The following letter and summary of Brampton rents are from Helen Truesdell Heath’s The Letters of Samuel Pepys and His Family Circle. In this letter and the estate summary, Sam has set forth a proposed plan for his father’s consideration regarding the settlement of the Brampton estate. All information and quotations set forth herein come from Heath’s above referenced book.
This letter is from Sam to his father, John Pepys. John is sixty-two years of age when he receives this letter. John’s elder brother Robert had left the major portion of his estate to John, “slighting an intermediate brother, Thomas, to whom and to whose married sister he left only annuities” (page 1, note 4). This estate came with a double-edged sword as it included not only the property, but its debts and responsibilities. At the time of this letter, John is currently living in Brampton and has left his tailor shop to his son Thomas. John visited Sam in April 1663 to discuss the financial situation of the estate. “Samuel, after a study of the tangled records, has drawn up a programme of economy for his parents and a schedule of benevolence for” (p. xix) their consideration.
Heath’s text is directly from the manuscript. This letter is from the Rawlinson Collection in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, in the Admiralty volumes of the Pepysian Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge. She notes that for this specific letter there is a reference to a listing of funds owing to the estate which is not included herein as it is not found among the Rawlinson MS. The “enclosed accompt” of the rents referred to in the letter is included as the second item presented herein. Additional notes explain that Will Stankes, who is mentioned in the letter, is the baliff of the Brampton estates. Her note 2 on page 2 explains that “Tom Trice was Uncle Robert’s foster-son, by a marriage in 1630 with Ann Trice, a widow with seven children. The will excludes her specifically by reason of alleged fraud in the marriage settlement. A caveat against the estate was being entered in her name by her two sons, Tom and Jasper Trice.” The reference to the “Wardrob’s plase” is a reference to the position of the Master of the Wardrobe, which was among the positions granted by Charles II to Sam’s cousin, Lord Sandwich. “Sam had secured that the post of Yeoman Tailor in this establishment might revert to his father when it should next fall vacant” (p. 2, note 3).
The formatting of the schedule of rents at Brampton does not exactly reflect the original as it appeared in Ms. Heath’s collection. Sam had grouped the sections a little differently and had written the titles to each section in the left and/or right margins. In addition some of the numbers had “.” after them and some did not. This undated document was referenced in the letter to his father and included with it. The content is from the original and, as the letter it is attached to, is presented in full.
I . Sam’s Letter to His Father
This letter was an original, with red wax seal. Holograph. Endorsed: “May 16, 1663. The Present Generall State of Our affaires at Bramton, given my Father for his future direction therein. S.P.”
May 16, 1663
believing that the wearysomeness of your late journy is by this time throughly over, and being unwilling to delay the stateing to you in writing the present posture of our affaires for a guide to you in your future expences (which for the time to come I hope you will understand it to bee necessary by all ways possible to lessen) I have thought fitt to take this time of doeing it, and in the first place must reminde you, that after our many great disbursements upon Repayres, funeral charges, paying of debts and legacys, and a deare housekeeping there remaynes yet behinde, Six hundred and fifteene pounds unpayd in debts and Legacys; Towards which wee have comeing to us by your hands and myne according to the perticulers mentioned in a paper annexed — 376 £ 09 s 00d, which as fast it comes in is to bee employed towards the payment of the aforesayd Debt. And there will remayne to bee provided for, the sum of 238 £ 11s 00d more then wee have any mony comeing to us to make good, but what shall arise out of the rents of the estate.
Now the Rents of the estate, which remaynes unsold to at this day amount to 75£, 09s, 00d per annum all taxes and charges deducted, as by the enclosed accompt you will perticularly see. Out of which 75£ 09s 00d wee being pay 25£ to my uncle Thomas and Aunt Perkins, there will rest but 50£ and 9s per annum towards your maintenance and the payment of the above-sayd debt of 238£ 11s 00, which debt however seeing it must be payd soone or late and that wee may the sooner bee ridd of all trouble and clamours, wee did at your being here conclude it necessary to sell Sturtlow, which by Will Stankes’s reckoning may yeeld 480£ out of which my Brother Thomas may bee supplyed with 200£ for his share (which will bee a very plentifull provision for him) and pay the debt of 238£ 11s 00, besides a remayner of 41£ 09s 00d, which it is too probable wee shall have occasions enough of laying out in charges of Courts, repayres and following the law against Tom Trice, with other charges I cannot now thinke of .
But that which follows next to be considered is how you and my mother shall be maintayned out of what remaynes when Sturtlow is sold which will bee but 29£ per annum. This I confesse is a very sad consideration, That after soe much expectation, trouble and removing your selfe from a better condition you should finde noe better provision made for you then a house to live in and 29 £ a yeare. But Sir as it helpes us nothing to afflict ourselfe for what wee cannot prevent, soe doth it concerne us more to study how to improve the best wee can that little which is left. And that I may not appeare wanting to the best of my ability to encourage and assist you herein, I am contented to make up the losse of Sturtlow to you out of my owne purse, so that you may have entire 50£ a yeare to live upon, till by the death of my uncle Thomas, or the falling of the Wardrob’s plase it may bee raysed to you some other way. You cannot but thinke that for mee to part with twenty pounds a yeare out of my purse in steade of haveing 30£ a yeare and the rent of Sturtlow as the Will gives mee is an unwellcome burthen; but Sir I have two designes (besides my duty in generall to bee assisting to you) which if I bee not disappointed in I shall thinke my parting with that Summe very well bestowed.
