sentence of transportation”, who were required to find food for themselves out of this pittance. The other items were “three quarters rent of the New Water”, £1 10s., showing that the Corporation patronised the Water Company to this meagre extent, and three coffins for White, Mahony, and Williams (executed with Captain Goodere), 15s.

At the same meeting a committee was appointed to consider how the by-law imposing fines on members for non-attendance could be more stringently enforced, many defaulters having omitted to pay. The committee was also to consider the case of “such members of the House as reside altogether out of the city, and neglect their duty and attendance”. Some notable instances of irregularities of this kind occur in the minute books. A gentleman named Noblet Ruddock, having become bankrupt and taken up his residence in the West Indies, was “dismissed” from the Corporation in 1734, when he had been absent seven years. In several other cases absenteeism was condoned, however long might be its duration, and insolvent councillors were not uncommon.

A man named William Curtis was hanged on the 8th April for having returned to England before his term of transportation had expired. The case was somewhat peculiar. In 1739 Curtis had acted as hangman at an execution in Bristol. A few months later he was sentenced to death at Gloucester for robbing a Scotch pedlar, but was


transported for fourteen years. In October, 1741, the Scotchman was an insolvent debtor in Newgate prison, and Curtis, having returned to Bristol from America, and seeing his former victim at the debtors' gate, loaded him with insults. Having returned to Newgate day after day to continue his abuse, Curtis was at length denounced by the pedlar, on whose information he was arrested, and in due course brought to the scaffold.

Mr. Richard Bayley, then serving the office of mayor, died on the 17th May, 1742, when, according to precedent, the aldermen temporarily undertook “the government of the city”. On the 26th the Council elected John Bartlett as chief magistrate for the remainder of the municipal year. The elaborate ceremony of installation on such occasions has been already described.

An event probably more painful to the civic body than the death of a member was announced in the same month. Alderman Henry Nash (mayor, 1727) forwarded his resignation, accompanied by a petition for relief, having “through a series of misfortunes” been reduced to beggary. An annuity of £50 was voted. Mr. Nash was unable to bear his misfortunes with dignity. In 1744 the Council found that he was making “an ill use of its benevolence”, and he was warned that further misconduct would cause the stoppage of his pension. Debasement of this character is, however, rarely curable, and the annuity was actually suspended for three years, when it was formally revoked, and a payment of £3 a month substituted. The unhappy man lived on for several years.

Some matters connected with the Exchange came before the Council during the summer of 1742. The most interesting incident was a discovery, in excavating the site, of 174 ounces of silver plate, including a salver, six cups, a beaker, two tankards, four salts, twenty-three spoons, and an earthen flask with a silver top and cover. The civic cash-book contains the following entry:- “Received of John Vaughan, silversmith, for several pieces of old silver plate that was found in digging the foundation of the Exchange, £49 2s. 9d.” On the other side of the account is a payment of £1 17s. 3d. made to Vaughan for “what he lost in purchasing” the plate in question. The relics seem to have been committed to the melting-pot. The Rev. Josiah Tucker, incumbent of All Saints, petitioned the Chamber for relief, stating that one-fourth of the annual collection from the parish towards his support had been lost by the removal of inhabitants


whose dwellings had been destroyed to clear the site. His appeal was laid on the table. In another case the corporators met with their match. They wished to purchase and demolish the hall of the Hoopers' (Coopers') Company, in order to widen the passage on the western side of the Exchange. Mr. Wood describes it as a “shattered old building”, but after some negotiation the Chamber offered £1,400 for it, and £100 more for the company's interest in a house in Corn Street. The Hoopers, however, refused to part with their hall unless they were granted four houses in King Street, together with £900 in cash; and the Council was forced to submit to the terms. The new Coopers' Hall appears to have been forthwith erected, as its architect, William Halfpenny, published a view of the building in 1744.

Salt refining was a considerable local industry at this date. The Gloucester Journal announced in June that one John Purnell had opened a warehouse in St. Peter's Street, Bristol, for the sale of salt, “refined from the rock, being the same sorts as are made in the city”.

A vacancy having occurred in the band of civic musicians, the mayor and aldermen, on the 8th July, elected David Hughes, and ordered “that he enter into the usual bond for the re-delivery of the silver chain and badge usually worn by the said waitplayers, and pay £10 to the widow” of his predecessor. The badges continued in use until the great municipal “revolution” in 1835. Mr. T.D. Taylor kindly informs me:- “The waits after making night hideous, the week before Christmas, with their 'sackbut, dulcimer', &c., used to come round on boxing day to receive gratuities, and the badge was shown as a guarantee that they were the genuine tormentors. I remember, when I was a tiny youngster, being deputed to tip them, and I was then shown the badge, and had it in my hand”. The chains, of ancient workmanship, are preserved at the Council House.

Owing to the death of Sir Abraham Elton, Bart., an election of a member for the city took place in November, 1742. Only one candidate came forward - Mr. Robert Hoblyn, a Cornish gentleman of literary tastes, who had in 1741 married the heiress of Mr. Thomas Coster, of College Green, M.P., deceased, “an agreeable lady”, says the marriage announcement, “of fine accomplishments, and reputed a fortune of £40,000!” The new member being a Tory, the Whigs lost their share in the representation.


Numerous references to coffee-houses occur about this time, and the opportunity may be taken to note the most prominent of those institutions. A manuscript note by Mr. Tyson (Jefferies Collection) states that the earliest was the Elephant coffee-house near the Merchants' Tolzey, adjoining All Saints Church, which house, says our authority, was in existence in 1677. But according to a book in the Council House, four men were presented by the jury of All Saints and St. Nicholas for selling “coffey” and ale without a license in 1666, from which it may be inferred that the establishment of coffee-houses in London, about 1667, had soon given birth to similar licensed places of entertainment in Bristol. They soon became so numerous as to excite the suspicion of the arbitrary faction then predominant, and in 1681 the grand jury, alleging that they were frequented on Sundays by seditious sectaries and disloyal persons, recommended that no newsletter or pamphlet should be suffered to be read in them unless it had first received the approval of the mayor or the aldermen of the wards in which the houses were situated! Even so late as 1712 the author of “Bristol Delineated” has been seen denouncing the “pernicious scribblers” whose writings were read by those who indulged in “Turkish Lap”. By a will dated in 1713, a lady disposed of her interest in “a corner messuage in the Tolzey in All Saints parish, occupied by John Cooke as a coffee-house”; and in 1718 the feoffees of All Saints granted to Cooke, “the great roomth called the old vestry, lying over the northward isle of the church” reserving a right of passage “up and down the stairs coming through a messuage called Cooke's Coffee House”. This house, probably the most popular in the city, was in 1723 known as the London Coffee-house. It was closed about 1769, when the American Coffee-house was established. The Elephant, mentioned by Tyson, was in All Saints Lane. In 1730 there was a coffee-house in College Green - probably identical with that sometimes called “Will's” in advertisements. In 1740 mention occurs of Little John's Coffee-house in Temple Street. In June, 1742, soon after the Oracle was started by Andrew Hooke, his wife set up St. Michael's Coffee-house in Maudlin Street, where Hooke, after being liberated from a debtors' prison, used to enliven the dulness of his editorial labours by teaching geography and the use of the globes three days a week. Encouraged by the patronage afforded him, Hooke seen afterwards rented the Barber Surgeons' Hall, near the


Exchange, which was first called Hooke's, and subsequently the West Indian Coffee-house. The Hot Well Coffee-house, adjoining the spring, and the Castle Coffee-house in Castle Street are also mentioned in the journals of 1743. The Exchange Coffee-house was opened in that year. The Custom House Coffee-house, in Queen Square, occurs in 1744, the African Coffee-house, in Prince's Street, in 1749, the Marine Coffee-house, in Queen Square, in 1750, the Gibb Coffee-house, in Prince's Street, in 1751, and the Green Coffee-house, in Denmark Street, in 1755. In 1760 the Bristol Chronicle incidentally mentions, in addition to several of the above, the coffee-houses known as Foster's, the New Assembly Room's, and St. Augustine's. The Somerset on Redcliff Hill, the London and Bath in All Saints' Lane, and the house at Rennison's Baths are mentioned in or before 1767. The American Coffee-house stood in 1770 between the White Lion and the White Hart hotels in Broad Street, but was afterwards united with the former, and had its name altered to “British” about 1785; it remained a part of the premises until they were destroyed in 1865. About 1789 Jack's Coffee-house, opposite the Exchange, kept by John Weeks, of the adjoining Bush hotel, began to be much used as a sale room, as the Exchange Coffee-house had been from an early date. Before the close of the century the practice of drinking coffee in public places had gone out of fashion, and as it had become customary for hotel keepers to reserve an apartment for newspaper readers under the name of “coffee room” - a misnomer still retained - the coffee-houses proper fell out of favour and gradually disappeared. Only four survived in 1798.

Admiral Vernon, one of the popular idols of the day, landed at Bristol on the 6th of January, 1743, after one of his West India cruises. He was greeted with great acclamations in proceeding to Small Street to partake of the hospitality of the mayor. Sir Abraham Elton. A week later, thirty chests of silver bullion, containing about 900,000 pieces-of-eight, “a large portion being the glorious trophies of the admiral's conquests”, were taken out of his ship and despatched to London. By dint of much exertion, the journey was completed in five days.

One of the earliest Bristol boarding schools for young ladies was announced by the local Journal of March 3 1st, 1743, as having been just opened in College Green by Mrs. Becher, widow of a clergyman. The best boarding school for boys


was then kept in Small Street by Mr. John Jones. The school premises are described in an advertisement of September, 1742, as “over the Post House”. (The site of the little Post-office in All Saints Court had been required for the Exchange.) Mr. Jones, who began teaching here in 1713, published a work entitled “A Step towards an English Education”, from which it appears that he had shocked contemporary prejudices by teaching his pupils geography. In defence of this innovation he produced a laudator's testimonial from “the celebrated Whiston”. At a later date his school was located in Maryleport Street. In 1730 Thomas Jones, a brother of John, had a boarding school in Wine Street, to which he annexed an “Intelligence Office for Apprentices” - and doubtless also for servants - the first established in the city. A few years later Thomas is found to have betaken himself and his boarders to the salubrious Pithay, but he removed in 1747 to Nicholas Street, and in 1762 to Castle Green, which, he says in an announcement, “is reckoned one of the airiest parts of the city”. In April, 1747, Mr. James Stewart, writing master (the author of the MS. annals so often quoted), advertised that he should continue to carry on the boarding school established in Christmas Street by his late father. Stewart was a skilful draughtsman, and made sketches of every ancient edifice in the city, one of which - a view of Redcliff Church - was engraved, and a few others are in the Bodleian Library. He subsequently removed his school to Maudlin Street, where he died in March, 1769. A boarding school that attained great repute was that of the Rev. William Foot, a classical scholar, who opened his first seminary in Redcross Street in 1748, but soon removed to a large mansion on St. Michael's Hill, the site of which occupied the whole of the ground now covered by St. Michaels Terrace. In 1768 there were two schools in Tower Lane, and others in Bell Lane, Christmas Street, and Milk Street. The charge for boarding was extremely moderate. A Yorkshire schoolmaster announced in the Bristol Journal for June 9th, 1769, that boys of between six and ten years were “comfortably boarded, decently clothed, and carefully educated” in his establishment at £10 per head per annum. The Rev. James Rouquet, a Bristol clergyman, opened a high-class boarding school at Kingswood in 1762, at which the charge was £14 a year. It appears from the Gore Papers in the Jefferies Collection that Nathaniel Ainsworth, a famous teacher, who removed his boarding school from Yatton to Long Ashton in


1755, demanded only 30s. a year for teaching gentlemen's sons who were out-door pupils. Coming down a little later, one Nathaniel Cope, in 1771, opened a boarding school for young gentlemen in Cathay, “a very delectable and healthy situation”; and allowed them the use of his extensive library “at so small a gratuity as half a crown per quarter”. A more popular school was that of John Jones, who occupied Cotham House in 1771, but removed two years later to the Royal Fort. His pupils were boarded “in the most genteel manner” for £16 yearly, but extra fees were charged for any instruction exceeding “the three R's”. Jones was succeeded in this school by the Rev. Samuel Seyer, the historian. It may be noticed that in 1771 the Christmas holiday generally concluded with the first week in January.

The Common Council received a memorial in May, 1743, from Martha Creswick, daughter of Joseph Creswick (mayor, 1679), by Martha, daughter of Sir John Knight (mayor, 1663), setting forth her extreme distress through misfortunes. A pension of £20 a year was granted to the aged petitioner. The Creswick family, one of the wealthiest in the city during the previous century, was at this time declining, chiefly owing to its inveterate fondness for litigation. Within living memory, the lineal representative of Sir Henry Creswick, of Bristol and Hanham, is said to have worked as a common labourer on the lands owned by his ancestors.

