Self-determination and the London Transport Workers in the Century of Revolution

Christopher O'Riordan
© the author 1992, 2001

The Thames Watermen
The Street or Ticket Porters
The Tacklehouse Porters
The Billingsgate Porters
The Carmen or Carters
Tentative Conclusion
Notes (individually linked in text)
Appendix: watermen biographies

During the first half of the seventeenth century the transport workers of London and the Thames Valley struggled to establish more representative forms of government in their work organizations. These struggles culminated during the mid-century English Revolution, and achieved varying but significant degrees of success. The ranks and files broke away from their ruling elites and established measures of elective representation. Their achievements were, in many cases, long-lasting. This was in marked contrast to the few, limited and transient successes of the contemporary democracy movements in the gilds of handicraftsmen and traders. [1]

     The companies of the transport workers had been formed in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The great and growing population and trade of London and the Thames Valley in this period provided employment opportunities for large numbers of watermen, porters and carters. Parliament and the London government became concerned to introduce order into these great and potentially unruly workforces. The Thames watermen, tacklehouse and street porters, Billingsgate porters and the carmen or carters were therefore formed into organizations, variously called companies, societies or fellowships. These companies were modelled on the gilds of the skilled traders and craftsmen. They had regulations governing the conduct of their members' trade, and rulers were appointed to run them. Unlike the gilds, however, these bodies were strictly subordinated to the government of London. They were not even theoretically democratic; their rulers were appointed from year to year by the London government. But like the gilds the rulers came from among the ablest, and often the most well-to-do, members of their trade or, in the cases of the street porters and carmen, of a more 'elitist' trade (the tacklehouse porters and woodmongers respectively).

     The transport workers opposed the domination of these unchosen elites, whose 'incompetence' and 'corruption' they conventionally blamed for their poverty. During the earlier seventeenth century they organized campaigns for more representative governments. With the meeting of the Long Parliament in November 1640 and the ensuing 'constitutional revolution' of 1640-2 they found new opportunities to advance toward their goals. On the one hand the breakdown of traditional law-giving bodies such as the privy council made it easier for the ranks and files to break away from the authority of their oligarchies. On the other hand the revolutionary authorities themselves, perhaps partly from a desire to have popular support in their political struggles, became more open to reformist aspirations. The new parliament acted as a court of appeal for those petitioning against grievances and for reforms; the introduction of a reformatory bill to parliament often became an excuse for the applicants' taking matters into their own hands. Also, the city government underwent its own 'democratic' reform in 1642, [2] and this may have made it less averse to acceding to popular demands.

The Thames Watermen

There is more information available about the watermen than the other transport workers. This may be in part because they were the most militantly active group of workers, and thus generated more source material, in the shape of court records, printed partisan tracts, etc. But it is also partly due to the incidental survival of documentation. We have, for example, an almost complete year-on-year list of the watermen's rulers from the inception of their company; [3] this is in marked contrast to the situation for the other transport workers. It is thus possible, in the watermen's case, to reconstruct in detail the structure of their company, their pre-revolutionary struggles for the reform of that structure and the transformations which occurred during the English Revolution.

     The watermen were the passenger carriers of the Thames, an important job at a time when the roads were poorly developed and there were few bridges. In the seventeenth century there were several thousand of them working between Windsor and Gravesend. [4] The watermen were based at individual plying places or 'stairs' along the river, and worked in a variety of craft, principally the wherry, a rowing boat operated by one or two men. The watermen were a poor, semi-skilled stratum of London society; they were considered beneath the skilled craftsmen, but a notch above the porters and other unskilled labourers.

     Their company was founded by an act of parliament in 1555. This act empowered eight rulers, chosen annually by the London mayor and aldermen, to govern the watermen in accordance with the rules which the act introduced. The most important provision was the introduction of a term of apprenticeship for new watermen. This was initially set at one year, but a supplementary act in 1603 extended it to seven years. The extended apprenticeship was more to do with the installation of social discipline than with work training; apprentices were free to row a wherry under the charge of a free waterman after one year, and to take charge of the wherry itself after two. [5]

     Over the years, a stable government was established, and an exclusive ruling elite built up. Past rulers formed a court of assistants, which together with the present rulers governed the company. [6] An aldermanic order of 1586 enacted that rulers should be drawn exclusively from the better-off sort of watermen, [7] and although this rule was modified after a revolt in 1622, the wealthy continued to dominate. [8] The mayor and aldermen adopted the practice of keeping some rulers on for a second year; new or 'junior' rulers of one year would become 'senior' rulers the following year. (This was already a common pattern in the gilds.) Thus, the rulership gained a 'rolling continuity', with no total breaks. [9] The rulers made recommendations as to their successors, choices which the aldermen by-and-large accepted. [10] This led the rank and file (or 'generality') of the company to say in 1641 that the rulers 'do elect and cause themselves to be elected contrary to law' [11] (presumably meaning the 1555 Act).

     The watermen were ever-ready to blame the 'corruptions' of this entrenched elite for their poverty. At least seven protest petitions were made on this theme from 1579 to 1641. The most frequent complaint was of the premature freeing of apprentices for bribes, which rulers sometimes 'extorted' from the apprentice or his master. The result was that the Thames was 'overburdened' with a surplus of 'unskilful' watermen, 'so that one cannot subsist by another'. [12] Impressment, to the royal navy and elsewhere, was another source of grievance. The watermen were used as a naval reserve, with the apprentices given first preference for impressment. 'The press' was always unpopular, and the watermen also claimed that pressing for 'land service' violated their customary rights. Rulers were sometimes accused of selectively impressing men for bribes. A revolt in the company in 1631 was triggered by the impressment of a contingent of watermen to serve in the Thirty Years' War in Germany (see below).

     The watermen sought company reform as a solution to their problems. Their ideas on this matter underwent a significant evolution over a period of a half-century. In 1598 they thought in terms of correction 'through the rulebook', merely calling for an inspection of the company records. [13] But by 1621 they had progressed to calling for the introduction of democracy as a solution to the rulers' 'incompetence and corruption'. Their ideas at this time were somewhat convoluted. They called for thirty assistants, elected by themselves, to participate in the company government. Four of the assistants were to be chosen rulers by the existing rulers; they would then sit alongside four of the old rulers. It was not stated that this was to be an annual procedure, but this was presumably intended. Thus the assistants would progressively replace the old rulers, and a fully representative government would be established. [14] The watermen may have been influenced by the recently-adopted constitution of the Billingsgate porters' society (see below, 'The Billingsgate Porters'). By 1641 the watermen's ideas had fully matured. Now they wanted annual general elections of rulers and assistants, with participation in government by the 'most able' of the generality, and open accountability for the rulers' financial and general court proceedings. [15]

     Discontent and desire for reform led to the revolts of 1621-3 and 1631-2, and finally the revolution of 1641-2. The revolts, and also the revolution, were similar in pattern. In each case the watermen brought their grievances before higher authorities, then proceeded to direct action against the rulers. Concessions would be made, some of which were subsequently clawed back. The revolution of 1641-2 was much more far-reaching: it succeeded in removing the old oligarchy and introducing a strong democratic element into the company. But within a few years the watermen were once again making their traditional complaints against the new rulers.

     The watermen's call in 1621 for a form of company democracy was followed in 1622 by a rank-and-file revolt against the rulers' authority. In the May of that year the court of aldermen heard that 'a great company of unruly and stubborn watermen (being the body of the river as they call themselves)', led by one David Parry and other watermen, had united 'to become turbulent, malicious and troublesome against the said rulers'. The rulers had attempted to maintain law and order in the face of 'the tumultuous insurrections and innovations of their unruly watermen', who apparently sought self-rule and independence from the city's authority. While disagreeing with the generality's 'slanderous accusations' against the rulers about impressment and company fines, the aldermen were nevertheless moved to make one concession. From henceforth the 'younger and inferior sort' were to have an equal share in the rulership with the old elite, 'so that those who are now obstinate and refractory ... may [thus] expect themselves to be chosen governors and rulers'. [16] Study of the rulership in the period 1623-41 shows that the well-to-do type continued to dominate, however; nevertheless they did now share power with some poorer watermen. [17]

     The revolt did not calm down, however. On the contrary, by the autumn of 1622 it had reached its highest pitch. David Parry, 'stirring as it were a commotion by the generality against the [rulers], did upon the first day of October arrest all the [rulers] in their court, to the great animating of the generality against them ...'. Parry was himself subsequently arrested on two occasions. But this did him no harm in the long run: he went on to be a ruler on five occasions in the period 1625-36. He was a wealthy waterman, and not in need of the ruling of May 1622 to qualify for rulership. [18]

     There may have been a subsequent struggle over the company regulations, as there was after the 1631-2 revolt. A new set of rules was finally brought out in 1626, but it differed little from preceding sets. A leading member of the company described the new rules as a 'confirmation' of the old ones. [19]

     The impressment of a contingent of watermen, fishermen and bargemen to serve King Charles' allies in the Thirty Years' War in Germany was the catalyst for the revolt of 1631-2. In spite of the small number of impressees (only eighty-three were actually sent), the watermen immediately protested, accusing the rulers of 'buying and selling' of impressees, amongst other things. In the revolt which followed, 'multitudes' of watermen (perhaps several hundred in number) united with fishermen and bargemen and organized a movement to defy the rulers' authority. The privy council issued an order for the suppression of this uprising. [20]

