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The Transference of Lands in England, 1640–1660


The primary object of this paper is to indicate the extent of the transference of lands in England between 1640 and 1660. A considerable part of the paper will be devoted to a provisional classification of the various purchasers of lands in order to make clear the reasons why so many men are buying, and why royalists and others are selling. An attempt, however, will also be made to account for the various rates of sale established by the several acts and ordinances of sale. And, finally, it will be indicated that there is evidence to support a belief that the events of the Commonwealth period had much more than a temporary effect upon the distribution of land in England.

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page 181 note 1 Firth and Rait, Vol. I, pp. 106, 254–6. These two great ordinances which set up the sequestration machinery are dated 27 March and 18 August, 1643: and the opinion of Parliament as to the modifications and improvements necessary is indicated in the course of subsequent legislation.

page 182 note 1 Dugdale, A Short View of the Late Troubles, p. 129.

page 182 note 2 E.g., the Arundel estates were scattered over eight counties. Shef-field Manorial Records, from the eighth year of Richard II to the Restoration [1926], pp. xiii–xxv. (Hall T. W..)

page 182 note 3 A list of informers, drawn up from the Calendars (C.A M. and C.C.C.), is remarkable both for the number, the position and character of the informers. Some were sheer money-grabbers: for instance, see C.J., VI, pp. 334, 335; S.P.D., 1645, pp. 442, 443. Usually, however, the informer was a State-creditor or one of the delinquent's private creditors, who informed to recoup himself for money owing to him either by the Government or by the delinquent.

page 182 note 4 C.C.C., 419, 1941.

page 182 note 5 Ibid., 196, 197, 241, 242, 245, 261, 306, 578.

page 182 note 6 C.C.C. and C.A.M., passim.

page 183 note 1 C.J., VI, p. 103; C.A.M., 8 August, 1650.

page 183 note 2 C.C.C., 61, 351.

page 183 note 3 Thurloe Papers, Vol. IV, Letter of Durham Commissioners to the Protector, 16 February, 1655/6.

page 183 note 4 The categories overlap, since some men are not only army officers; they are also, at the same time, members of Parliament, commissioners for compounding, members of local sequestration committees, and so on.

page 184 note 1 C.A.M., I, 55.

page 184 note 2 Ibid., II, 702. Although it was “deemed invalid” for Alured to hold a sequestered estate, since he was a member of the York sequestration committee.

page 184 note 3 C.C.C., 174, report of Commissioners for Lancashire.

page 184 note 4 For an explanation of “debenture,” see Rushworth, Hist. Collections, VoL VI, Pt. IV, pp. 12, 17.

page 185 note 1 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report, Leyborne-Popham MSS., p. 102. The mortgage he proposes to raise is probably on other debentures he has already bought up.

page 186 note 1 Other lawyers who made private purchases were Fras. Theobald, Wm. Morgan, Thos. Bedingfield, of Gray's Inn; Philip Packer, Wm. Hussey, of Middle Temple; Clement Palgrave, of Inner Temple; Richard Adams and Benj. Harrington, of Lincoln's Inn. And others, who are prominent as private purchasers and public purchasers on a large scale, are: John Keble, of Gray's Inn; Gilbert Crouch, of Staple Inn; and John Blount and Francis Gregg, both of Clement's Inn.

page 186 note 2 Wright was an Alderman of London, 1649. Beavan, Aldermen of London. He was also a wealthy merchant, See C.A.M., J, 343, for his loans to Parliament.

page 187 note 1 Instances are readily multiplied, e.g. Thos. Noel, goldsmith, of London, was commissioned, 18 November, 1644, to melt down the plate in the Tower belonging to the King (C.C.C., 13, 15). He purchased privately an estate in Saffron Walden (C.C.C., 1783). John Barker, son-in-law of Aid. Thos. Westrow, grocer of London, privately purchased an estate in Suffolk. Humphrey Shallcrosse, scrivener, of London, claimed Alnwick Abbey, Northumberland, in lieu of a debt of £2,000 (C.C.C., 2046), and so on.

page 188 note 1 Other names may be added: Chris. Pitfield (C.C.C., 1822); Walter Menall (C.C.C., 2115); Chris. Maynard, of Totnes (C.C.C., 2987).

page 188 note 2 Delinquents were allowed a fifth, and recusants a third of the value of their estates, by the Sequestration Ordinances.

page 189 note 1 C.C.C, 875.

page 189 note 2 The main Acts for the Sale of delinquents’ lands vested the Bishops’ Lands, 9 Oct., 1646, in 24 trustees; the Dean and Chapter Lands, 30 April, 1649, in 15 trustees; the Royal Estates, 16 July, 1649, in 13 trustees; and the estates of other delinquents, 16 July, 1651, 4 August, 1652, and 18 November, 1652, were all vested in 7 trustees, known as the Drury House or Treason Trustees.

