Bridgwater’s Charters

The Bridgwater Charters arrayed in the Conservation Studio in the Somerset Heritage Centre 30 August 2012
Edward II on the left through to William IV on the right; twelve charters in all, plus a draft and an Elizabethan Great Seal

List of Charters Granted to the Borough

Believed Compiled by the Town Clerk 11 August 1959

*SHC catalogue numbers added. [ ] additional material added 2012

No.SHC*DateGranted byContents
126 June 1200JohnCharter granted to William Briwere that Bridgwater be a free Borough and its men free Burgesses with a market and a fair. The original Charter appears to be lost.
2D\B/bw/38/335 March 1318Edward IICharter of conformation of the Charter granted by King John. This is a small thin parchment document in tatters. Part of the document is missing, but, from various later Charters of inspeximus, its contents are known
3D\B/bw38/3417 October 1371Edward IIIAn inspeximus of Edward II’s Charter (part seal still attached).
4G11219 November 1400Henry IVAn inspeximus and confirmation of Charter of Edward III – in good condition with substantial part of seal attached.
518 June 1468Edward IVThis Charter would appear to be missing but the terms of the Charter are set out in full in the Charter of Henry VIII, dated 8 March 1512. A copy of the latter Charter in the Town Clerk’s possession is headed (apparently erroneously) [correctly; PEC] “King Henry VII’s confirmation of King Edward IV’s Charter”. Edward IV’s Charter authorises the election of a Mayor for the first time and two Bailiffs. It also provides for a Gild Merchant; a Court every Monday; and the election of a Recorder by the Mayor, Bailiffs and Burgesses. The Mayor and the Recorder were to be Justices of the Peace.
[5a]D\B/bw/1840[Probably part preliminary version of Charter of 1488]
6D\B/bw/23865 February 1488Henry VIIThis is a Charter of inspeximus and confirmation reciting the Charter of Edward IV wherein it is stated that, owing to its then state of decay, certain liberties are granted to the town of Bridgwater with liberty to elect a Steward or Recorder. The Charter is in good condition but the great seal formerly attached to the Charter is missing.
76 October 1495Henry VIINot available
88 March 1512Henry VIIINot available
9G112110 February 1539Henry VIIIThis Charter appears to be confirmatory of letters patent granted by Edward III of 1371 reciting and confirming the earlier Charter granted by Edward II in 1318. This Charter and the seal attached are in very good condition.
10D\B/bw/38/3021 May 1554MaryThis Charter has a note attached to it that contains an interesting recital of Corporation property. The Charter is in very good condition but only part of the seal remains.
11[BTC]4 July 1587ElizabethThis is a long Charter containing three large parchment sheets. The seal is in excellent condition. The Charter refers to the election of a Mayor and two Aldermen. This is the first provision for the election of Aldermen and John Mitchell and Robert Blake are named as the first Aldermen to be elected. A Common Council consisting of eighteen Burgesses chosen by the Mayor, Recorder, and Aldermen was provided for in this Charter. Appointment of Common Clerk Prothonotary, William Sealy was constituted the first and modern Common Clerk and Prothonotary of the Borough. Power to make Freemen from the free burgesses. Constitution of Court of Record. Sheriff or other officer not to enter the Borough. The Mayor to be Clerk of the Market. Two Market days on Thursday and Saturday and three fairs. A Court of Piepowders to be holden at the times of the Fairs and Markets. Common Clerk of the Borough to be Clerk of the Peace. Inhabitants exempted from serving on County Juries etc. Confirmation of Queen Mary’s Charter.
12D\B/bw/38/2916 February 1614James IThis Charter contains three large parchment sheets seal attached in perfect condition. The Charter grants the rights to hold St Matthew’s Fair and confirms all preceding Charters.
13D\B/bw/38/3216 April 1628Charles IThis is a very long Charter consisting of six and a half large sheets of parchment in very good condition with a seal in a tin box in an excellent state of preservation. The Charter recites the Charters of Queen Elizabeth and King James. The Common Council is increased from eighteen to twenty-four and to be elected in the same manner as formerly. A Fair to be held within the Borough in the field without the West Gate called Matthew’s Field to be yearly on the Feast-day of St Matthew the Apostle and on the two following days.
14D\B/bw/38/318 December 1683Charles IIConsists of three large parchment sheets with seal attached in excellent condition, contains similar provisions to those in the Charter of Charles I but, in addition, provides for the appointment of a Receiver of Monies and a Coroner. Power given to the Mayor, Aldermen and Capital Burgesses “to choose and nominate two discreet men of the Borough aforesaid to be Burgesses of Parliament”.
1512 March 1764George IIIOriginal Charter not in Council possession and there does not appear to be a copy available. A printed copy can be seen SHC D\B\bw/2418, reproduced below.

Notes on the Charters Held in the Somerset Heritage Centre

Compiled by the Somerset Record Office following conservation 4 November 1964
1. Inspeximus, Edward II 5 March 11 Ed II [1318] {D\B/bw/39/1}
Inspeximus confirming charter of King John to William Brewer, dated 26 June 1200. Bridgwater to be a free borough, and to have a free market and annual fair lasting eight days from the feast of St John the Baptist, with tolls, passage money, pontage [duty for repairing bridge]. lastage [duty for loading vessels], stallage [duty for erecting stalls in fair] and all other liberties and free customs appurtaining; the burgesses to be free from all tolls etc throughout the land and in all ports except City of London.

2. Inspeximus, Edward III, 17 Oct. 45 Ed III [1371] {D\B/bw/39/2}
Inspeximus of charter of Edward II, dated 5 March 1318, confirming the original charter of John, dated 26 June 1200.

3. Inspeximus, Henry IV, 9 Nov. 2 Henry IV [1400] } {D\B/bw/39/3}
Inspeximus by Letters Patent of charter of Edward III, dated 17 Oct 1371, confirming charters of Edward II, dated 5 March 1318, and John, dated 26 June 1200.

4. Inspeximus, Henry VII, 5 Feb, 3 Hen VII [1488] {D\B/bw/2386}
Inspeximus by Letters Patent of charter of Edward IV, dated 18 June 1468, granting certain privileges to the borough on account of the ruinous state of the town and port. The Mayor, Bailiffs and Burgesses to be a corporate body using a common seal, a merchant gild to be formed, and a Recorder or Steward of the town elected; the extended boundaries of the borough of the borough specified.

5. Inspeximus, Henry VIII, 10 Feb 30 Henry VIII [1539] {D\B/bw/39/4}
Inspeximus by Letters Patent of Inspeximus of Edward III, and of Edward II, confirming original charter of John, dated 26 June 1200.

6. Grant, Mary, 21 May 1 Mary [1554] {D\B/bw/39/5}
Letters Patent granting to Bailiffs and Burgesses of Bridgwater an annual rent charge of 14s arising from lands of said Bailiffs and Burgesses in East Stower, Dorset, for perpetual maintenance of anniversaries and lights in parish church of Bridgwater; and also properties in Bridgwater, including premises formerly belonging to the chantries of Holy Trinity, St George and St Mary in the parish church, to be held in free burgage

7. Grant, Elizabeth, 4 July 29 Eliz [1587] {D\B/bw/39/6}
Letters Patent confirming the corporate body known as Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of Bridgwater, using a common seal. There are also to be two Bailiffs, a Common Council of eighteen burgesses, a Common Clerk and Protonotary, two Sergeants-at-Mace, a Court of Record, and a Clerk of the Market. The Midsummer Fair, the boundaries of the borough (described in the charter of Edward IV) and the property held by the borough (granted by Queen Mary) are all confirmed.

8. Inspeximus, James I, 16 Feb 11 Jac I [1614] {D\B\bw/39/8}
Inspeximus by Letters Patent confirming grant of Elizabeth, dated 4 July 1587.

9. Inspeximus, Charles I, 16 April 4 Car I [1628] {D\B\bw/39/9}
Inspeximus, by Letters Patent, of Inspeximus of James I, dated 16 Feb 1614, confirming grant by Queen Elizabeth, dated 4 July 1587. It also states that the boundaries of the borough are co-terminous with those of the parish, specifies the judicial powers of the Mayor, Recorder and Aldemen, makes provision for a Deputy Recorder, increases the number of burgesses in the Common Council from eighteen to twenty-four, and makes regulations concerning St Matthew’s Fair, including the holding of a Court of Piepowder at that time.

10. Grant, Charles II, 8 Dec 35 Car II [1683] {D\B/bw/39/10}
Letters Patent confirming the ancient privileges of the borough, a corporate body known as the Mayor, Aldermen and Burgesses of Bridgwater, using a common seal; Mayor, two Aldermen, Common Council of twenty-four, Deputy Mayor, Recorder, Deputy Recorder, Common Clerk and Protonotary, Receiver of Pence, two Bailiffs, Coroner, Fair in the High Street held 28 and 29 Dec with Court of Piepowder, and two Burgesses in Parliament, all confirmed.

[11a. Grant, George III, 12 March 4 George III [1794] {D\B/bw/2418}
A printed copy as a paste down in a volume of miscellaneous documents. ]

11. Grant, William IV, 10 June 6 Will IV [1836] {D\B/bw/2387}
Letters Patent granting a separate Court of Quarter Sessions to the borough.

12. Great Seal of Queen Elizabeth {D\B/bw/39/7}
Found loose, unattached to any document.

{ } denotes the reference numbers in the Somerset Heritage Centre catalogue in 2012.
[ ] is an addendum of 30 August 2012.

