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Red kite

TWO VILLAGES, ONE HEART

LACEY GREEN & LOOSLEY ROW

LACEY GREEN & LOOSLEY ROW

Red kite

17th CENTURY

On this page

  • Introduction 1678 - 1694
  • Military
  • Corruption
  • Hearth Tax
  • Public Duties
  • Crime / Punishment
  • 1695 - 1711

  • .

    Introduction

    A good indication of Buckinghamsire life in the late 17th Century can be obtained from scrutiny of the County Court calendars. Italics indicate an exact copy of the documents complete with the spelling of the era.

    In midsummer 1683 reference is found to the Rye house plot, which had been discovered in the previous June, when the grand jury and the freeholders of the county join with the Justices in expressing to King Charles their:

    sincere joy for the preservation of his sacred person from a most wicked and horred conspiracy against the precious lives of his Majestie and his royal brother James, Duke of Yorke.

    The activities of the Duke of Monmouth are again alluded to in 1685 when the clerk of the peace was paid £30 for distributing the King's commands in relation to the late rebellion.

    The disturbances attendant upon the coming of William and Mary may be noted from the entry in April 1689, when:

    there being no dedimus for the swearing of their Majesties justices of the peace named in the new commission of the peace at the opening of the sessions before, there was no writ issued to the sheriffe of this county for the summons of a jury, and at Michaelmas 1690, when it is remarked that foreasmuch as the fines and issues of Easter sessions last past and other sessions before have been pardoned by act of indempnity, whereby the sheriffe of the county has been disabled to depay the justices wages as by Act of parliament he is empowered with the fines and issues of the sessions.

    .

    Military

    References to the army and navy are numerous, mostly where pensions are granted to old or maimed soldiers. Edmund Such, for instance, is granted a pension of £2 a year upon the claim of:

    having faithfully served his Majesty four years at Tangier and being burst in the said service.

    Richard Bruges of Ellesborough was awarded a total pension of £8 a year:

    for haveing beine a commissioned officer and an eminent sufferer for his loyalty in the late civill warrs.

    and this pension was increased later by £2 when he showed that he had:

    lost a considerable estate of the value of £5000 and upwards, through his adherence to the Stuart cause.

    William Hobbs of Chepping Wycombe, who was a soldier under Charles I and II both by sea and land in the warrs against the Dutch to be admitted to a county pension of £2 a year.

    The calendar reveals many more cases. It is clear that only a limited number of pensioners were allowed to benefit at one time, regardless of the number of deserving cases, as constant references occur to persons petitioning to receive the pension formerly enjoyed by an old soldier or sailor who had died.

    The county militia takes a prominent place in the work of the justices. The billeting rates are given in Easter 1691 and repeated in 1693.

    The inhabitant providing a billet received for a commissioned officer of horse being under the degree of captain for diet, small beer, hay and straw 2 shillings a night (10 p).
    For a commissioned officer of dragoons being under the degree of captain, 1/6d (7.5p).
    For a commissioned officer of foot under the degree of captain for diet and small beer 1 shilling (5p).
    For a light horseman's diet, small beer, hay and straw 1 shilling (5p).
    For a dragoon`s diet (9d), 12d=5p.
    For a foot soldier's diet and small beer 4d.

    The Mutiny Act of 1689 was the main statute controlling billeting and its provisions for the protection and payment of the inhabitants were the result of very many years of complaint. Since the seventeenth century billeting was practically never resorted to until the necessity of the Great War (World War I) reintroduced it.

    .

    Corruption

    The justices appear to have carried on a ceaseless battle against the corruption of the age, both inside the county and with outside officials. In 1680 they presented an address to the king against the farmers of the revenue and their officers.

    Various revenue officials were indicted for extortion. In 1690 there were numerous complaint against the methods of the gawgers of their Majesties excise.

