Saturday 12 October 1661

In bed the greatest part of this day also, and my swelling in some measure gone. I received a letter this day from my father, that Sir R. Bernard do a little fear that my uncle has not observed exactly the custom of Brampton in his will about his lands there, which puts me to a great trouble in mind, and at night wrote to him and to my father about it, being much troubled at it.

14 Annotations

First Reading

vicente  •  Link

Interesting ?:"...little fear that my uncle has not observed exactly the custom of Brampton in his will about his lands there..." any clues to this comment, why should Sam be anxious if he followed protocol and the Law.?

Alan Bedford  •  Link

" swelling in some measure gone."

For those of you with medical interest or morbid curiosity, it sounds a bit like a varicocele: http://www.testicle-pain-symptoms…

(Thanks to Jesse's citation yesterday for the lead.)

Wim van der Meij  •  Link

No visiting Doctors of Medicine for Sam!
Fortunately the 'swelling in some measure gone'; maybe Sam has an inkling what had caused the discomfort, otherwise, would he have called for a doctor?

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"my swelling in some measure gone"
Varicocele means varicose veins in the scrotum; in general not painful and he had terrible pains 2 days ago.

Peter  •  Link

Wim, Dr Tom Pepys came round yesterday. I wonder if that was no accident and if there was a quick consultation?

JonTom Kittredge  •  Link

The custom of Brampton
Vincente, I hope that someone versed in medieval property law will give an us authoritative answer, but my guess is that has something to do with these lands being copyhold, rather than freehold. Some of the property in the will is already at risk because his late uncle did not seem to have the necessary documents from the manorial court. Is Brampton the name of the feudal manor that this property belongs to? Maybe the "custom of Brampton" refers to the protocol of the manorial court.

Philip  •  Link

"... the custom of Brampton in his will about his lands there...."
A last will and testament by its nature can not be verified as to the testator's intention, or even that he executed the instrument, by the usual means of obtaining the maker's testimony. Consequently, some details, such as its manner of execution and verification by witnesses are often strictly observed. The "custom of Brampton" I think would refer to local practice with regard to some particular of this nature, but could also refer to the language used in the grant to the beneficiary or the exclusion of the widow, or some such detail. Pepys is apparently concerned that the deviation might be used to attack the will's validity or effectiveness or give the competing heir-at-law a point of advantage in negotiation. As I recall, Tomalin mentions that the matter of Brampton drags on for several years.

Mary  •  Link

"the custom of Brampton"

refers specifically to "about his lands there" and not to the process of making the will. I'm with JTK here: Uncle Robert's will has dealt with these copyhold lands in some way that does not scrupulously adhere to the manorial preconditions for the granting and disposing of copyhold rights.

Glyn  •  Link

Is it true that contemporary Native Americans had no concept of the ownership of land, or is that just my misunderstanding? It may seem irrelevant to this discussion, but I don

BradW  •  Link

contemporary Native Americans

A recent book out on New Amsterdam (Dutch New York) suggests that while Atlantic coast Native Americans did not recognize land ownership, they were keenly aware of hunting rights on land, and probably thought of the sale of Manhattan Island in terms of bartering off hunting rights. Crop agriculture was a fairly recent import to the Atlantic tribes in 1660 (well, in the last few centuries), and given time might have changed the tribes' concept of land ownership to resemble Europe's.

The bigger shock for the Potowatomies or Massapequas would probably have been the detailed written records Englishmen kept on just about any trivial point. Symbolic writing was not unknown in pre-Columbian America, but idea of detailed wills for every property-owning male being argued over at death would have left them dizzy.

A.Hamilton  •  Link

"idea of detailed wills for every property-owning male being argued over at death would have left them dizzy."

The modern lament is that society has become destructively litigious, a complaint that goes back at least as far as Dickens. This complaint, on the evidence of Sam, has an even longer history.

A. De Araujo  •  Link

"destructively litigious"
Richard the third thought so too,thence lets destruct all the lawyers.

Second Reading

GrannieAnnie  •  Link

Linking to BradW's comment:
American Indians may not have recognized land ownership but they quickly seemed to get used to the idea when they learned handing over land ownership could buy them sought-after items. Henricus Jacobsen Falconbre, a Danish settler, had learned the local Indian tongue. As early as 1677, he was employed by the Quaker Commissioners of West New Jersey, to act as an interpreter in negotiations with the natives. Deeds for three immense tracts grew out of these negotiations, and the Indian deed for lands in the Delran area was signed September 10, 1677, permitting the Europeans to occupy the acreage between “midstream of Rankokus Creek and midstream of Timber Creek.”

This ancient deed was signed by the Commissioners on the one hand and by the marks of Indian chieftains “Katanas, Sokappie, Enequato, Rennowighwan, and Jackickon” on the other. They were given: “Thirty blankets, 150 pounds of powder, thirty ‘gunns,’ thirty kettles, 7 anchors of brandy, 36 rings, 100 fish hooks, 1 gross of pipes, 10 spoonfuls of paint, 30 each of small bows, bells, knives, bracelets, tobacco “toungs’, flints, looking glasses, Jews harps, and awl; thirty pair of stockings, thirty pair of ‘sissurs’ and 46 fordone and Duffelds – whatever they were (N.J. Vol. B early deeds). Pepys would probably have loved dealing with such a quick and simple system of land transfer without lawyers involved.

Terry Foreman  •  Link

"the custom of Brampton"

Mary's view seems closest to how L&M interpret this: The custom of the manor, by which the descent of the copyhold tenures was controlled.

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