Procedure: charter for the fishing

The whilk day Williame, erle of Stratherne, president of his majesteis counsell, produced and exhibite before the lords of privie counsell the missive lettre underwrittin, with the chartour or signature concerning the associatioun for the fishing, quhilk, with mutuall consent of commissioners for both kingdomes, is concluded to his majesteis great contentment and appearand benefite of both kingdomes. Quhilk signature or chartour being read in presence of the saids lords, they ordained and ordains the same to be insert and registrat in the books of privie counsell and thereafter to be exped his majesteis chancellarie and the great seale of this kingdome appended thereunto, after the forme and tennour of the act following made to that effect, of the quhilk chartour the tennour followes:

Chartour for the fishing

Charles R[ex], oure soverane lord, being ever, according to the royall care incumbent to his kinglie charge, watchefull als weill for the publict goode of his majesteis dominions as for the privat profite of the subjects of the same, having, after diligent inquisitioun, found with what plentie of fishes it hes pleased God to blesse the seas, firthes, bayes, creiks, commoun rivers and loches of his majesteis dominions and yles perteaning to the same, and how muche profite may redound thereby to his saids subjects and what strenth may accrew to his majesteis navie, als weill in warre as in peace, and of what burden his majesteis dominiouns sall be fred be accustoming lazie and ydle people to worke and instructing thame in the trade of fishing, that frome thence they may supplie thair awne necessiteis, and als how muche the merchant trade may be advanced be thair industrie. As also his majestie, after mature deliberatioun had with the counsellours of his majesteis dominiouns, having weyghed als weill the publict as privat profite and all others things following thairpoun if his majesteis subjects sall diligentlie, earnestlie and stronglie intend thair care and labours to the exercise and advancement of the fishing trade, and for others urgent reasouns and causes moving his majestie thereto, ordains these his lettres patents to be past under the great seales of both his majesteis kingdomes under writtin in maner after specifiit, decerning and ordaining ane societie to be erected. Lykeas his majestie, by these present lettres patents, erects ane societie of the natives of his majesteis dominiouns and denizenis dwelling and residing in the same, and of others assumed and inrolled in the counsell of the said societie, in and to the said societie, liberteis and priviledges of the same, secluding all others strangers and forraners quhatsomever, to consist of twelffe counsellours to be nominat and constitute in all tyme to come be his majestie, his airis and successours and to be removed at his majestie, his airs and successours will and pleasure; of the quhilks counsellours the one halfe in all tyme to come sall be of the Scotish natioun, the other halfe of the English or Yrish descending frome the English or Yrish race, sua that one of the said nomber deceasing or removed, another of that same natioun sall succeid and be substitute in his place, quhilk sall be callit the counsell of the said societie and of the commountie of the said societie, to be callit in all tymes to come be the name of the Counsell and Commountie of the Fishing of his majesteis dominions of Great Britane and Ireland; of the whiche societie his majestie, his airis and successours accepts upon thame to be and to be callit the protectours in all tyme to come. And be these presents makes, creats and constituts his majesteis right trustie and right weilbelovit cousines and counsellouris, William, erle of Mortoun, high treasurer of Scotland, Williame, erle of Stratherne and Monteith, president of his majesteis counsell of Scotland, Robert, erle of Roxburgh, his majesteis right trustie and right weilbelovit counsellour, Williame, vicount of Stirline, principall secretarie of Scotland, and his majesteis trustie and weilbelovit Johne Hay and George Fletcheour, esquyrs for the Scotish natioun, and his majesteis right trustie and right weilbelovit counsellour Richard, lord Westoun, high treasurer of England, his majesteis right trustie and right weilbelovit cousines and counsellouris, Thomas, erle of Arrundell and Surrey and Erle Marshell of England, Philip, erle of Pembroke and Montgomerie, chamberlane of his majesteis hous, his majesteis right trustie and weilbelovit Thomas, viscount Savage, and his majesteis trustie and weilbelovit counsellours, Francis, lord Cottingtoun and Sir Johne Cooke, knight, principall secretarie of England for the English natioun, first and present counselloris of the said societie, and Patrick Wallace, Sir Charles Smith, knight, George Purves, Johne Tailyeour, Alexander