THis History or Narrative of the Great Level of the Fenns, called Bedford Level, coming to my Hands, I thought might be of good Use to inform such as are concern'd in the said Level, and yet may not well know the Constitution thereof. And 'tis hoped may also convince many that have had a prejudice against the Undertaking in general, without well considering and understanding the true State thereof. And that all Persons may see this Work is of great Advantage to all that Part of the Countrey where the Draining is and hath been, and must still be carried on (the Preservation thereof) with great Charge and Industry: Which said Rea­sons, have induced me to make the same Publick, and hope 'twill find a favou­rable Interpretation, and answer the Ends Proposed.

THE HISTORY OR NARRATIVE Of the GREAT LEVEL OF THE FENNS, CALLED Bedford Level, With a Large MAP of the said LEVEL, as Drained, Surveyed, & Described by Sir Jonas Moore Knight, His late Maje­sties Surveyor-General of his Ordnance.

LONDON, Printed for Moses Pitt, at the Angel in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1685.

[map of the Great Level of the Fens]

In this History or Narrative of the Great Level of the Fenns, called BEDFORD LEVEL, Is set forth and Declared

HOw this Level was supposed to be many Hundred years ago, and how come to be afterwards Fenns, when Application was first made for the Draining.

How many Attempts were made for the Draining at vast charges, and all be­came fruitless. And afterwards under­taken by Francis and William Earls of Bedford. And what Proceedings were had in the Draining under the pretended Act of Parliament, in 1649.

How this Work of Draining was by His late Majesty, King Charles the Second, recommended to the Parliament. And thereupon an Act passed in the Fifteenth of his Reign, constituting a Corporation for the Settlement and future Government thereof.

[Page] The Bounds and Extents of the Level in General.

The Powers given to the said Corpo­ration.

A Particular of the several Lotts or Shares enjoyed by the Adventurers, and how Rated to the Draining.

The Division of the Level as now called 3 Levels. And what Proportion each Le­vel Pays to Draining Taxes. And the several Rivers and Drains and Works of the Corporation made therein.

By-Laws made by the Corporation for better Preservation of their Works.

The great Advantage that this Draining is to the several Towns and Places within the respective Levels.

The Names of the present Corporation and their Officers, and how and by whom they are Yearly to be chosen. And the Oa hs they take.

A Large Map of the said Great Level, as Drained, Surveyed and Described by Sir Jonas Moore, and now New Printed and Enlarged by Moses Pitt.


THis Great Level contains a­bout How this Level was supposed to be many Hundred years since, and how came to be Fenns. 300000 Acres of Fenny Ground, lying within the Counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridge and the Isle of Ely, Hunting­don, Northampton and Lincolne, as Sur­vey'd and Described by Sir Jonas Moore; And in all probability, as appears by Historians and the relations following, [Page 2] was once firm dry Land, and not an­noyed with any extraordinary Inun­dation from the Sea, or Stagnation of the fresh water. For there have been abun­dance of Timber Trees found of several kinds, but most Oak, and few severed from the roots, which stood below the Moore. When it is well known, that in Moore ground and water, Timber Trees will not thrive or grow. In making some of the Great Rivers, divers of the Trees were taken up, Six, Eight, Ten foot deep and upwards. And there also hath been found Stone and Bricks and other materials for Building, which shews that this Moore or Fenn hath co­vered over the face of the Land, and chang'd it from what it formerly had been. In setting down a Sluce there was found Sixteen foot deep a Smith's Forge, and all Tools thereunto belong­ing, and several Horse-shooes. This Level is bounded on all Parts (except by the Sea) with High Lands in form of an Horse-shooe, which maketh it much like a Bay, and in former times must have been a pleasant Countrey. The History of William of Malmsbury, (vouched by Mr. Camden) who lived [Page 3] about 1200 Years since, saith, That in his time, Thorney Abbey within this Level, now belonging to the Earl of Bedford, was represented a very Para­dise, for that, in pleasure and delight, it resembleth Heaven it self; [In the very Marshes bearing Trees, that for their straight tallness, and the same without knots, strive to touch the Stars. APlain there was as even as the Sea, which with green grass allureth the Eye: so Smooth and Level, that if any walk along the Fields, they shall find nothing to stumble at. There is not the least parcel of Ground that lyes wast and void there; here you shall find the Earth rising somewhere for Apple-Trees; there shall you have a Field set with Vines, which either creep upon the ground, or mount on high upon Poles to support them, &c.] For in those dayes Vineyards were very frequent in England. The like may be said of the Abbey of Crow­land, and of the Great Lordship of Whit­tlesea. Now by what means it came to pass to be so drowned, It is belie­ved, that the Ocean at first did break into it, with such violence, as that the Buildings and Woods, then standing throughout the same, became turned [Page 4] up by the roots; and so great a propor­tion of Silt brought in, as not only for divers miles next towards the Sea, did cover the ground to an extraordinary depth, but to the remotest Parts, even to the Verge of the High-Lands, as by One further Discovery or Instance of late Years was seen, at the Skirt of Con­nington in Huntingdonshire, where upon making a Pool by Sir Robert Cotton Ba­ronet, he found there a Skeliton of a large Sea Fish (near Twenty foot long as then conjectured) lying in perfect Silt, above Six foot below the Superfi­cies of the ground, and as much above the present Level of the Fenns. But when and how that violent Breach and Inun­dation of the Sea was first made into this Countrey, is not positively known. Therefore it must be conjectured from the most rational probabilities, which is, That it was by some great Earth­quake. That such dreadful Accidents have occasioned the like, We have un­questionable Testimony.

Lib. 7. xv. Anno Christi CCCLXVIII. Coss. Valentiniano & Valente, (saith the Tripartite History) terrae motus fa­ctus, multas diruit Civitates, sed etiam Mare terminos proprios mutavit; et in [Page 5] quibusdam locis in tantum ibi fluxit, ut loca quae pridem ambulari doterant, remigaren­tur; ab aliis vero locis tantum recessit, ut arida tellus inveniretur. In the time of the Consulship of Valentinian and Valens, there was an Earthquake, which not only overthrew divers Cities, but altered the very Bounds of the Sea; which so flowed in some Parts, that men might Sail in those places, where before they did walk; and forsook other, that they became dry Land. The like relation of the same Earthquake, but somewhat more largely, doth Amianus Lib. 26. Marcell. make. And to the like purpose also is that of Ovid's,

Ovid Meta. lib. xv. Vidi ego quod fuerat quondam Soli­dissima Tellus,

Esse fretum; vidi factas ex aequore ter­ras;

Et procul à Pelago Conchae jacuêre Ma­rinae;

Et Vetus inventa est in montibus An­chora Summis.

Quodque fuit Campus, vallem decursus aquarum

[Page 6] Fecit, et eluvie Mons est deductus in aequor;

Aeque paludosa siccis humus aret Are­nis.

Thus Translated into English by G. Sandys.

Where once were solid Lands, Seas have I seen,

And solid Land where once deep Seas have been;

Shells far from Sea like Quarries in the Ground,

And Anchors have in Mountain Tops been found.

Torrents have made a Valley of a Plain, High Hills by deluges born to the Main. Deep standing Lakes suckt dry by thirsty Sand,

And on late Thirsty Earth now Lakes do stand.

Who would imagine that the City of Gant in Flanders had been an Haven Town; yet that so it was about DCCC. years since, appeareth in the Life of Charles the Great, Written by the Lear­ned Hist. Fran. 2. f. 48. Du Chesne. Neither do we want Examples here in some part of [Page 7] England of this kind; Ratesborough, other­wise called Richborough in Kent, (some­time a Colony of the Romans) was, or ever the River of Sture did turn his bot­tom or old Canale within the Isle of Thanett, (as Lel. Col. Vol. 3. p. 138. Leland affirmeth) and by likelihood the main Sea came to the very foot of the Castle; but now it is off from it a Mile, by reason of the Wose that hath there swollen it up. So also Ib. f. 141. Lymme-hill or Lymme, was sometime a Haven and good for Ships that might come to the foot of the Hill. And Rum­ney (four Miles distant from Lymme-hill) one of the Cinque-Ports, hath been a meetly good Haven, Insomuch (saith the same Ibid. p. 142. Leland, who lived in King Henry the Eighth's time) as within re­membrance of Men, Ships have come up hard to the Town, and cast Anchor in one of the Church-yards; but is now two Miles from the Town, which is so sore decayed thereby, that where there were three great Parishes and Churches sometime, there is now scant one well maintained.

And concerning Eye in Suffolk, It is not a little observable what he likewise Lel. Col. Vol. 3. p. 24. expresseth, viz. That it should seem an­ciently [Page 8] to have been in a manner totally encompassed with Waters; Eye in our English signifying an Island: but now (saith he) there is no such store tho it be a moist place especially in the Winter Season; which manifestly sheweth, that it was heretofore a standing Fenn. Ad­ding, That in old time, Barges came up thither from the Haven of Chromar or some Creek near unto it, there having been found by the Monks of Eye, in Scowring of their Ditches, large Rud­ders, done over with Pitch; as also Barge Nails, with other Naval Instru­ments, tho then no Vessels came nearer to it, than Burstan, which is 12 Miles distant.

