84. [p. 82] 16 January 1719.
This day William Townsend wanted a wafer to seal a letter and I told him I
had none but a sort of white wafer and I had not seen any such before then
and told him he was welcome to them if he pleased. Then he desired to see
them and accordingly I showed them. Then William held up his hands
saying, well, this . . . is saving indeed, you are saving folks indeed. I never
saw such saving in all my life, as is in this house. And after William had it
over several times, then I told him, my sister gave them to me and I did
not get them for savingness. Then I said, William, I believe if thou had
been a little more saving thou would not have been blamed for it. Then
William said, I have faith in my God that I shall never want. I said, I desire
thou may never want. Then he said, ay, but you send us sprats instead of
figgy pudding, you did it for cheapness and they were not worth above a
penny. I told him, the committee was here and saw the sprats and thought
them very good. He said, ah, the committee is thy cloak, they uphold
thee, and began to clap his hands upon his breast and said but there is
consciences! consciences! consciences! and also said, the family complained because they had sprats. Said, there were no such thing, they
loved sprats too well to complain, saying, they would rather have them
oftener, but if any of the family do not love them we give them other
20 February. William said to my wife, what does thou make furmenty
for us instead of rice milk for thou doth it for cheapness. She said, it was
rather dearer. He said, how doth thou make that out? And after other
discourse of that nature William said, you would not have had me come
into the house at first. Then I told him, it was a pity he did come for he had
done us no good nor himself neither. Then he said, it would do the house
no good either. This was spoke at dinner time in the hearing of several of
the family, also further said, the friends I was with last night would have
me stay in the house, but I will not stay. I told him, if the friends did but
know his behaviour, I did believe they would not be for his staying in this
house. Then he said, aye, but the committee shall have the honour of
turning me out.
[p. 83] 1719. His maid has been not well and has taken liberty to be very
abusive, and we have often told her when she was well that if at any time
she wanted ale or any other thing the house afforded, if she would let us
know she should have it. And now she being unwell will not let us know
what she would have, but saith, I do . . . not love to hear talk of things but
to have them. Then her master said to my wife, what doth thou ask her
what she'll have for that is but your cloak, make two or three good things
and send them up and let her take which she likes of them. But thou sent a
sick man a great dish of pottage stuffed with bread, was that fit for a sick
man? But my wife told him, the man was not sick but had a very good
appetite. Then William said, it's true, I do love good eating and drinking
but I have been cruelly used since I came here and I shall not give the
house a good word.
William frequently speaks slightingly of the provision to the children
when they carry it up to him, and they have complained how he calls it
pinching, saving &c. And when William perceives they are not easy with
these reflections he has spoke harshly to them, saying, you are all alike &
I was informed William went to a friend's house and told him (before
the servant maid that was not a friend), the allowance of the house and
how they had sprats once a year when they were cheap about a
penceworth each, but no other fish.
William Townsend went into the stable and the young man that looks
after the children and brews &c asked William why he found fault with
the beer, it being very good. William told him, he loved to find fault when
he saw faults for he had been cruelly used since he came here. The young
man asked him wherein he had been so cruelly used, and if he had not his
allowance? Aye, William said, but I pay more than the rest. The young
man said, but if thou should have a different diet from the rest it would
breed contention in the family. Then William said, but if they had been
prudent managers they might have given us different from the rest and
none of them have known it.
7 March. William having given frequent reflections in the family as
aforesaid, and my wife saw William go into the workroom amongst the
children when at work and [p. 84] she was not easy therewith, and said,
William, what makes thee come here? And [he said], he had liberty to go
all over the house if he pleased and would come there for all her and stay
as long as he pleased. She said, if thou had done good with going about in
the family I should not have been against it but thou has done hurt. He
said, in what have I done hurt? She said, in lessening us before the family
and setting thyself up, and I do not intend to bear it as I have hitherto
done, for if the commitee see but one half of thy behaviour to us I think it
would make thee ashamed. He said, I will go before the committee at any
time. I have been at war with you this twenty weeks, and the committee
has had it in hand near this several or two months, and what have they
made of it? But they shall have the honour of turning me out, and then
began again to reflect upon the provision, only said, indeed the meat was
pretty good, but told my wife she knew not how to manage it, and told her
she ought to salt it and not just put it in nasty sour pickle to spoil it. Also
said, I know what belongs to good house-keeping. But William did never
charge my wife with spoiling the meat until now, but on the contrary has
said, she was as fit for the business as any in London, only she was too
sneaking and pinching &c. He also said, thou has been here seven years,
and thou has learned thy trade. She said, yes, I hope to be here seven
years longer in order to stand against such disorderly persons and think it
will be as good a service as I can do for friends.
About this time William's maid missed her coal basket and she told my
wife some of us had stole it. My wife said to William who then stood by,
why doth thou suffer this maid to go on thus? He said, we have lost the
basket. Then the maid answered again and said to my wife, thou are a
cruel, bad woman, also said, pray God send us out of this house or else we
shall be starved to death, and we had been starved before now had it not
been for my master's pocket and my own, and she said, so would all the
family if they did not buy victuals. And William's maid told one of our [p.
85] servant maids, [who] is not a friend, how she had told a great lie today
and she was very sorry for it, saying, when she was out somebody asked
her where she lived and she told them at the Quakers. But that was a great
lie, for they were all devils or devil's people, and there was no Quakers in
the house but in their room. And said, if thy mistress do not send up my
victuals presently I will go out about five a clock and make such a rattle in
the neighbourhood as shall make them all ashamed.