Simsoun, Sir Johne Thumbelbie, knight, James Stevinsoun, Basteill, lord Feilding, Patrik, erle Tullibarne, Sir Androw Corbet, knight, Sir Basteill Bruike, knight, George Bruce of Carnock, Johne, lord Lowdoun, Alexander Bruce of Ava, Archbald, lord of Lorne, Sir Thomas Middletoun, knight, Edward Savage, Abrahame Daes, Charles Jones, Thomas Tempest, Robert Maissoun, Sir James Bagg, knight, Thomas Ezett, David Simsoun, Sir Richart Westoun, knight, Thomas Richartsoun, Williame McKene, William Fitzherbert, Robert Baittie, Johne Webb, Thomas Savage, Edward Quhytbie, Francis, lord Montnoreis, Sir Sampsoun Darrell, knight, Antonie Irbie, Johne, lord Poullet, Francis Plouden, Frances Finch, Sir George Kempe, knight, Sir Arthure Laik, knight, William Meklejohne, Sir Johne Wolstenholme, knight, Sir Johne Savage, knight, Johne Thomesoun, Richard Buckley, Sir Johne Winter, knight, Walter Blunt, David Wilsoun, Endimione Porter, Sir Paul Pinder, knight, Alexander Mure, David Chrystie, George Butler, Thomas Fallesdaill, Williame, vicount of Air, Williame Foster, Francis, lord Dunsmore, Richard Quhyte, Johne Williamesoun, Gabriell Cuninghame, Thomas Charters, Duncane Forbes, Johne, lord Tracquair, Johne, lord Wemes, James Fletcheour, Katharine, dutches of Buckinghame, Johne Chamberland, James Hanhame, Williame Gray, Williame Dick, Johne Leaper, Sir Patrik Hepburne, knight, Robert Richartsoun, Sir Frances Inglefeild, knight, Johne Osburne, Sir Nicolas Fortescue, knight, Johne Cowan, Williame, vicount of Drumlanrig, Sir Garret Kempe, knight, Alexander Narne, James Cockeburne, Johne, lord Calstelheavin, Johne Smith, James Claytoun, Thomas Boswell, David Cuninghame, James Blair, Walter Haistings, Robert Alexander, Sir Richard Leicheford, knight, Thomas Mure, Henrie Schanks, Sir Johne Blacader of Tulliallan, Johne, erle of Carrick, Androw Bell, Androw Wilsoun, Johne Mure, Thomas, lord Windsore, Johne Ashburnename, Richard, lord Lumley of Waterfurde in Ireland, Johne Sempill, William Black, Thomas Collesoun, John Dae, Robert Tailyeour, Johne Yeaman, Stephane Quhyte, Henrie, vicount of Falkland, Johne Jacob, Sir Thomas Ashtoun, knight, Sir Christopher Nevell, knight, George, erle of Wintoun, David Alexander, Williame Russell in the countie of Wiggorne, baronnet, Williame Russell, Allane Dunlop, Johne Kempe, Androw Gray, Francis, erle of Rutland, Patrik Hunter, Vidas Lawsoun, Cobrid Rowleigh, Patrik Bell, George, vicount of Dupline, Thomas, erle of Hadintoun, Gabriel Hippesley, [...], Ladie Winsore, George Goring, Benedict Hall, Henrie, lord Martravers, George Gage, Rodger Polkinhorne, Richard, erle of Corke, Johne Kegwin, erle of Sanct Albane, Richard Kegwin, Ranulph, erle of Antrim and William Noy, first and present fellowes of the communitie of the said societie, and thame and thair successouris in ane corporat and politick bodie be the names foresaid to all effects, makes, erects and creats to doe and undergoe as other corporat and politick bodeis within his majesteis dominiouns hes hithertills beene accustomed to doe and undergoe. And als his majestie willis that ilke persoun of the said communitie constitute, or to be constitute in maner underwrittin, sall be elected and preferred and injoy the said place during the terme of lyfe, except he be removed therefra upon just caus be his majestie, his airis and successours or be the councell of the said societie. And als his majestie wills and grants to the councell and communitie of the said societie and thair successours that the said councell and communitie of the said societie and thair successours heerafter in all tyme to come have ane commoun seale to serve for doing of thair causes and effaires and for thair successours whatsomever, and als may change the same seale at pleasure so oft as they sall thinke fitt. And his majestie, for him, his airs and successours, wills that the counsell of the said societie sall reside and keepe courts, conventiouns and chapters in whatsomever place within his majesteis kingdomes of Great Britane and Ireland it sall please his majestie and his successours in all tyme to come to find necessarie and sall be commanded be warrand frome his majestie, his airis and successours. And further, his majestie, for him, his airis and successours, grants licence and libertie to the counsell and communitie of the said societie and thair successours and wills that the counsell of the said societie being for the tyme, so oft as they sall thinke expedient, sua that sax or more of the nomber of the said counsell (whairof the one halfe sall be of the Scotish, the other halfe of the Inglishe or Yrish race) being warned be present, may and have power to conveene in suche places as sall be designed for thair residence, and make ane chapter, elect, constitute and depute officers and ministers of the said counsell and communitie necessar for thair service and als consult