And as some places have got from the Sea, so some other have lost, as may seem Ib. p. 104. by Skegnesse in Lincolnshire, which was heretofore a great Haven Town (as the before specified Author relateth) and Walled, having a Castle; but the Old Town is clean consumed and eaten up of the Sea. Not unapplicable hereunto is therefore that of the Poet.

[Page 9] Haud procul hinc Stagnum, Tellus ha­bitabilis Ovid. Met. lib. 8. olim,

Nunc celebres mergis, fulicis (que) palustri­bus undae.

Hard by a Lake once habitable ground,

Where Coots and fishing Cormorants abound.

The Principal Rivers or Drains for­merly passing through this Level were Eight, viz. Gleane, Welland, Neane, Ouze, Grant, Mildenhall, Brandon, and Stoake. The said Rivers had three several Out­falls from the Fenns into the Sea, viz. Welland, Wisbich, and Salters Load by Lynn.

This Level is Broad and of a great Extent, and lyeth very flat, with little or no descent of its own, and was full of Hassacks, Sedge, Reed, and Weeds that the Waters could not go but slowly from the Lands, but came in swift from the Up-land Countreys, where the Rivers have great Falls. Also there were large Sands on the Sea side, thrown up by the Tides, which stop and choak the Out­fall Rivers Mouth. At bottoming of [Page 10] Wisbich River in the year 1635. Eight foot lower than the then Bottom, was found another Bottom, which was set with Stones and old Boats overwhelmed with the Silt that had lain many Ages. And so at digging of a Foundation for the Great Sasse at Salters Load, was found mixt Earth and Silt that had been cast up, and the natural Bottom Earth was above 10 foot deeper.

This Level being of so vast an Extent and great depth of fresh Water lying therein, That the Moore is encreased by such standing of the Waters in some places from 10 to 20 foot deep: So that instead of the benefit which this Level might receive from their Overflowings, in case they had enjoyed its free and na­tural Passage, and good Outfalls, it hath been made for the most part for divers Ages an unhealthful Stagnation of putrid and muddy Waters; The Earth spungy, unfast and boggy, such as are the incon­veniencies of Drown'd Lands, and yield­ing no considerable Profit to the Inha­bitants that bordered upon it.

The Inhabitants and Parts adjoyning When appli­cation was first made for Drain­ing. finding this to be their sad Conditions, having no Communication one with the [Page 11] other but by Boats; and sometimes in Winter, when the Ice was strong enough to hinder the passage thereof (and yet not able to bear a Man) the Inhabitants in the Fenn Towns could hardly get help of Food for Soul or Body, being so de­barred of coming each to others assi­stance; therefore they did in several Kings Reigns represent this their sad Attempts made for Draining being fruit­less till un­dertaken by Francis and VVil­liam Earls of Bedford. Condition, and had divers Commissions of Sewers granted for the Cleaning and opening the Outfalls of the Waters to the Sea. But all was fruitless for want of a general Draining, whereby new Rivers and Drains imbanked might be made to carry off the Waters through so slat a Countrey.

At last they made it their Suit and Lynn Law, 12 Jan. 6 Car. 1. Petition to Francis Earl of Bedford, that he would undertake the Work of Drain­ing, which the said Earl consented then unto. And by Agreement was to have 95000 Acres to be set out in several Parts of the Level, together with the Ways, Passages, Banks, Forelands, New Rivers, Cutts, Drains, (and Fishings of the same) to be made by him or his Assigns; of which 12000 Acres thereof was to the King or his Assigns for his Royal Assent.

[Page 12] The said Earl having so taken this St. Ives Law, 13 Car. 1. Draining upon him, Land was set out ac­cordingly; And thereupon the said Earl admits divers Persons Adventurers and Participants with him; They cast 80000 Acres thereof into 20 Lotts or Shares, consisting of 4000 Acres to a Lott (as equal of Value as could then be well judged) and proceed therein to the spen­ding of about 100000 l. But Complaints being still made that it was not Drained. Huntingdon & Wisbich, 14 Car. Thereupon His Majesty King Charles the First, undertook the better Draining thereof, but was to have an Addition of 57000 Acres more, and went on with the perfecting the same, till the late unhappy Wars and Differences came, and then all lay wast, and so con­tinued several years, till William now Earl of Bedford and his Participants, in the year 1649. did again undertake the said Works for his former Pro­portion of 95000 Acres, and procee­ded so far therein as to perfect the same in manner as in the Map described, at their further Charge of about 300000 l. to the undoing of many, being a much greater Sum than the 95000 Acres are worth. But for the better encouraging [Page 13] the said Earl and his Participants in so His Majesty K. Charles the Second's Recommen­dation to the Parlia­ment, and their Pas­sing an Act. great a Work, His late Majesty did re­commend the Settlement and future Per­formance thereof unto the Parliament; who Anno decimo quinto Caroli Secundi Regis, made an Act for the Preservation thereof, Entituled, An Act for Setling the Draining of the Great Level of the Fenns, called Bedford Level.

And by the said Act the Bounds there­of 15 Car. 2. of are settled as followeth.

Eastward from the Bridge and Caw­sey Bounds of the Level. of Stoake unto Brandon Bridge upon the Up-lands of Northwold, Methwold; Feltwell, Hockwold and Wilton, i [...] the County of Norfolk, and from Brandon Bridge unto the End of Worlington Load upon Mildenhall River, upon the Up­lands of Brandon, the Low Grounds of Wainsford excluding the same. The Up-lands of Lakingheath, the Low grounds of Earsewell excluding the same. And the Up-lands of Mildenhall in the County of Suffolk Southward from Wor­lington Load unto Burwell Block upon the Up-lands of Freckingham, Isleham, Ford­ham, Soham and Wickin in the County of Cambridge, and excluding the Low grounds of Burwell, Lanward, and other [Page 14] places lying Eastward from Burwell Block aforesaid; and from thence unto the Mill near Anglesey Abbey upon the Uplands of Burwell, Reach, Swaffham Prior, Swaffham Bulbeck and Botsham in the County of Cambridge. And from thence unto the Ferrey-place at Clay-hith upon the Up-lands called Quy-hall, the Low ground called Low-fenn, and the Up­lands of Hormingsey and Clay-hith in the said County, excluding the Low grounds called Low-fenn & Offenn, & from the said Ferrey-place unto Overload upon the Up-lands of Waterbeach, Cottenham, Rampton, Wivelingham and Over in the said County of Cambridge, and upon the Low grounds of Swacey in the said County, exclu­ding the same Westward from Erith unto the Damme lately made upon the River Neane near Standground upon the Up-lands of Somersham and the Soake thereof, Warbois, Wistow, Berrey, Ram­sey, Ʋpwood, Raveley, Woodwalton, Saw­trey, Connington, Glatton and Holme, Cal­decott, Denton, Stilton, Yaxley, Fassett and Standground in the County of Hun­tingdon, excluding the Low grounds lying on the North side about the Ri­ver Ouze about Erith; and from the said [Page 15] Damme unto Peterborough Bridge upon the said River of Neane, and thence unto the Ferrey-place near Waldramhall upon the Up-lands of Peterborough, and the Soake thereof, in the County of Nor­thampton, and Northward from the said Ferrey-place near Waldram-hall unto Crowland Bridge upon the River of Welland; and from thence to Dowsedale upon the Bank of Great Porsand, and from thence to Guyhurne upon the South Ea Banke, and from thence unto Tilney­hurne upon the Bank of the Fenn ground called Waldersea, and from thence unto Elme Leame at Granger's House upon the Bank of the Fenn ground called Cold­ham, and from thence unto the River Neane near Thurlings in Ʋpwell upon the Bank of Needham called Bishops Dyke, and from thence unto Well-Creeke, at the North-west Corner of Wassingham Fenn, upon the Bank of the Grounds in Ʋpwell and Outwell, called Playfield and Churchfield, excluding the aforesaid Fenns and Grounds called Waldersea, Coldham, Needham, Playfield and Church­field. And from thence unto Salters Load upon the New Podike Bank, and from thence unto the Mouth of the [Page 16] River Wissey, upon the River Ouze Note, Tho the Bounds of the Le­vel are so set, yet their Works of Draining may and do extend fur­ther. and from thence unto Helgey Bridge upon the River Wissey, and from thence unto the Up-lands at the end of the Bank of the Grounds late of Edmund Skipwith Esq deceased, upon the said Bank, and from thence unto Stoake Bridge upon the Up lands of Roxham, Deerham, Weereham, Wretton and Stoake on the said County of Norfolk; ex­cept the imbanked Grounds, late of Ed­mund Skipwith Esq lying on the North side of the River Ouze.

And constituted a Corporation by the 15 Car. 2. Corporation for govern­ing the Le­vel consti [...]u­ted, and their Pow­ers. Nam [...] of The Governors, Bailiffs, and Commonalty of the Company of Conser­vators of the Great Level of the Fenns. Which Corporation consists of One Governor, Six Bailiffs, Twenty Con­servators and Commonalty. And are to use a Common Seal, and assemble and meet together, when, where, and as often as they please; and appoint a Register, Receiver, one or more Ser­jeants at Mace, and other Officers, and remove them at their Pleasures. And vesteth in the said Corporation all the aforesaid 83000 Acres, part of the said 95000 Acres, with the Ways, Passages, [Page 17] New Rivers, Cutts, Drains, Banks, and Forelands made by Francis and William Earls of Bedford, and their Participants, according to such Parts & Proportions as they held or enjoy'd at the time of Pas­sing the aforesaid Act, 15 Car. 2. to be held of the Mannor of East Greenwich, by feal­ty only in free and Common Soccage, and not otherwise. The remainder 12000 Acres, 10000 Acres thereof vested in His late Majesty King Charles the Second, who assign'd the same to His now Ma­jesty, the 2000 Acres in the Earl of Portland.

