Tenants' petition to Sir Roger Townshend, January 20, ca. 1550–1600, L.d.839

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This article features a transcription of a Folger Shakespeare Library manuscript, Tenants' petition to Sir Roger Townshend, L.d.839, (January 20, ca. 1550–1600), featured in the Age of Lawyers Exhibition, September 12, 2015-January 3, 2016.

More manuscripts from this collection can be found in Guide to the Bacon-Townshend collection, 1550-1640

In this petition, some of Sir Roger Townshend's tenants argue for keeping their land-holding arrangements without change. The tenants who signed are all yeomen (freeborn subjects). Some write their names with "Gent.," for gentleman. A few, presumably illiterate, sign with an X.


Below is a semi-diplomatic transcription of leaf 1 recto of Folger manuscript L.d.839. The transcription below was created by the Early Modern Manuscripts Online (EMMO) project. To access an image of the original leaf, click on each transcription's heading.

L.d.839, leaf 1 recto

Our dewtyes remembred, Whereas vppon certayne articles here

tofore preferred by your worshippes officers, we were compelled to sett

downe our knowledge by verdytt what our Customes were touching

the state of your segnorye and of our Tenamentes which we do ffynde

an hundred yeares past and more, hath much differed from the

tyme present almost on all thinges, and consideringe your Worshipes

grand father was in his tyme a learned ma[n] Iudge, and a grave man

both feared and Loved of all men in Respect of his goode

dealinge, who allowed the Tenantes in his tyme which were oure

forefathers and ancetors, to take vp by dissent their Landes as

we of late have done, and for the most part in all the tyme of

Kinge Henry the seuenth, & Kinge Henry the eight ded &

observed the Rulinge of fynes likewise as of late have bene

we thought we might the more boldly present, as we ded in our

Verduytt sett downe, wherin if any thinge be done by vs

to your mislikinge, we ar readye with all dutyfulnes to be reformed

by those to whom the matter is committed, most humbly besechinge

yow, that whereas the Ripplinge of our estates, and the controversyes

which may aryse & grow therevpon ar unspeakeable, and the forfitures

of bondes & incommbrannces which may be brought in question ar innume

rable, that we may finde yow our good Lord, to permitt & suffer

vs to enioye our inheritannce as our forefathers ded in the tyme

of your worshippes anncetors, vnder such dew order or instrument

as the law will allow off, and we your poore Tenanntes shall

thinke our selfes dayly bound to pray to god for the preservation

of your life in much worshippe longe to continew at Heydon

the xxviijth of Ianuarie your Tenanntes at your worshipes co


Signatures in the left column:

the marke of Richard Marchall [no mark]

Erasmus Hamleton

Ihon Clerkson

Robert Thistleton

Andrew Dewynne

Ihon Garrett

William Hoclinges

Ihon Garrett

Robert Worth

Iohn Lockett

Signatures in the right column:

Thomas Hunt

the mark of Edward Peck [mark]

the mark of Nicolas Bell [no mark]

by me Edmund bell [mark]

Wyllm manye

Iames Bell

the mark of Iohn Allyns

the mark of Richard Adams

the mark of Peter hall

by me Robert Taylor