Charters of The House of Stuart
King James I. in 1604, gave a confirmation
of the charter, which seems to have been merely complimentary. The year following his majesty wished to nominate
a recorder, and by his letter to the mayor; aldermen and burgesses, dated Nov. 22nd. in the 3rd year of his reign,
required them to elect Hugh Mainwaring, "givinge us therebie a testimonie of your comformitie to any thing
yt is recommended from us to you." This unconstitutional demand of James was respectfully but firmly protested
against by the corporation of Chester ; in a spirited letter, which for the honour of the city deserves to be transmitted
To the King's moste excellent Majestie.
"Most dreade and most gracious Sov'igne. Jn obedience of yo'r Ma'ties letters to us addressed dated xxijth of November laste but delivered firste the tennth of this instant January for the electinge of Hughe Mainwairinge unto the office of Recorder, within this citie w'ch now is become voied by the death of our late Recorder the vjth of this month. Wee the Maior, Aldermen, aud Counsell of the said citie, unto whom the election belongeth assembled ourselfes together upon receipte of your Highness said letters. But forasmuch as by the said charter granted unto us by your noble progenitor Henrie vijth of blessed Memorie, and latelie confirmed by your Ma'tie, noe person is eligible to that office, excepte he be one of the xxiiij Aldermen, and none can be chosen an Alderman excepte be be first infranchised and made a free citizen amongeste us. Such the said Hughe Mainwaringe is not, nor ever came hither in person to desyre the same, but is a meere stranger to us and the state of this incorporation, for the observation of w'ch Chester and all other liberties granted to this Citie we have taken our corporate. oathes. Wee therefore your Ma'ties most humble and .loyall subjectes cannot without expresse breach of our oathes and infringinge of our liberties elect the said Hughe Maiuwairinge to be our Recorder; of wh'ch our juste excuse wee do most humbly beseeche your Ma'ties gracious acceptacon. And that your Highness will be pleased of your accustomed grace and clemencie to vouchsafe unto us our free election and to give us leave to make choise of a man to that office who is capable thereof by our Charter, whereof at this tyme there are div'se amongest us whoe are alreadie Aldermen of this Citie and such as have heretofore donne good service to this Corporation, and evrie waie fitt for the place both tr their learninge in the lawes, their knowledge and experience of our orders and liberties, and their sinceritie in the true religion. Aud wee your Ma'ties moste loyall subjectes accordinge to our most bounden duities doe and will always upon the Knees of our bartes praie to the Almightie God for the most happie and prosperous state of your most excellente Ma'tie longe raigne over us"
King Charles I. had substantial proof of the loyalty of the citizens of Chester, and the devotion of the corporation to his cause; he had frequent correspondence with the mayor, but he does not appear to have made any alteration in the local government, or to have passed any. act particularly affecting the city. From the unshaken fidelity and courageous loyalty which the corporation had evinced for king Charles, the parliament on September 17th, 1659, passed a vote to dissolve it and take away its charter. This, however, was in the February following, declared null and void.
Oliver Cromwell , as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, did by his letters patent, dated at Westminster,on the 23rd of June, 1658, grant to the mayor, aldermen, and citizens of Chester, and their successors, the hospital of St. John the Baptist, and all lands &c; there unto belonging, and ordered that Richard Minshull then mayor, and his successors in office, should be the masters and keepers of the said hospital for the time being. This charter is in English, highly ornamented, has a half length portrait of the protector, and is sealed with the great seat of the Commonwealth, on one side the armorial quarterings, supporters, motto, &c. and on the other an equestrian figure of Cromwell; the impression is remarkably well executed, and in the most perfect preservation.
King Charles II. in the 16th year of his reign, did confirm the charter of Henry VII. and renewed all the ancient rights of the city.
The same king Charles 11. did towards the latter end of his reign, cause an information to be filed against the corporation of Chester, in the nature of a - quo woarranto, with a view to procure by some means or other, either the absolute destruction of the corporation, or get the power of it into the hands of the crown; this design it appears succeeded, for the corporation suffered judgment to go by default, not appearing to defend themselves; their franchises were then seized into the king's hands, and in the term following there was a final judgment entered up against them by which they were ousted of the franchise of being the corporation of Chester. We do not give the particulars of this charter, inasmuch as it has been decided by the House of Lords to be void; but the main feature of it was to exclude certain civic officers who were opposed to the introduction of the Catholics, and for the exclusion of the Duke of York, afterwards James II. from the crown, giving the king further power of amoval, and giving to the select body the power of electing the mayor, sheriffs, aldermen, common-council; and all the officers, to the entire exclusion of the community.
King James II. in pursuance of the
power of removing corporate officers, according to the above charter of his brother, did by an order of council
made at the court of Windsor, on August 12th, 1688, amove all, or nearly all, the members of the corporation .