    The original petition eventually had some effect for in 1690 two justices were ordered:

    to attend the right honorable Richard Hamden esquire, chancellor and under treasurer of their majesties court of exchequer and the right honorable Thomas Wharton esquire comptroller of their majesties household, and returne them the humble thanks of this bench for the great care they have been pleased to take for the preventing their majesties subjects of this county from being oppressed by the under-officers of their majesties officers of excise
    .

    Hearth Money

    1686 - the proper form for claiming exemption from Hearth tax, which appears to be equivalent of council tax, is quoted.

    the house must not be of greater value than £20 per annum upon the full improved rent and that the persons soe inhabiteing nor any other useing the said messuages hath or useth or occupyeth any lands or tenements of their owne or others of the yearly value of £20 per annum, nor hath any lands or tenements, goods or chattells of the value of £10 in their own possession or in the possession of any other in trust for them, and that the houses have not above two chimneys, fire hearths or stoves in them respectively.

    And that noe land, garden or orchard belonging to the said respective houses since the year 1663 have been lett apart from the same houses, and that since the same year neither of the said houses hath been divided into several dwellings or lett out to any persons who by reason of their poverty have been exempted from payment of the duty of Hearth Money where the duty ought to have been paid before.

    .

    Public Duties

    The calendar refers to the weather at times. January 1690 the inhabitants of Beaconsfield and Haddenham were given further time to repair their highways and bridges owing to the unseasonableness of the weather. In the Michaelmas session 1693 time was given to the inhabitants of Long Crendon to repair their bridge, by reason of the great rains and ill weather that hath happened this sommer.

    Every house or land owner had to undertake the work of repairing the highways or else provide labour or wagons for the purpose. This duty was known as "statute work" and frequent references are found in the calendar to people refusing or failing to undertake this duty. Royal servants were exempt from public service.

    The calendar contains long lists of people who took the new oaths prescribed in 1689. They give the names of all office holders and most persons of importance in the county. They also contain the names of all the dissenters and lists of meeting houses registered.


    .

    Crime and Punishment

    The principal business of the justices was the administration of the poor law and the number of settlement orders recorded increases throughout the period. Many orders were issued dealing with settlement and with the attempt to prevent begging and vagrancy. At Christmas 1679 it was provided that all beggars in Aylesbury were to be struck off the pensioners roll and imprisoned.

    The county gaol at Aylesbury comes in for considerable mention. The bridewells or houses of correction were at Aylesbury, High Wycombe and Newport Pagnel. The gallows at Aylesbury were rebuilt in 1680 at the cost of £2-6-0 (£2-30p), and references are also found to the stocks, the cage and pillory and the ducking stool.

    The offences dealt with by the justices were generally of a minor order, common assaults and minor religious offences such as absence from church; but the law was no respecter of persons, and gentlemen and knights could be brought before the court.

    The relation between master and servant were looked after by the court. From an economic point of view special interest attaches to the rates of wages for servants, labourers and workmen published for the first time in the Easter session 1687. The wages varied between yearly and daily, and those with meat and drink and those without. Apparently labourers in the Chilterns received more than those in the vale. The highest paid were menservants in husbandry who received £4-10-0 a year (£4.50p) in the Chilterns and a mason who received 1-8d (20d) a day (240d=£1 ) without meat and drink. The lowest paid were women maidservants who received £2 a year, and a "Elmer" a Thatcher's assistant, who received 2d a day with meat and drink.

    The lists of persons presented or indicted for recusancy or absence from church contained several well known names and assumes very large proportions until the declaration of indulgence in 1687. In 1691 the court made a special order as to Sunday observance and gave a list at length of all the acts in force which were to be fully enforced. They stated that they were convinced that great profanation of the Lord's day, the too common practice of cursing and swearing, etcetera, had increased lately and that they were resolved to take measure to suppress them.