     The watermen now once again brought a list of grievances before the court of aldermen. As a result, in April 1632 the aldermen issued a supplementary set of regulations for the company. These included a blanket ban on the holding of more than one apprentice by any waterman. Apprentices made useful servants, and the rank and file resented the rulers' privilege of having two (and the royal bargemasters had been allowed three). [21] The rulers made counter-representations to the aldermen, which the following October resulted in a new set of rules. A maximum of ten aged or crippled watermen were permitted two apprentices, and there were other modifications. The new regulations were issued after supposedly having been agreed to by six of the rulers and seven representatives of the generality. [22] But such agreement seems very doubtful. The aldermen were soon ordering the arrest of two of the representatives, Joshua Church and John Heather, for militantly opposing the revised rules. [23]

     The initiative was now shifting towards the establishment. Early in 1633 the rulers appealed to the aldermen against the 'refractory' leaders of the revolt, while the royal watermen petitioned the privy council about their loss of traditional privilege in keeping extra apprentices. [24] The upshot of this was the issue of a new and final list of regulations, in March 1634. They were to stand alongside those of 1626 for the government of the company; all the others were to be voided. A compromise was made on holding apprentices; the oldest rulers could now have two each. There was more emphasis on the enforcement of order. Watermen assisting the rulers to repress 'refractory' watermen were to be paid 5s., while those refusing this duty were to be fined the same amount. A prison was to be built at the company hall, to be called 'little ease', for the punishment of apprentices who took advantage of masters imprisoned for debt. But, most significantly, the rank and file watermen at each plying place were empowered to elect 'four honest householders and free watermen', out of which the rulers were to choose 'two, or less'. Their function would be to inform the rulers of 'the abuses' committed at their respective plying places by all watermen who would 'not be conformable', so that the rulers could punish such 'refractory persons ... according to the quality of their misdemeanours'. [25] This certainly seems a cynical move, aiming to turn the popular force against itself by electing its own 'narks'. It is nevertheless interesting in comparison with the democratically-elected company assistants instituted in 1642 (see below). These too were elected by the 'towns and stairs' from Windsor to Gravesend, and one of their functions was, or became, to report the 'misdemeanours' of the watermen at their particular plying-places.

     With the meeting of the Long Parliament and the beginnings of political upheavals in 1641, the watermen returned to the struggle. [26] The watermen had already tried, unsuccessfully, to stop the annual selection of rulers when in March 1641 they petitioned the house of lords for redress of their grievances. In the petition, and an accompanying annex, they asked for annual elections of the rulers and assistants by the generality, or at the least by 'the greatest part of able and sufficient watermen'. The 'most able' of the generality should also participate directly in the government, by meeting with the rulers in legislative assemblies at six-monthly intervals. [27]

     No action was taken by the Lords, which was heavily occupied by matters of high politics at this time. But appeals now took a back seat to direct action. On 3 May the Lords heard the rulers' petitions about the great disobedience of the rank and file:

divers refractory watermen boasting that they may do what they list (because now it is Parliament time) have took such lawless liberty upon them[selves] as to go to all the places where watermen do ply, from Gravesend to Kingston, encouraging thousands of them not to obey your petitioners' government, nor to come to their Hall [which was the place of government] when they are complained on or warned thither for any misdemeanours; and also some of the rude apprentices have come to the Hall to offer violence to your petitioners ... for all their abuses and vilifying your petitioners, they will not appear at our Hall, or if they do appear they do break from our officers; the chief leader of this faction being one Joshua Church, who being told that he ought to be obedient to law, order and the Lord Mayor, replied that it was Parliament time now, and that the Lord Mayor had nothing to do with them, and that the Lord Mayor was but their slave. [28]
     But if parliament could not find time for the generality, they could do nothing for the rulers either. In March the rulers had introduced a parliamentary bill proposing alterations to the watermen's government. They claimed that the bill had been 'preferred by the consent of such who are trusted by the generality, and contained nothing but that which tended to the good of the company'. But they were vehemently opposed by the rank-and-file radicals, who feared that it would give unprecedented power to the rulers, and hence unprecedented scope for their 'corruptions'. When the bill was before a committee, the radicals
were so far enraged and incensed against your petitioners [the rulers] that they threatened to raise many thousand watermen to be present at the committee, to oppose your petitioners' proceedings, and that they would cut some of your petitioners in pieces, and destroy some of them ...
More generally, the 'disorders' had grown, so that by mid-1641 the watermen no longer obeyed their old government. [29]

     There is no evidence on the rank-and-file's own organization at this time, but they were striving for democracy and doubtless had some rough-and-ready organization spontaneously emerging from the grassroots. It seems that almost all the watermen were involved in this movement; the rulers were unable at this stage to claim that there was any significant minority of watermen against it. [30]

     The rulers were losing their grip on all aspects of government. In September they petitioned the city to uphold their government in respect of apprentices. [31] A month or so later, Joshua Church removed the table of regulations on display at Waterman's Hall. He was apparently better informed than John Taylor, the accredited clerk of the company, about the company's case in parliament. [32]

      On 1 February 1642 the generality petitioned the court of aldermen. They asked for 'the benefit' of the founding act of 1555 for a general election of the rulers. The court stated that the act had given the power of election to itself, not to the watermen. Nevertheless, it recommended that if fifty-five of the 'most honest and sufficient' watermen were yearly to put forward the names of twenty of the 'most able and best sort', 'by way of information', the court could choose eight of these to be rulers. However, it left itself free to choose others if it thought fit. The court's ruling did not specify how the electors were themselves to be selected, but subsequent records show that they were chosen by the 'towns and stairs' from Windsor to Gravesend, i.e. by the generality of watermen. Thus what happened in effect was a change in the method of recommending rulers to the court: the old custom had taken the form of indirect democracy. [33] It was a quiet deal with the popular forces.

     The fifty-five electors, who appear to have been subject to annual re-election in the first years after the revolution, [34] made themselves into a court of assistants which participated in the government of the company. There is no contemporary evidence on the powers of these new-style assistants, which can only be inferred from later records. That the electors were intended to be such assistants from their inception is implicit in a contemporary statement ascribed to Joshua Church, in which he 'did brag that [he] had cast the [rulers] and old Assistants out from all manner of further government' [35] (my emphasis). There are several references to assistants in the aldermanic records in the 1640s and 1650s, [36] but the first mention of a court of assistants only occurs in company regulations of 1663. This refers to the powers of five auditors annually appointed by that court. These auditors were watermen, in contrast to the pre-revolutionary auditors who had been appointed by the court of aldermen from among the members of the leading gilds of London. [37] The auditors evidently exercised great power, since company regulations of 1663 and 1683 found it necessary to specify that if the auditors were summoned by the court to give their advice on anything other than 'judicature', 'that what shall be done by [the auditors] shall stand to be confirmed' by the general court of rulers and assistants. [38] The auditors had power to 'allow or disallow' the rulers' accounts for any particular year, and were to place the results of their audit on public display in Waterman's Hall to be seen by any interested waterman. [39] (Open financial accountability had been one of the aims of the revolutionaries in 1641.) Though company assistants had officially only an advisory capacity, later regulations show that the court of rulers, assistants and auditors enacted legislation apparently by simple majority decision (subject, of course, to the approval of the court of aldermen). [40] All-in-all, therefore, the new assistants had great direct and indirect powers in the company (and apparently submerged the rulers, who were, by the unchanged parliamentary act of 1555, still the sole official legislative authority in the company).

     The pre-revolutionary ruling group was ejected almost in its entirety in early 1642. On 3 March, the day the new rulers were to be chosen, the generality told the court of aldermen that the rulers had been twice voted against in parliament. 'Thus by slanders, clamours, threatenings, multitudes, noises, voices, most odious and shameless lies [they] carried [the cause] against us', according to the oligarchy's own account. [41] None of the leading rulers ever served again. Only two or three of the lesser ones did. [42]

     The new rulers were drawn from the former opposition. Many of them had been in conflict with the old rulers, or had called for democracy. [43] They were also, in the first few years after the revolution, of a lower socio-economic stratum than the old rulers. After 1622, well-to-do rulers had had to share their power with poorer watermen, but had remained in a decisive majority. [44] The rulers of the early and mid 1640s were mainly of the latter poorer type. This may have simply been because, though the aldermen preferred to choose the well-to-do, there were now few left who had not been discredited by having served before the revolution. After the mid 1640s, however, wealth seems to have made something of a comeback. [45] At the same time, a fledgling new oligarchy appears to have emerged. [46]

     Disputes continued between the generality and the new rulers. A petition from the latter to the house of lords (undated, but marked 'found in 1642') complained of 'divers obstinate and refractory watermen' who abused the officers of the rulers and of the lord mayor, as well as passengers.

[T]he said watermen combine themselves to gather to suppress your petitioners' government and live under no other government but their perverse and wicked humours, and to that end raise tumults and mutinies upon the River, to the utter destruction of government and disheartening of your petitioners and other well affected watermen.
Clearly, the rebels now only represented one faction of the watermen. The rulers asked the house of lords for a warrant to suppress the disorders. The validity of the previous one issued by the privy council in 1631 had lapsed with the circumscription of that body's powers in 1641. [47] In 1648-49 there was a dispute between the rulers and a faction calling itself the 'well-affected watermen' over company finances and the election of rulers. [48] After this, conflict in the company faded out. It was, however, to re-emerge later in the century.