These are the consequences of having persons in the house who rule as
masters in the family by having servants to themselves and doth not think
herself accountable to any but her master, speaking unbecoming things
about all things relating to the house or the government of it. Committee
9th [March] 1719, see page 184 and 187. (fn. 1)
16 April 1719. William Townsend said to my wife, thou doth not give
our weight. I asked him in what I did not send him weight. He said, in
meat, there wanted two ounces once and another time he thought 4
ounces, and another time 6 ounces. Then I said, William I can truly say I
never gave thee less than thy weight nor any in the house I weigh to. Then
he said, thou keeps bad weights then. I desired him to go down with me
and take his brass weights and try my weights by his . . . (Note: he bought
weights after [being] discharged the house on purpose to find something
to expose &c.) Accordingly he did, and my pound weight was exact, and
the half pound, his had rather the turn, but so little there was no room for
William to take the least advantage in the weights. And the next day at
noon I sent three pounds of pudding and William weighed it and said, it
was two ounces too much, but, he said, it would help to make up the rest.
And to the best of my knowledge it was as exactly weighed as any I ever
sent him. Again at night I sent one of the maids up with William's butter
and cheese and another of the maids went up with her unknown to me and
came down and told me what William and his maid said to them which
was as followeth:
The maid said, we have seen this half year how the poor has been
cheated. I have heard of it four years ago but now I see it. It's a painted
sepulchre, it's fair without but it's foul enough within, and it has been
more craft than honesty or else they had not been here so long and this
knavery will all come out. [p. 86] Then William said, they had never had
their weight in anything but in pudding since they came, also said twice
over, he could take his affirmation of it and it was base doings the poor
should be put upon so. Then his maid said, aye, we may take our
affirmation of it well enough, and a great deal more very bad of this sort.
Another time Hannah Newton went up and William's maid said, she
would witness they had not their weight. And Hannah said, what signifies
thy being a witness, thy master says thou art a liar, and if thou tells a lie in
one thing thou will in another. Then William said, Hannah, I will tell
thee, being a sober girl, we have made that up. And some time after that
William's maid was railing as usual, and her master said to his maid, say
no more now Mary till thou comes before the committee and it will have
some service. Then the maid said, aye, but they are too cunning for that,
they will not let me come before the committee.
85. (In the beginning belongs to 76 page ). William once began a
discourse thus with me and said, thy wife is a near, sneaking, stingy
woman, doth not thou know she is a near, sneaking, stingy woman. I said,
no, I know she is not so. He still insisted I did. Then I was displeased at his
insinuation and further said, I know her no more to be so than myself to
be a robber. Yes, he said, she is a sneaking, stingy fool. I desired him to
explain himself what he meant by the word fool. He said, she was such a
fool as Christ spoke on in the gospel who built his barns bigger and
scraped riches together and knew not who would enjoy it. Also said, we
had but one child what need we be so near. I told him, what he called near
on this account was no advantage to us only a just discharge of our trust.
He said, he did not know that, could I say we got nothing by what we
bought? I told him we did not directly or indirectly. But, to prevent such
insinuations we desired of the committee that the friend Benjamin Mason
might continue to see the provision bought, and accordingly he has seen it
& also the receipts from one time to another. [p. 87] But afterwards I
asked him what made him call my wife a fool and apply such an
unapplicable or strange comparison to it. He answered & said, it was the
sense that was then upon him. I told him, I thought it was a very dark
sense. William also upbraided us and said, we got many a dinner by him,
meaning when he dined abroad at friend's houses.
(Belongs to 76 page ). William told us there was others in the family
complained of provision as well as he. I desired to know who, he said,
Elinour [sic] Cobb. This friend lodged in the room with William's maid.
Then I spoke to Elinour Cobb and asked her why she complained of her
victuals to William Townsend and did not let me know. The said William
Townsend frequently looked over her meat and asked her questions
about it and once she said when she was eating her dinner he came again
and asked and she told him, there was a little bit not very tender, but she
would be careful of him in the future. Elinour pays for her own board, she
has been very contented and given as good a character of the house as any
I ever heard. But at other times before that time, William Townsend had
told my wife he was not so well served with victuals as Elinour Cobb.
My wife bought a calves foot for his wife, and William cut it open and
smelled at it and said, it was not sweet and it [was] bought for cheapness.
And my wife told him, they should not have it if it was not sweet, and
brought [it] to me and I advised her to show it to the women of the family
& all agreed it was very fresh and good, and it was really good. And they
will freely own, I mean the family, that what my wife buys for them is very
good. And when William Townsend was told what the family said
William's answer was, he would believe his nose before any in the family.
86. [p. 88] Having a poor craving man in the family who has been
incident to complain and thereby get money of several friends who come
to see him to pay what he had run in debt when his money was spent, and
my wife went to see him one day and asked what money the friend gave
him. He evaded it and was not willing to let her know, but at last owned
one shilling. And William Townsend stood unknown, to hearken as
appeared. About two weeks after, when my wife went to see them,
William began to contend and asked her in a sort of commanding manner
to tell him, what business she had to ask the poor man for his money.
Thou loves to get the poor folk's money from them. My wife told
William, she did not ask him for his money. William said, thou will not tell
me such a lie wilt thou. My wife said, no, I scorn to tell thee a lie, I only
asked him and I had good reason for it. Oh, he said, thou loves to get the
old people's money from them. I told him, I never kept one farthing of
their money from them in my life. This and other reflections he gave at
Another time a friend and his wife came to see the house who had a
great respect for William Townsend and had been very respectful and
loving to us. But when the friends came in it happened well I was then at
home and soon did perceive the friends did not seem to me as at other
times. But I took no notice, only seeing myself under some difficulty. But
the friend went up with William into his room and stayed some time
there. Then William carried them into the children's workroom to see
them at work and to see the lodgings &c and I waited till the friends came
down and desired they would please to see the provision. They seemed
shy and dissatisfied. However I overpersuaded them so we showed the
provision. And the friend's wife looked up at the cheese shelves [p. 89]
and said, what is that, I think there is some Suffolk cheese. I told the
friend, we had none of that sort since we came to the house, neither was
there any before as we knew or ever heard of. Oh, said the friend's wife,
but why do you not get them some pork, you have [had] pork but once
since William came. Then my wife showed them the beef, pork, butter,
cheese &c and brought the friends into the parlour and desired them to
taste the house beer, ale, bread, butter and cheese. And putting a loaf
that came first to hand, the friend's husband spoke low to William
Townsend saying, this is special bread William, do you all eat of this sort.