    Some examples of offences and sentences:

    Keeping an unlicensed alehouse fined £1
    Keeping a disorderly alehouse fined 3/4d
    Assault fined 3/4d up to £6-3-4
    Selling beer at more than 1d a quart
    Absence from church for 1 month fined £20
    Absence from church for 2 months fined £40
    Scandalous words against the king fined £5
    Larceny whipping at the carts tail or enlistment
    Swearing
    Harbouring vagrants fined 6/8d (80d) (33.3p)
    Non payment of wages committed to jail
    Disobeying order of the court hard labour
    .

    1695 - 1711

    1696 - yet another assassination plot, this time against William III after which all office holders had to sign a pledge for William.
    A window tax for making good the deficiency of the clipped money started by William III continued for the next 150 years. (Silver was used in coinage and clippings illegally taken from round the outside were sold on.)

    1697 - end of the war of the Grand Alliance. Peace of Ryswick.
    Regulations contained in the Act of Elizabeth, which insisted upon apprenticeships for trade, were relaxed.

    1698 - £30 distributed to 7 men in Princes Risborough whose houses were burnt down.
    £5 given to William Church of Woburn in respect of a dreadful fire completely destroying his house and mills

    1699 - disbanded soldiers freed from their debts, contracted before enlistment, for three years.
    Sydar tax on retailers. ?Cider
    Tax on vellum parchment and paper, introduced to pay for the 9 Year War of the Grand Alliance, went on for years and has now become stamp duty. (It was the introduction of stamp duty in America that brought on the fight for independence.)
    Salt tax - unrefined salt cost 4 shillings and 4 pence (20p) a bushel (half hundredweight), foreign salt and bay salt 7/6d (37.5p). Salt was used for salting meat and vegetables for winter.
    In a petition to parliament it was stated that the high price of salt was a grievance to the poore sort of people who mostly feed on salted provisions.

    1701 - 197 bayes of building burnt down in Haddenham. Permission from the lord keeper of the great seal by letters patent to collect the charitable benevolence of well disposed people throughout the county.

    1702 March - Death of William III. Accession of Queen Anne. Oath to Queen Anne taken. Many soldiers and sailors given county pensions. Many men pressed into army and navy. Debtors voluntary enlisted thus being released from prison.

    1702 May - Start of the war of Spanish succession.
    Decline in the number of indictments for not going to church but a tightening up on laws of swearing, drinking, lewdness, etcetera.

    1705 - salt price fixed at 5/6d a bushel weighing 56 lbs.(half hundredweight) (cwt) twenty hundredweight = 1 ton

    1706 - Duke of Marlborough decisevly won the Battle of Ramellies

    1707 - union of England and Scotland established 'Great Britain'

    1707 - much recruiting evident in the court sessions. Anyone who had no lawfull calling or livelyhood or vote in electing members to serve in parliament were conscripted prisoners and then released from goal to enlist.

    1707 - special rate levied to pay for the cost of conveying and relieving vagrants and beggars.

    1708 July - High winds caused the steeple of the church of Chalfont St Peter to fall demolishing the north and south aisles. The Lord Chancellor was petitioned for leave to appeal throughout England. £1521-5-6d was needed for the repairs.

    1708 - bad weather prevented the jurors getting to the Epiphany sessions

    1710 - complaints over the measures used in the markets. All bushel measures had to conform to the 'Winchester measure'. These official measures were to be chayned in the public markett places.

    1711 - smallpox epidemic in Aylesbury.

    Purchasing Power

    It appears that they took the value of the pound in 1974 and worked on its value before and after that date to arrive at this chart. Explanation of figures

    From this you can work out that to have the same purchasing power as £100 in 1850 one would have needed some £7,200 in 1998.
    1850 index = 8.2 1998 index 592.3. In 1998 the average price level was some 72 times (592.3÷8.2) the 1850 level. Thus, [72x£100].