1. I would by this oblige my mother and you to the study of thrift and quietnesse, that I may heare noe more of those differences, which to my great griefe I have of late understood doe often arise betweene you. From whence they come I know not, nor am willing to enquire, But this I know, that it did not use to bee soe, not I trust in god will bee here after, there being nothing that I can hope or doe wish for you more, then that the abatement of your plenty may bee made up in the encrease of your peace.
2. I hope hereby not only my selfe to bee at a certainty, what it is that I must provide to spare out of my owne expences for you, but you alsoe when you shall see thoroughly what it is and noe more that you can expect either from the estate, or mee, will not (as you have hitherto) spend at a guesse but will bee able at every months or Quarters end to tell, whether you doe excede or come within your allowance.
And I must needs further say, that considering you live rent free, and I hope free from any future charge for my Brother John or any of your Children but Pall, that 50 £ a yeare will bee thought a good competence. Especially if all ways of thrift bee studyed, as I hope you will all thinke it necessary from hence forward to doe. And by the way lett mee tell you, that if I understand any thing of thrift, it cannot be any good husbandry to such a family as yours to keepe either hoggs, poultry, sheepe, cowes, (or horses more than one) there being meate of all sorts, milke, butter, cheese eggs fowle and every thing elce to bee had cheaper and I am sure with more quiet at the market, if not at your doore, then for you to keep them besides the danger of theyr dying or being stolne. This I desire you and my mother to consider of, and if you judge it as I doe to bee good husbandry, then not to scruple the parting with them upon any other pretences, but sell them off; by which, being now on even ground and the rents from Lady day last comeing to you, you will bee the better able to spare the other monys mentioned in the enclosed paper for the payment of Debts and Legacys, without which we shall never bee able to cleare our selfes thereof.
But if after all this you shall finde, that 50£ per annum will not doe; I beleive you cannot but know that for that mony you and mother may bee boarded well either in City or Country and (Pall being placed abroad in some good service) spend your days without further cares or charge. All this I doe earnestly recommend to your selfe and my mother to consider of, it being the greatest wish I have in the world, that by my advice and purse (soe farr as I can without wrong to her whom I am obliged to make provision for) I may bee able to assist you in makeing such provision for you as may enable you to passe the remaynder of your time with a sufficiency of estate and ease. Soe craving your blessing I remayne
Your ever obedient Sonn
I have sent you alsoe herein a Copy of Severall lands wee have in Brampton, how they are lett and to whom, that you may see what the rents of the whole come to, and what the taxes and other charges thereupon doe amount to.
For my father.
II. Summary of the Brampton Estate
THE RENTS OF THE BRAMPTON ESTATE
A perticuler accompt of the Rents of our lands at Brampton; how they are disposed of, and what taxes and charges lye upon them.
|These are letten|
|1||To Tom Head 38 acres and a halfe by lease for 15 yeares from Lady day. 1662. at the yearely rent of||14||00||00|
|2||To Gransden a close of Pasture at||02||00||00|
|3||To Newberry a close for 3 yeares at||02||00||00|
|4||To William Ratford 3 acres of pasture for three yeares at the yearely rent of||01||16||00|
|5||To John Stankes an acre of pasture at||00||12||00|
|6||To John Stankes an acre & halfe of Meadow||01||05||00|
|7||To Richard Hall an acre of Meadow||00||16||00|
|8||To William Newberry an acre of Meadow||00||15||00|
|9||To John Chaford and Richard Ireland 6 acres & a halfe in Long fishers meadow at||04||06||00|
|10||To Medborough 2 acres & halfe of Meadow||02||00||00|
|These are unlett|
|11||Three acres & halfe of Peggs hedge close||01||15||00|
|12||Eight acres in Good Cow and Brants willows close||04||00||00|
|13||Bayliffes close 2 acres||01||00||00|
|14||Fishers meadow 6 acres||03||00||00|
|Out of which 40 £ a year is to bee taken|
|£||s||d||[Note: this was totalled on the side as below]|
|1||For Taxes at 6s a month||2||08||00|
|2||For Lords rents for a yeare||2||00||00|
|3||For the Minister & Clerke & c||0||13||00||05||11||00|
|4||For the parish dutys of 10 acres which must bee kept in our hands to preserve a horse’s commoning||0||10||00|
|Soe the cleare yearly value of Brampton lands after all charges deducted is||34||09||00|
An account of our Yeareley Rents
|1||Offord letts per annum for||23||00||00|
|Out of which abate for Taxes and Lords rent||03||00||00|
|There remaynes cleare per annum||20||00||00|
|2||Budgen letts per annum for||24||00||00|
|Out of which abate for Lords rent, 26s and 8d And for Taxes 33s||03||00||00|
|There remaynes cleare per annum||21||00||00|
|3||Brampton lets per annum according to the perticulers annexed for||40||00||00|
|Out of which abate for Taxes & c||05||11||00|
|There remaynes cleare per annum||34||09||00|
|Soe the Cleare yearely value of all three places comes to||75||09||00|
|Out of which wee being to pay yeareley to my uncle Thomas 20 £ to my aunt Perkins 5 £ There will remayne cleare after the payment of those annuitys|
Our present condition therefore is, Wee have Fifty pounds Rents yearely comeing in, & debt of Two hundred thirty eight pounds eleven shillings to pay out of it.