1620, Phillip Jones petitions for a position as inspector of hops

Phillip Jones, citizen and merchant of London. SP 14/112 f. 88 (1620)

To the Kinges most excellent majestie

The humble peticion of Phillip Jones citizen and merchant of London.

Most humbly sheweth that in the Parliament holden in the first yere of your majesties most happy raigne over this kingdome it did appeare that there were divers fraudes deceiptes and abuses comitted in bringinge in of hoppes from forreigne partes, packed with powder, sand, loggettes of wood, drosse and other soile to the damage of your subjectes aswell in waighte, as in the goodnes to the value of twenty thousand poundes a yere at the least besides the endangeringe of their healthes. For reformacion whereof it was then enacted that if any forreyner stranger, native Englishman denizen merchant or any other person or persons whatsoever should utter or sell any corrupt or unwholesome hoppes being packed as aforesaid the said hoppes should be seised and forfeyted. The said acte beinge to indure but untill the first session of the then next Parliament at which tyme nor since it hath not ben contynued.

Forasmuch as the said good acte is determined, and the fraudes deceiptes and abuses doe still contynue, and encrease to your subjectes further damage; and that it is desired by the merchantes and hoppe masters of England that there may be a reformacion of the said abuses accordinge to the intencion of the said acte. Your majestie wilbe gratiously pleased to graunte powre and aucthority unto the peticioner his deputies or assignes for the tearme of one and thirty yeres (by your majesties letteres pattentes) to search all sackes of hoppes aswell those growinge within your majesties dominions, as those brought from forreyne partes, and to see that they be good, well packed, and uncorrupt, before they be sett to sale, with aucthority to marke, and seale the same, whereby your subjectes may safely buy them without fraude deceipte or losse; and that your peticioner may have for his paines in searchinge sealinge and markinge the same such allowance as shalbe thought reasonable for every hundreth weighte.

Maie it therefore please your majestie to refer the consideracion and conveniency of this peticion unto the lordes of your majesties most honourable privy councell, that they may take order for reforminge the abuses aforesaide and sett downe [illegible] such fees, and duties to the peticioner as they in their wisdome shall thinke fitt, and thereof to certefie your majestie: And your peticioner according to his bounden duty shall ever praie for your majesties long and prosperous raigne.

[paratext:] At the court at Newmarket 30 January 1619 / His majestie is gratiouslie pleased to refer this peticion to the lordes of his most honnorable privy councell, and that uppon con= sideracion thereof, and of the writinge herunto annexed they take such order herein as their lordships shall thinke convenient. / Charles Parkins

Report by Keith Baldwin

The Hop Act was passed in 1603 (Jas I c.18) as foreign imports were often contaminated but it appears that it was not being properly policed – hence the petition. English hop kilns were distinctive and English beer was held in high regard in Germany and the Netherlands.

As for the petitioner, Philip Jones, there is a PCC will of 1625 which may relate to this individual, a merchant and member of the Ironmongers guild.(1) If so he originates from Wales and he was probably apprenticed in 1589.(2) In addition, a Phillip Jones, Ironmonger, was admitted to the Spanish Company in 1604.(3)


(1) Ancestry ; The National Archives, PROB 11/147/547

(2) FindMyPast

(3)’Register Book: 1604′, in The Spanish Company, ed. Pauline Croft (London, 1973), pp. 1-14, British History Online, http://www.british-history.ac.uk/london-record-soc/vol9/pp1-14, no. 91.


This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, 1600-1625’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.