    Year Price index Pound value 1974=
    100 pence
    Change in prices on year before %
    1750
    1751
    1752
    1753
    1754
    1755
    1756
    1757
    1758
    1759
    1760
    1761
    1762
    1763
    1764
    1765
    1766
    1767
    1768
    1769
    1770
    1771
    1772
    1773
    1774
    1775
    1776
    1777
    1778
    1779
    1780
    1781
    1782
    1783
    1784
    1785
    1786
    1787
    1788
    1789
    1790
    5.0
    4.9
    5.1
    5.0
    5.2
    4.9
    5.1
    6.2
    6.2
    5.7
    5.5
    5.2
    5.4
    5.6
    6.1
    6.3
    6.3
    6.7
    6.6
    6.1
    6.1
    6.6
    7.3
    7.3
    7.3
    6.9
    6.8
    6.7
    7.0
    6.4
    6.2
    6.5
    6.6
    7.4
    7.4
    7.1
    7.1
    7.1
    7.4
    7.3
    7.4
    1,997
    2,053
    1,961
    2,014
    1,916
    2,039
    1,957
    1,607
    1,612
    1,751
    1,832
    1,919
    1,847
    1,799
    1,653
    1,597
    1,577
    1,492
    1,509
    1,643
    1,650
    1,520
    1,373
    1,378
    1,365
    1,446
    1,478
    1,484
    1,426
    1,559
    1,614
    1,550
    1,518
    1,356
    1,348
    1,404
    1,404
    1,413
    1,359
    1,377
    1,353
    -3.1
    -2.7
    4.7
    -2.7
    5.1
    -6.0
    4.2
    21.8
    -0.3
    -7.9
    -4.5
    -4.5
    3.9
    2.7
    8.9
    3.5
    1.2
    5.8
    -1.1
    -8.2
    -0.4
    8.5
    10.7
    -0.3
    0.9
    -5.6
    -2.2
    -0.4
    4.0
    -8.5
    -3.4
    4.1
    2.1
    12.0
    0.6
    -4.0
    0.0
    -0.6
    4.0
    -1.3
    1.8
    Year Price index Pound value 1974=
    100 pence
    Change in prices on year before %
    1791
    1792
    1793
    1794
    1795
    1796
    1797
    1798
    1799
    1800
    1801
    1802
    1803
    1804
    1805
    1806
    1807
    1808
    1809
    1810
    1811
    1812
    1813
    1814
    1815
    1816
    1817
    1818
    1819
    1820
    1821
    1822
    1823
    1824
    1825
    1826
    1827
    1828
    1829
    1830
    1831
    1832
    7.4
    7.5
    7.7
    8.3
    9.3
    9.9
    8.9
    8.7
    9.7
    13.3
    14.9
    11.4
    10.8
    11.1
    12.9
    12.3
    12.1
    12.5
    13.7
    14.2
    13.8
    15.6
    16.0
    13.9
    12.5
    11.4
    13.0
    13.0
    12.7
    11.5
    10.1
    8.7
    9.3
    10.1
    11.9
    11.2
    10.5
    10.2
    10.1
    9.7
    10.7
    9.9
    1,354
    1,334
    1,298
    1,205
    1,080
    1,015
    1,128
    1,153
    1,026
    752
    673
    874
    929
    900
    775
    810
    826
    798
    728
    706
    726
    642
    626
    718
    803
    877
    772
    770
    790
    871
    990
    1,145
    1,072
    988
    842
    891
    953
    981
    991
    1,028
    935
    1,010
    -0.1
    1.5
    2.8
    7.7
    11.6
    6.4
    -10.0
    -2.2
    12.3
    36.5
    11.7
    -23.0
    -5.9
    3.2
    16.2
    -4.4
    -1.9
    3.4
    9.7
    3.2
    -2.9
    13.2
    2.5
    -12.7
    -10.7
    -8.4
    13.5
    0.3
    -2.5
    -9.3
    -12.0
    -13.5
    6.8
    8.6
    17.4
    -5.5
    -6.5
    -2.9
    -1.0
