I have been transcribing a document held in Gloucestershire Archives and described as a ‘Court of Wards valor of lands of Richard Guynett, deceased’. The Court of Wards and Liveries was established by two Acts of Parliament during the reign of Henry VIII to deal, among other things, with the estates inherited by minors and lunatics who inherited property.
This particular document (G.A. Ref. D1313/2) refers to the property of Richard Guynett, who died in 1615, when his two sons were under the age of majority. It covers land in Badgeworth, Shurdington, Witcombe, Bentham and Down Hatherley and particularly mentions the old farm house called Crippetts.
The document is divided into two parts: In the main body of the document, it states the date of death of Richard and the birth date of his eldest son, George, neither of which were known in detail, and it lists all his property, both houses and land, from whom he purchased it and to whom it was leased, giving a wonderful picture of the estate he owned. Down the wide left hand margin, it states the findings of the investigation by the Court of Wards and records the contents of Richard’s will, including the name of his executrix, his wife Mary, which has not been found elsewhere. What a wonderful document!
I am trying to locate where the Reverend Samuel Gwinnett (1699-1775) actually lived with his family. He was instituted as vicar of Down Hatherley in Gloucestershire in 1727 and married Anne Emes c.1728/9. (Only a marriage licence found so far). The couple had seven children, six of whom were baptised in three different City of Gloucester parishes so it appears that the family lived in the city rather than in Down Hatherley vicarage.
I have been looking at Gloucester Cathedral Treasurer’s accounts as I know Samuel was living in 10 College Green at least from 1741 until 1750 (stated in a lease) and that property is within the Cathedral Precincts. Each year, the rents received by the treasurer are grouped into one of six categories, always in the following order: rents from the manors, rents from other farms, rents from portions, rents from pensions, rents from the precincts and rents from the city. I expected to find Samuel in ‘rents from the precincts’ but he always appears in the ‘rents from pensions’ group.
Does anyone know the meaning, in this instance, of the word ‘pensions’? Did it imply that, as a clerk, Samuel was more important than other tenants in the precincts – all those in the pensions group had connections to churches – Samuel, at that time, was also curate of St Nicholas church in Gloucester and was listed as such. Would Samuel have been responsible for paying the rent himself or would the Church of England have paid it. It was often left unpaid.
Just to complicate the situation, I have also been checking the Gloucester Borough rental records and Samuel appears in there as well, in all of the same years! The Borough records describe Samuel’s rent as ‘langable’ or landgable’ rents. What are these? No one else is described thus. Is there any connection between the rent from pensions for the Cathedral and the landgable rents for the Borough? For both organisations, the rent is 13s 4d per year. Did he rent two houses or pay two lots of rent on the one property?
I should add that Samuel rarely seems to have paid his rent! Occasionally he did pay off a lump sum to the Cathedral but rarely paid the Borough rent – at his death in 1775, he owed 25 years rent!
Can anyone clarify what is going on?