Popular Exploitation of Enemy Estates in the English Revolution

Christopher O'Riordan

Published in History, vol. 78 (1993), pp.184-200.
© The Historical Association 1993.

With further information, © Christopher O'Riordan April 2001. Each addition is indicated by a linked 'addendum' in the text.

Sequestration Types of Exploitation (Enclosure re-seizures, rent strikes, deer-slaying; Timber and wood) Estate Takeovers Mansions (Plunder of manor houses and seizures of deeds; Occupations) Fallback Questions notes addenda

During the English Revolution of 1640 - 1660 certain categories of land became subject to widespread popular expropriations. These were the estates of Parliament's actual or nominated enemies - royalists and Catholics, the Crown and royal family and the church hierarchy. They became subject to a variety of forms of exploitation - refusal to pay dues, appropriation of material resources, and occupations of property.

     When the Civil War began in 1642, pre-war attacks on enclosures were supplemented by rent strikes and killing of landlords' deer. As Parliament began to take over the estates of its opponents in 1643, seizures of timber began. In certain instances estates were taken over wholesale. People of all classes, from gentry to labourers, benefited. For the popular classes, the bulk of the people, this was an unprecedented state of affairs. It is with them that this essay is concerned.

     Much of what happened was simple opportunism.[1] People took advantage of the disruption of civil society and the weakened political position of Parliament's enemies, who were also often absent from their estates. As far as can be told from the scantier records, something similar happened on parliamentarians' estates in royalist-held territory.[2]

     Neither the people nor Parliament espoused any ideology of social revolution. When the popular classes attempted to justify themselves, they did so in terms of tradition and customary rights. But their interpretation of such rights was a far more radical one than held sway in normal times. The House of Commons took a more liberal attitude to this than the Lords, whose judicature was anyway clogged with cases and was not very effective.[3] The more politically-radical of the Parliamentarians, if not actually sympathetic to popular acquisitions, probably saw the need to temporize with the popular forces until the War had been won.

     Following the end of the main civil war in 1646, property relations began a progressive return to normality as the people fought a losing battle against restored landlordism. But echoes of the popular movement could be heard even after the restoration of monarchy in 1660.

     There is no conventional descriptive label for Parliament's enemies as a whole, and hence none for their property. Parliament considered royalists and Catholics to be its enemies and labelled them as such ('delinquents' and 'papists'). But (until 1648-9) King Charles was officially regarded as being head of state still, albeit a 'misled' one; Parliament purported to be fighting to free him from his 'evil advisors'. The properties of private Royalists and of the royal family were - nominally though not in reality - treated in different ways. In this essay I use the terms 'enemy estates' and 'enemy lands' as an umbrella term for both types, as well as those of the church hierarchy.


This section will examine the administrative structure set up by Parliament for the sequestration of its opponents' estates. It will thus provide a background for the popular exploitation which sequestration could facilitate.

     Parliament exercised no systematic policy against the property of its opponents before the outbreak of war. But in the autumn of 1642 it passed resolutions for confiscating the revenues of such 'delinquents' ' estates to help pay for the war effort.[4] Such measures, however, proved ineffective without any provision for control over these estates. In April 1643 Parliament enacted an ordinance for the sequestration of the real estate of all those who were serving the King in a military or administrative capacity (in addition their moveable property was to be sold off by auction). The ordinance also provided for the sequestration of fourteen bishops by name (out of the total of twenty-six serving the Anglican church). (But resources, it may be noted, were to be requisitioned from all church-hierarchy lands.) A supplementary ordinance of the following August sequestered 'papists', those who moved to royalist territory without permission, and those who did not pay their parliamentary taxes. The revenues of the King's, Queen's and Prince of Wales's properties were to be seized by an ordinance of September 1643, and though these estates were not officially sequestered they became in fact 'secured' by parliamentarian officials in territory controlled by Parliament.[5]

     To administer the process, a sequestration committee was set up in each county. The committees consisted initially of the ruling county gentry, but as the War progressed they sometimes came to be dominated by men of lesser stature (minor gentry or even yeomanry).[6] Even when the traditional rulers remained in control of a committee they could be sidestepped by other institutions which came under the control of the 'new men'; in Cheshire, for example, the county committee was bypassed by the local hundredal committees.[7] The 'new men' tended to be more supportive of radical win-the-war policies; they may also have been more sympathetic to popular acquisitions, as we shall see. The sequestration committees were empowered to let estates (as a whole or in parcels) to suitable lessees who would in turn provide them with a rental income. The wives of political 'delinquent' owners were allowed a fifth part of estate revenue, while Catholic landlords were actually permitted to retain a third of their estates.

     Around 4,000 people, ranging generally from nobility to minor gentry, were sequestered by these means. They represented locally one-third or more of the gentry in counties where there had been fighting.[8] (Sequestrations by the Committee for Advance of Money - of those who had failed to pay their fifth-and-twentieth-part levy - seem to have been additional to this.) Together with unofficially-sequestered royal lands, they amounted to a high proportion of English real estate. The royalist side too sequestered parliamentarians' estates on territory controlled by them.

     Sequestration was not confiscation; the enemy landlord still retained legal title to his estate. Although the House of Commons desired wholesale confiscation of papist and delinquent estates to finance the war effort, the conservative Lords opposed it. A compromise measure grew up in the shape of 'composition', in which the landlord received his estate back in return for a fine reckoned at a fraction of the estate's value (typically a third, a sixth or a tenth). A Committee for Compounding was established in London to administer this process (ensuring central receipt of composition revenues, unlike those of sequestrations which tended to stay in the counties). For those who could not or would not come to terms, or those 'arch-delinquents' whom Parliament excluded from the process, confiscation eventually followed. Bishops' lands were confiscated and put on sale by an ordinance of November 1646. After the King's execution and abolition of the House of Lords in 1649, royal and cathedral lands followed suit. Private non-compounders' estates were put on the market by three Acts of Sale in 1651-2. Many of these lands went to merchants and speculators, who were less renowned for kindly landlordism than their predecessors, and many purchasers were in fact agents of the original landlords.[9]

     While sequestration created potential conditions that the popular classes could exploit, both compounding and confiscation tended to restore the status quo, because they restored estates to the firm control of the ruling classes. (And by the early years of the Restoration, most lands had reverted to their original owners.)

     Parliament itself sought to exploit enemy estates. Timber was appropriated for the use of the navy and for fortifications. Troops were garrisoned on enemy estates and were expected to support themselves from the estates' resources. Garrisoned property could be badly treated, and a lot of timber and deer-stock, for example, became the victim of the appropriations or sheer vandalism of the soldiery.