William said, again speaking very low, no, no, this is another sort of
bread. I happened to be nearer William than he was aware of and heard
him and so turned quick upon him and said, how, William, does thou say
its another sort of bread, thou has had no other sort of us since thou came
into this house, neither have we, save now and then a half quartern course
loaf. William seemed hard of belief. Then I fetched several of the loaves
and put them before the friends and it plainly appeared to be all of one
sort of bread, and several friends was in the parlour at that time who
admired at William Townsend, saying, they could not have believed had
they not seen it. But the friends were all well satisfied at last and desired
William to be content and easy. So the friends went away and very loving
and we were glad of it. Also that we had opportunity to inform them.
87. [p. 90] The 7th day before William Townsend's coals were to be sent
&c, Edward Carr went up with their coals and William Townsend's maid
began as follows:
Saying, I do not care if I went out of this house this day if my master and
mistress go with me that they may not be murdered as the rest has. The
young man asked her who was murdered. She said, several or most had
been murdered, and Elizabeth Stanton in particular, and said, when she
was laid out she was as hot as that little cat. The man said, this is like the
stuff thou used to say, thou called us all devils. She said, so you are, I can
see little else except in our chamber. We have never had our weight or
measure in any thing and if I go but into the yard I hear the old people say
some of them has not their weight and some of them has good shares, but
especially Elinour Cobb because she is with friend Claridge.
88. Lastly with some observations upon the whole &c.
William Townsend having dined at the house several times, and was very
diligent in seeing the allowances cut both for the ancient friends and
children and esteemed it very sufficient. Then I told William what
exercise we sometimes had notwithstanding the allowances was so large,
provision so good &c. William made answer and said we ought to have
some in the family that might take part of the care from us. Also said it
was very weighty and too much for us, referring to that passage relating to
Jethro, Moses' father in law.
But soon afterwards when William could not prevail with me to turn
the friend out of her room in order to give place to him without first
acquainting the committee, he began to be very much displeased. [p. 91]
So then William came before the committee, who did not comply with the
aforesaid request though he afterwards acknowledged that he was better
placed than if it had been granted him. But when William was admitted he
owned before the committee how he was well satisfied both with the
orders and bill of fare. Yet soon after he came into the house he began to
insist on a different diet [from] the rest. Several times saying the rest of
the family need not know it. And he was then of the mind the provision
was very well for the poor of the family, yet concluded it was not
reasonable that he and his family should be kept to the same diet,
allowance &c. And about this time William began to have pretty much
discourse with us and the tendency of it was (seeming in a very friendly
manner) to prevail with us to go different from the orders and bill of fare
relating to himself &c. And then I told him I was obliged to go according
to the orders otherwise I should give a just occasion to the rest.
So then William began to try what rough treatment would do and
especially to my wife, carrying himself towards her very unlike what
might reasonably have been expected of him. But when none of this could
gain what was then desired, his uneasiness soon took air in the family who
was then in a quiet, contented frame generally speaking, so far as we
could perceive. But William, in a great warmth of mind, made several
undue reflections upon the orders and the cruelty of them, also on the bill
of fare, and the meanness of the provision, and this was before his wife,
the maid and the friend that lodged in their room, and soon after, the
whole family came to know of their uneasiness.
So when I let the family know we went according to the orders and bill
of fare and that hitherto we had done . . . [p. 92] the same to all, also told
them we did believe none of them could deny the same. And said, I could
not answer William's mind in doing otherwise now without partiality.
And when the family understood that William endeavoured for something more than the rest, then they freely owned we did equally by them
all, and said they had that which was good & enough of it and there was no
cause of complaint, and it was well done of us to serve all alike. And they
further said it was a pity William Townsend should have come into the
family except he could have been content with what the house allowed as
well as the rest.
Then when William Townsend appeared before the committee in order
to answer to several reflections made on the orders and bill of fare which
he both owned and stood by, though he got no encouragement from the
committee, and yet after this William Townsend let in a strong belief that
we were not so sneaking and pinching for the interest of the house only
but in order to augment our own salary and put something in our own
pockets. Saying, others in the family was of the same mind and would say
so as well as he. But it proved quite the contrary when it was enquired
into. Then William Townsend alleged it was the effect of fear in them, we
being so cruel as he had told us just before. Also said, but I am not afraid
of you. Now after William Townsend had tried several ways to lessen us in
our reputations, which he could not bring to bear and his going out of the
house being delayed, then he began to say the poor of the family was
basely dealt by and has asserted the same to the servants several times.
Also twice said he would take his affirmation that he had not his weight in
anything except pudding since he came into the house.
And now we do clearly perceive that several in the family sides with
him, having an eye to what William may do. They perceiving him very
diligent in attending the committee when at the house, which may make it
seem to them as if his case were otherwise than it really is or as if the
committee . . . [p. 93] had not a sufficient power to deal with him as with
others who have been disorderly in the family. They well knowing when
any have been found in practices inconsistent with the peace and
reputation of the house, such, if they could not be reclaimed, were
speedily turned out, and did hope William Townsend would have been
removed before this time, and the orders read in the family and some
seasonable cautions given in order to put a stop to and expel the
inconveniences that those disorders has brought in, before they had come
to so great a head.
We do think that if the committee were sensible how hard it is for us,
and my wife in particular, to reside constantly amongst a dissatisfied
people some of which will give themselves liberty to say almost anything
to serve a turn, you would, with us, conclude our post very uncomfortable, and therefore those things ought to be considered and if it appear we
are unjust, as of late we have been rendered, then justice ought to be
done upon us as such who are unfit for this trust. But & if [it] appear to the
contrary, then we ought to have justice done us and none suffered to
continue in this house who looks upon things with an evil eye, because
their disorderly minds are not answered and therefore gives way to evil
surmising and reporting things very wrong and that without a cause in
order to injure the reputation of them who makes it their care to have
things in good order to give content, that there may be no just cause of
complaint. And [we] do hope it may be said we have hitherto served the
committee faithfully both for the interest of the house, and the good
accommodation of the poor to the best of our understandings and
therefore we do with submission conclude it's reasonable to apply to and
expect redress from this committee in our present grievances. And I
know not one friend who have thoroughly known of our late treatment
but who have thought it very unreasonable that we should be thus
89. [pp. 94-5. A short description of Hutton's method for balancing the
house's accounts, produced in more detail above, 10.]