The Governor, Bailiffs and Conser­vators, or any five or more o [...] them, whereof the said Governor, Bailiffs, or any of them to be two, maketh a Quo­rum, to act in all Cases as Commissio­ners of Sewers, and may lay Taxes on­ly on the 95000 Acres, for Support, Maintenance, and Preservation of the said Level, and Levy the same with Pe­nalties for Non-Payment, not exceeding the third part of the Tax. And all other things do in order to the Sup­port, Maintenance, and Preservation of the said Great Level, and Works made, and to be made within or with­out [Page 18] the said Level, for carrying the Waters of the Level to its Outfall, as they in their Judgments think best. And no other Commissioners of Sewers are to intermeddle in the said Level, or the Works thereunto belonging, out of the said Level.

All Conveyances of the 95000 Acres are to be entred with the Register, and no Leases, Grant or Conveyance of, or Charge out of, or upon the said 95000 Acres, or any part thereof (ex­cept Leases for Seven years or under) in Possession shall be of force, but from the time it shall be entred with the said Register as aforesaid, the Entrey where­of being endorsed by the said Register upon such Lease, Grant, Conveyance or Charge, shall be as good and effectual in the Law, as if the Original Book of Entreys were produced at any Trial at Law, or otherwise.

The Governor, Bailiffs, and Conser­vators by the said Act, were to meet on 15 Car. 2. Wednesday and Thursday in Whitsun-week at the Shire-house at Ely to lay Taxes on the said 95000 Acres. And for all such Taxes & Penalties in Arrear four Months, they had Power then to Sell so much of [Page 19] the 95000 Acres, as would raise the Tax and Penalty then in Arrear. And the Per­son to whom the Governor, Bailiffs and Conservators should make Sale unto, 20 Car. 2. should be a lawful Purchaser thereof (these days and times for laying Taxes are since altered by an Act made 20 Car. 2. as [...]hereafter is declared). By the said Act 15 Car. 2. The Corporation have Power from time to time to Erect and make any New Works within or without the said Great Level for conveying the Wa­ters of the said Level by convenient Out­falls to the Sea, they giving recompence and Satisfaction for what they shall so Cut and take out of several Grounds. If any Person shall Cut, throw down, or destroy any of the said Works for Drain­ing, made, or to be made as aforesaid; The Parties offending shall answer tre­ble Damages to the said Corporation, and Costs of Suit to be recovered in any Action of Trespass to be brought by the said Corporation in any of His Maje­stie's Courts of Record. And if such cutting, throwing down or destroying shall be maliciously done, the same shall be punished, as for Cutting the Podike in Marshland, which is Felony.

[Page 20] The said Governor, Bailiffs, Conser­vators and Commonalty upon Wednesday in Whitsun-week yearly (at a Publick Meeting to be then held by the said Cor­poration, or the greater Number then present (whereof the said Governor or one of the Bailiffs is to be one) are to Elect the Governor, Bailiffs, and Conser­vators respectively, for the year ensuing. Provided, That none be capable to be or continue Governor or Bailiff, that hath not 400 Acres or more of the said 95000 Acres; nor to be a Conservator, that hath not 200 Acres or more of the said 95000 Acres; nor any of the Com­monalty to have a Voice in Elections that hath not 100 Acres or more of the said 95000 Acres. The said Governor, Bailiffs, and Conservators, or any of them may be removed by the said Go­vernor, Bailiffs, and Conservators, and Commonalty, or the greater number of them present at their Publick Meet­ings, whereof the said Governor, Bai­liffs, or any of them to be two, and new chosen in the place of him or them so dead or removed. And the said Go­vernor, Bailiffs, and Conservators, are (before they take upon them to act) to [Page 21] take an Oath, Well and truly to execute Office; and likewise to take the Oath, 23 Hen. 8. Chap. 5. which by Law is to be taken by Com­missioners of Sewers. And the said Go­vernor, Bailiffs, Conservators, and Com­monalty are the Corporation for taking of the Accompts; And all other Matters may do, other than the acting as Com­missioners of Sewers. And if any Suit be Commenced against the said Corpo­ration, or any Person for any Matter or thing done in Pursuance of this Act, Then he or they shall or may Plead the general Issue, and give the special Mat­ter in Evidence upon any Tryal to be had touching the same; which shall be as good and effectual in Law, as if the same had been specially Pleaded: And the Jury upon the Tryal to give a Ver­dict accordingly.

By the said Act 'tis declared, That if any Breaches happen in any of the Banks, Sluces, &c. or other Works of Draining in or out of the said Level, for the carrying the Waters of the said Level to the Outfalls at Sea, That the same are to be repaired by the said Corporation in convenient time, but no other charge to be laid on the said Corporation; nor [Page 22] to give any Recompence for any Loss or Damage, which hath or shall happen by reason of their making such necessary and sufficient Works for defending the said Level from being overflown, and for leading the Waters of the Level in their Chanals.

The 80000 Acres, part of the 95000 Acres, which were at the first under­taking cast into Lotts; Every Adventu­rer then had his Share in that Division of good and bad Land, and all Land taxed alike per Acre; But afterwards being divided into divers Hands, as Peo­ple become Purchasers of good or bad, the bad Land alone would not bear the burthen of the Tax, for that there being much difference in the Soil of the said Lands, and some part much more sub­ject to Overflowing than others, and not capable to be so well Drained. Therefore by Act 20 Car. 2. The Power given to the Governor, Bai­liffs, and Conservators for their laying of Taxes and Selling Land for Non-Payment was altered from Whitsun-week unto Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday after the first Sunday in April in every year, and at no other time (the time of [Page 23] the year being found then most conve­nient). And by the said Act for the Rea­sons aforesaid the 95000 Acres were for future to be rated by way of a Gradual Acre Tax of Eleven Degrees or Rates, as are particularly hereafter mentioned in the Lotts. Except the 12000 Acres which are rated at 1 s. 3 d. per Acre, when the 83000 Acres are taxed at 6110 l. 7 s. 1 d. ½. and so in Proportion. And the Serjeant at Mace of the Great Level, by Precept under the Seal of the Corporation in the Nature of a Writ of Habere facias Possessionem at Common Law, is to deliver Possession unto such Purchaser as shall Purchase for Non-Payment of Taxes, any part of the said 95000 Acres.

Several other Powers and Authorities are granted to the said Corporation by the aforesaid Acts of Parliament, as by the said Acts may appear.

There is of the 83000 Acres part of the 95000 Acres of Adventure Land 80000 Acres divided into 20 Lotts or Shares, 4000 Acres in each Lott. The Remainder 3000 Acres lyeth Overplus. The 20 Lotts, and how rated, now to the Draining Taxes are as fol­loweth.

First Lott.
Sorts rated. Acres.r.p.
5HAddenham Common A.100000
70 6Botsham High Fenn140000
70 7    
6Sutton Meadlands next Middlemore131000
3Westmore No Bedford River A.400000
3Coveney Severals A.073000
4Helgey Common by Capt. Skip­with's Bank.318000
2Townemoores, Arkinstall, Ʋnley Se­veral, Eastmore or Little Shell, and Thompson's Fenn in Lakingheath, and the two Sedge Fenns, and Cop­low Fenn in Mildenhall A.200000
4Whelpmoore, Lowellmoore and Spain­delfe A.478000
4Stuntney Common.032000
4Stuntney Farm.022000
4Stuntney small Severals.012000
3Part of Thorney.100000
4One Several in Woodwalton.015000
3Grunty Fenn A.100000
3Beezlings Fenn in Doddington.344000
3Creek Fenn in Doddington A. next March.200000
4Stoney Fenn and Block Fenn Com­mon A.500000
5Somersham Common A.300000
4Great Bradnymoore a Several in Doddington.162200
4Severals of Doddington.032200
2Hale Fenn Common, and Sedge Fenn a Several by Welney next Welney A.200000
5Severals of Well and Welney.040000
3Westmoore No.050000
2Westmoore So.050000

[Page 26]

Second Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
5Haddenham Common B.100000
5Sutton in North Fenn.272000
3Westmoore North B.400000
3Coveney Severals B.073000
1Methwold Common, and Feltwell North Fenn A.400000
1Townemoores in Lakingheath, &c. B.200000
4Whelpmoore, &c. B.461000
4Ladus Fenn A. next unto Creek Fenn.115000
1Botsham, Quy & Ditton part inter-Common A. next Botsham Load.100000
4Langwood Fenn in Chartresse A.300000
3Creek Fenn in Doddington B.260000
4Stoney and Block Fenn Common B.400000
4Severals in March.068000
4Somersham Common B.300000
2Ʋpwood Fenn, lying next towards Ramsey.451000
2Westmoore South, the 20th peece from Welney.050000
3Westmoore North.050000