     Parliament also sought to compensate local communities out of local enemy estates for damage caused by the royalists. The town of Beaminster, for example, was burnt down (apparently accidentally) during its occupation by the King's soldiers. A parliamentary ordinance forthwith provided for 2,000 compensation from a Dorset papist's estate. Taunton, also devastated by the royalists, was compensated from the proceeds of sale of delinquents' estates. Until the battle of Marston Moor (July 1644) royalist control of northern England prevented the parliamentarian south from receiving coal from the Newcastle area. In October 1643 Parliament passed an ordinance permitting suitable wood to be taken for fuel from sequestered, church-hierarchy and royal lands within a sixty-mile radius of London. Priority in supply was to go to the poor. The Staffordshire sequestration committee passed a similar measure. In 1644, when wood was becoming scarce, Parliament extended its legislation to turf.[10]

Types of Exploitation

Enclosure re-seizures, rent strikes, deer-killing

Detailed studies of these topics have already been made. Only summary references will be given here. Before (and after) the Civil War landlords were busily engaged in enclosing commons and wastes for their own commercial purposes, reducing the opportunities of local people for pasture, wood-gathering and so forth on the formerly open land. During the earlier 1640s there was widespread destruction of these enclosures as the commoners re-asserted their traditional rights on these lands. Dr. Morrill found evidence of anti-enclosure rioting in twenty-six English counties in the period 1640-4. But it was apparently those grounds enclosed within living memory which were thrown open. Older enclosures tended to remain untouched. Enclosure re-seizures affected all political categories of landlord, though there may have been a preference for enemy landlords.[11]

     Refusals to pay rent and other dues were also widespread during the Civil War years, and again affected all political categories of landlord. Gardiner estimated the fall in rents in East Anglia as one-seventh in 1645, and in counties affected by the fighting it was proportionately much greater. Much can be attributed to the prevailing economic 'hard times' and high taxation. Landlords were expected to share the burden of tax with their tenants by reducing rent. But it is clear that much was due to a taking advantage of the 'distracted times', the condition of sequestered estates and so forth. Rents began a return to normal after the end of the main War in 1646.[12]

     Let us deal with one example in detail, that of Sir George Middleton's estates at Yealands in Lancashire. Here the rents were not an issue. They were 'old rents', of the kind which had been set in the Middle Ages, and which by now had a very low value. But Sir George's tenants accused him and his father of having driven entry fines for tenements far above the customary levels, and of having been exploitative landlords in other ways. Sir George pointed out the economic value of the tenements, and remonstrated that his family had only levied economically-justifiable fines. It should be noted that prices had risen several times over the last century, and hence that the Middletons were attempting to recoup some of the lost value of their income. Be that as it may, most of his tenants refused to pay the general fine due on the death of Sir George's father in 1640, and any specific entry fines thereafter. Only in 1658 was a compromise reached (see below, 'Fallback'). The tenants also refused to give certain heriots and other dues.[13]

     Deer-killing particularly affected enemy estates. Landlords' deer were a pest which often attacked tenants' crops. Tenants thus seized the opportunity to provide themselves with 'good store of venison' while ridding themselves of a nuisance. Attacks on deer began in the King's forests in 1641 and in 1642 spread to the parks of bishops and other great landowners. In Essex and Suffolk they merged into the popular assaults on the houses of papists and royalists (see below). In some instances the deer were wiped out wholesale.[14]

Timber and wood

Up to now no general national study of popular seizures of timber has been made, although there are a variety of regional notes and writings on the subject. This section will therefore go into the matter in some detail. Theft of timber was always a problem, as it was an asset hard to protect. But it became particularly widespread on enemy estates during and after the Civil War. In 1643 the situation became manifest. The shortage of fuel caused by the cut-off of Newcastle coal, the sheer opportunity presented by the breakdown of firm authority on enemy estates, as well as the destruction wrought to property by the royalists, all contributed to fuel a popular drive to seize landlords' timber and wood. In January 1643 the Bishop of Winchester complained to the House of Lords that various locals had felled and carried off hundreds[15] of timber trees besides much of the underwoods in his chase of Waltham in Hampshire. These actions, he believed, had encouraged others to do the like in other of his manors.[16] In the same month the Lords issued orders against the cutting down of the King's woods in the Forest of Windsor and in West Dereham in Norfolk.[17] Later in the year complaint was heard of wood-felling in royal Waltham Forest (Essex), and the Lords issued an order for the apprehension of soldiers and other 'rude persons' killing the King's deer and cutting timber in Hyde Park.[18] Many people were reported to be felling and destroying the woods in the King's chase in Enfield, Middlesex, and in October the Lords made examples of four men by imprisoning them in the Fleet. These individuals quickly 'repented', induced no doubt by the bad conditions in that prison and their inability to make their living while imprisoned. But the authorities were unable to contain the depredations because of the large number of people involved. In November the local woodward was searching for stolen wood, armed with a Lords order for this purpose, when he was attacked by a group of fifty to sixty locals armed with bills, axes and staves. He was able to name nine of them. One, Robert Pitchley, 'had no other course of living but the stealing and selling of wood'. He had been caught cutting and selling wood from the chase at least forty times. It is worth noting Pitchley's own views: he considered that he had as much right as anyone to take wood from the chase. The Lords arrested Pitchley and one other and committed them to Bridewell, but Pitchley was soon released. Wood-stealing at Enfield continued on a large scale during 1644-6.[19]

     Wood seizures also occurred in royalist-controlled areas. 'Now men are lawless, trees and hedges are carried away without controlment', it was commented in Oxfordshire, probably in 1643 or 1644. On the parliamentarian Earl of Salisbury's estates at Cranborne in Dorset, little rent was received from some coppices from 1643 to 1646, partly for the reason that 'the poorer sort of people carried away what they pleased out of the wood'.[20]

     The parliamentarian ordinance of October 1643 for supply of fuel for the poor was made partly to control the destruction of timber-quality trees which had already occurred. Only suitable wood was to be used for this purpose. But this very legislation was made an excuse for further seizures of timber. The Earl of Desmond complained that, in the same month, he had felled timber in Osterley Park to pay his military taxes. But the poor of Brentford, 'by colour' of this ordinance, had carried most of it off.[21] It was a similar story in Staffordshire. In January 1644 the sequestration committee issued an order allowing the poor of Stafford to help themselves to 'old dotard trees' for firewood from the lands of delinquents and papists. But complaints followed of unauthorized acquisitions of both timber and firewood.[22] When wood was becoming scarce in 1644, Parliament extended its legislation to turf. In 1647 complaint was heard that 'certain idle persons' in Wandsworth were digging more turf than was dug in the 'time of greatest necessity', ruining the common for pasture.[23]

addendum A (significant)