For some inscrutable reason, the feast of the Ascension, or Holy Thursday, was selected all over England during the Middle Ages as the fittest day for the perambulation of manorial and parochial boundaries, and the custom, which still survives, was in full vigour in Bristol at the period now under review. From the following items extracted from the accounts of St. Nicholas's parish for 1743, it would appear that disputes as to boundaries between adjoining districts sometimes brought about personal collisions, but that they were on this occasion avoided by a modest outlay for liquor:- “Wine, when it was agreed between the gentlemen of All Saints parish to perambulate peaceably, 3s. 8d. Paid for a barrell of ale (36 gallons) £1 4s. Thomas Neast for dinner &c. £6 7s. 6d. Paid for a quarter of mutton for the almswomen, 4s. 4½d. One hundred and a quarter of twigs 3s. 9d. Paid ringers 12s.” (The twigs were applied during the proceedings upon the tender parts of boys and meek-minded spectators, to impress their memories with the precise limits of the vestry's jurisdiction.) At


a later period the authorities increased the jollification of the day, £17 13s. being spent in 1769; but this brought about a reaction, and a resolution was passed that the outlay should not in future exceed £8. The vestry of St. Stephen's, the adjoining parish, being less richly endowed, confined its expenses on such occasions to £3 or £4. It appears, however, that it engaged the parish mason to attend the perambulations “to move any [boundary] stones that shall be false arreckted” (Minutes, 1727).

An interesting, but unfortunately obscure, entry occurs in the minutes of a Common Council meeting held in June, 1743. A letter, it appears, was read from Mr. William Champion [see page 67], stating that some years previously he had acquired possession of Baber's Tower (standing near St. Philip's Church) and had erected large “fire works” on the premises at a great expense. Finding that the works had become a nuisance to the neighbourhood, he had destroyed them, and now undertook to make improvements on the property if he were granted a renewal of the lease. His request was acceded to, provided that he “erased certain air furnaces” and built a dwelling house. A steam engine being then called a fire engine, a conjecture is permissible that the “fire works” included the first labour-saving machine erected in Bristol. Champion removed his works to Warmley, taking with him, according to Ellacombe's History of Bitton, the Baber's Tower referred to above, which eventually was called Babel's Tower, and gave birth to idle legends. In the Bristol Journal of September 30th, 1749, is an account of a “fire engine” just constructed near Birmingham, for William Champion and Co.'s brass works at Warmley. “The machine is the most noblest of the kind in the world; it discharges upwards of 3000 hhds. of water in an hour. The water is buoyed up by the several tubes in a hemispher of a conical form, and falls into a pool as a cascade, and affords a grand and beautiful scene”. The water raised by the engine was used to turn a large waterwheel, by which rotary power was obtained for driving the machinery of the factory.

The Hot Well was at this period in great repute among people of fashion. The Oracle of June 11th, 1743, states that on the previous Wednesday the Earl of Jersey gave a breakfast at the Long Room to 150 persons of high life, and that the Hon. Mr. Ponsonby offered a similar entertainment two days later. Public breakfasts, followed by a dance, were given once or twice weekly during the season at the Long


Room, and there were also evening balls. To provide additional accommodation, a number of extensive lodging-houses were built in Dowry Square about 1746. Further amusements being demanded, a piece of ground near the Long Room was opened for evening dances, under the name of the New Vauxhall Gardens, the place being gaily illuminated. This met with so much approval that the proprietor, in July, 1761, announced that public breakfasts, with music, would be given twice a week. “Admission 2s. each, including breakfast. The evening entertainments as usual”. In 1757 four concerts weekly were given in these Gardens; “admission one shilling”. Some facilities were also offered for reading and conversation. The Bath Journal of January 7th, 1764, contains an announcement by a fan maker that he has opened a shop at Bath for ladies to read the newspapers, “as at the Ladies' Tea Room at the Hotwells, at half a crown the season”. One Robert Goadsby, a bookseller, had, in 1743, a shop at the Hotwells and another at Bath, which were alternately opened for the respective seasons. Later on, a firm of London lace dealers brought down their wares to tempt the fashionable throng in Dowry Square. “Lappet heads from 6 gs. a pair, to 100. Ruffles for gentlemen from 2 to 16 guineas”. The great charm of Hot Well life seems to have been its cheapness and simplicity. A Mr. Owen, who published “Observations on the Earths, &c., for some miles about Bristol”, in 1764, states that riding on Durdham Down was very popular, and that “the best lady attending the Hot Well will not refuse riding behind a man, for such is the custom of the country. Numbers of what they call double horses are kept for that purpose”. Many gentlemen repaired to the well on horseback, and paid a penny for the accommodation of their nags in a stable near to the spring. Several small private baths were then open for the use of the visitors. “No price”, adds Mr. Owen, “is paid for the water: all the expense is that every one when he goes away makes a present to the master, and a trifle to be divided amongst the servants”. It is somewhat remarkable that the popularity of Clifton in fashionable circles deterred rather than encouraged the migration of Bristolians. Amongst Mr. Seyer's MSS. (Jefferies Collection) is a note stating that “About 1760, out of about twenty houses of which Clifton [on the hill] then consisted, eleven were to be let or sold at one time”. Even about 1780, according to the reminiscences of Mr. Richard Smith, the eminent surgeon, the upper class dwellings scarcely exceeded thirty.


Desertions were at this time very common in the army. Probably to strike terror in the ranks, a youth named John Partington, nineteen years of age, was shot on Clifton Down on the 11th July, 1743, for this offence. The firing party on the occasion was entirely composed of men who had been deserters.

The mind of the Corporation was much exercised about this time by the attempt of two obscure persons to establish a ferry between Temple Back and the opposite bank of the Avon, in rivalry with the ancient ferry there, known as Bathavon, from which the civic body derived the large yearly rental of £137. The intruders persisting in their enterprise, an action at law was raised against them, which was brought to trial at Salisbury in July, 1743. An imposing procession of corporate functionaries, in four coaches, guarded by seven horses, some of which bore two men, set off for the capital of Wiltshire. The party, twenty-one in number, accomplished a journey of about fifty-five miles in two days, making many halts for refreshment. Having proved the corporate rights, and obtained a verdict against the interlopers, the civic agents returned in triumph, but in the same deliberate fashion that had marked their outset, and doubtless congratulated themselves that only one of the coaches broke down during the journey. The travelling expenses incurred, including a guinea to a Salisbury barber for shaving and powdering, amounted to about £80. The coach hire was 25s. a day for each vehicle, and 2s. a day (the customary charge of the time) was paid for the hire of each horse.

The harvest of 1743 was one of the finest ever known in the district. In a letter of Mr. George Knight, of Cannington, to Mr. Gore, of Bourton (Jefferies Collection), it is stated that wheat was selling in September for 2s. 6d. and barley for 1s. 6d. per bushel in his local market, and that most people thought it would be cheaper. The effects on local enterprise will be noticed presently. The writer also mentions a fact in connection with his family which, though not bearing on Bristol history, is amusingly illustrative of the time:- “My cousin Steare have a living about eight miles from here, called Lympson (otherwise Kill Priest), worth £120 or £140 a yeare, given to him by the late Ld. Pawlett for voteing for a Mare at Bridgwater”. (The parliamentary elections in that borough, one of the most corrupt in England, were powerfully influenced by the corporation.)

The completion of the Exchange - delayed until nearly all


the original promoters of the building had found a more durable shelter from temporal discomforts - was at length accomplished in the autumn of 1743, and the structure was opened with great civic pomp on the 21st September. A grand procession was formed at the Guildhall, in which a new functionary, styled the Exchange Keeper, “in a very handsome dress with a noble Staff in his hand”, made a conspicuous figure. (The “silver head and ferrel” of the noble instrument had cost £9 15s.) Then came the city officers, the mayor and the mayor elect, followed by the rest of the Corporation, the members of the Society of Merchants, and forty-eight private carriages. The pageant, which was three-quarters of a mile in length, made its way by High Street and the Back to Queen Square and the Quays, where it was cheered by the sight of what Mr. Wood, the architect, terms “a glorious object” - the Princess Augusta privateer (some of whose exploits have been already recorded), then undergoing repair after four victorious engagements with the Spaniards. After a couple of hours' perambulation, the procession reached the Exchange, where speeches were made extolling the munificent public spirit of the Corporation, and the Exchange was then formally opened amidst the salutes of cannon and popular acclamations. As the gunpowder burnt on the occasion cost £20 18s. 6d. there can have been no lack of uproar, but the “scramble for money”, liberally strewn about by many gentlemen at the conclusion of the ceremony, was much more attractive to the assembled multitude. To commemorate the day, the poor debtors in Newgate were liberated by a corporate subscription, the leading trade companies and the citizens generally were regaled with wine, the inmates of the almshouses were not forgotten, and the mayor gave a mighty banquet to his civic colleagues and the Merchants' Society. Mr. Wood, from whose elaborate report these leading incidents have been culled, concludes by observing that if further “pageantry had been thought necessary the public had certainly been gratified with it: But what pageantry could illustrate a sober procession of the magistrates and whole collective trading body of a city that pays the Government a Custom for their goods of above £160,000 a year?” The building involved an outlay of nearly £50,000. In view of alterations made in it in our own time, it should be stated that Wood's original design contemplated a large “Egyptian Hall” in the centre of the Exchange, capable of receiving 600 persons; but some influential citizens disapproved of the


novelty of a covered building for mercantile gatherings, and the hall was consequently “turned into a peristyle, with very wide inter-columnations”, and made capable of holding 1,440 persons. Hotels then being the favourite resort of merchants and traders (there were more than twenty clustered around the Royal Exchange in London), the front of the Bristol structure was fitted up for two such places of accommodation, respectively styled the Exchange Tavern and the Exchange Coifee House.

On the night of the 27th October, 1743, a murder which created great local excitement was committed near Redland Court, on the road leading from Stoke's Croft to Durdham Down. A farmer, named Winter, of Charlton, had gone to Bristol market that morning with some cattle, and two men, named Andrew Burnet and Henry Payne, who had been comrades in a cavalry regiment, anticipating that he would return with the price of the animals in his pocket, resolved on his murder and robbery. Through some circumstance, the farmer remained in the city for the night, but Richard Ruddle, coachman to Sir Robert Cann, Bart., of Stoke Bishop, who also had been in Bristol, was mistaken for Winter by the two ruffians, who attacked him with such brutality that he died shortly afterwards. The only fruits of the crime were a watch and a few trifling articles. Some time elapsed before a clue to the murderers could be obtained. At length one day a man entered the shop of a watchmaker in Castle Street, produced the missing watch, and requested the tradesman (said to have been the maker of the article) to repair it. Being questioned, he stated that he had just bought it from two men in a public-house; and whilst he was being taken by a constable to the tavern in question, he recognised Burnet and Payne in Stoke's Croft, and assisted in their arrest. The murderers were tried at the ensuing county assizes, and sentenced to be hanged and gibbeted on Durdham Down. As an additional punishment, it is presumed, they were first taken to Cirencester, to witness the execution of another murderer, condemned at the same assizes. On the 22nd March, 1744, they were conveyed through the city to the place where the crime was committed, and their sentence was afterwards carried out, says the Oracle, “in the presence of the most numerous assembly of people of all ranks that ever were seen together on such an occasion”. They were hung in chains at what is now called the Sea Walls, so that their bodies might be seen from passing vessels. In the following April, the two bodies


were removed by (it was supposed) a party of Irishmen, but were found amongst the rocks, and replaced.

The Gloucester Journal of November 8th, 1743, contains a lengthy account, by a Bristol correspondent, of what he clearly believed to be an abominable case of witchcraft. A poor cobbler living in Horse (Host) Street, he says, had imprudently called a woman in the neighbourhood “an old witch”, whereupon she sent a cat to his house, which seized his finger while he was attempting to drive it out, and would not loosen its hold until it was squeezed to death. The man was dipped nine times in salt water at Sea Mills, but the counter-charm was not successful, and he died in great agony.

A brief extract from the minutes of Temple vestry, dated the 30th December, evidently refers to some recent proceeding of the incumbent. The clerk is requested to inform the reverend gentleman that, “as we allow him £4 a year for the use of the churchyard, he shall have no right or leave to feed horses, sheep, or cattle of any sort in that place”.

A terrible fire at Crediton, Devon, which destroyed a great part of the town, occurred at this time, and excited much sympathy in Bristol for the unfortunate sufferers. A public subscription, started for their relief, produced the large sum of £887 13s. 7d.

War was proclaimed against France in April, 1744, with the usual ceremonies. The copious harvest of the preceding year had partially revived the clothing trade as well as other industries of the city, and vigorous measures were taken to repulse the expected attacks of “our national enemies”. The Corporation forwarded a petition to the King, praying for the protection of the African slave trade, described in the memorial as the most valuable branch of local commerce, and appealing for an additional naval force to safeguard local ships from the insults of foreign privateers, which swarmed in and near the Bristol Channel. The mercantile interest, having lost many vessels, thought it advisable to take active steps for self-defence, and started a subscription for fitting out an additional fleet of armed cruisers. Ninety Bristolians at once offered £100 each. Other privateers were built or purchased by private co-partnerships. Amongst the finest and largest of the Bristol ships were the Southwell, of 400 tons, carrying 24 guns and 200 men; the Bristol, 550 tons, with 38 guns and a crew of 300; the Leviathan, 28 guns, 260 men; the Rover, 24 guns, 210 men; and the Tovvnshend, 22 guns and 180 men.


