[seal of the Commonwealth]

AN ACT FOR The more frequent Preaching of the Gospel, and better maintenance of the Ministers in the City of Bristol.

VVHereas there are eigh­teen Parish Churches, besides the Cathedral, within the City and county of Bristol, which is a number more then sufficient, & the means for the subsistance of those few Ministers now officiating, de­pends in the voluntary Contribution of the People; The Parliament of England having resolved by all ways and means to promote the preaching of the Gospel, and taking the premises into consideration, Do Enact and Ordain, and be it Enacted by autho­rity [Page 770] of Parliament, That it shall be lawful to and for the Major and Sheriffs of the City of Bristol for the time being, Richard Aldworth, Richard Vickres, William Cam, Luke Hodges, Henry Gibs, Jo­seph Jackson, Hugh Brown, Aldermen; Edward Ty­son, Robert Aldworth, John Hagget, James Powel, George Hart, Josias Clutterbuck, William Grig, George Lane, Robert Hains, Jeremy Holwey, Robert Vickris, Dennis Hollister, George Bishop, Thomas Harris, Ci­tizens and Burgesses of the same City, or any five or more of them, to unite and consolidate the said Parishes into fewer number, and the same to certifie under the Hands and Seals of five or more of them into the Chancery; and after such Certificates had and made of such union and consolidation, the same shall be a good and sufficient union in Law, to all intents and purposes to continue for ever. Provided, That after such unions and consolidations, the true and rightful Patrons shall make their Presen­tations by turns, the aforesaid persons or any five or more of them appointing which Patron shall make the first Presentation unto the Church or Churches unto which the other is united. And be it further Enacted and Established by the authority aforesaid, That the said Major, Al­dermen, Sheriffs, and the rest of the persons aforenamed, or any five or more of them, calling to their assistance three able and well-affected Inhabitants of each Parish, shall have hereby power to tax, rate and assess a certain sum upon the Rents or true yearly values of all Houses, Shops, Warehouses, Cellars, Stables, and all other Lands and Tenements whatever with­in the said City and Liberties thereof; the said Tax not to exceed One shilling and six pence per annum in the pound, as the said Houses, Shops, [Page 771] Warehouses, Cellars, Stables, and all other Tenements are, may or shall be worth to be yearly Let and Leased; and so for every Ten shillings, Nine pence per annum: And where any person or persons shall be known to imploy a great Stock in Trade, the said Commissioners or any five or more of them, calling to their assistance three able and sufficient Inhabitants of that Ward or Parish in which the person or persons to berated dwelleth, shall and may, and are hereby authorized to assess such person or persons for his or their Stock imployed as afore­said, for every hundred pounds, five shillings; which said Tax shall be paid by the Landlord or Tenant, or by both, as the aforesaid persons shall think meet: And if any Inhabitant, Ci­tizen, Landlord, Tenant or Occupier of any the said premises, shall refuse to pay the aforesaid Tax and Rate, when quarterly it shall be de­manded, That then it shall be lawful either for such Collector or Collector as shall be appoint­ed by the persons above-named under five Hands and Seals to receive the same, to distrain, and the distress to fell, retaining the value of the said rate and charge of Distress, and re­turning the overplus to the Owner; or other­wise in default of payment within six days after demand of the said Rate and Tax, each of them shall forfeit the double value of the said Rate, to be sued for and recovered in an Action of Debt in the Sheriffs Court within the said City, who by authority of this present Parliament are hereby enabled, and have power given them to have Iurisdiction, Conuzance, and to hold Plea in this matter, and cause the said Action to be commenced and sued by and in the name of the Treasurer as shall be nominated and ap­pointed [Page 772] by the Major and the rest of the persons aforenamed. And the said Major, Aldermen, Sheriffs, and the rest of the persons above­named or any five or more of them, are hereby authorized from time to time, by their warrants directed to the said. Treasurer, to order the pay­ment and issuing out of all the said sums of mo­ney so rated, collected and recovered, to all those Ministers which are or shall be placed in the aforesaid City, and approved of by the Parlia­ment, or such as the Parliament shall appoint, in such proportion, maner and form as they in their discretions shall think fit.

Die Lunae, primo die Aprilis, 1650.

ORdered by the Parliament, That this Act be forth­with Printed and Published.

Hen: Scobell, Cleric. Parliamenti.

London: Printed by Edward Husband and John Field, Printers to the Parlia­ment of England. 1650.

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