66. For Mr Richard Hutton, 31 March 1718.
This day I was informed that the children under your care have not a
sufficient allowance of food to fill their bellies . . . I am sorry that such a
report should be raised among your people for I did think you always took
the best of care amongst your poor. Children are hungry and growing and
require more food, but hungry bellies and cold water betwixt meals do
not agree, and raising them at five a clock in . . . the morning and making
them work without their clothes is very hard for children to bear. If the
allowance is too little there ought to be complaint made to the committee.
I know none of the committee or else I would lay it before them. I have
the care of a great many children myself and my comfort is I discharge a
good conscience to them. I desire you to look into those things for fear
there should come a sickness among them.
67. [p. 64] Loving friend, Thorncoomb 25 April 1718.
I received thine of the 19th instant, which brought us very unwelcome
news concerning the trouble my son and daughter are involved in. The
grief it hath occasioned amongst us is scarce to be expressed. My son
concealed it from us when in the country so that it was the greater
surprise. The sorrowful tidings which we had not long ago, filled us with
. . . grief, but this exceeds it, her death (I mean my daughter Mary) being
what we are liable to sooner or later. But, that my son should be so unkind
to a sister that ever had too great respect for him as to ruin herself, is hard
to be borne. I did, according to thy desire (though unwilling, being sure of
a flat denial), show thy letter to their uncles who are worth a great deal as
is supposed, and no child, the younger no wife. I was with them and my
wife also, which is their own sister, but all in vain, my son, they reflect
upon for former miscarriages and blame him for this also (i.e.) for
bringing his sister into trouble. She they seem to pity and that's all the
assistance they will afford whatever the event be. I am sorry I can send
thee no better answer. For my part I am not able to do anything in it. If I
were I should readily do it. Tell my daughter Elizabeth we are all pretty
well, only we are troubled to think of the calamity [that] may come on
them. Give the remembrance of our kind love to yours, also with my kind
love to self, I rest.
Thy loving friend,
68. [p. 65] Some observations &c.
It may be observed that in the first ten years of this house's settlement
the improvement of the stock and income from the monthly meetings
were not sufficient to defray the expense of the house by £1200, which is
£120 per year, and about 17 children were put out apprentices within that
time, whereby the principal stock became lessened from year to year to
the discouragement of benefactors. Which, with the many lessening
reports spread abroad in reference to the orders, diet, work &c, has
generally hindered its improvement. It may also be observed that as the
stock was lessened £120 a year from year to year as aforesaid, so for this 5
or 6 last year past the stock is almost £2000 advanced and 42 put out in that
time. Also the income on such a settlement as to amount unto about £100
a year more than the ordinary expense and legacies frequently happening, doth advance the stock yet more. And though there are not so many
ancient friends as formerly to live on this plentiful provision, experience
showing they are more content with a little managed after their own
inclinations and in private & provided by themselves than greater plenty
which may come more nearly under the observations of a family, yet the
house is better filled with children to whom it is an extraordinary
advantage. But, the number of children not increasing this 4 or 5 years
last past is the occasion of this memorandum. For we find their sober
education and habit of industry renders them more acceptable to masters
than children who have not such advantage. So that often times there are
more children sought after for apprentices than are in the house of
bigness to put out. We suppose the reason why children are so slowly sent
in is because so many false reports are carried about and received tending
to the discouragement of poor friends who might willingly place their
children here were they sensible how naturally children are contented to
be doing what they see all their fellows employed about (as experience
doth daily show). Such parents conclude the orders of the house are not
indulgent enough and thereby prevent their children's education and
themselves the advantage of having their [p. 66] children maintained at so
low a price as 12d. per week. There has lately been many false stories
spread abroad to the defaming of the house and those who have the care
thereof and hurt of the children already here, to whom such reports have
been privately brought. Which to prevent for the future we see no way at
present . . . unless . . . a minute . . . from the committee be . . . directed
to each monthly meeting requesting such reports may be discouraged so
often as they are related. And also that at the taking children into the
house the parents have both orders and bill of fare read to them and
report thereof made to the committee before such child be admitted into
the house and that no child be taken in who is not willing or cannot
comply with both orders and bill of fare.
69. Note: the countenances of the children show they have no want of
victuals and their work is no more than what they may finish . . . against
dinner time (which several of them doth an hour or two sooner than
dinner), having the afternoon for learning and play.
