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Oxford Mileways Act 1771: Street Cleaning


The following part of the Act relates to the rules imposed on citizens to keep their streets clean


Charges of cleansing and lighting Streets, &c. to be borne by Occupiers

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That from and after the passing this Act, the said Commissioners, or any Seven or more of them, shall have full Power and Authority, from Time to Time, to cause, order and direct, not only the said Bridge, Roads, or Streets, herein before directed to be paved and repaired, but also all other the publick Streets, Lanes, Ways, Passages, and Places, within the said University, City, or Suburbs, and the said Parish of Saint Clement, to be cleansed and lighted in such Manner as they shall think necessary; and that for defraying the Charges and Expences attending the cleansing and lighting thereof, it shall and may be lawful to and for the said Commissioners, or any Seven or more of them, in every Year after the passing of this Act, or oftener, if they, or any Seven or more of them, shall think it necessary, (the First Year to be computed from the Feast Day of Saint John the Baptist next after the passing of this Act, and every succeeding Year from the said Day in every Year respectively) to make One or more Rate or Rates, Assessment or Assessments, upon all Colleges, Halls, Parish Churches, Church-yards, Chapels, and other publick Buildings whatsoever; as also upon all Meeting-houses, dead Walls, and void Spaces of Ground; and upon the Tenants or Occupiers of all Houses, Buildings, Yards, Gardens, Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, in the said University, City, and Suburbs thereof, and the said Parish of Saint Clement, so as such Rate or Rates, Assessment or Assessments, do not exceed in the Whole in any One Year, to be computed as aforesaid, the Sum of Eighteen Pence for every Yard running Measure of the Front or Fronts, Length or Lengths, of such Colleges, Halls, Parish Churches, Church-yards, Chapels, and other publick Buildings, Meeting-houses, dead Walls, and void Spaces of Ground, Houses, Buildings, Yards, Gardens, Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments respectively, as are next to such Streets, Lanes, Ways, Passages, and Places; which Rate or Rates, Assessment or Assessments, laid upon any Colleges, Halls, Parish-churches, Church-yards, Chapels, and other publick Buildings and Meeting-houses, shall be paid by the several and respective Persons, in such Manner, and with the like Remedies in case of Nonpayment, as are herein before directed, for and in respect of the Pavement chargeable on Colleges, Halls, Parish-churches, Church-yards, Chapels, and other publick Buildings and Meeting-houses respectively; and which Rate or Rates, Assessment or Assessments, hereby directed to be laid or charged upon the Tenants or Occupiers of all Houses, Buildings, Yards, Gardens, Lands, Tenements, or Hereditaments, shall and may, in case of Nonpayment, be levied and recovered in such Manner, and with the like Remedies, as are herein before directed, for and in respect of the Pavement chargeable on the Owners or Proprietors of Houses, Buildings, Yards, Gardens, Lands, Tenements, and Hereditaments, on the Sides of, or which form the Streets hereby directed to be paved and repaired as aforesaid.

Nothing in this Act to extend to any College Courts

Provided always, and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That nothing herein contained shall extend to the Inside of any Court or other Place within any College or Hall in the said University of Oxford, or other publick Building, or to the Parish of Binsey within the Suburbs of the said City.

Appeal allowable against the Rates

Provided always, and be it enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That if any Person or Persons, Bodies Politick or Corporate, shall think himself, herself, or themselves aggrieved by any Rate or Rates, Assessment or Assessments, made in pursuance of this Act, such Person or Persons, Bodies Politick or Corporate, shall apply for Relief to the said Commissioners, at any Meeting to be held within Twenty-one Days next after Demand made of such Rate or Rates, Assessment or Assessments; and the said Commissioners, or any Seven or more of them, are hereby authorised and impowered, if they shall think such Person or Persons aggrieved, to give such Relief in the Premises as to them shall seem necessary; and if such Person or Persons, Bodies Politick or Corporate, shall not be satisfied with the Determination of such Commissioners, he, she, or they, shall be obliged to pay such Rate or Rates, Assessment or Assessments, and to comply with such Order of the said Commissioners, and then shall and may appeal to the Quarter Session of the Peace, to be holden for the said County or City of Oxford, within Six Months next after such Determination of the said Commissioners, such Appellant first giving, or causing to be given, Eight Days Notice at the least, in Writing, of his, her, or their Intention to bring such Appeal, and of the Matter thereof, to the Clerk of the said Commissioners, and within Four Days next after such Notice, entering, or causing a Recognizance to be entered into, before some Justice of the Peace for such County or City, by Two sufficient Persons or Sureties conditioned to try such Appeal, and to abide the Order of, and to pay such Costs as shall be awarded by the Justices as such Quarter-session; and the said Justices of such Quarter-session, upon due Proof of such Notice being given as aforesaid, and of the entering into such Recognizance, shall bear and determine the Causes and matters of such Appeal in a summary Way, and award such Costs to the Parties appealing, or appealed against, as they the said Justices shall think proper; and the Determination of such Justices, at their Quarter-sessions, shall be final, binding, and conclusive.

Poor how favoured

Provided always, and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That no Rate or Assessment for sweeping, cleansing, or lighting, shall be charged upon any Person or Persons, who, by Reason of his, her or their Poverty or Inability only, is, are, or shall be excused and left out of the Rates made for the Relief of the Poor of any Parish in the said City or Suburbs, or Parish of Saint Clement, wherein he, she, or they shall reside.