     After the revolution, a struggle began for the reform of the company's rules. Nothing seems to have been achieved until a revised set of regulations was issued by the privy council in 1663. Apart from the ruling on the auditors, only limited revisions are to be found in it. [49]

     In the later seventeenth century democracy was becoming eclipsed; the assistants were either being elected for life or were choosing themselves. In 1692 the rulers, faced with a co-opting court of assistants who had seized outright control of the company finances, resorted to the original custom of popular election to break their stranglehold. Only a modified form of democracy was restored, however. No mention was made of assistants' ability to nominate candidate rulers, and rulers could remove assistants for 'misdemeanours'. [50] The act of parliament of 1700, which combined the watermen and lightermen or bargemen into one company, finally enshrined the remaining democracy in parliamentary legislation. In particular it affirmed the principle of the annual election of assistants. [51] Another one-and-a-quarter centuries were to pass before another act of parliament, in 1827, restored an oligarchic constitution with a self-selecting court of master, wardens and assistants. [52]

For more about the watermen, go to
The Thames Watermen website

The Street or Ticket Porters

The street porters, working on foot, carried the goods of the merchants and traders, transporting them from river wharf to warehouse, or warehouse to customer. Like the watermen, they were a large body of workers. In 1645 there were at least 3,000 of them. [53] The street porters could be hired at designated plying-places in the city of London. Often they were employed by the tacklehouse porters, a small elite who worked for the city's leading gilds (see below, 'The Tacklehouse Porters'). A city ruling of 1640 laid down that the tacklehouse porters were only to employ street porters when the former were in need of extra labour. [54]

     In 1605 the city government attempted to introduce some order into the street porters' trade. They formed them into a society headed by twelve rulers drawn from among the porters' own ranks. But a year later, because of 'diverse disorders' in the society, they dissolved it. The city next hit upon the idea of combining the street and tacklehouse porters into a single society, with the tacklehouse men in a superior administrative position. The 1609 act laid down that the twelve rulers of the new society were to consist of equal numbers of tackle and street men. But in addition the lord mayor was to appoint (from time to time, as necessary) a 'register' or clerk to keep the society's accounts. This officer was to be a tacklehouse porter. The aldermen appointed two of their own number as 'governors' with supreme authority to settle any disputes. As a means of identification, the street porters were thenceforth required to wear tin badges or 'tickets'. [55]

     The tacklehouse porters had been given an influence out of all proportion to their relatively small numbers in the society. The street porters resented this domination, and in the 1620s began a campaign for separation from the tacklehouse men. [56] But nothing was to come of it until the English Revolution.

     In July 1640 the street porters brought various grievances to the court of aldermen. In view of the rise in the cost of living, the aldermen decided to grant them marginal increases in the rates paid by the tacklehouse porters. But, at this stage, they were not prepared to consider their main aspiration, for separation. The street porters said they would not agree to anything less. The Aldermen ordered them to submit themselves. [57]

     But freedom was on the march. In July 1641, after a new representation on behalf of the ticket porters (as the street porters had now begun to call themselves), the aldermen were prepared to reconsider their grievances against the tacklehouse porters. By the spring of 1642 the aldermen were even prepared to reconsider their desire to be 'admitted as a society or fraternity of themselves distinct from the Tacklehouse men'. [58]

     Committees were appointed to discuss these matters, but there is no record of them reporting back. But now, official proceedings took a back seat to direct action. Over the next few years, as a result of these disputes, the government of the united society broke down. The act of common council of 1646, which reformed the society, acknowledged as much in its preamble:

diverse Controversies and Differences have heretofore been between the Tacklehouse Porters of this City and the Ticket Porters ... insomuch that their Government heretofore Established hath of late been Discontinued, to the great Disadvantage [sic] of the said Porters. [59]
     It is possible that the ticket porters simply threw the small elite of tacklehouse porters out of the society. In the mid 1640s the society was referred to as the street porters, the ticket porters, or even just the porters; the tacklehouse men were not mentioned. [60]

     There is practically no evidence on the porters' grassroots organization at this time. The only fact we know is that porters' gangs, the basic units of labour organization, originated in the mid-seventeenth century. [61]

     The governorship of the society seems to have fallen into abeyance. In June 1644, upon the petition of the ticket porters, the aldermen appointed one of their number, John Gayre, to be their governor. [62] It is not stated that he was the porters' specific choice. In October alderman Sir John Wolleston was appointed the other governor (again, for the 'Company of Ticket Porters'). [63]

     Meanwhile, the ticket porters switched their case to the court of common council. [64] Perhaps they thought that this more popular body would be more sympathetic to their aspirations. They were no doubt disappointed to discover that, as far as their desire for separation was concerned, it was no more amenable than the court of aldermen. However, they did achieve important concessions. A report of April 1645, [65] confirmed by the act of October 1646, reformulated their government. The report found it 'very requisite that the Government [of the old society] be in all points speedily settled between the two parties ...'. It was, however, prepared to allow certain modifications. First, it approved of a register to be appointed yearly from among the six ticket-porter rulers, subject to the approbation of the governors. He was jointly to supervise the society's financial transactions alongside the tacklehouse porters' register. [66] The method of this officer's choice was not specified, but from later records it can be seen that he was elected by the body of the ticket porters. [67] This thus seems to have been another quietly-democratic concession along the lines of the watermen's elector-assistants.

     Possibly a broader democracy was ushered in at this time. The eighteenth-century historian Maitland states that the fellowship of tacklehouse and ticket porters

was constituted a fraternity by Act of Common Council, anno 1646, with a power of annually choosing from among themselves Twelve Rulers, viz Six of each Denomination (two whereof to be Registers) ... [68]
There is, however, no other evidence in support of this claim. Maitland may simply have been in error. We cannot tell.

     The report of 1645 and the act of 1646 also raised the rates payable by the tacklehouse porters to the ticket porters by 25 per cent over those set in 1640. [69]

     True to its style of reasserting control by conceding a great deal, the council recognized the state of anarchy in the trade. Contrary to the act of 1609, many of those working as street porters were 'foreigners', i.e. outsiders not free of the city or the society of porters. The Council offered an 'amnesty' to those who had been so working for a year or more, provided they applied to join the society within three months. But in future any such porters were to be fined the extremely heavy sum of 5. [70] In November 1646 the society's governors heard from the rulers that

as well upon their several Court days as upon their general Days of Search ... The said Rulers their Assistants and officers are threatened, miscalled and abused by a number of loose irregular Porters that are questioned for the breach of [the society's] orders.
The governors authorized for the future an increasing scale of punishments for both society members and 'irregular' porters. For a first offence they were to be fined 3s. 4d, for a second double the amount, and were to be dismissed on the third occasion. [71] (It is not clear how they proposed to dismiss porters who were not members of the society.)

     The combined tacklehouse and ticket porters' society survived into the nineteenth century. Rulerships were definitely elective later on, as evidenced by the late-eighteenth-century constitution of the society, for example. [72]

The Tacklehouse Porters

The tacklehouse porters were in charge of the storehouses and 'tackle' (lifting gear) of the leading London trade gilds. They consisted of two classes, the 'master' or 'fellow' porters and their regular employees or 'servants'. The porters were required to have membership not only of the tacklehouse and ticket porters' society, but also of the particular company that employed them. Weekly retainers were paid by the company to the masters, and by the masters to their servants. This was in addition to whatever the porters could earn for specific jobs. In the drapers' company, for example, the master porters paid their servants a regular fee of 5s. per week. When not required by their company, porters were free to work for other companies or individual merchants. The masters were required to provide sureties for the goods they handled. In the earlier seventeenth century the drapers' company asked 41 security of its masters. Guarantors (friends, neighbours or whoever) were needed to supply the bonds. There was some 'social security'; porters too old to work still shared in the porters' receipts. [73]

     In spite of their opposition to the street porters' interests, the tacklehouse porters were themselves susceptible to the spirit of liberty of the English Revolution, and took advantage of the opportunities offered in that period. In 1642 it was reported that the master porters of various companies were 'entering into combinations' to raise their fees. [74] Some companies experienced manifestations of independence and disobedience amongst their tacklehouse men. A report on the drapers' company in November 1645 found that (contrary to an order of 1641) recently-admitted master porters had refused to put in security, being too poor to do so. There had been 'much disagreeing' between the masters and their servants, and the latter had been very negligent in their work, causing a reversal of their former excellent reputation.

