Thomas Buttes: A man of means

Thomas Buttes: A man of means


The following pages are transcriptions of some pages of one of the documents that make up a collection in the British Library known as the Wodehouse Muniments. This manuscript is catalogued as:


Add. Mss 39221 ff 51, 54-57  Jewels and Plate: Plate of T Buttes 1560-1585


Some of the following accounts are written in what looks to be Thomas Buttes’ own hand, as identified in his signature found in several places in the surviving documents and elsewhere in a books once owned by him and now in the Morgan Libray and the University Library at Princeton. In addition to the valuation of the jewels and plate, a note of  purchases of fabric by his wife are to be found therein as well as a summary of the yearly outgoings of his manorial estate in 1563.


The transcriptions of each page are interspersed with a selection from the images  of the original pages supplied by the Brirish Library and incorporated into this article with their kind permission. I would be more than happy to hear from readers of this page who find any errors in my transcriptions as this is something of a new venture for me and an interesting learning curve!


British Library Add 39221 fo 51.


                                                                      © British Library Board Add Mss 39221 fo 51


A note of suche golde as I Thomas Buttes dydd

delyver unto Wyllyam Cobbould of Norwyche Golde                                                                    1.

smythe to make for me thereof a phlagon chayne this viijth                                                           2.

of Octobre Anno Domini 1560 & Anno secundo  dne Elizabeth R A



In primis fyve skore & twelve Anngelles                                              lvj .li            (£56)              3.

whyche after x s a peece ys


Item French  Crownes  eyght skore  which                                           xlviij .li        (£48)                4.

after vj a peece ys



A Sum of the  Goolde Golde put unto my                                            Ciiij. li         (£104)

cheyne ys fyve skore & iiij . li


W[hera]s that my sayde phlagon Cheyne wayeth                                 xxxv ownecys

Thyrtty fyve ownces & haulffe a quarter                                              & a quarter




And I payed for evry  ownce ownce

makyng therof. ij . s iiij.d so that the fashyon &                                   iiij. li  xvij. s     (£4-17/-)

making of my seyd chayn dyd cost me




W[hera]s that my sayd cheyne ys yn length three

yardes and halfe &  a quarter & one ynche &                                             hundred

there are yn my Cheyn seven hundredd                                                one hundreth

fower skore & twelve lynckes, & every                                                eyght pounds

lyncke woorthe ij s viij d & some what better                                       & xvij. s  (17/-)

so that hyt doothe stande me by all meanes yn


1.Wyllyam Cobbould (c1530-1586) (son of William and his wife Emma) completed his 7 year apprenticeship to Thomas Bere in 1552. The most talented of the Norwich Goldsmiths and responsible for the Reade Salt in the Norwich Civic Regalia. He was joint Warden of the Company of Norwich Goldsmiths in their first recorded official year of 1564 and again in 1566 and 1567. He was the father of William Cobbold, composer and Norwich Cathedral organist.


2. phlagon chayne  refers to the “pilgrim bottle” shape of its links


3. Anngelles  were coins first minted in 1465 and continued through to the reign of Charles Ist. They varied in value from 6/- 8d. to eleven shillings.The coins itemised here would have been from the time of Henry VIII or earlier as Elizabeth I didn’t mint any until 1578. Today’s  gold scrap value of  Buttes’ 112 coins would realise  around  £2,300 ….  as collector’s items, more in the region of £200,000




4 French Crownes would be the French  Ecu first minted in 1266 in the reign of Louis IX






Add 39221  fo 51v.

                                                                  © British Library Board Add Mss 39221 fo 51v

Item One doozyn goolde golde buttons wayeng

three quarters & of wayghte at £iij . s .iijd.                                           livj

It . for the makyng of ev’y button a peece viijd.


It  that the cheyne of fyne golde whiche

I dydd gyve unto my neece Anne Buttes

doothe waye vi ownces one qrter &

haulffe an angell weyght: at .iij li the                                                   Sum

ownce & the makyng of the same xxs                                                  xx li

& there are yn the sayde cheyne one

twenty skore lynckes & fower lynckes



Item that there ys yn the cheyne which I dydd gyve

unto my neece Anne Bacon now at this present daye being                 xxiij &              1.

the xij of Apryll Ao Dm 1565 & Ao vij dne Elizabeth ra                     viij lynckes

Three & twenty skore & eyght lynckes



1. Anne Bacon was the daughter of Thomas Buttes’ younger brother Edmund. Her marriage to Sir Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave took place in 1564. The two youngest of their nine children, Robert and Nathaniel were buried in St Andrew’s. Nathaniel was Rector of Ryburgh although living at Culford Hall in  Suffolk. The family presence in the church registers of Sir Robert and his wife Anne from 1604 until his death in 1655 suggests that they were resident, probably in Ryburh Hall  at some point after Thomas Buttes had died at Catton



Add 39221  fos. 52. and 52v.