[Page 27]

Third Lott.
Sorts: Acres.r.p.
2Isleham Common, A.250000
3Middleditch Fenn in Wivelingham.077100
11Great Shelfould in Wivelingham.012300
11Sutton the remainder of North Fenn, And the Middle next towards Chartres Fenns, and 6 0 26 in West Fenn adjoyning.032000
4Westmore North.200000
3Westmore South, A.200000
2Ramsey Severals A.073000
5Methwold Common, &c. B.400000
1Townmoores, &c. C.200000
1Brandon Commons.350000
3North Cloud a Common of Laking­heath.058000
4Severals of Lakingheath, A.052000
3Ladus Fenn, B.115000
3Grunty Fenn, B.100000
3Langwood Fenn, B.300000
4Whitemoore in Doddington, A. the Parcel of 300 Acres diked out.300000
4Stoney and Block Fenn Common, C.400000
4Eusymoore, Well Pingle and Far­mers Fenn, A.500000
3Connington Severals A. in the grea­ter Fenn.200000
4Well and Welney Severals.079000
3Westmoore North N. the Thir­teenth, &c.050000
2Westmoore South S. &c.050000
Fourth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
5Haddenham Common C.100000
7Barway Middle and Fordy in Soham.231000
5Honey Fenn in Chartres.040000
2Westmoore South B.400000
5Ramsey Severals B.074000
1Methwold Common, &c. C.400000
1Townemoores, &c. D.200000
4Whelpmoore, &c. C.461000
3Sir Miles Sandy's imbanked ground B.115000
3Grunty Fenn C.126000
4Wenny Fenn in Chartres.300000
4Whitmoore in Doddington B. next unto the 300 Acres diked out400000
3Eusymoore, &c. C.548000
4Somersham C.300000
2Feltwell Severals D.080000
2Caldecott Severals.056000
3Mr. Tirrill's ground by Priests Houses 24. and 3.027000
4Severals of Doddington.042000
3Westmoore North E. the Fifth, &c.050000
2Westmoore South K. &c.050000
Fifth Lott.
Sorts Acres.r.p.
5Haddenham Common D.078000
5Stretham Common.172200
5Sutton South of Bedford River next unto the Fenns of Haddenham and Wentworth.120000
2Westmoore South C.400000
5Berrey Mowe Fenn.045000
7Ramsey Severals D.008000
5Wickham Common 10 Acres, and Several A. 4 Acres.014000
5Chartres Severals.005000
3Deereham Commons.200000
3Lakingheath Townemoores, &c. E.200000
5Whelpmoore, &c. D.661000
3Knights Fenn in Hockwold and Redmoore grounds A.111000
6Throcken-holt by Clows Cross A. next Clows Cross.005000
4Grunty Fenn, D.100000
3Norwold Common, A. next unto Stoake Bridge.200000
3West Fenn and West Fenn Close, A.483000
5Whitmoore, C. next unto Wisbich Fenns.300000
4Somersham Commons, D.300000
4Middlemoore in Ramsey, A.400000
3Connington Severals, B.081000
5Severals of Well and Welney.016000
2Westmoore South, R. the fourth piece from Welney.050000
3Westmoore North.050000
Sixth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
 Isleham, B.250000
11Clattocks or Longbridge in Wivel­ingham.053000
11Babyshurne in Wivelingham.013300
11Ʋpmeare Farm in Wicken.005000
5Lammas Ground in Wicken, near Ʋpmeare Farm.023100
6Sutton in Meadlands, next to the Grounds mentioned in the first Lott.025000
2Westmoore South, D.400000
4Mepall Severals, A.073000
1Methwold, &c. D.400000
2Townemoores, &c. F.200000
2VVhelpmoore, &c. E.461000
4Ladus Fenn, C.115000
2VVeereham, VVretton, and Stoake Common next towards Stoake.336000
4Gurfe and Gore in Chartres, A. next Chartres.200000
3Dicamoore next VVestwater.156000
3Horsemoore in Doddington, A.200000
3Eusymoore, &c. B.500000
2Hale Fenn and Sedge Fenn by Wel­ney, B.200000
5Severals of VVell and VVelney.289000
3Westmoore North, C.050000
2Westmoore South, H. &c.050000
Seventh Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
2Isleham Common, C.230000
3VVilburton Common and Several.124000
9Rampton Commons.016000
8VVestmoore South, E.400000
2Mepall Severals, B.075000
4Methwold, &c. E.400000
1Townemoores, &c. G.200000
2Feltwell South Fenn and Mowe Fenn A.161000
2Mildenhall burnt Fenn, Ely great Shell and Shippey A.300000
3Sir Miles Sandy's imbanked ground C. next Crouchmoore115000
3Sir Henry Willoughby's Several in Southerey West of the River Ouze.076000
4Curfe and Gore in Chartres B. next Doddington.200000
4Dicamoore in Doddington A.200000
3Horsemoore B.200000
2Hale Fenn and Sedge Fenn by Wel­ney C. next unto the remaining part of Sedge Fenn.195000
2Eusymoore, &c. D.500000
3Middlemoore in Ramsey B.400000
3Sir Oliver Cromwell's Severals in Ramsey A.108000
3Westmoore North K. &c.050000
2Westmoore South O. &c.050000

[Page 33]

Eighth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
3Swafham High Fenn A.200000
8Haddenham Severals.138000
11Sutton South of Bedford River.032000
5Byall Fenn A.400000
4Mepall Common.053000
4Severals of Mepall C.022000
4Helgey and Southerey Com­mons A.300000
3Lakingheath, &c. H.200000
1Mildenhall, &c. B.300000
2Feltwell South Fenn and Mowe Fenn B.161000
3Knights Fenn and Redmoore grounds B.115000
2Botsham, Horningsey, &c. B.100000
2Norwold Common by Stoake North of Wissey.029000
1Langwood Fenn in Chartres.320000
7West Fenn and West Fenn Close B.525000
4Middlemore C.400000
3Poolings in Hockwold.100000
3Sir John Watt's grounds in Londi­ners Fenn.352100
1 010000
4Severals of Doddington.042300
3Westmoore North, &c. O.050000
2Westmoore South, C.050000
Ninth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
7Denver Fenn South of Bedford River.124000
6Mr. VVendye's Ground in Chartres..234000
4VViddon Severals in Mepall.008000
11Bream Farm by Ely.004000
2VVestmoore South, F.200000
4Byall Fenn, B.200000
3Coveney Severals C.075000
3Helgey and Southerey Commons, B.300000
2Mildenhall, &c. C.300000
3Townemoores, &c. I.200000
1A Several in Lakingheath by Crossewater.008000
3Hockwold and VVilton Common, A.253000
2Ladus Fenn, D.115000
4Read's Fenn in Helgey.360000
3Swafham Sedge Fenn 180 Acres, part of high Fenn 5 Acres, part of Croyle 4 Acres.189000
1West Fenn and West Fenn▪ Close C.500000
3VVarbois Fenn, VVistow Fenn, Ramsey, Eastmoore and Pulver Fenn, and Turfe Fenn in Dod­dington, A.500000
2Denton Common.156000
4Knobballs in VVelney South of Bed­ford River.019000
2Common-peice of VVelney.134000
2Loveokes, a several adjoyning to Common-peice.021000
3VVestmoore North, T. &c.050000
2VVestmoore South, T. &c.050000
Tenth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
8Denver Fenn North of Bedford River.256000
9Several of Denver by the Grounds of VVell.004000
8Sir Henry Willoughby's Several in Southerey East of Ouze.076000
5Lammas Grounds in Wicken, next unto High Fenn.021000
7Mr. Barrow's imbanked Ground in Wicken.007000
2Stacks in Wivelingham.007000
2Croyle in Swafham A. next the Hard Lands.200000
2Burwell Common A.247000
2Sir Edward Peyton's Sedgey Seve­ral in Wicken.014000
6Rowey in Somersham.011000
3Helgey and Southerey Common C.300000
1Townemoores, &c. K.200000
2Mildenhall, &c. D.300000
3Hockwold and Wilton Common B.222000
1Littleport Severals A:041000
4Mr. Gibbon's ground, called War­ners, A. next Redmoore.115000
3Botsham, Horningsey, &c. C.100000
1Norwold Common B.200000
3Normoore in Chartres A. next to Honey.400000
4Warbois, &c. B.500000
3Horsemoore, &c. D.287000
3Sir Robert Bell's ground in Londi­ners Fenn.136200
4Sir Lewis Tresham's grounds in Londiners Fenn.093100
4Mr. Fincham's ground in Londi­ners Fenn.011300
4The Ground in Londiners Fenn, late Mr. Fincham's.013100
4Part of Sedge Fenn in Welney North of Bedford River, Eastward.001000
2Part of Knobballs in Welney North of Bedford River.009000
3Three Severals in Well, lying be­tween Popham's Eau and Newdike.065000
5Severals in Doddington.062100
3Westmoore North, H. &c.050000
2Westmoore South, &c.050000
Eleventh Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
5Neatmoore in Ʋpwell A.250000
5Middlemore in Sutton.037000
5Corkeist's and Mr. Jetherell's Ham­let in Sutton.006000
5West Fenn near unto Sutton Mead­lands A.076000
4Byall Fenn C.400000
4Mepall Severals of Mr. Cartev's by Turfe Fenn.018000
3Coveney Severals D.056000
2Methwold, &c. F.488000
1Townemoores, &c. L.200000
3Norney Farm.079000
4Littleport Severals B.203000
3Roxham Common.094000
5Sutton in Holland, A. next unto the Wride.115000
4Pymoore near Wichford.152000
4Normoore in Chartres, B.400000
4The Middle in Doddington.200000
3Warbois, &c. C.500000
3Raveley Fenn in Ramsey.229000
4Sir William Cockaines ground in Londiners Fenn.171000
2Part of Sedge Fenn in Welney, lying next of Bedford River.010000
1Feltwell Severals, A.216000
3Westmoore North, &c. A.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. S.050000
Twelfth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
4Waterbeach, Joyst Fenn, Lammas Ground adjoyning unto Joyst Fen, and the Several Grounds of Sir Ed­ward Peyton and Mr. Dalton, A.250000
5Sutton Grounds, South of Bedford River, lying nexts to the Grounds of Sutton of the first Lott.109200
5Part of Sutton West Fenn, B.010200
2Croyle in Swafham, B.200000
6One Several in Woodwalton.036000
1The remainder of Sawtrey Fenn from the King's part.006200
5Severals of Chartres, A.230000
3Helgey and Southerey Common, D.300000
2Townemoores, &c. M.200000
1Whelpmoore, &c. F.562000
4Ladus Fenn, E.115000
4Downeham in the Isle Common and Severals.390000
1Elme Common and Severals.250000
3West Fenn and West Fenn Close, D.500000
3Stoney and Block Fenn Common, D.400000
3Somersham Common E.333000
4Langbeach, a Several in Ʋpwell.007200
3Westmoore North, &c. F.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. M.050000
Thirteenth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
4Neatmoore by Ʋpwell, B.250000
7Wicken High Fenn, A. next to­wards Wicken.120000
3Hale Fenn near Coveney.180000
1Burwell Common B.293000
2Sir Robert Heath's Several grounds in Soham.420000
3Lakingheath Severals B.094000
1Townemoores, &c. M.200000
1South Cloud a Common of Laking­heath.047000
2Mildenhall, &c. E.300000
3Sir Miles Sandy's imbanked ground A. next Pr. houses.070000
3Mr. Hawkyns Crouchmoore next Hale Fenn.045000
2Weereham, Wretton, and Stoake Comon B. next towards Deereham.200000
3Stilton Common.160000
2West Fenn and West Fenn Close E.500000
4Warbois, &c. D.500000
3Ʋpwood Fenn adjoyning to Whittle­sea way.405000
3Sir Oliver Cromwell's Severals B.069000
2Severals of Welney.020000
4Severals of March and Doddington.026000
3Westmoore North, &c. C.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. E.040000

