The city of Exeter: Letters and other papers (6 of 10)

Pages 162-180

Report On the Records of the City of Exeter. Originally published by His Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1916.

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.


In this section

Customs as to Land Tenure.

L. 237. Poderidge, (fn. 1) Aug. 5, 1622.—Sir Thomas Monck [father of General Monck, see Comm. CIX, page 13], writes to the Mayor:—"Mr. Maior, There is a sute depending in Chancery betweene mee, my wife and Sir Nicholas Smith, and I thinke it is not unknowne unto you and many other of Excetter, that Sir George Smith in his lief tyme marryed all his children, and did by severall speciall covenands from them all (except myself and my weif) barr them, that they should not Clayme and Challenge any parte of his personall estate after his death ; but should take their severall porcions in marriage for a full advancement and satisfaccion of the parte of his said personall estate which might otherwise accrewe unto them by the Custome of your Cittie, had not hee soe barred them, by which meanes they weare all utterlye excluded from any title there unto (excepting myself and my wief) which ware both left free, not beeing barred as the rest weare, and the better to inable mee to take the benifitt of the said Custome, Sir George procured mee to be a ffreeman of your Cittie, wherby I hope the rather to have my marriage porcion of goods to bee made upp a full parte of the personall estate of my ffather in lawe due to mee by the Custome of Excetter." He adds : "I have entreated the Right Honourable the Lord Keeper to desire you, and the rest, to inspect your Charters and records and explanacions of them, which I have heard you have receaved from the Cittye of London, by especiall appoyntement of your predecessors and to shew the same att the tyme when the Commissioners shall sitt, to the end that the manifest truth maye appere of this pointe of the Custome concerning the disposing of the personall estate of a ffreeman, which I ame informed is conceived and ought to bee according to the Custome of London, in all points." Beseeching the Almightie to guide you in all your Counsells, and endeavours, that your Cittie maye ever prosper, of which myself being (through your ffavours) a member, shall accompt it great Contentement that you would ye pleased to continew mee in your good opynions and deeme mee,

Your obliged ffreind to Commande,

Tho. Monck.

In D. 1738, July 10, 1620, is a writ from the Court of Chancery to produce the Custome Bookes and Recordes of and remayninge within the City of Exeter in a suit. . . . (female) v. Nicholas Smyth, knight, to show the usage and custom of the City respecting the descent of land.

In D. 1629, Aug. 20, 1585, is a reversionary lease from the Mayor &c. of the Manor house of Aulscomb [i.e. Awliscombe, see page 14] to George Smith, Citizen and Merchant of Exeter [he was Mayor in 1586, 1597, 1607], terminable on the lives of (blank) sons the said George and Elizabeth his daughter.

In D. 384, June 20, 1587, George Smith, of Exeter, gentleman, purchases a house in St. Paul's Street and a close of meadow containing 3 acres in St. David's Downe next Northinghaie.

In D. 1644, Sept. 6, 1587, is a lease from the Mayor &c. to George Smyth, of Exeter, gentleman, of a close near Tadiford Bridge, terminable in the lives of Thomas, Nicholas and Elizabeth, children of the said George, signed "per me, George Smythe."

In D. 123a, Sept. 18, 1587, is a lease from the Magdalen Hospital to George Smythe, gentleman, of a tenement and garden in Magdalen Street and an "orcharde and hoppeyarde" adjoining thereto. Signed "per me, George Smythe."

In D. 387, March 26, 1596, he grants a lease of the pasture and "shire of the grass" of the above meadow [D. 384], where he is called "George Smyth of Exeter, Esquire."

In D. 1695, Sept. 20, 1604, is a lease from the Chamber to Sir George Smythe of Madford, knight [he was knighted at Greenwich, June 12, 1604], of the herbage and pasture of a parcel of ground called Northinghay, together with two gardens there of late enclosed adjoining to the almshouses, except a parcel of ground where the vawte of the gaole [or cesspool, D. 1527] now is, and also excepting the stone quarry there. The lease is terminable with the lives of Sir Nicholas Smythe, Lady Elizabeth, wife of Sir Thomas Muncke, knight, Jane Smythe and Grace Smythe, son and daughters of Sir George Smythe.

Endorsed : "Md. that this Deed was shewn in a cause—Attorney General v. The Mayor &c. of Exeter."

For the seal and signature of George Smythe, see D. 1722 [May 24, 1613, p. 88.]

In D. 403, April 1, 1624, Dorothy Smythe, of Larkebeare, widow of Sir Nicholas Smyth, knight, deceased, grants a lease of the above close. (D. 387.)

In Misc. Rolls 33 (1755) is a rental of the lands of Nicholas Smythe, esquire.

In D. 198, Oct. 23, 1296, the Prior and Convent of St. Nicholas recover a piece of ground for default of payment according to the Custom of the City of Exeter "in Gyhalda per Gavelak (fn. 2) et Scherford."

In D. 802, April 3, 1327, is a reference to a place in South Street, which Peter Soth, as chief lord, recovered from a tenant by reason of non-payment of rent by name of "Gavelack" and "Shortford" in the City Court.

In D. 848, March 26, 1343, John de Sutton, citizen of Exeter, recovers a tenement in North Street as chief lord by the Custom of "Gavelac" and "Shortford" in the City Court, the rent having remained unpaid for two years before Michaelmas, 1338. The said John took his "glebes" for 7 consecutive terms, and had the final judgment called "Shortford" given for him on March 26, 1343.

In Misc. Roll 4, m. 5, is a draft of proceedings taken by the Master of St. John's Hospital in the Mayor's Court by the Custom of Gavelak and Shortford to recover a house "in vico fratrum prædicatorum."

