William Holloway.

The history and antiquities of the ancient town and port of Rye, in the county of Sussex. With incidental notices of the Cinque Ports online

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Online LibraryWilliam HollowayThe history and antiquities of the ancient town and port of Rye, in the county of Sussex. With incidental notices of the Cinque Ports → online text (page 42 of 66)
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to those arising from other sources, and recommence our re-
searches in the year 1762, when the Brickwell Field was leased
to the churchwardens and overseers of the parish, for them to
build a pest-house on, at the annual rent of '31. for the space of
ninety-nine years. This is the spot where Mr. Curteis's cot-
tage now stands, in a garden near Queen Elizabeth's Well, and
which, from this well having been bricked round, obtained the
name. of Brickwell Field. It contained one acre, more or less,
and was at that time let to Mr. William Cuckow, who was an
apothecary in the town, and whose lease had tao years to run,
at a rent of '21. 5s. a-year.

The town dues were let as under, viz. :

s. d.

In 17fi2, at, per annum - 86

1764, do. - 73

1765, do. - - 76 10
1767, do. 71
1760, do. - 74
1771, from June 1st to Jan. 1st, 1772 31



This branch of revenue seems now to have fallen off consider-
ably ; this sum of 3 1 /. for seven months only giving an average
of about 53/. a-year, or 201. less than at the former letting ; and
when this last hiring expired, Thomas Cooke was employed to
collect the dues, on a commission of two shillings and sixpence
in the pound. In the following year he only received one shilling
and sixpence poundage. We may conclude that some parties
refused to pay their droits or dues ; and this would account for
the difficulty the corporation had in finding a tenant for them,
as in 1776 it was resolved to bring an action against any person
refusing to pay the same.

From Jan. 1772, toDec. 25th, 178 1, the same Thomas Cooke
continued to collect the dues at two shillings and sixpence in
the pound (excepting one year, when he only received one shilling
and sixpence). At this latter period they were let at the very
low annual rent of eighteen guineas.

s. d.

In 1782 they were let at only 990

1783 '25

1785 - 25

1786 46

1787 - 56

1788 - 5

In 1790 we again find an opposition to the payment of the
dues, and then we find the lease abandoned, and a receiver ap-
pointed, who, down to 1800, received two shillings and sixpence
in the pound for collection, and afterwards three shillings ; and
this system contined down to the year 1812, when the corpora-
tion being nonsuited in their trial at Lewes, the dues were en-
tirely abandoned." From 1789 to 1812 they were never let to
any tenant.

The fish and fruit farm, which was neither more nor less
than the tolls on the market, originally held twice a-w r eek
under the Court-hall, for fish, fruit, poultry, &c, were let as
under, viz. :

s. rf.

In 1762, at, per annum - 700

1763 - 800

1764 - - 4 15

1765 - - 550

1766 - 6

1767 - 600

1768 - - 6 12 6

1769 - - 600

This item of revenue fell off so much at this time that, for the
three following years, no one would hire it ; and in 1772 it was
only let for the trifling sum of 21. 2s.


*. (1,

In 1773 it let for only - 1 10 o

1714 1 10

1775 - 1 15

1770 400

1777 - 450

J778 3 17

17SO - 350

1781 - 6 11

1782 - 450

1783 4 1

1784 376

1785 - 3 3

1786 220

1787 . 2 10

1788 350

1789 - 350

From 1790 down to 1804 these dues or tolls were collected
with the town dues by the chamberlain, and after this date
they were given to the clerks of the market, who shared the
profits between them till the year 1833, when they were let by
public auction, on which occasion they fetched 241. ; but they
soon fell from this price down to 8/. at which they have since
remained, scarcely remunerating the tenant for his, trouble.

Thus this branch of the revenue, which in 1699 let at twenty
guineas a year, has gradually fallen off, until it is become, in the
present day, of scarcely any value at all.

In 1740 the ferry and lights were let at 3/. a-year ; but after
that time the rent seems to have ceased, and we find that the
corporation paid a certain yearly stipend to some one to look
after the lights, buoys, and beacons. In December, 1745, we
see this entry : " The ferry, lights, buoys, and beacons were
offered to be let ; but no person appearing to hire the same, it
was postponed to the next assembly." At the next assembly
it is said, " The ferry, lights, buoys, beacons, and poles are let
to Mr. James Lamb for one year from Christmas next, for
which he is to be allowed the sum of 9/. under the same cove-
nants as in the former lease, and to give security as usual. The
number of buoys in the channel to be five."

This sum varies, going down to 61. in some years, while in
1771 the chamberlain was ordered to pay Richard Curd, for
looking after the ferry, &c. for one year, 14/.

s. d.