90. [p. 96] Upon reading a proposal made to this court by John Bellers,
Daniel Vandewall and Joseph Hackney, trustees for the corporation
workhouse . . . [of] Clerkenwell in this county held by lease from Sir
Thomas Rowe, Knight, granted in the year of our Lord one thousand six
hundred and eighty five for a term of fifty one years, for ripping and new
tiling the whole roof of the said house and for effectually making good all
the rafters and carpenters work, and for new laying several floors and
mending of others, and for altering the common sewer to prevent an
intolerable nuisance that attends it, the performance of which work will
upon a moderate . . . [computation] of workmen amount to above three
hundred pounds exclusive of painting [&] plastering . . . [or] glazing;
providing they may have an addition of thirty-four years added to the
present lease, of which about seventeen years are yet to come. It is
ordered by this court that it be, and it is hereby recommended and
referred to John Milner, Narcissus Luttrell, Alexander Ward, John
Offley, William Kingsford, John Ellis, John Shorey, John Law, John
Tuller, Doyly Mitchell, John Metcalfe, and William Booth Esquires,
twelve of his Majesty's justices of the peace of this county or any five of
them, and such other justices of the peace of the said county as will think
fit to be present, to take a view of the said workhouse and the other
buildings adjoining held by the same lease at thirty pounds per anno. And
the said referees are desired to inspect the repairs wanting to be done at
the said house and see what in their judgement it will want effectually to
make good the said repairs, also how much the said house and buildings
will produce at the end of the said term, and to report to his Majesty's
justices of the peace next general sessions of the peace to be held for this
county, whether in their judgement it will be for the benefit of the said
county to add an additional term to the said lease on the terms proposed,
or to continue the said premises at the present rent for the remainder of
the term of years now to come. And for that purpose the said referees are
desired to meet at Hicks . . . [p. 97] Hall in St. John Street on Thursday
come sevennight at ten of the clock in the forenoon, and to adjourn from
thence to the said workhouse or elsewhere, as occasion shall require, and
the cryer of the said court is to attend the said justices from time to time
and give notice of their place and times of meeting. (fn. 2)
Per Cur. [Simon] Harcourt.
91. Pursuant to the order of reference above mentioned we whose names
are under written do hereby certify that we have viewed and inspected the
workhouse in the said order mentioned and the buildings thereto belonging and have received the proposal hereunto annexed which we do
approve of, and are of opinion that it will be for the benefit of the said
county to grant such a new lease on the terms therein mentioned in regard
of the public use . . . [to] which it is applied and [of] the great charge and
expense which will be necessary to be laid out to repair the roof and other
parts of the said workhouse and buildings. All which we certify and
submit to the judgement of the court, dated this 13th day of August anno
domini 1718. (fn. 3) .
John Milner, William Kingsford, Alexander Ward, John Metcalfe, John
Shorey, John Venner, Doyly Mitchell, John Hayns, William Booth.
92. [p. 98] To [his] Majesty's justices of the peace of the county of
Middlesex appointed as a committee to view the corporation workhouse
at Clerkenwell in the said county, held by lease at thirty pounds per annum
granted to Sir Thomas Rowe, Knight, deceased, for the remainder of a
term of fifty one years, and to inspect the repairs wanting to be done to the
said house, and to see what it will want to make good the repairs and how
much the said house and buildings thereto belonging will produce at the
end of the said term and whether it will be for the benefit of the county to
add an additional term on the terms proposed by John Bellers and others
or to continue the premises at the present rent for the remainder of the
present term of years now to come &c.
Pursuant to an order of sessions of the 9: day of July last: we whose
names are subscribed, do on the behalf of our selves and the rest of the
trustees, and persons entrusted and concerned in the said workhouse,
propose that a new lease be granted to us or such other sufficient persons
as shall be nominated by us from the trustees of this county for the term of
ninety-nine years from Michaelmas next at the rent of thirty pounds per
annum clear of all taxes and under the like covenants and agreements as
in the present lease of the like premises.
That in consideration of such a new lease one hundred pounds shall be
paid to the said justices and trustees for this county for the public use
thereof as a fine or income upon sealing such a new lease. That in case the
said workhouse shall at any time during the term of such new lease be
converted or applied to any other use than it is now put to without the
consent of the justices of the peace of this county in sessions, that then the
leasees in such new lease to be granted shall either pay a further fine of
one hundred pounds or surrender the said new lease and term so to be
granted, save only that the present tenements (part of the said premises)
as now divided and let out may be . . . [p. 99] continued as they are or
converted into workhouses or otherwise as the said leasees shall think
fit. (fn. 4)
Dated this 13th day of August anno domini 1719.
John Bellers, John Freame, Daniel Vandewall.
93. [p. 100] Concerning spinning cotton &c.
1. Whether the smallness of the children doth not render them incapable
of that care and exactness which is required in spinning cotton to
Note: the general opinion of friends who are tallow chandlers is that they
are not capable.
If the committee should agree to make trial it is supposed that one person
will be fully employed in instructing and managing the work for 10 or 12
2. Whether the charge of wages and maintenance of such instructors
would not exceed what can rationally be supposed . . . [will be] gained by
it more than by spinning mop yarn?
3. If the profit of spinning cotton were much more than that of mop yarn
why do not so many ingenious young women as now spin mop yarn rather
spin cotton; interest leading them to carefulness without the charge of
4. Whether a woman can earn six shillings per week constantly the year
long by spinning cotton, which we are informed industrious women at
spinning mop yarn easily do?