70. The director of the orphan house at Halle in Germany, without any
stock (or knowledge of any), built an house and since much enlarged it,
wherein are maintained [blank] persons; begun in the year 1696.
71. This house having been regulated by much industry . . . of the most
noted amongst friends (as appears by the first minute book), having £1888
subscribed towards it, . . . after 17 years continuance hath 75 persons
maintained in it (including steward & servant). May 1718.
72. [p. 67] Memorandum from 1712 &c.
About seven years since there were several helpful hands in the house
who were taken from their work they were then employed in, that the
able amongst them should have better opportunity to attend the aged,
sick and weak. But notwithstanding this, still complaints were carried out
of the house that the poor were oppressed, the aged and sick wanted due
tendance. Which complaints were a disadvantage to the house in discouraging friends from coming in who might have been helpful and likewise
thankful for so comfortable a provision . . . About this time there was in
the house about 22 [boys] & 4 girls and the looking after the children's
linen and woollen clothes, washing their chambers, making their beds,
combing the children's heads &c; had been and then were done by two of
the ancient women who then were able and now by reason of age and
weakness are grown incapable.
And now we have in the house about 28 [boys] and 17 girls, 11 men and
11 women. Two of them, a man and the other a woman, are lame and use
crutches, and another woman friend is blind. The rest are mostly aged
and weak, of whom several have kept their beds pretty much this last
winter and three of the women friends who are usually sent into the house
now are not of ability to be nurses as formerly they were. And our
children are generally now small and several of them have been sickly and
weak most part of last winter. One girl in particular was ill near six
months, who had been sorely afflicted with convulsion fits to such a
degree as has made her incapable of walking but by use of crutches; and
she had a fire in her chamber constantly for several weeks and one to sit
up or to be with her in her chamber all the time, the fits being often upon
her and suddenly taken.
In the year 1714 the committee gave leave by minute to hire a nurse into
the house as occasion required. But upon enquiry found a nurse could not
be had under 4s. per week & victuals and that if 5 or 6 of the family should
be unwell at the same time a nurse would scarcely be willing to tend the
sick in several places in the house, especially [p. 68] when they sit up all
night. And if we have not suitable assistants who may be helpful from one
place to another in the house as occasion requires, the sick & aged cannot
have that due tendance they ought to have. These things, with how little
work nurses do in the house and some of them wasteful withal, being
considered made us very unwilling to take a nurse in the house. But in
winter season it has been very hard for my wife and the servants,
especially the servant maid who spent most of her time in that service and
tending the children . . .
She has lately left this place alleging the hardness of her service here
had impaired her health. She was a very good servant and would willingly
have stayed with us, but could not go through the business. She used to
mend the children's woollen clothes, which are generally but very
ordinary and if they were put out to mend would cost more than they are
worth and might make the monthly meetings very uneasy. She makes
their beds and cleans their rooms, takes in and gives out their woollen and
linen clothes, combs their heads, and dresses their sore hands and feet in
the winter season, having many of them sores, which business alone takes
several hours every day as may reasonably . . . be supposed where there
are so many small children and 17 or 18 of them are girls, who are more
trouble than boys. Which with the weak and aged and when sickness,
lameness happens in the family we find pretty much uneasiness, the sick
and weak complaining for want of tendance on the one hand and the
servants, not being able to do the business, complain on the other hand,
so that we find a real necessity for another maid servant, which my wife
can better make appear to any of the committee who will please to inspect
into the business of each servant . . . [than] I can demonstrate in writing.
And it being expected my wife should see the provision &c orderly
managed and seasonably distributed with frugality towards the house and
a sufficiency towards the poor, and also to see the aged and weak have no
just cause to complain for assistance, these particulars cannot be
answered with ease to the family's satisfaction, to the helpless, and we
who have the direction of the affairs under you, without the assistance
73. [p. 69] Memorandum about brewing &c.
In the first place let all the brewing vessels be well cleaned & seasoned
two or three days before brewing. Seasoning them is letting cold water
stand in them two or three days.
Then fill the copper with water and light a fire under it 2 or 3 hours
before the casks are begun to be washed (remembering to have them
brought out of the cellar into the brewhouse in season, that no time may
be lost while the fire is burning). Wash the casks once with cold water,
hardly blood warm and twice more with hot water.