In 1776 this payment was raised as bigb as 18

1786 20

1788 - 21

1791 it was reduced to 10 10

1792 - 10
1703 19
1795 21
179B 22
1800 - - - 23


In 1802 the same sum was paid, and here the entries cease
altogether, in consequence, we suppose, of the harbour having
been put into a regular commission, and henceforth managed by
that body. The change which took place shortly after the year
1740 may be accounted for by the very bad state into which
the old harbour had then fallen, and which had occasioned the
application to Parliament for an act to enable the town to
make the new harbour in 1724, and which was in operation at
the period above specified.

From 1763 to 1765. . rf.

Disbursements - 558 12 1

Receipts 552 5 9

Balance, Dr. 664

Annual average, -229 Os.

In 1766 the corporation borrowed 150/.

In 1768 the town clerk's salary was raised to Wl. 13*. 4d. ;
and the chamberlain's to 51.

As a proof of their want of money at this time, we may ob-
serve that the tenants of the Small Box and Fish and Fruit
farms were, in 1769, to be allowed five per cent, discount on
prompt payment of their rents ; but though thus needy them-
selves, they gave ten guineas towards the repairs of the harbour
at Broadstairs.

In 1770 we find a very singular transaction, which is this :
the new harbour was now in progress, and money was required
to complete it, when the corporation undertook to lend the com-
missioners the sum of 1000/. ; but not having money of their
own, they actually borrowed this sum for the purpose. The
rate of interest was the same on both sides, viz. four per cent,
per annum ; and we can only account for it on the supposition
that the corporation felt a deep interest in the harbour, and that
their credit was greater than that of the harbour commissioners,
and people would lend to them when they would not trust the

In the following year they borrowed 200/. on their own

From 1769 to 1771. *. d.

Disbursements - 661 18 11

Receipts 656 8 3

Balance, Dr. 510 8

Average annual income - 328 4 1 J

Deduct half 200/. borrowed - 1 00

228 4 J \

This agrees with the average previously quoted from 1763 to


1765, and therefore may be fairly assumed as the real annual
income at that time.

Among their items of expenditure were the following : sala-
ries of the town clerk, chamberlain, and other officers ; pound-
age on collecting town dues and market tolls ; interest of money
borrowed ; the average expense of water-works for ten years,
amounting to 551. 15s. 8r/.

In 1773 further orders were issued that no leases for the
future should be granted of the Salts to any but freemen.

In 1774, the corporation being nearly 200/. in debt, orders
are given to borrow 250/. at four per cent, per annum.

In September, 1775 the sum of 200/. is ordered to be bor-
rowed ; but whether this is besides the former 250/. does not

1773 to 1775. s. d.

Payments - 1434 16 4

Receipts . 1403 14 5

Balance, Dr. .n 1 11

These receipts must include a good deal of borrowed money,
otherwise we cannot account for the great increase.

The corporate body does not seem to have set any value on
the old maxim, " You must be just before you are generous ;" for
while borrowing money with one hand, they gave away with the
other. On December 20th, 1775, they give ten guineas to the
American loyalists, and borrow 100/. to pay off another debt.

17 75 to 1777. s. d.

Receipts - - 13J7 15 8

Disbursements - - 1310 9 4

Balance, Cr. 164

1777 to 1778.

Receipts' - 437 9

Payments 407 4 5

Balance, Cr. 29 16 4

In 1779 the corporation gave thirty guineas towards defray-
ing the expense of raising a corps of volunteers, consisting of
five companies of seventy men each, while the inhabitants sub-
scribed 8-47. 10.9. 6d., making in the whole 1161. Os. Gd. The
lord warden paid a bounty of seven, and the town of Rye of
five, guineas to each volunteer ; the number allotted to the town
was eighteen, the charge for which was 90 guineas, so that the
subscription more than covered the expense.

1778 to 1779. s. d.

Disbursements - 351 19 9

Receipts 2)0 16 5

Balance, Dr


To meet this deficit it was ordered that money should be

1778 to 1779. * d.

Disbursements - - 351 19 9

Receipts - 210 16 5

Balance, Dr. - 141 3 4

December 1 1th, 1783. It was ordered that the sum of 14/.
be allowed to Mr. Richard Pollard, the chamberlain, which he had
expended in building a wharf on the eastern part of the Salt
Marsh lands belonging to this corporation. This wharf is still
remaining, and is known by the name of Pollard's Wharf.
When first erected it was of much more use than at present, as
then it was the principal quay for unloading of vessels.

From 1780 to 1783. *. d.

