The State of the Case depending between some of the Inhabitants of Thames Street and Josiah Child, touching Lion-Key, viz.

THe said Persons in the Name of the City of London, (but for their own private advantage onely) have Indicted the De­fendant for stopping up the Stairs at Li­on-Key aforesaid, and a passage former­ly leading down to them; and for plank­ing over eight foot into the River of Thames, and for erecting a Crane upon the said Key, which they say are pub­lick Nusances.

The Desendant pleads the general Is­sue; and for proof saith, That the City of London, nor any other person, hath any thing to do with the said Key, but the same is his proper Inheritance in Fee-simple, which he can make appear by Legal Conveyances ever since the Reign of King Henry the Eighth: An Abstract of the Title whereof, is hereunto annexed.

This the Prosecutors deny not; but they say, That Lion-Key hath al­waies been a noted and common place for landing and taking water.

To this the Defendant Replies, and will prove by hundreds of Witnes­ses, That Wharfige was always paid for every thing shipped or landed at Lion-Key, though it were but a small Basket that a man carried in his hand, and as much Wharfige as was ever paid at any private Key or Stairs in London.

2. That the Passage leading down to Lion-Key, was always locked up at nights, and upon Sundays and Holydays, and as often as any PRI­VATE KEY, or Wharf, or Stairs, between the Tower of London, and London-Bridge, was locked; and that before the New Gates were crected, which was about fourteen years past, there were other Anti­ent Gates to the said Key and Passage, which by computation were above one hundred years standing.

[Page 2] And if the locking up the Passage at such times, and the constant ta­king of Whatfige do not demonstrate the Reservation of the Proprie­ty and the Incommunity of the said Passage and Stairs, then there is no private or proper Key, or Wharf, or Stairs between the Tower and London-Bridge: For that it was never known in the memory of any man living, that ever any Wharfinger hindred any Person from Landing or Taking water at his Key or Wharf, it being the common courtesie of every Wharfinger in London, to suffer all Persons that will, to Land or Take water at their Wharfs gratis, and so they may yet do at Lion-Key when they please, though the Defendant hath his liberty whether to make Stairs or not upon his own ground, and where to make them: But all Wharfingers of private Keys receive from all persons Whar­fige for what Goods they Ship or Land at their Keys. And if this shall be construed to prejudice the propriety of the Owners, the conse­quence is, that the City may with as much Justice challenge for common Passages all the Wharfs in London; even those themselves have let Leases of, to the value of some thousand pounds peranum, and Indict the Pro­prietors for altering or lessening their own Stairs or Crains for their own conveniencies: And also all the ways through Vintner's Houses, who for the benefit of their Trades do make Passages through their Taverns; such as is now Mr. Wadlows, at the Sun in Bishops-gate-street, and Mr. Sawyers at the Popes-Head in St. Eliens, and such as was formerly Mr. Browns at the White-Horse, in [...] street, and many more be­fore as well as since the Fire, which, notwithstanding were not, nor ever could be, pretended COMMON PASSAGES, because they were locked up at nights by the Owners, being private Persons: Which the Kings High-ways are not. Nor is the Custome about Waies in all respects the same in London as it is in the Country:

3. All the COMMON-STAIRS are upon the Cities own ground; as Owners of the Soil, and not only so, but they are, and ever were, erected and repaired at the Cities charge; whereas these were al­ways erected and repaired at the charge of the Proprietor or Leffee; and for their own proper use and benefit.

4. The Defendant hath a large Record to produce out of one of the Courts of Equity, at Westminster, in the eighth Year of King James, wherein a Suit was Comenced by Information of Sir John Brograve Knight, the Kings Atturney General: Edward Jeffery being Relator to the said Sir John, wherein, the City was put upon it, to bring in their Claims and Proofs, what COMMON and OPEN PASSAGES, or Stairs, the Free-men of London had a Right to make use of between the Tower [Page 3] of London, and the Temple. And to this Interrogatory, divers witnesses then of great age, some above fourscore years, were sworn and ex­amined on behalf of the Citizens. All or most of whom in their De­positions, do in the Enumeration of the said FREE PASSAGES and Stairs, begin with Tower Dock, and so proceed West-ward as far as Little Sumers-Key, and then skip to the other side of London-Bridge to Church-yard Alley Stairs; and not any one of the witnesses do so much as mention Lion-Key or Stairs, (which never had any other name) though they omit not any other Stairs or Place between the Tower and the Temple-Stairs, that the City or Free-men of London ever did, or now do pretend to, except Lion-Key only, which the Prosecutors by crouding their private Interests under the Honourable name of the City, it seems would now screw from the Defendant by right or wrong.