Before the casks are fully done let the upper back be well washed with
hot liquor that it may be full by that time the casks & copper [are] washed.
Then let the mash tun and false bottom be washed, also the under back,
coolers and the working tun.
By that time the vessels are cleaned, have a copper of clean liquor full
up to the second curb.
Let the liquor, when whole, be put into the mash tun & stand there till
the steam of it be mostly gone. Then put in all the malt and keep stirring it
with the mashing staff. Then cover it close with a cloth and let it stand
three hours upon the malt. Then let the wort be speedily let down into the
under back; from thence pumped into the upper back.
Then, having a copper of liquor full to the first curb made as hot as thou
can (if this liquor with second following copper liquor should boil it is not
damaged) put it on the malt and let it stay on two hours, if more no harm.
Immediately after the second liquor is out of the copper put in the first
wort to boil it two hours. Boil the hops according to the season of the
Then let it down into the under back and then pump it into the new
upper cooler directly. And in summer let it stand or stay there till it is
cold, but in winter let it be not quite cold.
Then let it into the little working tun and take half a part full and put to
all the yeast, and when it hath worked and been beat down pretty well let
half of it be put to the ale, the rest reserved for the small beer. Mind to
beat the ale up well in the working and let it work in the tun till it becomes
a little sharp in taste, then barrel it up.
[p. 70] After the second wort is drawn off the malt, boil it two hours and
then convey it into the coolers. Let it be there till it's near cold. Then let it
be put into the great working tun before it's too cold lest it should not
work, and set it to working as soon as it's in the tun. So do a third and
While the fourth wort is boiling let the upper back be full of liquor to be
made hot to wash the vessels as before brewing.
Mind to pour three or four pails full of hot liquor down the leaden pipe
lest it chill the beer before it comes to the barrel, and remember to stop it
close after it has done working.
Let the cistern and long trough that carries the drink into the beer cellar
be washed clean before the drink is tunned up and after it's tunned up.
74. Memorandum, 30 July 1718.
The monthly meetings seem . . . now inclinable to send friends into the
house, such who are mostly aged and attended with such weakness as
immediately want fire in their chambers and constant attendance therein,
which is contrary to the direction of the quarterly meeting . . . If such as
aforesaid be admitted (unless with due consideration) this may prove the
consequence: either the house run to a very great charge for nurses (who
heretofore were sent by the monthly meetings) or the poor, aged & sick
want due attendance and also bring a bad report upon the house.
We suppose if an infirmary were made for the sick and weak friends
one nurse would be able to attend 5 or 6 friends, having them together in
one room, with more ease & better than 2 or 3 that are sick in separate
And if we had a sick ward and an order made by the committee that no
nursing or separate diet should be allowed in the family, only to such as
are removed into the sick ward, it may prevent craving disorderly persons
who have resolutely kept their rooms contrary to the orders of the
committee, also telling us they are not able to come down, neither [p. 71]
eat the diet of the house, saying if we will not send up their victuals we
may let them starve there, it will lay at our door, when at the same time it
seems plain to us their stomachs were good and they were as able to come
down as some that attended them. Some such persons as those we are
seldom without, and if such were sensible they must leave their rooms and
go into the sick ward, it might be a means to bring them willingly down to
their victuals while able. We observe such as aforesaid loves to be by
themselves, not being sociable in conversation.
75. A copy of Richard Richardson's letter to the . . . committee, not to
be opened till after his decease. 17 December 1717, as followeth:
Whereas in my last will and testament bearing even date with this writing
I have given two of my houses in Thames Street to Richard Partridge and
Richard Hutton, it is my intent the rents of them shall be paid to the
committee of the workhouse for the use and benefit of the poor.
Although in my will I say for Richard Partridge and Richard Hutton to
dispose of as they shall see meet . . . it's my mind and intent that my
daughter shall have her maintenance at the workhouse and table with the
steward and his wife & such good accommodations as shall be meet
during her life for the rent of the said two houses. But if my daughter's
husband should refuse to let her live there, then it's my mind and intent
that the committee of the workhouse shall, out of what they receive of the
rents of my houses, pay into my daughter's own hands any sum not
exceeding eight pounds per year towards her clothing.
In witness of all herein that it's my true intent and mind, I set my hand
and affix my seal this 17 December 1717.