In Misc. Roll 65, April, 1351, are extracts from the City Court Rolls showing the steps taken by the Prior of the Hospital of St. John, to recover pieces of land in the High Street near the East gate and in Pacie Street by the Custom of "Gavelak and Shortford."

In Misc. Roll 96, 1368–1373, is a Copy of entries on the Mayor's Court Roll of the custom of "Gavelak and Shortford" for the recovery of a house and piece of land near the Castle of Exeter by the Master of St. John's Hospital from Isabella de Hugheton. At the end there is a full recitation of the nature of the Custom.

In Misc. Rolls 104, May 19, 1320, is an extract from the City Court Rolls setting forth the customs of "Gavelak" and "Shortford," from which it appears that if any Lord has a tenant who ought to pay rent to the Chief Lord for his tenement and does not do so and has nothing in the said tenement which can be distrained, the Lord shall carry away a stone or any other distress nullius quasi manenti existentis for the arrears of Rent, and so shall continue to do for seven terms following and shall carry away seven stones as is aforesaid, which seven are called "Glebe." [See D. 848, p. 164; "per glebam." Oliver, 309.] In which seventh term by the consideration of the Court he shall have the said tenement for a year and a day by delivery of the Bailiffs of the City, which is commonly called "Gavelak." This is publicly proclaimed, so that any claimant of the tenement may put in his claim or answer for the rent and arrears within the year. And if no one comes or will not or cannot satisfy for the rent &c. within that time the Lord goes to the Court and claims according to the custom of the City to be adjudged in fee and demesne. And this custom is commonly called in our mother tongue "Shortford" [or "Sortfort"—Oliver, 309], which in French is called "Forclot" [i.e. forshut, foreclosed—Bateson, i, 304, who gives the original Latin text with a fuller translation of the passage [et tunc vocantur tenementa illa "forshot "—Liber Albus, i, 469. Et tunc appellatur terra illa forshard—Lib. Alb. 62 ; Bateson, i, 298.]

By this custom the Prior of St. Nicholas recovers a tenement without Northgate which formerly belonged to Mr. William le Mol, glover.


L. 239. Jan. 8, 1622–3.—The Lords of the Council write to the Mayor &c. :—Whereas in the execution of his Majesty's Commission for trade directed to us and others, wee finde it verie probable that if the stuffs called the new Draperies were well and substanciallie made, died and dressed, they would soone regaine their wonted estymation and it would bee a good meanes to vent profittably great quantities of our woolle and sett multituds of people on worke in the manufacture thereof : Because without rules and orders prescribed it is hard to have those stuffs well made, and there is noe certen lawe alreadie made for regulating the making thereof: They accordingly desire advice as to "What rules you think fitt to propound &c.," and to consider what length, breadth, and weight everie piece of everie sort is fitt to conteyne and by what meanes you conceave those rules once made may be best contynued and observed. [For suggested regulations, May, 1622, see Cal. Dom. 1619–1623, p. 401 ; also Dec. 5, 1623, ibid, 1623–1625, p. 124.]

In L. 268, Westminster, April 24, 1624, John Prowse writes to the Mayor :—Touching the bill of Perpetuanes [i.e., lastings or everlastings] I have gotten the same to be twice Read, and it now standeth under the Committees hand, but I doubt that our staie wilnot be so longe as to make it a lawe this session, but it must sleepe with manie other good bills until a newe meting.

In L. 243, London, April 27, 1624, J. Chappell writes to the Mayor :—The bill for the true makinge of Sarges hath been twise Reade and is nowe this daye to be heard by the Committes apoynted and so upon Report read unto the house the next stept is Ingrossinge and so to be presented to the Lordes of the heigher house, which I fear will hardlie passe this seccion of parlement.

In Book 53, f. 247 (1646), a schedule of rates payable as tallage includes 11/2d. for every elbroade perpetuana and 1d. for every narrow do. [For serges and perpetuanies see Cal. Dom. 1623–1625, p. 259, May 29, 1624 ; or perpetuanos, Devon. Assoc. Transactions, xliv., 594.]

In L. 422 (? 1660) is a petition to the Chamber from the Weavers, Buyers and Sellers of Perpetuanes (sic). See page 50.

In D. 1732, Nov. 7, 1615, is a certificate from the Mayor and two others that they according to the King's writ appraised 4 dozen pairs of wool cards at 12d. the pair.

In D. 1812, Nov. 26, 1706, the Chamber deputes Benjamin Johnson and John Kingston to ask demand and receive of every person which shall bring any drapery or woollen manufactures to the City to be bought and sold such sums of money and other duties as are due to the Chamber.

Plantation of New England.

L. 260. Chiswicke, Dec. 16, 1623.—Francis [Lord] Russell (see L. 257, page 11) writes to the Deputy Lieutenants of Exeter :—After my heartie comendacons. Whereas his Majestie hath been pleased, as by his gratious letter [L. 262] you may perceive, which will shortlie bee brought you, to expresse with his owne care and consideracion to the life, the importance of so great a good and honor to him and his Kingdomes in the adventuring and furthering the plantacion in New England, as the advancing of Religion and enlarging of Territorie, and to that which is not usuall to actions of this nature, as being likely so farre to inrich this Kingdome as to bee one of the meanes to quicken trade in general, and especially to the western parts : His Majesty's further pleasure importing a gratious acceptacion in such as shall shew themselves in their ioyning to venture with an account of the same. Theis are therefore to pray you, that according to his Majesty's pleasure directed in his Letters in that behalfe, you use your best indeavors and judgements in causing meetings within your severall divisions, and inviting such as in your wisedomes you think fittest and ablest to bee Adventurers in this designe. In which I shall so farre wish the good of the accion, that my adventure in it, shalbee sized according to my affeccion, and not to the meannesse of my fortune. Thus I bid you heartily farewell. Resting your assured loving freinds as long as I am:

Fra. Russell.