And of late the master porters themselves would have had their servants and themselves all made equal, and divide the gains between them all.
The report recommended that the masters should put in adequate security in future. In July 1647 it was ordered that all new master porters should put in 100 security. [75]

     The grocers' company also had problems with the master porters of their tacklehouse and weigh-house. In December 1642 certain merchants complained of the masters' 'negligence, intemperance and want of attendance' at the quayside. On this occasion the porters were let off with a warning. But in a report of October 1645, the company heard that the master porters of their weigh-house were disrespectful to the master weigher and disobedient to the regulations. The regulations displayed in the weigh-house had been spirited away, the porters knew not how. In March 1647, after failing to make their customary appearance before the company, all the masters of the tacklehouse were suspended. But the following year no complaints were heard against them. [76]

     Foremost among the independent-spirited grocers' porters was Bartholemew Edwards. He was an assessor on the committee for advance of money. This committee had been set up by parliament to levy compulsory payments on all those who had failed to lend money voluntarily to parliament's cause. It had power to sequester the property of those who failed to pay, returning it once they had done so. Edwards also worked for the committee for compounding. He was seldom at his post in the weigh-house, pleading his government work as a reason, and he employed a deputy in his stead. The grocers objected to this practice, and 'many times' suspended him for it. Edwards claimed that he was anyway answerable to the lord mayor, not the company. But, in spite of intervention on his behalf by the committee for advance of money, the company finally sacked him in 1646.

     A little while later, Edwards was dead. During his tenure at the committee for advance of money, he had lived in the house of Sir Richard Young, which the committee had sequestered from him for failure to pay his levies. It was valued at 200, and Edwards held it on a seven-year lease from the committee at 10 a year rent. After his death his son continued to live in the house. But in 1648 the committee, considering that Edwards's lease 'was only for his dwelling therein', ordered the son to hand it over to Young, who had come to an agreement with them. [77]

The Billingsgate Porters

The Billingsgate porters loaded and unloaded the cargoes of the ships and barges which docked in the Thames. They were also known as the corn, coal and salt porters (and, after the seventeenth century, as the fellowship porters). As the alternative name implied, there were three grades of porter, of whom the corn porters were an economic and ruling elite, while the coal and salt porters formed the bulk of the basic labourers. The society of Billingsgate porters was recognized by the city government in the sixteenth century, and a new constitution was granted in 1619-20. In spite of the name, the society's authority stretched from Staines in Middlesex to Yantlet Creek in the Thames estuary.

     The act of common council of 1620 (confirming a committee report of the previous year) laid down a maximum membership of 400 for the society. It also specified a kind of democracy for the company. The membership were empowered to elect assistants to the society's government. The assistants were to participate in the annual elections of the society's rulers. This 'democracy' was strictly limited, however. The assistants were to serve for life - they were not subject to re-election at regular intervals - and their votes were only counted alongside those of all rulers past and present. [78]

     In July 1641 the common council heard the petition of 'diverse citizens trading in salt ... against the salt porters for their neglect to discharge the ships laden with salt, whereby they lie at charge of demurrage to the great hindrance to the shipmasters and the petitioners'. It nominated a committee of aldermen and councillors 'to examine the grievances and to consider of reasonable rates [of pay] for the labour of the said porters'. Reading between the lines, the porters were on strike for higher rates - to some effect, it would appear. [79]

     The matter was eventually resolved in October 1642, when the committee reported back recommending a swingeing 50 per cent increase in the porters' rates over those set in 1620. However, it also ordered that a ruler should be appointed to supervise the porters in their work. [80]

     The next knowledge we have of the Billingsgate porters is for 1654, when an act of common council introduced further important reforms. The act authorized a further huge increase in the salt porters' rates - a full 100 per cent over those of 1642. It also inaugurated a seventh ruler, to be known as the collector. He was to be elected by the whole membership yearly (not for life, as the assistants were), and was to have extraordinary powers. Besides collecting quarterage, he was to be the ruler responsible for supervising the porters at their daily tasks. He was also to manage the society's administrative and financial transactions - in fact to be its executive officer. The institution of the collector was a long-term gain for the mass of the porters. [81]

     Some popular struggles must have led up to these concessions, although we do not have any details of them. The salt porters' success in increasing their rates of pay is to be contrasted with the elite corn porters, who received no increase until 1678, and then only a modest one. [82]

The Carmen or Carters

The carmen were members of the woodmongers' company. They claimed to be the majority of this gild. Under the terms of the royal charter of 1606, a total of 400 carts ('car-rooms') were permitted to operate in London, of which 260 were in the streets and 140 at the wharves. The car-rooms had traditionally been effectively the property of the carmen: they had the right to sell or hire them as they pleased, and they were inheritable. But, complained the carmen, in 1625 the woodmongers and wharfingers obtained a Star Chamber decree giving them the power to dispose of car-rooms, thus depriving the carmen's widows and orphans of the benefit. Besides this, the carmen said that they were under-represented in the government of the woodmongers' gild.

     In April 1641 the carmen brought a bill for rectification of their grievances to parliament. They asked that the car-rooms be recognized as their chattels once more, and that they have fair representation among the woodmongers' rulers. This was to be done by traditional order of seniority, however, not by a more democratic method. The bill was sent to a committee, and not heard of again. The carmen kept up the pressure on parliament by bombarding them with petitions. [83]

     But now legislative measures took a back seat to direct action. The carmen commenced a legal war with the woodmongers, suing them when they next attempted to redistribute car-rooms 'made vacant' by the death of their holders. Over the next decade they brought 'continual and Vexatious suits and troubles' to the woodmongers. They also refused to acknowledge the orders or financial demands of the woodmongers. In 1649 the woodmongers had incurred 250 in debts because 300 carmen had refused to pay their customary dues. 'Diverse carmen' broke with the set prices for cartage and charged their own rates. Many unauthorized carters operated in the streets. [84]

     By 1649 the carmen wanted to form their own company. A committee of the house of commons reported in favour of the idea in 1650. but the vested commercial interests of the city opposed it, and the necessary legislation was blocked. [85]

     By 1653 the woodmongers' company was re-asserting its authority. In this and the following year, around fifty carmen put their marks and signatures to a document of submission. In 1654 the London common council drew up a detailed set of regulations, reinstating the old rules of working. The carmen were to pay all outstanding dues. But there were concessions. The disposal of car-rooms was hereafter to be determined by a joint committee of the woodmongers and the common council. [86]

     The quarrel between the carmen and the woodmongers continued in the later 1650s. In 1661, after the restoration of the monarchy, the woodmongers were temporarily restored to their pre-revolutionary position. But this reunification with the carmen was short-lived. Public opinion had been aroused by the woodmongers' monopoly of the coal trade. A city committee of inquiry decided that competition was the best way to keep prices down. This led in 1668 to the formation of a separate incorporation of carmen, and this time the solution was permanent. [87]

Tentative Conclusion

The important and often long-term successes of the transport workers during the English Revolution were in marked contrast with the results of the contemporary London gild democracy movements. [88] The most successful instance of the latter was in the weavers' company, where the commonalty chose 140 agents to represent them in the company government. Although the oligarchy forcibly excluded the representatives from their hall in 1648, the following year the commonalty obtained an act of parliament endorsing the participation of representatives in the government alongside the old-style rulers. This arrangement apparently had mixed results, and the representatives were quietly dropped after the Restoration in 1660. [89] No other instance of the gild democracy movement even nearly approached this degree of success.

     The transport workers' greater success may have been in large part due to their greater willingness to take matters into their own hands. The state authorities, even in their 'revolutionary' phase, had no especial inclination to introduce industrial democracy, but in the face of direct action they at least tacitly acceded to these aspirations. Though the city government's rulings of 1642 and 1645 made no mention of how the watermen's elector-assistants and the ticket porters' register were chosen, for example, we know from later records that they were chosen by the bodies of these workers.
See above, watermen
See above, porters

Economic control
Control of, or influence in, a company was a hollow victory for the rank and file if it had no control over wages / prices for services and over conditions of work.

There is little information about the watermen during the revolution; there is John Taylor's general statement (for 1641) that watermen 'ply how and where they list, abuse fares and exact upon them' (Manifestation, p.*). Capp says that it was customary for watermen to add and unofficial surcharge to the official prices set by the City; there was no change in the latter between ?1559 and ?1675, over which period their real value diminished greatly due to inflation, but I have no detailed information about how the watermen managed in this period.

     Bennett says of the carmen after 1668 (p.63): 'The carmen had acquired a new status, but they had been given little power ... They had no power to allot carrooms, make laws for their industry or even enforce the laws. Their rights were confined to settling disputes among their members, enrolling freemen and apprentices ...'; cf. the Lyon silk weavers, who democratised their gild and threw out the merchants in 1790, but the merchants still controlled the market. (French Historical Studies, xii, no. 1, spring 1981, pp.1-40, esp. pp.12-18, 39.)


1. For general accounts of the latter, see George Unwin, Industrial Organisation in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (London, 1904), pp.204-10; idem, The Gilds and Companies of London (London, 1904), pp.335, 339-43; Margaret James, Social Problems and Policy During the Puritan Revolution, 1640 - 1660 (London, 1930, reprinted 1966), pp.193-223. A more recent account is Norah Carlin, 'Liberty and Fraternities in the English Revolution. The Politics of London Artisans' Protests, 1635 - 1659', International Review of Social History, XXXIX (1994), 223-54.
Back to text

2. Early in 1642 the veto power of the mayor and aldermen over the common council was suspended, and the vote for common councillors was extended to all freemen paying 'scot and lot', i.e. any form of tax. The freemen constituted about three-quarters of the adult male householders in the mid-seventeenth century, so that the latter measure would have given a broad electorate. Valerie Pearl, London and the Outbreak of the Puritan Revolution, 1625 - 1643 (London, 1961), pp.137-9, 148, 154ff; idem, 'Change and Stability in Seventeenth-Century London', London Journal, V (1979), 13. (The latter article is reprinted in The Tudor and Stuart Town, ed. Jonathan Barry [London, 1990], pp.139-65, where the reference is at pp.149-50.)