[Page 41]

Fourteenth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
2Isleham Common D.200000
3Over Common.171000
11Wicken Sedge Fenn.300000
2Mr. Barrow's Sedgey Several.021000
2Fordham Common.027000
2Wickham Severals B.056000
5Crollode in Somersham.070000
5Helgey and Southerey Common E.282000
3Mildenhall, &c. F.325000
2Whelpmoore, &c. G.454000
3Sutton in Holland B.115000
2Horningsey High Fenn.100000
4Burroughmoore in March.500000
2Mr. Dr. Samm's Horsemoore im­banked.225000
4Stoney Fenn Several A.300000
3Warbois, &c. E.500000
3Ramsey Common by Delfe dike.108000
4Feltwell Severals B.146000
3Westmoore North, &c. S.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. D.050000

[Page 42]

Fifteenth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
4Swafham High Fenn, B.200000
10Hempstall in Wivelingham.053000
5Sutton West Fenn, C.117000
4Wisbich Common, B.313000
2Burwell Common, C.160000
2Great Metlam, Little Metlam, and the Hale in Soham, A.500000
1Townemoores, &c. O.200000
2Mildenhall, &c. G.300000
3Thorney Farm by Stuntney.047000
4Quaney Farm.012000
4Richard Ward's Several in Little­port by Prall's Weare.003000
4Several of Welney-Chappel in Lit­tleport.001000
4Sutton in Holland, G.095000
5Mr. Gibbon's ground in Southerey lying by Priest's Houses.020000
5Shevens in Well next to the Town of Ʋpwell.100000
4White Fenn in Swafham next Botsham High Fenn.200000
1Normoore in Chartres, D.410000
4Stoney Fenn Severals, B.300000
4Warbois, &c. F.500000
4Methwold Several.357000
2Several of Mr. Strange in Londiners Fenn.012000
3Westmoore North, &c. L.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. N.050000
Sixteenth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
4Waterbeach; &c. B.250000
2Byall Fenn; South of Bedford River next to Oxwillowe Load.100000
5Sutton West Fenn, D.020000
1Wisbich Common, lying between Moreton's Leame & 25 foot Drain.424200
6The remainder of Holme Fenn from the Earl of Portland's Part.049000
3Helgey and Southerey Commons, F.300000
1Lakingheath Townmoors, &c. P.295000
1Mildenhall, &c. I.300000
3Feltwell South Fenn & Mowe Fenn, C.166000
2Sutton in Holland, D.115000
5Maney Common and Several.250000
4Normoore in Chartres C.400000
4Great Bynnimoore and Grayes Fenn in Doddington, lying next unto Grayes Fenn.294000
2Stoney Fenn Several, C.425000
4Warbois, &c. G.500000
3Severals of Doddington.011200
3Westmoore North, &c. R.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. I.050000
Seventeenth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
4Waterbeach, &c. C.201300
2Byall Fenn, &c.100000
4Fidwell Fenn in Stretham.060000
11Little Shelfould in Wivelingham.007100
11By Erith Sluce.002000
4Wisbich Common, A.473000
2Great Metlam, &c. B.500000
2Feltwell South Fenn and Mowe Fenn.269000
1Hockwold and Wilton Common, C.293000
4Ladus Fenn, F.105000
2Mr. Pratt's Several in Hockwold.010000
4Shevens next towards Welney.100000
1White Fenn next towards the Hard Lands.211000
2Wich Fenn & Stow Fenn in March.200000
3Dicamoore, B.200000
3Stoney Fenn Severals, D.300000
3Warbois, &c. H.500000
4Mr. Peyton's Severals by Hobb's Dike in March.133020
4Peter Williams adjoyning Severals.034210
3White's Fenn a Several by Benwick.119100
4Browne's Fenn by Benwick a Seve­ral by Dr. Samms.050020
5Severals of Well and Welney.030330
3Westmoore North, &c. U.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. B.050000
Eighteenth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
4Neatmoore, C.250000
5Wicken High Fenn.030000
6Langmoore and Botsgangs in Stretham.017200
5Sutton West Fenn E.073200
4Wisbich Common, C.473000
2Soham Commons in Great Met­lam, &c. C.569000
6Two Severals of Soham.009000
2Hocwold and Wilton Common.182000
2Mildenhall, &c. H.300000
3Mr. Gibbons ground called Warners, B.075000
3Throcken holt, B.040000
6Ashwellmoore by Coveney, the South-west part.271000
2Rough Westmoore in Chartres A. next Chartres.300000
4Horsemoore, C.200000
3Warbois, &c. I.500000
3Middlemoore, D.300000
3Great Bynnimoore and Grays Fenn next toward the River Neane.200000
2Marmond a Several in Ʋpwell.027100
6The Several Ground in Well by News Cote.017300
5The Severals of Doddington.065000
3Westmoore North, &c. P.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. F.050000
Nineteenth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
7Waterbeach Fenn by Garden Tree.112000
9Cottenham Common.240000
6Sutton in the Meadlands next to­wards West Fenn.018000
4Wisbich Common. D.473000
2Mildenhall, &c. K.300000
3Whelpmoore, &c. H.760000
2Mr. Towers Crouchmoore in Littleport.070000
3Part of Mr. Hawkyns Crouchmoore adjoyning.010000
3Throcken holt, C.035000
6Ashwellmoore next unto Downeham West Fenn.152000
3Rough Westmoore in Chartres, B. next Beezling's Fenn.296000
4Dicamoore, C.200000
3Warbois, &c. K.550000
3Middlemoore in Ramsey, E.375000
4Feltwell Severals, C.309000
3Westmoore North, &c. I.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. Q.050000
Twentieth Lott.
Sorts. Acres.r.p.
3Thorney Knarr Fenn.3900000
3Westmoore North, &c.050000
2Westmoore South, &c. L.050000
The Three Thousand Acres Overplus.
2Woodwalton Common.937000
3Higney Grounds.100000
6Part of Holme Fennl963000
4Part of Byall Fenn, &c.1000000

Note, That when a Tax of 5000 l. is raised on the 95000 Acres (which is called a single Tax, then the first sort Land is taxed 4 d. per Acre; and so on to Eleven Groats.

The Division of the LEVEL into Three Levels.