Description of Charters displayed at the Mayorality 500 Exhibition 1969

Charter Texts

King John 1200

A transcription of King John’s Charter C18th Collection Dr P E Cattermole
A translation (with corrections) of King John’s Charter C18 Collection Dr P E Cattermole
King John’s Charter and translation from T B Dilks SRS 1933, vol 48

JOHN by the grace of God &c. KNOW YE that we give & grant and by this our present charter do confirm to our beloved and faithful Wm. Briwer that BRIDGWATER shall be a free Borough, and that there shall be a free Market & one Fair in every year to continue by the space of eight days, to wit, from the day of the nativity of St. John the Baptist in eight days with toll, Page, Pontage, Passage, Stallage, Lestage, and with all other Liberties and free custom to the free Borough & to the Market & Fair appertaining. We also grant to the aforesd William that his said Burgesses of the Borough aforesd shall be free Burgesses and shall be free of toll, Pontage, Passage, Stallage, and Lestage, and shall have all liberties, & free customs & freedom, which to us appertain through our whole Land & through all the Ports of our Land (except the City of London) Wherefore we will, and firmly command that the aforesd William and his Heirs after him, shall have and enjoy, all things aforesd well and in peace, freely and quietly, wholly, fully & honourably with all their Liberties & free customs as aforesd. Witness:- W. Mareschal, Earl of Pembroe. R. ————— Earl of Chester, Willm, Earl of Salisbury, William de Rupibus Steward of Andegavia aca. Dated by the hands of S.——————— Archdeacon of Wells & I.————– de Gray, Archdeacon of Gloucester at Chinon the 26th day of June in the second year of our reign. ANNO 1200.

Edward II 1382 – Confirmation

transcribed by T B Dilks SRS 1933

Edward III 1373 – Inspeximus 

Henry IV 1400 – Inspeximus 

Sect: 1.HENRY by the Grace of God, King of England and France & Lord of Ireland. To all whom these present Letters shall come, Greeting: we have seen the Charter of Confirmation of the Lord Edward late King of England our predecessour. Made in these words:

2.EDWARD by the Grace of God, King of England, & France & Lord of Ireland; To all the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbotts, Priors, Dukes, Earls, Barons, Justices, Sheriffs, Provosts & all other faithful Ministers & Bayliffs. Greeting: we have seen a certain Charter of confirmation of the Lord Edward our father Late King of England in these words:

3.EDWARD by the Grace of God, King of England, & France & Lord of Ireland; To all the Archbishops, Bishops, Abbotts, Priors, Dukes, Earls, Barons, Justices, Sheriffs, Provosts & all other faithful Ministers & Bayliffs. Greeting: we have seen the charter of the Lord John of our famous memory our predecessor heretofore King of England in these words:

4.JOHN BY the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland, Duke of Normandy and Aquitain and Earl of Andegavia; to all Archbishops, Bishops, Abbotts, Earls. Barons, Sherriffs, Provosts, and to all our faithful Ministers and Bayliffs, Greeting: Know ye, that we have given, & granted by this our present charter, have confirmed to our beloved & faithful Wm. Briwer that Bridgwater shall be a free Borough, & that there shall be a free Market & one Fair in every year to continue eight days, to wit, from the day of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, in eight days with toll, page, Pontage, Passage, Lastage, Stallage, & all other Liberties & free customs to the free Borough, & to the Market, & Fair, appertaining; Also we grant to the aforesd Wm. That his Burgesses of the Burough aforesd shall be free Burgesses & shall be free of toll, page, pontage, passage, lastage, stallage, & shall have all the liberties & free customs & Freedoms wch to us appertain, through our whole land & thro all the Ports of our Land (except the City of London) wherefore we will, and firmly command that the aforesd Wm. & his Heirs after him shall have and enjoy all things aforesd well and in peace freely & quietly wholly fully & honourably with all the Liberties & free customs as aforesd. Witness:- W. Mareschall, Earl of Pembroe. R. Earl of Chester. Wm. Earl of Salisbury. William de Rupibus Steward of Andegavia. G. de Glapian Steward of Normandy, Henry de Novant, Robert de Thurnham. Dated by the hands of S……………….. Archdeacon of Wells, & I. de Gray, Archdeacon of Gloucester, at Chinon the 26th Day of June in the second year of our Reign.

5. First Confirmation
AND WE, the gift, Grant and Confirmation aforesd for us & our heirs as much as in us is to the Burgesses of the Town aforesd doth reasonably witness & as they sd Burgesses & their predecessors, the Liberties aforesd hitherto have reasonably used & enjoyed; Witness hereto:- The most venerable Priors, W. Archbishop of Canterbury Primate of all England, I. Bishop of Winchester our Chancellor, I. Bishop of Ely our Treasurer. A. de Valentia Earl of Pembroe. Humphry de Bohun Earl of Hereford & Essex. Bartholemew de B. Wm. De Monte Steward of our household & others. Dated by our Hand at Westminster the 5th day of March in the Eleventh year of our Reign.

6. 2nd Confirmation
AND WE, the gift, Grant and Confirmation aforesd for us & our heirs as much as in us is to the Burgesses of the Town aforesd doth reasonably witness & as they sd Burgesses & their predecessors, the Liberties aforesd hitherto have reasonably used & enjoyed; Witness hereto:- The most venerable Priors, W. Archbishop of Canterbury Primate of all England, W. of Winchester, I. of Ely our Treasurer. S. OF London, Bishops &ca.. Dated by our Hand at Westminster the 7th day of October in the 45th year of our Reign of England & in the 32nd year of our Reign of France.

7. 3rd Confirmation. By Act of Parliament
AND WE, the Charter of such Libertys, Grants, Customs, Confirmations, and quietudes, in no wise revoking according to the tenor and effect of the same, by the advice and consent of the Lords, spiritual & temporal assembled in our parliament, lately held at Westminster, Do approve ratify and confirm as the Charter aforesd doth reasonably withness & us they the sd Burgesses ought to enjoy the same & they & their predecessors the Liberties, Grants, Customs, Confirmation & quietudes Aforesd from the time of thegranting of the Charters aforesd hitherto have reasonably accustomed to use & enjoy.

IN WITNESS whereof we have caused these our letters to be made Patents, witness ourself at Westminster the 9th day of November in the second Year of our Reign.

OSBARN BY WRIT OF PRIVY SEAL.
Examined by John Rowland and John Osharn, Clerks.