Back to text

3. The repertories of the London court of aldermen contain the names of the rulers appointed for almost every year since 1556. Corporation of London Records Office (C.L.R.O.).

Back to text

4. John Taylor the 'water poet', who was the company's clerk, wrote that there were 'at least' 4,000 in 1641 (Iohn Taylors Manifestation and Ivst Vindication Against Iosva Chvrch His Exclamation [London, 1642], p.7). An admiralty census of 1629 gave a lower figure, 2,426 (Public Record Office [P.R.O.], State Papers [SP] 16/155, fo. 85r).

Back to text

5. Henry Humpherus, The History of the Origin and Progress of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen of the River Thames (3 vols., London, 1874-86), I, 100-7, 158-61.

Back to text

6. There were 24 assistants. P.R.O., SP 16/196, fo. 61; cf. C.L.R.O., repertory (rep.) 21, fo. 36r. An aldermanic order of 1586 laid down that nothing of importance was to be done by the rulers without the presence of at least 12 of the assistants; this order was reiterated in 1634 (rep. 21, fo. 272v; rep. 48, fo. 234v).

Back to text

7. C.L.R.O., rep. 21, fo. 272v. Back

8. See the introduction to the appendix for an analysis of the socio-economic status of the rulers in the period 1621-41.

Back to text

9. See note 3 for the location of the names of the rulers.

Back to text

10. Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, pp.4-5. Back

11. House of Lords Record Office (H.L.R.O.), main papers, 10 March 1641, petition of the generality of the watermen. Spelling and punctuation have been modernized in all quotations in the present article.

Back to text

12. H.L.R.O., main papers, 3 May 1641, petition of the eight rulers of the watermen, annex, fos. 4-5. See Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, for a long list of specific allegations of bribery and blackmail, with the rulers' denials.

Back to text

13. British Library (B.L.), Lansdowne MS 142, fos. 7-11. Back

14. Humpherus, History of the Watermen, I, 201-6. These ideas were contained in a bill which the rank and file had put before Parliament in May 1621.

Back to text

15. Taylor, Manifestation, p.6; cf. Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, p.10. For election of rulers and assistants, see below.

Back to text

16. C.L.R.O., rep. 36, fo. 139. Back

17. See the introduction to the appendix for an analysis of the socio-economic status of the rulers in the period 1621-41.

Back to text

18. Acts of the Privy Council, 1621-23, pp.356, 513; C.L.R.O., rep. 37, fos. 43v - 44r; rep. 39, fo. 121v; rep. 40, fo. 146v; rep. 47, fo. 151; rep. 49, fo. 112v; rep. 50, fo. 136v. See Parry, David (1625 sqq) in the appendix.

Back to text

19. Cf. C.L.R.O., rep. 21, fos. 35-39, rules of 1584, and Humpherus, History of the Watermen, I, 213-18; rep. 40, fos. 347r, 361v-362r; Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, p.6.

Back to text

20. P.R.O., SP 16/195, fo. 21; SP 16/196, fos. 48, 61, 69; P.R.O., privy council register (PC) 2/41, p.186.

Back to text

21. C.L.R.O., rep. 46, fos. 112v, 172r-176v. Back

22. Ibid. 47, fos. 2v-3r. Back

23. Ibid. fo. 57r. Back

24. Ibid. fos. 139v, 170v-171r. Back

25. Ibid. 48, fos. 63r, 229v - 235r. Back

26. For a fuller (but less up-to-date) account of what follows, see C. O'Riordan, 'The Democratic Revolution in the Company of Thames Watermen, 1641-2', East London Journal, VI (1983), 17-27.

Back to text

27. H.L.R.O., main papers, 10 March 1641, petition of the generality of the watermen; 3 May 1641, petition of the eight rulers of the watermen, annex. The annex, which is a detailed schedule of grievances and proposed remedies, appears to have originally been attached to the generality's petition of 10 March. It seems to be referred to in the latter.

Back to text

28. H.L.R.O., main papers, 3 May 1641, petition of the eight rulers. Back

29. Commons Journal, II, 100, 152; Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, quoted in Humpherus, History of the Watermen, I, 239-42.

Back to text

30. Whereas John Taylor, the company's clerk, referred to the revolt of 1631-2 as involving 'many hundreds' of watermen, he said that in 1641-2 'many thousands' were combined together. Taylor, Manifestation, pp.3-4.

Back to text

31. C.L.R.O., rep. 55, fo. 193v. Back to text

32. Taylor, Manifestation, p.4; cf. Commons Journal, II, 274. Further details of the watermen's movement up to Feb. 1642 can be found in Taylor's Manifestation. See O'Riordan, 'The Democratic Revolution', pp.20-1.

Back to text

33. C.L.R.O., rep. 55, fos. 355, 368, 373v - 374; Humpherus, History of the Watermen, I, 236, 372-3, 376; cf. Humpherus, History of the Watermen, II, 10-11. Humpherus erroneously places the aldermen's ruling under the year 1641.

Back to text

34. An aldermanic report of 1648-9 referred to the rulers' sending out of a 'summons' for the return of 55 electors, 'as formerly they had done', who were to nominate candidate rulers for the new year. C.L.R.O., rep. 59, fo. 367.

Back to text

35. Taylor, Manifestation, p.8. Back

36. C.L.R.O., rep. 57, part 1, fo. 97 (1644); rep. 59, fo. 366v (1649); rep. 64, fo. 107v (1656).

Back to text

37. For the latter see C.L.R.O., rep. 21, fos. 144, 273v, 402; rep. 22, fos. 32v, 153; rep. 25, fo. 64.

Back to text

38. P.R.O., PC 2/56, fos. 154v - 160v (watermen's company regulations, 11 Feb. 1662/3), no. 40; C.L.R.O., rep. 88, fo. 102.

Back to text

39 . C.L.R.O., rep. 88, fo. 102; Humpherus, History of the Watermen, I, 373; II, 10.

Back to text

40. Legislation was to be enacted by the rulers, assistants and auditors 'or the major part of them'. Provision of the act of parliament of 1700, quoted in The Constitutions of the Company of Watermen and Lightermen ... (London, 1730), p.5.

Back to text

41. C.L.R.O., rep. 55, fo. 383v; Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, p.10.

Back to text

42. No ruler who had served more than two years before 1642 returned. (Rulers' names given in this and the folowing notes are listed in the appendix in order of their first known year of service.) See Taylor, John (1623 sqq.); Clarke, Robert (1625 sqq.); Burn(h)am, Thomas (1627 sqq.); Warner, Nowell (1627 sqq.); Consett, Thomas (1628 sqq.); Peirce, John (1632 sqq.); Howe, James (1633 sqq.). Only two or three of those who had served one or two years did so: Blackman, Thomas (v. 1643); Meredith, Robert (1639 sqq.); and possibly Coombes, Robert (1640 sqq.) (there were two Robert Coombes).

Back to text

43. Blackman, Thomas (1643); ?Price, Mathew (1643); Parker, Christopher (1644 sqq.); Perkins, Richard (1644); ?Rowe, Thomas (1645); Browne, Robert (1648); ?Goodale, William (1648 sqq.). Cf. Shugbury, William, an assistant in 1649. See also time chart of the rulers.

Back to text

44. See the introduction to the appendix. Back to text

45. Of rulers on whom I have found socio-economic data, Hugh Dutton (1642) was perhaps the poorest, and appears to have been on the borderline of the requirement of the 1555 act that rulers be householders. Three other rulers of 1642, Robert Bursey, George Lacy and John Crispine, were also modestly endowed. The same can be said for Nicholas Nelson, Mathew Price and perhaps Gilbert Smith (1643); also Thomas Lowe and perhaps John Nowell (1644). But, at least after 1642, the court of aldermen managed to appoint at least one waterman of subsidy-tax-paying status, and this seems to have been extended after 1646: Thomas Blackman (1643) was almost of that status; George Kettle (1644) and Thomas Rowe (1645) were of that status and Thomas Price (1647, 48, 59, 60) was in the same wealth bracket; John Bartlett, (1646, 47) was probably the son of the of the (marginal) subsidy-man Andrew Bartlett, a pre-revolutionary ruler (1622 sqq.)

Back to text

46. The custom of appointing rulers for two consecutive years broke down in the early 1640s, but began to make a return from the mid 1640s. Robert Meredith (1639 sqq.) and Robert Coombes (1640 sqq.) are the leading examples of rulers who served a number of times from the later 1640s. Coombes however is an ambiguous case, as there were two watermen of that name. See time chart of the rulers.

Back to text

47 . H.L.R.O., main papers, 1642, undated petition endorsed 'found in 1642'. Back

48. C.L.R.O., rep. 59, fos. 166, 202v, 362v, 366-7v, 370r & v. Back

49. C.L.R.O., rep. 57, part 1, fos. 65, 97, 100; rep. 58, part 1, fos. 104v-105; P.R.O., PC 2/56, fos. 154v - 160v.

Back to text

50. Historical Manuscripts Commission, Ninth Report ..., part 2, p.61b; C.L.R.O., rep. 93, fo. 76r; rep. 96, pp.154, 166, 178, 195-6; Humpherus, History of the Watermen, I, 236, 359, 372-3.