5. There are several other Records exemplified now in the possession of private Citizens of London, which do recite all the COMMON STAIRS, and Passages which the Citizens and Free-men of London have anciently claimed a right unto, and not one of them doth so much as mention Lion-Key, or Stairs.

6. The City of London, who in all ages, hath been deservedly Famous for keeping exact Registers and Records of their Concern's in all re­spects, have no memory or account whatsoever to produce, to shew that they ever had or did pretend to any right of Passage, or Stairs, at Lion-Key, although they have of all others which they pretend to, and certainly would have had of this, had they had any right at all there­unto.

7. The Defendants Deeds of Purchase, and those by which it was for­merly bought and sold, do all mention Wharfige to be sold and con­veyed with Lion-Key.

The second Indictment is; for planking over the River of Thames eight foot, and erecting a Crain thereupon.

The Defendant pleads the general Issue, and for evidence is ready to prove hy divers credible Witnesses,

1. That in the manner it is done, it's no prejudice to the River being upon upright Posts, so that the water hath always a free course under the said planking.

2. That he hath not gone beyond the antient bounds▪ of his former Wharfe or Campshiot, but several posts of his antient bounds of the former Campshiot, or under Wharf, are yet standing, and were never re­moved, which are now the outermost posts or stakes of the said work into the River.

[Page 4] 3. That moreover he had the consent of the late Lord Mayor for what he did, who was pro illud Vice, under his Majesty, Conservator of the Ri­ver of Thames.

4. That for further certainty the Defendant petitioned the Kings most Excellent Majesty for his permission, who was pleased to Refer the consideration of the Defendants Petition to three of his Majesties own Surveyors, and the two City Surveyors, or any three of them, who were the proper Officers by Act of Parliament, for Regulating and Staking out all Buildings within London: Which said Surveyors made the follow­ing Certificate to his Majesty, upon sight of which Certificate, the said late Lord Mayor consented to the Defendants going forward with his Work, though he had before forbidden him.

To the KINGS most Excellent Majesty.

May it please Your Majesty:

IN Obedience to Your Majesties Command, (intimated unto us by Sir William Morris, upon Josiah Child's Petition) we have viewed the Petitioners Keys, and do humbly certifie Your Ma­jesty that we are of Opinion that the said Petioners Request for carrying out of Lion-Key with Plank, in the manner it is already done at Fresh-Wharf, is very reasonable, and will, as is alleadged in the Petition, make the said Keys range even to the River of Thames, and the Houses behind them; which we humbly conceive will be most uniform and decent.

Christopher Wren, Peter Mills, Rob. Hooke.

By what hath been alleadged on the Defendants part, and will be fully proved by very many Witnesses of great Age and Quality, as well emi­nent Citizens of London, as others, it appears the Defendant hath not onely done what Lawfully he might have done upon his own Inheritance, but hath proceeded with Caution, and all due Respect and Humility to­wards the Honourable City of London.

But that which is further manifest is, That what the Defendant hath done, he could not omit to do, without the apparent breach of an Act of Parliament, and the express Command of His Majesty Inrolled in the Exchequer.

For by Act of Parliament made in the Fourteenth Year of His Maje­sties [Page 5] Reign, among other things, it is Enacted, That the Kings Maiesty may by Commission under His Maiesties Seal of the Exchequer appoint such Persons as His Maiesty shall think fit, for the Assigning and Ap­pointing of all such and so many Open places to be Keys and Wharfs, as shall be meet for the Shipping and Landing of Goods; and settling all those Places by sufficient Meets, Limits, and Bounds. Which Com­mission, grounded on the aforesaid Act of Parliament, His Majesty did issue forth unto several Noble Men, Officers of the Customs, Gentlemen, Citizens, and Merchants, bearing date the 29th of March last past, and the said Commissioners did perfect the Return and Certificate of their proceedings on the 24th of May last, which said Certificate upon the 30 of August last, was commanded by his Majesty to be Inrolled in the Roll of Remembrances of the Nineteenth Year of His Majesties Reign, to the intent that the same might remain as a Law binding upon all persons concerned. And in the said Return and Certificate, the said Commis­sioners do declare in the fifth page of the Printed Copy thereof, That Lion-Key containing from East to West thirty six foot nine inches, and from the River of Thames Northward forty foot, be a FREE KEY for the Landing of Merchants Goods, but no Stairs as for­merly to be erected thereupon or thereunto. And in the eighth page of the said printed Copy, That Lion-Key being in length as afore­said, be enlarged into the Thames eight foot in breadth, to make it equal to the utmost [...] of [...]olph-Wharf, and that from thence­forth the general Wharf of forty foot to be left next the Thames, be reduced accordingly.

