When William Hunt died in November 1691, the contents of his shop were listed and valued. He was a chandler (general dealer) in Market Deeping, selling over 100 different products. Some are still familiar today but others might puzzle modern shoppers.
Food stuffs included currants & prunes, 6 different spices, sugar, salt, honey & wax, anchovies, vinegar, treacle, nuts, brown candy, French barley and pearl barley.
For medicinal purposes he stocked Irish slate, which was ground and added to beer to treat sprains & bruises. There were aloes and arsenic, wormseed for treating intestinal worms & hartshorn (horn of red male deer) for making jelly or a type of baking powder. Aniseed water (for colic in babies and teething) and brandy (for the parents?) Diascordium was a mix of dried herbs, either with or without opium, recommended for female reproductive problems. Diapente had 5 ingredients, including berries of the bay tree, used as a stomach powder, and he also sold oil de bay, turmeric, brimstone (mixed with treacle as a purgative) and turpentine – used to treat rheumatism and wounds. There was white pitch (resin from spruce trees), capers, smalt & indigo (both blue pigments), verdigris (green pigment) plus fine Castile soap made from olive oil and soda, as well as common soap stored in a firkin (small cask), and white starch.
For spiritual health he had 3 dozen psalters (books of psalms), testaments and 3 dozen primers (likely to include prayers).
Haberdashery included laces, buttons, pins and coloured thread, yellow wire, steel thimbles & brass thimbles, ferret ribbons (decorated tape used for garters) and galloon (narrow braid in gold, silver or silk thread for trimming clothes & upholstery).
Among general goods were ivory combs, gunpowder & shot, tobacco & pipes, candles, trenchers, brooms made of rushes, pitch & tar, resin & sand, shovels, thack thread (for thatching) and pack thread (twine for tying up bundles). There were nails, gimlets, stock locks (for outer doors), gate locks, box locks, spring locks and horse locks (shackles for horses’ legs to prevent them straying) and horse combs. Ink horns and powder horns (for gunpowder) were sold, and children’s shoes, plus pattens to fasten under shoes to keep off the mud. There were bunching blocks for beating hemp or flax on, and iron-toothed combs called cards, for untangling fibres ready for spinning.
William Hunt was aged about 28, and died while his wife was pregnant. In his Will he bequeathed “unto the child which my wife is now withall, the sum of £10, be it male or female, at the age of 10 years”. It was a boy – baptised at St Guthlac’s on 3rd April 1692 and named William.
(His original Will and Inventory are held at Lincolnshire Archives)