page 190 note 1 C.C.C., 326, 2428.

page 190 note 2 Ibid., 1648, 2230, 2359, 2600, etc.

page 190 note 3 Ibid., 1735.

page 190 note 4 Ibid., 2533, 2534, 1337, 2373, 2570, 2890.

page 190 note 5 D.N.B., XXX, 151–2.

page 191 note 1 S.P.D., 1660/61, 290.

page 191 note 2 Hist. MSS. Commission Report, Le Fleming MSS., p. 20 (212).

page 191 note 3 D.N.B., IV, 425, 426; C.C.C., 1387, 2191, etc.

page 191 note 4 Thurloe, IV, 238–9, writing of the Marquis of Winchester's estate.

page 192 note 1 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report, Leyborne-Popham MSS., p. 51.

page 192 note 2 The following references will repay consideration: Firth and Rait, Vol. I, 890, 902; Vol. II, 172. C.J., VT, 23. C.J., VI, 26, 27. Firth and Rait, Vol. I, 1121–3. Ibid., 432, 433. Ibid., Vol. II, 997… “to any person whatsoever”.

page 192 note 3 Such a charge requires proof up to the hilt. But the proof is ample, and certainly too lengthy to be stated in a footnote.

page 193 note 1 Cf. also Thurloe Papers, IV, 509, for commissioners in Ireland: and Cal. Wynn Papers, No. 2020, for commissioners in North Wales.

page 193 note 2 Firth C. H., Cromwell's Army, 202–8.

page 193 note 3 Berens L. H., The Digger Movement, 136.

page 193 note 4 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report, Leybourne-Popham MSS., 102.

page 193 note 5 C.A.M., 845.

page 193 note 6 D.N.B., XXX, 151, 152.

page 193 note 7 E.g. Major Lewis Audley was a member of the Intelligence Staff. He subscribed to a Government loan. And he was compelled to finance his own troop. S.P.D., 1648/49, 1651/52.

page 194 note 1 Whitelocke, Memorials [1682], 395, 398, re “doubling arrears of pay” in D. and C. lands.; C.J., VI, 236, 272–3, etc.

page 194 note 2 Bissett, Commonwealth of Eng., Vol. II, 423–5.

page 194 note 3 Haslerig is a case in point. Art., D.N.B.

page 194 note 4 C.C.C., 3078.

page 194 note 5 Ibid., under Major Lewis Audley and Rob. Fenwick.

page 194 note 6 Space is too short to allow of even a brief list of lawyers’ purchases. The following are some of the lawyers whose names occur in the Calendar: John Withers and John Blount of Clement's Inn; Sam Baldwin and Thos. Adams of Inner Temple; Fras. Bradshaw and Capt. Thos. Smith of Middle Temple; Thos. Gookin and Thos. Gregg of Lincoln's Inn; Nich. Harding, Rob. Mackworth, John Nelthorpe, Rob. Stoughton, John Keble and Wm. Lehunt of Gray's Inn.

page 195 note 1 C.C.C, CAM., S.P.D., passim.

page 195 note 2 C.C.C, 145; S.P.D., 1651, pp. 544–52–56; C.C.C, 1118.

page 195 note 3 C.C.C, 362; S.P.D., 1651, p. 435; C.C.C., 2635; S.P.D., 1651, p. 560.

page 196 note 1 S.P.D., 1651, pp. 536, 538; C.C.C., 780, 463, 571, 1625, 2199, 780.

page 196 note 2 C.A.M., 343; C.C.C., 787, 1780, 1830, 1667.

page 196 note 3 C.C.C., 1653, 1769, 2201, 3100; D.N.B., art. C. H. Firth.

page 196 note 4 C.C.C., 1769.

page 196 note 5 Ibid., 1430, 1835, 3100.

page 196 note 6 Lysons, Berkshire, 366.

page 196 note 7 C.C.C., 1117, 1624, 1626, 2131, 2132, 2192, 2205, 2206, 2428, 2595, 2637, 2660, 2826, 3098, 3146, etc.

page 197 note 1 A Discourse upon Usury, by Wilson Thomas. Ed. Tawney R. H., p. 36 and passim.

page 197 note 2 Shaw W. A., Beginnings of the National Debt, Owens College Essays, p. 417.

page 197 note 3 Thurloe, VII, 4, 99, 295. Where the administration is definitely dependent on a small group of financiers in 1657.

page 198 note 1 C.C.C., 1667, 1782.

page 198 note 2 Appended to Parliamentary History, Vol. III.

page 198 note 3 D.N.B., II, 321, 322. Also, R. D. Richards, “A Pre-Bank of Eng-land Banker,” Backwell Edward (Econ. Journal, 01, 1928).

page 198 note 4 D.N.B., XIII, 364.