     The authorities, unable to control the depredations, felt compelled hastily to dispose of enemy timber themselves. A parliamentary ordinance of April 1644, for felling timber from Waltham Forest for the use of the navy, stated that some speedy course of action was necessary in the face of the destruction wrought by 'diverse persons who presume to do what they list in these times of distraction'. It forthwith ordered the felling of half the Forest's 600 timber trees. In Kent, the sequestration committee found the wood in Stockwood so 'spoiled by the poor of Canterbury ... that we were forced to sell it, or else it would have been all spoiled'.[24]

     Timber-felling on enemy estates lingered on after the Civil War. In October 1649 the Council of State was informed of the great depredations of timber which continued to be made in the royal Clarendon Park in Wiltshire, as yet unsold, by the poor of Salisbury. The value of timber 'wasted and spoiled' was later estimated at 500. Timber-felling in the Forest of Dean was extensive in the 1640s. Between 1647 and 1650 about 300 people were charged with thefts committed in this decade. Finally, when Lord Protector Cromwell took the Forest over in 1656, he expelled 'near 400 cabins of beggarly persons' who had formerly made their living in this way.[25]

     In conclusion it may be stated that timber-felling was believed by contemporaries to have been very extensive during the Civil War period, and we can regard this belief as to a large extent justified. A great deal, perhaps most, was due to civilian popular acquisitions. A very large proportion of British timber reserves was destroyed in this period. In spite of post-restoration programmes to replant trees, the period stood as a watershed in the progressive deforestation of Britain that had been going on since primitive times.

Estate Takeovers

There are cases where estates were taken over 'wholesale', where individual kinds of appropriation are seen to be components of a more unified whole. We do not know how extensive they were. Only a few such examples are as yet known.

     The Yealands tenants of the royalist Sir George Middleton, who had already refused to pay any dues since the death of his father in 1640, took advantage of the Civil War and the sequestration of his estate to take over the estate. From 1642 the tenants, led by Richard Robinson and John Lindley, had organized legal actions against Sir George, in the Duchy of Lancaster and elsewhere, in pursuit of alleged customary rights. They claimed, amongst other things, maximum customary levels for entry fines for tenements, and the right to take wood from the commons and wastes for their own use. Sir George and his father had always vigorously denied such 'rights'.[26]

     But, in serving as parliamentarian soldiers, the tenantry had the advantage of military force (see below, 'Mansions'). In addition Richard Robinson had the lease of the sequestered estate. After the parliamentarian conquest of the area and sequestration of the estate (in 1643 or 1644), the tenantry were involved in looting Sir George's mansion and removing the estate deeds from it (see below). This was followed by widespread timber-felling and destruction of deer. There was extensive wood-felling on the commons and wastes in 1645-6. Sir George also claimed that they were doing it on his demesne lands, but here he failed to produce much independent testimony. He also stated (in 1650) that his entire stock of deer, 1000 in number, had been destroyed by the tenants. The tenants actually counter-claimed in this case that they had protected the deer from the depredations of the soldiery! The tenants also proceeded to take over farm buildings or demolish them and carry off the materials for their own use, and to seize back tenements they had previously been forced to sell or mortgage to Sir George.[27]

     Richard Robinson and two other tenants had the lease of Sir George's demesne and park under the sequestration. Sir George accused his tenants of 'detaining' certain demesne lands, notably Waitholme and Lower Thornbarrow, from him; 'Waitholme', he complained as late as 1657, 'they keep forcibly from me'.[28]

     The tenants who took over Sir Basil Brooke's estate at Madeley in Shropshire do not appear to have had any sanction from the sequestration committee to do so. Sir Basil was a Catholic who had organized a peace petition in 1643, and in consequence he was excluded from any amnesty. His estate consisted of coal, iron and lime works, as well as about 2,000 acres of land, and it was sequestered in 1645 after the parliamentarian conquest of the locality. Henry Bowdler, the leader of this tenants' combination, briefly exploited the iron works after obtaining them in a private deal with the captain of the local garrison. The works were then leased (in 1646) to the wealthy Stourbridge ironmaster Richard Foley. But more importantly Bowdler, with his fellow tenant John Pallett, gained control of the estate as a whole (he 'made show' of taking the estate, as the sequestration committee depreciatingly put it in 1650). The weighty 'rack rents' were here an issue, unlike the very low 'old rents' on Sir George Middleton's estate. Bowdler and Pallett now took the opportunity to reduce their tenant-allies' rents. In about 1646 Pallett submitted what the sequestration committee subsequently termed a 'false rent roll' to the local collector for sequestrations. Rent reductions appear to have been widespread, not only for the allies of Bowdler and Pallett, some tenants only paying nominal rents. Also, demesne holdings appear to have been acquired, and timber taken. Improved wealth and careers also seem to have been a consequence for some people of this takeover.[29]

     The evidence shows that the bulk of Sir George Middleton's tenantry were united in combination against him.[30] In the case of Sir Basil Brooke's estate, however, the evidence only relates to eight tenants. It arose from the documentation related to the attempt of these eight to lease the estate in 1650. It might be expected, however, that many other tenants would have associated themselves with these men, or at least taken advantage of the situation created by them. We can only speculate in this case.

     On both estates the tenant takeover was led by members of the 'middle-class' yeomanry. Richard Robinson was a former bailiff of Sir George.[31] Henry Bowdler was a yeoman, and John Pallett an under-bailiff (who had originally, however, only been Sir Basil Brooke's shepherd).[32] Such men had the advantage of both education (presumably) and administrative experience. But all social groups benefited. It may be that the wealthiest gained the most. The yeoman Jarvis Watson made something of a business of deer-poaching on Sir George Middleton's estate.[33] But some of the estate's cottagers also benefited by helping themselves to Sir George's timber.[34] Sometimes a person was temporarily able to boost his socio-economic status. John Yate of Madeley seems to be such a case. He appears to have been a 'trowman' (boatman) who became the master collier at one of Sir Basil Brooke's coal pits during the estate's sequestration. Although sacked in 1649, he was still said to be worth 100 in 1650. But by his death twenty years later he had reverted to his former status, and was once again a poor man. Richard Aston may have been another such case. He had been a labourer who had learned to make wheels for the coal wagons; in 1649 he too was sacked, and reverted to his former status.[35]

     A social contrast in an estate takeover was Thomas Ellison, a shepherd and hence a member of the lowest social class. As a reward for his services as a military messenger, he was awarded (in 1644) the lease of a minor gentry estate. He made good profit from his tenure, and was accused of over-exploiting the land. He held on to the estate until the end of the Commonwealth.[36]