Disbursements - 1472 16 7

Receipts - 1336 10 10

Balance, Dr. 136 5 9

Average of one year, 455/. 10*. 3d.

In 1784 the corporation expended 451. 7s. 6d. in rebuilding
the almshouses at Land-gate.

In this same year they borrowed money to pay off former
sums taken up, and yet at the same time, in the midst of their
poverty, they presented the Rev. Peter Collett with a gown
and cassock, as a compliment to him for his many years' resi-
dence in, and services to the corporation, and for his attending
the prisoners a great many times in the gaol.

1783 to 1785. s. d.

Payments - 786 1 4

Receipts - - 628 18

Balance, Dr. - 157 3 4

For this balance the chamberlain was to be allowed five per
cent, per annum until paid. Of this officer they had borrowed
200/. the previous year.

In 1785 four guineas were paid for the erection of a building
or shed in the Gun-garden, on the same spot, we suppose, as
that on which one is now standing, forming a look-out for sailors
and others interested in the maritime affairs of the town.

In 1786 an order was issued that no one should dig or carry
away any sleech from the corporation lands without leave, and
then only on the following terms :

Each freeman to pay, per waggon-load, twopence.
Do. do. per cart-load, one penny.

Every other person, not a freeman, to pay doable.


In 1788 the corporation very considerately ordered a shed to
be erected near the Gun-garden Rocks, as a place of shelter to
the fishermen in wet or bad weather.

From 1785 to 1789. *. d.

Disbursements - 10*2 15 11

Receipts - 773 12 8

Balance, Dr. 309 3 3

Here we have the yearly receipts 193/. 18s. 2J. only.

In 1762 the Brickwell Field (as already mentioned) was let
for ninety-nine years to the parish, to build a pest-house on.
Some time between this year and 1791 the lease seems to have
been transferred to Thomas Phillipps Lamb, Esq., who then
obtained full possession of it by giving the corporation, in ex-
change a messuage, garden, and piece of land in the Gun-
garden. This was the spot on which the poor-house was after-
wards erected.

In 1794 the corporation purchased certain warehouses at the
Strand, of Mr. Procter, for the sum of 900/., for which they were
to pay interest (until the debt was liquidated). And they or-
dered 1000/. to be borrowed to pay it off.

This body seems now to have been overwhelmed with debts ;
for we see nothing but orders for raising sums of money to pay
off old debts borrowing with one hand to pay with the other.

s. d.

1794, July 2d. Order to borrow 300
Aug. 23d. Borrowed - 500
1798, Jan. 23d. Mr. Procter and Miss Slade de-
manded payment of - 1200
April 22d. Borrowed 500

1797, Nov. 27th. Order to borrow, to pay off an-

other debt of 500/. - 600

1798, Oct. 8th. The warehouses in the Strand

sold for - 620

Enough, we presume, is here recorded to show the disastrous
state of the finances of the town, without going into further

From 1797 to 1798 s. d.

Receipts 446 12 1

Payments - 436 16 10

Balance, Cr. 9 15 3

1801 to 1802.

Receipt* 389 4 9

Payments - 80 6 1

Balance, Cr. 8 18 8


1802 to 1803 *. d.

Receipts - 425 8

Payments - 429 2 1

Balance, Dr. - 3 12 5

1804 to 1805.

Receipts - - 425 14 5

Payments - 413 9 10

Balance, Cr. 1-2 4 7

The above receipts show an annual revenue of about 400/., or
rather more; but from 1813 to 1816 of only 134/. 14s. 4rf.

* d.

The receipts having been - 404 3 1

Disbursements - - 371 6 4

Balance, Cr. 32 16 9

a difference so great we cannot account for.

To bring this part to a close, we will give the financial state
of the borough at the present time, that is, for the year ending
August 31st, 1843.

s. d.

Annual rents of marsh lands - - 455 10

Do. ground rents 1.54 10

Do. water laid on to houses - 32

Annual revenue - U42


Annual interest payable on mortgage debts - 196 14 6

Working up water into the town 31 40

Land-tax - - 14 15 9

Insurance - - 136

Police-officers' salaries - - 26 19

Borough officers' do. (treasurer, &c.) 62 4 3

Gas lights - - 22 10

Mr. Charles Thomas's compensation 580

Scots on marsh land - - 1 7 13

Mrs. Horsefield's charity - - 400

382 12

Balance, Cr. 259 8
To which must be added a borough rate of 6d.

in the pound, producing - - 170

429 8

And this goes to meet the incidental expenses ; such as trades-
men's bills, labour, &c.

The whole amount of mortgages owing by the borough is
4188/. 12 5 . 2d.