For further certainty wherein, the said Commissioners did with the approbation of the late Lord Mayor of the City of London, employ se­veral Artificers and Surveyors to stake out the Lines for building at the aforesaid distance of forty Foot from the River, for direction of all per­sons in laying their Foundations, and carrying on their work of Build­ing; and did likewise prescribe the Order and Form for Cranes. In exact conformity whereunto, the Defendant hath proceeded to the erecti­on of one double Crain, and divers large Ware-houses on Lion-Key afore­said, which cost him upwards of Two thousand Pounds, and in the same manner likewise, and in obedience to the same Authority, have all other Owners of Wharfs between London-Bridge, and Billings-gate already carried forth their Wharfs, with Planks, viz. Fresh-Wharf, Gaunt [...]-Key, and Summers-Key, and are now building their Ware-houses at the aforesaid distance, and according to the Lines staked [...]int­ment of his Majesties Commissioners aforesaid.

Another Argument which the Prosecutors make use of [...] [Page 6] own ends; is, ab incomodo, they say it is very inconvenient to the City, that the Stairs at Lion-Key should be taken away; though in truth the inconvenience be only to twelve or fourteen of themselves, whose Shops are near, or do adjoyn to the entrance thereof.

This Argument, if there were any thing in it of truth, avails nothing in Law or Equity, to divest the Defendant of his propriety. But it is so far from truth in respect to the City in general, that there is in re­ality, nothing in it but noise and clamour: For about fifteen Paces be­low the said Lion-Key, viz. at Little Summers-Key are a free pair of Stairs, which are the Cities own Stairs, and two pair more just below them at Billings-gate, besides which, the Lay-Stall at Billings-gate, be­ing now removed, there is a most convenient place for erecting of a decent useful pair of Stairs above twice as large as those formerly at Lion-Key; But then indeed, part of the Retail Trade of the Water-men will by reason of the said new erected Stairs, remove eight or ten Shops more East-ward in Thames-street; the fear whereof, is in truth the only cause of all this bustle, whatever else is pretended.

From all which, it evidently appears, that by this alteration the City of London will receive no Diminu­tion of Trade or Conveniencies: For that little Retail Trade which may be lost in one part, will be fully re­gained in another part of the same Street; Besides the greater advantage which will and doth already ac­crew to Merchants, in the Loading and Landing of Goods, by reason of that rational, useful, uniforme, and comely Order, in which all the Keys and Wharfs of London, are now most prudently established, by his Majesties Commissioners aforesaid.

An Abstract of the Title of LION-KEY, and the Ground and Premises there.

THe Premises were formerly in the time of King Henry the Eighth, King Edward the Sixth, and Queen Mary, belonging to Sir Tho­mas Myles, and after his Decease descended on six Daughters & Coheirs.

  • 1. Dame Katharine, first VVife of Sir Thomas Finch, and af­terwards of Nicholas St. Leger.
  • Husbands of the other five of the said Daughters.
    2. Thomas Kemp. 3. William Bury. 4. John Bury. 5. Johanna Lowen. 6. Thomas Reynolds.
Jan. 28. 5 Eliz.William Bury, and John Bury, and Johanna Lowen, and their Wives, by Deed indented and inrolled in the Hustings in London, bargain and sell their parts of the Premises to Edmomd Wiseman and his Heirs.
Feb. 15 [...]6 Eliz.Nicholas St. Leger and Dame Katharine his Wife, and Thomas Kemp and his Wife, by Deed indented sell their parts of the said Premises to Edmond Wise­man and his Heirs, and a Fine there upon Levied, Ed­mond Wiseman Querent, and Nicholas St. Leger and Katharine his Wife Deforceants.
Feb. 13. 36 Eliz.Thomas Reynolds and his Wife by Deed indented and inrolled in Chancery, bargain and sell his part of the said Premises to Edmond Wiseman and his Heirs, ano­ther Deed of Covenants of the same date.
June 3. 1603.Edmond Wiseman by Will in writing, devises all the Premises unto his Son Sir Charles Wiseman, and his Heirs.
April 13. 1647.Edmond Wiseman, Son and Heir of the said Sir Charles Wiseman, by Deed indented and inrolled in Chancery, bargains and sells the said Premises unto Am­brose Brumskel and his Heirs.
Apr. 15. 23 Car. 1Edmond Wiseman and Dulcibella his VVife, by Indenture do Covenant to levy a Fine of the Premises to the use of the said Ambrose Brumskell and his Heirs, and in Trinity Term following the said Fine was levied accordingly.
Nov. 9. 18 Car. 2.Ambrose Brumskell by Indenture of Bargain and Sale inrolled in Chancery, and other sufficient Assu­rances, conveys the Premises to Josiah Child, and his Heirs.

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