Henry VII 1488 – Inspeximus 

Picture taken Mayorality 500 Exhibition 1969 Catalogue

HENRY, by the Grace Of God, King of England & France & Lord of Ireland: to all to whom these present Letters shall come; Greeting: we have seent he Charter of the Lord E………. the fourth, late King of England (our progenitour) made in these words: EDWARD, by the Grace of God, King of England & France & Lord of Ireland: to all Archbishops, Bishops, Abbotts, Priors, Dukes, Earls, Barons, Justices, Sherriffs, Provots & to all our faithful Ministers & Bayliffs to whom these present Letters shall come, Greeting: know ye that from the lamentable complaint of our beloved subjects, the Burgesses & Inhabitants of the Town or Borough of Bridgwater, in the County of Somerset, of which sd Town or Borough, a third part belongs to us by reason of our Earldom of March. We accept thereof, like as the same Town is a Port of the Sea & in old time, accustomed, as well for the resource of foreign Merchants as of other Natives whatsoever with their ships, Vessells & all manner of Merchandizes, coming into these parts, to the no little relief of the inhabitants of the Town or Borough aforesd: But also to the manifest comfort of our subjects abiding in the Country thereabout, which said town& port is fallen into such Ruin & Decay for want or Reparations, & of inhabitants coming there, that Merchants as well as Foreigners as Natives, have for a long time abstained to assemble & do at present withdraw themselves: by which very many the greater part of the now Inhabitants of the Town aforesd (whose sustenance was enlarged by the resource of Merchants) have forsaken & do intend to forsake the said Town & Port, so that, in short, that Town will remain through all likelihood, as if it was desolate, in in such sort it be permitted to be done, not only to the loss & derogation of us, & also a loss of our Tenants there, but also to the great hurt & impoverishing of the country there, which will manifestly happen, without our Grace to them in that behalf exhibited; We not only most seriously considering the Premises, but also desiring the relief and Common Good, of the Town or Port aforesd, as we are bound, & that as well Merchants, with their Ships, Vessells, & Merchendizes whatsoever, may hereafter more freely come into the said Port, as our said Subjects, within the same Town may be in power to inhabit yourselves as in antient times they have accustomed, Of our special Grace & of our certain knowledge & mear motion, have granted, & by these presents, Do grant for us our Heirs & Successors these liberties, Franchises, Immunities & quietudes following, to wit, – that the same Town or Borough be incorporated of one Mayor, Two Bayliffs, & Burgesses of that town & They shall have perpetual Succession, & a common seal, for doing the business of the said Borough for ever, & that they the said Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their successors, by the same name, shall be persons able & in law capable, to acquire for themselves & their successors in ffee & otherwise, Lands, Tenements, Rents, Services & other professions whatsoever. And also to all manner of Pleas, Suits, Quarrels & Demands, & Actions, real, personal, & mixed, moved or to be moved, in any of our Courts, of our Heirs or Successors, or of any other whatsoever, as well before us, & our Heirs, as before whatsoever Justices & Judges, Spiritual & Secular, to prosecute & defend; And that in the same they may plead & be impleaded & answer & be answered unto, And that the Burgesses of the Town aforesd for the time being, from henceforth for ever, in every year, to wit, on the Monday next after the feast of the Nativity of the blessed Virgin Mary, in some certain place within the Town aforesd, to them most pleasing, shall convene themselves, & shall & may elect, one fit & discreet Burgess of themselves, to be Mayor of the same Town, and two other Burgesses of themselves, to be Bayliffs of that Town, to bear, occupy & exercise the same offices severally, for one whole year in the said Town, the Libertys & Precincts of the same, for the sound & wholesome Government therof & them the Mayor & Bayliffs of the Town aforesd to prefer & create; and if such Mayor & Bayliffs, or any of them, within a year after such election made, shall happen to dye, or for evil Government of the Town aforesaid or for any fault, or cause whatsoever, from the Office of Mayor, or Bayliffs of the said Town, by us, or our Authority, or otherwise, be displaced or removed, Then the Burgesses of the town aforesaid for the time being, may elect, make & create another fit & discreet Burgess, Mayor of the said Town in the Room of such Mayor so Dying, displaced or removed, And two other Burgesses, or another Burgess, Bailiffs, or the other Bayliffs of the same Town, in the places or place of which Bayliffs or Bayliff so dying, displaced or removed for the residue of that year, to rule & govern the same Town within fifteen days next after such dying, displacing, or removal. So always, that as well as every such Mayor, as every such bailiff of the Town aforesd for a whole year, or any part of that year as he shall be elected shall take a corporal oath before the Burgesses of the Town aforesd, well & faithfully to do the office, to which he shall be so elected; And we do give licence to the said Burgesses & their successors to take such Oaths by these presents. We will also, & do grant for us & our Heirs, by these presents ( as much as in us is)to the aforesd Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses of the Town aforesd & their successors, that the LIbertys & Franchizes of that Town or Borough shall extend itself out of the same Town or Borough, by the Limits, Meets & Bounds following, to wit, By Land on the east part of the said town. To a certain cross, called Kelyng Cross, & from thence to a certain bridge called Lymebridge, on the south part of the same Town, and from thence to a certain field called Matthews Field, on the West part of the same Town, and from thence to a certain place called Cropill, on the North part of the same Town, and from thence to the said cross called Kelyng Cross, and by water from the aforesd bridge Called Lymebridge to Henclyve, and from thence to Brendown, together with a road called St. Andrews Pool, the Polle to Highbridge, the Gee of Comwiche, Wynpennys Dokke, Millepille, Priorspille, Hafullpille, saxpoole, Paulettpille, Doune End Pille, Pegenespille, & Crowpille with all other pools, creeks & places in the same water for aships and other vessels to lye & rest there. Also we will, and by these Presents, do grant, for us, our Heirs & Successors to the aforesd Mayor, Bayliffs, & Burgesses & their Successors, that they shall have, in the Town or Borough aforesaid for ever, a Gild Merchant, with Hanse & other customs & libertys to such Gild belonging; And that the same Burgesses & their successors, shall from time to time, forever, have preference before all others in buying all manner of merchandizes, brought or from henceforth to be brought, in ships or in other vessels whatsoever, into the Port aforesd, by twenty days, immediately after such bringing much of the same merchandizes, and that no other may buy such merchandizes there within the time aforesd, without a licence, & pleasure of the Mayor of the Town or Borough aforesd for the time being, in any manner unless in the time of a fair of the same Town or Borough, And that no Foreigner or Stranger, or any other, who is not of the Gild aforesd & partaker with the aforesd Burgesses, in the Aids, Tolls, Taxes & Exactions whatsoever & doth not contribute with them, to Lott & Scott. May not buy or sell any goods things or wares whatsoever with any such Foreigner or Stranger or any other as is aforesd within the Town or Borough aforesaid of the Precinots or Libertys of the Same in any manner at retailer in gross for the future (all manner of vitualling and in the times of Fairs & Markets there only accepted). Provided also, and excepted, that the aforesd twenty days being ended & elapsed, It shall be lawful to whatsoever persons, that they, at their pleasure, may buy all manner of such merchandizes, lawfully & with impurity brought or to be brought in the aforesaid ships & Vessells (only) into the said Port as aforesd and return tot hier habitation with the same; and that they the said Mayors, Bailiffs & Burgesses, and their successors for ever, shall be free, and quit through our land and our Authority, from all Toll, Passage, Moreage, Chinage, Pavage, Lestage, Pontage, Stallage, Piccage, Keyage, Peiage, Carriage, Landage, Stackage, Presage, & Shipage, of in and for all their Merchandizes whithersoever they shall come through our whole land & Authority aforesd and that they the said Mayor, Bailiffs, and Burgesses & their successors for ever shall have all & all manner of goods & chattels of felons & Fugitives of Outlaws as well of men as of women & Delinquents attained & any whom my exigent is awarded for Felony And also all manner of goods & chattels of all persons, after what manner soever outlawed of all & singular Burgesses Residents & not Residents & of all others whatsoever within the Town or Borough aforesd & the Precincts & Libertys of the same forfeited or to be forfeited for whatsoever cause & by whatsoever cause, before us & our Heirs, the Keepers of our peace & any other justices assigned to hear & determine overs felonys, trespasses & other evil doings or other our justices or Commissarys whatsoever of us & our Heirsn which shall not touch the person of us or of our Heirs; and also all goods & Chattels called manuopera taken or to be taken with whatsoever person within the Town or Borough aforesd the Precints & Libertys of the same, so that if any man for his offence, ought to lose his life, or member, or shall fly and will not stand to judgement or shall commit any other offence for which his goods & Chattels ought to be taken away whatsoever Justice ought to be done for the same, either in the Courst of us, our Heirs, or successors or in any other court whatsoever, the same shall be the goods & Chattels of the aforesd Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & thier successors and it shall be lawfull to the said Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors by the Bayliffs of the Town or Borough aforesd for the time being to put themselves in seizing, & possession of the Goods & Chattels aforesd & the same to take, seize & detain to the use & behoof of the said Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors without any implement of us, our Heirs or Successors whatsoever, Altho the same goods & Chattels by us & our Heirs or the Ministers of us & our Heirs & Successors shall be first seized for our use; and that they the sd Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors shall for ever have a certain Court in the Town or Borough aforesd to be holden on a Monday in every week before the Mayor & Bayliffs of the same Town or Borough for the time being, And that in the same Court, by Plaint, there to be procesuted, they may hold all & all manner of Pleas of whatsoever Tresspasses, with Foce & Arms or otherwise in contempt of us or of our Heirs & against the form of whatsoever statues or of whatsoever other trespasses & offences or conbtempts within the Town or Borough aforesd the Preciness & Libertys of the same done or perpetrated; and of the debts, accounts, covenants, deceits, Detaining of Carters, Writings, Miniments & Chattels, Taking & withholding of Beasts & Cattle & other contracts whatsoever for any causes or things whatsoever, arising within the Town or Borough aforesd, the Precincts & Libertys of the same, Although the same Trespasses, Debts, Accounts, Covenants, Deceits, Detaining or other Contracts, do amount unto, or exceed the sum or value of Forty Shillings, And that all & singular the same, may there be heard, & determined before the Mayor & Bayliffs aforesd for the time being according to the Law & Customs of our Realm of England, as well by Jury as otherwise And the persons against whom such Plaints in the Court aforesd shall happen to be moved or prosecuted may implead by Summons Attachment & Distress & if it shall be attested before them the said Mayor & Bayliffs by their Ministers that the persons gave nothing within the Liberty of the Town or Borough aforesd Whereby or which they may be summoned or distrained by their Bodys to attach all & singular the aforesd Pleas severally to hear & the Processes, considerations Judgements & execution fir the same to determine & bring to Judgement & for which the like Pleas in our Courts may be detained & brought in execution & process of the same Pleas may be executed by the Ministers of the aforesd Mayor & Bayliffs in that behalf to be deported or assigned.

FURTHERMORE we have granted for us & our Heirs to the aforesd Mayor & Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors that they & their Successors may elect & choose one fit man learned in the Law of the Land to be Recorder or Steward of the Town or Borough aforesd and that ye Mayor & Recorder or Steward of the Town or Borough aforesd for the time being as soon as they shall be elected Mayor & Recorder or Steward shall be Justices of us & our Heirs to keep, the peace and also to conserve & keep & cause to be kept the Statutes of Artificers and Labourers, Weights & Measures within the Town or Borough aforesaid, the Precincts & Liberties of the same and that they shall have full power & authority to inquire of certain Trespasses Misprisions, & other offences within the Town or Borough aforesd, the Precincts & Liberties of the same, done or perpetrated, and the same trespasses, Misprisions, Offences & other Articles to hear & determine. And that the aforesaid Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors shall have and perceive all Issues, Finess, Redemptions & Amerciaments before the aforesaid Mayor & Recorder in that behalf forfeited or to be forefeited or done or to be made for any the like Trespasses, Misprisions & other offences & articles aforesaid And if any of the Town or Borough Aforesaid the Precincts & Libertys of the same, shall at any time hereafter be rebellious & disobedient and will not agree to the ordinances of the Mayor, Bailiffs, & Burgesses of the same Town or Borough for the time being, And also if any shall be leaders, partners, procurers, abettors or maintainers to lead such Societys to cause debates or impediments whereof discords may happen between the community of the said Town or Borough and the said Mayor and Bayliffs & other Ministers who shall have the keeping of the peace of us & our Heirs & the Government of the same Town, or shall cause debates & discords upon the election of Mayor & Bayliffs or other Ministers of the same Town or Borough, Precincts & Libertys of the same or in the performing any lawful & reasonable ordinances which shall be established & ordained or to be ordained by the common assent of the Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses of the Town or Borough aforesd for the profit & utility of this same Town or Borough & Precincts of the same, they shall be chastised & punished in due manner by the Mayor & Bayliffs of the same Town or Borough for the time being according to the Quantity and Quality of their offences and according to the Law & Custom of our Realm of England.

FURTHERMORE we have granted for us & our Heirs to the aforesd Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors that they & their Successors shall have the assiss & keeping amending & correcting of the assiss of Bread Wine & ale & other victuals in the same Town or Borough the Precincts & Libertys of the same & also power & authority to punish & correct all delinquents in the abuse of weights & measures in the presence of us & our Heirs And that no Clerk of the Market of our Household or of our Heirs neither the Admiral of us & our Hiers, or his Lieutenant Commissary Official or Deputy nor the Steward & Marshall of our Household or of our Heirs or any of them nor the deputies or servants of any of them shall enter the Town or Borough aforesd, the Precinctsts & Libertys of the same, by land, sea, or by water from henceforth & do exercise or execute anything that to his or to the office of any of them shall or may appertain thereto be done Nor byy any colour shall inquire of or cause to be done any matter, cause or thing, done or hereafter to be done or that shall arise or happen within the Town or Borough aforesd, the Precincts or libertys thereof, Nor by any manner of means shall meddle with any thing in the reign in any manner howsoever, nor shall draw any of the Burgesses of the Town or Borough aforesd nor any person in suit for any thing or cause by any means hereafter happening or arising within the Town or Borough, the Precincts & Libertys thereof And further that they & their Successors for ever hereafter shall have the return as wall of the Assizes, as of all the writs, precepts, Bills, Warrants & Mandates of us, our Heirs & Successors & also the summons, Estreates & Precepts of the Exchequer of us our Heirs & Successors & the Estreates & Precepts of our Justices, Itinerant as well for the Pleas of the forrest as of common Pleas & of other Justices Whatsoever & also attachments as well of Pleas of the Crown as of others in the sd Town or Borough the Prcincts & Libertys of the same, & the execution thereof to be done, by the Baylifs of the Town or Borough aforesd for the time being, so that no Sherriff, Bayliff, or other Minister of us our Heirs or Successors shall enter the said Town or Borough, the Precincts & Libertys fo the same, for any of their offices to be done, unless in default of them the sd Bayliffs & their Successors for the time being.