Many others were quickly equipped. (Liverpool fitted out only three.) Most of the privateers that put to sea immediately after the declaration of war were very successful, and from time to time the harbour was the scene of tumultuous enthusiasm. The Southwell captured eight prizes during the first four months of her career. The Constantine made three prizes in as many weeks, the last being valued at £14,000). The Queen of Hungary took a ship with a cargo worth £20,000; the Prince Charles snapped up two French Greenlanders, with seven whales; and the King William returned again and again with valuable booty. Large sums were thus distributed amongst the privateering crews (who generally had no regular pay), and as the money was scattered as lightly as it came, scenes of dissipation were of every-day occurrence. “Nothing is to be seen here”, says a Bristol paragraph in the Gloucester Journal of September 4th, “but rejoicings for the great number of French prizes brought in. Our sailors are in the highest spirits, full of money, and spend their whole time in carousing . . . dressed out with Laced Hats, Tassels, Swords with Sword Knots, and in short all things that can give them an opportunity to spend their money”. In the meantime, many hundreds of French prisoners were thrust into Bedminster Bridewell. As the privateersmen were exempt from empressment, many adventurous landsmen enrolled themselves, and the Government were driven to strange shifts to secure men for the regular forces. All the able-bodied felons were swept out of the gaols, more than a thousand being caught up in London alone; while crimps and press gangs scoured the country, especially the fairs, and dealt ruthlessly with the lower class of labourers. A Bristol paper of April 28th states that at Witney fair a quack doctor's Merry Andrew, a then popular buffoon, was impressed from off the stage, whilst the quack himself escaped only by flight. Returning to the Bristol privateers, one or two instances of their dashing bravery deserve to be recorded. In May, 1744, the Vulture, of 14 guns and 130 men, when cruising off the Spanish coast, captured an English merchantman, which had been taken a few days before by a Spanish privateer. One of the sailors left by the captors in their prize informed the captain of the Vulture that two other large vessels belonging to Bristol had been taken by the same Spaniards, who had put both cargoes on board one of the ships - the Dursley - and had sent the latter into a little harbour near Finisterre. The Vulture forthwith sailed for that place,


which was entered by a boat's crew during the night, and whilst the Spaniards were carousing in the Dursley, the vessel was attacked and captured, and finally carried into Kinsale, with many of the Spanish crew still on board. The double cargo, consisting of African and West Indian produce, was of great value. Unfortunately, the Vulture, whilst returning to Bristol, was herself captured by a French privateer of greatly superior armament, after a long and desperate struggle. The following paragraph referring to the Tryall privateer, which will be heard of again, occurs in a local journal of November 3rd. “This week the Tryall privateer sent in the Prime Minister privateer of London, of 22 ninepounders, which had been taken by five French men of war, but which the Tryall afterwards retook, in the sight of the said men of war”. The Tryall had only 16 guns, and a crew of 120 men. The greatest local disaster of the year occurred in July to the privateer Somerset, of 12 guns and 90 men. The ship, which had just been fitted out, capsized off the Holmes, and only ten of the crew were saved.

Down to the year 1744, the “town dues” payable upon goods imported into Bristol were not paid into the city treasury, but were received by the sheriffs, and expended, for the most part, in a round of entertainments given by those functionaries during their year of office. As the trade of the port, and consequently the income from the dues, steadily increased, the necessity of altering this arrangement became urgent; and on the 22nd August, 1744, the Common Council resolved that the dues should thenceforth be received by the chamberlain, whilst the sheriffs should be allowed a fixed sum of £665 15s. 3d. yearly. As it was notorious that the average expenditure had greatly exceeded the proposed allowance, the Chamber further determined that the “great dinner”, “the count (account?) dinner”, and the supper “between election and swearing day” should be abolished. Two dinners to the judges of assize, two to the recorder, and two to the Corporation were retained. The new arrangement was distasteful to the younger members of the Council, who refused to accept the shrievalty on the new terms. Two gentlemen were induced, however, to serve a second time, and the opposition afterwards died away.

At a Council meeting in November, a document signed by the town clerk, William Cann, was read, intimating that in consequence of indisposition he had deputed his clerk, John Michel, to perform certain acts, and requesting the Chamber


to appoint a permanent deputy, which was done. The town clerk, in fact, was insane, and by a strange coincidence Michel also became deranged a few months later. Mr. Cann, who was probably the first member of the civic body who took up a permanent residence at Clifton, became a baronet on the death of his elder brother in 1748. He died at his suburban residence in March, 1763.

A somewhat puzzling item appears in one of the corporate “bargain books”, under the date, 6th November, 1744. It is as follows:- “Agreed between the Mayor and the Surveyors of the City Lands, and John Blackwell, of the city of Bristol, gentleman, that in consideration of paying the yearly rent and performing the covenants following He shall hold and enjoy the profits arising from the Income of Wheelage within this city according to the antient usage and custome, for one whole year, to commence the 29th September last, at and under the yearly rent of Fifteen Pounds de claro”. The following note is appended:- “Not to be made in a lease”. The peculiarity of the matter is that no receipts from wheelage have been found recorded before the date of this agreement, and no payments appear in later years. Presumably, the object of the municipality was to revive a long obsolete toll of threepence per cart or wagon passing the city gates. Bat in a description of Bristol published in the London Magazine of May, 1749, the writer speaks of the narrowness of the thoroughfares, “through which the goods are conveyed on sledges, no carts being permitted to come into the city”.

“The Red Book of Orders” was again revised by a committee of the Chamber in the closing months of 1744. On the 19th December this body recommended the omission of some obsolete regulations, and the insertion of others adopted since the revision of 1703. Their report was adopted, and a new Red Book, on vellum, was ordered to be made for the use of the mayor for the time being, with another copy, on paper, for the town clerk's office.

Through the growth of population and the increase of pauperism caused by the war, the maximum amount of poor rates granted under the Act of 1714 no longer sufficed to meet the expenditure. The guardians, who were heavily indebted to the Corporation and to their treasurer, resolved on applying to Parliament for additional powers, and besought the help of the Council. The latter body appears to have suspected improper practices on the part of the Tory majority at St. Peter's Hospital. A committee reported to the


Chamber on the 16th January, 1745, that in consequence of the constitution of the poor law board “there is too much room left for oppression and partiality, and for an undue application of the great sums yearly raised”. It was therefore suggested that a clause should be introduced into the intended Bill, empowering ratepayers to make inquiries as to how the poor rates were applied, and also authorising the magistrates to hear complaints of the poor, and to order relief irrespective of the guardians. The latter opposed this inroad on their rights, which was ultimately abandoned, and an Act was soon afterwards obtained, raising the maximum yearly rate from £3,500 to £4,500, the board being permitted to levy £500 extra for four years to clear off its debts. The Common Council defrayed the cost of the statute (£167 10s). A few years later - in 1758 - the absurdity of fixing a maximum rate in a constantly increasing community being at length recognised, another Act was obtained, empowering the collection of such a sum yearly as would meet the expenditure of the guardians.

New ordinances respecting the meetings of the Common Council were made by that body on the 2nd March, 1746. Any member failing to attend was ordered to forfeit 5s.; those who did not appear at 11 o'clock in the morning, or came into the chamber without gowns, to pay 1s. The fines were to be applied to the relief of indigent vagrants. The fine of £100 on a mayor absent from the city for more than three days and three nights was retained, but the words were added, “without leave of the Common Council”. By a subsequent ordinance a fine of £10 was imposed on any member divulging the nature of a debate when secrecy had been enjoined during the sitting.

On the 28th March, 1745, the new market-house erected behind the Exchange for the sale of meat and vegetables was opened for business, and gave much satisfaction, a local journalist declaring that the building “for its commodiousness and beauty exceeds all the market places in England”. In December, 1746, the open markets hitherto held in Broad Street, High Street, and Wine Street were suppressed, and the building known as the New Market, situated in an alley between Broad Street and Tower Lane, was converted to other purposes. In the corporate regulations for the new building it was ordered that retailers of meat and vegetables should not resort there until after 11 o'clock in the morning, in order that housekeepers might provide themselves at first hand and at a cheap rate. It was also decreed


that farmers and others should not hawk meat, bacon, butter, or cheese from door to door (but this order caused so much discontent that it was rescinded in 1750). A third regulation forbade butchers from exposing or selling meat after 8 o'clock on Saturday evenings. A penalty of 10s. was enforced against many tradesmen for disobeying this order, the Butchers' Company being active in bringing up offenders. In 1756 a man was fined 10s. for exposing poultry in the market before 8 o'clock in the morning.

That industrious chronicler of English maritime events, Lloyd's List, published the following news from Bristol on the 9th April, 1745:- “The Falcon privateer drove ashore the 5th inst. in Kingroad, and soon fill'd and overflowed even to the main top. She is since drove up Bristol River, where she now lyes across, so that no ship can get in or out”. The Falcon was still lying a dangerous wreck on the 1st May, when the Common Council appointed a committee to secure the removal of the obstruction. The ultimate fate of the privateer is not recorded.

At a meeting of the Council in May, 1745, a committee, that had been previously appointed to inspect certain “nuisances” - apparently shoals - obstructing the course of the Avon at Hungroad, reported that it was absolutely necessary to take measures for their removal. The modesty of the provisions recommended for this purpose now seems somewhat ludicrous. “The cost of a vessel that will carry 35 tons” is estimated at £25; “a boat, with a pair of oars, second hand, £3 10s.”; . . . “If the sand &c. that shall be taken up be delivered in Kingroad then the vessel will want a mast and sail, which will cost £20”. “One pair of iron tongs to take up large stones that are sunk”, figure for 18s. 8d, The fitting up of the vessel, cables, etc., raised the total cost of the apparatus to £110. As to working expenses, an “engineer”, engaged in London, was to receive 30s., a waterman 18s., and four labourers i2s. each weekly. The committee was empowered to carry out the improvement, which was effected without delay, for in the following July the chamberlain records the receipt of £73 7s. 10d. from the Merchants' Company, “one moiety of the expense of cleaning Hungroad”. A further outlay of £155 in September, divided in the same manner, completed the work. Besides the tongs, afterwards called “skimmer tongs”, which cost 26s. 6d., the charges include £10 12s. for “an engine”, the real character of which it would be interesting to discover.


Allusion has been already made to the corporate jaunts into the country for the purpose of holding courts in the manors belonging to the city. It would be tedious to note the expenditure incurred on such occasions, but the items in June, 1745, when the deputy town clerk and the chamberlain visited Stockland Bristol, mention an unprecedented provision for sobriety. The officials provided themselves with a quart of rum and several gallons of wine, but their stock also included “six bottles of Hot Well water”, which cost 1s. 6d. The carriage of water for festive purposes was probably afflicting to civic economists, for the item, after being reduced one half in a later year, at last disappeared. Another charge on this occasion was 6s. 10d. for “mending a male pillion”, so that the excursionists must have travelled on horseback in a very sociable fashion.

Prodigious excitement was created in the city on the 8th September by the arrival of two London privateers in Kingroad, with treasure captured from two French merchant-men valued at upwards of £750,000. The two privateers, the Prince Frederick and the Duke, sailed from Cowes in June, in company with a consort named the Prince George, which soon afterwards foundered. A month later, near the American coast, they encountered three French ships, from Callao, and after a resolute fight, in which two of the French commanders were killed, the Englishmen captured two of their opponents, the other escaping by flight. The masts of the prizes being shot away, the conquerors had to tow them across the Atlantic. The cargoes consisted of 1,093 chests of silver bullion, weighing 2,644,922 oz., besides a quantity of gold and silver wrought plate, and other valuables. The treasure was conveyed to London in twenty-two wagons, each guarded by armed sailors on horseback. Its arrival in the capital and removal to the Mint caused a great sensation, and kindled a fresh passion for privateering enterprises. The shipowners raised to opulence by this lucky adventure begrudged the crews their share of the booty. Most of the men were kidnapped and sent to unhealthy countries or on board men of war, and many of their children, though entitled to large sums, were reduced to pauperism. A portion of the money to which they were entitled was paid into the Court of Chancery, where it probably now forms part of the unclaimed funds.

