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 & ha
ulffe a quarter & a quarter
And I payed for evry
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
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
Item three Sylver
bowelles boules p[a]rcell gyltte lxv:& di
Wythe a coover Wayeng oWnces
Item one Sylver boell Wythe owte a
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
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!