FURTHERMORE We have granted that they the sd Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors shall for ever have and receive for every plough or cart drawing or passing with Merchandizes or Cross Wood over the Bridge of the Town or Borough aforesaid, One Penny, and the money thereby arising to be applied for and about the amending & fortifying the Bridge there from time to time, and that it shall be lawful to them the said Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors to cleanse secure & amend the Banks and Walls of the Water within the Town or Borough aforesaid the Libertys and Precincts thereof & the Rooks & Stones lying and being in the bottom of the same water, to draw from thence as often as it shall be necessary for the safe bringing & lying of ships & other vessels there and the same stones to have & retain for the amending & repairing of the Bridge aforesaid and for paving the said Town or Borough without any Lett, Molestation, Hindrance or impediment of us or our Heirs or Successors or of any other our Ministers whatsoever.

FURTHER, We have granted for us our Heirs & Successors to them the said Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses & their Successors, that they shall have within the Town or Borough aforesaid, One Market on Saturday in every week, and one Fair there every year on the Monday next after (Carais Privium) and to continue by the space of four days then next following, with all liberties and customs to such market & fair appertaining, So that the said Fair or Market be not to the hurt of other neighbouring Fairs or Markets. Also we have granted for us & for our Heirs do grant & confirm to the aforesaid Burgesses and their Successors , all Grants and Donations, Privilages & Liberties to them granted by our Progenitors or any others before this time And that they and their Successors shall have and enjoy through our whole Land and our Authority, All Libertys and Customs approved and hitherto used as by them have been used & enjoyed in the times of our Progenitors or Predecessors. AND furthermore, we have granted, and for us our Heirs & Successors do granny by these presents to the aforesd Mayor, Bayliffs & Burgesses and their Successors Our aforesd whole third part of the Town or Borough aforesaid with the Appurtenances & Profits which Cecely Duchess of York our dear Mother holdeth for the term of her life from our grant to HAVE AND TO HOLD the same whole third part immediately after the death of the said Duchess together with a Court Leet, view of Frankpledge, Friars, Markets & all other profits & commoditys & libertys to the same third part in any manner belonging or appertaining together with all privileges, Libertys, Franchises, Immunitys, Quietudes & all grants above expressed granted & declared tot eh aforesaid Burgesses and their Successors from the Feast of St, Michael the Archangel next ensuing, of us and our Heirs, in Fee for the YEILDING therefore to us and our Heirs during the Life of our mother Three Pounds of lawful money of England yearly at the Feast of St. Michael of Archangel by the hands of the Bailiffs of the Town or Borough aforesd for the time being and YEILDING therefore to us & our Heirs for ever after the death of our said Mother Ten Pounds of lawful money of England yearly t the same feast of St. Michael by the hands of the same Bailiffs for the time being WHEREFORE, We will and firmly command for us and our Heirs that the aforesaid Burgesses & their Successors shall for ever have & enjoy all & singular Privilages, Franchises, Immunitys, Quietudes, Grants & Libertys aforesaid and to them and every of them in manner & from above specified to be fully enjoyed & used without impediment of us our Heirs & Successors or other Ministers or any others whatsoever, so that Express Mention of true yearly value or any other value or certainty of the premises or any of them nor of other Gifts or Grants by us or our Progenitors to the aforesaid Burgesses & their Successors or to their Predecessors & Successors before that time made be not made in these presents, Any statute, Act, Ordinance, Provision or restraint to the contrary thereof made ordained or provided notwithstanding.

WITNESS the Most Venerable Priors T.H. of Canterbury & G. of York, Archbishops, Our dear cousin E. of Bath & Wells, Our Chancellor & T.H. of Rochester, Keeper of our Privy Seal, Bishops. Our most dear Sons George Duke of Clarence & Richard Duke of Gloucester And also our dear Cousins Richard Warr Earl of Salisbury, John Earl of Northumberland & Richard, Eral of Rivers our Treasurer of England Our beloved and faithful Sir William Hastyngs our Chamberlin & Sir John Wenlock our Capital Butler of England Knights & others.

Dated by our hands at Westminster the 18th day of June in the eighth year of our Reign; And we the Charter aforesaid and all and singular therin contained for us and our Successors as much as in us is having the same with pleasure & satisfaction do accept & approve % to our beloved the now Mayor, Bayliffs, Burgesses & Inhabitants of the Town aforesd and their Successors Do grant and confirm as the same Charters do reasonably witness. In testimony whereof we have caused these our Letters to be made patents. Witness ourself at Westminster the 8th day of March I the third year of our Reign.
Y O U N G
For Four Pounds paid in the Hanaper

Queen Mary 1554 – Grant

Picture taken Mayorality 500 Exhibition 1969 Catalogue

Charles I 1628

Reciting the Charter of Queen Elizabeth & King James in hose verba – and then proceeds – KNOW YE that we the Letters Patents & Charters before recited and mentioned and all other Letters Patents & Charters by any or ny anyone of our predecessors aforesaid before this time to the said Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses aforesaid or unto the Burgesses of the Town or Borough aforesaid or unto the same Borough made or granted And all and singular Liberties, Privileges, Franchises, Immunities, Exonerations, Donations & Grants and other things whatsoever in the same or any of them contained And also all & singular Liberties, Privileges, Franchises, Freedoms, Discharges, Gifts, Customs, Rights, Jurisdictions, of the same Town or Borough or within the same Town & Borough or the Suburbs, Liberties or Precincts thereof before this time used, had, or enjoyed, freely and all and singular the same to our well beloved subjects the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough of Bridgwater aforesaid & their Successors, for us our Heirs & Successors do allow of approve & confirm & by these presents We allow & confirm so freely fully & absolutely, & in so ample manner & form as all & singular in the said Letters Patents are granted or mentioned to be granted, or are in the said Letters Patents are granted or mentioned to be granted, or are in these presents particularly expressed recited or mentioned, and although the same or some or any part thereof were or have been lost or forfeited – paying therefore unto us, our Heirs & Successors, so many, so great, such & the like, & the same Rents Services, Sums of Money & Demands which from thence to us, our Progenitors & Predecessors have been or ought to have been paid.

WHEREFORE We will & by these presents for Us our Heirs & Successors do streightly charge & command that the aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors shall have, hold, use & enjoy & fully & wholly may have, hold, use & enjoy for ever all Liberties free Customs, Privileges, Authorities, Jurisdictions & Freedoms aforesaid according to the tenure of the afore recited Letters Patents and of these our Letters Patents and according to the Liberties, Rights, Jurisdictions & Customs aforesaid without the Hindrance or Lett of Us our Heirs or Successors or of any other Officers or Ministers of Us our Heirs and Successors whatsoever.

FORBIDDING that the same Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid or their Successors or any or either of them, by means of the premises or by Reason of any part thereof, by us our Heirs and Successors Justices Sheriffs Escheators, or other Bayliffs or officers of Us our Heirs & Successors whatsoever be therefore molested , vexed or grieved, or any otherwise troubled.

WILLING & by these presents charging & commanding as well our Treasurer Chancellor & Barons of Exchequer at Westminster & other Justices & Officers of us our Heirs & Successors as our Attorney General for the time being & either of them & all other Officers & Ministers of us our Heirs & Successors whatsoever, That neither they or nor either of them, any writ or summons of quo warranto or any other our Writ or Writs whatsoever against the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid or their Successors or any or either of them by them or their predecessors or any of them claimed, used, attempted, has or usurped before the day of the making of these presents may prosecute or continue or any of them shall prosecute or continue or cause to be prosecuted & continued.

WILLING also that the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid or their Successors by one or more of the Justices Officers Monisters aforesaid in or for the used, claim & abuse of any other liberties Franchises or Jurisdictions within the said Borough Limits or Precincts thereof before the day of the making of these presents Patents, be not molested or hindered or unto them or any of them not compelled to answer.

WHEREAS by the report of some of our faithful subjects we have been given to understand that some question & doubt of the true extent & bounds, marks & limits of the Borough aforesaid have been of late moved & risen and by the humble petition of the said Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses it is appareth that by means whereof it is often controverted whether or no divers houses & mansions late set u p & built within the Parish of Bridgwater in the County of Somerset (within which Parish the aforesaid Borough is situated) & whether or no divers other places within the same Parish are within the Limits Meets & Bounds or jurisdictions of the same Borough, in which houses & other places controversies, misdemeanours, Riots and other breaches & Perturbances of the Peace may often times be committed & happen And as well the main factors who do fly into these places, or do there dwell, as the Favourers & Receivers of them do oftentimes escape unpunished, by reason that it is doubted whether or no the said Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses have lawful power & authority such offences & disturbances of the Peace there to meet withall & supress & thereupon have himbly prayed that we would(as much as in us lyeth) extend our Princely Grace & Bounty unto them with our Explanation Enerease & further addition of Privileges in this behalf & of certain Liberties & Privileges for the better Government of the Borough & whole Parish of Bridgwater aforesaid and for the preservation of our Peace there as it shall seem most expedient to us.