The lauding of the “Young Pretender” in Scotland seems to have caused little excitement in the south and west of England. The defeat of Cope, at the close of September,


however, gave a prodigious shock to the equanimity of the country, and the Government, in intense alarm, made appeals for assistance. On the 6th October, in compliance with a summons issued by the Earl of Berkeley, Lord Lieutenant, who had already hurried to the city, the principal merchants waited upon his lordship at the Merchants' Hall, to consider the best means of raising a body of troops for the defence of the Crown. On the 9th a general meeting was held in the Guildhall, the mayor presiding, when a letter was read from the Duke of Newcastle, expressing the satisfaction of the King at the zeal and loyalty displayed by the city, and enclosing a warrant authorising the mayor to enroll volunteer forces, and appoint officers to command them (State Papers). An “Association” was thereupon established for the support of the common cause, when the mayor (authorised by an informal meeting of the Council) subscribed £10,000 in the name of the Corporation, while £5,000 were offered by the Merchants' Society. The aldermen subscribed from £500 to £100 each, and many gentlemen and merchants from £300 to £100. The mayor, writing to the Duke on the 14th, announced that nearly £30,000 had been already promised, and that the fund was increasing daily (State Pagers). The amount raised in Liverpool was only £6,000, and in Hull £1,800. An uncommon ardour, says the Bristol Journal, was shown by the common people in martialling themselves into companies to learn the art of war, and Lord Berkeley succeeded in forming a new regiment. In the meantime the magistrates bethought themselves of the peril arising from the vast quantity of gunpowder stored at Tower Harritz, and orders were given for the removal of the magazine to Portishead Creek. In the midst of the excitement, the Bristol privateer Tryall brought into Kingroad a Spanish prize of 12 guns, containing gold and silver coin to the value of £6,000, a quantity of muskets, bayonets, and cartridges, and 100 barrels of gunpowder. A box of papers was thrown overboard before the ship surrendered, but there was no doubt that the cargo was destined for the Pretender. On the 30th October, the King's birthday, the influential citizens were entertained at the Council House, where, says the Whig Oracle, “all the loyal toasts were drank under salvos of small arms, and the glass went round with an uncommon cheerfulness and gaiety; the populace being at the same time entertained by bonfires, illuminations, and liquor in great abundance”. But in the following week the anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot


gave the inhabitants a better opportunity of venting their enthusiasm. The effigies of the Pope and the Pretender were carried through the city amidst loud acclamations, and were finally burnt on a vast bonfire in College Green. Jacobitism, however, was by no means extinct. A tavern keeper in Broadmead was committed to Newgate for drinking the Young Pretender's health, and declaring him lawful heir to the throne. A more exciting case occurred on the 14th November, the facts of which, unknown to local chroniclers, are preserved amongst the State Papers. One Robert Burges, a Bristol baker, deposed before the magistrates that, about three weeks previously, being in want of about £35, and stating the fact to “Joseph Rendall, founder” (probably the Randall already mentioned in connection with the figure of Neptune), the latter told him he knew a person who would lend him £50 or £100, provided he would be a friend to the High Church Club, which met at the White Lion. Rendall promised, moreover, that the baker should have from 6s. to 10s. a week on the same condition, adding that he was frequently employed by Mr. “Gerard” [Jarrit] Smith in carrying weekly allowances to several persons. Rendall further stated that there was a stranger in Bristol who lodged at Mr. Smith's and at other houses for two months, and was then at Mr. “Cousins'” [Cossins, of Redland Court], and who as he believed was the Pretender's son. Rendall called this person his master, and said he expected every day to hear that 10,000 men were landed in Cornwall. The illustrious stranger wore sometimes a black and sometimes a fair wig, and disguised his face with paint. He had great plenty of money, having received several chests of English coin from Holland. After this it is not surprising to find that Mr. Rendall was soon in Newgate. In an extraordinary letter, addressed by him to James Erskine, Esq., of London, and dated the 6th December, he stated that he had been thrice examined by the justices, and had made certain discoveries respecting disaffected people in Bristol. He had been pressed to name the person who had fixed upon the Cathedral door a paper “cursing his Majesty” [and threatening to burn down the house of Mr. Richard Fair], and had given information respecting a man, who was consequently “kept in custody alone, out of 150 or upward that had been arrested”. Other information that he had given as to people who were “true to their King and country” had, however, given offence, and as he was then kept in irons, under a charge of perjury,


he solicited Mr. Erskine's assistance. There can be little question that the latter was a Jacobite; but before this letter reached London the back of the rebellion was broken, and he discreetly forwarded the letter to the Government, professing to know nothing of the writer. Rendal's fate is not recorded. (Randall, of Neptune fame, voted at the local election of 1754.) Only £2 15s. per cent, of the Bristol subscriptions were eventually required, the sum expended by the Corporation being £276. Notwithstanding the crushing defeat of the Pretender, Jacobite principles were still cherished in many influential families. Ladies were especially fond of displaying their sympathies, and so many white roses were flaunted in the city on the 10th June, 1760, as to provoke some satirical comments in the press. The irritated Whigs celebrated the next anniversary of the Revolution with great enthusiasm. A gay procession of the trading companies accompanied the Corporation to the Mayor's Chapel, fireworks were played off before the Exchange in the evening, and Corn Street was illuminated.

In the archives of the Bristol Consistory Court is a curious document, dated November 18th, 1746, signed by the Rev. William Cary, vicar-general of the bishopric, granting permission to John Coopey to practise medicine in the city, deanery, and diocese. The “faculty” professes to be granted in consequence of Coopey's lengthy knowledge of medicine, and of the proof of his skill offered in his tract on diabetes. The ecclesiastical authorities claimed the right of issuing licenses of this character, and in 1670 the Chancellor of this diocese attempted to force all the “chirurgeons” of the city to take out a license from him to practise; but the Corporation forbade their compliance, and undertook to defend them against the clerical aggressor, who discreetly abandoned his pretensions. (The Archbishop of Canterbury is still entitled to confer the degree of M.D. without examination.)

Early in the session of 1746, the Merchants' Society again petitioned the House of Commons for a more effective protection of English commerce, asserting that if measures were not taken for the suppression of the enemies' privateers, it would be impossible for Bristol merchants to carry on their trade. The previous year had been a very disastrous one for local shipowners, few prizes having been captured by the privateers, whilst some of the finest of those vessels had been caught by French and Spanish men of war. During the spring, however, the citizens were cheered by a brilliant achievement of the Alexander


privateer. Whilst at sea the commander, Captain Philips, learned that H.M.S. Solebay, of 28 guns, captured by a French man of war, was being fitted out in St. Martin's Bay, near Bordeaux, to convoy a fleet of merchantmen to the West Indies. Philips having determined to cut out the ship, despatched his boats to the spot with fifty of his best men, who dashed on board during the night, overcame the Frenchmen on deck after a desperate struggle, cut the cables, and carried off their prize. Philips brought the ship safely into Kingroad, with 200 of the Frenoh crew prisoners. For his gallant action he received a present of 5OO guineas and a medal of £100 value from the King. A less successful but still more heroic affair occurred in the following June. The Tryall, of Bristol, whose exploits have been already mentioned, encountered a French privateer carrying 24 guns and 370 men, whilst the former had only 16 guns and 130 men. After a fiercely fought battle of several hours, during which the Tryall had most of her officers killed or wounded, she was compelled to strike, but was recaptured soon afterwards by an English man of war. The greatest success of the year was that of “The Royal Family” privateers, belonging to a London copartnership, but fitted out at Bristol. These ships - the Prince Frederick and the Duke (whose immense booty in the previous year has just been recorded), the King George and the Princess Amelia - left Kingroad on the 28th April, and in an eight months' cruise captured prizes valued at £220,000. On this occasion also, the crews, about 826 in number, were basely defrauded by their employers. The men had been promised 15 guineas a head before sailing, but the amount was reduced to 6 guineas, which caused a riotous demonstration in the streets. On returning with their booty, great numbers of the crew, at the alleged instigation of the owners, were forced on board the royal navy, and never received their prize money. In 1749 some of the sailors (of whom many were Bristolians) filed a Bill in Chancery, demanding an account; and in 1752 the Master of the Rolls made a decree in their favour. The owners, however, raised dilatory pleas, and the plaintiffs through lack of means were unable to pursue their claims with vigour. Partial hearings took place in 1783, 1789, and 1799. Finally in 1810 Lord Chancellor Eldon said he was reluctantly obliged to allow the demurrers raised by the representatives of the owners, owing to some irregularities in the plaintiffs' Bill (Papers in the possession of Mr. F.G. Powell).


The punctiliousness of the civic authorities in reference to the admission of persons claiming the privileges of free-burgesses is exemplified in a petition laid before the Council in March, 1746. The applicant, Jeremiah Osborne, solicitor, represented that his father, Joseph Osborne, shipwright, was a freeman, but had removed, shortly before the petitioner's birth, to a house near the Limekilns (Hotwell Road). This house was partly in the city and partly in Gloucestershire, and the petitioner was “unfortunately born in that part of the house which lyes in the county, but the room in which he was born is but 18 inches or thereabouts out of the libertys of the city, and the chimney projecting from the wall is partly in the city”. After a grave discussion, the Chamber relieved Mr. Osborne of his disqualification, and admitted him to the freedom on paying the ordinary fees. At the next meeting, in April, a fine of £62 10s. was imposed upon the freedom applied for by William Hulme, a retailer of tea. Hulme thought the charge exorbitant, and delayed payment, whereupon he was prosecuted for keeping a shop, “he being a foreigner”, and was fined £6. He then availed himself of an expedient. Mr. John Berrow had served as mayor in 1743-4, but had not exercised his right to nominate a person to the freedom, and was since dead. Hulme entered into negotiations with the ex-mayor's executor, who, on receiving £40, claimed and was allowed the right of nominating the tea-dealer. The latter then petitioned for the return of his £5, in which he was also successful. At the quarter sessions in May a man was charged with “using the trade of a blacksmith” in the city, not having served an apprenticeship for seven years. He was found “guilty for a month”, and was fined (amount unrecorded). A similar case and sentence, in reference to a tin-plate worker, occurred in 1748.

The Bristol Journal of April 26th announced that the summer flying coach to Gloucester would recommence running on the following Wednesday at 5 o'clock in the morning, and perform its journeys, “if God permit”, in one day. From a similar advertisement in 1750 it appears that the fare was 8s. A summer coach between Bath and Oxford, less than sixty miles apart, spent two days on the journey in 1756.

Dowry Chapel, Hotwells, built for the accommodation of fashionable visitors, was in course of erection in May, 1746, when that indefatigable antiquary, the Rev. William Cole, visited the place, and, with his customary painstaking,


jotted down the outlay that had been incurred (Ad. MSS. British Museum). The expenditure could scarcely have been more modest:- “To Mr. Tully, for the ground, £60. Agreed with the builder for what is already erected for £168. For ceiling and plaistering, £20. For glasing ye windows £9 16s.” The conveyance, plans, and a few trifling items raised the total to £269 6s. 4d. “laid out in all”.

In the early years of the century the Stamp Ofifice for the city of Bristol and county of Gloucester was established at Gloucester, under the superintendence (from 1722) of Mr. Samuel Worrall, a proctor. The arrangement must have been inconvenient to Bristolians; and when Worrall's son, also named Samuel, removed to this city to assist in the management of the great business of Mr. Thomas Fane, attorney, Small Street, he probably acted as an agent in the sale of stamps. At all events, on the death of the elder Worrall, in 1746, the Government, consulting local convenience, appointed his son distributor for Bristol only, and stamps were sold at Mr. Fane's house until December, 1747, when the new official opened a regular Stamp Office, “at the sign of the King's Arms”, being a shop on the Tolzey opposite to the Council House, where he occasionally sold pens and paper to the Corporation. Ten years later Mr. Fane, having become heir to the earldom of Westmoreland, resigned the post of clerk to the Society of Merchants, and Worrall, then styled “an eminent attorney”, was appointed in his room. Mr. Fane's retirement from business, about the same time, threw a lucrative practice into the hands of his former servant, and Worrall acquired a fortune, and was the head of a banking firm in 1776. His son, who maybe styled Samuel the Third, was educated as a barrister, and was appointed town clerk of the city in June, 1787. Notwithstanding the dignity of that position, he applied for and obtained the office of distributor of stamps on the death of his father; he further secured the patent place of printer of the Custom House presentment; and he also founded a bank. Some anecdotes of this worthy, who was rather proud of the nickname of “Devil Worrall”, appear in the “Annals” of the present century.

John Barry was executed on the 16th May at St. Michael's Hill for forgery. The case, which excited much interest, illustrates the social habits of the time. Barry kept the Harp and Star public-house on the Quay, where many privateersmen and other sailors were accustomed to live whilst on shore. As the men generally ran into debt


to the publican before embarking, Barry required them to append their signatures or “marks” to blank forms of wills, which, in the event of death, he filled up in his own favour, and secured the testators' wages or prize-money from the shipowner. To facilitate these transactions, Barry maintained in his house a man named Peter Haynes, styled a “hedge” attorney - that is, a person debarred from regular practice owing to nonpayment of fees. About the end of 1746 a sailor named James Barry, an officer of the Duke privateer, who was said to be entitled to nearly £2,000 of the immense booty captured in the Callao ships, took up his quarters at the Harp and Star at the landlord's invitation, and a few days afterwards he suddenly died there. The publican forthwith announced that the deceased had made a will in his favour, and took measures for having it proved. But strong suspicions of foul play having been excited, inquiries took place, when the hedge attorney and a servant lad at the inn tendered such evidence against [John] Barry that he was brought to trial. Haynes deposed that after the privateersman had expired, Barry's wife put a pen into the dead man's hand, and thus made a “mark” upon a blank form of will, which was at once filled up in Barry's favour by Haynes himself, who admitted that several hundreds of sailors' wills had been written by him at Barry's dictation after the men had left the port. The boy deposed that he had signed as a witness to the will through the intimidation of his employer, who had forced him to go before a master in Chancery and make oath with Haynes as to the validity of the document. He received £11 for these services when Haynes obtained the deceased's prize-money. The malefactor, it is recorded, appeared on the scaffold “as though he had been going to a wedding”, and affirmed that he was as innocent of the forgery as he was of the murder which was very generally attributed to him. Barry's gaiety on the occasion was not an unusual feature of an execution. In May, 1743, Sarah Dodd, on her way to the gallows, “pledged the hangman out of a bottle of liquor about the middle of Wine Street”.

One Robert Leat, announcing in the Bristol Journal of June 28th, 1746, his Occupation of the Bear inn, Redcliff Street, adds:- “All the post horses and post chaises that belong to this city are kept at the said inn”. Although the charge for travelling post was then only about sixpence per mile, the mercantile class generally preferred the stage coach. Occasionally, however, an intending traveller


advertised in the local journals for “a companion in a post chaise for London”.