L. 261.—(Endorsed: "Reasons shewinge, the benefitt of Plantinge in Newe England, 1623.) (fn. 3) [See L. 262.] Reasons showinge the benefitt that maie ensue to these his Majesties Realmes by setlinge of the Plantacion in Newe England and especially to the westerne partes of this Kingdome:—

  • 1 ffirste itt enlargeth the bounds of his Majesty's dominions, and annexeth unto his Crowne one of the goodliest Territoryes for Soyle, Havens, Harbours, and habitable Islands that ever hath been discovered by our Nation.
  • 2 Secondly, itt will afford a world of imployment to many thousands of our nation, of all sorts of people, who are (wee knowe) att this present ready to starve for want of itt.
  • 3 Thirdly, itt will thereby disburthen the Comonwealth of a multitude of poore that are likely dayly to increase, to the infinite trouble and preiudice of the publique state.
  • 4 ffowerth, itt wilbe a marvelous increase to our navigacion and a most excellent opertunitye for the breedinge of marryners for that the vessels, that are to trade thither, and so from thence to their severall Marketts, are to be shippes of good burthen, to goe well mande, and thoroughly fortified for defence of themselves and their Consorts.
  • 5 ffyftly, the Clyme, beinge so temperate and healthfull as itt is, it will doubtlesse afford in short tyme a notable vente for our Clothes, and other stuffes of that kinde, which now lyes dead uppon our Merchants hands.
  • 6 Syxthly, wee shalbe able to furnish our selves, out of our owne Territoryes, with many of those comodityes that nowe wee are beholdinge to our neighbours for, as namely: Pitche, Tarre, Rosen, fflaxe, Hempe, Masts, Dales (sic), Spruce and other Tymber of all sorts, Salte and wyne, which two comodityes alone costs this Kingdome many thousands by the yere, besides Madder, Oade and many other dyeinge Roots, Stuffes and Graynes, as also severall riche ffurrs, Togeather with one of the best fyshings in the knowne parts of the world, and sundry sorts of Apothecary Druggs not yet spoken of.

7 Seaventhly, for the difficultie of the enterprise (thanks be to God) itt is in a manner already past for that the whole Coast (within the lymitts graunted by his Majestie to the Councell for those affayres) is not onely discovered by their navies, but many the principall Ports and Islands actually possessed by some of the present undertakers, And whither this yeere hath been sent besides those that are nowe in preparacion to goe with the Governor (fn. 4) neere aboute 400 men, women and children. As also 60 sayles of the best shipps of the westerne parts, that are onely gone to fische and trade for ffurres.

8 Eightly. The soyle beinge so fertile, and the Clyme so healthfull, with what Content shall the particuler person Ymploye himselfe there, when he shall finde that for 12l. 10s. Adventure, hee shalbe made lord of 200 acres of land, to him and his heirs for ever, And for the charge of transportacion of hymselfe, his familye and Tenants he shalbe allotted for every person hee carryes 100 acres more, at the rate of 58. for every 100 acres cheife rent to the lord of the soyle in whose land he shall happen to sitt downe in. And what laborer soever shall transporte himselfe thither att his owne charge to have the like proporcion of land uppon the foresaid Condicions and be sure of imployment, to his good content, for his present maintenance.

9. Nynthly. If hee bee a gentleman, or person of more eminency who hath noe great stocke to continue his reputacion heare att home, howe happie shall hee bee if he can make but a matter of 100 or 200 li. providently imployed in the course of his transportacion, who shalbe therewith able to transporte himselfe, his famyly and necessary provisions and soe have allotted unto him a quantity of lands, wherewith he shall not only be able to live without scorne of his malignors but in a plentifull and worthy manner, with assurance to leave good fortunes to his posteritye if he but industriously be carefull to make the best of his meanes.

10 Tenthly, seeinge that the Counsell for these affayres have ever had, and still have, a speciall desire in this their courses truly and without vanity or ostentacion, to endeavour the good of the Country for the better declaracion and manifestacion whereof, they are freely content and doe hartyly wishe, that every Countie within this Realme would be pleased to take a Certen proporcion of land within their lymitts, which they shall have att 5s. rent the 100 acres, with allowance of some 1,000 acres, without Rent, to be ymployed for pious uses, whither the (sic) might send from yeare to yeare, such of their people as might be convenyently spared, and that are otherwise like to bee burthensome unto the state of the Commonwealth which maye be incorporated into one bodye, and governed under such officers and magistratts as please them that send such as they imploye, who shalbe strengthened with such libertyes and immunityes, as shalbe thought fitt for the better advancement of that service. Soe may the Countye not only frame themselves to releeve the state of their poorer sorte of people butt finde worthy imployment for many younger brothers and brave gentlemen, that nowe are ruined for want thereof.

Lastly and above all the rest, by this oportunitye, there is noe Countye within this Realme, butt by this Course hath a speciall occasion and meanes presented unto them to dedicate theire best service to the God of Heaven and earth, by endeavoringe to advance his glorye, in seekinge how to settle the Xtian ffayth in those Heathenishe and desert parts of the world, which who shall refuse to further, lett him undergoe the blame thereof himselfe.

L. 262. Dec. [8], 1623.—A coppye of the Kinges letter to the Lords Leiftenaunts of the Countyes of Somersett, Devon and Cornwall.