and treate anent the effaires and bussines concerning the said counsell and communitie of the said societie, and to make, statute and ordaine statuts, lawes and ordinances quhatsomever concerning the members of the said societie, thair attendants, servants, fishers, mariners, maisters of shippes, thair factors and others attending the fisher trade and concerning the fisher bussines, and the same to promulgat; and sua oft as it sall seeme good to thame the same to change, revocke, correct and to substitute other statuts in thair places; and panes, als weill pecuniarie as of imprisonment, frome tyme to tyme to decerne to be inflicted aganis the contraveinners and breakers of the same according to the qualitie of the offence; as als upon new emergent evills requyring amendment, new remedeis congruous and agreable to reasoun to oppone sua oft and whensoever it sall seeme expedient to thame, sua that notwithstanding thairof the saids statuts, laws and ordinances be ratified and approvin be his majestie and his successours before they obteane the force of lawes; and als to putt the said statuts to dew executioun, and that siclyke they may and have power to punishe the contemners of the same and repyning thereunto, according to the saids statuts, lawes and ordinances and tennour thairof, whiche lawes, ordinances and statuts his majestie wills in all points to be keeped and putt to dew execution sua that the saids statuts, lawes, ordinances and decrees be not contrarie nor derogatorie to the statuts, lawes, liberteis or acts of parliament of his majesteis kingdomes. And als his majestie wills and, be these presents, for him, his airis and sucessours, grants to the counsell and communitie of the said societie and thair successours that the counsellours of the said counsell, everie one of thame having first takin the oath to be ordained be his majestie, to sett doun the forme of the oath to be takin be everie one of the said communitie, thair ministers and servants, and the same oath to receave of ilke persoun foresaid of the said societie, be thameselffes or some of thame, whairof the one halfe sall be of Scotishe, the other halfe of English or Yrish race, or be others judges heerafter underwrittin, or some of thame, quhairof the one halfe sall be of the Scotish natioun, the other halfe of the English or Yrish2 race, to whome all and sindrie his majestie gives and grants be these presents full power for him, his airis and successours to minister and receave the said oath. And for the better governement and more speedie administratioun of justice betuix the persons of the said societie, and to eschew expenses and others burdens, his majestie, for him, his airis and successors, constituts and ordains that in everie province of his saids kingdomes and touns most commodious to that effect where the persons of the said societie sall be residing, to be designed be the counsell of the said societie, there sall be elected foure judges or more under the said counsell of equall nomber of the saids natiouns, quhairof to witt the one halfe sall be of the Scotish, the other of the English or Yrish3 race in maner underwrittin, to doe as is heerafter specified, within the meiths and precincts to be designed be the counsell of the said societie. Notwithstanding whairof, his majestie wills that everie ane of the saids judges sall be removeable be the counsell of the said societie and at thair will and pleasure, and that the saids judges be elected be the persons of the said societie residing in the saids touns and provinces where the saids judges sall be constitute, and incaise they cannot agree amongs thameselffes, be the magistrats of the touns in quhilks they doe reside. And als his majestie wills the same judges to reside and hold courts in the burghes and touns of the saids provinces and shirefdomes most commodious for the fishing trade, whome also his majestie willis to take the oath to be ordained be the foresaid counsell as said is before the foresaids magistrats of the saids touns where they reside and ar elected, of thair good cariage in thair said office. To the quhilks magistrats his majestie also grants full power and libertie to receave the saids oaths, as also gives power to the foresaids judges, subdelegate and elected as said is, to make, establishe and promulgat temporarie lawes, ordinances and statuts for the better governement of the persouns of the said societie within thair jurisdictiouns, and the samine to dew executioun to putt, sua that the samine statuts and lawes be not repugnant and contrarie to the lawes, acts of parliament, nor statuts of his majesteis kingdomes, nor to the lawes and statuts to be made and sett furth be the counsell of the said societie. His majestie also willis and for him, his airis and successours be these presents grants to the counsell and communitie of the said societie and