     Thomas Walmesley owned estates in southern Lancashire. He was apparently a Protestant, but he died in March 1642, and ownership passed to his son Richard, who was in his minority and under the protection of his mother. The tenants agitated against mother and son with the local sequestrators, calling them papists, and in 1643 they were 'driven out of the shire'. Though never officially sequestered, the estates now became subject to the attentions of the tenantry. Adam Boulton, the Walmesleys' steward, had tried to raise the old rents upon Thomas's death, as they were only a small fraction of the tenements' true worth. But for the next two years the tenants even refused to pay those rents. The tenants also seized back their tithes, saying Boulton's master was a papist and should have none, and threatened Boulton if he came on their tenements. Some tenants cut down the timber on their tenements when their leases were about to run out, there being 'no law to restrain them'.[37]

     When the Sussex committee sequestered Causerne manor in 1650, they found it to be 'in the possession of the under-tenants'. No income was being received from the manor. As late as 1655 the tenants were still refusing to pay any rent and were felling the woods and exploiting the buildings.[38]

     Finally we may mention the case of those dispossessed Northumberland tenants who took advantage of the royalist defeat in northern England to return to their tenements. In the 1620s they had been expelled from the manors of Haltwhistle and Plenmellar for refusing to trade in their 'tenant-rights' (a traditional secure form of landholding) for commercial leases. In 1644 they returned to the manors (now under sequestration) and repossessed their tenements. Here they continued into the 1650s, paying only the very low 'old rent' and ploughing, sowing and cutting timber at their pleasure. These tenants were basically 'middle-class'. Eight of the fourteen could sign their names; two of them, William and Nicholas Ridley, had been payers of the elitist subsidy tax.[39] addendum B


Plunder of manor houses and seizures of deeds

Plunder of manor houses and other dwellings by troops of both sides was widespread in the Civil War. In certain instances the soldiers destroyed or seized deeds and other documents relating to the manor estate. Local tenants were often involved in these latter cases.

     Popular resistance hindered some would-be royalists from joining the King's forces in the run-up to war in the summer of 1642. In the Essex-Suffolk border area this turned into mob attacks on the houses of papists and royalists by unemployed clothworkers. An attempt by Sir John Lucas to join the King provoked a local uprising in which he was seized by the mob, who proceeded to vandalize and loot his house, destroy his estate papers and then level fences and kill deer in his grounds. Sir John, rescued from the people, was sent up a prisoner to London. A similar onslaught was launched against the Essex mansion of the Countess of Rivers. When she fled to her house in Suffolk, she faced another such attack there. Parliament eventually managed to retrieve some of the plate and other valuables which had been looted from her properties. Various other such attacks occurred in this area, including ones on non-puritan church ministers. These popular risings crushed the would-be royalists in East Anglia and helped make the area secure for Parliament. At Bourton in Buckinghamshire, newly-raised parliamentarian volunteers under the command of Lord Brooke vandalized and looted the house of Sir Richard Minshall, who had already joined the King. They destroyed his estate papers and killed or carried off the livestock in his grounds.[40] addendum C

     The parliamentarian troops who plundered Winchester and Peterborough cathedrals in the course of the War also destroyed or carried away the leases pertaining to the cathedrals' lands. In Peterborough, so our royalist source informs us, they did so in order to seize land for themselves.[41]

     There is no evidence of the involvement of local tenants in these two cases. But in 1643 parliamentarian soldiers took Biddulph Hall in Staffordshire, the home of the Catholic-royalist Biddulph family, and subjected it to the usual devastation. In their wake came the local people, who completed the hall's destruction by stripping 'the building of anything worth having, and even burnt the doors to obtain the iron from them'. Here too the soldiers burnt and removed many documents from the mansion.[42] In the same year royalist troops took the parliamentarian Earl of Salisbury's mansion at Cranborne in Dorset. They looted and vandalized it, and were followed by the local tenantry, who 'seized, scattered and destroyed' the manor rolls containing the records of their copyhold tenures. The Earl's local agent later managed to buy some of them back from the villagers.[43] addendum D

     Various threads are pulled together in the case of Sir George Middleton. In 1643 or 1644 his Yealands tenants enlisted as parliamentarian soldiers. Sir George accused them of having done so 'to oppose him and his family under pretence of serving the Parliament', and there seems to have been a good deal of truth in this. In 1643 or 1644 soldiers took Leighton Hall, Sir George's home. Local tenants seem to have been among their ranks. Sir George accused his opposing tenant 'confederacy', led by Richard Robinson, and together with persons unknown to him, of plundering the house of its deeds, papers and court rolls, as well as the moveable property and household fittings. The tenants simply denied these charges. But the testimony of one of the tenants, Jarvis Ireland, in legal proceedings in 1653, throws further light on the matter:

in the late time of wars ... Leighton Hall was broken [into] and plundered by several soldiers and ... the said soldiers took out of the said house so many writings and evidences, in parchment and paper, in a sack as were to the quantity of half a windle [probably about 1 bushels], which the said soldiers carried to the late house of one Richard Robinson and diverse others of the tenants of Yealands. The soldiers wished the tenants to take such writings as concerned them if there were any such and to burn the rest ...
Ireland was a witness to this at Robinson's house.[44]

     John Lindley (the tenant-confederacy's second-in-command) was, according to Sir George, one of the 'invaders' of Leighton Hall. He took the opportunity to seize the deed of sale of his old tenement, which he had been previously forced to sell to Sir George. He then seized back the tenement itself. We know he was a parliamentarian soldier because he subsequently used the arms acquired in that service to hold off Sir George's agents from his lands.[45]

     In the case of Sir George's tenants there is explicit evidence of collaboration between troops and tenants, and it seems that at least some of the troops were members of the tenantry. But here we can see also evidence of a linkage with the larger issue of estate takeovers. Various other re-seizures of tenements and other appropriations followed (see above, 'Estate Takeovers'). Sir George appeared to link these actions to the invasion of Leighton Hall, and he complained that, without his estate papers, he was unable to legally combat many of his tenants' claims on their 'customary rights'.[46] addendum E addendum F


There are also examples of actual occupations of enemy mansions and houses by commoners. In 1643 the Committee for Advance of Money sequestered the Brentford house of Humfrey Noye for non-payment of duties. The following year they leased it to Richard Angell, a barrel-maker. Angell, apparently in tandem with others, took advantage to loot the house. After ten months the committee expelled Angell; the next lessee was a lawyer.[47] addendum G In this case the committee may simply have made an error of judgement. But some officials could take a more radical line. During the sequestration of the royalist Lord Robert Cholmondeley his Cheshire mansion seat was occupied by 'men of low and mean condition', 'people of such a quality as are very unfit to inhabit such a mansion, which they convert to a hogsty and such other unworthy and beastly uses'. They evidently held the mansion by virtue of some kind of lease from a local sequestrations commissioner, Raphe Judson. When Cholmondeley agreed to compound for his estate in the autumn of 1646, the Committee for Compounding in London ordered that the house be returned to his possession. But Judson supported the tenants, demanding that they be allowed to stay until the expiration of their lease. It took several orders from the committee to remove them (the last being made on 5 April 1647).[48] In Somerset, 'Taunton paupers lodged in Hestercombe House in the post-war emergency were still there in April 1649, having defied repeated ejection orders'.[49] We may speculate that the 'paupers' had originally been rehoused in sequestered enemy property after their homes had been destroyed in the royalist devastation of Taunton. addendum H