THis Great Level the Works there­of have divided the same so as it lyeth in Three Levels; and are now called by the Names of


  • North
  • Middle
  • and South


The North Level lyeth between the North Le­vel. River Welland, and the [...] of Moreton's Leame, and bears in Propor­tion of the Draining Taxes of the whole 95000 Acres, about a Sixth part of the Tax.

The Banks, Rivers, and Drains main­tained by the said Corporation in this part of the Level, are, viz.

[Page 49] The Bank against Welland River from Peakirk to the Barrs at the West end of Crowland and the Weare Dike to the same.

Weareington new Drain, with its Banks and Weare Dike.

The Drain called the Stoor-nook Drain from Stoor nook to the Adven­turers Lands in Borrow Great Fenn, and from thence by the Outring Dike of of the said Adventurers Lands to the East Corner thereof, and from thence by Pepper Lake to New South Ea, and from from thence by the New South Ea, to Clows Cross, and from thence by the Shier Drain to the Sea.

The Wride Stream.

The Eighteen foot Drain through Murrow Common to Clows Cross.

The Old South Ea from Guyhurne Cor­ner to Clows Cross.

Thorney Dike from Catswater by Wil­low-Hall, as far as the Sasse in the North Bank of Moreton's Leame.

The North Bank of Moreton's Leame and Weare Dikes.

The Middle Level lyeth between the Middle Le­vel. [...] Moreton's Leame, and the North Bank of Bedford River, and bears [Page 50] in proportion of the Draining Taxes about a Twenty fifth part.

The Banks, Rivers, or Drains in this part of the Level now maintained by the Corporation, are,

The South Bank of Moreton's Leame and Weare Dikes.

Standground Sasse.

The Old course of the River Neane from Standground Sasse to Well Creek Sasse, with the Sasses at Floods Ferrey near Whit­tlesea Dike's end, and the Sasse at the lower end of Well Creek.

Whittlesea Dike.

Bevill's Leame from Whittlesea Meer to the Sasse near Baldwin Glossom's House, at the lower end of Waldersea Receptacle.

Moore's Drain from Bevill's Leame to the Old Neane below March.

The Delfe Dike from Whittlesea to the Old Neane.

New Dike from Connington Brook at the upper Corner of [...] to Hooke Load.

And Hooke Load to the Old Neane by Burbridge Stream into the Old Neane.

Monke's Load.

The Drain from Raveley's Nook to Burbridge Stream, between Woodwalton Common, and Ramsey and Raveley Common.

[Page 51] The Forty foot Drain from the West Outring Dike of the Adventurers Lands, taken out of Doddington, Warbois, Ram­sey, &c. to Welche's Damm.

The West water from the Forty foot through Benwick.

The Drain leading from Chartres Ferrey to Slade Gate, and so to the Forty foot Drain.

The Twenty foot Drain from Erith Common to Well Creek, with the Bank thereof, and Sluces therein.

That part of the West water from So­mersham Town by Holwoods and Middle­more, and so to the Counter wash between the Twenty foot Bank, and the North Bank of Bedford River, with the Sluces and Tunnels therein.

Hammond's Ea from the Adventurers Lands in Somersham High Fenn to the Twenty foot Drain aforesaid.

Old Bedford River, with the Bank thereof, from Erith to the Old Ouze, with the Sluces thereunto belonging.

The Sixteen soot Drain, from the Thirty foot Drain to Popham's Ea.

Darcy Load from the Sixteen foot Drain to Maid Load, and so to the Twenty foot Drain.

[Page 52] Popham's Ea, with the Brick Sluce therein.

London's Load, with a Drain through Londiners Fenn to the Twenty foot Drain, called Fortrey's Drain.

The Drain called the Tongs from Nor­del Sluce through Downeham Common to the Sluce at the end thereof near Stow Town's end, with the Sluces and Tun­nels to the same belonging.

The South Level is from the North South Le­vel. Bank of Old Bedford River to Stoake, Feltwell, Mildenhall, and that part of the Up land Countrey there adjoyning, and bears in Proportion of the Draining Taxes about a Seventeenth part.

The Banks, Rivers, and Drains in this Level maintained by the said Corpo­ration are as followeth, viz.

South Bank of the River Ouze, from the Hard Lands of Swacey, &c. to the Hermitage and the Sasse or Sluce there.

The River called New Bedford River, from the Hermitage to Salters Load, with the Banks, Forelands, Weare Dikes, and Sluces thereof.

The Drain that leads from Ewel-Fenn to Audrey Causey, and from thence [Page 53] into the Old Ouze at Audrey Bridge.

Grunty Fenn Drain, from Grunty Fenn to the Old Ouze at Littleport Chair, with its Banks.

Part of Old Welney River.

Littleport Drain.

Maid Load and Modney Drain, with the Sluces to the same.

The Drain that carries away Hogging­ton Brook, with the Banks to be raised.

The River of Grant, from Clay-hith to Harrimeere, with the Banks, Forelands, Weare Dikes, and Sluces thereof.

The Banks of the Old Ouze, from Harrimeere to Chitterings.

The New long Drain, from Wicken High Fenn to the Tunnels under Soham new River, and so to the Tunnel under Mildenhall River; from thence to the Tunnel under Brandon River, and so to the Tunnel under Wissey or Stoake River; and from thence through Downeham's Ea to the Sluces at the lower end there­of, near Stow Bridge.

The East Banks of Ouze, from Harri­meere to the Brick Sluce at Prick-willo, with the Weare Dike thereof.

The New Bank on the West side of the River Ouze, from Harrimeere to Ely High Bridge.

[Page 54] The Drain from the East end of the Adventurers Lands, taken out of Soham Common, to the Weare Dike of Mildenhall River.

Mildenhall River, with the Banks, Forelands, and Weare Dikes thereof.

The East Banks of the River Ouze, from Mildenhall River to the Sluce at the lower end of Mildenhall Drain, near Lit­tleport Chair.

Mildenhall Drain from the last men­tioned Sluce to Mildenhall Common.

The River of Ouze, with the Banks, Forelands, Weare Dikes, Sluces and Tun­nels, thereof, from Littleport Chair to Denver Damm, Excepting the Sluces, Tun­nels and Waterworks heretofore made and maintained by Edmund Skipwith Esq de­ceased, and others particular Owners of Lands within or near the said Great Level, for his or their own private Use or Benefit.

Lakingheath Drain, from Wainsford Brook to the Tunnel under Lakingheath New Load, and so to the Tunnels under Brandon River.

Brandon River, with the Banks, Fore­lands, and Weare Dikes thereto be­longing.

[Page 55] Feltwell Drain to its Outfall into the River of Ouze, at Palmer's House.

Sam's Cutt from Feltwell to the River Ouze.

Stoake River, with the Banks, Fore­lands, Weare Dikes, and Sluces.

A Tunnel under Methwold Load for the Draining of Norwold Fenns.

Roxham Drain, with the Banks thereof.

These Works and Drains, and such others as the Corporation shall think fit, are from time to time preserved and maintained at the Costs and Charges of the said Corporation and their Successors, Owners of the said Ninety five Thou­sand Acres mentioned in the aforesaid Act, 15 Car. 2. and not by the Owners of any the Lands within the said Great Level, other than of the said Ninety five Thousand Acres; Except in Cases where particular Contracts have been made by the said Corporation.

And the said Corporation, as Commis­sioners By-Laws made by the Corpora­tion. of Sewers, for the better Draining and Preservation of the Country, Pursu­ant to the Act of Parliament, hath made [Page 56] several Orders and By-Laws, which all Persons concerned therein are bound to take Notice of.

The Chief thereof are these:

That all and every other the Drains, Division Dikes, and Fence Dikes between Counties, Lords of Mannors, Parishes, Townships, and particular Owners, and the Fence Dikes of every Parish, Hamlet, or Township, between their Fences and their Corn Fields, and between their Feed-fenns and Mowe-fenns, and between the Severals and Commons, shall be kept and maintained with all Necessary Repara­tions from time to time, at the proper Costs and Charges of the Owners, Oc­cupiers or Persons interested in the Fenns and Grounds next adjoyning thereunto; or that have heretofore, or of right ought to do the same, at their Ancient or Present Dimensions, or so as the Court of Sewers shall from time to time direct and appoint for the better Con­veyance of the Waters of the said Level into the Great Rivers, or to their Outfall at Sea.

[Page 57] That no Person or Persons shall at any time hereafter upon, any Pretence, or by any ways or means whatsoever, make any Encroachment upon or strai­ten the present Dimensions of any River, Wash, Drain or Sewers, within or with­out the said Great Level; Nor shall Cut, Burn, Cast down, Break up, or do any hurt or damage to any River, Bank, Wash or Foreland, within the said Great Level, or without the said Great Level, made by the said Earl and Participants, or the said Governor, Bailiffs and Con­servators; nor shall Cut, Damme, Burn, Cast down, Break open, or do any hurt or damage unto any Sluce, Sasse, Lock, Tunnel, Bridge, Gate or Rail made with­in or without the said Great Level, for, or conducing to the Draining of the said Great Level, or the Preservation thereof, otherwise than by Order or Decree of the Commissioners of Sewers for the time being, appointed by the said Act; Nor shall make, or cause to be made, any Damms, Stops, Weares, or other Letts, Impediments or Nuseances, in, or without any of the Rivers, Drains, Out­ring Dikes, Sewers, Washes, Forelands, or other Work made within or without the [Page 58] said Great Level, for the Draining of the said Great Level, or Preservation there­of; Nor shall encroach upon, straiten or do any hurt or damage to any Drove way within the said Great Level, set out upon Occasion of the Draining of the same.