[For an abstract of this, dated Dec. 8, 1623, see Cal. Dom. (Colonial) 1574–1660, p. 54, with endorsement: "Three letters of the like tenor were directed to the Counties of Cornwall, Somerset and Devon and the Cities of Bristol and Exeter."]

Right trustie and welbeloved &c. Wee greete you well. Wee have formerly graunted our Royall Charter for the plantinge of a Collanie in the parts of Newe England, which was not passed without due Examinacion of the proposicions then made and apparent assurance of good and worthie successe by that plantacion, for the advancement of Christian Religion and agood addicion both of honor and proffitt to our Kingdomes and people. And because upon the tryall that hath ben made of some persons of qualitie, that have ben content for the publique good to adventure (fn. 5) their private estates, and fortunes, the benefitts and Comodities found in those parts, and the good retornes that have ben made from thence, doe approve the undertakinge to bee of such publick hopes and consequence as wee thinke itt verye worthie of our Care and assistance in anye thinge that maye give a reall furtherance thereunto. And that accordingly wee have taken into our Consideracion that soe greate aworke cannot well bee managed to the best advantage, without the helpe of more hands and strengthe,without the helpe of more hands and strengthe, then are nowe imployed in it. Wee have first thought uppon these Westerne Countries in respect of the Scituacion and Conveniencie both for receavinge Commodityes from the Plantacion, sendinge such provisions, and supplies thither as shalbe requisite, and takinge an accompt of both to bee most proper, and fitt to have a share and intrest in that busines. Not doubtinge, but that beinge poursued with an assistance from thence, the successe and retornes wilbe soe beneficiall, as will not only answere the charge in agood measure of profitt, but drawe in other Countreis voluntarily to offerr themselves partners therein. The experience wee have had of your good affeccions to publick workes doth likewise move us the rather to invite you both by your owne adventures, and indeavourance to move other gentlemen and persons of qualitie and meanes in that Countrie, to joyne with you in the advancement of this Plantacion, which wee doe not onlye propound unto you as aworke, wherein the publicke hath a great intrest, But wherein your adventures are in all appearance like to bringe you good retornes of proffitt, which the Patentees will more particularely make appeare unto you ministers of theirs appointed to attend you for that purpose [seeL. 261], Wee hope wee shall not neede to use more persuasion in this particular, when both publicke and private considerations have soe much force, and your good affeccions so readie to further good workes. Nevertheles, wee doe expect to receave from you an accompt of your proceedings and an intimacion thereby, whome you finde readie and willinge and whome not, that wee may take such notice of both as there shalbe Cause. Given &C.

In L. 361 (undated)is the following unsigned memorandum:Yt is conceaved that the principall places for fishing uppon the seacoast is already graunted unto certen pattentees, (fn. 6) so that yf the cyttisens of Exeter should purchase a quantity of Land which is not commodious for fishing then it will fall out that we shall bare the burden of a plantation and not partack of the benefytt which shall helpe to further the same. Therefore we hold yt a buissyness worthy the entertaynement of the house of parliament and Yf his Majestie shalbe pleased to recall the pattents already granted, then we think it meet to purchase 1/40th parte of the hoole to be held of his Majestie and not of anye other and according to the portion of land to send yerely for the plantation so many as other places that have the licke quantity shall be chargeable withall-provided nevertheles that yf the place where our Land shalb doe not prove fytte for fishing that then yt shalbe Lawfull for us to fishe in any other place uppon the coast and to have convenient stages and places uppon the shoar to mack and drye the ffishe we take in as quyett a manner without lett or deniall of any that shall pretend interest in the same as yf yt were in the place wheir our Land lyeth paying a small somme to the owners of the Land where we fish and make the same—as 12d. for a ship or such licke somme and no more and lickewise to have free liberty of trade upon the whole coast. Upon these conditions we maye adventure to purchase, otherwise if we may not freely fish without paying as of late many have done yt were better to leave the plantation to others then to enter uppon any other conditions then herein is expressed.

[For answers to propositions of merchants of Barnstaple, see Cal. Colonial, 1574 to 1660, p. 47, June 21, 1623.]

Companies of Players.

L.267. April 9, 1624.—The Master of the Revels [Sir Henry Herbert] to all Mayors, Sheriffs, Justices of the Peace, Bayleiffs, Constables, Head Bouroughes, and all other his Majesty's officers, true legmen and Subiects and to every of them greetinge. Knowe yee that whereas the King's most excellent Majestie hath granted to the Master of the Revells a Commission giving him full power and authoritye for the Orderinge, Reforminge, Authorisinge and Puttinge downe of all and everye Playes, Players and Playemakers as of all other shewes whatsoever in all Places within his Majesties Realme of England, and the Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Pembroke, (fn. 7) by letter dated 31 October, 15 James I [1617], (fn. 8) having granted license to William Perry (fn. 9) and the rest of his associates "to provide and keepe and bring up a convenient number of youthes and children and them to practize and exercize in the qualetye of playinge by the name of the Children of the Revells to the late Queen Anna (fn. 10). I have allowed and confirmed the aforesaid grant to bee and Continew unto the said William Perrie and his as sociates, viztt., George Bosegrave, Richard Backster, Thomas Band, James Jones, Walter Barrett, James Kneller, and Edward Tobye and the rest of there Companie not exceedinge the number of twentye for a year from the date of these presents, and what Companie soever shall Repaire Unto any of your Townes, Corporatt Cirryes or Bouroughes not having their Authorities Confirmed by me and sealed with the Seale of the office of the Revells that forthwith you seize any such graunt or Commission and send it to me accordinge to those Warrants directed to you heretofor by the Right Honerable the Lord Chamberlaine."