WE therefore willing a reformation thereof and that the aforesaid contentions & questions may for ever hereafter be taken away & holly removed & the aforesaid Borough may & shall ever hereafter be & remain a Borough of quietness & peace and that justice within the same Borough may be the better executed to the Fear & Terror of the Evil & Reward of the Good & that for ever hereafter is shall be accounted one certain and undoubted means for the keeping of our Peace, Regimen & Government of our people within the same Borough & whole Parish of Bridgwater aforesaid & of others there coming of our Special Grace, certain Knowledge & meer motion Do will & ordain grant explain & appoint and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors (as much as in us is) do will, ordain, grant, explain & appoint to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & to their Successors that the Limits, Meets, Bounds, Precincts & Jurisdictions of the Borough of Bridgwater aforesaid as well by land as by water, hereafter may & shall extend and stretch itself & so for ever hereafter shall be taken & reputed as well in & through the Borough aforesaid as in & & through all the Parish of Bridgwater aforesaid in the County of Somerset, And that the Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors for ever hereafter may & shall have use enjoy & exercise all & all singular Liberties, Privileges, Rights, Jurisdictions, Freedoms, Immunities & Customs which by means of any of the said Letters Patents or Charters aforesaid or of any use or custom they may or might, or have used to have exercise & enjoy within the Borough aforesaid by Land as by Water in and by the whole parish of Bridgwater aforesaid & all Places whatsoever being within the Parish and that all & singular inhabitants, Tenents & other Residents whatsoever within the aforesaid Parish under the Laws & Direction of the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid for the time being in such & such like manner & form to all intents & purposes as the inhabitants Tenants & Residents of the Borough aforesaid now are, or now or hereafter ought to be, & that all the inhabitants & Residents within the same Parish of Bridgwater may and shall have & enjoy all liberties & Privileges & bear such places & all such the like offices & Burthens in such manner & form as the Inhabitants & Residents within the Borough aforesaid might have had enjoyed supported & borne or have accustomed or used or were wont or ought to have enjoy support to bear, any law or restraint to the contrary notwithstanding.

AND WHEREAS the aforesaid late Queen Elizabeth by her said Letters Patents before recited, for herself, her Heirs & Successors Did grant the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses & their Successors, that the Mayor, Recorder & Aldermen of the same Borough & either of them for the time being, during the time in which they shall be in their office, should be justices of our said late Queen he Heirs & Successors, to keep the peace in the said Borough, Liberties & Precincts thereof And also the Statutes of Artificers & Labourers, Weights & Measures within the same Borough, the Suburbs, Liberties & Precincts thereof, to keep & amend or cause to be kept and amended And that the Mayor Recorder & Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid for the time being or any three of them should have full power and authority to enquire of certain trespasses Misprisions & other defects & articles whatsoever within the same Borough the Suburbs & Precincts & Liberties thereof had moved or committed which before the Keepers & Justices of the Peace in any County of our Realm of England by the Laws & Statutes of the same Kingdom may & ought to be enquired.

AND WHEREAS the said Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid have shewed unto us that for want of power to hear & determine small felonies & other faults & offences within the Borough aforesaid committed, many mischiefs & Inconveniences do arise & the offenders there many times do escape without punishment as it is reported, to the evil example of others & to the disturbance & damage of the Burgesses & Inhabitants of the Borough aforesaid, All which Inconveniences We being willing to redress.

KNOW YE that we of our more free & special Grace & of our certain knowledge & meer motion have granted and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant to the aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors That the Mayor Recorder & Aldermen of the same Borough shall be Justices of the Peace of Us our Heirs & Successors & either of them is, A shall be a Justice of Us, our Heirs & Successors, & either of them is, & shall be a Justice of Us, our Heirs & Successors of our Peace & the Peace of our Heirs & Successors, in, by, & within the Borough & Parish aforesaid Liberties & Precincts thereof, to keep & cause to be kept; And also the Statute of Artificers & Labourers Weights & Measures within the Borough & Parish aforesaid Liberties & Precincts thereof to keep & amend & cause to be kept amended & to do all things there which to the office of Justice of the Peace in any County of our Realm of England assigned or to be assigned by the Laws & Statutes of this Our Realm of England appertaineth to be done & executed without any other command, commission or warrant from Us, our Heirs & Successors, therein to be had & obtained, And that the same Mayor, Recorder & Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid for the time being or any three of them, whereof the Mayor & Recorder for the time being or the Mayor & Deputy Recorder for the time being, We will have to be two, may have full power & authority to enquire of all manner of Felonies, Trespasses Evil Doings, & other Faults & Articles whatsoever within the Borough or Parish aforesaid Liberties & Precincts thereof, made, moved or committed, or there to be done , moved or committed, which before the Keepers & Justices of the Peace in any County of our Realm of England by the Laws & Statutes of our said Realm ought or may be inquired of – yet so that the determination of any Murther or Felony (Petty Larceny only excepted) or to any other matter touching the loss of life or members within the Borough & Parish aforesaid Liberties & Precincts thereof without the special warrant of Us our Heirs or Successors by any means hereafter they do not proceed.

NEVERTHELESS we will and our intent is, and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors that the Mayor, Recorder & Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid for the time being or any three of them (whereof the Mayor & Recorder for the time being or the Mayor & Deputy Recorder for the time being would have to be two) for ever hereafter of all & singular Misdoings Trespasses, Offences, Defects & Articles & of all Petty Thefts & Petty Larcenies within the Borough & Parish aforesaid Limits Precincts or Liberties of them within any of them committed or to be committed or there happening, may enquire & all & singular the same may hear & determine & the Deliquents according to the Laws & Customs of our Realm of England only to oPunish, as fully, freely, & wholly & in such ample manner & form as any other of the Justices of the Peace of us our Heirs & Successors in any County of our Realm of England by the Laws & Statutes of this our Realm or by any of them may or ought to enquire hear determine and punish.

AND We will any by these presents for us, our Heirs & Successors do appoint & ordain that all & singular Mayors, Recorders & Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid for the time being as well those that are present as those which shall come to execute the Office of Justices of the Peace within the Borough & Parish aforesaid, We do by these presents appoint before they or any of them be admitted to the execution of the Office of a Justice of the Peace there, shall take a corporal Oath upon the Holy Evangelists, the same office of Justice of the Peace within the Borough & Parish aforesaid Liberties & Precincts thereof in all things touching or concerning the said office well & faithfully to execute And also the Oath in that behalf by the Laws & Statutes of this Realm of England provided for Justices of the Peace requisite to be taken, they and either of them shall take before such person or persons & in such manner & form as in the same Borough Justices of the Peace there have taken or have been accustomed to take, saving yet that the aforesaid Recorder for the time being shall have the space of one month next after his election of taking the Oath aforesaid any matter or Provision in the former Letters Patents or Charters for a shorter time of taking the said Oath of Recorder to the contrary notwithstanding.

To which person or persons from time to time an Oath as aforesaid shall be given and administered We do give & grant full power faculty & authority from time to time for Us our Heirs & Successors by these presents and without any further warrant or Commission form us our Heirs & Successors in that behalf to be procured or obtained And further we will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant to aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid and their Successors That they and their Successors for ever hereafter may & shall have within the Borough aforesaid & Parish One discreet man who shall be and shall be called the Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid And for the better execution of our will in this behalf We have assigned named appointed and made by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do assign name appoint & make our well beloved Sir Thomas Wroth Knight to be present Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid to continue in the same office as long as he shall well behave himself therein which said Sir Thomas Wroth & all other hereafter to be chosen in the said Office of Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid shall take a corporal Oath before the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being well truly & faithfully to perform all which to the office of the Recorder of the Borough aforesaid may or doth appertain to be done And that from time to time and at all times after the death or removal of the said Thomas Wroth it shall & may be lawful to & for the Mayor Aldermen & Common Council of the Borough aforesaid for the time being or the greater part of them (whereof the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being we would have to be one) one other honest & discreet man to be Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid to choose & make, to continue in the same office as long as he shall well behave himself therein & shall first take a corporal Oath in the manner & form aforesaid & so often as the case shall so happen.

AND FURTHER we will & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant to the aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & to their Successors That if it shall happen the Recorder of the Borough aforesaid for the time being to be sick or to be absent from the Borough aforesaid So that the necessary business of the Borough aforesaid he cannot attend, That then & so often it shall & may be lawful for the Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid & his Successors for the time being make & appoint one honest & discreet man to be the deputy of the said Recorder for the time being which said Deputy Recorder to continue in the same office during the will & pleasure of the said Recorder for the time being, which said person in the Office of a Deputy Recorder so to be made & appointed, all & singular which to the office of a Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid within the same Borough & Parish Liberties & Precincts thereof & which shall & may appertain to be done & shall & may be able to perform do & execute the will & pleasure of the said Recorder for the time being & no longer & so from time to time for ever hereafter by virtue of these our Letters Patents so fully, freely, & wholly & in such ample manner & form as the Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid id he were present were able to do & perform the same; And shall first take a Corporal Oath before the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being well truly & faithfully to perform all such things which to the Office of Deputy Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid may or shall appertain to be done, & so, as often as the case shall require.

WHEREFORE we will & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do give & grant full power & authority to the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being to give & administer an Oath upon the Holy Evangelist to every Recorder & Deputy Recorder of the Borough aforesaid according to the tenor of these presents without any commission or further Warrant in this behalf to be procured.