     The Queen's House in Greenwich was occupied by a large number of families. It had been built by Inigo Jones, and in 1634 one Uriah Babington had been appointed its keeper. In 1642 it was secured by Parliament. As early as 1643 the House of Lords was making an order prohibiting the committing of spoils by soldiers and other persons in Greenwich House and Park.[50] In 1652 the royal estate at Greenwich was put on sale, but because of a dispute with the prospective purchaser Greenwich House itself remained unsold. In 1654 complaints were made about spoils committed by persons lodging there.[51] In January 1655 Uriah Babington was forced out by one William Gunn. According to Babington, Gunn committed 1,000 worth of damage in the subsequent five years in which he controlled the house. Restored in 1659, Babington reported that the house was occupied by nearly eighty families, many of them put there by Gunn, and including about thirty families of 'lewd disorderly people committing wastes and spoils there and [who] refuse to be regulated'.[52] In 1660 the Lords issued orders for the occupiers to leave and for the house to be restored to the Queen Mother (as she now was).[53] But before its restoration it was to suffer continuing indignity. In 1661 it was reported that it was 'employed to entertain rude and debauched persons to drink and revel on Sabbath days'.[54]

     It may be that, under the Protectorship of Oliver Cromwell (1653-8), there was a state policy for housing poor or homeless people in former royal properties. For something similar happened at Windsor Castle, various parts of which were occupied by poor persons under the Protectorate.[55] addendum I


During the Civil War sequestered estates had been let out, often piecemeal, on short-term leases. The result was that the lessees often neglected them, and concentrated rather on exploiting them for quick gains. As stable conditions returned after the War, sequestrators took more care in choosing lessees and in letting estates as a whole for longer-term leases. In 1650 new government regulations stipulated that estates should be let to whoever would pay the highest rent.[56] These considerations, as well as composition and sale, militated against popular exploitation.

     In December 1646 Sir Basil Brooke died, but his son Thomas also being Catholic, the estate at Madeley remained under sequestration. In 1649 the lease of the estate was granted to Edward Cludd, a relative of the Brookes. He proceeded to invest in renovating the estate, which had become much reduced in productive value by the exploitation of the 1640s, and to dispossess the tenants of their appropriations. In 1650 eight of the tenants, under the pressure of Cludd's 'rigid dealing' and 'cruel oppression', attempted to lease the estate themselves, but were unable to compete with the wealth of Cludd. In 1652 Brooke forfeited Madeley for treason against Parliament, and the following year the estate was bought by John Wildman, the former Leveller leader and speculator in such lands. Brooke re-acquired it soon after.[57]

     Sir George Middleton had been captured in Ireland and imprisoned, and after his release in 1647 he began proceedings to compound for his Yealand estates. He also commenced legal action against his tenants in the court of the Duchy of Lancaster. Armed with orders from the court, he set about to re-assert the status quo ante, but was violently resisted by the tenantry. In spite of harassment, they continued to make appropriations of timber and refuse to pay dues.[58] Only in 1658 did landlord and tenants come to a compromise agreement. It was weighted heavily in Sir George's favour. In it both sides agreed to drop all their lawsuits against each other, and in return for a large payment of money from the tenants, it was agreed that entry fines were to be fixed at a compromise level. This was backdated to the death of Sir George's father in 1640, and hence covered all the fines outstanding since that date. After the Restoration (1660) Sir George even tried to go back upon this agreement, but apparently without success. It is not clear if he ever obtained the return of tenements which had been seized back from him in the 1640s.[59]

     The popular gains of the 1640s were not always nullified in the 1650s and after. This can be seen from the instance of Mudford in Somerset. In 1674 complaint was heard that the tenants of the manor were still carrying out 'those innovations' of ploughing and timber-cutting 'that crept in while the late troubles lasted'. Many of the tenants were two years behind in their rents, and some had not paid certain dues for over thirty years. The tenantry, knowing their lord would not sell the land, took no care over estate maintenance, and there were no manor courts to restrain them.[60]


The evidence presented in this essay indicates that popular exploitation was widespread. It does not show how widespread it was. There were probably many estates where popular actions were limited or non-existent. On Lord Cholmondeley's home estate, for example, while his mansion fell into the hands of men of low social status (possibly non-locals) during his sequestration, yet complaints against his manorial tenants over the same period were limited, and not in excess of what might be expected in normal times.[61] This, incidentally, also alerts us to the deterrent effect on tenants of the knowledge that their landlord was going to compound and return to his estate. However, as we have seen, some tenants were not deterred by this knowledge.

     It is difficult to gauge from one particular set of records, for example the papers of the Committee for Compounding, how extensive such gains might have been. The composition papers of Sir George Middleton, for example, contain virtually no indication of the popular upheaval that was taking place against his landlordship. In these papers Sir George merely complains of having received no fines or other worthwhile incomes from his tenants over the period 1642-52, without discussing the reasons for it.[62] This is presumably because he preferred to take his complaints to the court of the Duchy of Lancaster, in whose records we find extensive information on these matters. And, of course, the relevant class of records needs to have survived in the first place. (The survival of family archives is a particularly chancy business). Depositions are an excellent source. They provide extensive information on the Middleton case, and are virtually our only source of knowledge for the Madeley tenants and for Ellison's treatment of the Hixon estate. But they survive in relatively few instances.

     A second question is, what proportion of 'specific' actions (such as timber-felling) were in fact part of more general, co-ordinated movements within a given locality? I.e., how extensive were 'wholesale' estate takeovers? So far we have concrete evidence of only a few cases. Much more research needs to be carried out.

1. 'If we take not advantage of the time, we shall never have the opportunity again' said Essex enclosure rioters in 1643. In the same year the Derbyshire lead miners were 'giving out in speeches that there is no law, and they will sink and work grooves and pits' on the Earl of Rutland's estate. Lords Journal [hereafter LJ], v.21; House of Lords Record Office, main papers [hereafter Lords MSS], 20 Feb. 1642/3, Earl of Rutland's petn.

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2. The royalist government destroyed its own sequestration records. We must rely on information surviving in family archives and other sources.

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3. Brian Manning, The English People and the English Revolution (Penguin edn., 1978) [hereafter 'Manning'], pp.153-4, referring in this instance to enclosure riots.