Given att hys Majesties office of the Revells under my hand and The seale of the said office the nynth daie of Aprill in the yeare of the Raigne of our Soveraigne Lord James by the grace of God Kinge of England, ffrance and Ireland, King defender of the ffaith &c., the Two and Twentieth, and of Scotland the Seven and ffifteth. Anno Domini, 1624

H. Herbert.

James Tucker.

Tristram Michell.

Exd. et concord., 31 Maii, 1624, p. me Sam. Izeacke, cler. (fn. 11) Wm. Finkle.

[An abstract of this taken from Stuart Moore's Calendar is printed in J.T. Murray, i, 362; ii, 272, altering the date to 1623.]

In Act Book VII, f. 207b, Nov. 13, 1621.—This day Mr. Receyver is ordered to give unto certeyne players [no names given] which are lycenced under the Kynge's pryvye sygnett the sum of xls. as a gratuyty and not to be suffered to play. (fn. 12)

In L. 514. Exeter, Feb. 14, 1748.—The Town Clerk [unsigned but probably Henry Gandy] writes to Mr. Zachary Hamlyn enclosing a letter (L. 515):—Sir, I have by this post wrote to our Members a Letter, of which a Copy is on t'other side, whereto and to the Bill Inclosed in their Letter I referr you. The Bill is intended intirely to suppress Players of Interludes which debauches all Youth and particularly those of this Town. We having a parcell of Fellows here that will play in Spite of the Magistrates' Teeth, pretending they dont play for Hire. And the Intention of our Magistrates is as much as in them lyes to prevent it, and in Order thereto, You are desired to go to the Gentlemen and Consult with them in what manner to Conduct it. We cant think that this Short Bill, which is intended only for the publick Good of Mankind, can meet with any Opposition or much Expence, But if you'd give me a hint what you think it may Cost Ile be Obliged to you, and take Care to send you the Mony assoon as demanded But Pray wait upon Mr. Sydenham for the bill &c.—I am, your most Humble Servant.

L. 515. Exeter, Feb. 14, 1748.—The Town Clerk [Henry Gandy] writes to Mr. Humfrey Sydenham, Esquire, and John Tuckfield, Esquire (fn. 13) :—

Gentlemen: In a Chamber this day held at the Guildhall, I am directed by the Body, with their Service, to acquaint you that notwithstanding the Several Acts of Parliament made to prevent Players of Interludes &c., yet a Company of players which they call Kenneday's Company are come to this City and there play in spite of the Magistrates' Teeth pretending they dont play for Hire and thereby think to avoid the penalty of the Law. And the method they take is this: They give notice by printed papers that some gent. for their diversion and improvement intend such a day to perform a Consort of Musick as it is performed in the Rehearsall of the Play called "Love for Love," (fn. 14) without any Hire or reward. And the persons having a Mind to go to that Play first goe to the Printer of these papers and buy a Small paper of Teeth Powder (as he calls it) and by him are recommended to be admitted as Worthy partakers of this diversion and they are admitted accordingly as is pretended gratis. By these and such like Evasions, they avoid the Law and play on, nor do the Magistrates know, how to come at them, or punish them for what is passed. But they are willing to have a more Extensive Bill in parliament to prevent the Debauching and even the Destruction of the Youth of this Towne for the future, and to that end they have Drawn a Bill which is Inclosed [not now preserved], and which we apprehend will meet with little or no Opposition, it being only for the publick good. I have wrote to Mr. Hamlyn to Sollicite it, and to wait upon you for that purpose. And when you have read it you'1 please to give it him, and afterwards Endeavour to get it passed. In which we are Informed Sir John Bernard will be glad to assist you, it being by way of amendement only to a Law he himself brought in about Ten years ago, and now Evaded.

I am, Gentt.,
Your most obedient and Humble Servant.

Maintenance of the Blind.

L. 269. Hayne, June 7, 1624.—John Northcot (fn. 15) writes to the Mayor:—

Good Mr. Maior,

I have ben ernestlie entreated by divers of the Parishioners of Uppen Pine to write unto you on their behalfe That whereas one Agnes Taylor, late of Uppen Pyne, widowe (being a blinde woman), is now abiding with the wideowe Tailor of St. David's within your Cittie of Exeter, and hath there remained with her about halfe a yeare, the said Agnes having viili. xs. now remaining in the handes of some of the parishioners of Uppen Pyne, who have alwaies heretofore paide her the use thereof,untill of late she hath arrested the said parties for the said money, which theie are willing to repaie unto her, if she might be freed from the chardge of theire said parish of Uppen Pyne, but theie doubt that when the said money is gotten out of their handes, it wilbe consumed and spent awaie, and then she returned back againe on the chardge of their said parish : I shall therefore praie you, either to take such order that the said money (which theie are readie to paie) maie be putt into some sufficient men's handse for her maintenaunce hereafter, whereby it maie be a dischardg for either of the said parishes where she shall remaine, or that theie which sue to recover the said money maie undertake that she maie not be sent back againe to Uppen Pine parish, which I hope you will think to be reasonable, and wilbe pleased to take some paines to settle some good Order herein, for the better dischardg of both the said parishes, for which I shall rest thankfull, and wilbe readie to requite you in the like curtesie and occasion offered. Thus with my loving Salutations do rest,

Your assured Loving freind,
Jo. Northcot.

The Cadiz Expedition.