thair successours and to thair fishers, mariners, maisters of shippes and servants attending the fishing trade, and to everie one of thame, that the persouns of the said societie and thair fishers, mariners, maisters of shippes and servants, and everie ane of thame, als weill present as to come, attending the taking or making of fishe, sall be frome tyme to tyme in all tyme to come discharged of all sutes and complaints in the courts or tolbuiths of his majestie, his airis and successours wheresoever the samine sall happin to be, whill as they attend the taking and making of fishe of all things concerning the fishing bussines, sua that nane of thame sall be haldin to answer before anie justices, shireffs, provests or bailliffes of courts or tolbuiths of his majestie, his airis or successours anent anie transgressioun or contract concerning the fishing bussines, bot before the saids judges or counsell of the said societie; nather sall they pas frome thair fishings or fishing workes upon the warnings of anie of his majesteis ministers or his airis or successours, except upon the warning of some of the officers and ministers of the said counsell or judges to be delegate as said is. And forder, his majestie willis and be these presents, for him, his airis and successours, grants to the counsell and communitie of the said societie that they may have courts and tolbuiths in the touns and provinces to be designed as said is, and in the samine before the foresaids judges or before the said counsell where ever the samine sall reside, to hold all pleayes betuix the persons of the said societie or betuix thair fishers, mariners, maisters of shippes, thair factors or servants arysing amongs thame concerning the fishing trade, and to administrat justice to thame in the saids pleyes and complaints, and the offenders against the ordinances, lawes and statuts foresaids to be ordained, and rebellious and contrarie to the same to punishe according to the quantitie of the fault and meanes of the delinquent as it sall be just and according to the lawes and consuetude of these parts in whiche these courts or tolbuiths sall be constitute or according to the tennour of the saids ordinances, lawes and statuts; and if the saids judges sall not doe justice or right to the saids parteis, or gives false judgement or delayes longer than is fitt to doe right, that than the defect of the saids judges not doing right according to the saids lawes, ordinances and statuts sall be rectified before the counsell. And becaus it may often fall out that contraverseis may arise on the sea betuix the merchants, maisters of shippes, thair factors, mariners and fishers and thair servants for removing whairof, and that without delay of necessitie there is required the helpe of judges, thairfoir, his majestie wills and ordains that whensoever anie navie of fishing shippes, mair or lesse of what kynde soever they be, sall be conveenned and drawin togidder on the sea, that the maisters and merchants thameselffes or thair principall factors sall elect out of thair nomber foure or more most able judges depute, of the quhilk one halfe sall be Scotish, the other English or Yrish of the English or Yrish race, to administrat justice and hold pleyes betuix the persons of the said societie, thair mariners, maisters of shippes, factors and servants foresaids, during the whole tyme of that present fishing voyage, and that als manie suche lyke sall be the same way elected ilke voyage of new to the effect abonespecifiit, to whome also his majestie grants power and libertie to hold courts and pleyes there, and to administrat justice betuix the persons and fellowes of the said societie being there for the tyme, and thair servants, attendants, ministers, merchants, mariners, maisters of shippes and factors concerning all things and pleyes arising upon the sea concerning the said fishing bussines, to create and constitute officiars and ministers of the said court and als to make lawes and statuts for the better governement of the said navie and all the persons sailing in the same during that fishing voyage, and the same, as also the lawes and statuts made or to be made be the counsell of the said societie, to putt to dew executioun, provyding alwayes that nothing be done contrare to the lawes and statuts of his majesteis kingdoms, or to the lawes and ordinances to be made be the counsell of the said societie; and to give thair oath before two or more of the maisters of the shippes of the said navie for lawfull and dew administratioun of justice, according to the lawes to be made be the said counsell or according to the consuetude of that natioun, in the whiche the bussines whairupon the contentioun arises sall be emergent. His majestie also wills and grants for him, his airis and successours to the counsell of the communitie of the said societie and thair successours