At our meeting on 9th February, the speaker will be David Pennell, Estate Director at Burghley. He is involved in the day to day practicalities of maintaining the Estate’s historic buildings and parkland, the tenanted farms, overseeing new building projects and public events. His experience and enthusiasm for this wide-ranging role will ensure a very interesting evening.
At the time that Burghley House was being built in the 1560s for William Cecil, 1st Baron Burghley, he was “immediate tenant” of the Manor of East & West Deeping (which included Deeping St James and Market Deeping) .The Manor was owned by the Crown, but William Cecil had been granted the right to collect all rents, fines and tolls paid by the inhabitants, subject to making a fixed annual payment to the reigning monarch. Even freeholders in the Manor were liable for an annual tax on their property. Copyhold tenants paid rent and also a fee every time a tenancy was transferred. Charges were levied for the weekly market, annual fair, fishing rights, the Waldrum Hall ferry and other tolls. Local courts were held to regulate the system, and a bailiff and steward were appointed by William Cecil to collect payments and liaise with tenants.
In 1563 a survey of the Manor was carried out, no doubt to assess its value, and some extracts from that document are given in F. A. Day’s book “History of the Deepings”.
William’s son, Sir Thomas Cecil, 1st Earl of Exeter was granted similar rights by Elizabeth I. He was to pay her £107 each year from charges levied by the Manor and also undertook to give £41 each year to the town of Stamford for charitable purposes. These included “the putting out to apprentice, poor children in the said town”.
During the reign of Charles I, Thomas Cecil’s son, William 2nd Earl of Exeter took over the Manor of East & West Deeping. He died in 1640 and his widow Elizabeth, dowager Countess was still receiving the income in January 1649 when the king was executed. In November 1649, another survey of the Manor was carried out on behalf of the Commonwealth. This names all the freeholders and tenants in the Deepings, listing their rents and other payments due. It was calculated that the dowager Countess’s annual profit was £239, out of which she paid the government £94.
Although the Manor was sold by the Crown in 1875, copyhold tenancies continued in the Deepings until the early 20th century.
David Pennell’s talk about the present day activities of Burghley Estate, starts at 7.30pm in the Conference Centre, Deepings School. We hope you can join us. Everyone is welcome! There is a charge for non-members of £2.