76. And further above.
[p. 72] The lease of all my houses in Thames Street is from the Dean and
Canon of Windsor and pays £4 10s. the year and there is about 30 years to
come . . . When there is but 6 or 7 to come it may be good time to renew,
which I desire my executors or heirs to do without putting the committee
to any charges . . .
77. The stow grate in William Townsend's room cost:
For 100 and 7 bricks at 2s. per hundred, 2s. 3d.
For six hods of mortar at 6d., 3s.
For one hod of coarse lime and hair, 8d.
For bricklayer's and labourers' work, 2s.
Per fine stuffs & working it, 4s.
Per one large iron stow grate, [blank]
78. A copy of a clause in Richard Richardson's will, 17 December 1717.
Item, I give and bequeath unto Richard Hutton and Richard Partridge
all those my two messuages and tenements with their and every of their
appurtenances situate and being in Thames Street, London, in several
occupations of the Widow Steward and Thomas Hutchins, and all my
right, title and interest in them or either of them for all the rest, residue
and remainder of the several terms of years and time that at the time of
my death shall be to come and unexpired, for them to dispose of as they
shall think fit, freed and discharged of and from all ground rent that may
be due or payable for the said two messuages. Which said ground rent: I
order and appoint shall be paid out of the rents and profits of my four
other messuages in Thames Street hereafter mentioned.
79. [p. 73: four lines of text from 74 have been copied in this place and
then crossed out.]
80. [p. 74] Memorandum, 3 November 1718, at night.
Before William Townsend came to dwell here he was several times at
the house and ate of the provision, heard the orders and the bill of fare
read and expressed his satisfaction with them. Also consented to them
before the committee. But not long after he was admitted he began to be
uneasy, for there being an ancient man that lay very weak near William
Townsend's room he said, to let friends assist one another in case of
weakness &c is great cruelty, and the meetings ought to send attendance
in or pay them of the family who do it.
Being once denied some ale for a particular and a sufficient reason he
said, it was great cruelty in my wife in denying them it, although they have
had ale more frequently than any of the ancient friends. And said, this
house, which ought to be better than other charity houses, was worse in
that the orders and bill of fare prevented them from giving away or selling
their provision if they cannot eat it. And calls it cruelty to observe the bill
of fare without exception, yet owns my wife is cautious therein and cannot
allow a different diet to him because all the rest of the family will expect
Being often abroad thinks it reasonable he should have the value of his
allowance for that absent time in something more agreeable to his mind
than the common allowance is, which is directly opposite to the orders
and bill of fare and would occasion confusion and much contention about
computing the value of such allowances.
He objects the beef is salt and the pork and mutton tough and not of a
good kind and little of the provision of the house gives content. He
concluding, such provision is bought for cheapness and says, what need
we be so saving in laying out others folks' money since we got nothing by
it as we say.
He says, he never was a near man and if we do give him better than the
rest they need not know it.
Note: we offer him a slice of cold beef, or any other meat when we have it
instead of furmenty, milk pottage &c.
He often mentions his wife cannot eat the diet of the house and he
sometimes, going to the cooks, desires his wife may have something
prepared for her. Yet the ancient woman friend who lodgeth in the same
room, also his maid, doth say, his wife is a quiet and contented woman,
which appears the same to us and has a good appetite. [p. 75] My wife
acquainted William Townsend that if his wife could not eat beef, pork &c
she would provide several sorts of diet for her instead thereof, mentioning each particular sort of diet, which he willingly agreed to, but in a few
days his mind altered alleging what my wife provided was of a cheap sort
and was not good and did not answer his wife's time, and was uneasy.
Then he said he would have the whole allowance of the house for himself,
wife and maid, and he would provide what he thought fit, and accordingly
they had it. And yet still uneasy, and told my wife that, since he had been
here he had laid out 18d. or 2s. per week of his own money for other sorts
of diet, which may very much tend to the lessening the good and plentiful
provision of the house when reported abroad.
24 November. And being often abroad at dinner time as aforesaid and
returning about 3 or 4 a clock and demanding his dinner and being
reminded that the orders and bill of fare directs that absent persons must
have no allowance, he will not understand the same with relation to
himself which occasions many words, and at last he concludes saying he
doth not believe the committee will be against their having their
allowance, and selling or giving away or doing what they thought fit with
their own allowance, saying, other charity houses allow the same, and has
several times told us he will appear before the committee any time.