that it sall be leasome to the counsell of the said societie to admitt and inroll in the communitie of the said societie suche supplicants as they will, and that ilke ane of his majesteis subjects, ather native or denizat and dwelling or residing within his majesteis dominiouns, willing to give obedience to the lawes, statuts and ordinances of the said societie to be made as said is, may supplicat and require thameselffes to be assumed and inrolled in the communitie of the said societie without anie exactioun whatsomever. As also his majestie commands and wills the counsell and communitie of the said societie and everie ane of thame, present and to come, that they admitt these petitioners and supplicants into the comunitie of the said societie; and for the more easie and expedit admissioun into the said societie, his majestie gives and grants unto the counsell and communitie of the said societie and for him, his airis and successours wills that als weill the counsell of the said societie and these to be depute in everie province as said is, or anie two or more of thame, whairof the one halfe is to be Scotish, the other halfe to be Inglish or Yrish of the English or Yrish race, have power, and may frome tyme to tyme admitt and inroll these supplicants or petitioners into the communitie of the said societie. Lykeas his majestie, be vertew of these presents, makes and constituts ilke persoun sua inrolled and admitted into the communitie of the said societie fellowes of the communitie of the said societie and partakers of all the priviledges of the said societie; as also grants power, libertie and full licence to the foresaids counsell and communitie of the said societie and thair successouris, and to ilke persoun being into the said societie, als weill present as to come, of whatsomever natioun they be subject to his majestie, his airis, and successouris obedience, according to the ordinances, lawes and statuts to be made in forme foresaid, to exerce fishing and take sea fishe where it sall please thame, als weill in his majesteis seas and of his kingdomes and dominiouns and yles perteaning to the saids kingdomes, as in the loches, firthes, creiks, bayes and estuareis within his majesteis saids kingdomes and yles perteaning to the same, wheresomever herrings or sea fishe is takin or may or is accustomed to be takin, reserving and excepted to everie privat subject the salmound fishing; reserving also, if his majestie be his proclamatioun or warrand to be published in everie one of his saids kingdomes sall give command, that anie part of anie creik or fyrthe being within anie of his majesteis saids kingdomes sall be free frome the fishing of the counsell and societie foresaid, to the necessar sustentatioun and use of his subjects dwelling there, that than and sua oft they of the said societie sall absteane frome injoying and using of the priviledge of the said counsell and societie grantit to thame as said is in these places as be the said proclamatioun order sall be given, and to carie the fishe takin in the same to his majesteis harbereis and shoares, wheresomever als weill within burgh as without the same, to onlaide and putt the same upon land, as also to salt, dry, loade, to barrell and puncheoun the same, and for conservatioun of the saids fishes to build necessar housses, covertours stages and others fitt for the use of the fishing trade wheresomever in his majesteis lands and shoare of the sea, and for ane reasonable price to be offered and payed to the landslords in other mens grounds sua oft as it sall please thame to bring the same fishe to land, otherwayes to keepe and preserve the same in thair shippes and boats without taking the same to land, ather in burgh or without; saving alwayes to his majestie, his airis and successours the customes, tithes and others dewteis quhilks ar dew to his majestie out of the same and to give, sell and dispone the samine fish wheresomever within his majesteis dominiouns to the subjects of these dominiouns of what natioun so ever they be, subject to his majestie, his airis and successours, or to carie, transport, retaile or sell into forrane or parts beyond sea being in freindship with his majestie, his airis or successours in thair awne shippes and vessellis, or vessellis of anie others his majesteis subjects as it sall seeme most expedient to thame, albeit the one or none of the saids parteis be burges or not burges dwelling and inhabiting within burgh or without burgh. And further, his majestie wills and be these presents, for him, his airis and successours, grants to the foresaid counsell and communitie of the said societie and thair successours and everie one being of the said societie, als weill present as to come, that they and everie ane of the said societie and thair fishers, onwaiters and servants attending the fishing bussines, as also thair