L. 285 (undated—1626) is "A note of monies (52l. 10s.) disbursed for his Majesties speciall service by the Chamber of the Cittie of Exon ; as well about the ympressings and settings foorth of thirtie souldiers (fn. 16) in the yere of our Lord 1625 from Exon to Plymouth (fn. 17) and their chardge there as in thepassinge of the Captaynes and their companies and carriages from the Westerne parts eastward."

l. s. d.

Imprimis paid for ympresse money for the saide Souldiers 01 10 0
It. paid for Coats for the said Souldiers Cloth and Makinge 18 18 0
Item paid for Conducte Monie and Charge of the Conductor 06 08 0
Item paid for their ordinarie paye in Plymouth before they had pay from his Majestie 09 11 0
Item paid for Captayne Cook's Chardges and his Companye lyinge here one whole daye beinge Sunday the 21st of Dec., 1626 4 16 0
Item paid in divers other particular somes for horse hire and other charges about the passinge of the severall Companyes through this Cittie to their next Stages and for Saddells and other things loste 11 07 0
Summ' 52 10 0

L. 291. At Whitehall, the 21st of February, (i.e. 1627).—Whereas by a former order of this Bord made the 22nd day of August last, 1626 and our letters in pursuite of the said order of the 24th of the same moneth there was 30,000li. assigned out of his Majestie's ffarme of the preemption of Tynne to be paid at severall termes to the Contractors for the apparellinge of Souldiers in the Counties of Devon and Cornewall, And to the billettors of souldiors and officers there upon due accompts, viz. [torn] at Christmas, 1626, and 9,000li. 1627, towards the discharge of the Contractors for Cloathes. And 10,000li., 1628. And 10,000li. in the yeare 1629 for the discharge of the billettors aforesaid with this proviso that if the aforesaid somes shall be paid out of anie other his Majestie's Tresures within the tyme before lymitted or that the said some should be fully paid out of the aforesaid ffarme within the said terme, that then the said Assignement should cease. And alsoe that if the said somes due accordinge to the accompts shall not be fully discharged by the assignement aforesaid, that then the residue of the said somes remayninge unpaid should be paid and discharged out of the ffarme Rente to come or some other of his Majestie's Tresure. And whereas by the foresaid letters there is power given to the deputy Leevetenants of the said Countves to pay the Creditors of the Captaynes and other officers as alsoe the Conduct money for the Companies to carye with them when they did remove at 4s. 8d. the weeke, a man and the thinges that shoulde growe for horses and other [torn], to convey the same Armes and any Municion belonginge to the said Companies and put the same to the forenamed accompt as by the said order and lettes more at large and particularlye doth appeare. Now forasmuch as the Countie of Devon hath showen itselfe very forwarde in his Majesties presente and former services his Majestie is graciouslye pleased and theire Lordshippes did alsoe thinke fitt and ordered that the afore named Assignements upon the Tynne ffarme shall cease and be cancelled and that for the more speedie satisfaccion of the Countrey the moneyes which shall arise out of the Loanes unto his Majestie of the said County of Devon and Cittye of Exeter, other then those alredy assigned to Sir. ffardinando Gorge for the payment of the garrison of the Porte of Plymmouth shall be assigned for the payment of the apparellinge, billeting and other charges of the souldiors and theire officers as is expressed in the foremencioned order and letters. And to that ende and purpose it is further ordered that all the said Loanes bee by the Collectors alredye nominated by the Commissioners for the said Loanes, or by the heigh Constables of the hundreds where there are noe Collectors paid over unto Sir George Chuldleigh, Baronett, appointed Tresuror by the Deputie Leevetenants of the saide Counties by authoritye received from the Bord, whoe is to yssue and pay the said money, for the satisfaccion of the saide Contractors, billetors, Credittors, Conducte money and other foremencioned charges accordinge to the direccions in the aforesaid order and letters. Heereof the Lord Treasurer and the Chancellor of the Exchequer are earnestly prayed and required to take speciall notice and to give order accordingely And withall to directe and require as well the said Sir George chudleigh as the Deputye Leevetenants of the Countye to cause the Rolles by which the said Loanes shall be paid to be dulye returned into the Exchequer and that the said Treasurer therewith deliver in particuler and perfecte accompts of his receipts and payments that thereuppon hee may have his due discharge.

Contribtutions for Relief of Distress in other Towns.

L. 288. Jan. 8, 1626–27.—Thomas Sherwill, Mayor of Plymouth, thanks the Chamber for 92l. 11s. 5d., collected at Exeter "towards the releife of the visited sicke of our Towne of Plymouth." He would have sent his thanks long since "but that the contagion (till of late contynuinge) and many other great and serious occasions thoroughe that cause and others have soe overlaide us as that till now wee could hardly fynde tyme to expresst our thankefullnes." [For sickness at Plymouth, July 26, Aug. 2, Dec. 15, 22, 29, 1625, see Cal. Dom. 1625–26, pp. 74, 79, 177, 184, 191. For reference to "the siknes tyme," see T. Wright, p. 319, from Exeter Receiver's Account, 1632.]

In L. 310, Salisbury, Feb. 26, 1627–28, the Mayor of Salibury (James Abbott), the Ex-Mayor (John Ivy (fn. 18) ) and the Rector of St. Edmunds, Salisbury (Peter Thacher) thank the Chamber for two sums sent by the Inhabitants of Exeter to them in this our late visitacion for the releiffe of our poore people, with which supplyes in all likelyhood many must have perished, there haveinge beene for the greatest parte of this tyme to aboute the number of Three Thousand persons upon releife amongst us, viz., 251. 8s. 01/2d,. and 401.,which figures they quote upon a reserve of our booke wherein we have recorded the gifts that have beene sente us, togeather with the persons and places from whence." Adding: "The Lord whoe at length hath removed his hand from us givinge us good hope of the suddayne staye of it altogether, sanctifye it unto us, and turne away this and all other his fearefull judgements, both from us and you."