My wife acquainted me she went this day to give them a visit in their
lodging room as she usually doth, he then, as he hath frequently done,
began to contend about the provision, showing his uneasiness with one
thing or another, and my wife told him she doth what lies in her power to
make him easy and cuts him the best of any provision that comes under
her hands and he tells her, he will not believe it . . . What to do further in
this case we know not.
Now, it is our opinion from the best of our observation that what would
make him easy is that he and his wife might have such diet provided for
them as would suit their minds, without any [p. 76] regard to the orders or
the bill of fare or what a general uneasiness it may cause amongst the rest
of the poor friends of the family, several of them being worthy and
thankful; neither considering the cost of such provision as would give
content. He often objects against the cheapness of what we buy, though
he knows not the price of it. And if the committee should adhere and give
way to any discontented person or persons in this respect it would
effectually set aside the management of the house as it's now settled by
the orders and bill of fare. And what poor friends for the future may come
to be maintained in this house may reasonably be supposed to expect the
same accommodation, which will require more servants, which, with a
different diet, will consequently much advance the expense of the house.
This being our present case and there seems to be a necessity the same
should be deliberately considered and enquired into and things made
easy on both sides, which cannot be unless the committee discourage any
in the house who disregard their orders. Otherwise, the house may, if it
hath not, suffer in its reputation and may sustain loss thereby. Also I and
my wife disquieted and our reputation lessened in being thought unkind
to the poor who are under our care, but a faithful discharge of our trust
under you with regard to frugality toward the house, and condescension
as much as can be allowed towards the poor.
Some of this affair hath been already mentioned to some of the
committee, but finding the uneasiness not likely to cease inasmuch as all
we can say leaves the friend as unsatisfied as the first, therefore we
earnestly desire and entreat the committee would please do therein, as
for the quiet family and well ordering the same, as they may see meet,
that . . . a stop may in some measure be put to whispering, murmuring,
backbiting and contentions which are directly opposite to us, my wife in
particular, who undergoes the daily fatigue of it, and will be thankful to
have a peaceable life not desiring to give any just occasion of uneasiness
to the poorest friend in the house, but willing to assist them day or night as
occasion requires and as hitherto she has done.
The foregoing as near as can be remembered are his own words &
several insinuations, reflections & provocations are left out. Next morning paper in 86 page .
81. [p. 77] Memorandum, 3 November 1718, about William Townsend.
1st He ate of the provision, heard the orders and bill of fare, read &
consented them when before the committee when admitted.
2d Said, to assist one another is great cruelty and meetings ought to send
in attendance or pay them that do it (see article 2 of the orders).
3d Great cruelty to be denied ale (no mention of ale in the bill of fare).
4th This house is worse than other charity houses, because they may not
dispose of their own allowances (see article 3 in the orders).
5th Cruelty to observe the bill of fare without exceptions, yet confesseth
others would expect different diet also.
6th When abroad thinks it but reasonable to have allowance for that
absent time in something else.
7th Objects the beef is salt, pork and mutton not of a good kind being
bought for cheapness (friends who visit the house see the provision).
8th Saith, if he had better than the rest they need not know it (the bill of
fare to be the rule).
He is offered a slice of cold meat instead of spoon meat.
He objects [to] his wife's [treatment], who seemed content (as
Agreed his wife should have several sorts of diet, [with] which . . . he was
easy. Soon after refuses, saying, he lays out 18d. or 2s. per week of his
[He] hurts the reputation of the house. He believes the committee
would not be against selling or giving away their own provision (article 3).
He is told the best of provision is cut for him in order to make him easy, he
saith he will not believe it.
He first appeared before the committee 15 December 1718. Second time
12 January 1719 and then a minute made, page of the minute book 179. (fn. 1)
82. [p. 78] Memorandum, 20 December 1718.
This day William Townsend told me and my wife, he heard we had money
out at interest and he did believe the reason of our being so pinching and
sneaking was not only for the interest of the house, but in order that we
might put something in our own pockets or advance our salary, and said,
others in the family did believe the same, and would say so, as well as he.
Upon which my wife desired to know if she did ever give him less than was
allowed in the bill of fare and wherein she was so sneaking and pinching.