trakboats, boats, crears, shippes, more or lesse of quhatsomever portage or burden they be or thair materialls designed and prepared for taking of fishe or exportatioun of the same, whether they be in sea or herberie or ellis where in the service of the persouns of the said societie, sall not be arrested nor takin to his majestie or his successours use or service, nor sall be compelled to pas in his majesteis service or effaires aganis the maisters will, except be ane speciall warrand to be grantit be his majestie, his airis and successours, mentiouning the speciall priviledge givin to thame. And to that effect, that everie one of the said societie may the more seriouslie and diligentlie bestow thair labours upon the fishings, his majestie hes grantit to the counsell and communitie of the said societie, and to everie ane of the said societie, als weill present as to come, and wills that nane of thame who sall be ane fisher or sall attend the fishing or making of fishe, sall be putt amongs these that ar sworne upon assyses, attantis, recognitiouns or inquisitiouns quhatsomever, albeit they doe tuiche his majestie, his airis or successours or anie other persoun whatsomever, nor yitt anie one of thame sall be collectour of tithes, fyftenes, taxatiouns, tallages or other burdeins or impositiouns quhatsomever, grantit or to be grantit whatsomever way to his majestie or his successours, nor sall be compelled aganis thair will to be ane constable or tithing man. And further, his majestie wills and for him, his airis and successours grants to the counsell and communitie of the said societie and thair successours that after the proclamatioun or edict to be published heereanent no persoun whatsomever not being in the said societie transport or caus to be transported anie sea fishe takin within his majesteis dominiouns, or brought within the same, ellis where furth of the saids dominiouns in merchandice, whome all and everie ane of thame his majestie straitlie forbids that no persoun whatsomever sall caus to be caried nor transported within his majesteis dominiouns in merchandice the fishe takin within the saids dominiouns or brought within the same frome anie uther place under all pane to follow heerupon. And albeit the counsell and comunitie of the said societie and free men of the same societie, ilke man of ilke severall natioun subject to his majestie, doe injoy in the saids severall dominiouns diverse liberteis and freedomes, notwithstanding his majestie willis and for him, his airis and successours grants to the counsell and comunitie of the said societie and thair successours that the counsell and comunitie of the said societie sall not be compellit to contribute to anie subsideis, fyftenes, tithes, coats, taxatiouns or tallages within his majesteis dominiouns, albeit they be grantit be auctoritie of parliament or whatsomever other way, furthe of thair goods, lands or cattell quhilks they sall have in commoun, bot sall be fred and discharged of the same perpetuallie and sua oft as upon anie emergent occasioun anie suche subsideis, fyftenes, tents, coats, taxatiouns or tallages sall be granted or is to be lifted, ilke persoun of the said societie being for the tyme, als weill present as to come, sall pay the same in the places wherein they reside and dwell, exceptand notwithstanding tolles, pettie dewteis, customes, subsideis, impositiouns, weyages and heaven dewteis dew to be payed in harbereis, mercats, faires, bridges, villages or hie wayes, quhilks his majestie willis to be payed according to the law and custome of the place where they ar exacted. And further, his majestie willis and by these presents, for him, his airis and successours, grants to the counsell and comunitie of the said societie and thair successors that they may have and possesse and that everie one of thame sall have and possesse perpetuallie the haill premises, and they injoy and use the samine fullie and ilke ane of thame injoy as said is in his majesteis severall dominiouns and in all citeis, burghes, villages and places als weill within priviledged places, freedomes and liberteis as without the same, notwithstanding of whatsomever act or acts of parliament made within anie of his majesteis severall dominiouns, to the whiche his majestie willis these presents to be derogatorie in sua farre as concernes the premises; and ordains twa lettres patents or chartors to be made, of the which these presents to be under the great seale of Scotland and England, the other under the great seale of England and Scotland; and ordains these presents to be ane sufficient warrand for writting and appending his majesteis great seales of both the saids kingdomes in maner abonewrittin, without passing of anie others seales or registers. Givin at [...].

  1. NAS, PC1/34, f.29r-32v.
  2. 'of the English or Yrish' repeated.
  3. 'of the English or Yrish' repeated.