Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A late 17th century Act to repair the road: longest sentence ever?

The Parliamentary draftsman must have been being paid by the yard. Below, after the references is the first sentence alone of an Act concerned with keeping the road from Gloucester to Crickley maintained.

'William III, 1697-8: An Act for repairing the Highways from the Towne of Birdlipp and the Top of Crickley Hill in the County of Gloucester to the City of Gloucester. [Chapter XVIII. Rot. Parl.9 Gul. III.p.3.n.7.]'

Reasons for passing this Act

Quarter Sessions to appoint a Surveyor of the Roads yearly; Notice to Persons appointed.; Surveyors to meet to survey ruinous Places, and take Order for repairing the same; and certify to Quarter Sessions, who are to make Order thereon; Surveyors to require Carts, &c. to work in such Places; Surveyors to pay for working beyond limited Time; Two Justices may settle Rate of Payment.

Whereas the Highway between Birdlipp and the said Top of Crickley Hill in the County. Gloucester and the City of Gloucester being part of the ancient Highway and Post Road leading from the Citty of London to Gloucester by reason of the great and many Loads that are weekly drawne through the same are become very ruinous and almost impassable for att least Five Miles in length insomuch that itt is become dangerous to all Persons that passe that way and for that the ordinary course appointed by the Laws and Statutes of this Realme is not sufficient for the effectual repairing and amending the same neither are the Inhabitants of the several Parishes in which the said ruinous Places in the said High-way and Roads doe lye of ability to repaire the same without some other Provision be made for the repairing thereof May it please Your Majesty that it may be enacted and be it enacted by the Kings most Excellent Majesty by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritiual & Temporal and Co[m]mons in this present Parliament assembled and by the Authority of the same That for the surveying ordering repairing and keeping in Repaire the said several ruinous places in the said Road the Justices of the Peace att the Quarter Sessions to be holden for the said County or any Five of them next after the First Day of May One thousand six hundred ninety eight shall and may then and so from time to time in every Yeare nominate and appoint a convenient number of sufficient and able Persons residing & inhabiting in the Parishes or Places adjoining to the respective ruinous High-way and Road or any Part thereof so to be amended as aforesaid to be the several and respective Surveyors of the respective Places aforesaid for the Yeare from thence next ensuing and that the said Justices shall cause Notice to be given to the several Surveyors so chosen in Writing of their said Choice which said Surveyors and every of them having no lawfull impedim[en]t to be allowed by the said Justices by whom they shall be chosen in manner aforesaid or any Two of them within one Week next after such Notice to him or them given of their Election shall and are hereby required respectively to meet in some convenient place within their several and respective Divisions for the which they are respectively appointed Surveyors to the Intent to Review and Survey the said respective ruinous places and consider the defects thereof and the best Method and Means that can be used for the repairing the same & make their respective Certificates thereof to the Justices of the Peace att the next Quarter Sessions to be held for the said County who thereupon shall and may make such Order & Orders in and about the same as to them shall seem good which said Order or Orders so to be made shall be by the said respective Surveyors and all other Persons concerned in putting this Act in Execution duely observed & performed and the said respective Surveyors are hereby impowered to appoint and require such Carts and Persons who are within the said adjacent Parishes from time to time to come and work in the said respective Places as they shall think needfull for which the said respective Surveyors shall pay unto such Labourers and to the Owners of such Teams Carts and Wains according to the usual Rate of the Countrey in case they [shall (fn. 1) ] be required so to work beyond the times limitted by the Statutes now in force wherein if any Difference happen the same to be settled by Two or more of the next Justices of the Peace which is to be conclusive to all Parties.

So that's the first sentence. It goes on: William III, 1697-8 which I would only recommend if you're suffering from insomnia...

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