Back to text

51. Humpherus, History of the Watermen, II, 6ff. Back

52. Second Report on Municipal Corporations (London, 1837), I, 177; cf. Charles Dickens jnr., Dickens's Dictionary of the Thames (London, 1884), p.283.

Back to text

53. . Walter M. Stern, The Porters of London (London, 1960), p.50. Back

54. C.L.R.O., rep. 54, fos. 334v - 335r. Back

55. C.L.R.O., rep. 26, part 2, fo. 521v; rep. 29, fos. 41v - 42v; Stern, Porters, p.47. Back

56. Stern, Porters, p.53. Back

57. C.L.R.O., rep. 54, fos. 196v, 334v-336r; rep. 55, fo. 16r & v. Back

58. C.L.R.O., rep. 55, fos. 165v, 416v, 438. Back

59. Act of common council, Oct. 1646, text printed 1717, C.L.R.O., P.D. 32.16, p.3. Back

60. C.L.R.O., rep. 57, part 2, fos. 2v, 168v, and 10 Sept. 1645. Back

61. Stern, Porters, p.62. Back to text

62. C.L.R.O., rep. 57, part 1, fo. 151v. Back to text

63. C.L.R.O., rep. 57, part 2, fo. 2v. Back to text

64. C.L.R.O., journal of the common council (journal), XL, fo. 104v, 6 Sept. 1644. Back

65. C.L.R.O., journal, XL, fo. 126v et seq. Back

66. Cf. C.L.R.O., P.D. 32.6, p.4. Back

67. C.L.R.O., rep. 80, fo. 237, regarding the ticket porters' election of their register for 1675-6.

Back to text

68. William Maitland, The History and Survey of London (London, 1739), p.610. Back

69. C.L.R.O., P.D. 32.6, pp.5-6. Back

70. C.L.R.O., P.D. 32.6, pp.8-9. Back

71. Guildhall Library (G.L.), MS 3,455, tacklehouse and ticket porters' order book, fo. 21v.
Back to text

72. G.L., pamphlet 8349, act of common council, 1798, p.13. Back

73. A. H. Johnson, The History of the Worshipful Company of Drapers of London (4 vols., Oxford, 1914-22), II, 165; III, 189-91; Stern, Porters, pp.38-40.

Back to text

74. Johnson, Drapers, III, 191. Back

75. Drapers' Hall, rep. +132, 'Minutes & Records 1640-67', fos. 10, 60r, 77v.

Back to text

76. G.L., Calendar of the minutes of the grocers' company, IV, part 1 (1640-49), pp.70, 144, 173, 176-82, 219, 255, 278, 289.

Back to text

77. Ibid. pp.154-5, 176-82, 184, 186-7, 194-5, 197-8, 205-8, 212-14, 218; Calendar of the Proceedings of the Committee for Advance of Money, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1888), pp.351, 696.

Back to text

78. G.L., MS 4790, pp.4-6. Back

79. C.L.R.O., journal, XL, fo. 5. Back

80. G.L., MS 4790, p.17ff; cf. C.L.R.O., rep. 56, fos. 46r - 50v. See Stern, Porters, p.105.

Back to text

81. G.L., MS 1703, p.38ff, act of common council of March 1653/4; see Stern, Porters, pp.89-90, 104, 264.

Back to text

82. Cf. Second Report on Municipal Corporations (London, 1837), I, 181. Back

83. H.L.R.O., main papers, 26 April, 10 June, 19 June, 2 July 1641, 6 June 1643. Eric Bennett, The Worshipful Company of Carmen of London: A Short History (London, 1961), ch. III, describes the carmen under the woodmongers' government in the earlier seventeenth century; ch. IV deals with the conflict between the carmen and the woodmongers in the English Revolution.

Back to text

84. Bennett, Carmen, pp.47-8; C.L.R.O., journal, XL, fo. 104v; C.L.R.O., rep. 56, fo. 149v; The Woodmongers' Remonstrance (London, 1649).

Back to text

85. Bennett, Carmen, pp.48-9. Back

86. Bodleian Library, MS Rawl. D. 725 B, Woodmongers' Register 1605-60, fo. 64ff; Bennett, Carmen, pp.49-51.

Back to text

87. Bennett, Carmen, pp.51-4. Back

88. For general accounts of the latter, see George Unwin, Industrial Organisation in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (London, 1904), pp.204-10; idem, The Gilds and Companies of London (London, 1908), pp.335-6, 339-43; Margaret James, Social Problems and Policy During the Puritan Revolution, 1640 - 1660 (London, 1930, reprinted 1966), pp.193-223. A recent account is Norah Carlin, 'Liberty and Fraternities in the English Revolution: the Politics of London Artisans' Protests, 1635 - 1659', International Review of Social History, XXXIX (1994), 223-54.

Back to text

89. James, Social Problems, pp.214-20. Back


Rulers of the Watermen's Company, 1621 - 1649

All rulers who served in this period (as judged from the entries in the reps.) are listed here, who in addition satisfied one or more of the following criteria:- (1) rulers who served more than twice (to demonstrate that none of these broke the 1641-2 barrier); (2) those on whom I have found socio-economic data; (3) those on whom there is information as to their company politics (e.g. those who signed democracy petitions or who are mentioned in opponents' diatribes). Two other watermen, William Shugbury and Joshua Church, are included at the end of the list.

Rulers are listed in order of their first year (or part of year) of service. Alternative spellings of names are indicated in parentheses. The years in which a ruler served are listed first in each entry. In order to save space, source references for the appointments of rulers are not given here. They are contained in the aldermanic reps. and can usually be located from indexes kept at the C.L.R.O.

Rulers were usually appointed in March. The quoted year refers to the period from a ruler's appointment to the expiration of his term; e.g. '1634' means the period 4 Mar. 1633/4 to 2 Mar. 1634/5. This is followed, where possible, by an indication of the waterman's place of residence. This can usually be identified from an admiralty muster of Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135, no. 4). From this knowledge it is possible to proceed to tax records, wills etc., to ascertain the socio-economic status of many of the rulers.

National tax records are found in the Public Record Office, series E 179. Of use are the subsidies, poll tax, and the assessments of the parliamentarian and commonwealth era. The subsidy tax was, by the seventeenth century, paid only by the well-to-do (to be a payer or 'subsidy-man' was a mark of some social distinction - see below for the value the watermen's rulers placed on it). The subsidy was conventionally levied either on 'lands' (real estate) or 'goods' (personal estate). By the earlier seventeenth century only a fraction of the nominal subsidy assessment was actually paid. Those assessed at 1 (the minimum amount), for example, would pay only 8s. The poll tax of 1641 was levied on every adult (sometimes even including wives of householders). The basic payment (for the poorest people) was 6d. (1s. for householders in some localities: see John Crispine, 1642). Contributions for the relief of poor Irish Protestant refugees from 1641 onwards were (theoretically) voluntary. I have used Cliff Webb, Surrey Contributors to the Relief of Protestant Refugees from Ireland: 1642, typescript book in the P.R.O. (no pag.), Chancery Lane shelf mark 1/59 B. This list was derived from P.R.O. manuscript SP 28/194. The parliamentary assessments of the 1640s and 1650s were also broadly levied, though not quite so broadly as the poll tax. The minimum charge here was generally 1s.

Inhabitants of London in 1638, ed. T. C. Dale (1931) gives a list of the householders in 93 out of 107 parishes in the City of London, together with the per annum rental value of the houses; the values given are 'moderated', i.e. reduced by a fourth part of the actual rents.

Other abbreviations given in this appendix are those already used in the footnotes.

The socio-economic status of the rulers before 1642
The pre-revolutionary rulers boasted that 'most of them [were] subsidymen', or payers of the subsidy tax (Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, p.10). The simple majority of them do appear to have been of this status. I have found decisive evidence of the socio-economic status of 18 rulers for the period 1621 - 41. Of these, seven were known subsidy-payers (Ja. Haynes 1621 sqq; And. Bartlett 1622 sqq; John Taylor 1623 sqq; Ed. Platt 1625 sq; N. Warner 1627 sqq; Tho. Consett 1628 sqq; Ja. Howe 1633 sqq). It is notable that most of them were assessed at well above the basic level of 1 (see their individual entries). Another three were either of equivalent status or just below it (And. Lucas 1623 sqq; D. Parry 1625 sqq; John Fosse 1630 sqq). This makes a total of 10 who may be called 'rich' by watermen's standards. Three were moderately well-to-do (R. Angell 1626; A. Evans 1630 sq; John Peirce 1632 sqq.), and four may be described as 'poorish' (T. Edwyn 1621 sqq; Ed. Chambers 1628 sqq; C. Meirs 1630 sq; H. Russell 1640 sq.). A further three may be tentatively identified as 'rich' (Tho. Burn[h]am 1627 sqq; T. Strange 1631 sqq; Tho. Blackman v. 1643) and another two tentatively as 'poorish' (Tho. Bray 1631; John Kirkham 1637 sq). The dominance of the 'rich' is seen to be greater when the number of years which each ruler served is taken into account. Of the rulers whose status has been determined with reasonable certainty, the number of years which the rich served in the period 1621-41 totals 41, while those for the moderately well-to-do and poorish categories are seven and 14 respectively. (It should be noted that the weighting of the rich is probably exaggerated for the reason that they were more likely to create documents relating to their wealth status than were poorer rulers.)