    -3.6
    9.9
    -7.4
    Year Price index Pound value 1974=
    100 pence
    Change in prices on year before %
    1833
    1834
    1835
    1836
    1837
    1838
    1839
    1840
    1841
    1842
    1843
    1844
    1845
    1846
    1847
    1848
    1849
    1850
    1851
    1852
    1853
    1854
    1855
    1856
    1857
    1858
    1859
    1860
    1861
    1862
    1863
    1864
    1865
    1866
    1867
    1868
    1869
    1870
    1871
    1872
    1873
    9.3
    8.6
    8.7
    9.7
    9.9
    10.0
    10.7
    10.9
    10.7
    9.9
    8.7
    8.7
    9.2
    9.5
    10.7
    9.4
    8.8
    8.2
    8.0
    8.0
    8.7
    10.0
    10.4
    10.4
    9.8
    9.0
    8.8
    9.1
    9.4
    9.1
    8.8
    8.7
    8.8
    9.4
    10.0
    9.8
    9.3
    9.3
    9.4
    9.9
    10.2
    1,075
    1,165
    1,146
    1,033
    1,008
    1,001
    933
    916
    938
    1,015
    1,144
    1,145
    1,092
    1,050
    937
    1,066
    1,138
    1,216
    1,254
    1,254
    1,147
    997
    965
    965
    1,022
    1,116
    1,136
    1,095
    1,067
    1,095
    1,136
    1,147
    1,136
    1,067
    1,005
    1,022
    1,076
    1,076
    1,061
    1,014
    983
    -6.1
    -7.8
    1.7
    11.0
    2.5
    0.7
    7.3
    1.8
    -2.3
    -7.6
    -11.3
    -0.1
    4.9
    4.0
    12.0
    -12.1
    -6.3
    -6.4
    -3.0
    0.0
    9.3
    15.1
    3.3
    0.0
    -5.6
    -8.4
    -1.8
    3.7
    2.7
    -2.6
    -3.6
    -0.9
    0.9
    6.5
    6.1
    -1.7
    -5.0
    0.0
    1.4
    4.7
    3.1
    Year Price index Pound value 1974=
    100 pence
    Change in prices on year before %
    1874
    1875
    1876
    1877
    1878
    1879
    1880
    1881
    1882
    1883
    1884
    1885
    1886
    1887
    1888
    1889
    1890
    1891
    1892
    1893
    1894
    1895
    1896
    1897
    1898
    1899
    1900
    1901
    1902
    1903
    1904
    1905
    1906
    1907
    1908
    1909
    1910
    1911
    1912
    1913
    1914
    1915
    9.8
    9.7
    9.6
    9.6
    9.3
    8.9
    9.2
    9.1
    9.2
    9.1
    8.9
    8.6
    8.5
    8.5
    8.5
    8.6
    8.6
    8.7
    8.7
    8.7
    8.5
    8.4
    8.4
    8.5
    8.5
    8.6
    9.0
    9.1
    9.1
    9.1
    9.1
    9.1
    9.1
    9.2
    9.3
    9.3
    9.4
    9.4
    9.7
    9.7
    9.6
    10.8
    1,017
    1,036
    1,039
    1,047
    1,071
    1,120
    1,087
    1,099
    1,088
    1,093
    1,123
    1,158
    1,177
    1,183
    1,175
    1,159
    1,157
    1,148
    1,144
    1,153
    1,176
    1,188
    1,192
    1,175
    1,171
    1,163
    1,106
    1,101
    1,101
    1,097
    1,100
    1,095
    1,096
    1,082
    1,078
    1,072
    1,063
    1,061
    1,031
    1,035
    1,038
    922
    -3.3
    -1.9
    -0.3
    -0.7
    -2.2
    -4.4
    3.0
    -1.1
    1.0
    -0.5
    -2.7
    -3.0
    -1.6
    -0.5
    0.7
    1.4
    0.2
    0.7
    0.4
    -0.7
    -2.0
    -1.0
    -0.3
    1.5
    0.3
    0.7
    5.1
    0.5
    0.0
    0.4
    -0.2
    0.4
    0.0
    1.2
    0.5