The removal of the Post Office from All Saints' Lane to Small Street in consequence of the building of the Exchange has been already noticed. There seems to have been some informal understanding that, when the Exchange was finished, a suitable adjacent site should be provided by the Corporation for postal business; and in August, 1746, a committee reported to the Council that they had contracted for the erection of “a house intended to be made use of as a post office”, certain workmen having “agreed to build and find all the materials at the rate of £60 per square” (sic), while Mr. Thomas Pyne (nephew to Henry, the former postmaster) had offered to become the tenant at “£40 a year, which he alleges is the highest rent he is able at present to pay”. The Council approved of the proposal, recommending the committee to get as much rent as was practicable. The house, of which the scanty original dimensions may still be observed, cost £700, exclusive of a ground rent of £15 a year, given for the site. Only the ground floor was set apart for postal business, Mr. Pyne residing above. The first year's rent (£43) was paid in 1760. (The house now (1892) produces a rental of £260 yearly, and the shed in the rear, which the Corporation built, and from time to time extended, as postal business increased, brings in £200 per annum additional).

The following curious illustration of eighteenth century law and justice is extracted from the Bristol Advertiser of August 9th, 1746:- “The beginning of this week a recruiting sergeant was made to pay 20s. for profane cursing and swearing, and order'd to sit in the stocks several hours. Examples of this kind are almost daily making of blasphemous delinquents by the worthy magistrates of this opulent city. It seems a person hearing anyone swear or curse may go privately to the clerk's office in the Council House, give in the name of the offender, with the number of oaths, upon oath, and never be known as to his person. On which a warrant is issued out, the offender seized thereon, and punish'd according to the tenour of the glorious new Act of Parliament in that case made and provided”.

The Council, in August, voted a grant of £20 to Ann Mansfield, grand daughter of John Hine (mayor, 1696), owing to her “deplorable condition”.

The insignia of office borne by the water bailiff being apparently deemed not sufficiently imposing, a Silver Oar


was now purchased for the functionary in question, at a cost of £18 7s. 6d.

The overcrowded condition of the burial ground adjoining Christ Church at this date forced the vestry to apply a remedy. On the 8th October, 1746, it was resolved to close the place for fourteen years, a new cemetery in Duck Lane having been enclosed and consecrated. In August, 1764, another vestry minute orders that the old cemetery “be again solely used” - to the improvement, no doubt, of the neighbouring public well in Wine Street.

The national Thanksgiving for the suppression of the rebellion was celebrated on the 9th October with great fervour. Twenty pieces of cannon on Brandon Hill awakened sleepy citizens at 6 o'clock in the morning by a royal salute. Later on, the corporate body, the trade companies, and the boys of the City School repaired to the Cathedral, and were saluted after service with three volleys by the regiment stationed in the city. In the afternoon, an effigy of the Young Pretender, clothed in tartan, was carried through the streets and ignominiously burnt in Prince's Street. Bonfires, fireworks, and a ball concluded the festivities, which cost the Corporation about £136. Some Falstaifian items appear in the accounts:- “Wine, (70½ gallons of Lisbon and Port at 6s. per gallon) £21 3s.; Arrack, (6 gallons, the first time that this liquor is mentioned in the city accounts) £4 16s.; Ale (144 gallons) £4 8s.; Hot Well water, 1s.” The revellers also disposed of 41b. of tobacco and a vast number of pipes.

The first attempt to found a local Medical School appears to date from this time. The Bristol Oracle of October 24th, 1746, announced that a “Course of Anatomy” would begin on the 7th of November (without naming the locality), and referred intending subscribers to Mr. John Page, in St. James's Barton, or to Mr. James Ford, in Trinity Street. Page was the leading Bristol surgeon of the period. The enterprise appears to have been unsuccessful, as was a similar effort in 1777.

Shopkeepers, as a rule, were still content to carry on business in open booths. In the Bodleian Library is a drawing, dated November, 1746, representing nine houses in Wine Street, the gate of the Guard-house forming the centre of the group. Only three of the shops are provided with glass windows.

The existence on the shore of the Avon, near the mouth of the great ravine on Durdham Down, of a copious spring of water, as much entitled to be called “hot” as the ancient well at St. Vincent's Rocks, must have been always well


known. The first record of its having been turned to profitable account does not occur, however, until 1743, when its owners, the Merchants' Society, ordered that the lessees ( unnamed) should be sued for arrears of rent. In the Bristol Journal of December 20th, 1746, is the following advertisement:- “To be sold for a term of years, The New Hot Well, situate within the parish and manour of Clifton. Enquire of Mr. Fane” [the clerk to the company]. As there was no carriage road by the river side, and pedestrians had some difficulty in traversing the rocky pathway, the place offered little temptation to the speculative; but in October, 1760, the proprietors succeeded in leasing the well to - Newcomb and John Dolman, for a term of 21 years, at a rental of £24 per annum. One or two cottages were then erected for the accommodation of visitors, and it appears from John Wesley's diary that he took up his abode at this secluded spot in 1764 for the purpose of drinking the waters “free from noise and hurry”. The visit of so prominent a personage was naturally made the most of by the lessees. In 1766 Dolman, who was a preacher at two dissenting chapels, and a basket maker, as well as a dispenser of spa water, published a dreary pamphlet entitled, “Contemplations amongst Vincent's Rocks”, in which he stated that “when he (Wesley) first came . . . his countenance looked as if a greedy consumption had determined to put an end to his days. But in less than three weeks . . . he was enabled to set out on his Cornish circuit . . . preaching every day”. The extreme solitude of the spring, however, proved fatal to its popularity. Dolman admitted that the nearest dwelling was a mile distant, and that the only human objects ordinarily visible were the gibbeted remains of two murderers (the assassins of Sir Robert Cann's coachman). In 1761 the lease was offered for sale, but failed to find a purchaser, and the premises were frequently but vainly advertised to be let. Dolman published a second edition of his “ Contemplations” in 1772. He had then blossomed into “Vicar of Chalk, in Kent”; but was better known in Bristol as “Parson Twigg”, in allusion to his original calling. His book had no better effect than before on the repute of the spring. In September, 1778, the premises, then in bad repair, were offered to be let by auction; but no bidder appeared, owing, it was believed, to the permission given to the public to carry off the water in their own bottles and baskets. Being unable to procure a tenant, the Merchant Venturers, in June, 1786, appointed a person to take care of the premises for five


years, apparently as their manager. This seems to have been the last effort made to maintain the public character of the place. In 1792 a passing visitor noted that the pump room was falling in ruins, and that the adjoining cottages had been converted into dwellings for quarrymen.

During the year 1746, a wall was erected along the northern edge of the great ravine on Durdham Down, and continued thence to the point where the common touched the boundary of Sneyd Park, at the rocks overhanging the Avon. Many fatal accidents had occurred in the locality, owing to its unprotected condition, and the builder of the wall, Mr. John Wallis, was regarded as a public benefactor. In the London Magazine for 1746 is a poem on “Wallis's Wall on Durdham Down”, beginning:-

Let Cook and Norton tow'ring Follies raise,
Thy wisdom, Wallis, will I sing and praise.
Let heroes and Prime Ministers of State
Smile when they're called, ironically, great;
Superior merit shall my muse employ,
Since better 'tis to save than to destroy.

The “Follies” on either bank of the Avon (Norton's is now in ruins) are styled in a note “two whimsical and useless buildings”. The wall retained its original name for many years, but later generations have oddly transmuted the cognomen into Sea Walls.

The narrow pass known as St. Nicholas' Gate was the scene of many serious accidents. John Wesley notes in his diary that on the 22nd January, 1747, whilst riding through the gate, he and his horse were thrown down by the shaft of a cart; but, by what he clearly believed to be a miracle, the wheel merely grazed his head without doing him any injury.

Reference has been already made to the “briefs” issued by the Crown, requiring collections to be made in parish churches on behalf of some religious or charitable object. The appeal was generally made for the repair of some ruinous church, but local calamities arising from fire, lightning, floods, hailstorms, and hurricanes were often the occasion of briefs. In the year ending Easter, 1747, no less than sixteen of these documents entailed collections in the city churches. Possibly in consequence of the number, the offerings were very small. At St. Nicholas the total sum received was £3 2s. 9½d., one collection from the wealthy congregation amounting only to 1s. 3d. Occasionally, when the case excited some sympathy, a collection was made by the churchwardens from house to house. Thus £6 were obtained in St. Nicholas's parish in 1764 for the sufferers from a fire at


“Almesbury” and £4 1s. 9d. were collected there in 1760 for a similar calamity at Kingswood.

A general election took place in June, 1747. The local candidates were the retiring members, Edward Southwell and Robert Hoblyn, and Mr. Samuel Dicker. The last named gentleman retired, alleging that a contest would excite bitter animosity amongst the citizens; and the old representatives were consequently returned. Both gentlemen were opposed to the Whig Government. The King's Speech at the dissolution of the previous Parliament was given in the Bristol Journal of the 20th June, but soon after the printer was compelled to publish, for three weeks, a humble apology to the King's Printer for having infringed his patent, promising to refrain from further offences. In fulfilment of this pledge, the Journal declined to explain the nature of the local Acts passed in 1749, “they being the property of his Majesty's Printer”.

Although local privateering appears to have been very unprofitable in 1746 and 1747, and though many of the Bristol war vessels fell into the hands of the enemy, additions continued to be made in order to keep up the previous strength. The following is a list of the vessels fitted out in the city during the war which was now drawing to a close, with such details as have been preserved. Those marked with an * were captured, and † denotes a recapture.

 GunsMen GunsMen
Alexander22 Leviathan28250
Despatch  Prince Charles20150
Dragon22180Prince Frederick  
Duke of Bedford26 Prince Harry16120
*Duke of Cumberland  *†Queen of Hungary12100
Duke of Marlborough20 Resolution16160
*†*Dursley  Ranger12100
Eagle  *Rover24210
*Emperor  Royal Hunter (wrecked)22132
*Farmer  Salisbury  
Falcon (French prize)  Secker  
*Fly  Somerset (lost)1596
*Fox (French prize)16150Southwell24200
Gallant  *Spry  
*Hannibal30 Tiger (French prize)26 
Harlequin20 *†Tryall16120
Jamaica20 *Tuscany24175
King William20150Vernon (lost)14180


The Tiger took three of the enemies' privateers during the year, for which the commander, Captain Siex, was presented by the merchants of Bristol with a handsome testimonial. In September, Captain Philips, whose gallant recapture of a man of war has been recorded (see p. 259), returned to Bristol from Jamaica. His vessel was attacked during the voyage by a large French privateer, which he not only beat off but drove ashore on the coast of Cuba, where he rifled the enemy, and finally sank her. From some accounts of the Southwell privateer, preserved in the Jefferies Collection, it appears that an unsuccessful cruise of such a vessel cost the owners little short of £2,000. The cost of fitting out the Southwell for her fifth cruise, in 1746, was £1,888, though the crew was reduced to 187, but the value of the only prize taken was but £220. Amongst the owners were Michael Miller, Thomas Deane, James Laroche, W. Aleyn, and Cranfield Becher.

The power of granting licenses for the sale of liquor being vested in the aldermanic body, their worships naturally attended to their own interests. The following advertisement in the Oracle of July 25th, 1747, requires no comment:- “To be lett, by Alderman Nath. Day, The Royal Anne, at Wapping. N.B. - There will be no other public-house admitted at Wapping”. From an advertisement relating to the same house, in the London Gazette of January 17th, 1713, from which we learn that a bowling-green was attached to the inn, it appears the monopoly of the Day family had been enjoyed for upwards of thirty years.

At a meeting of the Council in August, 1747, a petition was presented from the inhabitants of St. Philip's, complaining of “the great inconveniency and obstructions arising from the narrowness of Lawford's Gate”; but it received no attention. Another memorial to the same effect met with similar treatment in 1751. A “whipping post” was erected a short distance without the gate for the punishment of offenders in Gloucestershire, and was in frequent use.

The fine of £20 imposed by the Carpenters' Company on persons desirous of pursuing that trade in the city was condemned as exorbitant by the Council in September, 1747, and the company was ordered to content itself with £5 for the future. The corporate accounts for repairs show that the wages of journeymen carpenters were then 1s. 10d. a day.

The average speed of coaches being barely forty miles per day, the reader may easily divine that the poorer class of travellers, who journeyed by stage wagons, had no


ground for complaining of the swiftness of their transit. An advertisement in the Bristol Journal of October 10th, 1747, states that a wagon set out from Basing Lane, London, every Thursday, and arrived at the Lamb inn, at Lawford's Gate, on the following Wednesday. The local agent was “Richard Giles, at the Lamb inn”, who will be heard of again. The fare for passengers was about 10s. a head, but 1d. per lb. was also charged for their luggage. Tradesmen who did not require such “quick conveyance” for their goods were invited to send them (at the rate of 3s. per cwt. in summer and 3s. 6d, in winter) by a wagon leaving for Newbury, where they would be shipped in barges, and conveyed to London “commonly in 12 or 14 days”. From another newspaper it appears that the Exeter wagon left St. Thomas Street on Friday, and completed its eighty miles journey on Tuesday. In October, 17B8, a carrier named James boasted that his London wagons (three weekly) were the most expeditious on the road, only four nights being spent on the journey. “They are likewise made very commodious and warm for passengers”.

A proposal was started about this time for the establishment of a hospital for the relief of merchant sailors and their families, and promised to be a great success. The Council, in December, 1747, voted £600 towards the fund, and granted a site on Brandon Hill for the proposed building. The Merchants' Society also subscribed £200. Afterwards, for reasons now unknown, the scheme was abandoned.

