Monthly Archives: October 2017

Life on a 17th Century Estate

At our meeting on Thursday, 12th October, the speaker will be Janice Moulds, who is an award winning National Trust volunteer at Woolsthorpe Manor.  She will give a lively account of daily life for rural families during the 1600s, when religious and political conflict was also affecting local communities.

When James Jellows died at Market Deeping in 1638, his family had been farming there for over 300 years, being listed as tax payers in 1332.  He was a fairly prosperous farmer with 60 sheep and other livestock.  Typically for that period, his household produced its own cheese, butter, bacon and honey, and also brewed ale and spun wool and linen yarn.  His barns contained hay and animal fodder, dried peas, barley for malting, and wheat & rye for making maslin bread.  Wheat & rye were sown in the same field and the mixed grain was harvested for bread flour.  (Maslin is derived from an old French word meaning mixed, and produced medium quality loaves).

It can be seen from this section of James Jellows’ Will that he made a mark in place of a signature, although he was probably able to read.  Among his bequests was an annual allowance to his 17 year old son James, who was a student at Caius College, Cambridge.  University records state that James junior had attended school at Moulton near Spalding.  He obtained a BA in 1641 and the following year was ordained a Deacon at Peterborough Cathedral.

Two other sons remained in Deeping and inherited copyhold land from their father.

James Jellows senior had been a church warden and left instructions to be buried inside St Guthlac’s church.  He appointed Edward Barnes and Thomas Oldgate of Market Deeping as Supervisors of his Will, describing them as “my two loving friends”- an expression which suggests they shared Puritan beliefs.

The rector of Market Deeping was Paul Prestland, who took the Royalist side a few years later during the Civil War, while Puritans sided with the Parliamentarians. He was ejected from his living, after pressure from local people, and even denied one fifth of his former income to which he was entitled.  It is said he was forced to sell family silver to support his wife and children.  Ironically in 1640, Edward Smith of Market Deeping who was godfather to the Rector’s young son, George, had bequeathed the child 40 shillings for “a piece of plate for a bowl to drink on”.  Perhaps that was also melted down in those difficult times.

The meeting will start at 7.30pm in the Conference Centre at Deepings School.  Janice Mould’s talk will be preceded by a brief Annual General Meeting.  Everyone is welcome.  There is a charge of £2 for non-members.