People Property and Charity

The Clothworkers' Company 1500-1688


William Lambe (d.1580), Citizen and Clothworker, bequeathed properties in Sutton Valence, Coleman Street, Monkwell Street, Bell Alley and Essex to The Clothworkers Company in 1580.[1] By a will, dated 6 April 1580, Lambe granted the Company a messuage and land in Abbey Warley, Essex and a tile kiln, house and land in Upminster, Essex.[2] Under the terms of the grant, the Company undertook to use the rental profits from the lands to maintain the people in Lambe’s almshouses at Sutton Valence and to make an annual visitation to the free school, which he had also established in Sutton Valence.[3] No records survive in the Company Court Orders relating to the administering of the Upminster lands. The Company, however, appear to have had numerous dealings relating to the property at Warley, Essex, which is sometimes noted as Abbey Warley.

Warley, Treswell Survey, 1612The first reference to the Warley property in The Clothworkers’ Company Court Orders comes in 1618, with a petition to the Court by William Guy, the grandson of Walter Guy, who had held the lands under lease from William Lambe.[4] William Guy brought evidence to the Court relating to the poor state of the parcel of the Warley lands under the control of Thomas Whitbread, who had received a lease from his grandfather for five years.[5] He informed the Court that Whitbread had ‘made waste, digging up and carrying away fruit from trees out of the orchard of the dwelling house on the same lands’.[6] The Company advised Guy to deal with the matter himself, and to offer direction to Whitbread to ensure any future spoil would be avoided.[7] In July of the same year, possibly on foot of Guy’s concerns, the Company ordered Mr. Thomas Hide to undertake a survey of the lands.[8]

In April 1639, the Company appointed twenty feoffees for a number of their properties, including their lands at Warley.[9] These included Thomas Boylston, Austin Phillips, Adrian Evans, Marmaduke Rawson, Roger Drake, Ralph Hough, Thomas Burnell, Robert Austin, Ralph Holmes, Robert Story, William Prescott, Martin Pindar, Edmund Foster, George Ward, Thomas Deacon, Robert Swinarton, George Downes, Edmund Clarke, Thomas Stevenson and Henry Lindley.[10] In 1640, the Company appointed three Court members, Mr. Jennings, Mr. Hough and Mr. Monger to examine deeds of Lambe’s properties at Sutton Valence and Warley, following an earlier dispute regarding title to the lands.[11] By 1645, the Company had returned to day-to-day management of the Warley lands, undertaking a survey of William Guy’s property in July 1645.[12] Following the survey, William Guy was given notice to complete repairs to the property.[13]

No information is recorded for the Company’s management of the Warley lands for the remainder of the 1640s and early 1650s. In 1657, the Company surveyed the Warley lands, as part of a general survey of Company lands.[14] The Company requested that the Warley property be included in a ‘plat or table of lands to be drawn up’.[15] By the 1670s, the Company had expanded their interest at Warley. In July 1670, Mr. Neavell who held neighbouring lands approached the Company about purchasing his lands at Warley.[16] He offered them to the Company for £50 in fee simple.[17] The Company agreed that they would purchase the lands if Neavell came to Court with proof of title to it, and would give him £45. Neavell agreed.[18] The existing lands at Warley remained in the hands of the Guy family during the 1670s, as the lease of the Warley property had passed to Walter Guy, probably the son of William Guy. In July 1674, the Company undertook a survey of the Warley lands, making report that the house and ground were in good order.[19] Guy, however, entered into dispute with the Company following the survey regarding the number of acres that made up his lands. Guy stated that he had lease of thirty-three acres, while the Company argued that they had granted him thirty-eight acres, one rood and seventeen perches.[20] The Company ordered William Leighbourne, a surveyor to survey the lands to find out the exact size of the lands controlled by Walter Guy.[21]

In 1675, Walter Guy made suit to the Court for a new lease of the Warley lands. The Company granted him a lease for twenty-one years from 25 March 1675, paying £8 rent and a £95 fine.[22] The Company ordered that Guy should also pay all taxes relating to the lands.[23] In addition to his lease of the Company lands, the Company undertook to pay Guy £50 for land that he had bought from Mr. Neavell. The Company offered him a lease of the lands for twenty-one years at £10 per annum.[24] They also directed Guy to pay all taxes and 20s to the poor box for the lease.[25] By May 1675, it seems that Guy had still not paid his fine with the Company ordering payment of the full fine before a lease would be granted.[26] The Company sold the lands at Warley in 1880.[27]

The Warley, Charte and Sutton Valence properties were noted extensively in the Company accounts. Taken at twenty year intervals the monies accrued from the properties can be noted. In 1600, the Company received a rental income of £8 from Warley and £31 from Charte and Sutton Valence.[28] The annual expenditure was £4 at Warley and £43 10s. at Charte and Sutton Valence.[29] In 1620, the annual income from Warley was £8, with annual expenditure of £4 at Warley and £74 at Charte and Sutton Valence.[30]  By 1640, the annual income was £8 from Warley, with expenditure of £59 at Charte and Sutton Valence.[31] By 1660, the annual income was £8 from Warley and expenditure at Sutton Valence was £34 at Charte and Sutton Valence and 16s. at Warley.[32] By 1680, the annual income from Warley was £8, while at Charte and Sutton Valence the expenditure amounted to £34.[33]

[1] TNA PROB 11/62, Will of William Lambe, 10 March 1580.

[2] Ibid., p. 90.

[3] Ibid., p. 90.

[4] The Clothworkers’ Company Archive (hereafter CCA), Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 251v, Petition to William Guy, 13 January 1618.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/5, f. 261r, Survey of the Warley lands, 6 July 1618.

[9] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/7, ff 149r-149v, Feoffees appointed for the lands at Warley, 24 April 1639

[10] Ibid.

[11] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, f. 25r, Company nominates appointees to examine deeds of Lambe’s properties, 14 October 1640.

[12] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, f. 117v, Survey of Guy’s lands at Warley, 15 July 1645.

[13] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/8, f. 120v, Notice given for completion of repairs, 1 August 1645,

[14] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/9, f. 89r, Survey of Company lands, 15 April 1657.

[15] Ibid.

[16] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 239, Neavell’s sale of lands to the Company, 6 July 1670

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 357, Survey of, and dispute relating to the lands of Warley, 17 July 1674.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1.10, p. 374, Lease of Warley lands to Guy, 14 April 1675.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] CCA, Court Orders, CL/B/1/10, p. 377, Company order for fine to be paid by Walter Guy, 5 May 1675.

[27] A. Buchanan, ‘The Sources of the Wealth of The Clothworkers’ Company’, unpublished paper

[28] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/4, Section 6, The Renter Warden accounts of Anthony Fawlkes, 1600. f. 2v and 3v

[29] Ibid., f. 5v and 6r

[30] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/5, Section 16, The Renter Warden accounts of Daniel Hall, 1620, f. 4v, f. 8v and f. 9v.

[31] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/8, Section 4, The Renter Warden accounts of William Harris, 1640, f. 7v and 11r.

[32] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/10, The Renter Warden accounts of Dennis Gawden, 1660, f. 9 and f. 21 and f. 29.

[33] CCA, Renter Warden Accounts, CL/D/5/12, The renter warden accounts of Robert Stevenson, 1680, f. 8 and f. 17.