Charters of the House of Hanover
King George II did by an act in
the 26th year of reign, "For the stopping of a distemper in horned alter the day of the annual election of
mayor, - treasurers, coroners, and leave-lookers of the city of Chester, from the Friday next after the feast of
St. Dennis, the Friday next after every 20th of October, in order avoid the inconvenience which would arise to
the citizen from the alteration of the style bringing the ancient day of election into the fair week. Anno. 26
Geo. II. cap.' sect. 4.
In the second year of Geo. III. an important act was obtained for regulating the Police of the city, entitled "An Act for better regulating the poor, maintaining a nightly watch, lighting, paving, and cleansing the street rows, and passages, and providing fire engines and firemen, and regulating the hackney coachmen, chairman carters, and porters, within the city of Chester." The principal provisions of this act are the following : - it directs the incorporation of certain persons, to be by the parishes within the city, as guardians of the who with the mayor, recorder, and aldermen, being justices of the peace, were to be in name and fact, one body politic and corporate in law, and to have a perpetual succession and common seal, and be called the Guardians of the Poor within the city and county of Chester, &c. This act vested the Poor-house in the above guardians, from the first of May, 1762, for the term of ninety-nine years, subject to the payment of £90. per ann. to the mayor and citizens. The guardians are empowered to levy fines upon persons refusing to act as guardians after being duly elected; but no person liable to serve again as guardian within three years of his first election. They have power to hold a special court on giving two days notice, to be left at the usual place of abode of each guardian. Penalty for refusing to attend, or members departing without leave. Power to examine witnesses on oath. May purchase ground for building upon. Power to search for poor within the city, and compel them to go into the House of Industry. Property vested in the guardians, who may prosecute persons stealing or embezzling it, and levy a penalty on persons buying any of the goods, &c. Treasurers to give security. Officers to account on oath, in case of refusal to be committed. Rates to be collected by the church-wardens and overseers. Rates to be published in the churches, entered in books, and allowed by justices. Payment of rates refused, to be raised by distress and sale, for want of which the party to be committed. Penalty on church-wardens and overseers neglecting their duty. In case of insolvency of collectors, the rates to be made good by their respective parishes. On a refusal to pay over money when collected, the same may be levied by distress, for want of it the party to be committed. The books, papers, &c. may be inspected by any rated inhabitant. Guardians may contract for the care of the poor of other places. Persons employed by guardians not to gain settlements; nor bastards born of any woman under their care. A minister to be provided.
Commissioners to be elected for the regulation of Paving, and lighting, &c. Penalties to be levied on persons not removing nuisances or obstructions in the streets, rows, and passages, when ordered. Pavements and pipes may be broken to get water in cases of fire. Twenty-one commissioners may, as they find necessary, order any pavement, steps, &c. belonging to any individual or body corporate, to be repaired, amended, or wholly renewed at their own proper charge, in such manner and at such time as the said commissioners shall appoint 'In case of non-payment, any one justice may, upon proof of demand, by warrant, cause all such charges and sums of money to be levied by distress and sale, and for want of it commit such party to the common gaol, there to remain without bail, until payment. Commissioners to cause copies of all order and regulation for watchmen,; to be delivered to the constables. Watchmen have power to apprehend all disorderly persons, night-walkers, or other persons found idling or wandering about in the night time, and detain them in safe custody till they can be brought before the mayor and magistrates, who have' power to confine, whip, and keep to hard labour in the House of Correction, for thirty days, any reputed whore or common night-walker; or to publicly whip at the high cross in Chester. Any seven commissioners have A. power, from time to time, to set town and ascertain fares and prices to be paid by hackney coachmen, chairmen, carters, carmen, and porters, plying within liberties of the city; and for enforcing such regulations they have the power to fix penalties and levy by distress. The mayor to preside at all meetings, in his absence the recorder, and if neither be present, the senior justice of the peace, or in want of such justice, such one of the commissioners present as the major part of them shall appoint. Those not attending to be summoned, and in case of refusal, or departing without leave, to be fined. They may contract for lamps ; and also for any person to keep in repair the fire engines and other necessaries. Persons. damaging lamps, &c. to forfeit for the first offence £5. the second 10l . for the third 15l. to be levied by distress. Any person who shall throw or set fire to any squibs crackers, fireworks, &c, or fire any gunpowder, &c. or make, or assist to make any open fire or bonfire (except by order of the mayor and four justices) or shall carry about any open fire in any street, lane, row, &c. &c. and shall be convicted on the oath of one or more witnesses, shall forfeit and pay for every such separate offence, the sum of £10. Commissioners to raise money, and premises taxed by virtue of this act, to be rated according to the land-tax valuation, and the money to be raised in each ward to be collected by the collectors of the land-tax, and such preceding rate or assessment to be upon the tenants and occupiers of all property within the liberties of the city, so far as the commissioners or any seven of them shall direct. Collectors to be allowed two-pence in the pound for their trouble. Rates refused may be levied by distress, &c. Penalty on misconduct of collectors. Money lost to be made good by a fresh rate. Persons liable to a rate, and removing before it is collected, to be still liable. Commissioners may appoint officers, and allow them salaries. Bye laws may be revoked or altered. This act to be taken as a public act.