Interest on 29 18 2 6, at 5 per cent. 145 18 1
Do. on 1270 9 8, at 4 per cent. 50 16 5

Principal 4188 12 2 Interest 196 14 7



Of these mortgages we may observe that the one held by the
harbour cannot be considered as any incumbrance, as the rents
accruing from the North and Town Salts, over which it runs,
far exceed the interest, which is only 50/. 16s. 5d , while the
rents are 209/., leaving a balance in favour of the borough of no
less than 158/. 3s. Id., which more than covers the interest of
all the other mortgages ; and seeing that the finances are thus
prosperous, we may reasonably hope the town will, ere long,
reap the advantage of this position, either by the abolition of
the borough rate, or in some useful and ornamental public
works, which, improving its general aspect, may invite an influx
of industrious and wealthy inhabitants, and thus tend to pro-
mote the general interest and prosperity of the ancient town
of Rye.

A Statement of all Moneys received and expended on account of the Mayor, Alder-
men, and Burgesses of the Borough of Rye, in the County of Sussex, from the
31st August, 1845, to and inclusive of the 31st August, 1810.


Rents of lands and houses
Dues for water
Borough and district rates
Fines on convictions

Rye, Oth Nov. 1816.

*. d.



600 8J

Balance to treasurer - 15 1



Salaries 100 5


258 11

Pensions and allowance to

1 1-2

municipal officers - 58


Rates and taxes - 16 18


Insurance - 13

Police and constables 52 17

Lighting - - 27

Working water to town 58

Prosecutions - 48 2


Gaol expenses - 18 1 1


Maintenance of prisoners, va-

grants ; county expenses 30 10

Coroner 10 8


Repairs of corporate buildings

and premises - 47 7


Charity - 40

Preparing and printing burgess

lists, &c. - 714

Stationery 5 15


Law expenses - 47 7

Interest paid ] 25

Miscellaneous - 22 16


184t>. Aug. 31.

Balance in hand of treasurer 04 4


774 11 2i

774 11

- J

J. VJDLER, Mayor.

JOHN TYRRELL, j Audltors '

H. E. PAINE, Mayor's Auditor.





THE earliest public charity in the corporation of Rye was
that of Saint Bartholomew's Hospital, which was erected for
the support of decayed freemen and their wives, or, at all
events, for women as well as men, for the fifty-ninth article
of the Customal says, "and in the said hospital be both
brothers and sisters, sometimes more, sometimes less." None
were to be admitted without the consent of the mayor and
commonalty, as appears from these words in the same article :
" Neither brothers nor sisters shall be admitted into the said
hospital without it be by assent of the mayors and of the com-
mons." It was also further ordered that "the rules and
statutes of the said hospital be read before the brethren and
sistern, which shall be accepted and received before that he be

The hospital was under the immediate superintendence of a
chaplain, for the article says, " the mayor of Rye and jurats,
forthwith the commonalty, shall have the nomination of the
chaplain, which is called the Gustos of the Hospital of Saint
Bartholomew, besides Rye, which said chaplain, his name, in
time of peace, shall be sent unto the Abbot of Fyscamp ; and,
in time of war, unto the Lord Chancellor of England, and by
one of them he shall be presented unto the Bishop of Chi-
chester, and by him he shall have institution ; and also the
mayor of Rye shall take account of the said chaplain of Saint
Bartholomew four times in the year, if he will." From this
it appears that the mayor and commons nominated the custos
when his name was submitted either to the Abbot of Fyscamp
or the Lord Chancellor of England for his approval ; if ap-
proved of, then the Bishop of Chichester was to institute him
in his office. The abbot or the chancellor, on sufficient reasons,
might reject the mayor's nominee, but they could not nomi-
nate a chaplain themselves.

The object of the hospital is more fully set forth in the


sixtieth article of the Customal, which says, "the mayor may,
by the assent of the jurats, when he findeth, amongst his com-
mons, man or woman which hath competently borne charges
with them in their time for the welfare of the town, and they
be now impoverished and impotent, decayed of their goods
and chattels, and little goods have to live with, he may put
the good man or woman unto the hospital to take their sus-
tenance among the brethren and sistern of the said hospital,
without anything paying for it unto the said hospital. And
the mayor and jurats shall have the keeping of the seal of the
said hospital, so that the brethren and sistern of the said
hospital shall nothing sell or diminish, without it be by assent
of the mayor and jurats."

At what exact time the hospital was founded we have seen
no record to inform us ; but that it was at a very early period,
either in or before the reign of Edward the Confessor, is ap-
parent from the fact that this monarch gave the town of Rye
to the Abbot of Fyscamp in Normandy, and this ecclesiastic
had to confirm the Gustos, who was nominated by the mayor,
a power which he obtained from Edward by this donation.