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4. LJ, v.341; Historical Manuscripts Commission [hereafter HMC], Portland MSS., i.75; cf. Commons Journal, ii.870.

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5. C.H. Firth and R.S. Rait, ed., Acts and Ordinances of the Civil War and Interregnum, (3 vols., London, 1911) [hereafter 'Firth and Rait'], i.60, 84-5, 106-7, 254-60, 299-303; J.S. Morrill, ed., Reactions to the English Civil War 1642 - 1649 (London, 1982), p.93.

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6. David Underdown, Pride's Purge: Politics in the Puritan Revolution (Oxford, 1971), pp.29-36; cf. J. S. Morrill, The Revolt of the Provinces (Longman edn., 1980), p.119.

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7. J.S. Morrill, Cheshire 1630 - 1660: County Government and Society During the English Revolution (Oxford, 1974), pp.86-8.

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8. John Broad, 'Gentry Finances and the Civil War: The Case of the Buckinghamshire Verneys', Ec HR, 2nd ser., xxxii, no. 2 (May 1979), p.184.

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9. Christopher Hill, Puritanism and Revolution (London, 1958), pp.158-63.

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10. A.R. Bayley, The Great Civil War in Dorset (Taunton, 1910), pp.135-6; David Underdown, Somerset in the Civil War and Interregnum (Newton Abbot, 1973), pp.94-5, 159; Firth and Rait, i.303-5, 481-3; D.H. Pennington and I.A. Roots, ed., The Committee at Stafford 1643 - 1645 (Manchester, 1957), pp.xliv, 28.

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11. Manning, pp.202-7; Keith Lindley, Fenland Riots and the English Revolution (London, 1982); Buchanan Sharp, In Contempt of All Authority: Rural Artisans and Riot in the West of England, 1586-1660 (Berkeley, USA, 1980), pp.218-55; J.S. Morrill, The Revolt of the Provinces (London, Longman edn., 1980), p.34; David Underdown, Revel, Riot and Rebellion (Oxford, 1985), p.161.

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12. Manning, pp.212-15; S.R. Gardiner, The History of the Great Civil War 1642-1649, (3 vols., London, 1891), iii.5-6.

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13. Public Record Office [hereafter PRO], DL 1/370, bill of complaint of Rich. Robinson et al, 20 May 1642; DL 1/377, answer of Geo. Middleton, 1648; DL 1/382, bill of complaint of Geo. Middleton, 11 Feb. 1649/50. See also J Rawlinson Ford, 'The Customary Tenant-Right of the Manors of Yealand', Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, new series, ix (1909), pp.147-60. [See 'Sir George Middleton of Leighton and his Tenants in the Civil War Period' on this website.] From the beginning of the sixteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth, agricultural prices rose nearly six-and-a-half times, and industrial prices three times. Joan Thirsk, ed., The Agrarian History of England and Wales, iv (Cambridge, 1967), pp.594-5.

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14. Manning, pp.207-12.

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15. The MS says here 'many 100'. The phrase 'many hundred' can perhaps best be interpreted in modern English as 'many, being hundreds'.

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16. Lords MSS., 20 Jan. 1642/3, petn. of Walter, Bishop of Winchester, and two annexes; LJ, v.563.

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17. LJ, v.563; LJ, vi.111. Back to text

18. Lords MSS., 14 July 1643, affidavit of John Bets; LJ, vi.132; HMC, Fifth Report, p.102b.

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19. David Pam, The Story of Enfield Chase (Enfield, 1984), pp.17, 63-5; HMC, Fifth Report, pp.109a, 116a; LJ, vi.235, 244, 254, 306, 328, 328-9, 364.

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20. Underdown, Revel, Riot and Rebellion, p.159; Lawrence Stone, Family and Fortune (Oxford, 1973), p.149.

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21. HMC, Fifth Report, p.111b; LJ, vi.273. Back to text

22. Pennington and Roots, ed., The Committee at Stafford 1643 - 1645, pp.29, 181, 248, 299.

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23. HMC, Sixth Report, p.185a. Back to text

24. Firth and Rait, i.422-3; Alan Everitt, The Community of Kent and the Great Rebellion 1640-60 (Leicester, 1966), p.172.

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25. Ian Gentles, 'The Management of Crown Lands, 1649-60', Agr. Hist. Rev., xix (1971), part 1, p.29; G.F. Hammersley, 'The History of the Iron Industry in the Forest of Dean Region 1562 - 1660', (Univ. of London Ph.D. thesis, 1972), pp.216-18; Hill, Puritanism and Revolution, pp.190-91.

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26. Lancashire Record Office [hereafter 'Lancs. RO'], DDTo H/2, bill of complaint of Tho. Middleton to Duchy of Lancaster, '1616'; DDTo O/(1), box 2, 'Remembrances', 23 Jan. 1649/50; ibid., 'Remembrances for my Arbitrators ...', 26 Sept. 1657 (erroneously endorsed 'Mr Rawlinsons Abridgement ...'), fo. 1 a and b; PRO, DL 1/265, answer of Robt. Watson et al, Hillary 1615/16; DL 1/267, replication of Tho. Middleton, 31 May 1616; DL 1/370, bill of complaint of Rich. Robinson et al, 20 May 1642. [See 'Sir George Middleton of Leighton and his Tenants in the Civil War Period' on this website.]

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27. DL 1/382, bill of complaint of Geo. Middleton, 11 Feb. 1649/50; DL 1/383, answer of Rich. Robinson et al, 20 May 1650; DL 4/103/22, 'prosecution' and 'defence' interrogatories and depositions in the case of Geo. Middleton v. Jarvis Watson et al, 17 May 1653, passim; 'Remembrances for my Arbitrators', fo. 2a. [See 'Sir George Middleton of Leighton and his Tenants in the Civil War Period'.]

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28. DL 4/103/22, 'defence' interrs. and deps., dep. of Robt. Backhouse on 44th. and 45th. interrs.; ibid, 'prosec.' interr. no. 19; 'Remembrances for my Arbitrators', fos. 1a, 2a.
[See 'Sir George Middleton ...'.]

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29. Christopher O'Riordan, 'Sequestration and Social Upheaval: Madeley, Shropshire, and the English Revolution', West Midlands Studies, xviii (1985) pp.21-31 [hereafter 'O'Riordan, 'Sequestration' '].

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30. A comparison of the names of the opposing tenants given by Sir George in Feb. 1649/50 with the Yealands court roll for Nov. 1651 shows that, for the manors of Yealand, almost all the tenantry was involved. DL 1/382, bill of complaint of Geo. Middleton; Lancs. RO, DDTo H/9, Yealands court roll for Nov. 1651.
[See 'Sir George Middleton ...'.]