5. Whether when spun it will as quickly return into cash as mop yarn,
there being at this time as much promised as we can spin in a week, and
have also several hundred weight more bespoke and to be delivered as
soon as spun?
6. Whether it doth not require a larger trading stock than mop yarn?
7. Whether it requires rooms made warm with fires to work in, in winter
8. Whether, if after trial cotton should not answer to expectation, it would
not be hard to regain the custom of so many who have at this time a
dependence on our yarn and been brought to the house by some time and
9. Whether it would not be leaving a certainty for an uncertainty by laying
down our trade and taking up another we neither understand nor know
where to procure customers for?
[p. 101] 10. Whether, if for want of trade &c, we should have large stocks
of cotton in hand it would not sooner receive damage in colour or other
ways than mop yarn, and if such damage should happen the loss must
needs be more considerable of the one than the other, because of the vast
difference in their value?
11. If friends (in good will to the house) should condescend to take our
stock of cotton (or part thereof), whether in time it might not make the
house as great a burden (especially if not done well) as it lately was in the
case of mops, that is, when they lay at the monthly meetings till they were
spoiled and good for little?
12. And inasmuch as we receive children into the house at about seven
years of age, and can bring them to spin saleable mop yarn in about nine
or ten days' time whereas we are informed that children of that age are
not capable to spin cotton that [is] saleable.
If it should be objected that only the big boys should spin cotton and the
lesser the mop yarn:
We answer, that the big ones are now employed in carding for and
instructing the lesser, for we find by experience that carding requires
more strength than the lesser children have. Likewise, when we take in
children we are obliged to place them with the bigger for instruction so
that if they were separated the work of the little children and new
beginners (which generally are many) would in great measure be lost, the
which would prove a small disadvantage to the house.
Now, we have found for want of that constant care and exactness which
cannot be expected of so little children as ours are, that the yarn they now
spin hath fallen short an halfpenny per pound of its value when done with
care and discretion.
Therefore, what may be expected when they are employed in so
difficult a work (with respect to mop yarn) as cotton is . . . may be well
94. [p. 102] Observations on the spinning of worsted, or remarks on the
1. Proposal: that wool shall be found by the employers provided sufficient
allowance be made for the waste.
Observation: the employer finding wool, it appears there will be no gains
to the house saving the bare earnings.
2. Proposal: that sufficient allowance shall be made for waste.
Observation: upon enquiry we hear that it will be considerable because
the waste consists in the yarn not being drawn out fine to a certain length,
as for example, a quantity of wool is given to be made into 12 skeins of
yarn, and the children, for want of judgement, often bring in but 10
instead of 12, then 2 skeins is wasted and . . . according to contract must
be made good in yarn value and paid for spinning only 10 skeins. And
when the waste is allowed and the reeling paid for out of the same
earnings (as the custom is) there will remain but little for spinning.
3. Proposal: that it's thought six weeks' time is enough to teach.
Observation: but we are informed otherwise. Yet admit it be enough,
then after that time spent, the earnings are to be after the allowance for
waste, reeling &c is deducted out of the wages which is sometimes 3d.
sometimes 4d. and sometimes 5d. per day, more or less. And if it's
intended the whole day or 10 hours, the working part of the day, then
what time will the children have to learn reading, writing, arithmetic, play
&c. We have done and now do order their work so that half the day, or the
working part thereof, is allowed them for as before mentioned, besides
the two meetings, one on the 3d and other on the 5th day, and [they] often
have [the] afternoon to refresh themselves in the fields. But then, if half
their time be allowed them in spinning worsted then consequently half the
wages will drop, then it will be some 1½d., some 2d. and 2½d. more or less
4. Proposal: that they shall be instructed at the charge of the house, the
proposer to furnish proper persons to that employment.
Observation: with the employer and the instructor's wages (whether diet
&c is [included] we do not know) it will [take] considerable charge [p.
103] out of so small and uncertain earnings. Now, in our present work one
man looks after all the children that spin and could do it if there were as
many more and bring them to spin saleable mop yarn in three days time
(without any loss by waste). The same man makes mops, brews and looks
after all the horses & [is] ready on all occasions to be helpful about the
house to the aged, weak &c. Note: we have found it very inconvenient to
have our whole dependence of trade on one man. Whereas at present we
are well furnished with variety of customers which have been brought to
the house by time and some endeavours.
We have cast up what our children earn one with another and find it
3¼d. per day each. And the earnings and profit together for four years last
past has amounted to about £567.
We cannot find that worsted will gain half the profit to the house as mop
yarn when rightly considered.
At this juncture there is an extraordinary demand for worsted spinners,
weavers' trade being good, but when the contrary they give less prices
and [it is] hard to get spinning.
95. [p. 104] Of spinning worsted according to proposal.
1. Please to consider that by spinning of mop yarn we have got considerable profit on the yarn besides 2½d. per pound allowed for spinning, as
also considerably by the sale of mops. Together near £5 per year (as
we suppose), all which we shall wholly lose by spinning worsted, the
manager providing work as by his proposal and we are only to be paid for
2. We find by experience one big boy and two little ones working together
easily earn two shillings in ten hours, that is from six to six, allowing two
hours for meal times, whereas it is not proposed they should earn above
[blank] per day at worsted.
3. Spinning mop yarn requires but four candles for about 50 children, but
it's thought worsted may require a candle to each wheel.
4. One man attends above 40 children and could attend 20 more, make
mops, serves the horses, brews &c and it's supposed worsted would
require one instructor to 10 or 12 children besides the manager.
5. Spinning worsted is paid for by the length and not by weight, therefore
is the more improper for little children who . . . not consulting interest,
are apt to follow that method which makes the most riddance of wool in
the shortest time.
6. All the girls at certain times on particular occasions are obliged to leave
their sewing &c and take to the wheel for a day or two, it may be in two
weeks' time. And so much as they can spin mop yarn well we find it
profitable, but if we should exchange mop yarn for worsted that profit
would be lost. The girls' time for spinning not being sufficient [to] learn
worsted to advantage.