This charity must have fallen into decay at a very early
period, for Jeake makes no mention of it, nor is there any
tradition among the inhabitants, as to the spot on which it
stood. We sought a long time in vain for the site, though we
had an idea that it stood without the town to the northward,
on the west side of the road leading up Rye Hill, just within
the bounds of the corporation, and this idea has now been
confirmed by the following words in the document by which
Henry III, in the year 1246, resumed the town into his own
hands, where, speaking of the boundaries of Rye, it says,
" Sicut regale chiminum se extendit usque ad scaleram que
est super feod. Bricii Palmarii et a dicta scalera per quandam
semitam usque ad terram Hospitalis Sancti Bartholomei et
inde versus occidentalem in longitudine terrae dictae Hospitalis
usque Dodeswell." Which we have before Englished thus :
" As far as the King's Road runs to the steps which are on the
lands of Brice Palmer, and from the said steps through a
certain footpath, until you come to the land of the Hospital of
St. Bartholomew, and thence towards the west through the
whole length of the land of the said hospital as far as Dodeswell."
Assuming Dodeswell to be the present Queen Elizabeth's Well,
and for the truth of which we conceive we have given good
grounds in a former part, then the land of St. Bartholomew's
Hospital must have been on the north side of a line drawn from
the present road near Mountfield upper gate to Queen Eliza-
beth's Well, and thus indicates the spot we have alluded to,


extending from the present Deadman's lane, northward, paral-
lel with the turnpike-road, to the bound- stone of the corpora-
tion, near which is a well which was formerly open, but many
years back a poor unfortunate negro was found dead in it,
after which it was covered over. It is still in existence, having
a good spring of water, which a few years ago was conveyed
by a pipe across the road to a cistern for the convenience of
watering horses, and which is never dry in the hottest summers.
This well we suppose to have belonged to the hospital, and the
grounds which surrounded it must have been about eleven
acres. The lower field now bears the name of the King Field,
but whether this be indicative of some monarch's endowment
of the hospital we will not take upon ourselves to say. The
upper one is called Well Field.

St. Bartholomew seems to be held in high estimation by the
Cinque Ports ; for there was an hospital at Hythe and another
at Sandwich dedicated to him, while, besides honouring him
by giving his name to their hospital, the Barons of Rye always
elected their mayor every year on the Sunday next after the
Feast of St. Bartholomew the Apostle. But the glory of this
saint has now departed from the town of Rye ; the site of his
hospital is with difficulty traced out, and the Municipal Cor-
poration Bill, by fixing the 9th of November as the day for
electing the mayor, has blotted his name out of the records of
the town.

To those who love to give wings to their imagination and
to sport in the regions of antiquity, it may be gratifying to
believe that the tall elms, which grow on either side of Dead-
man's lane, may be the offsprings of some which, in the thir-
teenth century, formed the southern boundary of the lands of
the hospital of St. Bartholomew.

We venture to place the date of the last-named charity some
time in the eleventh century, and the next we shall mention
belongs to the sixteenth, and though this does not relate
directly and entirely to Rye, yet, as this town is indirectly
benefited, and, moreover, as the donor was an inhabitant of
the place, we shall not hesitate to insert it here.

In the year 1526, James Wilford, a rippier of Rye, left an
annuity of 11. to be laid out in repairing the ruinous part of
the high road between River Hill, in the county of Kent, and
Northiam Church, in the county of Sussex. The annuity was
purchased of the Merchant Tailors' Company, and, after the
death of his executors and relations of the name of Wilford,
was to be vested in the parson and churchwardens of Rye ;
but, in case they should neglect their duty, then in the parson


and churchwardens of Northiam, and, on their neglect, in the
parson and churchwardens of Newenden, in Kent. The vicar
and churchwardens of Rye lost the management of the money,
but at what time is uncertain. The rector and churchwardens
of Northiam received the annuity down to Midsummer, 1799,
when it passed into the hands of the rector and churchwardens
of Newenden. In 1804 the Company of Merchant Tailors
refused to pay the money any longer, until they knew to whom
they legally ought to pay it. No application was made for the
arrears until 1819, when a petition, signed by the church-
wardens and other inhabitants of Northiam, Rye, and New-
enden, was presented to the company, praying them for the
future to pay the money to the vicar and churchwardens of

Online LibraryWilliam HollowayThe history and antiquities of the ancient town and port of Rye, in the county of Sussex. With incidental notices of the Cinque Ports → online text (page 42 of 66)