AND WHEREAS the aforesaid late Queen Elizabeth by her Letters Patents, eighteen only of the Common Council of the Borough aforesaid did appoint, We for the greater honour of the Borough & Parish aforesaid & for the better ordering & disposing of all Matters & Cases touching & concerning the public Government & Common Profit of the Borough & Parish aforesaid of our more free & especial Grace certain knowledge & meer motion have willed, ordained, granted & appointed & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do will ordain & appoint & also to the same Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors do grant by these presents That for ever hereafter there be & shall be in the Borough aforesaid Twenty four of the best & most honest of the Burgesses of the said Borough by the same Mayor Recorder & Aldermen of the said Borough or the greater part of them to be chosen (thereof we will the Mayor & Aldermen for the time being to be three) that shall be called & named the capital Burgesses & Council of the Borough aforesaid which four & twenty capital Burgesses & Council shall be made and be called for ever hereafter the Common Council of the Borough aforesaid for all Things, Matters, Causes & Businesses touching & concerning the Borough & Parish aforesaid & the Regimen State & Government thereof And that all the aforesaid four & twenty Capital Burgesses not being in the office of Mayor or Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid be and shall be from time to time Assistants & Aiders unto the Mayor, Aldermen & Bayliffs of the same Borough for the time being in all causes & matters touching the said Borough & Parish.

AND ALSOE We will and by these presents do appoint & ordain he Election Nomination Swearing Removing of the aforesaid four and twenty of the Common Council of the Borough aforesaid from time to time and for ever hereafter be & shall & may be in the same manner & form as in the same Borough the aforesaid eighteen Capital Burgesses & Council before recited before were wont to be chosen, named, & sworn or removed or by virtue of the aforesaid Letters Patents or other lawful manner or custom ought to have been chosen, named sworn, or removed, The aforesaid Letters Patents for the said Late Queen Elizabeth or any other Letters Patents or any other thing cause or matter to the contrary in anywise notwithstanding.

AND WHEREAS also the aforesaid late Queen Elizabeth by her Letters Patents nearing date the aforesaid 4th day of July in the 29th year of her Reign Did will & grant for herself, her Heirs & Successors to the aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses & their Successors for ever that they & their Successors should & might have hold & keep in the Borough aforesaid yearly (amongst other things Fairs & Markets in the same Letters Patents expressed) One Fair at the Feast of St. Matthew the Apostle to be holden, It should be lawful to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses & their Successors to hold in a certain Field without the West Gate then called Matthews Field with all Liberties to the same Fair belonging as by the same Letters Patents more at large appareth.

KNOW YE therefore that we the public profit & Good of the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses & Inhabitants of the Borough aforesaid graciously affecting, of our more ample & especial Grace, certain knowledge & meer motion, have granted and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant unto the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors That they & their Successors for ever hereafter yearly & every year One Fair within the Borough & Parish aforesaid Limits & Precincts thereof (that is to say) in the aforesaid Field without West Gate there called Matthews Field to begin yearly in the Feast Day of St. Matthew the Apostle, & by all that Day or Feast and by two days next. Immediately following to be kept, to continue & endure, together with the said Court of Piepowder there during the time of the said Fair to be kept & with all Liberties & free Customs, Toll, Stallage, Piccage, Fines, Americaments, {& all profits & commodities whatsoever to the same Fairs & Court of Piepowder belonging appertaining & happening Yet so that if the aforesaid Feast of St. Matthew the APAOSTLE SHALL HAPPENT O BE ON THE Sabbath Day in any year hereafter That then the aforesaid Fair shall begin the next day (that is to say) the Monday next following and to endure by the space of three days as aforesaid, And if it shall fortune that the Sabbath Day shall happen to be one of the Days in which the Fairs aforesaid are limited to be kept, That in every such case the Fairs aforesaid shall continue for three whole days the Sabbath Day only excepted.

WHEREFORE We will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do command that the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors shall and may have, hold & keep yearly, & in every year hereafter the aforesaid Fair in manner & form aforesaid together with the Court of Piepowders there in the time of the aid Fair to be holden and with all liberties & free customs, Toll, Piccage, Stallage, Fines, Americaments & all profits & commodities whatsoever to the same Fairs & Court of Piepowders aforesaid belonging happening or appertaining and that without any Writ (of ad quod Damnum) or other Warrant in that behalf to be procured or obtained; so that the said Fair be bot to the hurt of other neighbouring Fairs there near adjoining, The aforesaid Letters Patents of the aforesaid late Queen Elizabeth or any thing in the same contained or any other use, custom, Thing, Cause or Matter whatsoever to the contrary thereof in anywise notwithstanding So that express mention be not made of the true yearly value of the certainty of the premises or of any of them or of other Gifts or Grants by us or by any one of our Progenitors or Predecessors before this time by these presents granted to the aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid or any other Statute, Act, Ordinance, Provision or Restraint before this time made ordained & provided or any other Matter, Cause or Thing to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding.

IN WITNESS whereof we have caused these Letters Patents to be made Patents.
WITNESS Myself at Westminster 16° Die Aprilis Anno 4° Regni Anno Dom: 1628.

Charles II 1683 – Grant

Picture taken Mayorality 500 Exhibition 1969 Catalogue

CHARLES the Second by the Grace of God of England Scotland France & Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c. To all whom these present Letters shall come, Greeting:-

WHEREAS our Town or Borough of Bridgwater in our County of Somerset is an antient populous Borough and hath been a Borough incorporate and the Mayor Aldermen & Capital Burgesses of the Borough & Parish of Bridgwater aforesaid & their Predecessors have had held used & enjoyed divers mannoures messuages lands rents tenements goods cattle chattels & hereditaments & have surrendered unto us all Franchises Charters Letters Patents Powers Privileges Liberties & Immunities whatsoever which same surrender we have accepted of and by these presents do accept, and they have humbly besought us that we would vouchsafe to grant afresh their antient Privileges, Liberties, Powers, Franchises, Lands, Tenements & Hereditaments with Addition, Augmentation, Alteration, & Explanation of certain Liberties Grants Privileges Immunities & Franchises ad to us should seem more expedient for the public good & common utility of the same Borough.

KNOW YE therefore that affecting the augmentation & bettering the of the Borough aforesaid And also the Good State & Government of the same& willing that from henceforth there should be for ever continually had in our said Borough a certain sure and undoubted Order of & upon the keeping of our Peace & the Regimen & Government of our People there inhabiting and that the Borough may perpetually be and remain for time to come a Borough of Peace & Quiet to the Dread & Terror of the EAVIL AND Reward of the Good And also that our Peace and other acts of Justice may be there kept and done, Of our Special Grace & of our certain knowledge & meer motion.

DO WILL ordain constitute grant & declare That our Borough of Bridgwater aforesaid & also our Parish of Bridgwater from henceforth for ever be an remain a Borough alone of itself, And that the Burgesses & Inhabitants of the Borough & Parish aforesaid be & shall remain one Body, Corporate & Politick in Matter Deed & Name, by the name of the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough or Bridgwater & them by the name of the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough of Bridgwater one body Corporate & Politick in Matter Deed & Name We do hereby really & fully for us our Heirs & Successors establish make ordain constitute and declare by these presents And that by the same name they shall have a perpetual succession And that they by the name of the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough of Bridgwater shall for ever from time to time to come be fit persons in Law & capable to have require receive possess enjoy & retain Lands Tenements Liberties Privileges Jurisdictions Franchises & Hereditaments of what kind nature or species soever they shall be to them & their Successors in fee & perpetuity & otherwise And also by the name aforesaid to add grant demise alienate assign & dispose of Lands Tenements & Hereditaments & all & every other acts & things to be done & executed And that by the same name of the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid They shall & may be able to plead & be impleaded to answer and be answered unto, defend & be defended in whatsoever Courts & Places & before whatsoever judges& Justices & other persons & officers of ours in all & singular Actions, Pleas Suits, Complaints Causes Matters & Demands whatsoever of whatsoever kind nature or species they shall in manner & form as any other Liege people of our Kingdom of England fit persons & capable in Law or nay other Body Corporate or  politick within our Kingdom of England may or shall have require receive possess enjoy retain give grant demise alienate assign & dispose plead & be impleaded answer and be answered unto defend and to be defended do suffer of execute And that the said Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid shall for ever have a Common Seal to serve them for whatsoever causes & businesses they & their Successors shall have to be done And that it shall & may be lawful for the same Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses & their Successors the same Seal at their Pleasures from time to time to break change & again of new to make as to them may or shall seem bst to be done.

AND WE further will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do ordain that from henceforth for ever there may & shall be in the Borough aforesaid one Mayor & two Aldermen in number only, to be chosen & constituted of the Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid in Form in these Letters Patents hereunder specified And for execution of our same Will & grant in this behalf We have assigned nominated constituted & made & by these presents for us Our Heirs & Successors do assign nominate constitute & name our well beloved WILLIAM MASEY ESQUIRE to be the first & modern Mayor of the Borough aforesaid willing that the said William Masey shall be & remain in the office of Mayor of the said Borough from the date of these presents until the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel next coming and from the same Feast until another Burgess of the Borough aforesaid shall be preferred & sworn into that office (if the said William Masey shall so long live) as in times past it hath been used in the Borough aforesaid.

ALSO we have assigned nominated & constituted And by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do assign nominate constitute and make our well beloved John Welles Gentleman to be one & the first modern Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid to continue in that office during his life unless in the mean time for his evil government in that behalf, he shall be removed from his office.

WE ALSO have assigned nominated constituted and made and by these Presents for us our Heirs & Successors do assign nominate constitute and make our beloved Valentine Francis Gentleman to be another of the Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid to continue in that office during is natural life unless in the interim for his evil Government in that behalf shall be removed from that place.