7. We have found that for want of that constant care & exactness which
cannot reasonably be expected from such small children as ours are (they
being taken in at seven years of age) the yarn they now spin hath fallen
short an half penny per pound of its value if done with care and discretion.
Therefore, we cannot but expect a greater disadvantage by bad work [p.
105] when they are employed in worsted, the one so much exceeding the
other in fineness.
8. We do conclude, if worsted were more advantageous than mop yarn,
women who now spin mop yarn, and earn thereby (as we are informed)
six shillings per week, would rather spin worsted, interest leading them to
carefulness without charge of instructors.
9. Worsted being an oil wool therefore may require [more] charge in
firing than mop yarn.
10. And it should be well considered if worsted should not answer to
expectations, it may be difficult to retain the custom of so many who now
have a dependence on our yarn and who have been brought to the house
by time and some endeavours.
Note: spinning cotton was under consideration and some of our
customers heard of it and if they should of worsted it might prove a
11. We have also found very inconvenient to have our dependence of
trade on one man, whereas at present we are pretty well furnished with
variety of customers.
12. Whether the proposer would be willing the children should have the
best of the day for learning, that is from breakfast time to past 12 at noon
and from two till five in the afternoon in the winter and the fore part of the
day in the summer, which now they have. And if they should be deprived
of that great privilege (the present income of the house affording the
same without lessening the principal stock) whether it may not be a great
discouragement to the house as likewise to the children, the chief end of
spinning being only to inure them to an habit of industry by keeping them
out of idleness, and not exert their endeavours to their utmost ability.
96. [p. 106] Spinning linen for sack considered, 25 March 1717.
We have cast up our children's earnings one with another and find it
3¼d. per day each, besides the profit by selling yarn and mops, whereas
about half of the day is allowed them for schooling, play &c every day
besides an allowance for meeting times on 3d and 5th days, and the whole
gains on this account for 4 years last past is about £567.
When our whole dependence of trade was only on one man we were
obliged to give long credit and have found it difficult to get the money at
last. And the employer finding we had no other dependence has then
begun to be uneasy and uncertain, also finding unexpected faults (the
children being young and unlearned) as the work not being well, waste of
goods &c. And if our children are employed in linen, which I am
creditably informed their fingers cannot manage, there may be more
demanded than the flax they work upon will produce. Then, if abatements should be required for such deficiencies, the profit to the house
may prove very small considering the impossibility of any other advantage than the bare earnings, because the employer finds the work.
Unless the employer be a person [of] credit and great business our
children who are now pretty many in number may possibly stand still for
want of employ which would be an extraordinary inconveniency and . . .
is too often the consequence when depending on one man. It would
prevent their habit of industry, also prove a great loss to the house.
If the profit of spinning linen were more than spinning mop yarn would
not so many of the ingenious young women who spin mop yarn rather
then go to . . . spin linen, interest leading them to carefulness, not having
occasion, like children, to be at the charge of instructors.
[p. 107] Whether a woman can earn six shillings per week at linen all the
year round which we are informed industrious women at spinning mop
yarn can easily do?
Whether it will require more fire places in winter?
Whether it may prove healthful for the children so young as are
commonly sent into the house to be confined so much of their time at the
linen wheel and the principal part of the rest of their time to sit at the
writing school, and its reasonable to suppose but little time must be
allowed for play if they make any reasonable earnings and have a suitable
Note: We have found it very difficult to manage the girls relating to
their health since they have left the stirring exercise of the wheel.
We conclude it [is] much against the interest of the house to change the
business in the summer.
By taking notice of new proposals we have been upbraided with
uncertainty of depending on our yarn which may be the cause of
discouraging the customers (especially if the report should spread) and
make them leave the house. And if a new employ should not answer it
might prove difficult to regain the custom of so many who now have a
dependence on us and have been brought to the house by time and some
We are informed that the friend who now makes this proposal was
encouraged thereunto by an information that our present employ did not
answer our expectations and our goods did not make a quick return and
what the same seem more reasonable is, there being several poor people
there always would willingly accept of some such business if any would
please to employ them.
97. [p. 108] Memorandum, 18 October 1711.
The first night we came to settle this house there was an ancient friend
sitting in one of the corners by the kitchen fire, and in the other, another
friend who dined at our table and expressed himself in a very passionate
way saying, do thou judge steward, if this be reasonable for him to sit in a
corner when none ought to sit there, but I stand, I who are allowed such
privileges by the committee . . . The two friends gave each other very
The friend first settling in the corner alleged he had leave of the former
stewardess to eat his victuals in the kitchen, also claimed the same
privilege of us, which we dispensed with, though pretty many
inconveniences attended it. Too many here to mention.
And the same friend being one day sitting by the fire in the corner,
aforesaid, with his dinner on his knee, that being his usual way of dining,
the other friend aforesaid came in and immediately seized the friend's
chair hauling him & his dinner altogether into the middle of the kitchen,
and then took a chair and sat down in the same corner himself. But the
heart burning and contention that such work as this made in the family
would scarcely be believed were it related, which consequently would not
have happened had all been received on the same foot. For the several
circumstances of inhabitants occasioned a striving who should govern,
but too few were willing to be under government themselves and in this
condition we found the family.
Some who have dined at our table have several times told us we were
but their servants and maintained there to wait on them, and they paid
more than the rest, saying, the house got by them but it got nothing by us.
Also said, they had as proper a right to go into the pantry, and to be in the
kitchen or parlour when they pleased as we had. And as for the provision,
they told us it was none of ours and therefore they would have what they
pleased and when they pleased. [p. 109] Now, when such treatment as
aforesaid came to be known in the family the same expressions have been
repeated by several of the poor maintained at the meetings' charge and
frequently when the children have been present.