The above act, having been found in several respects, inadequate to its object, another was passed in the 43rd of Geo. Ill, to alter and amend the former one, the principal clauses of which are annexed. - Any seven of the commissioners enumerated may act, unless a larger number is specified as necessary. The mayor, recorder, and justices of the peace, also the dean and prebendaries for the time being, are qualified to act as commissioners; and no other person shall be qualified to act as commissioner, unless at the time of his acting he be seized or possessed, either in fee or for life, or for a term of not less than fourteen years, and be in actual possession of buildings, premises, &c. rated and assessed under this act, at the yearly value of £60. or upwards, unless such person shall be the actual occupier of some house, shop, &c. within the city or liberties, rated and assessed under this act at the yearly value of £20. or upwards. Any person acting as commissioner not qualified as above, shall for every such offence forfeit and pay the sum of 50l. to any person who shall inform or sue for the same. Commissioners to take an oath to act with impartiality . Not to act in any case in which they are personally interested. A general meeting of commissioners to be held the second Tuesday in April, in each yea; which shall be Called the General Annual Meeting of the commissioners; when an account of all monies received or paid by virtue of this act shall be produced, examined, and settled, being verified by oath, which any Commissioner is qualified to administer. Commissioners may order a rate or assessment to be made, by surveyors as often as they think requisite, which shall be signed by seven or more of the said commissioners, and shall not be deemed valid, unless so signed. Premises occupied by several persons, any one or more of them may be deemed liable to pay rates. John Fletcher, and John Bedward, appointed surveyors, with such salaries as the commissioners shall at some general meeting order. and direct; if in any case such surveyors differ in opinion, then Thomas Penson, of Wrexham, architect, is appointed to settle the difference between the said surveyors, who are to take an oath to act impartially. Houses under the yearly value of 3l. not to be rated, and no messuage, &c. to be rated higher than £70. except the Dee mills, which. shall not be rated at any greater value than 100l. No empty and unoccupied house, shop, &c. to be rated. Persons quitting premises before the assessments be paid, shall be liable. Agreements between any landlord and, tenant concerning payment of rates not to be affected by: this act. The commissioners may cause the names of streets, &c. to he painted in any conspicuous place, and if any person shall wilfully obliterate or deface the same, he shall on conviction, by the oath of one witness, forfeit any sum not exceeding 40s. nor less than 10s. "The owners and occupiers of houses and other buildings, within the liberties of the city, shall at their own costs and charges, within such time and in such manner as the said commissioners at their general annual meeting shall from. time to time by notice in writing, signed by their clerk, to be delivered to such owner or occupiers, or left at their respective dwelling-houses, direct and appoint, cause all steps, stairs, posts, pillars, and pillasters, pallisadoes, pales, and rails, poles, projecting windows, porches, spouts, shew-boards, stalls, cellar-windows, doors and grates, steps into cellars and vaults, and all other encroachments and annoyances whatsoever, belonging to their respective houses, buildings, or premises, and extending over or upon the streets, squares, lanes, alleys, passages and public places, or any part thereof, to be removed, altered, or reformed, and also to cause the water to be conveyed from the roofs , cornices, and penthouses of their respective houses, and other buildings by proper and sufficient pipes or trunks to be affixed to the sides of their respective houses or other buildings; and in case any such owner or occupier shall neglect or refuse so to do, it shall be lawful for the said commissioners to cause the same to be done at the costs and charges of any such owner or occupier, and the costs and charges attending the removal, alteration, or reformation of the same, to be ascertained and settled by the said commissioners, shall, in case the same be not paid on demand made by any person authorized by the said commissioners in that behalf, be levied by distress and sale of the goods and chattels of such owner or occupier, by warrant under the hands and seals of the said commissioners, or any two or more justices of the peace of the said city of Chester, (which warrant such commissioners or justices are hereby authorized to grant) rendering the over plus (if any) upon demand, to the person or persons whose goods and chattels shall have been so distrained and sold; and if the tenant or occupier of any such house or other building shall remove, alter, or reform, any such encroachment, obstruction, or annoyance as aforesaid, to the satisfaction of the said commissioners, it shall be lawful for him or her to deduct and retain the reasonable charge and expense thereof and also any money which shall or may have been levied upon his or her goods and chattels as aforesaid, out of his or her next payment of rent; and the owner, proprietor, or landlord of every such house or other building, is hereby requited to allow the same accordingly as a payment or part of payment of rent, as the case may be, and the same shall be good as such payment to all purposes whatever." Commissioners may raise money on mortgage of the rates, but it shall not exceed in the whole the sum of one thousand pounds. They may