And that no Person or Persons shall at any time hereafter make, or cause to be made, any Waterings or Place for Wa­tering of Cattle within Ten foot of any the said Rivers, Publick Drains, or any Outring or Division Dike, or Lott, Division Dike, within the said Level, to the stop­ping, Annoyance or Prejudice of them or any of them, or of any part of them or any of them; the which are declared to be Nuseances.

And that no Person or Persons what­soever, shall at any time hereafter put, or cause any Swine to be put or kept, in­to, or upon any of the Banks or Forelands of any of the Rivers or Sewers within or without the said Great Level made as aforesaid, or used as conducing to the Preservation of the same, under such Penalties as the said Commissioners of Sewers shall think fit to Charge on such Offenders.

[Page 59] Most of the Commons in the Map de­scribed, The great Advantage that the Draining is to the respe­ctive Places within the Level. out of which the 95000 Acres were taken, are (by the Countrey) in Pur­suance of the Act 15 Car. 2. lately divi­ded and enjoyed as Severals to particular Owners and Commoners of each respe­ctive Towns to which those Commons belonged. And others finding that such Division and Cutting of the Commons, proved a great wast of Ground, and the Fences hard to be kept, and great dimi­nution of Stock, and decay of Houses; many Selling their Lands from the same, to the increasing of the Poor. There­fore they would not divide, but have by Agreement decreed in Chancery the same by way of a Stint to feed the same, every House alike; so that in some Towns there is above 2000 Milch Cows, besides a great running Stock fed thereon, viz. Cottenham, Chartresse, March, Wimblington, Maney, and other Towns to their great Improvement and Enriching. Though some few People that had formerly nothing to live on, but what they got by Fishing and Fow­ling; and some discontented Persons, that would neither do themselves good, or suffer others, are apt to clamour a­gainst [Page 60] this Noble Work of Draining, and the Undertakers thereof. But if they would but seriously Consider the small benefit formerly made, and the great Advantage now; The Profit given the Undertakers, was not considerable to the Charge and Hazard, which they have been at and still must be for the yearly maintaining the Level, (to the Ruine of several of the first Original Ʋn­dertakers) the Undertakers can be blamed for nothing save Indiscretion to hazard their Estates so much for the good of the Publick.

There was a Complaint in 1653. Complaint in 1653. against the Draining. made by some Persons against this Ʋn­dertaking, alledging that it was as much worth before the Draining in Reed and Sedge as since; Whereupon there was then an Estimate given in of what was that year made, when but about 28000 Acres of the aforesaid Fenn Grounds, was Drained and made Use of, being sown with Coleseed, Wheat, Barley, Oats, and Flax; which is now here of­fered to Consideration.

[Page 61]

Every Acre for Hassocking burning the Hassocks, Plowing Burning the Soord, and sowing with Coleseed, cost 1 l. which came into the hands of such as would work, whether Poor or Rich.l.s.d.
Every Acre of Seed, Wheat, Barley or Oats that were sown, being near 10000 Acres, cost in Seed 8 s. per Acre, which came to the hands of the Countrey.040000000
The small Division Dikes since the Adjudication came clear to the poor Labourers.030000000
Exppended for Timber, Car­penters, Bricklayers, and other Labourers in Building Houses above.100000000
The Reaping, Threshing and Carriage of Coleseed to be fit for the Boats, to poor Labourers at 3 l. per Last.250000000
The Reaping, Threshing, and Carriage of Wheat, Rye, Oats, Barley, and Flax, to Labourers.050000000
The Carriage of far above 5000 Last of Coleseed, and above 1000 of Wheat and other Com­modities to the Watermen of Lynn and Wisbich.027000000
The Transportation by Wa­ter of Materials for Houses to Watermen, and other Works.003000000
The Chambering of 3000 Last at the least in Lynn and there­abouts at 4 d. the Last per Week for 13 Weeks.006500000
At Lynn to Meeters and Por­ters at 12 d. per Last.001500000
100 Last of Seed, Wheat, and other Grain to London, and other Parts by Shipping.100000000
There was also in order for the next year expended to Work men and Labourers in Hassocking, Plaining, Burning, Sowing, and of Cropps.300000000
The State in Custom, Excise, and Impost for Coleseed, Oyl, and otherwise.050000000

By which (besides the great Charge of Draining this year) it appears there is expended, [Page 63]

To the Labourers, Workmen, and others.950000000
In Lynn, Chambers, Porters, and Workmen.036000000
The Shipping.100000000
The State.050000000
These are the Advantages which have accrued to the State, the Countrey, and the Poor this year, by a small Quantity of a­bout 28000 Acres, besides the intrinsical Commodities them­selves produced by this charge to the Kingdom, not here set down.1136000000

And if above 100000 l. Advantage ariseth by so small a Quantity under so many Discouragements, a good Common-wealth's man will easily Judge what An­nual Profit and Benefit redounds to this Nation by the Improvement of the whole.

The Governor, Bailiffs, and Con­servators for the present year 1684. are as followeth,
  • [Page 64]The Go­vernor. The Right Honorable William Earl of Bedford, Baron of Thornhaugh, and Knight of the most Noble Order of the Garter.
  • The Six Bailiffs.
    • The Right Honorable Arthur Earl of Anglesey.
    • The Right Honorable Richard Lord Gorges, Baron of Dun­dalke in the Kingdom of Ire­land.
    • The Right Honorable Sir Tho­mas Chicheley Knight, Chan­cellor of the Dutchy, and one of His Majestie's most Hono­rable Privy Council.
    • Sir Lionel Walden Knight.
    • Rob. Hamson Serjeant at Law.
    • Roger Jenyns, Esq
  • [Page 65] The twen­ty Conser­vators.
    • Sir Thomas Willis Baronet.
    • Sir Henry North Baronet.
    • Sir John Hewett Baronet.
    • Sir Nicholas Pedley Knight.
    • Sir John Chicheley Knight.
    • Sir Thomas Fitch Knight.
    • Doctor William Denton.
    • Silius Titus Esq
    • Ralph Widdrington Esq
    • Richard Marryott Esq
    • George Nicholas Esq
    • Thomas Wright Esq
    • Samuel Fortrey Esq
    • Lionel Walden Esq
    • Edward Woodward Esq
    • John Fincham Esq
    • John Jenyns Esq
    • Christopher Cratford Gent.
    • William Bagnall Gent.
    • Robert Mingay Gent.
The Chief Officers of the Corpora­tion are,
  • The Right Honorable Richard L. Gor­ges, Surveyor General, and Superintendant of all other the Officers, He issueth out his Warrants by Order of the Corpo­ration, [Page 66] for all Moneys by them expended, And from time to time receives an Ac­compt from the respective Officers how the Affairs of the Corporation are car­ried on; and reports the same to the Corporation at their Publick Meetings.
  • Richard Marryott Esq Auditor of the Accompts.
  • Richard Bland Gent. Register.
  • Robert Mingay Gent. Receiver.
  • William Bourne Gent. Serjeant at Mace.
  • Mark le Pla Surveyor of the North Level.
  • Surveyors of the Middle Level. Samuel Fortrey Esq and the said William Bourne,
  • Ralph Pierson Gentleman Surveyor of the South Level.

The Officers take all Oaths, Well and truly to Execute their respective Offices.

And the Surveyors of the respective Levels take also this Oath following, Viz.

YOU shall Swear that you shall well and truly serve this [Page 67] Corporation in the Office of Sur­veyor of [...] Level under your Charge, and shall make all your Contracts in the most Hus­bandly manner, and at the Cheapest Rates you can for this said Cor­poration; and shall not Certifie any Flooring Work, Bank Work, or Rodd Work to be done, but what is or shall be supervised and taken up in your Presence, and according to the real Truth of the Work done and Value thereof to the best of your Knowledge and Vnderstand­ing, and that you shall faithfully and truly Execute and Perform all other Matters and things relating to your Office, Trust, and Imploy­ment, for the Benefit and Advan­tage of the said Corporation, accor­ding to the best of your Skill, Knowledge and Vnderstanding. So help you God.



I Have had come to my hands the Verses following, which I find were formerly writ on this Subject by some Inge­nious hand; And therefore I thought it might not be amiss to annex them hereunto.