About this time a swimming bath was opened by one Thomas Rennison, a threadmaker, at a suburban place called Territt's Mills, “near the upper end of Stokes' Croft”. The mill was used for grinding snuff, and there was a large pond on the premises, which was probably the original bath. The public being largely attracted to the spot, Rennison opened, in 1765, a new “grand swimming bath, 400 feet in circumference”, to which a “ladies' swimming bath and coffee house” were added in 1767. A thread factory as well as the snuff mill still formed part of the premises. In 1774 Rennison, styling himself “Governor of the Colony of Newfoundland”, solicited attention to his baths and coffee house, while in a somewhat later advertisement the place was called the Old England tea gardens, to which a tavern had been annexed. The spot, being quite in the country and beyond the civic jurisdiction, became a popular resort; and an annual bean feast was held, at which a mock mayor, sheriffs, and other dignitaries were elected, and various high


jinks played by the not too abstemious revellers. In June, 1782, evening concerts, twice a week, were announced for the summer season; admission one shilling, including tea and coffee.

The chapel of the Society of Friends in the Black Friars was rebuilt in 1747, at a cost of £1,830. Having regard to the debased architectural taste of the time, the building is of remarkable purity of style.

The difficulty experienced in inducing youths to enter the army is indicated by an advertisement in the Bristol Journal of January 9th, 1748, offering two guineas, and a crown to drink the Kind's health, to every recruit measuring 6 feet 9 inches. “Whoever brings a good man shall have half a guinea reward. Excellent Punch and ale at the sergeant's quarters [the Boot, Maryleport Street], and the famous Corporal Francis Bird's agreeable and humourous Diversions. All for Nothing”.

In despite of the Turnpike Acts, the roads of the neighbouring districts remained as bad as before. About this time, Miss Mary Champion, aunt of the celebrated Bristol potter, was travelling with her grandmother in their carriage to Bath, when the vehicle became embogged, and the two ladies had to climb over a wall by the side of the road, and make their way through the fields to “Kainson”. About two years later, the Gloucester Journal reported the great road to the north to be so bad that a “sober, careful farmer” had fallen and been suffocated in one of the sloughs between that city and Cheltenham.

The story of the long struggle between the African Company and the merchants of Bristol, in which the latter successfully maintained their claim to participate in the slave traffic, has been recounted under the year 1711. In the early months of 1747, the London firms who sought to monopolise the trade made another attempt to induce Parliament to drive their rivals from the field. The chief argument advanced for their unconcealed selfishness was that the trade on the African coast could be protected from foreign aggression only by the erection of additional forts and castles, and that such defences could not be raised and maintained except by a joint stock company enjoying exclusive privileges. The truth was that the African Company was practically insolvent, and was unable to raise fresh capital without legislative help. The Corporation of Bristol lost no time in defending local interests. A petition was addressed to the House of Commons, setting forth that the


trade from Bristol to the West Indies and North America, by way of Africa, was “the principal and most considerable branch belonging to the city; and that since such trade has been free and open, it has greatly increased, and his Majesty's plantations thereby much better supplied with negroes, and larger quantities of the manufactures of this kingdom exported”. Defeated in the sessions of 1747 and 1748, the Londoners made another, and an equally unsuccessful, effort in 1749, when the Bristol Council passed a vote of thanks to the local merchants who had conducted the opposition at Westminster. At length, in 1750, the contending interests came to terms. The Act passed in that year recited that the African trade, being “very advantageous, and necessary for supplying the plantations with a sufficient number of negroes at reasonable rates, ought for that reason to be free and open to all his Majesty's subjects”. It was therefore enacted that the Royal Company should be dissolved, that all British subjects should trade to Africa without restraint, and that such traders should be deemed a corporation, styled the Company of Merchants trading to Africa, in whom the old company's forts and stations were vested. The direction was confided to a body of nine persons, three of whom were to be elected by the members in London, Bristol, and Liverpool respectively. The qualification of an elector was the payment of £2, by which a merchant became a freeman of the company. This was the only capital possessed by the new concern, but the payments thus made throw some light on the extent of the African trade in the three leading ports. Williamson's “Liverpool Memorandum Book for 1763” states that there were in Liverpool 101, in London 135, and in Bristol 157 merchants who were members of the African Company. But by a Bristol list, dated June 23rd, 1756, giving the names of all the firms, it appears that 237 members resided in Bristol, 147 in London, and 89 in Liverpool. Some of the pamphlets published by the respective parties previous to the compromise are in the British Museum. From one of these, apparently written by a Bristolian in 1750, it appears that the enormous drain of human beings from the Slave Coast had brought about a great advance in prices. Instead of the £3 or £4 paid for a slave in Africa about 1725, the writer alleges that the price demanded by the native dealers was from £28 to £32 a head. It was admitted, he adds, that the Bristol and Liverpool shippers could “carry on the trade 10 or 15 per cent, cheaper than London”, and he asserts, with much complacency, that in


the first nine years of open trade, ending in 1706, they despatched no less than 160,960 slaves to the English colonies. Another writer quite unintentionally discloses the horrible destruction of life on the plantations by giving the aggregate import of slaves into Jamaica from 1700 to 1750. The number was 408,101, of whom about 108,000 were transferred to other islands, leaving 300,000 settled labourers. As it is known from other sources that the black population in 1750 was less than ought to have been naturally produced by the negroes living there in 1700, the treatment of the unhappy captives must have been simply murderous.

On the 20th March, 1748, a baker bearing the singular name of Peaceable Robert Matthews was convicted of selling bread deficient in weight, and was fined £6 12s. 6d., being at the rate of 5s. per ounce on the deficiency. The charge was brought by the Bakers' Company, which was then zealous in laying informations, and many of the fines were handed over to the prosecutors.

At the gaol delivery in April, Thomas Betterley was convicted of murder and sentenced to be hanged. Soldiers being scarce, however, the culprit was pardoned on condition of his continuing to serve as a dragoon.

A boarding school, erected under the auspices of John Wesley, was opened at Kingswood on the 24th July. It was chiefly designed for the education of the sons of Wesleyan ministers; and its original regulations, drawn up by Wesley himself, indicate the training that was thought suitable for such boys. The lads rose at four o'clock, winter and summer, and, excepting short periods allowed for breakfast, dinner, and supper, they prayed, learnt lessons, and worked in the garden or the house until eight o'clock at night. There were no holidays throughout the year, and on every day, except Sunday, a full day's work was to be done. “We do not”, writes Wesley, “allow any time for play on any day”. The food was of an equally Spartan character. It consisted of milk porridge and water porridge alternately for breakfast; bread and butter, and cheese and milk, by turns, for supper; and meat with apple puddings for dinner, except on Fridays, when the fare was “vegetables and dumplings”. No relaxation of the code was granted to weakly boys, Wesley ordering that the rules should not be broken in favour of any person. The founder laid his hand upon a headmaster named Simpson, who, with his wife, the housekeeper, seems to have gloried in aggravating the severity of the regulations. Dr. Adam Clarke, who was one


of the pupils, afterwards stated that the supply of food was deficient, and that even in the depth of winter, though coals could be obtained for a trifle within a few roods from the house, he was refused permission to warm himself at a fire. The teacher of English, Cornelius Bayley, afterwards D.D., was allowed by Wesley only £12 a year and his board. The school, which under more sensible rules acquired a high reputation, was removed to Lansdown in 1851.

Pugilism at this period enjoyed the patronage of all classes of society, from the royal family to the rabble. On the 15th October, 1748, a prize fight took place in College Green between a soldier and a sailor. Felix Farley, one of the printers of the Bristol Journal, was one of the most cherished local friends of John Wesley, but his paper contains an account of the battle. Though the sailor, it says, was short in stature and his antagonist a lusty man, the latter was fearfully beaten, and was saved from expiring only by an “application of palm oil and spirits”. “The little sailor had a pretty deal of money given him by the gentlemen present”. The same newspaper of February 4th, 1756, gives more minute details of another boxing match which had taken place in the suburbs, and offers unconscious evidence of the unfeelingness of the spectators. One of the combatants was allowed to fight until he had an eye beaten out, eight ribs broken, his shoulder blades smashed “in four quarters”, and his jaw broken in three pieces. He was reported to be dead. The other man had his collar bone broken and one ear torn off.

The first mention of a steam engine in the local press occurs in the autumn of 1748, in an account of an assault committed by a negro on a person styled “the master of the fire engine, and one of the overseers of the cole-works in Kingswood”. The engines of that period were serviceable only for pumping water, horses being employed to draw the coal from the workings.

In December, 1748, a novel spectacle took place at Oxford. A man and woman, Quakers, apparelled in “hair sackcloth”, walked through the principal thoroughfares at separate times, as a penance for having had an illegitimate child. Three or four days later, the couple repeated the expiatory performance at Gloucester, amidst the derision of the populace; and the Gentleman's Maqazine states that they also did penance in Bristol. Felix Farley being a member of the Society of Friends, all reference to the subject is suppressed in his journal.


The proclamation of peace with France and Spain was made in Bristol on the 6th February, 1749, with the usual ceremonies. Seven “scaffolds” were constructed for the use of the sheriffs, Mr. Stephen Nash being paid £5 16s. for the use of “bays”. Thirteen French-horn players were engaged, and 34 coachmen were paid a crown each for conducting the carriages of the civic dignitaries and of some of the leading inhabitants, amongst whom were two physicians, Dr. Logan and Dr. Middleton - probably the first professional men who kept coaches in Bristol. “Ribbons” were extensively worn, for the mercer's bill amounted to £4 17s. 6d. The rest of the outlay, over £40, was chiefly expended in feasting. A national Thanksgiving for the peace took place in April, when a great quantity of ale was distributed to the populace at the bonfire on Brandon Hill, while the Corporation treated itself to a copious entertainment, the total expenditure being nearly £73.

In February, 1749, the Bristol turnpike trustees forwarded a petition to the House of Commons, setting forth that, notwithstanding the Act of 1727, the roads were still, owing to various causes, in as ruinous a condition as before the trust was created, and praying for a renewal of the powers about to expire. A petition was also presented on behalf of several of the neighbouring gentry, asking that certain “ruinous” roads, not included in the former Act, might be embraced in the new statute. The Bill, with extended powers, received the Royal Assent in May. In the hope of allaying discontent, carts laden with coal were exempted from toll. The farmers, however, had always detested the turnpikes, and the inclusion of additional roads in the trust irritated them into open revolt. During the month of July great bodies of rural labourers, styling themselves “Jack a Lents”, some wearing shirts over their clothes, others naked to the waist, and all with blackened faces, twice destroyed the gates at Bedminster, Ashton and Don John's Cross, and threatened an attack on the city. On the 1st August, they came for the third time, with drums, colours, and arms, and demolished the toll houses on the Ashton and Dundry roads. Headed by a young gentleman-farmer of Nailsea carrying an improvised standard, they next proceeded to Bedminster, to be avenged on Stephen Durbin, the tything man, who had caused three rioters to be captured during the previous raids. After drinking freely they attacked Durbin's house, which by order of their leader was levelled with the ground. Subsequently the mob,


finding Redcliff Gate closed, made its way to Totterdown, where it demolished the two gates and houses. The magistrates, aided by a number of constables and fifty sailors armed with cutlasses, at length appeared on the scene, and after severe fighting, in which one Farmer Barns, was conspicuous as a rioter, about thirty men, several of them severely wounded, were arrested on Knowle Hill. An affair so congenial with their habits would have excited the Kingswood colliers, even if the Somerset farmers had not prompted them with bribes. On the 3rd August they assembled in force, and almost all the remaining toll-gates were burnt or destroyed by gunpowder, money being demanded from every traveller as a reward for this patriotic service. On the arrival of a regiment of dragoons the disturbances ceased, but letters were sent to the Council House threatening to blockade and burn the city if the arrested rioters were not released. (Five of these prisoners died in Newgate from smallpox.) The judges of assize were on circuit during the tumults, and special precautions had to be taken for their safety. The recorder was stopped at Pensford by a turbulent mob, which demanded money, but his firmness awed the rabble, and he was allowed to proceed. The Kingswood colliers maintained a nightly guard for several weeks after the riots, in order to defeat any attempt of the authorities to capture the ringleaders. In the correspondence between the mayor and the Government, part of which is in the British Museum, the inactivity displayed by the county gentry throughout the tumults is said to have increased the difficulties of the magistrates. (In a private account book of Mr. Gore, of Barrow Court, is the following remarkable entry:- August 26, 1753. To Mr. Hardwick, on my account, for cutting down the turnpikes, £10.) The sympathy of the farmers with the rioters was so unconcealed that the trials of eighteen of the Somerset prisoners were removed to Wiltshire; but not a single conviction was obtained there, the juries acquitting the ringleaders in spite of the clearest evidence of their guilt. Two men, concerned in pulling down Mr. Durbin's house, were condemned in Somerset on the testimony of an accomplice, and were executed at Ilchester. Their fate caused a deep sensation; and the rural war against turnpikes, maintained obstinately for upwards of twenty years, was at length sullenly abandoned. The improved roads, however, were long disliked by persons of conservative instincts. Nearly thirty years after this date Mr. Windham recorded in his diary Dr.


Johnson's strong hostility to them. “Formerly”, said the sage, “there were cheap places and dear places. Now all refuges were destroyed for elegant or genteel poverty, and men had no longer a hope to support them in their struggle through life. The roads moreover caused disunion of families by furnishing a market to each man's abilities, and destroying the dependence of one man on another”.