with consent of the mayor and citizen; make, repair, or cause to be opened in all or any of the streets such drains, sough; common sewers, and reservoirs as they shall think proper. "If any person shall trail or draw, or cause to be trailed or drawn upon, or along any of the said squares, streets, lanes, or public roads, within the said city, or the liberties thereof, any tree or piece of timber, or any stone, otherwise than upon wheel-carriages, or shall suffer any tree, &e. which shall be conveyed upon such wheel carriages to drag upon any part of the said squares, streets, lane; or public roads, within the said city; or shall bring any stoned horse or stallion into any of the squares, streets, lanes, roads, or public - passages aforesaid, or in the market-place, or places the same city, otherwise than for the purpose of passing through or along the same, or shall exhibit the same any of the places aforesaid; or shall suffer any butcher's blocks, huxter's standings, coach, chaise, wagon , cart or other carriage, wheelbarrow, trucks, timber, bricks, lime, stones, slate; hay, straw, wood, faggots, coal, tubs cask; crates, hampers goods, wares, or merchandise any other materials or things whatsoever, to be laid placed, nod left to remain in any of the said squares streets, lanes, roads, rows, public passages, or places, any longer time than shall be necessary for remote ' housing the same, or for the taking up or setting down, passengers, or persons going into or coming out of any stage coach, or for the loading or unloading of any waggon, cart, or other carriage; or shall cast or throw, or cause to be cast or thrown any broken glass or earthenware , ashes, rubbish, dust, dirt, dung, soap-less or any other nuisance, annoyance, or obstruction whatsoever into, or laid in any of the said squares streets rows, lanes, roads, public passages or places or shall
leave any cellar-doors open therein, or shall drive, draw, carry, or place in any of the rows, or on any of the footway's of any of the said squares, streets, city walls, lanes, ways, public passages or places, any cart, wheel-barrow, hand barrow, wheel-sledge, truck, or carriage, or wilfully ride, lead, or drive any horse or other beast or cattle therein or thereon; or shall cause any bull, bear, badger, or other beast, to be baited or worried in any of the streets, rows, or squares, within the said city, every person so offending shall for every such offence forfeit and pay any sum not exceeding five pounds, nor less than five shillings, to be recovered as after mentioned; and it shall also be lawful for any person or persons to seize and detain any such cart, carriage, wheelbarrow, or other matters, and also to impound any such horse, mare, mule, ass, swine, beast, or other cattle, in the common pound of the said city, or in such other place as shall be appointed by the said commissioners, and the same to detain in the said pound or places, until the penalty and the expenses of impounding, seizing, and detaining the same, shall be hilly paid and satisfied; and in case such penalty, and all expenses attending the levying thereof, shall not he paid within four days next after such seizure, or after such horse, mare, mule, ass, swine, beast, or other cattle, shall be so impounded, it shall be lawful for the person or persons, who shall be appointed by the said commissioners for that purpose, to sell, or cause to be sold, such horse, mare, mule, ass, swine, beast, cattle, or other things so distrained or seized, returning the overplus (if any be) to the owner thereof after such penalty, and the reasonable charges occasioned by such impounding, seizure, and distress, shall be deducted and paid." No person to be subject to any penalty on account of any building materials, &c. so that there be convenient room left for carriages to pass and re-pass, and the owner or occupier shall effectually inclose the same with posts and rails, and Set up, and maintain a light during the night time, to Prevent accidents, or mischief happening to passengers or cattle. Commissioners to appoint a time for the
removal of night soil, &c. Persons summoned to give evidence before the commissioners, liable to a penalty for refusal. Inhabitants declared competent witnesses and jurors, in all actions concerning the execution of this act. Penalties to be recovered with costs of conviction by distress and sale of the offenders' goods, and in case of deficiency the party may be committed to the common gaol, without bail, for any time not exceeding six calendar months, or until such penalty, together with the costs, shall have been filly paid. Of penalties recovered, one, moiety to go to the informer or informers, in such shares 'as the justices shall direct, and the other to the treasurer of the commissioners for the uses and purposes in this act mentioned. Charges of prosecution to be reimbursed Any person thinking himself aggrieved may appeal to the justices of the peace, at the General Quarter Session for the city, within the space of seven calender months next, after such cause of appeal shall have arisen. Proceedings not removable, nor to be quashed for want of form Commissioners and their officers allowed to plead the general issue, and give this act in evidence. No process: to issue against them unless previous notice shall have been given to such commissioners, clerk, &c. Tender of sufficient amends may be pleaded in bar to such action. Plaintiffs not to recover without proof of notice. Commissioners neglecting to give notice to be at liberty to pay money into court. No evidence to be given but what is mentioned in the notice. Nothing in this act to affect the powers of the General Turnpike Act, &c. Powers of the former act to extend to this. Declared to be a public act.
