This period of time has uniquely bequeathed to us an intimate glimpse of everyday life, through detailed inventories of household goods, tools of trade, farming equipment and animals, taken when people died.
Dave Mainwaring of Morton has studied several hundred such documents, including Wills, to build up a picture of life in his home village during the Tudor and Stuart era. He will share this information, which has much in common with life in the Deepings, at our meeting on 10th November. Dave is a lively speaker who gave a talk last season about Deeping Lakes.
In West Deeping parish register, there is a burial record for SETH OFRENDIKE on 15th December 1669. From those bare facts we learn nothing about him, but an inventory of his possessions taken three days later, reveals he was an apothecary. In his shop were “physical drugs and medicines” with bottles, glasses, gallipots (small earthenware pots for ointment), small weights and pewter measures. He had seven stocks of bees in his yard, so may have used honey in some of his treatments. Mr Ofrendike also supplied haberdashery items such as buttons, silk tape, laces, needles, hooks & eyes and inkle (coarse linen tape used for shoe laces, garters and apron strings). He may have been over-generous with credit, as he was owed £3 10s in “desperate debts not to be got”!
Inventories of all farming folk are broadly similar, with carts and ploughs, hay and crops and typical furnishings of the age. The difference between yeomen and poorer cottagers is simply the quality and number of items.
WILLIAM JOBSON was a yeoman in Deeping St James who died in December 1603. His inventory is a typical list of furniture and bedding and pewter vessels, until we discover he owned “a rapier, a dagger, an elm bow and four arrows and a watching bill.” The latter weapon is a blade or spear fixed to a pole about 6 feet long. It was used by night watchmen, hence its name, but it seems more likely that Mr Jobson had a military role in his younger days.
Further back in time, in the “37th year of ye reign of ye Sovereign Lord King Henry V111th”, JAMES SOTHEBE died in Market Deeping. It was before parish registers were kept, but his inventory dated 1545 states he was a priest and curate. Among his possessions was “one cloth to hang before an altar” valued at 16d. He also owned one surplice. His everyday clothes were itemised as two shirts, two gowns and one cloak, a jacket of worsted, two pair of hose, two caps, one camlet doublet and one of fustian. (Camlet was a fine fabric of wool, silk and hair, whereas fustian was a coarse, heavier cloth of cotton and linen). As a man of status and education, he possessed books and a counter (writing table) as well as ten silver spoons.
Dave Mainwaring is sure to give fascinating insights into the lives of villagers 400 years ago. His talk starts at 7.30pm in the Conference Centre, Deepings School.
We look forward to welcoming members and visitors.