page 198 note 5 Ibid., XLIII, 30. Also C.C.C, 2016.

page 198 note 6 C.C.C, 2405.

page 198 note 7 Ibid., 2140.

page 198 note 8 Ibid., 2064–67.

page 198 note 9 Ibid., 1007.

page 199 note 1 c.c.c., 6.

page 199 note 2 Firth and Rait, Vol. I, pp. 879–83. Cf. Gardiner, C.W., Vol. Ill, p. 145. Gardiner points out that the immediate object of the sale was to provide some security for the pay of the Scots army. … For a list of later Ordinances relating to Episcopal estates, see DrShaw W. A. , Hist, of the English Church, Vol. II, pp. 211–12, footnote.

page 199 note 3 Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 81–104. Also Dr. W. A. Shaw, Vol. II, p. 213– and also for further Ordinances concerning the sale of Capitular lands.

page 199 note 4 Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 160–8, for “Personal estate’; pp. 168–91 for “lands of late King, Queen, and Prince”; pp. 188–91 for “certain castles, palaces and manors, fee-farm and other rents excepted from sale.” These exceptions, however, were not long maintained.

page 199 note 5 Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 520–45.

page 199 note 6 Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 591–8.

page 199 note 7 Ibid., Vol. II, pp. 623–52.

page 199 note 8 Lennard R., Rural Northamptonshire, p. 19 n. (Oxford Studies in Social and Legal History, Vinegradoff, Vol. V), 1916–where Mr. Lennard also gives an admirable summary of the various minimum rates of sale.

page 199 note 9 C.C.C., 6.

page 199 note 10 Firth and Rait, Vol. I, p. 902.

page 200 note 1 Gardiner, C.W., Vol. III, p. 196.

page 200 note 2 Wildridge T. T., Hull Letters, p. 193, being the case of Sir Michael Wharton, of Beverley, Yorks. Also, C.C.C., p. 99, being the Report of the Durham County Committee. Cf. Oxon Report, ibid., 152.

page 200 note 3 Hist. MSS. Comm. Report, Portland MSS., 1, pp. 344, 345 (25 Jan., 1645/6).

page 200 note 4 C.C.C., 60–1, 85–8. Cf. lettings for Wilts, ibid., pp. 76–8 (Jan., 1647/8).

page 200 note 5 Ibid., 76, being the Cumberland Report.

page 200 note 6 Ibid., 76.

page 200 note 7 Ibid., 387, being Cornwall Report. Cf. Oxon Report, ibid., 705; London Report, ibid., 465; Salop Report, ibid., 424.

page 200 note 8 Rogers Thorold, History of Agriculture and Prices, Vol. V, pp. 203–9, 276 (1887); Gardiner, C.W., Vol. III, p. 195.

page 201 note 1 C.C.C., 550.

page 201 note 2 Crabb, of Uxbridge, Harl. Misc., Vol. IV, p. 460.

page 201 note 3 Firth and Rait, II, 81.

page 201 note 4 Some Sober Reflections, by J. H., p. 147 (1656).

page 201 note 5 Firth and Rait, II, 91.

page 201 note 6 Ibid., II, 103.

page 201 note 7 C.A.M., VIII.

page 202 note 1 Gardiner, Commonwealth and Protectorate, Vol. I, pp. 40, 41, 86.

page 202 note 2 C.J., VI, passim.

page 202 note 3 Firth and Rait, II, 155.

page 202 note 4 Ibid., II, p. 168. Cf. Ludlow Memoirs, Vol. I, p. 350.

page 203 note 1 Firth and Rait, II, pp. 176, 191. The Act meant to protect both the Government and the troops against traffickers in debentures. But the attempt was unsuccessful. Moreover, there is little evidence for thinking that either holders of public faith bills or debenture holders could not double on Crown lands at ten years’ purchase.

page 203 note 2 It is probable that lands were being sold at under ten years' purchase. Many instances occur in C.C.C. where the price paid for land was not more than eight years. On the other hand, there are a few instances where as much as seventeen or even twenty years' purchase was paid: but such rates were the exception rather than the rule.

page 203 note 3 Firth and Rait, II, pp. 360, 499, 584, 616.

page 203 note 4 Ibid., II, pp. 528, 594, 644.

page 204 note 1 The Deafiorestation Act of 22 November, 1653, fixed the rate of purchase at fourteen years (Firth and Rait, II, pp. 783–812). But a fitting commentary on this rise of minimum rate is found in an ordinance of 21 August, 1654. In sundry respects such a minimum was found impracticable, “especially for that the time of payment of the greatest part of the Moneys thereby allowed to be doubled are elapsed, and no moneys paid, by which means the services whereunto those Moneys should have been applyed, are disappointed of that supply” (Firth and Rait, II, p. 947).

page 205 note 1 c.c.c., 85.

