The History and Antiquities of London, Westminster, Southwark, and Parts Adjacent, vol. 3
This prison is for debtors, and was founded as early as the of Richard I. It is of small dimensions, and will be removed to St. George's-fields as soon as a suitable building can be erected,
In Mr. Malcolm's Londinium Redivivum are
The regulations are as follows:
The warden may appoint as many of the servants of the prison as he thinks fit, to guard the outward gates as porters; to be armed with halberts, bills, or other weapons, at his discretion.
The gates to be opened and shut at the same hours of those of Newgate and Ludgate prisons.
The prisoners to give bonds for their good behaviour, and for all fees and charges.
To prevent any prisoner from bringing in weapons further than the lodge.
No prisoner to buy provisions or liquor out of the prison without licence; the prices not to be higher than those in the city.
The prisoners to go abroad for the day on paying ; half day ; to the keeper and to the warden's box.
If the queen happened to be above miles from London or , and any prisoner was summoned to attend the council, he was to pay all the charges of himself and attendants.
The warden was empowered between the terms to take with him into the country any prisoner that he had before permitted to go out; unless forbid by the council.
The warden was to keep key of the poor box, and
another. He was to prevent dissention, by an equal division of the contents.
If any person committed was unable to pay the parlour or hall commons,
the warden was to provide a chamber and bed, as the parties could agree.
If a prisoner had more ease than the regulations afforded, he was to pay for it.
Any man or woman that sat at the parlour commons to pay weekly for their chamber and bed; and the same at the hall ;
the wardens licensed prisoners not condemned, or commandment to the contrary by council, to go about their necessary business, or to their learned counsel, with a keeper. The commissioners still permitted it.
The warden and prisoners agreed upon the following:
Notwithstanding the preceding regulations were to endure for ever, Charles the found it necessary, on the d , to issue a special commission to inquire into the frauds mid oppressions committed by the warden of the Fleet, his deputies, and other officers of the said prison. If it was worse even than it is said to have been in the commission during the latter part of this reign, and that of Oliver Cromwell, it
|would be nothing extraordinary: but be that as it may, we find the merchants and traders of London, , petitioning the against the warden. They said it was no better than a licensing office for cheats; and it was afterwards proved that persons had been committed from the year to , of which number only were legally discharged and removed by habeas Corpus.|
In , the parishes of , St. Sepulchre's, and , , petitioned parliament; complaining, that insolvent debtors came to reside within the rules of the Fleet in those parishes, and praying for relief, as they became burthened by additional poor by this means.
Complaints without number poured about this time from all sides against the warden. Perhaps none had more foundation, or more required redress, than the shameful practice of marrying within the prism. Anthony Grindall, warden, and Robert Saunders, register of the marriages, appear to have been guilty of forging books, which, when produced to a committee of the commons, were proved to be so: besides, they were destitute of every particular which makes a register valuable.
To such an extent were the proceedings carried, that and couple were joined in day, at from to each.
From the , to , marriages were celebrated (by evidence) besides others known to have been omitted. To these neither licence or certificate of bans were required; and they concealed by private marks the names of those who chose to pay them for it. And this was the foundation of the marriage act. The very vitals of the salutary laws, which render property and persons safe, were brought into danger, by the knavish tricks debauchees and fortune-hunters were enabled to practise, through the Fleet-clergy and the wardens.
Mr. Pennant says,
Sir, will you be pleased to walk in and be married?
Marriages performed within,
In the year much apprehension arose in the neighbourhood of Ely house, , from a plan that was formed of removing the there. The opposition of the inhabitants prevailed.
It was then proposed to transfer it to St. George's-fields, and the market to the site of the prison, and to open a street through the Swan Inn to .
The part of this plan has been revived, and will be carried into execution immediately, with the full concurrence of the lord chief justice, and the corporation of London. A long continued dispute between the parish of and the wardens of the Fleet was decided in by the court of King's Bench; it was, whether the wardens were liable to the poor rates. The decree declares them to be so.
The little river Fleet, whose waters were swelled by Turnmill and Oldbourn brooks, flowed in avalley, which may be very readily traced from the Thames to , near the small pox hospital. This united stream might once have been celebrated for its transparent waters; and Mr. Malcolm says,
So long since as , we find the
(the White Friars) complaining to the king and parliament of the putrid exhalations arising from ; which were so powerful as to overcome all the frankincense burnt at their altar during divine service; and even occasioned the deaths of many of the brethren. They beg that the stench may be immediately removed, lest they should all perish. The Friars Preachers also (Black Friars) and the bishop of Salisbury (whose house was then in ) united in the same complaint.
In , a petition was presented by the earl of Lincoln (Henry Lacy), setting forth,
It was in consequence directed, that Roger le Brabazon, constable of the Tower, with the mayor and sheriffs of London,
This order occasioned the mills, and other nuisances, to be removed, and the river to be cleansed; as was also done at several subsequent periods, particularly in the year , when the
In , flood-gates were erected in it; and in , years after the fire of London, when it had been partly filled up by rubbish, it was again cleansed, enlarged, and deepened sufficiently to admit barges of considerable burthen as far as Bridge, where the water was feet deep in the lowest tides. So convenient, however, was this stream, as a receptacle for all the filth of this part of the city, that the expense of maintaining its navigation became very burthensome; and it was at length so utterly neglected, that Fleet ditch, as it was now called, grew into a great and dangerous nuisance.
The satirist Pope invites his heroes in the Dunciad to its filthy stream:
Many Roman and Saxon coins, medals, and utensils, have been found in the soil taken at different periods from this river.
At length the corporation of London obtained an act of parliament (which vested the ground in their hands) to fill it up. This was done about the year . The expense of the undertaking, making the vast arch that now carries off the water, and erecting the market, amounted to
 A statute 23d of Henry VI. contains regulations for the Fleet, and it is there permitted to the warden to suffer prisoners to visit the country.
 See Gent. Mag. vol. v. p. 93.
 Called in the foundation charter of St. Martin's-le-grand college, by the Conqueror, the river of wells. Stowe, p. 9, edit. Munday, p. 110.
 Prior et fratres de Carmelo in London, qui ita gravantur de fetore. . . propinqui, quod dunare non possunt, nec divinum officium ministrare, et occasione multi dictorum fratrum mortui sunt. Petunt quod rex velit precipere dictum fetorem remover. Et tratres predicatores petunt illud: et episcopus Sarum, et omnes vicini propinqui, petunt illud idem. Rot. Parl. vol i. p. 61.
 Vide, ante, vol. i. p.