The royal assent was given to this act on the 27th of May, 1803.
The same king George III. did, in the 44th year of his reign, grant his letters patent, dated at Westminster, on the 7th day of November, to the mayor and citizens -. of Chester, in consequence of their petition, showing that. by the constitution of the magistracy of the said city, "the mayor and recorder only being justices of the quorum, great delays and inconveniences have arisen, and it is apprehended may hereafter arise, in the administration of justice, and particularly in the execution of the laws relating to the revenue and the poor, from the mayor and recorder of the said city for the time being, or either of them, being prevented by absence from the said city on account of illness, or any other reasonable cause, or by sickness, infirmity, or interest in any matter in question, from attending on or acting in the execution of the said offices of mayor and justices of the peace: and that it would be of great public utility to the said city, if the mayor for the time being were authorised to appoint a deputy, with power to execute the office of mayor in all things in the absence of the said mayor, for such cause as aforesaid; and that such deputy should be during his continuance in that office a justice of the peace of the quorum, in like manner as the mayor and recorder now are."
He, the same king George III. did give and grant to the mayor and citizens of Chester, and their successors for the time being, "that it shall and may be lawful to and for the mayor of the said city for the time being, to nominate and appoint from time to time, by any instrument or writing under his hand and seal, executed by him in the presence of , and attested by two or more credible witnesses, with the consent and approbation of any three of the aldermen of the said city, for the time being, testified by their signing the same, one of the aldermen of the said city, who shall have served the office of mayor; to be deputy of him the said mayor, and to execute and act in the said office of mayor in the place and stead of the said mayor for the time being, and also in any other office or offices which is, or are to be executed by the mayor for the time being, in the place and stead of such mayor in and over the said city of Chester and county of the same city, at such times only as the said mayor for the time being shall be absent from the said city, on account of sickness or other reasonable cause, or be prevented by sickness, infirmity, interest, or other legal cause from at-. tending on and executing the same office, which said person so to be nominated and appointed, shall have and exercise by himself and together with any other or others, as the case may require, all and every the powers and authorities, jurisdictions, offices, and functions, which by the constitution of the said corporation are vested in, or ought to be exercised by the said mayor for the time being, by himself or together with any other or others, or. as are vested in, or ought to be exercised by such mayor as exercising any other office within the said city, and county of the same. Provided always that such instrument of appointment shall be registered amongst the. proceedings of the crownmote and portmote courts of the said city, within fourteen days of the execution of the same. And that it shall not be lawful for any such deputy to act under such appointment until such registration as aforesaid, and until he shall have taken an oath duly and impartially to execute the same according' to the best of his skill and knowledge, which oath shall and may be administered by the mayor or two of the aldermen of the said city for the time being. And all acts, matters, and things, done and executed by the person so to be nominated and appointed as aforesaid, by himself or together with any other or others as the case may require, shall be as valid and effectual in the law to all intents and purposes whatsoever, as if the same bad been. done and executed by the mayor of the said city for the time being, named, chosen, and appointed as heretofore accustomed. And that every such deputy so to be nominated and appointed as aforesaid, shall during his continuance of the said office of deputy, be and be held, deemed , and taken to be a justice of the peace of us, our heirs and -successors, of the quorum within the said city and county of the same, with such and the like powers, jurisdictions, and authorities, in all respects and of what nature so ever, and whether the same are to be executed together with any other person or persons or otherwise, as are vested in the said mayor and recorder, as justices of the peace of the quorum, and' which they or either of them can or may exercise by themselves or himself or together with any other person or persons by virtue thereof. And our will and pleasure is, that every such appointment