When my wife has been cutting out roast or boiled meat for the family
at noon those who dined at our table would come with a large copper
spoon like ladle and stand in her way, taking the gravy out of the great
dish where the meat lay, thereby dropping upon and greasing her cloths,
they not having patience to stay till we dined, when they might have gravy
enough. And she has been cutting pudding into shares, if there was any
place in the pudding that had more plums than the rest, they would cut
out that piece for themselves. Those things and such like were bad
examples in the family, especially when liberty was taken to do them
when we was present.
And when my wife provided any diet for the weak or sick that was
different from the diet of the house they would sit or stand looking on,
asking questions. Saying that, the poor that was maintained at the
common allowance had better provision and attendance than they.
Saying, why might not they have such things, they paid more than the
rest. And when prepared and set out of hand to cool, part of it would be
eaten up unless some were placed in the kitchen to watch it.
And because we could not eat the meat quite so fresh as the rest of the
family, they would be discontent and say we fed our table with little but
salt meat on purpose that they might not eat much of it. And often told us
that we grudged them victuals, though we frequently desired them to
have a fresher sort of meat but they would not, but some times went from
the table displeased and have told us we should hear of it on both sides of
our ears. And we, knowing it was another sort of diet that they inclined
to, have to keep our peace . . . otherwise they would have eaten nothing,
[p. 110] though several sorts of diet for persons that are in health gives a
just occasion of uneasiness to servants by hindering their business.
Likewise, by such examples the rest of the family would find fault with the
saltiness of the beef when it was quite the contrary. Insomuch as salt beef
has been so commonly expressed that an ancient friend by way of
complaint has said when eating, this beef is so very salt; when at the same
time he was eating part of a fresh leg of mutton bought the day before.
And when we have had roast meat, some of our table would run their
fingers into the meat while it was roasting and frequently handle the meat
at table very indecently, which is offensive to decent, cleanly people; and
yet when strangers dined with us they could behave themselves
Also under a pretence of visiting and sitting with some of them who
dined at our table has come in an intruding sort of people (on first days in
the evening especially) who would place themselves in the kitchen and
there sit smoking tobacco and keep our servants from the fire. And being
told they might be of more service in their own families than to be here
keeping our servants from the fire, then such have returned unhandsome
language, implying as if they had as good toleration as we, saying, we
could not hinder them, or words to that effect.
And when any friends have come to the house about business, I have
been obliged to take them into the yard or some private room if the
business required to be private, our parlour be so common and such and
incidence being in them who claim privilege there, to hear and know all
that passeth if possible and would take it amiss if they were desired to
withdraw except it were some of the committee. And thus things have
been reported amongst the family and thereby the affairs of the house
made more common than was convenient.
These and many other difficulties I could mention which we have and
do still lay under. And it seems to us very unlike it should be, otherwise,
whilst persons are placed [p. 112: the number 111 was omitted in the
original pagination] here on a different foot to the rest, who esteem
themselves not only equal but superior to us, and we but as their servants,
alleging the house gets by them as aforesaid.
So, for reasons already mentioned, we hope it may not be thought
unreasonable if, with submission, we desire the little parlour and kitchen
to ourselves. The former being fitted up out of the box with the
committee's money on purpose for John Powell and his wife had he lived
till they had been married . . . We have been told by one that dines at our
table that in case John Powell had lived and brought his wife home, then
they must not have enjoyed the privilege of the parlour as they now did,
also said, but he was disappointed &c.
And when the committee was about placing us in this house they did
propose that we should have some private instructions concerning the
family and managing the affairs relating thereunto and when the friend
brought the said instructions to us in writing also verbally expressed
several difficulties that we might expect to meet with (which has proved
true); likewise advised not to be discouraged thereat, saying we being
young people it was hoped we might continue in the place until the house
came to a better settlement. And likewise told us he had something to
acquaint us with for our encouragement, which was that we should have
the little parlour entire to ourselves as it was intended for the late steward
and his wife as aforesaid. Only, he said, perhaps John Heywood might sit
to keep us company some times. And some other privileges the friends
also spoke of which was enjoyed by the former stewards and in course
would come to us, but it proving otherwise therefore I omit mentioning
And now the family is and like to continue pretty large, and [p. 113]
various things happen relating to managing the affairs of it. And the
parlour also the kitchen stands entire to do the business of the house,
which makes our service more effectual, also affords us more satisfaction
than if the committee should allow us one of the houses in the tenements
for our accommodation.
And we do conclude that any who may or have placed persons in a
public concern do allow such persons some suitable entertainment in this
respect separate from them who are or may be under their care. For
example, in the next house to us which is also a public concern, though
quite of a different nature yet there is a suitable accommodation made for
persons concerned as aforesaid. In the first place there is a good new
house built for the captain or master, and is also a little house built for
[the] poor woman that opens the gate and is entire to herself.
Now, for several reasons before mentioned and considering the trust
committed to us, our care is or at least ought to be pretty great in such a
family as this. We do therefore entreat the committee would with us see
the necessity of our having a little place to ourselves and in order
thereunto prevent for the future any friend or friends from being put
upon us. We desire it not for ostentation, but as aforesaid, . . . that the
business which requires privacy may be done accordingly, also to have a
place to retire to as occasion requires.
I have lately been informed of several persons, and some of them are
supposed to be pretty difficult, who incline to come into the house as
boarders, and several are in the house now who are uneasy because they
have not the like privileges. Therefore, if our small table were as large as
could stand in the meeting room it may be questioned whether it could
entertain all who might endeavour to be accommodated there, and yet
those who have been gratified therewith and find our diet the same with
the house, then [cause] uneasiness, contention and murmuring . . . to
take place [p. 114] as aforesaid, saying, they pay more than the rest and
have only the same provision. And if occasionally we have at our table a
joint of fresh meat, though before we eat any of it, my wife cuts for the
sick and weak in the family, and then if we only dine of it yet it will
occasion whispering and murmuring in the family and we but conclude
few in our place would be easy therewith.