    0.5
    0.9
    0.1
    3.0
    -0.4
    -0.3
    12.5
    Year Price index Pound value 1974=
    100 pence
    Change in prices on year before %
    1916
    1917
    1918
    1919
    1920
    1921
    1922
    1923
    1924
    1925
    1926
    1927
    1928
    1929
    1930
    1931
    1932
    1933
    1934
    1935
    1936
    1937
    1938
    1939
    1940
    1941
    1942
    1943
    1944
    1945
    1946
    1947
    1948
    1949
    1950
    1951
    1952
    1953
    1954
    1955
    1956
    12.8
    16.0
    19.6
    21.5
    24.8
    22.7
    19.5
    18.4
    18.2
    18.3
    18.1
    17.7
    17.7
    17.5
    17.0
    16.3
    15.9
    15.5
    15.5
    15.6
    15.8
    16.3
    16.5
    17.1
    20.0
    22.2
    23.9
    24.8
    25.5
    26.4
    27.3
    29.3
    31.2
    32.0
    32.9
    36.1
    38.0
    38.8
    39.5
    40.9
    42.9
    781
    624
    511
    465
    403
    440
    512
    545
    549
    547
    551
    565
    566
    571
    588
    614
    630
    644
    644
    640
    635
    614
    605
    586
    500
    450
    418
    403
    391
    379
    367
    341
    320
    312
    304
    277
    263
    258
    253
    244
    233
    18.1
    25.2
    22.0
    10.1
    15.4
    -8.6
    14.0
    -6.0
    -0.7
    0.3
    -0.8
    -2.4
    -0.3
    -0.9
    -2.8
    -4.3
    -2.6
    -2.1
    0.0
    0.7
    0.7
    3.4
    1.6
    3.1
    17.2
    11.2
    7.5
    3.7
    3.1
    3.2
    3.5
    7.4
    6.6
    2.6
    2.8
    9.5
    5.3
    2.2
    1.9
    3.5
    4.7
    Year Price index Pound value 1974=
    100 pence
    Change in prices on year before %
    1957
    1958
    1959
    1960
    1961
    1962
    1963
    1964
    1965
    1966
    1967
    1968
    1969
    1970
    1971
    1972
    1973
    1974
    1975
    1976
    1977
    1978
    1979
    1980
    1981
    1982
    1983
    1984
    1985
    1986
    1987
    1988
    1989
    1990
    1991
    1992
    1993
    1994
    1995
    1996
    1997
    1998
    44.3
    45.5
    45.9
    46.4
    47.7
    49.4
    50.3
    52.1
    54.7
    56.7
    58.3
    61.0
    64.4
    68.2
    74.0
    78.7
    85.4
    100.0
    124.2
    144.8
    167.7
    181.7
    206.0
    243.0
    271.9
    295.3
    308.8
    324.2
    344.0
    355.7
    370.5
    388.7
    418.9
    458.5
    485.4
    503.6
    511.6
    523.9
    542.1
    555.2
    572.7
    592.3
    226
    220
    218
    216
    210
    202
    199
    192
    183
    176
    172
    164
    155
    147
    135
    127
    117
    100
    80
    69
    60
    55
    49
    41
    37
    34
    32
    31
    29
    28
    27
    26
    24
    22
    21
    20
    20
    19
    18
    18
    17
    17
    3.3
    2.7
    0.9
    1.1
    2.9
    3.6
    1.8
    3.5
    5.0
    3.8
    2.7
    4.7
    5.6
    5.9
    8.6
    6.4
    8.4
    17.2
    24.2
    16.5
    15.8
    8.3
    13.4
    18.0
    11.9
    8.6
    4.6
    5.0
    6.1
    3.4
    4.2
    4.9
    7.8
    9.5
    5.9
    3.7
    1.6
    2.4
    3.5
    2.4
    3.1
    3.4