shall continue in force during such time as the person who shall have made and executed the same as aforesaid, shall continue in the said office of mayor, or until the same shall be revoked by instrument in writing as hereinafter mentioned. Provided always, and our will and pleasure is, that these our letters patent shall extend and be construed to extend to authorize and empower such person so to be nominated and appointed by the mayor of the said city for the time being as aforesaid, to exercise or execute all or any of the said offices, powers, authorities, jurisdictions, and functions hereby granted to, or vested in him, or which he is hereby authorised and empowered to exercise and execute either in the place and stead of the said mayor for the time being, or as a justice of the peace of us, our heirs and successors, of the quorum, within the said city, and county of the same, in such cases and at such times only as the said mayor for the time being, shall be absent from the said city, on account of sickness or other reasonable cause, or be prevented by sickness, infirmity, interest, or other legal cause, from attending on and executing the same. Provided also, that it shall and maybe lawful for the said mayor, for the time being, to revoke any such appointment by instrument or writing, under his hand or seal, executed by him in the presence of, and attested by two credible witnesses as he shall see occasion, such instrument of revocation being registered amongst the proceedings of the crownmote and portmote courts of the said city, within fourteen days after the execution thereof."
In addition to these charters, it must be mentioned that the police of the city is regulated by two acts of parliament passed severally 2 and 43 Geo. III . By another act 26 Geo. II. the day of the election of city officers was altered from the Friday next after the feast of St. Dennis to the Friday next after the 20th of October. Other acts of ii and 12 Will. III. 6, 14, 17, arid 26 Geo. II. [and 15; & 16Vict.] relating to the navigation of the Dee, will be found noticed among the general introductory matter.
By the charter of king Henry VIII. Chester again received the see of a bishop within its walls; and shortly after this by act of parliament, 34 and 35 Hen. VIII. the city obtained the privilege of electing two burgesses, as its representatives in the English parliament.
The present arms were granted Sept. 3, 1580, by William Flower, Norroy. They are party per pale, composed of the dexter half of the coat of England, " Gules, three lions passant guardant Or," and the sinister half of the coat of Blundeville earl of Chester, " Azure, three garbs Or." The crest is, On a wreath Or, Gules, and Azure, over a royal helmet, a sword of state erect, with the point upwards, scabbard Sable, pommel and hilt Or, appendant thereto a belt Sable, buckled Or. Supporters, on the dexter side, a lion rampant Or, ducally gorged Or Argent ,on the sinister, a wolf Argent, ducally gorged Or
The grant mentions the antiquity of the city, and its many privileges and immunities, but states that the antient arms were nearly lost by time and negligence, and that the coat which the citizens claimed was deficient in crest and supporters
The city is now regulated by the general Act of 5 & 6 Will. IV.. cap. y6, called tile Municipal Corporation Act, by which so much of its laws, statutes, and usages, charters, grants, and letters - patent as were inconsistent with that Act, were repealed. These included the Acts of 2 and 43 Geo. III. But the new Act reserves the common lands and public stock held for the benefit of the citizens and freemen, and their widows or kindred, and abolishes the acquisition of freedom by gift or purchase, but reserves to freemen the parliamentary franchise. It was also enacted that the style of the Corporation should be The Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of Chester ; " and, in effect, that the municipal boundaries should be co-extensive with the parliamentary.
The general parliamentary Reform Act of 2 & 3 Will. IV. brought Chester under its provisions ; and a subsequent statute of the same session of Parliament cap. 64) greatly enlarged the old parliamentary boundaries of the city."
By the final general Act of 30 & 31 Vict. cap. 102, for the representation of the People," the franchise was greatly' extended ; and in the year following, the parliamentary boundaries were still further enlarged by the Act of 31 & 32 Vict. calp. 46
The Corporation of the City now consists of ten Alderman and thirty Common Councillors. The officers are a Mayor, a Recorder, a Sheriff, a Coroner, and a Treasurer - the offices of Murrenger and Leave-looker being abolished on the passing of the Municipal Corporation Act.
The Recorder is now the sole judge of the Pentice and Portmote Courts. Sentence of death is no longer passed by the Recorder ...................