But if the committee see meet to take any friends into the house in
order to have a different entertainment we do conclude a large room with
a fire place in it may be taken up on that occasion, also a new bill of fare
made that differs from the common diet and if it proves to their satisfaction, then possibly we may go on more quietly than hitherto we have.
98. Proposals to &c.
We have found [it] inconvenient when friends have been sent into this
house with expectations to be maintained upon a different foot to the
rest, which very much tends to making them uneasy and laying waste the
present bill of fare and orders of the house.
And if a different entertainment be thought necessary, we do conclude
a large room must be fitted up for such friends to dine and be accommodated by themselves. Likewise a bill of fare made for them as may be
thought sufficient and such . . . allowances to be paid as may answer the
charge of a separate room, a fire by themselves, a different diet and
servants to attend &c.
We are sensible, for several reasons (too large here to mention), it is
very inconvenient that any who are maintained as pensioners &c should
diet and be entertained in that small room allotted for the steward. Also,
there being now a school and a school mistress, which formerly was not,
and the steward &c finds it necessary for them to be accommodated with
them in order to converse with them about matters relating to the family
as time and opportunity permits.
[p. 115] N.B. Notwithstanding there may be different entertainment, yet
for any to go contrary to the present orders of the house may prove very
inconvenient as by experience has already appeared.
99. Our family have consisted generally speaking of a sort of dissatisfied
persons very unfit for a community, also having amongst us as a people
such who are very unskilful in their sentiments relating to the managing
such an affair, also will very much resent it if their proposals and requests
are not observed and that before them who may have a real sense of the
matter as also sincerely desirous and industrious for the good of the
house. Yet, when there is a dissatisfied family at home and many unskilful
persons abroad, as aforesaid, who are more liable to hear reports than to
give such bad reports a due consideration, therefore under those constant
circumstances, [we] do conclude it very difficult and uneasy to them who
under you has the care of such a family, also has and still may greatly tend
to lessening of the house in its good accommodations.
Hitherto a remedy has not been found for those disadvantages that the
house has all along and yet labours under, which, if it could, might
produce those effects, viz: thankfulness and content in the family, the
interest and reputation of the house, also quietness and composure of
mind of the governors of it. . . I have had some thoughts on this matter as
Which with submission is that you should have governors you may
safely confide in, and the monthly meetings as well as the committee
should be made sensible they are such as may be entrusted not in doing
justly by the committee only but the family likewise, because doing right
by the family has generally by some been the matter of question. Now
here comes a passage into my mind may not be improper to mention
though it's a little from the matter I am at.
[p. 116] Our new bill of fare was made in the year 1713 and doth
considerably exceed the former bill of fare in quantity and so doth all
parts of the provision in quality, except bread which was the same sort as
now. I remember about that time the trade of the house was grown pretty
much better than formerly it had been and soon after legacies frequently
dropped in, so we began to get a little forward, which soon after took air
and without doubt many honest friends were glad to hear it. But this did
not please all, for so soon as our family heard of it I was told by some of
them in a very untoward reflecting manner, saying, we heard the house
begins now to save money by us every year and you ought not to get or
save money by the poor. Also said that, friends gave not their money to
the house with the intent but it was given in order to be laid out upon the
poor in order to comfort them and not to be hoarded up. And in a small
time after those . . . kinds of reflections were made abroad relating to the
house saving money every year by pinching of the poor and over working
of the children, and I have since been frequently told by the poor in the
family that 3s. per week which their monthly meetings allowed for them
was more than would maintain them abroad and therefore the house
saved money by the poor. I mention these things by the way to show that
notwithstanding the provisions are ever so good and the allowance
plentiful, yet if our stock increase the poor do conclude that are not well
used. Also observe, while here are reporters of stories abroad the house
must be liable to be injured in its reputation.
Now to return to what I have thought might tend to remedying those
things in a good degree if not quite, especially if it be well considered
& rectified by the committee who well knows how to manage affairs of
this or any other kind for the good of the house which of late in several
cases has been done and has hitherto had good success for the encouragement.
[p. 117] When the monthly meetings as aforesaid do conclude they
have such servants in this post, as may be considered in which do manage
with as much prudence as they are capable, also with regard to justice in
their trust in all respects, then the proper time may be for the monthly
meetings unanimously to discourage such weak and unskilful persons as
aforesaid, who by giving ear to reports do thereby give encouragement to
the reporters of them, not considering how indirect it is for reports to be
brought to them who are persons altogether unconcerned, when at the
same time it's the care of each monthly meeting to choose suitable friends
for their representatives in the committee (before whom all complaints
may be laid, heard and if just, redressed) under whose care it is to visit the
house every week to see that things are kept in good order and thereby
are capable to give quarterly or monthly meetings an account thereof as
occasion requires in [order] to maintain a good understanding between
the said meetings and . . . the house.
Now, if the aforesaid meetings could be brought into a method and be
hearty in discouraging such who incline to hear reports and by renewing
general cautions in the . . . meetings from time to time to another when
reports are heard, it may be a means to discourage the hearers. And as it
comes to be generally known may put a stop to them who carry stories out
of the house and do think it would make the family more settled, easy and
thankful and consequently thrive better in body and mind.
And when the reputation of the house is thoroughly settled and
carefully kept up from time to time, notwithstanding false reports or evil
surmisings which hath hitherto been, yet it may be hoped that for the
future the monthly meetings need not have so much labour and exercise
in prevailing with their poor to accept of so plentiful a maintenance, but
rather to advise and admonish them to be orderly in the house,
endeavouring to walk worthy of so comfortable an accommodation which
may fitly be compared to an estate which they cannot spend.
100. [p. 118] An estimate of the necessary repairs of the workhouse at
Ripping and tiling the whole in the same from as it
is now in, being 158 square at 15s. per square
|Materials and carpenter's work shoring and repairing
the rafters and eaves boards
101. This world's a city full of crooked streets.
Death is the market place where all men meets.
If life were merchandise which men could buy
Rich men would ever live and poor men die.