WARNER, RICHARD (jnr). 1596, 97, ?99, ?1602, ?03, 04, 05, 12, 13. Of Greenwich, master of the barges to James I. Will proved 1625: 100 to grandchild Richard Gardner; all his freehold lands, tenements, leases etc. to his son Nowell (ruler 1627 sqq., q.v.); bequests to other people to the sum of hundreds of pounds (P.R.O., PROB 11/147, quire 24).

EDWYN, THOMAS. 1621, 22, 26, 27, 30, 31. Attached to the Three Cranes stairs [St. Martin Vintry parish, London], aged 80 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 41r). Broad Lane, St. Martin Vintry, rental value of his house 3 p.a. ('moderated by ') in 1638 (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.132).

HAYNES (HAINES), JAMES. 1621, 22, 32. Of St. Saviour's parish [Southwark], aged 58 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 20r). 'Old Paris Garden' liberty, Southwark, subsidy 1628, assessed at 3 for his 'goods' (personal estate) (he was an assessor) (P.R.O., E 179/186/432).

BARTLETT, ANDREW. 1622, 23, 25, 26, 31, 32. Of Lambeth, aged 56 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 25v). Paid 5s. in the Lambeth churchwarden's rates, 1615 (payments varied from 10 to 4d.) (Surrey Rec. Soc., XVII, p.280). Lambeth, Prince's liberty, subsidy 1640, assessed at 1 for his lands (P.R.O., E 179/186/448, membrane 2a). He did not appear on the subsidy roll for 4 Charles I (c. 1628) (E 179/186/436). (He thus appears to have been a marginal subsidy-man.) Lambeth, Prince Highness liberty, paid 5s. Irish contribution 1642 (Webb, Surrey Contributors).

LUCAS, ANDREW. 1623, 24, 34, 35. Churchwarden of St. Saviour's parish, Southwark, appointed 3 March 1637/8, for the Clink liberty and upper ground (G.L.R.O., P 92/SAV/450, p.568). (Note:- churchwardens were not, as a rule, selected from among the poorer inhabitants of a parish.)

TAYLOR, JOHN (the 'water poet'). 1623, 24, 30, 31, 38, 39. Born Gloucester 24 Aug. 1580 (Dictionary of National Biography). Of St. Saviour's parish [Southwark], aged 47 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 17r) (nearest candidate, age-wise, of several J. T.s in the muster). Clerk to the watermen's company up to 1642 (Taylor, Manifestation, p.7). Taylor says he had paid subsidies (ibid., p.6); cf. John Taylor of Clink liberty, St. Saviour's parish, Southwark, subsidy 1641, assessed at 1 for his lands (P.R.O., E 179/186/452, membrane 2r). Biography: Bernard Capp, The World of John Taylor the Water Poet (Oxford, 1994).

CLARKE (CLERKE), ROBERT. 1625, 28, 33, 34, 36, 37, 39, 41.

PARRY, DAVID. 1625, 26, 32, 35, 36. Attached to Sabbstairs, London, aged 56 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 43v). Will made, 15 Nov. 1636: waterman of St. Dunstan East parish, London; left 250 to his four daughters, rest of goods to his wife; signed with mark; Christopher Meirs (ruler 1630, 35, q.v.) a witness (also signed with mark) (Lambeth Palace Library, Court of Arches, VH 95/1482). Buried 22 Nov. 1636 (Harleian Soc., LXIX, p.205). Cf. widow Parry of Harp Lane, St Dunstan East, rental value of house 10 p.a. in 1638 (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.50).

PLATT, EDWARD/EDMOND. 1625, 26. Of St. Saviour's parish [Southwark], aged 60 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 20r). Old Paris Garden liberty, St Saviour's parish, subsidy 1628, assessed at 3 for his 'goods' (personal estate) (P.R.O., E 179/186/432).

ANGELL, RICHARD. 1626. Attached to Sabbstairs, London; aged 60 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 43v). Of Harp Lane, St. Dunstan East parish, London: his house was worth 5 p.a. rental value ('moderated by ') in 1638 (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.89). Name to petition of various watermen on behalf of themselves and the 'whole body of the river' against the rulers, 1641 (spring?) (P.R.O., SP 16/480, no. 55; see Calendar of State Papers Domestic 1641-43, pp.583-4).

BURN(H)AM, THOMAS. 1627, 28, 32, 33, 36. Attached to Sabbstairs, London, aged 42 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 43v). Of 'Bare' [Bear] Quay, St. Dunstan East parish, rental value of his house 10 p.a. ('moderated by ') in 1638 (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.51). Bear Quay precinct, Tower ward, paid 1s. assessment March 1645/6 (a surprisingly small amount, in view of the value of his house) (P.R.O., E 179/147/580, membrane 3v).

WARNER, NOWELL. 1627, 28, 38 (elected 1623 but didn't serve). Subsidy, Greenwich, 1641, assessed at 5 for his 'goods' (personal estate) (he was an assessor) (Trans. Greenwich & Lewisham Antiq. Soc., VI [1963], p.39). Inherited the real estate of his father (Richard Warner, ruler 1596 sqq., q.v.) in 1625. Royal bargemaster 1614-62. Died 1662 (Hasted's History of Kent, corrected ... by Henry H. Drake, part 1, The Hundred of Blackheath [1888], p.100b).

WRIGHT, SIMON. 1627, 28, 35, 36.

CHAMBERS, EDMUND. 1628, 29, 36, 37. (The ruler appointed in 1628 and 1637 is called 'Edward' Chambers, but the admiralty survey lists no waterman of that name.) Of St. Olave's parish, [Southwark,] Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 13v). Will, 1641: left 20 in money, and various items, including his boat to his two 'servants' (watermen, evidently) (Greater London Record Office [G.L.R.O.], Surrey Archdeaconry Court, register of wills 1639-48, fo. 166r & v, registered 20 Sept. 1641).

CONSETT, THOMAS. 1628, 29, 32, 33, 34, 38. Two Thomas Consetts, both of Barnes, Feb. 1628/9:- one aged 44, the other 70 [presumably son and father] (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 30v). Thomas Consett junior, Barnes, subsidy 4 Charles I (c. 1628), assessed at 6 for his lands (P.R.O., E 179/186/436). Cf. Anne Consett, widow, Barnes, subsidy 1640, assessed at 1 for her lands (P.R.O., E 179/147/448).

EVANS, ARON. 1630, 31. Of Kingston, aged 53 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 31v). Not on the subsidy roll for Kingston of 4 Charles I (c. 1628) (P.R.O., E179/186/441, membrane 1r). Paid 2s 6d. Irish contribution, Kingston, 1642 (Webb, Surrey Contributors). Will made 1645; proved 1653: owned three tenements in and near Thames Street, Kingston, including the 'White Lyon' in Thames Street, and a cottage; also boats, barges, leases etc (P.R.O., PROB 11/*).

FOSSE, JOHN. 1630, 37, 38. Of Billingsgate, aged 38 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 43r). St. Botolph Billingsgate, probate inventory total 83 6s 8d, 1638 (i.e. he had died) (G.L., MS 9050/7, Archdeaconry Court of London, probate act book, VII, fo. 25v).

MEIRS (MEARS, MIRES), CHRISTOPHER. 1630, 35. Attached to Sabbstairs, London, aged 59 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 43v). Of Harp Lane, St. Dunstan East parish, rental value of his house 3 p.a. ('moderated by ') in 1638 (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.50).

BRAY, THOMAS. 1631. Of Greenwich, aged 50 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 9r). Greenwich, assessment 1644, 3s 4d. for rented property; name also appears as owner of a single-tenant property (Trans. Greenwich & Lewisham Antiq. Soc., VI [1963], pp.55, 61).

STRANGE, TILBURY. 1631, 38, 39. Of Ratcliff, aged 40 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 46v. Will made 23 Dec. 1641, proven 28 Jan. 1641/2: of Upper Shadwell, Stepney parish; not specific as to his estate, but refers in general terms to his leases, houses and personal estate (G.L., commissary court wills register 1639-42, 9171/28, fos. 347v - 348r).

GOODMAN, EDWARD. 1632, 36, 37.

PEIRCE, JOHN. 1632, 33, 40, 41. Of Greenwich, aged 44 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 7v). (There was another John Peirce of Greenwich, aged 50 on the same date, a boatswain with 20 voyages to his credit, who thus seems unlikely to have been a ruler [ibid, fo. 8r]). John Peirce senior, Greenwich parliamentary assessment, 1644, paid 5s. for rented property and 5s. for his personal estate (another John Peirce, junior evidently, paid 2s 6d. for rented property) (Trans. Greenwich & Lewisham Antiq. Soc., VI [1963], pp.55, 64).