A violent dispute between Thomas Chamberlayne, dean of Bristol, and the prebendaries of the Cathedral broke out in the spring of 1749. The dean suddenly claimed the sole right to appoint the minor canons and all the inferior officers, and on the 27th January, in despite of the fact that his alleged prerogative had been referred to the arbitration of the Primate and the Bishop of London, he instituted the Rev. John Camplin as a minor canon, in the place of the Rev. John Culliford, who had been dismissed by the chapter for holding two cures in addition to that office. The action of the dean was denounced by the prebendaries, a few weeks later, as contrary to their privileges, and as highly indecent towards the two prelates to whom the matter had been referred; but the dean treated their proceedings with contemptuous indifference, and amicable relations were suspended. In June, 1750, another minor canonry became vacant, whereupon the dean, “in the presence of the choir”, instituted the Rev. Benjamin Hancock, jun. Ten days later, a chapter meeting was held, when the reverend dignitaries came perilously near to fisticuffs. The dean's account of the affair, appended to the minutes, is that he had nominated a clergyman for a vacant rectory, and proposed that the chapter should proceed to the election, when the sub-dean (Castelman) seized the minute book out of the clerk's hands, “and held it from me by violence, and would not let me have it till they were going out of ye chapter”. Next day, at another meeting, the dean proposed several gentlemen for the vacant livings of St. Leonard's, Bristol, and Sutton Bonnington, but the prebendaries rejected all of them. On the other hand the prebendaries were unanimous in the choice of a clergyman for St. Leonard's, but the dean refused to put the question. In July three of the prebendaries held a chapter in the dean's absence, and elected their protege, Berjew, to St Leonard's, another person being instituted to Sutton. Berjew was also appointed precentor. But when the dean came back, in February, 1751, he protested against all that had been done whilst he was in waiting on the king, and denied the right of any prebendary to enjoy his stipend


unless he resided in his prebendal house and came properly apparelled to church during his term of residence - which indicates the laxity then common amongst the dignitaries. After much more squabbling, the contending parties agreed to leave the great point in dispute to the bishops of London, St. David's, and St. Asaph, who in March, 1762, determined against the claim of the dean, declaring that the right of electing minor canons, schoolmaster, etc., lay in the dean and chapter. At the next chapter meeting the elections made by the dean were declared invalid, and it was resolved to fill certain vacancies at the next gathering; but, doubtless in dread of a scandal, matters were compromised. Berjew, promoted to All Saints, resigned his minor canonry, and two of the dean's former nominees were ordered to draw lots for it, the loser being given the next vacancy. Hancock was got rid of by being instituted to St. Leonard's. Harmony was thus temporarily restored.

A Bill was promoted by the Corporation in the session of 1749 to amend the existing statute “for cleansing, paving, and enlightening” the city. The witnesses examined at Westminster in support of the measure stated that the old lighting Act was defective, the magistrates having no power to compel the parishes to erect public lamps, or to fix the hours when they should be lighted. The overhanging signs, moreover, so obstructed the lights that in several streets there was not a lamp to be seen. The injustice of compelling the poor inhabitants of wide streets to maintain half the pavement before their houses, the injury done to the pavements by carts and wagons having “iron-bound” wheels, and the want of by-laws to enforce order amongst the hackney coachmen, said to have greatly increased in number, were also urged in support of the Bill; which received the Royal Assent in May. The Corporation spent nearly £660 in passing the scheme through Parliament - about five times the usual cost of a Bill at that period. The expenditure was doubtless caused by the opposition offered to the measure by a section of the inhabitants, supported, there is reason to believe, by the members of Parliament for the city, whose Tory principles were in antagonism to those of the majority of the Council. The new measure enacted, inter alia, that the magistrates should determine the number of lamps, and where they should be placed, and should require them to be lighted from sunset to sunrise from the 20th July to the 30th April - no provision being made for the rest of the year. The expense of lighting and paving was to be defrayed by


rates. The justices were also authorised to order the removal of projecting signs, but this clause was so offensive to the trading community that the power remained dormant for nearly twenty years. The clause dealing with wagons and carts belonging to Bristolians forbade the use of iron tires of less than six inches in breadth. The lighting clauses were put in operation in 1750, and effected a striking improvement, the number of lamps being increased nearly fourfold. St. James's, which had not a single lamp in 1738, was allotted 104 out of a total of 660.

Amongst the perils of the streets which ladies had to encounter at this period was the violence of a base class of men styled “informers”, who gained a living by enforcing the fiscal laws concerning apparel. In 1745, after the outbreak of war with France, an Act was passed prohibiting the sale of French cambric, and inflicting a penalty of £5 on persons wearing it, half the fine being allotted to those who put the law in motion. The “informers” were accustomed to stop ladies in the streets, though they often did so at their peril. On the 28th March, 1749, a man who had snatched off a woman's cap in one of the streets of London was so mercilessly whipped by the mob that he died soon afterwards. A writer in the Bristol Journal of the same week says:- “It is notorious that several ladies of this city have been so far insulted as to have the frils of their caps, aprons, &c., violently tore, cut, and rended from them with abusive language”; and the local populace is unlikely to have been more forbearing than that of the capital. A new Act, permitting ladies to wear cambrics purchased before 1748, put an end to the scandal.

The statue of William III. appears to have shown early signs of dilapidation. The civic chamberlain was directed, in April, 1749, to write to Mr. “Rysbrac” informing him “that it was in so ruinous a condition there was a danger of its total decay unless some speedy and effectual means were used to repair it”. The sculptor seems to have repudiated his liability, for repairs to the statue and pedestal cost the Chamber £111 in the following year. The matter aroused the ire of the Jacobites, for a profuse display of white roses was made by the Tory ladies on the following 10th June.

Durdham Down races, rarely noticed in the early newspapers, were popular at this period. The Oracle of May 20th, 1749, stated that the sports, “for which great preparations had been making for a fortnight before”, began on the previous Monday. “The course was enlarged, the ground


levelled, and a great number of booths and scaffolds erected for the accommodation of spectators, who were vastly more numerous than had ever been seen there on any other occasion”. For the prize of the day, a silver punchbowl, gold watch, &c., value £60, two horses, carrying ten stones, ran three heats of four miles each, and the affair was not decided until nearly nine o'clock in the evening. On Tuesday a race for £20 was run on the same course, “and on Wednesday began the foot races, when 3 gs. were run for by two men, naked; and a Holland smock and one guinea by five women, which was won by a Kingswood girl”. Owing to the large attendance at these annual sports, another inn, called the New Ostrich, was opened on the edge of the Down in competition with the original Ostrich, which was largely patronised by people of fashion from the Hot Well.

Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, the patroness of the Whitefield sect of Methodists, was a frequent sojourner at the Hot Well about the middle of the century. During one of these visits, in July, 1749, she ransomed thirty-four poor insolvents in Newgate, whose debts were under £10 each. The captives included seven persons who, though acquitted of the crimes for which they had been arrested, were detained in gaol through their inability to pay the fees demanded by the prison authorities.

At a meeting of the Council in August, 1749, a pension of £30 a year was voted to Andrew Hooke, Esq., in reward for his services to the Corporation in furthering the erection of the Exchange. A further pension of £20 was granted by the Merchants' Society. Mr. Hooke, descended from a wealthy Bristol family, and himself a magistrate for Gloucestershire, was a man of literary attainments, but appears to have fallen from affluence to poverty through unfortunate speculations. His newspaper, the Oracle, has been already mentioned. A history of the city, entitled “Bristollia”, was another of his many projects, but only two small parts were published. After his death, in 1753, his widow supported herself and family by keeping a coffee house at Jacob's Wells, where she printed the playbills for the neighbouring theatre. In 1766, on the opening of the new theatre in King Street, the unfortunate old lady removed her press to the Maiden Tavern in Baldwin Street, where she continued to print for several years.

On the 25th August, a foreign sailor named Abseny, who had lodged at a solitary publichouse called the White


Ladies, “on the footpath leading to Durdham Down” (the site is now covered by the eastern end of South Parade), was hanged and gibbeted on the Down, in company with the bodies of Burnet and Payne (see p. 248), for murdering a girl of thirteen years, who acted as servant at the inn. On the same day, Jeremiah Hill was hanged at St. Michael's gallows, for having, in conjunction with two confederates, who escaped, murdered a prostitute by tying her up in a sack, and throwing her into the harbour. The two crimes excited a profound sensation in the city. Abseny, in killing the girl, cut his hand so deeply that he was tracked by his own blood all the way to Hungroad, where he had taken a boat to an outward-bound vessel.

The institution of an annual dinner to commemorate the birth of Edward Colston has been noticed under 1726. As the gatherings in question were of a non-political character, the Tory party now resolved to hold a festival amongst themselves, and on the 2nd November, 1749, eighteen gentleman sat down to the first “Dolphin” banquet, Francis Woodward presiding. The first “collection” for charitable purposes was made two years later, and amounted to £4 17s. The contributions slowly increased as the society became more popular, and in the last year of the century reached £195 16s. 6d. Although somewhat anticipating dates, it may be as well to record at once the rise and progress of the two other societies still in existence. The “Grateful” was established in 1759, its promoters soliciting the support of those who had been educated at Colston's School, and recommending that the after-dinner collection, instead of being distributed in doles of bread and money, as was then the practice, should be devoted to apprenticing freemen's sons and relieving real distress. At the first dinner, held at the Ship inn, Small Street, at 2 o'clock p.m., twenty-two persons attended, the collection amounting to £16 11s. 6d. It had increased to £191 in 1800. The “Anchor” was founded by the Whigs in November, 1768, when it was resolved to hold an evening meeting once a month at the Three Tuns tavern in Corn Street, each member paying 10s. 6d. as an entrance fee to a fund for charitable purposes. The first dinner took place in the following year, when twenty-two citizens assembled under the presidency of Gilbert Davis, and £12 1s. 6d. were collected. The monthly suppers, costing 8d. a head until 1773, when the charge was increased to a shilling, seem to have been for some time more popular than the dinners, but were


eventually dropped. For the last fifteen years of the century, in spite of the forlorn condition of the party in Parliament, the yearly benefactions averaged over £300.

Presumably from their action in reference to the Lighting Act, the members of Parliament for the city were very unpopular in corporate circles. At a meeting of the Council in December, the usual vote of a pipe of wine to the members was evaded by a resort to “the previous question”. This offended the representatives in their turn, and when the motion for the customary gift was passed a twelvemonth later, Mr. Southwell, in a letter from Kingsweston, expressed his obligations for the “usual compliment in lieu of the ancient wages of service in Parliament”, but as “the ancient custom was discontinued last year”, he declined the renewal of it, though he would continue his faithful services. A similar refusal was sent by Mr. Hoblyn, from Cornwall. The customary present was not again offered by the Council until after the general election of 1764.

The looseness of police in the suburban districts was a great encouragement to dissipation and crime. The Bristol Intelligencer of December 16th, 1749, “hears” from Westbury-on-Trym that crowds of “dissolute and disorderly persons have been entertained at about seven or eight unruly public houses near the Gallows on St. Michael's Hill, and many insults and robberies committed on the market people and others travelling thereabout. But the gentlemen of that parish having bravely prosecuted and caused several penalties to be levied on the keepers of the houses, they are all routed away”.

St. Peter's church being in a state of great decay, a faculty was obtained in 1749 to repair and “beautify” the edifice, and upwards of £800 were spent on the renovation. Mr. Barrett states that £420 12s. of the outlay were raised by a rate of 4s. 3d. in the pound on the landowners; but the figures seem irreconcilable with the historian's subsequent assertion that there were 203 houses in the parish in 1749, paying £225 in poor rates at 11½d. in the pound.

On the 10th January, 1760, the Bristol vessel Phoenix, Captain Carbry, arrived at Kingroad after a remarkable adventure. The ship was off Lisbon on the 22nd December, with a cargo from Malaga, when she was boarded by an Algerine corsair of 30 guns. Carbry had one of the passes which European Powers then allowed their merchant-men to purchase from the Dey of Algiers, but under pretence that this document was a forgery, the Phoenix was seized as


a prize by the pirates, who sent six Turks on board with instructions to make for Algiers. On the passage, however, Carbry, assisted by three of his crew, recovered his ship after flinging two of the pirates overboard. He was warmly praised for his bravery on his arrival in Bristol. The above account, which varies slightly from that in the local journals, is taken from Carbry's affidavit forwarded to the Government, and now in the Record Office.

The first banking company established in Bristol was formed early in March, 1760, and the proprietors opened their offices in Broad Street on the 1st August. The partners in the enterprise were Isaac Elton, Harford Lloyd, William Miller, Thomas Knox, and Matthew Hale. Some local annalists have asserted that when this institution was opened, the only banking house out of London was one at Derby, kept by a Jew. As a matter of fact, private bankers were then to be found in all the chief provincial towns, though banking was rarely their professed occupation. One of the earliest in Bristol was one Richard Bayly, who was employed by the Corporation to remit money to London in 1685. About twenty years later, banking business was transacted by a bookseller named Wall, in Corn Street, and after his death his widow carried on both branches of his trade for many years with great reputation. John Vaughan, a goldsmith living at the corner of Wine Street and High Street, was at the same time conducting financial transactions on a more extensive scale, and they were continued by his son, who will presently be found cooperating in the establishment of a second banking company. In the city of Gloucester, James Wood, a prosperous draper, began to be known as a banker in 1716. He was succeeded by his son and grandson, the latter of whom became famous for his vast wealth, eccentricity, and sordidness. The Woods had an early rival, the Gloucester Journal of May 17th, 1748, making mention of “T. Price, banker and jeweller in this city”. Returning to the new (which soon acquired the title of the “Old”) Bristol bank, the company, in April, 1776, announced their removal from Broad Street to “the house erected for their business at the upper end of Clare Street, and adjoining to Corn Street”. (Leonardos Lane then formed the point of division between the two thoroughfares.) The removal to the present site took place nearly half a century later.