[For sickness at Salisbury, see Izacke, 151; Cal. Dom. 1627–8. p. 368 (Oct. 2, 1627). For 84l. contributed from Bristol, Nov. 17, 1627, see Hoare's History of Wiltshire (Salisbury), p. 363.]

In L. 339. Cambridge, Aug. 24, 1630, Henry Butts [Master of C.C.C.], Vice-Chancellor, and John Badcocke, Mayor of

Cambridge, send thanks to the Mayor of Exeter for a Collection of 45l. 10s. sent to Cambridge [i.e. in 1629, Izacke, 152], "towards the releiff of our poor people here in Cambridge." He adds: "It is, sure, God's great mercy toward us in ye midst of our misery that ye bowells of so many in places remote are stirred with compassion toward us, for our abillityes are small, our necessityes many and great, not an 100 able to give, above 4,000 receyvers, besydes ye great expence we are att for keeping of them in order, for saving ye sound from ye danger of ye sick ; and for securing of ye country adioyning, our weekly charge rising to 200li. We hartily pray you to make remembrance of this our humble and thankfull acknowledgment to those mercifull men of your Citty, who have so charitably contributed to our necessityes—hereby yee have made thousands your debtors, who dayly bless God for you, and pray that a thousand fold blessing may be rendred unto you from ye God of heven and earth. To his most holy protection we humbly recommend you all with ourselves.

Your servants,
Henry Butts (fn. 19), P. con.
John Badcock, Maior.

In L. 384, Taunton, Aug. 16, 1640, the Mayor of Taunton thanks the Chamber for a collection of 191l.17s. 4d. "for our distressed poore infected with the plague." [The document is much damaged, but the amount is recorded in the endorsement and on a receipt at the foot—as including 6l. worth of corn and 185l. 17s. 4d. in money. See Izacke, 155.]

In L. 407, Northam, Dec. 3, 1650, William Leighe and Anthony Downe thank the Chamber for a collection of 43l. 8s. 0d. made in Exeter for the sick poor of Appledore [near Bideford], "for the releife of poore Appledore visited with the pestilence. We need say no more but to entreate your prayers for health in our habitations and to acquaint you with god's mercy in Northam's preservation, Appledore's hopefull restitution to a healthfull condition and especially the singular mitigation of god's anger all the time of his heavy visitation."

A Plot

L. 290. Feb. 6, 1626–7.—Mr. Giles Carpenter, sometyme Muster Master of this Cittie, informs Mr. Ignatius Jurdain (see L. 210, page 112) :—Mr. Jordayne : My welwishing to you and other of your Citye in regarde of your and there former kindness towards mee inforceth me to be willing to discover unto you and so to them by you forme mee a daungerous plot intended agaynste the city in gennerall by some particuler persons seeking thereby ther own ends and is daungerous in regard of future damages that may and is likely to follow as I conceve it in so much as I dare not comit it to writing or come myself to you to make relation off my knowledg in it lest thereby I shoulde hinder a timely prevention as I conceve it. Ybut that you please to creditt my gennerall relation off a straung proiect I will apoynt a meeting at honiton one day this next weeke. I will not faile, god willing, to meete you there and will reveile as much as is causually come to my knowledge; in the mean time I wishe you would conceale my Letter or at least aquent few with it, Mr. Walker or one or two more whom you thincke good or none at all yf you thincke beste till you have spoken with mee. So wishing to you and the rest all hapines in this unhapy age of ours, do rest your and ther welwishing ffrind to my power,

Giles Carpenter.

the writing that I saw conserning the fortyffing off the Castell and the use there of as neare as I now remember. . . . . the undertakers, Londoners, and decayed courtiers: all the old buildings to be reedyfied together with the wals and gates, tow draybridges, one into Northern haye the other into the City, and a Church in former time there caled St. Maryes to be reedified, a garrison, of a 100 soldiers at the King's charge for 3 yeares, afterward at the charge of the undertakers, tow faires to be granted ech of them to indure tow dayes, no sellers there but the Londoners and the inhabitants of the same parish (?) and Castell, and the said Undertakers to sell at all times of the yeare and the same Castell to be as a Mart for the western parts of the land, the impost of wines and prisages geven the firste 3 yeeres, . . . and the wines to be sold accordingly. The said Castell to be as a storehouse for the whole shire to keepe the munnision in. Certayn gentlemen of the cheere to be joyned in comission with the Captayne of the Castell, tow others with the Maior and 3 capitall burges, they all to ayde and asiste the Captayne upon reasonable warning, by vertu of that commission they are to have the power of Marshall law, the Captayn to be Judg and Chiefe, the Shreife to bring the Judges no farder then the Castell gate and there agayne to receve them, the Captayn to gard them in and out, divers plotformes for ordinance to be provided there. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . the waye to prevent all is to bye the ffee farme of such as now stand seised of it. Bigolston some time had it.

The City of Anwarpe was sacked by such a meanes of a Castell within ye walls [of] it within the memory of man. (fn. 20)

Relief of La Rochelle.