HOWE, JAMES. 1633, 34, 38. Of St. Saviour's parish [Southwark], aged 45 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 20r). Subsidy, Old Paris Garden, St. Saviour's, 1641, assessed at 4 for his 'goods' (personal estate) (P.R.O., E179/186/452, membrane 1v). Paris Garden, parliamentary assessment 1642, paid 8s for his own property and a total of 1 4s 6d for three rented properties (P.R.O., E179/187/469, membrane 2r).

KIRKHAM, JOHN. 1637, 38. Of St. Saviour's parish [Southwark], aged 54 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 14v) (Pepper Alley, cf. ibid., fo. 42v). Parliamentary assessment, 1642, Clink liberty, St. Saviour's, 2s. for his own property (P.R.O., E 179/187/469, membrane 1r).

MEREDITH, ROBERT. 1639, 40, 47, 54, 55, 56, 61, 62.

CO(O)M(B)ES, ROBERT. 1640 (part), 41, 53, 60, 61. Two R Cs, both of Putney, Feb. 1628/9:- (1) aged 36; (2) aged 32 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 30r & v).

RUSSELL, HENRY. 1640, 41. Of Tower Wharf [by the Tower of London], aged 29 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 44r). Parish of All Hallows, Barking, his house rated at 2 rental value p.a. ('moderated by ') in 1638 (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.7).

BURSEY, ROBERT. 1642. Of Greenwich, aged 45 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 7v). Householder of Greenwich, paid 3s 4d. parliamentary assessment in 1644 (Trans. Greenwich & Lewisham Archl. Soc., VI [1963], p.44).

CRISPINE, JOHN. 1642. Of Westminster, aged 40 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 36v). Of Millway, Westminster, paid 1s. poll tax in 1641 (his wife paid 6d.) (P.R.O., E 179/253/10, no fol.) (n.b. Westminster apparently distinguished a basic householder rate - of 1s. There was no warrant for this in the parliamentary act, which merely specified a minimum adult payment of 6d.).

DUTTON, HUGH. 1642. Attached to Old Swan stairs [London]; aged 44 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 41v). Apparently held a house jointly with one Samuel Higs in St. Lawrence Poultney parish, London, of 2 annual rental value ('moderated by ') in 1638 (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.86). Of the seventh precinct in St. Lawrence Poultney, paid 6d. poll tax in 1641 (Soc. of Genealogists, 'London Poll Tax 1641: Dowgate Ward', typescript book in G.L.).

LACY, GEORGE. 1642. Of Lambeth, aged 43 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 28r). Paid 1s 4d. local assessment, Lord Archbishop's liberty, Lambeth, Mar. 1637/8. Collector for the poor, 1643 (Surrey Record Soc., xx, pp.120, 135). Paid 1s. Irish contribution, same liberty, Lambeth, 1642 (Webb, Surrey Contributors).

BLACKMAN, THOMAS. 1643. According to the old oligarchy, he had served as ruler at some unspecified time before 1642, and had (also before that date) made an accusation of corruption against the oligarchy, as a result of which the court of aldermen had permanently barred him from being a ruler (Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, p.5). ('Blakeman') of St. Saviour's parish [Southwark], aged 58 in Feb. 1628/9, 'seaman' (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 15v). ('Blackman') of Clink liberty (St. Saviours, Southwark), parliamentary assessment 1642, paid 3s. for his own property, and 12s. for rented property (P.R.O., E179/187/469, membrane 1r).

NELSON, NICHOLAS. 1643. Of Gravesend, aged 22 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 5v). Gravesend, parliamentary assessment 1642, paid 1s 4d, owed 1s 3d: total 2s 7d. (P.R.O., E 179/128/653).

PRICE, MATHEW. 1643. Of Queenhythe [St. Michael parish, London], aged 30 in Feb. 1628/9, no naval voyage then credited (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 40v). Hoogin Lane [now Huggin Hill], St. Michael Queenhythe, rental value of his house 3 p.a. ('moderated by ') (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.151).

SMITH, GILBERT. 1643. Of Lambeth, aged 30 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 28v). Lambeth, Lord Archbishop's liberty, 1s 4d. churchwardens' assessment, Mar. 1637/8 (ratings ranged from 1s. to 9s 6d.); collector for the poor, 1642; sidesman, 1646; churchwarden, 1662 (Surrey Rec. Soc., XX, p.121). 1s. Irish contribution 1642 (Webb, Surrey Contributors).

KETTLE, GEORGE. 1644. Of Horseydown [Southwark], aged 30 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 11r). St. Olave's parish, subsidy tax 1641, assessed at 1 for his lands (P.R.O., E 179/186/455). Will proved 1665: his probate inventory showed he had 80 gross in personal estate, or 60 after debts were deducted (P.R.O., PROB 11/317, quire 73; PROB 4/18162, July 1665).

LOWE, THOMAS. 1644. Clerk of the Watermen's Company, ref. 1656, 1673-4 (Humpherus, History of the Watermen, i.274; rep. 79, fo. 130). Of St. Saviour's parish [Southwark], aged 25 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 14v) (Pepper Alley, cf. ibid., fo. 42v). ('Loe') Clink liberty, St. Savior's, 2s. parliamentary assessment, 1642 (P.R.O., E 179/187/469, membrane 1v).

NOWELL, JOHN. 1644, 45, 64. Attached to the Three Cranes stairs [St. Martin Vintry parish, London], aged 23 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 40v). Certain unspecified 'differences' between him and the rulers in 1637-8 were then referred by the court of aldermen to a committee (rep. 52, fo. 108). Cf. Henry Nowell of Tennis Court Lane, St. Martin Vintry [= father?], rental value of house 2 p.a. ('moderated by ') in 1638 (Dale, Inhabitants of London, p.134). Waterman of Smarts quay precinct, Billingsgate, his wife and two servants (Tho. Vernon and William Adams) paid a total of 1s 6d. poll tax, 1641 (P.R.O., E 179/252/3, Billingsgate & Lime Street poll tax, 31) [John presumably paid at waterman's hall. He must have moved since 1629].

PARKER, CHRISTOPHER. 1644, 45, 59, 60. The generality of watermen charged the rulers in 1641 with having extorted 40s. from him before his apprenticeship had expired (Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, p.8).

PERKINS, RICHARD. 1644. Of St. Saviour's parish, upper ground [Southwark], aged 39 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 24v). Signed the watermen's democracy petition of 10 March 1641 (with a mark) (Lords MSS).

ROWE, THOMAS. 1645. ('Roe') of Horseydown, quartermaster, aged 32 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 11r). Opposed naval impressment of his apprentice in April 1641 (Lords MSS, 3 May 1641, petn. Henry Russell). St. Olave's parish, 'the land side', [Southwark], subsidy tax 1641, assessed at 1 for his lands (P.R.O., E 179/186/455). Will proved May 1656: no details of estate (P.R.O., Prob 11/255, quire 175).

BARTLETT, JOHN. 1646, 47. Of Lambeth, aged 20 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 28v). Lambeth, Prince Highness liberty, paid 5s. Irish contribution 1642 (Webb, Surrey Contributors). ?Son of Andrew Bartlett (1622 sqq., q.v.).

BLEAKE, THOMAS. Elected 1647 (didn't serve). Of Gravesend, aged 40 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 6r). Gravesend parliamentary assessment 1642, paid 1s. 4d., owed 1s. 3d. (total 2s. 7d.) (P.R.O., E 179/128/653).

PRICE, THOMAS. 1647, 48, 59, 60. Of St. Saviour's parish, upper ground [Southwark], aged 35 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 22v). Paris Garden [St Saviour's parish], parliamentary assessment 1642, paid 2 for rented property (P.R.O., E 179/187/469, membrane 2r).

BROWNE, ROBERT. 1648. One Robert Browne brought the company of watermen before the master recorder of London in 1640 over the issue of quarterage (the quarterly payments due from company members). (Taylor, To the Right Honorable Assembly, p.9). One 'Robbert Broune' signed the watermen's democracy petn. of March 1641 (with a mark) (Lords MSS, 10 March 1641, petn. of the generality of watermen).

GOODALE, WILLIAM. 1648, 49, 53. One oppositionist Goodale in 1641 'swore he would have my heart in his hand', according to John Taylor (ruler 1623 sqq., q.v.) (Taylor, Manifestation, p.4).

HOBSON, DENNIS. 1649, 50. Of St. Saviour's parish, upper ground [Southwark], aged 26 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 24r). Paris Garden [St. Saviour's parish], parliamentary assessment 1642, paid 1s 4d for rented property (P.R.O., E 179/187/469, membrane 2r).

SHUGBURY (SHUCK-; -BOROWE, -BOROUGH), WILLIAM. Assistant in 1649 (rep. 59, fo. 366v). An activist in the revolt of 1631-32, and also in the dispute of 1648-49 (rep. 47, fo. 139v; rep. 59, fo. 366v). Of Horseydown, aged 40 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 11v). St. Olave's parish, 'the water side', [Southwark], subsidy tax 1641, assessed at 1 for his lands (P.R.O., E 179/186/455).

CHURCH, JOS(H)UA. Of St. Saviours parish, upper ground [Southwark], aged 28 in Feb. 1628/9 (P.R.O., SP 16/135 [4], fo. 23r). A leader of the watermen's revolt of 1631-32, and of the revolution of 1641-42 (see above, 'The Thames Watermen'). There is no record of him having become a ruler.