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31. PRO, DL 1/377, answer of Geo. Middleton. Back to text

32. O'Riordan, 'Sequestration', pp.23, 26, 28. Back to text

33. PRO, DL 4/103/22, 'prosec.' interrs. and deps., deps. of Eliz. Parkinson and Margaret Ward on 3rd and 16th interrs.

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34. PRO, DL 9/10 (affidavits, etc, 1639-53), summary of proceedings against Robt. Browne and Tho. Clerkson, 1642 - 1650/1; DL 4/101/25/1650, interrs. and deps. in the case of Geo. Middleton v. Browne, Clerkson and Robt. Lawrence.

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35. O'Riordan, 'Sequestration', pp.24, 26, 28. Back to text

36. Christopher O'Riordan, 'Thomas Ellison, the Hixon Estate and the Civil War', Durham County Local History Society, Bulletin, xxxix (Dec. 1987), pp.3-11.

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37. Kathleen Broderick, 'The Impact of the First Civil War on the Township of Rishton', Lancashire Local Historian, [no. 2], 1984, pp.2-8; Lancs. RO, DDPt 46/1, Judge Walmsley's Commonplace Book, fos. 105-9.

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38. PRO, SP 23/122, p.457; /15, fo. 134a; /27, p.336. See Mary Anne Everett Green, ed., Calendar of the Proceedings of the Committee for Compounding With Delinquents (5 parts, 1888-93) [hereafter CCC], ii.1622.

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39. CCC, iv.2671, 2673-4; SP 23/112, p.849; PRO, E 179/158/88, Northumberland subsidy roll, temp. James I, 'Harwissell' parish. See also S.J. Watts, 'Tenant-Right in Early Seventeenth-Century Northumberland', Northern History, vi (1971), pp.64-87.

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40. Manning, English People, pp.181-202, especially pp.189-96; [Bruno Ryves], Mercurius Rusticus (1646), pp.31-4.

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41. Mercurius Rusticus, pp.207-13; [Bruno Ryves], Querela Cantabrigiensis (1646), pp.33-4.

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42. Joseph Kennedy, ed., Biddulph ('by the Diggings'): A Local History, (Keele, 1980), pp.37-42. The author's comment (p.41) that the local people were taking revenge on their (royalist) landlord because of their treatment by the parliamentarian troops who had been quartered on them, does not make sense. It would be fairer to say that they were taking advantage of the nearest easy target.

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43. Stone, Family and Fortune, pp.148-9. Back to text

44. PRO, DL 1/383, answer of Rich. Robinson et al, 20 May 1650; DL 1/383, replication of Geo. Middleton, 6 July 1650; DL 1/382, bill of complaint of Geo. Middleton, 11 Feb. 1649/50; DL 4/103/22, 'prosec.' interrs. and deps., dep. of Jarvis Ireland on 16th. interr.
[See 'Sir George Middleton of Leighton and his Tenants in the Civil War Period'.]

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45. PRO, PL 6/23, no. 186, bill of complaint of Geo. Middleton against Jenett and Tho. Lindley, 6 May 1663; DL 1/383, answer of Rich. Robinson et al, 20 May 1650. [See 'Sir George Middleton ...'.]

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46. PRO, DL 1/382, bill of complaint of Geo. Middleton, 11 Feb. 1649/50. [See 'Sir George Middleton ...'.]

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47. Christopher O'Riordan, 'The Story of A Gentleman's House in the English Revolution', Trans. London and Middx. Archl. Soc., xxxviii (1987), pp.165-7.

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48. PRO, SP 23/3, p.364; /4, fo. 63 (cf. fos. 45b, 48a). See Christopher O'Riordan, 'Civil War Squatters in the Middlewich House of Correction', Cheshire History, xviii (autumn 1986), p.23.

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49. Underdown, Somerset in the Civil War and Interregnum, pp.155-6.

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50. LJ, vi.135, 18 July 1643. Back to text

51. Calendar of State Papers Domestic 1653-4, p.391; ibid., 1654, p.373.

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52. Lords MSS, petn. of Babington, 2 May 1660. See HMC, Seventh Report, p.79b.

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53. LJ, xi.12; Commons Journal, viii.73. Back to text

54. PRO, SP 29/40, petn. of Zachary Plott to the King. Back to text

55. A.L. Rowse, Windsor Castle in the History of the Nation (London, 1974), p.86.

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56. CCC, i.167. Back to text

57. O'Riordan, 'Sequestration', pp.23-5. Back to text

58. CCC, iii.1783; DL 1/382, bill of complaint of Geo. Middleton, 11 Feb. 1649/50; DL 1/382, answer of Rich. Robinson et al, 20 May 1650; DL 4/103/22, 'prosec.' interrs. and deps., dep. of John Rigmaiden on 18th interr.; DL 9/10, summary of proceedings against Robt. Browne and Tho. Clerkson, 1642-1650/1; DL 4/101/25/1650, interrs. and deps. in the case of Geo. Middleton v. Browne, Clerkson and Robt. Lawrence; Lancs. RO, DDTo O/(1), box 2, 'Remembrances for my Arbitrators', 26 Sept. 1657 (erroneously endorsed 'Mr Rawlinsons Abridgement ...'), fo. 1b.

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59. PRO, PL 6/22, nos. 31 and 32, bills of complaint of Geo. Middleton and his tenants against each other (see Rawlinson Ford, p.147); PL 6/23, no. 186, bill of complaint of Geo. Middleton, 6 May 1663; PL 7/40, no. 48, answer of Jenett and Tho. Lindley, 28 Aug.; PL 8/6, replication of Geo. Middleton, 26 Sept. The case between Sir George and the Lindleys, over John's re-seizure of his tenement in the Civil War, was still going on in 1671, being now an 'action of 100'. DL 5/38, fo. 371a.

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60. Cheshire Record Office, DCH/L/49, letter from John Sampson at Mudford, 25 Feb. 1673/4.

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61. Cheshire Record Office, DCH/A/488/4, list of fines on Cholmondeley manor tenants, 6 Apr. 1647.

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62. PRO, SP 23/105, p.619. Back to text

ADDENDA (April 2001):

A. It seems possible that by the mid 1640s people, perhaps under pressure from wood shortages on enemy estates, were extending their appropriations to non-enemy lands. 'During the winters of 1644-5 and 1645-6 poor people made regular forays into James Maxwell's Guildford park to cut down trees and carry away the wood, "for they wanted wood and would have it, as long as it was to be had, either in his parke or elsewhere".' Maxwell was 'Black Rod', the usher of the House of Lords. {John Gurney, 'Gerard Winstanley and the Diggers Movement in Walton and Cobham', Historical Journal, xxxvii [1994], p.800; Lords MSS, 2 June 1646, petition of James Maxwell and annexed affidavit [see Hist. MSS Comm., Sixth Report, p.119b].} The moderate parliamentarian Bulstode Whitelocke complained of the extensive depredations of parliamentarian soldiers and 'ill neighbours' on some of his woods in Nov. 1644 {Ruth Spalding, The Diary of Bulstrode Whitelocke 1605 - 1675 [Oxford University Press, 1990], pp.159, 160}. Cf. also the plundering of the castle of the (moderate?) parliamentarian Lord Berkeley by soldiers and local people in 1646 {see below, addendum D}.
(Addendum corrected July 2001.)