AND WE further will & by these presents of our more abundant Grace do ordain and for us our Heirs & Successors grant unto the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid and their Successors that for ever hereafter there shall be in the Borough aforesaid four & twenty of the better & more approved Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid to be chosen by the Mayor Recorder & Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid for the time being or the major part of them (which we will that the Mayor & Aldermen for the time being be three) who shall be and be called & named Capital Burgesses & Councillors of the said Borough which twenty four capital Burgesses & Councillors for ever for time to come shall be and shall be called the Common Council of the Borough aforesaid for all Things, Matters, Causes & Businesses of the Borough & Parish aforesaid & touching or concerning the good Rule State & Government of the same And that all the aforesaid four & twenty Capital Burgesses not being in the office of Mayor or Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid be and shall be from time to time aiding & assisting to the Mayor Aldermen & Bayliffs of the said Borough for the time being in all causes & matters touching or concerning the said Borough & Parish And for execution of our Will in this behalf We have assigned, nominated, ordained, constituted and  made & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors Do assign, nominate, ordain, constitute & make Our beloved Thomas Venno, Thomas Webber, Robert Baker the elder, Jno. Rogers, Jno. Ingram, Alexander Reed, Geo. Wood, Wm. Knight, Jno. Harvey the younger, Alexander Bowles, Alexander Popham, Jno. Haviland, Wm. Criddle, Jno. Curry, Thos. Giling, Robert Baker the younger, WM. Petit the younger, Robert Reeves, John Welles, Saml. Stocker, & Wm. Symonds Gent. To be the first & modern Capital Burgesses & Councillors of the Borough aforesaid to continue in the same offices during their respective natural lives unless in the meantime they or either of them for their evil Government in that behalf shall be removed.

AND FURTHER of our more abundant special Grace we will & for us our Heirs & Successors do grant to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough & their Successors by these presents that they & their Successors shall have in the Borough aforesaid one honest & discreet man learned in the Laws of England to be chosen & nominated in form hereafter expresses who shall be & shall be named Recorder of the said Borough. AND that there shall be in the Borough aforesaid one honest & discreet man to be chosen& nominated in manner hereafter expressed who shall be and be called the Common Clerk or Prothonotary & Clerk of the Peace for the Borough aforesaid.

AND we have assigned nominated constituted and made by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do assign nominate constitute & make Our beloved Sir Farancis Warre Bart. To be the first recorder so to continue in the same office And the same office to execute as long as he shall live and well behave himself in the same.

WE have also assigned nominated constituted and made & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do assign nominate ordain constitute & make the aforesaid William Symonds to be the first & modern Common Clerk, Prothonotary & Clerk of the Peace of the Borough aforesaid so to continue in the same offices by himself or his sufficient Deputy or Deputies from the date of these presents as long as he shall well behave himself in the same.

AND WE ALSO will & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant that the Mayor Aldermen & Capital Burgesses the Common Council of the Borough aforesaid for the time being of the major part of them shall be from time to time to come always able to choose nominate & appoint one man who shall be Receiver of monies of the Borough aforesaid And also so many and the like constables & other Officers & inferior Ministers within the Borough aforesaid as have been had or have been accustomed to be had within the said Borough, And that such Ministers or Officers so to their Offices severally elected, Preferred & nominated shall be in one manner sworn before the Mayor & Aldermen of the Borough aforesaid for the time being rightly well & faithfully to execute their offices in all things unto them appertaining And that they so elected preferred & nominated shall severally have & exercise their offices as heretofore it hath been accustomed within the Borough aforesaid.

AND WE have also granted for us our Heirs & Successors to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors That the Mayor Recorder & Deputy Recorder and Aldermen of the said Borough for the time being shall during the time in which they shall be in their offices be our Justices & every of them shall be a Justice of us our Heirs & Successors for the keeping of the Peace in the same Borough & Parish Liberties & Precincts of the same And to do and execute all things which appertain to their offices about the keeping of the Peace, as other the Justices there before the making of these Letters Patents have used and accustomed by virtue of any other Letters Patents of any of our Progenitors or  Predecessors, Kings or Queens of England, ought to do and execute, any thing in these presents to the contrary notwithstanding.

AND WE further Will & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant unto the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors that if it shall happen the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being to be sick that he cannot attend the necessary business of the Borough aforesaid or shall be absent out of the Borough through any reasonable cause that then & so often it shall & may be lawful for the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being from time to time to make & constitute one of the Aldermen or Councillors of the Borough aforesaid for the time being to be the Deputy Mayor of him so being sick or for any reasonable cause as aforesaid absent from the Borough, to continue in such Office of Deputy Mayor of the Borough aforesaid in the absence or sickness of the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid so as aforesaid to be deputed & constituted shall be able to do and perform all & singular things which to the office of Mayor of the Borough aforesaid appertains & ought to belong to be done during the good pleasure of the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being in the absence or sickness of the same Mayor so fully freely & wholly as to the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time may or should be able to do if present, And so as often as the case shall thus happen.

PRIVIDED ALWAYS and we will that the said Deputy Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being before he shall intermeddle in the office of Deputy Mayor of the Borough aforesaid shall take a corporal Oath before the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being well & faithfully to execute the office aforesaid; And so as often as the case shall thus happen To which said Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being We do give & grant Power & Authority to administer such Oath, by these presents.

AND We also will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do ordain & grant to the Mayor ALADERMEN & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid and their Successors that from henceforth for ever there shall be in the Borough and Parish aforesaid Two honest & discreet men who shall be and shall be called and named Bayliffs of the Borough and Parish aforesaid And for execution of our Will in the behalf We have assigned nominated constituted and made and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do assign nominate constitute & make the aforesaid Robert Baker the older & William Knight to be Bayliffs of the Borough & Parish aforesaid And that they shall be and remain in the office of Bayliffs of the same Borough & Parish from the date of these presents until the Feast if St. Michael the Archangel hence next coming And from that Feast until another of the Capital Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid shall be preferred and sworn to that office as in times past it hath been accustomed within the Borough aforesaid.

AND We further will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant unto the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors, that if it shall happen that the Recorder of the Borough aforesaid for the time being to be so sick or absent out of the Borough aforesaid that he cannot attend the necessary business of the said Borough that then & so often it shall & may be lawful for the recorder of the Borough & parish aforesaid for the time being & his successors for the time being to make & constitute one honest & discreet man to be the deputy of the said recorder for the time being so sick or so as aforesaid for the time being & his successors being absent to continue in the same office during the good pleasure of such Recorder for the time being which person so to be deputed & constituted in the office of Deputy Recorder shall & may be able to do & execute all &  every those things which to the Office of Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid within the aforesaid Borough & Parish aforesaid within the aforesaid Borough * Parish Liberties & Precincts thereof appertains or ought to belong during the good pleasure of the aforesaid Recorder for the time being & no longer And so from time to time for every by Force of these our letters Patents so fully freely & wholly & in as large a manner & form as the Recorder of the Borough & Parish aforesaid could or might do & perform if he should be present, first taking a corporal oath before the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being rightly well & faithfully to execute all & singular those things which belong to the office of a Deputy Recorder of the Borough and Parish aforesaid And so often as the case shall thus happen.

WHEREFORE We will & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do give & grant full power & authority to the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being to give and administer to every Recoder & Deputy Recorder of the Borough aforesaid the corporal Oath aforesaid upon the Holy Evangelists according to the Tenor of these presents without any other commission or further warrant in that behalf to be procured of us our Heirs & Successors.

AND We have assigned nominated constituted made & by these presents for us our heirs & successors do assign nominate constitute & make the aforesaid Alexander Bowles to be the first & modern Receiver of the monies of the Borough aforesaid to continue in that office until the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel next coming unless in the meantime for his evil government in that behalf he shall be removed.

AND also will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors of our special Grace & of our certain knowledge & meer motion do grant the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors that they & their Successors henceforth for ever shall have in the Borough & Parish aforesaid & Liberties of the same one honest & discreet man hereafter to be nominated who shall be & shall be named Coroner of the Borough & Parish aforesaid & Liberties of the same to do & execute all & every those things which appertain or belong to the office of a Coroner of the Borough & Parish aforesaid.

AND We have constituted & made by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do assign nominate constitute & make the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being to be Coroner of the Parish aforesaid the Liberties & Precincts of the same to continue in that office during the time of his Mayoralty no longer.

AND We also will by these presents do declare our good pleasure to be that the aforesaid William Masey do no intermeddle the execution of the office of Mayor of the Borough aforesaid before he hath taken the antient corporal Oath before the aforesaid Valentine Francis rightly & Faithfully the said office to execute in all things & by all things relating to the same office, which said Valentine Francis We do by these presents grant full power & authority unto to administer such Oath without any other Warrant or Commission form us our Heirs & Successors in that behalf to be procured or obtained.

AND WE WILL that the Aldermen & Capital Burgesses, Recorder, Councillors, Justices of the Peace, Common Clerk, Bayliffs, & all other inferior officers aforesaid & every of them in these presents nominated & constituted or by virtue hereof to be chosen shall respectively take their corporal oaths before the aforesaid William Masey to perform their offices in all things & by all things belonging to their respective offices, To which said William Masey we do by these presents give & grant full power & authority of giving & administering such Oaths to such officers in these presents constituted & nominated or by virtue of these presents  to be chosen without any other Writ or Commission from us our Heirs & Successors to be obtained or procured.

AND WE FURTHER will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do give & grant to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid for the time being that whensoever it shall happen that any one or more The Mayor, Recorder, Aldermen, Capital Burgesses, Bayliffs, Receiver or Common Clerk or any other inferior officer of the Borough aforesaid for the time being to dye or be removed from their office or offices (which person & persons We will to be removed for a reasonable cause) That then & in every such case another fit person or other fit persons from time to time shall respectively be in due manner chosen & sworn of and in the offices by such persons in such place & manner as in the Borough aforesaid in that behalf later by the space of seven years now last past hath been used, And the office or offices place or places unto which they shall be elected and sworn shall exercise for such time & times & fromt hence shall be removed again in such manner as in such cases it hath been accustomed in the Borough aforesaid.

AND We further will & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do ordain & firmly enjoying command that they Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Recorder & Deputy Recorder, Aldermen, Capital Burgesses, Justices of the Peace, Receiver, Clerk of the Peace, Common Clerk, Constables, Clerk of the Market & Coroner & all other officers & ministers of the Borough aforesaid for the time being already appointed or by virtue & according to the Tenor of these Letters Patents hereafter to be named chosen or constituted before they shall be admitted or any in that behalf intermeddle or either of them respectively intermeddle with the execution or exercise of the office or offices place or places unto which they shall be so respectively nominated appointed or constituted as well the corporal Oaths called the Oaths of allegiance and Supremacy as all other Oaths by the Statutes of this Kingdom to such officers & persons appointed, shall take upon the Holy Evangelists of God, As do and subscribe all declarations & subscriptions in any Statutes for such officers & persons also appointed before such person or such persons as, and the which the giving & performing of such Oaths, Declarations & Subscriptions by these presents or by the Statutes of this Kingdom of England at present or hereafter shall be appointed or assigned.