L. 292. Whitehall, March 24, 1626–27.—The Lords of the Council write to the Mayor &c.:—

"After our harty comendacons. It is well knowne unto you upon what weightie grounds and occacions importing noe lesse than the defence and safetie of the Kingdome daylie threatned with preparacions and approach of an Enemye you were formerly required to furnish out from that Porte two shipps of warr for his Majestie's service, the doeing whereof was afterwards in your favour as nowe upon humble and instant suite by you made (as especially out of his Majestie's accustomed princely grace and care for the ease of his Subiects all that possiblye may bee) respited untill you should receave therein further order from this Board. And whereas it is manifest that the affaires off Christendum doe still continewe uponsuch daungerous tearmes as give his Majestie cause not to omitte any provident care for the strength and safetie of his owne Dominions, and the support and ayde of his Allies and Confederats, And in asmuch as the tyme of the yeare which usually openeth the waye to Accions of Warre now appeareth, And further his Majestie hath at this present on foote some important designe and expedicion by sea; whereby after the departure of the ffleete prepared on that behalfe there wilbe neede of the said shipps for the defence of the Coasts and keeping the narrowe Seas; wee therefore in his Majestie's name, and by his expresse comaund doe now againe straightly hereby require and charge you notwithstanding any former allegacions or pretences by you made and without all further delayes or excuses whatsoever to cause two shipps of the burthen of 200 Tunnes apeece every way ffurnished as men of Warre to bee soe in readines as not to faile to come to a Rendezvous at Portsmouth by the 20th of May next, the said shipps to bee victualled with full 4 moneths provision to bee accounted from the said 20th of May. As for such parte of the charge thereof as by our former letter was to bee supplied unto you by the Countrey we have now againe written expresse letters unto them on that behalfe inioyneing them to assist you therewithall. And have therein likewise given direccions to the Deputie Lieutenants for the importing of such number of marriners, or in the want of them of such other serviceable Landmen as shalbe by you desired and found needefull for the makeing upp of the full Complement of the said two shipps, and for such parte of the whole charge of this service as is to fall to your Share, wee doe hereby authorise and require you to cause the same to bee assessed and leavied upon the Inhabitants of the said Cittie and Porte and members of the same in such indifferent and equall manner as is accustomed upon the occacion of Publique service. And in case any person shall refuse to pay such somes as shalbe by you indifferently assessed upon him that then you cause him to give good Bond forthwith to appearr and answeare his contempt before the Board. And soe requireing you not to faile hereof as you tender his Majestie's high displeasure and the defence and safetie of the Realme. Wee bid you hartilie farewell."

For reply to this letter by the Mayor and Aldermen of Exeter, dated April 19, 1627, see Cal. Doc. 1627–28, p. 141, in which they state reasons why their city ought not to be called upon to supply these ships.


  • 1. * i.e. Potheridge, near Torrington.
  • 2. * For "Statutum de Gavelette," see Liber Albus, i., 455; Stat., i., 272, where it is supposed to have been enacted, circ. 1316. for proceeding in the Court of Hustings in London, i.e. Placita de Gaveleto, brief de Gaverleto, or de Gaverlotte, see Lib. Alb., i., 62, 64, 172, 184, 186, 469.
  • 3. * For the Council for the Plantation of New England, see Cal. Dom., 1619–1623, pp. 90, 188, Nov. 3, 1619, 1620.
  • 4. * See Acts of the Privy Council, Colonial Series, i, 68 (Oct. 8, 1623).
  • 5. * For list of names of those who will adventure for necessary provisions for the Colony of Virginia, see Cal. Dom., (Colonial) 1574–1660, p. 49, July 4, 1623.
  • 6. * See Acts of Privy Council, Colonical, I. 41, 55, June 18, 1621, Oct. 23, 1622; Cal. Dom. 1619–1623, p. 460, Nov. 6, 1622.
  • 7. * i.e William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, 1601–1630.
  • 8. † See J.T. Murrary, English Dramatic Companies, i, 361, 362; ii, 345, 347.
  • 9. ‡ For commission to him, Sept. 18, 1629, to make up a Company of Players for York see Cal. Dom., 1629–1631, p 59.
  • 10. § d. March 2, 1619 ; J.T. Murrary, i, 361, 365.
  • 11. * Samuel Izacke appointed Town Clerk May 4, 1624; Oliver, 241. He was the father of Richard Izacke the historian of Exeter.
  • 12. † For a similar case in June, 1618, when the Mayor, Ignatius Jourdain, gave a gratuity of 4 angels to the "Children of Bristoll," to compensate them for refusal of permission to play in Exeter, see Cal. Dom., 1611–1618, p. 549; J.T. Murray, ii, 6, quoting Collier, i, 369.
  • 13. ‡ M.P.'s for Exeter in the Parliament from Aug. 13, 1747, to April 8, 1754.
  • 14. * ? Written by Wm. Congreve in 1965.
  • 15. † Of Yewton, near Crediton. His son Pollard Northcote died at Hayne in Newton in 1641.Boase, Reg., 105.
  • 16. * For names of 370 men from East Devon, including 30 from Exeter, see Cal. Dom., 1625–1626, p. 28 ; May 25, 1625.
  • 17. † For the army at Plymouth, July 17, 29, 30, Aug. 15, Sept. 18, 1625, see ibid, 61, 70, 77, 84, 107. The fleet sailed from Plymouth Oct. 8, 1625, and returned in December, 1625 ; Gardiner, vi, 14, 21.
  • 18. * W. Iyie, Mayor of Salisbury, 1626–1627. For his narration see Hoare (Salisbury), p. 360.
  • 19. * For a letter (undated) from Dr. Butts to Lord Coventry, in which he says "There are 5,000 poor and not above 100 who can assist in relieving them." See C. H. Cooper, Annals of Cambridge, iii, 227 ; from Master's Hist. of C.C.C., App., p. 70.
  • 20. * i.e. on Nov. 3, 1576. Froude, xi, 58; Motley, 637,