The same king did also by warrant, dated Windsor, 28th of August, 1688, direct his attorney-general to prepare a bill for incorporating the inhabitants of the city of Chester. And the same king did by his letters patent, bearing date 25th September, in the same year, incorporate the citizens and inhabitants, and appointed Sir Thomas Stanley, Bart. mayor; with all the other officers, of the city; which last charter, however, contained the same power of amoral by the crown, as that granted in the 37th of Charles 11. - James was soon after, though too late, convinced of the necessity of ingratiating himself with the people, in order to retain his falling throne, and he accordingly did on the 17th of October, in the said fourth year of his reign, issue "A proclamation for re-storing corporation to their ancient charters, liberties, rights, and franchises," and the said king did accordingly grant his letters patent, under the great seal of England, commonly called the charter of restitution, bearing date the 26th day of October, in the fourth year of his reign, as follows-
Know ye, that we have pardoned, remitted, released, and quitted claim, and by these presents - do wholly pardon, remit, release, and quit claim, to the mayor and citizens of our city of Chester, the judgements given against - the aforesaid citizens - in Hilary term, in the 35th and 36th years of the reign of our most dear brother Charles II. upon an information in the nature of a quo warranto, theretofore exhibited by Sir Robert Sawyer, Knight, attorney - general - before the king himself - at Westminster - and also all seizures and process thereupon had; and all and singular forfeitures, pains, and penalties, by the said citizens - by reason of the said judgements - also all and singular claims and demands of us, our heirs and successors, against any liberties, privileges, or franchises, by the said citizens-before the time-of rendering the said judgements , lawfully held or enjoyed - and farther, do restore and grant to them, the mayor and citizens of the city of Chester aforesaid, all and singular liberties, franchises, lands, tenements, rents, jurisdictions, hereditaments, &c. whatever, which to them in any wise appertained, at or before the time of rendering the said judgements ; and further, we do; for us, our heirs and successors, by these presents, constitute and restore to William Streete, Esq. (who was mayor of the city of Chester aforesaid, at the time of rendering the aforesaid judgments), the office of mayor of the city; also we constitute and restore Sir William Williams, Knight and Baronet, the office and place of recorder and alderman of the same city. And we constitute and restore to William, Earl of Derby, Thomas, Earl Rivers, Sir Thomas Grosvenor, Bart. Sir Peter Pindar, Bart. Roger Whitley, Esq. the said William Streete, Thomas Wilcox, Richard. Wright, Thomas Sympson, Henry Lloyd, William lnce, John Anderson, George Mainwaring, Peter Edwards, Nathaniel Williamson, William Wilson, Edward Oulton, and Hugh Starkey, gentlemen, (who were aldermen of the said city at the like time of rendering the said judgement ), the several and respective. offices of aldermen. And we constitute and restore to Robert Warren, the office of sheriff of the said city, to bold and exercise the same several respective offices and places, in such and as ample manner and form as before rendering the said judgement. And that the said mayor, recorder, aldermen and sheriffs, and the common council of the city aforesaid, shall chuse and cause to be chosen others in the places of aldermen sheriffs, and citizens of the common council aforesaid, now vacant within the said city, in such and the like manner and form as the aldermen, sheriffs and citizens of the said city of Chester, in the common council of the said city, at or before the time of rendering the said judgement, were elected. And also that they cause the citizens of the said city, to be assembled in the common hall of the said city, to make election, and 'do all things requisite and accustomed, and to be done in the usual manner, &c. &c. Given at Westminster,. the 26th of October. By the king himself.
in the 11th and 12th years of William and Mary, an act of parliament was passed, "to enable the mayor and citizens of Chester, to recover and preserve the navigation of the river Dee." In the 6th of Geo. II. another act was obtained for the same purpose, by which the undertaking was transferred to Nathaniel Kinderley ; and in the 14th of the same king, the like powers and privileges were invested in an incorporated company, now known by the appellation of the River Dee Company Other acts were subsequently granted;
Ormeroid's Chester Vol I 1882
June 23, 1658. Oliver Cromwell, lord protector, granted, by letters patent dated at Westminster, to the mayor, aldermen, and citizens of Chester, the hospital of St. John the Baptist without the Northgate, with all lands, &c. belonging to the same.
1659. The charter of the city was taken away by a vote of parliament and the corporation dissolved, but this vote was declared null and void on the 17th of Feb. 1659 - 60
16 Car. II. The king confirmed the charter of Henry VII .
In this reign, after a series of judicial proceedings, the corporation of Chester suffered judgment to go against them by default, and were finally deprived of their privileges by a judgment filed against them 36 Car. IL. In the next year, the king having thus seized the city franchise into his hands, granted a new charter bearing date at Westminster, Feb. 4, 37 Car. II. restoring the corporation, and regulating the elections of city officers, but excluding certain citizens, therein named, from being members of the corporation.. The same charter contained a power of amoval of the city officers, at the pleasure of the Crown, a permission to the mayor or recorder to appoint deputies, a grant to the city of a fair for cattle and horses on the last Thursday in February, a power for the corporation to make bye-laws for the regulation of the city, and to purchase lands notwithstanding the mortmain or other acts, and a grant to the city of the hospital of St. Giles in Spital Boughton, and of the reversion of the hospital of St. John without the North-gate.
By virtue of this charter the greater part of the corporation were displaced by James II. and a new charter of incorporation was afterwards granted by the same king in 1688, retaining the before -mentioned power of removing the city officers. In the same year however, by a new charter dated at Westminstcr, Oct. 4, 4 Jac. II. the king nullified all the previous measures of himself and his brother relative to this corporation, remitting the judgments given against them 35 and 36 Car. ii. restoring the liberties and franchises which they held at the time of the said judgments, and restoring also to the mayor and other members of the corporation the offices of which they had been deprived.