© British Library Board Add Mss 39221 fo 52

© British Library Board Add Mss 39221 fo 52v

Thomas Buttes accounts on this page are for the costs of running his estate:


A note of all suyche certeyne & standing fees,

Annuytyes, & other chardgys, as I doo yerely paye

made the xxiiij daye of Novembre Anno domini 1563 & anno sexto

domine Elizabeth Dei Gra Regine Angl &c



Fyrst unto the Quene for the tenthes of the

Manors of Greate Ryburgh, Lyttle Ryburgh,                                         viij Li xiij s (£8-13/-)

& Thornham yerely for them all


Item unto the Quene for a mesuage & one

acre of lands late of the fee of Carbrooke lyeng                                   ij s vj d (2/5d.)

yn lyttell Ryburgh nowe letten unto me by

lease for.xxj. yeres payeng yerely therefore


Item unto my Suyster  mysterys Anne

Buttes wydowe for hyr thyrde goyng owte                                            xj Li. ij s. v d.

of the manor of Thornham yerely                                                           ( £11-2/-5d)


Item unto Chrystes Churche yn Norwyche

for the fearme of meyne landes of theyres                                             iijLi. vj s. viij d.

lyeng yn Thornham yerely                                                                     (£3-6/-8d.)



Item unto John Stone my bayely of                                                       xxvj s. viij d.

Thornham for hys fee yerely                                                                  (£1/6/-8d.



Item unto the sayde John Stone for the                                                 xxs (£1)

chardges of the Courtes there yerely




Item unto M Rogers Stewarde of my

courtes yn Ryburgh & Thornham for                                                   xl s  (40/- or £2)

his fee yerely


Item unto Nycholas Gottes my bayely                                                  xx s  (20/- or £1)

of Greate Ryburgh for hys fee yerely


Item unto the parson of Greate Ryburgh

for a composytyon & agrement for certeyne                                        xvij s. x d. (18/- 10d)

porte & other hys duetyes yerely


Item unto the Towneshypp of  Greate

Ryburgh aforeseyd for the fearme of a Closse                                      xiij s. iiij d. (13/- 4d)      

there caulled the Towne Close yerely



The some of suyche owte chardges

annuytyes, & standing fees, as I doo                                                     xxix Li. x s. vj d.

yerely paye owte as ys above wrytten                                                   (£29-10/-6d.)

coomythe yerely unto



fo. 53. (53v. is a blank page)

© British Library Board Add Mss 39221 fo 52v


The costs of  his household are accounted for on this page probably still in 1563:



Item I do pay yerely unto suyche my

howssehold servanntes as I doo dayely keepe                                      xv li.ij s.viij d.

withyn myne howse for standyng wagys                                              (£15- 2/-8d.)

onely besydes theyre lyveryes & suyche

other as agr[ee]d att my fyndyng




So that I doo pay of certeyntyes

owte of my lyvyng for food, annuytyes                                                xliiij li. xiij s. ij d.

& wagys, besydes lyveryes & suyche                                                  (£44-13/-2d.)         

other as agr[ee]d at my fynding yerely





© British Library Board Add Mss 39221 fo 54


Whatever the value of the utensils in their own right, the accuracy of their weight and certification by a goldsmith would have been the only way to establish its monetary worth


A note of all suyche plate as I Thomas Buttes have

at thys present daye beyng Wayed by Wyllyam Cobbold

of Norwyche Gooldesmythe this xjth daye of Novembre

Ao Dm 1563 & Ao 6to dne Elizabeth &c.


In primis one bason & Eawer of sylver                                                 lviij: & di

p[a]rcell gylte Wayeng oWnces onnces


Item three Sylver bowelles boules p[a]rcell gyltte                                 lxv:& di

Wythe a coover Wayeng oWnces


Item one Sylver boell Wythe owte a

coover Wayeng oWences  onnces                                                          ix: & one quarter


Item FoWer bell cuppys of Sylver With                                               xlvj xxxix

oWte any coover Wayeng oWnces


Item ij other bell cuppes Wayeng oWnces                                           xxiij


Item one playne Sylver saulte With                                                      v:

oWte a coover wayeng oWnces


Item one playne sylver cuppe With one eare

WithoWte a Coover havyng myne armes quarteryd                             vij: & one quarter

& gravyn thereon Wayeng oWnces

which I have gyvrn my Wyfe


all the above bracketed and described in the margin: 

Whyte & p[a]rcell gylte plate


Item one sylver cupp rybbed With oWte a Coover                               v & one quarter

Wayenge oWnces


In the margin: 

It[em] one flatt brode

boweth p[a]rcell gylte

wayeng ownces     xij.


Sum of the OWnces of my

Whyte & p[a]rcell Gylte Plate ys

nyne skore & fower elevyn ownces & di 

& one quarter


Unable to make sense of the final calculation at present!




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