PROVIDED ALWAYS & we reserve to ourselves our Heirs & Successors full power & authority from time to time & at all times hereafter at the Will & Pleasure of us our Heirs & Successors made in Privy Council & respectively signified under the Seal of our Privy Council to remove & declare remove the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Recorder, Deputy Recorder, Common Clerk, Receiver, Bayliffs & any or either of the Aldermen & Capital Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid And as often as we our Heirs & Successors by any such Order made in Privy Council shall declare such Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Recorder, Deputy Recorder, Common Clerk, Receiver, Bayliffs or any or either of the Aldermen or Capital Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid to be removed from their respective offices aforesaid that then & from thenceforth the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Recorder, Deputy Recorder, Aldermen, Capital Burgesses, Common Clerk, Receiver & Bayliffs of the Borough aforesaid for the time being so removed or declared to be removed shall ipso facto and without any other process really & to all intents & purposes whatsoever be removed from their several & respective offices And this as often as the case shall happen, anything in these presents contained to the contrary thereof notwithstanding And then and in such case from time to time as often as the case shall happen within convenient time after such removal or removals, other fit person or persons in  the place or office or in the respective places or offices of such person or persons so removed shall and may be chosen & constituted as in times heretofore it hath been accustomed within the Borough aforesaid and according to the Tenor of these Letters Patents.

AND further we will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant to the aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors That they and their Successors have & enjoy all Recognizances forfeited of any person or persons for not appearing in the Court of Record within the Borough aforesaid to the use of the aforesaid Mayor, ALDERMEN & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid for the time being; so that the aforesaid Recognizances being estreated in the Exchequer of Us our Heirs & Successors by the Common Clerk of the Borough aforesaid for the time being.

AND we also will & of our special Grace certain Knowledge & meer motion have ordained granted explained & constituted & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors, as much as in us lies, do ordain, grant explain & constitute to our aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors That the Limits, Meets, Bounds, Precincts & Jurisdictions of the Borough aforesaid shall from henceforth be & extend itself & stretch the whole Borough aforesaid as in and through the Parish or Bridgwater in the aforesaid County of Somerset And that the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their successors shall from henceforth for ever have use enjoy & exercise & may have hold use enjoy & exercise all & singular Liberties Privileges Ordinances Jurisdictions Immunities Rights & Customs which by reason of any Letters Patents or Charters or any Customs or Use they have been able or might have exercise use or enjoy or have been accustomed wont or used within the Borough aforesaid as well by land as by water in & through the whole Parish of Bridgwater aforesaid and all other places whatsoever lying within the said Parish and that all & singular the Inhabitants Tenants & other Residents whatsoever within the aforesaid Parish of Bridgwater shall for ever be & continue under the Laws Ordinances & constitutions of the Borough aforesaid & under the Rule & Directions of the Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid for the time being & such & the like manner & from to all intents & purposes as Inhabitants Tenants & Residents of the Borough aforesaid now have or lately were or now or hereafter ought to be And that all the Inhabitants & Residents within the same Borough of Bridgwater shall from henceforth for ever have & enjoy & shall or may have & enjoy all Liberties Immunities & Privileges & to bear such places & all such the like offices & Burthens shall & may bear in such manner & form as the Inhabitants & Residents within the Borough aforesaid shall or may be capable to have enjoy support & bear or have used to enjoy support & bear any Law or Restriction to the contrary notwithstanding. AND we will that the Mayor & Burgesses aforesaid & the rest of the Inhabitants of the same Borough & their Successors may from time to time the better undergo & support their Burthens from time to time of our Special Grace certain Knowledge & meer motion We have granted & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant & give to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors Special Licence & free & lawful faculty Power & Authority to have receiver & require to themselves & their Successors as well of us our Heirs & Successors for ever as of whatsoever our Liege subjects or any other Person or Persons whatsoever mannours, messuages, lands, tenements, Rectories, Tenths, Rents, Revenues, Services & possessions, Reversions & Hereditaments whatsoever without special licence of the Lord of Lords of which the Lands & Tenements & the aforesaid  Hereditaments shall be held that so that the Mannours, Messuages, Lands, Tenements, Rectories, Tenths, Rents, Revenues & Services or other Possessions, Reversions & Hereditaments exceed not the value of One Hundred Pounds by the year The Statutes of Mortmain or any other Statute Act or Ordinance Provision or Restraint heretofore had made done ordained or provided or any thing cause or matter whatsoever in any thing to the contrary thereof notwithstanding. AND We also give and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant to every the subject or subjects of us our Heirs or Successors special licence & full power & authority That they or either of them shall & may be able lawfully & quietly to give grant sell resign or alienate any Mannours, Messuages, Lands, Tenements or any other Hereditaments whatsoever to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Capital Burgesses & their Successors; so that the aforesaid Mannours, Messuages, Lands, Tenements & Hereditaments so as aforesaid to be given granted alienated or resigned to the same Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors shall not exceed in the whole the clear yearly value or rent of One Hundred Pounds per annum beyond all burthens & Reprizes, The Statute of Mortmain or any other Thing Cause or Matter whatsoever to the contrary in any thing notwithstanding.

FURTHER know ye that we the publick Good & Emolument of the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses & Inhabitants of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors graciously affecting of our more abundant Special Grace & of our certain Knowledge & meer motion have granted & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do grant to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors That they & their Successors from henceforth for every yearly & every year have a keep one Fair or market for the buying of all & all manner of Goods, Wares & Merchandize & all and all manner of great & small cattle to be held in the High Street the eight & twentieth & nine & twentieth days of December yearly unless either of the aforesaid days shall happen to be the Lord’s Day And then in and upon the Monday next following together with the Court of Piepowder there in time of the said Fair or Market to be held And with all liberties & free customs Toll, Stallage, Piccasge, Fines, Americaments and all profits & commodities whatsoever to such Fair & Market & Court of Piepowder aforesaid belonging appertaining , incident, appendant, happening, contingent or arising. AND We will and by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do charge & command that the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors from henceforth have hold& keep & shall & may be able to have hold & keep yearly & every year for ever a Fair or Market in manner & form aforesaid together with the Court of Piepowders aforesaid there in time of the said Fair to be held together with all liberties & free customs Tolls, Stallage, Piccage, Fines, Americaments, & all profits & commodities whatsoever to such Fairs or Markets 7 Courts of Piepowders aforesaid belonging appertaining incident arising or contingent And this without any writ of ad quod Damnum or other Warrant in that behalf to be procured or obtained, Yet so that the said Fair or Market be not to the hurt of other neighbouring Fairs or Markets there near lying, any use, custom, cause, or Matter whatsoever to the contrary thereof in any wise notwithstanding And we will that the profits & advantages arising & belonging to a from the Fairs aforesaid shall be to the use of the Mayor of the Borough aforesaid for the time being.

AND We will also, for us our Heirs & Successors do give & grant to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Capital Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors full power &  Authority upon the Writ of Us our Heirs & Successors of Election of Burgesses of Parliament to them directed to choose & nominate two discreet men of the Borough aforesaid to be Burgesses of Parliament of us our Heirs & Successors for the same Borough in the same manner and form as heretofore it hath been accustomed within the Borough aforesaid & no otherwise.

AND We further of our more ample Grace Special and certain Knowledge & meer motion do will & by these presents for us our Heirs & Successors do give & grant to the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors all Liberties, Franchises, Immunities, Executions, Quietudes & Jurisdictions & also all & singular the same and such Mannours, Messuages, Lands, Tenements, Fairs, Markets, Offices & Officers, Courts of Record, Fines, Americaments, Goods & chattels, Customs, Privileges, Powers of making Laws & Constitutions & other Powers, Dues, Demises, Grants, Tenths, Rectories, Profits, Advantages, Reversions, Emoluments, Rights & Hereditaments whatsoever which the aforesaid Mayor Aldermen & Burgesses for the Borough of Bridgwater aforesaid or the Burgesses or Inhabitants of the Borough of Bridgwater or any or either of them by whatsoever name or names or by whatsoever Incorporation they have heretofore had held exercised used or enjoyed or ought to have, hold, exercise use or enjoy, by Reason or Pretence or any other Charters or Letters Patents by Us or by any of our Predecessors or Progenitors Kings or Queens of England or any other or others Lords of the Borough of Bridgwater by whatsoever manner heretofore confirmed or granted or by whatsoever other legal way, use, prescription, or Title heretofore lawfully used, had or accustomed to be had of us, our Heirs or Successors under and by the antient & accustomed Rent & Services therefore heretofore paid to us and our Progenitors, to be paid yearly at the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel into the Rect. Of our Exchequer at Westminster or into the hands of our Receiver there for the time being.

WHEREFORE We will & firmly enjoying command for Us our Heirs & Successors that the aforesaid Mayor, Aldermen & Burgesses of the Borough aforesaid & their Successors have, hold, use, & enjoy & shall & may for ever be able fully to have hold use & enjoy all Liberties, Authorities & Quietudes aforesaid according to the Tenor & effect of these our Letters Patents without the opposition or Lett of us our Heirs or Successors, Justices, Sheriffs, or any other Bayliffs or Ministers of us our Heirs or Successors whomsoever of the which express mention &c. – in Testimony &c. –

WITNESS the King at Westminster the Eighth day of December in the five and thirtieth year of the Reign of King Charles the Second. By the Writ of Privy Seal.  

For a Fine in the Hanaper )  

) P I G O T T  £3. 6. 8d. Guildford

)

George III 1764

SRO D\B\bw/2418, reproduced by the permission of Dr Peter Cattermole 23 November 2006