After he had considered a little he answered, thou doth not set a candle
on the stairs to light me when I come home at night, and I went one night
into the old people's work room and there was no candle, and somebody
asked my maid twice or thrice on that day we had pudding if I was at
home. I believed thou would have been glad too, if I had been out that
thou might have . . . a pound of pudding by me.
And thou made dumplings one day instead of figgy puddings. What did
they cost? I suppose thou did it for cheapness, they were not worth above
a farthing a piece. This is all he alleged for sneaking and pinching, which
though not worth mentioning we are ready to render reasons for, as we
this time did to him, but as appeared to us, to little effect.
Then we told him we did expect he should let us know the names of
them friends in this family who told him they were of his belief concerning
our being so sneaking and pinching and not only for the interest of the
house, but that we might put something in our own pockets &c. We
perceived he was very unwilling, but we insisted upon knowing their
names, telling him such private reflections might ruin our reputation, but,
if we were guilty let us now be manifested as such who are not fit for this
trust. He said, ah, but thou art such an austere man and rules over the
family with such rigour, like the Egyptian task master with clubs and
staves and whips, that they dare not speak their minds, but I am not afraid
of thee &c.
I desired he would explain himself how I was like an Egyptian task
master. He answered, thou tasks the children every day as Pharoah did
the children of Israel and rules over them with rods and whips and rigour
just as the Egyptians did. Also said, a friend told me there was a boy
abused in this house and died here, but we told him we never heard of any
such thing, [p. 79] neither believed it, but if it had been so he had no
reason to tell us of that there being no such thing in our time. But
notwithstanding all these charges we still insisted to know the names as
aforesaid. At last he told us, though unwillingly, it was Nathaniel
Puckridge and Eleanor Cobb (we admired at that, they having been
innocent, contented friends and we had heard from several hands they
had given a very good account of the house). But he said, he did suppose
they would be afraid to own it they being ruled over with rigour as
aforesaid. I told him I was resolved to try that and then desired him to go
with me to Nathaniel Puckridge & Eleanor Cobb before the family.
Neither was he willing to that, but said, that's the way for every body to
know it. Yes, I said, the quarterly meeting shall know it rather than my
reputation shall be ruined. And though he was unwilling to go, I was fully
intended to hear it out. And accordingly we went in together, and first
related the whole matter as aforesaid to Nathaniel Puckridge amongst the
men friends. And Nathaniel Puckridge said, I admire at thee William
Townsend, thou canst say any such thing of me. I never said or thought
any such thing of them in my life, but have given a good account of the
house [to] whoever enquired and thou knows I never said any such thing
neither do I believe it. And said, I have heard thee say thou did believe
they did not pinch so for the good of the house only, but believed some of
it went into their own pockets. Then William replied, ah, I told thee they
durst not speak the truth. Then I told them of the Egyptian rigour as
aforementioned. The men showed a great dislike against such reflections
and said they admired at William Townsend, saying, they never knew,
spoke or imagined any such thing, & William had very little to say. Then
we went into the women's room and spoke to Eleanor Cobb, and she
said, I never thought or said any such thing in my life, and have heard
William say that he did believe we were not so sneaking for the interest of
the house only but to put something in their own pockets, and supposing
he wanted to know my mind as he has at other times, I said, I did not know
such a thing might be, but I did not believe any such thing. Also said, I
admire at thee William Townsend thou has often times been drawing
things from me but I hope to be aware of thee for the time to come. Then I
spoke to the rest of the women friends about rigours and Egyptian slavery
&c and desired them to be free and tell me now, before William
Townsend, if ever they [p. 80] saw any such thing. Speaking quite the
contrary, [they] expressed their satisfaction, saying they admired at
William Townsend and did not think him to be such a man. He had little
to say but as aforesaid: they dare not speak their minds, they are afraid
of thee. Carry[ing] it off with a sort of a laugh, saying, now you have got
a feast have you not.
A little before we came amongst the ancient friends William said, I
once thought you were pretty honest people but now I have a sense upon
me you are bad spirits.
This is part of what passed as near as I can remember leaving out
several other reflections.
83. [p. 81. A page of undifferentiated accounts derived from the first
volume of the house's general accounts and covering the period from
1702 to 1706: FSSWA, General Account Book, 1702-6.]