[Page] [Page 71]


I Sing no Battels fought, nor Armies foil'd,
Nor Cities raz'd, nor Commonwealths em­broil'd,
Nor any History, which may move your tears,
Or raise your Spleens, or multiply your Fears;
But I bespeak your wonder, your delight,
And would your Emulation fain invite.
I sing Floods muzled, and the Ocean tam'd,
Luxurious Rivers govern'd, and reclam'd,
Waters with Banks confin'd, as in a Gaol,
Till kinder Sluces let them go on Bail;
Streams curb'd with Dammes like Brid [...]es, taught t' obey,
And run as strait, as if they saw their way.
I sing of heaps of Water turn'd to Land,
Like an Elixir by the Chymists hand
Of Dropsies cur'd, where not one Limb was sound,
The Liver rotted, all the Vitals drown'd.
No late discover'd Isle, nor Old Plantation
New Christned, but a kind of New Creation.
I sing of heaps of Gold, and Indian Ore,
Of private Profit, and of Publick Store;
No fine Romance, nor Fables I invent,
Nor coyn Ʋtopia's, but a Scene present,
Which with such rare, yet real bliss doth Swell,
As would perswade a Monk to leave his Cell.
I sing of an Atchievment, from above,
Both Blest and Crown'd, which God and good Men Love,
Which Kings and States encourage and protect
With Prudent Power, which none can disaffect,
[Page 73] But the poor Fish, who now wants room to play,
Hassocks, and Men with Heads more rough than they.
Go on, Brave Ʋndertakers, and Succeed,
In spight of Brutish Clamours, take no heed
To those that curse your Generous labours; he
That good refrains, 'cause Men unthankful be,
Mistakes true Vertues aim, each worthy Act
Doth a Reward, beyond Applause, expect.
Make universal Plenty, and restore
What Ten years Wars have ruin'd; let the Poor
Share your wise Alms, some will, perhaps, confess
Their Obligation, and your Vertues bless;
But if the present Age forget their Friends,
Be sure, Posterity will make amends.
They'll be indifferent Judges, at what Rates,
And with what Arts you purchas'd your Estates,
They will not grudge that you took so much Land,
But wonder, why you did not more demand;
They'l candidly believe, that Publick Zeal
Had more of Influence here, than Private Weal.
When by your Noble Pattern, and Success,
Taught and encourag'd, all Men shall profess
[Page 74] A hate of Sloth, and so the Sea shall more
Feel your Example, than your Skill before,
Whilst all to work that Publick Tyrant's bane,
At once Conspire, as if he were a Dane.
When such as have no Wit, but to defame
All generous Works, and blast them with the Name
Of giddy Projects, are describ'd to be
But Slaves to Custom, Friends to Popery,
And ranckt with those, who, lest they should accuse
Their Sires, no harness, but the Tail, will use.
When to your Glory, all your Banks shall stand
Like the immortal Pyramide, and your Land
Forget it e're was Sea, when those dull Wits,
That Judge by Sence, become time's Proselytes,
And such as know no other Argument,
Shall be at last confuted by th' Event.
When Bedford's stately Bank, and noble Drain,
Shall Parallel the Streights of Magellane,
Or Hercules his Pillars, in due Fame,
Because they wear your Livery in their Name,
And your Renown shall snare the Bays with theirs,
Who, in times past, built Amphitheaters.
When Cities shall be built, and Housestall,
As the proud Oak, which you their Founders call,
Fair Orchards Planted, and the Myrtle Grove,
Adorn'd, as if it were the Scene of Love.
Gardens with Flowers of such auspicious hew,
You'ld swear, that Eden in the Desert grew.
When it appears, the All-sufficient Soyl,
With Primitive Strength, yields as much Corn as Oyl,
To make our Hearts strong, as our Faces gay,
Meadows so blest with Grass, so charg'd with Hay,
With goodly Kine, and Beeves replenisht so,
As if they stood upon the Banks of Po.
When all dire Vapours (if there any were,
Besides the Peoples breath) are turn'd to Air,
Pure as the Upper Region; and the Sun,
Shall shine like one well pleas'd with what is done,
When Agues, Scurveys, Coughs, Consumptions, Wind,
All Crude Distempers here their Cure shall find.
When with the change of Elements, suddenly
There shall a change of Men and Manners be;
Hearts, thick and tough as Hydes, shall feel Re­morse,
And Souls of Sedge shall understand Discourse,
[Page 76] New hands shall learn to Work, forget to Steal,
New leggs shall go to Church, new knees shall kneel.
When Ouse proves Helicon, when the Nean for­sake
Their lofty Mountain, and themselves betake
To this delicious Vale, when Caps and Gowns
Are seen at Wisbich; when for sordid Clowns,
And savage Scythians, There Succeeds a Race,
Worthy the Bliss and Genius of the place.
What Trophees will you Purchase then? what Bays
Will ye acquire? what Acclamations raise?
What greater Satisfaction? what Reward
Of higher price, can all the World afford,
Than in a Work of such Renown and Merit,
T' engross the Glory, and the bliss t' inherit?
Mean while proceed, and Opposition slight,
Envy perhaps may bark, it cannot bite.
Your Cause is good, your Friends are great, your Foes
Have neither Power nor Colour, to oppose.
Rubbs you may meet with; why should that displease?
Would you accomplish Vast designs with Ease?
[Page 77] But vainly I, with weak insinuations,
Your Wisdoms importune; such fond perswa­sions
Fit none but drooping Minds, whom fears op­press;
No terrour; no alarm can you possess,
Who, free from sinful Canaanites annoy,
The Land of Promise, now in part enjoy.
Your Proudest foes begin to sue for Peace,
And with their hopes, their malice doth decrease;
They all confess, that Heaven with you Com­bines,
Sit down therefore in safety. Your designs
Begun with Vertue, shall with Fortune, end,
For Profit publick thoughts do still attend.
And now a Muse as fruitful as the Land,
Assist me, whilst my too unskilful hand
Describes the Glories of this Place, a Skill
Which might perhaps deserve some Laureats Quill.
But I presume, the Reader's Charity
And wise Conjecture will my faults supply.
All Seeds, all Plants and Herbs, this Noble field
Doth, with a kind of Emulation, yield;
Would you see Plenty, It is stor'd with Grain,
Like Egypt when Romes Pride it did maintain,
[Page 78] With roots of Monstrous bulk, flesh, fowl, and fish,
All that the Belly or the Tast can wish.
Here thrives the lusty Hemp, of Strength untam'd,
Whereof vast Sails, and mighty Cables fram'd,
Serve for our Royal Fleets, Flax soft and fine
To the East Countreys envy, could we joyn
To England's Blessings, Holland's industry,
We all the World in wealth should far outvie.
Here grows proud Rape, whose price and plenty foyls
The Greenland Trade, and checks the Spanish Oyls,
Whose branch thick, large, and tall, the Earth so shrowds,
As heaps of Snow, the Alps, or pregnant Clouds,
The azure Sky, or like that Heavenly Bread,
Which in the Wilderness God's bounty shed.
After long Tillage, it doth then abound
With Grass so plentiful, so sweet, so sound,
Scarce any tract but this can Pastures shew
So large, so rich, And, if you wisely Sow
The fine Dutch Clover, with such Beanty spreads,
As if it meant t' affront our English Meads.
The Gentle Ozier, plac't in goodly ranks,
At small Expence, upon the comely Banks,
[Page 79] Shoots forth to admiration here, and yields
Revenues certain, as the Rents of Fields,
And for a Crown unto this blest Plantation,
Almost in every Ditch, there's Navigation.
To scan all its Perfections, would desire
A Volume, and as great a Skill require,
As that which Drayn'd the Countrey; in one word,
It yields whate're our Climate will afford;
And did the Sun with kinder beams reflect,
You might Wine, Sugar, Silk and Spice expect.
Fond witless Usurer, to rest content
In that thy Money yields thee 6 per Cent,
Which thou with hazard of the Principal,
Dost rigorously extort from Men in thrall,
Come here, and look for gain both vast and just,
And yet so constant, that thou need'st not trust.
Unhappy Farmer that employ'st thy Skill,
And wasts thy Strength upon some barren Hill,
Which too ungrateful, scarce the borrowed Seed
At length restores, much less relieves thy need.
These Fields shall yield thee Gold, And yet require
No labour, but the Alchymie of Fire.
Poor Curate, whom thine envious Stars prefer
To be some hide-bound Parsons Pensioner,
[Page 80] On such hard Terms, that if thy Flock were fed
As ill as thou, their Souls might starve for Bread;
When these fair Fields are Plow'd, then cast with me
How large, how fat, the Livings here must be.
Ye busie Gentlemen, that plant the Hop,
And dream vast gains from that deceitful Crop,
Or by manuring what you ought to Let
Thrive backwards, and too dearly purchase Wit,
Leave off these Lotteries, and here take your Lot;
The Profit's certain, and with ease, 'tis got.
Courageous Merchants, who, confronting fates,
Trust Seas and Pyrates with your whole Estates,
Part in this bank, methinks were far more sure;
And ye, whom hopes of sudden Wealth allure,
Or wants into Virginia, force to fly,
Ev'n spare your pains; here's Florida hard by.
Fair Damsels, that your Portions would advance,
Employ them on this blest Inheritance;
And faithful Guardians, that would quit the trust
In you repos'd, like Men, as wise as just,
Here, here, bestow your Orphans Talents, ye
Shall now no longer Friends, but Fathers be.
All ye that Treasures either want, or love.
(And who is he, whom Profit will not move?)
[Page 81] Would you repair your fortunes, would you make,
To this most fruitful Land your selves betake,
Where first your Money doubles, in a trice,
And then by new Progression, multiplies.
If therefore Gain, or Honour, or Delight,
Or care of Publick Good, will Men invite
Into this fortunate Isle, now let them enter
With confidence; since here they all concenter;
But if all these be choakt, and drown'd with flegm,
Let them enjoy their Sloth, sit still, and dream.

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