After what has been already said respecting the manners and customs of the Kingswood colliers, one is not surprised


to learn that the spiritual destitution of the district gave Bishop Butler much anxiety during the later years of his residence in Bristol. At his instigation, a committee of the Council was appointed to consider the advisability of separating Kingswood from the extensive and populous parish of St. Philip, the bishop offering to give £400 (more than a year's income of his see) towards the endowment of a new church. The committee reported in August, 1760, in favour of the scheme, and on their recommendation the Chamber subscribed £250 towards the building fund, on condition that the patronage of the new living should be vested in the Corporation. A further donation of £260 was made in 1766. (The advowson was sold about eighty years later for over £2,000.) An Act to authorise the division of the parish was obtained in 1761. A satirical comparison in a local paper between the open-handedness of Bristolians in rearing the new Assembly Room in Prince's Street and their apathy as regarded the edifice at Kingswood - the first local church erected for nearly 300 years - indicates the religious lethargy that then prevailed in the Establishment. The foundation stone of the church was laid by the mayor on the 3rd March, 1762, and the edifice was consecrated on the 6th September, 1766, by Bishop Hume. It had cost about £2,000. How little the spiritual welfare of the population was considered by some of the promoters of the scheme may be imagined from the fact that the first incumbent appointed - William Cary - was non-resident, being already rector of Winterbourne, rector of St. Philip's, and chancellor of the diocese.

The promotion of Kingswood Church was one of the latest incidents in the local episcopacy of Dr. Butler. In August, 1760, he was translated to Durham. During his twelve years' connection with Bristol he is said to have expended nearly £6,000 in the restoration of the palace and private chapel in Lower College Green. It is now amusing to read that the bishop fell under suspicion of being a Papist through his ordering a plain white marble cross to be placed at the back of the communion table in this chapel. (Lord Chancellor Hardwicke subsequently urged Bishop Yonge to remove this ornament. Coles' MSS., British Museum.) One of Butler's peculiarities was a fondness for walking for some hours in the palace garden at night, especially on dark nights. Dr. Tucker, then his chaplain, who was frequently his companion in these perambulations, states that one wild evening, while the wind was howling around the Cathedral, the bishop suddenly astounded him by inquiring whether


he did not think it probable that nations, like men, were sometimes stricken with insanity. Nothing else, he added, could account for many striking facts in history. Dr. Butler's health having failed soon after his removal to Durham, he returned to the Hot Well, and subsequently went to Bath, where he died on the 16th June, 1762. At his request, his remains were interred in Bristol Cathedral, at the foot of the episcopal chair.

Dr. Tucker, referred to above, published in 1750 an “Essay on Trade”, remarkable for its exposition of principles far in advance of the age. The writer, who had become rector of St. Stephen's a few months before, advocated the throwing open of English ports, the liberation of trade and industry from numberless oppressive restrictions, and the sweeping away of monopolies, duties, bounties, and prohibitions - in short, asserting those principles of free trade inculcated many years later by Adam Smith in the “Wealth of Nations”. In 1762, under instructions from the Court, Dr. Tucker wrote a treatise on the “Elements of Commerce and Theory of Taxes” for the instruction of the young Prince of Wales, afterwards George III. He was appointed, in 1756, a prebendary of the Cathedral, a post which he relinquished in 1758 on being appointed dean of Gloucester. He retained, however, the rectory of St. Stephen's, and continued to be a prominent personage in Bristol until nearly the close of the century.

In August, 1750, the Common Council appointed John Wraxall to the office of swordbearer, a comfortably endowed post, often bestowed on fallen greatness. Mr. Wraxall, who had been an extensive linen draper and a master of the Merchants' Society, long occupied a house and shop on Bristol Bridge. In December, 1778, Nathaniel Wraxall, a member of the same family, and father of the once famous Sir Nathaniel William Wraxall, Bart., but who had been unfortunate in business as a merchant, was also appointed swordbearer. Southey states that the baronet's mother resided for many years in Terrill Street.

The value of agricultural land in the immediate vicinity of the city was still very low in 1750. An advertisement in the Bristol Journal of September 8th offers for sale a farm house and 45 acres of land at Redland. The farm, which was tithe free, let at £40 per annum.

Dr. Newton, Bishop of Bristol, relates in his memoirs a local anecdote of Robert Henley, many years leader of the western circuit, and afterwards known as Lord Chancellor


Northington, the date of which may be assigned to about 1760. During the Bristol Assizes, says the Bishop, in a cause of some consequence, Mr. [William] Reeve, a considerable Quaker merchant, was cross-examined by Henley with much raillery and ridicule. When the court had adjourned, and the lawyers were gathered at the White Lion, Mr. Henley was informed that a gentleman desired to see him in an adjoining room, and on the counsellor responding to the summons he found Mr. Reeve, who locked the door, put the key in his pocket, and forthwith demanded satisfaction for the scurrilous treatment he had received. “Thou might'st think, perhaps, that a Quaker might be insulted with impunity, but I am a man of spirit. Here are two swords, here are two pistols; choose thy weapons, or fight me at fisty cuffs if thou had'st rather; but fight me thou shalt, or beg my pardon”. Henley pleaded the privileges of the bar, but was finally forced to say that if he had offended Mr. Reeve he was sorry for it, and was ready to beg his pardon. The resolute Quaker replied that as the affront was public the reparation must be so too, and Henley, after some resistance, apologised to Mr. Reeve before the barristers regaling themselves in the hotel. Some years afterwards, when Henley had become Lord Chancellor, he wrote to Mr. Reeve, stating that he had ordered two pipes of Madeira to be imported into Bristol, and begging the merchant to pay the charges on them, and to forward them to their destination. This was done as desired; and the winter following, when Mr. Reeve was in town, he dined at the Chancellor's with several of the nobility and gentry. After dinner, the Chancellor related the story of what had passed when he made Mr. Reeve's acquaintance, to the no little diversion of the company. Lord Campbell, in his customary anxiety to heighten the effect of his stories, dubs Mr. Reeve “ Zephaniah”, in his “Lives of the Chancellors”. In July, 1767, William Reeve and three other leading merchants, on behalf of the Union (Whig) Club, invited the Duke of Newcastle to the anniversary dinner of the society at Merchants' Hall. Mr. Reeve built a large mansion at Arno's Vale, to which he added the stables and offices locally known as Black Castle. Horace Walpole, as will be seen later on, styled the place “the Devil's Cathedral”. Whilst the buildings were in progress, some of the old gateways of the city were being removed, and Mr. Reeve obtained four figures and other carved stonework from the relics, which he inserted in the walls and entrance archway. Subsequently the disruption of


commercial relations with America was disastrous to Mr. Reeve, and his property came into the market. It was then discovered that the unfortunate gentleman, although a Quaker, was the owner of the tithes of the parish of Brislington! (Felix Farley's Journal, Oct, 29th, 1786).

Mr. Hugh Owen, in his “Two Centuries of Ceramic Art in Bristol”, and Mr. Llewellin Jewett, whose account of Bristol productions in his “Ceramic Art of Great Britain” is chiefly copied from Mr. Owen, concur in asserting that the first attempt to produce an imitation of Chinese porcelain in this city dates from 1765; the evidence relied upon being certain letters written by Richard Champion in the closing months of that year, in which a small factory is mentioned as having been just established, and again as having been closed. The discovery of a file of the Bristol Intelligencer, however, has brought to light some new and interesting facts bearing on the subject, proving that the above authors have post-dated the earliest Bristol China works by at least fifteen years. In the newspaper in question, dated December 12th, 1760, is an advertisement commencing as follows:- “Whereas for some time past attempts have been made in this city to introduce a manufacture in imitation of China ware, and the Proprietors, having brought the said undertaking to a considerable degree of perfection, have determined to extend their works”. The announcement goes on to inform parents and guardians of lads above 14 years that, if lodgings and necessaries be provided during their apprenticeship, youths will be learnt the art of pottery as practised in Staffordshire, without charge. The manuscript travels of Dr. Pocock, Bishop of Meath, now in the British Museum, contain two interesting references to this manufactory. When in Cornwall in 1760, the tourist made the following note dated October 13th:- “Visited the Lizard Point to see the Soapy Rock. There are white patches in it, which is mostly valued for making porcelane, now carrying on at Bristol. They get £6 a ton for it”. In a note dated Bristol, November 2nd, 1760, Dr. Pocock adds:- “I went to see a manufacture lately established here by one of the principals of the manufacture at Limehouse, which failed. It is at a glass-house, and is called Lowris (?) china-house. They have two sorts of ware, one called stone china, which has a yellow cast; that I suppose is made of pipe-clay and calcined flint. The other they call old China; this is whiter, and I suppose is made of calcined flint and the soapy rock at Lizard Point, which tis known they use. This is painted


blue, and some is white like the old china of a yellowish cast. Another kind is white with a blueish cast, and both are called ornamental white china. They make very beautiful white sauce-boats, adorned with reliefs of festoons, which sell for 16s. a pair”. In the Intelligencer of July 20th, 1761, is the following:- “This is to give notice. That the ware made in this city for some time past in imitation of foreign China is now sold at the Proprietors' warehouse in Castle Green, at the end near the Castle Gate. For the future no ware will be sold at the place where it is manufactured, nor will any person be admitted to enter there without leave from the Proprietors”. The names of those concerned in the works have not been found, but it may be added that Champion was only seven years of age in 1750.

This reference to Bristol China may appropriately introduce a few facts bearing upon local potteries. The existence at the beginning of the century of a small Delft ware factory in Bristol has been already mentioned, but unfortunately little is known respecting the manufacturers. The initials on an existing specimen, dated 1703, are S.M.B. Another, of 1716, has no maker's name; a third, of 1722, is marked M.S. About the latter date, the pottery, which was situated at Redcliff Back, came into the hands of Richard Frank, commonly called a gallipot maker, son of Thomas Frank, who had also followed the same trade, and is supposed to have been the only potter in Bristol in 1697. Richard Frank produced a quantity of plates and dishes, as well as imitation Dutch tiles for fire places, dairies, etc. His finest work at present known is a slab, composed of twenty-four tiles, on which is painted a view of Redcliff Church. This is now in the Museum of Practical Geology. As the arms of Bishop Butler appear on one of the tiles, the slab (which for many years ornamented the window-bed of a Bristol bacon dealer) must have been produced between 1738 and 1760. Several specimens in the hands of private collectors range between the same years. Frank afterwards took his son Thomas into partnership, and the works were removed in 1776 to a factory in Water Lane, previously occupied by a stone-ware potter. In 1784 they were purchased by Joseph Ring, a son in law of Richard Frank, who in 1786 began to manufacture what was known as Queen's ware, and the making of Delft was abandoned two years later. A contemporary of Frank was John Townsend, of whom the little we know is derived from the corporate archives. Describing himself as a “muggmaker”, Townsend petitioned the Council


in 1739, representing that about four years previously he had built a mugg-kiln in Tucker Street at a cost of £130, and carried on business there until December, 1738, when the Corporation, as owners of the land, had ordered him to stop the works, for which he prayed compensation. His name does not appear again. Another local Delft potter was Joseph Flower, whose name first occurs in 1741. In 1776 he lived on the Quay, but removed in 1777 to Corn Street, “the shop adjoining the Post Office”, where he remained until his death in 1786. Specimens of his work, says Mr. Jewett, are regarded as superior to most Bristol Delft, and are in fact equal to Dutch. Returning to Ring's production of Queen's, or Staffordshire, ware, a few extracts from an invoice accompanying two crates, “sent to Calls for a sample”, in December, 1787, show the remarkable prices of that age:- “6 ovil dishes, 1s., 8 doz. table plates, 12s. 6 sallad dishes, 11 inches, 3s. 6d. 3 3-pint coffee pots, 2s. 6d. 2 sugar dishes, with covers, 4d. 4 doz. coffee cups, 2s. 4 dozen coffee cups and saucers paynted, 4s. 4d. 1 doz. table plates paynted, 2s. 3d, 1 doz. quart mugs varigated, 5s. 1 doz. pint do. do., 2s. 6d”.

An interesting list of Bristol carriers in a “Guide to Bath and Bristol”, published in 1750, shows the great development attained by that branch of traffic. The number of carriers plying to and from the city was ninety-four, many of whom must have had several wagons, as some of the vehicles transported goods to Leeds, Nottingham, and other distant towns. The chief inns at which the carriers were stationed were the White Lion, Thomas Street, and the Three Queens, Thomas Street, which each harboured twelve. Eight stood at the Dolphin Inn, Dolphin Lane; seven at the Horse Shoe, Wine Street, and at the George, Temple Gate; nine at the George, Castle Street; and six at the Bell, Thomas Street. Four London wagons had warehouses in Peter Street.

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

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