Foot-paths swept every Day except Sundays

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That all and every Person or Persons inhabiting within the said University, City, Suburbs, and Parish of Saint Clement, shall, from and after the Fourth Tuesday next after the passing of this Act, sweep and clean, or cause to be swept and cleansed, the Foot-paths, extending at least Four Feet before their respective Houses, Buildings, and Walls, between the Hours of Six and Ten in the Forenoon, Sundays excepted, upon Pain of forfeiting Five Shillings for every Neglect therein.

Streets to be swept twice a week

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Person or Persons contracted with for cleansing the said Streets, Lanes, Passages, and all other publick Places, shall sweep, clean, and carry away, or cause to be swept, cleansed, and carried away, the Dirt and Soil, in and out of all the Streets, Lanes, and Passages, and all other publick Places within the said University and City, and Suburbs, and Parish of Saint Clement, twice in every Week, on such Days as shall be appointed by the Commissioners, or any Seven or more of them, upon Pain of forfeiting Twenty Shillings for every Neglect therein.

No Person to carry away Soil, except Contractor

And be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That no Person or Persons shall take or carry away, or cause to be taken or carried away, any Ashes, Dust, Dirt, Muck, Dung, or Manure, which shall be made in any or either of the said Streets, Lanes, Passages, or other publick Places in the said University, City, and Suburbs, and Parish of Saint Clement, out of the same, besides the Persons so to be contracted with, or appointed as aforesaid for such Purpose by the said Commissioners, upon Pain of forfeiting and paying the Sum of Twenty Shillings for every such Offence.

Persons at Liberty to keep or dispose of Dung made or kept within their Houses or Yard

Provided always, and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That nothing herein contained shall extend, or be construed to extend, to any Ashes, Dust, Dirt, Filth, Dung, or Rubbish, which any of the Inhabitants of the said University, City, or Suburbs, or Parish of Saint Clement, shall occasion and think fit to preserve and keep within their own respective Houses, Yards, or Gardens; but the same shall respectively belong to the Person or Persons so reserving the same, so as such Ashes, Dust, Dirt, Filth, Soil, Dung, or Rubbish, be not laid down or placed in any or either of the said Streets, Lanes, or publick Passages, and Places in the said University, City, or Suburbs, or the said Parish of Saint Clement, for any longer Time than shall be necessary for the loading and carrying away the same, nor suffered to annoy the Neighbour or Neighbours of such Person or Persons; but in case the Person or Person so reserving such Ashes, Dust, Dirt, Filth, Soil, Dung, or Rubbish, shall thereby annoy his or their Neighbour or Neighbours, and shall continue to keep and preserve the same for the Space of Three Days, after Notice in Writing given to him, her, or them, under the Hands of the said Commissioners, or any Five or more of them, or left at such Person’s Dwelling-house, to remove the same, such Person or Persons shall forfeit and pay the Sum of Ten Shillings a Day, for every Day such Annoyances shall be permitted to remain, next after such Notice given as aforesaid.

Penalty not to extend to Rubbish occasioned by Building

Provided always, That no Person shall be subject to the last-mentioned Penalty of Ten Shillings, for any Rubbish or Dirt in the said Streets, Lanes, Passages, or public Places, or any of them, before the House or Tenement of such Person occasioned by the Building, pulling down any Building, rebuilding, or repairing any such House or Tenement, so as there be convenient Room left in the same Street, Lane, Passage, or Place where such Rubbish or Dirt shall lie for Carriages to pass and repass, and a sufficient Way kept clean for Foot-passengers, by the Person laying or occasioning such Dirt or Rubbish to be laid; nor for the making up any Lime into Mortar in any of the said Streets, Lanes, Passages, or Places, so as such Room be left for Foot-passengers and Carriages, and so as such Lime be inclosed before such House or Building about which the same is to be used, and so as the Owner or Owners of such House or Tenement before which such Rubbish or Lime shall lie shall cause the same to be removed out of the said Street, Lane, Passage, or Place, at his, her, or their own Costs and Charges, within a reasonable Time, or upon Notice to be given to him, her, or them, or left at his, her, or their said House, where such Rubbish or Lime shall like, for that Purpose, in Writing, to be signed by the said Commissioners, or any Five or more of them, and so as that whilst the same shall be lying in the said Street, Lane, Passage, or Place, such Owner or Owners shall set up and maintain a sufficient Light upon or against the same, every Night during the whole Night, from the Time it becomes dark, to prevent any Mischief happening to Passengers, which might otherwise be occasioned thereby.

Scavengers may lodge Dirt in the Street, &c. by Consent of Commissioners

Provided always, and be it further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, That the Person or Persons contracted with for cleansing the said Streets, Lanes, publick Passages, and Places, or any Part or Parts thereof, shall have Liberty, by the Approbation and Order of Five or more of the Commissioners, to lodge their Dirt, Dust, Ashes, or other Filth, in such vacant and publick Places in or near the said Streets, Lanes, Passages, and other Places as shall not appear to be intended to be built upon, and as shall be thought convenient by the said Commissioners, they the said Persons so contracted with, giving such Satisfaction to the Owners and Occupiers of such vacant Places as the said Commissioners, or any Five or more of them, shall direct.

Stephanie Jenkins, 2013