page 205 note 2 Over against these complaints should be set the numerous complaints of state-tenants and under-tenants on sequestered estates.

page 205 note 3 C.C.C., 1300, 3047.

page 205 note 4 Ibid., 2743.

page 205 note 5 Ibid., 2764, 2930, 2943.

page 205 note 6 Ibid., 2813.

page 205 note 7 Ibid., 1479.

page 205 note 8 Ibid., 2379.

page 206 note 1 Baillie, Letters, Vol. II, 371.

page 206 note 2 Note, for instance, the petition of one, Maurice Gardiner, merchant of London, to whom the State owed £9,308 in June, 1654. The debt was recognized. But Gardiner was to have his money out of such estates as he might discover. Meanwhile he claims that his “wife and family are in a starving condition.” He had received neither money nor land in 1655 (C.A.M., 1478). The case of Sir Nich. Crisp is given in D.N.B. A debt of £274,146 was admitted as owing by the State to Crisp and his associates: but it was to be allowed only as a public faith debt solely on condition of doubling it on Crown lands. Hence as monies doubled upon the Act of 1653 (Crown Forests) the total debt computed at £552,000, to be secured on Crown lands. But Crisp and his associates could not get together more than £30,000, and their petition for time was refused (S.P.D., 1653/4, 265, 353, 357). It was not till 1663/4 that Crisp and his partners were allowed an abatement in consideration of the old debt (S.P.D., 1663/4, 123, 676. Also, Cullum Letters, pp. 283, 284).

page 207 note 1 Camb. Mod. History, Vol. IV, 457, art. Shaw W. A. .

page 207 note 2 Feiling Keith, History of the Tory Party, 1640–1714, pp. 100, 101.

page 207 note 3 Parl. Hist., IV. Also C.J. —debates on the Act of Indemnity and the Bill of Sales.

page 207 note 4 S.P.D., 1661, p. 271. Also Report VII, House of Lords MSS., p. 141.

page 207 note 5 Firth C. H., Cromwell’s Army, p. 208.

page 207 note 6 Feiling Keith, Tory Party, p. 101.

page 208 note 1 Wilson Thos., A Discourse upon Usury, ed. Tawney R. H., pp. 3941.

page 208 note 2 Harrington, Oceana (1737), pp. 69, 70, 72. See also Liljegren S. L., The Fall of the Monasteries, etc. (1924), and cf. Calendar of City of London Plea Rolls (1932), Introduction.

page 208 note 3 The Antiquary, Vol. XIII (1886), Hall Hubert and Scargill R. Bird.

page 208 note 4 Among the aristocracy were many Recusants who, slowly but surely, were compelled to sell parts of their estates. It must be remembered, too, that the ancient principle underlying the gage of land—that the creditor with a statutory title should repay himself out of the proceeds of the soil—was constantly abused, with the result that disinheritance had become the common fate of a spendthrift gentry; and the end was not yet (cf. Selden Soc, Law Merchant, Vol. 3, and L.Q.R., 10, 1928).

page 208 note 5 MS. in the library of Gurney J. H.: printed in the Norfolk and Norwich Arch. Soc, Vol. XV, 1904. The names of these buyers are given and eight instances. The editor, Walter Rye, dates the document circa 1630: but his reasons are not convincing.

page 209 note 1 S.P.D., 1641–3, p. 455. “A Way to raise Moneys for the Present.”

page 209 note 2 Rushworth, Historical Collections (1701), Vol. VII, p. 936.

page 209 note 3 Hutchinson’s Colonel Memoirs, pp. 316–18.

page 209 note 4 SirParker Wm. , The History of Long Melford (1873), pp. 336, 337.

page 209 note 5 C.C.C., 2133. Also Copinger, Suffolk Records and MSS. Also Timperley of Hintlesham, by SirRyan Gerald , Bart., and Lilian Redstone, pp. 88, 89.

page 209 note 6 Suffolk Inst. of Arch., Vol. XIV, art. by Redstone V. B. . Ibid., art. on Hardwick House, Bury St. Edmunds, by Lilian Redstone.

page 209 note 7 From a transcript by Mr. V. B. Redstone of a MS. formerly penes Appleton and Thicknesse.

page 210 note 1 Dr. Hubert Hall, who has examined English manorial muniments recently acquired by the Huntington Library, San Marino, S. California, suggests that some information might be found in those collections and the Chancery Records; also in Josselin’s Diary (Camden Soc.) and S. J. Madge on Parliamentary Surveys.

page 210 note 2 Tory Party, 101.

page 210 note 3 Part. Hist., IV, p. 194.

page 210 note 4 D.N.B.

page 210 note 5 Hutchinson’s Colonel Memoirs, pp. 313–15.

page 210 note 6 Cal. Treasury Books, 1660–7.

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