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B. The tenants of the sequestered royalist Curwens in Calder (Cumberland) took advantage of the plundering of the Curwens' estate papers in the War to reassert their tenant-rights, and refused to pay any fines or carry out 'duties'. The tenants said they had never consented to arbitrary fines or 'border duties'. {PRO, C 5/419/159.}

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C. Cf. the militia attacks on the estates of the Catholic Petre family throughout Essex, Aug. - Sept. 1642 {John Walter, Understanding Popular Violence in the English Revolution: The Colchester Plunderers [Cambridge, 1999], pp.48 f}. An example of a popular attack can be found somewhat further afield:- 'In 1642, the house of the Clerk of the Peace for Northampton was attacked by rioters: he was thought to have used his position to favour royalists. The mob not only seized him, they took away the Commission of the Peace and Sessions Rolls and most of the household stuff, leaving, it is said, "one sheet for his wife and five children". The unfortunate Clerk was taken to London where he remained imprisoned for nearly a year.' {Bertram Osborne, Justices of the Peace 1361 - 1848 [Sedgehill Press, Shaftsbury, Dorset, 1960], p.107. Unfortunately Osborne doesn't give his source reference.}

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D. In 1646 parliamentarian soldiers and local people, under pretext of rendering Berkeley Castle (Gloucestershire) unusable by enemies, were plundering and destroying it, taking the leads off the roof, the glass and iron bars from the windows, the gates and doors, and the boards and wainscotting (panel work). The 'evidence house' had been broken into by soldiers and 'near 700' deeds and papers taken away and several hundred more 'cast into the wet and dirt', some being discarded merely to gain the boxes, bags and silk strings with which they were bound. Lord Berkeley was, broadly speaking, a parliamentarian in the main Civil War of 1642-46. The House of Lords said in 1646 that he had 'constantly adhered to the Parliament', and had sustained 'very great Losses' due to the royalists as a result (and his estates in northern England had been sequestered by the royalists). {Lords MSS, 2 Oct. 1646, petn. of George Lord Berkeley [see Hist. MSS Comm., Sixth Report, p.136a]; LJ, viii.507, Lords' order against pillaging and for restoration of the goods [same date]; Berkeley Castle MSS, 24 Oct. 1646, draft letter by John Smyth, Lord Berkeley's steward, giving more details of the pillage [microfilm is in Gloucs. R. O.; see Hist. MSS Comm., Sixth Report, p.356a].}

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E. Likewise, the plundering of the Curwens' deeds {above, addendum B} rendered them 'utterly remedyless' within the common law to reassert their arbitrary fines over their tenants {PRO, C 5/419/159}.

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F. Information by Dr Gurney on timber-stealing troops in Windsor Forest in the mid 1640s throws some more light on the question of the local interests and enforcing powers of troops. 'Soldiers from the garrison at Windsor were responsible for the greatest amount of tree-felling in the forest. Although some of this was done on the orders of their commanders, many of the trees seem to have been cut down without any authority. This was not a case of soldiers appearing as outsiders, creating disharmony in a local community. Many of these soldiers were locals, and some were known as wood stealers before they joined the garrison forces. As soldiers in the parliamentary forces [they] could enter the forest armed and without fear of the forest officers. ... Much of the wood they felled ended up in the hands of brewers and other tradesmen in neighbouring towns. The soldiers were joined in this trade in wood by other locals; they were described as people "who doe little other worke or labour but steale wood". {John Gurney, 'The County of Surrey and the English Revolution', University of Sussex D. Phil. thesis, Jan. 1991 pp.240-1; his ref. for the above is PRO, E 178/6049.}

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G. The Committee also sequestered the London house of Sir Richard Young for failure to pay his levies. They leased it to Bartholomew Edwards, the senior weigh-house porter in the Grocers' Company, who was also an assessor on the Committee. The house was valued at 200, and Edwards held it on a seven-year lease from the Committee for 10 per year rent. Edwards died in about 1646, but his son continued to live in the house. In 1648 the Committee, considering that the father's lease 'was only for his dwelling therein', ordered the son to hand it over to Young, who had come to an agreement with them. See 'Self-determination and the London Transport Workers'.

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H. The Committee for Advance of Money placed 'poor' people, who had lost their homes as a result of the war, in sequestered London royalists' houses, apparently rent-free. About twelve families were settled in Judge Foster's house in Whitecross Street in 1644-45. Although the house was on two occasions assigned to leading figures in the parliamentarian military, these orders were quickly over-ridden. On the second occasion (in May 1645) the house was assigned as a dwelling for Colonel John Venn, and the 'poor people in it [were] to be placed in some other convenient house'; but nine days later the order was revoked, 'there being 12 plundered families in the house who cannot be removed'. They were finally evicted only in Sept. 1646. Similarly, numbers of people, plundered or on recommendation, were placed in Henry Darrell's house during 1645-47. In March 1648, the house having now been assigned to one Farmer, they were ordered to leave. {Calendar of the Proceedings of the Committee for Advance of Money, 1642 - 1656 ..., ed. Mary Anne Everitt Greene [3 parts, 1888], introduction and pp.183, 383-4.} Other war dispossessed occupied cathedral properties in Exeter and Chichester {Stephen Porter, Destruction in the English Civil Wars [Dover, New Hampshire, 1994], p.100}. A survey of Lichfield Cathedral Close in 1660 recorded over one hundred squatters who had 'possessed themselves intrusively of the [cathedral] church and other houses within the Close ... since the late unhappy war ended there' {Nigel J. Tringham, 'Two Seventeenth-century Surveys of Lichfield Cathedral Close', South Staffs. Archaeological and Historical Soc., Transactions, xxv [1983-4], pp.35-49; the quotation is on p.47}.

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I. Cf. House of Commons order, 7 Aug. 1660, for the expulsion of the poor women and children from Windsor Castle {CJ, viii.112}. These were the wives, widows and children of Parliamentarian soldiers crippled or killed in the war. Some of them may have originally been placed there in the 1640s. {R. South, Royal Castle, Rebel Town: Puritan Windsor in Civil War and Commonwealth [Barracuda, Bucks, 1981], pp.60, 74-6; cf. CJ, v.421.}

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