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3 1833 01205 1931 

IN SUFFOLK : : 1480-1905 


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I WISH to express my gratitude to Mr J. H, Jeayes 
of the MvSS. Department British Museum, and to 
Mr V. B. Redstone, Hon. Secretary of the Norfolk 
and Suffolk Archaeological Society, for help in 
deciphering the most ancient of the Betts' charters. The 
late Rev. Canon J.J. Raven, D.D., author of " The Church 
Bells of Suffolk," etc., also gave me most kind and 
valuable assistance in this respect. 

Mr Harold Wames of Eye kindly allowed me to 
examine the rolls of the manor of VVortham Hall, and 
other documents under his care. 

To the Rev. Edmund Farrer, author of " Portraits in 
Suffolk Houses," I am greatly indebted for expert and 
friendly help. 

Mr G. Milner-GibsonCiillum, F.S.A., has kindly allowed 
me to consult his as yet unpublished Genealogical Notes. 

The Rev. C. W. Moule, Fellow and Librarian of Corpus 
Christi College, Cambridge, was so good as to assist me 
with information respecting the " Red Book of Eye." 

The Rev. Sir William H}'de Parker has favoured me 
with some interesting suggestions. 

My thanks for their courtesy in permitting me to 
consult their parish registers, are due to the Rector of 
Wortham, the Rev. J. E. F. Faning ; to the Rev. C. U. 
Manning, Rector of Diss ; to the Rev. C. B. Nash, Rector 
of Yaxley ; and to the Rev. W. C. Badger, late Rector of 
Bressinghara. The incumbents of many other parishes, 
as well as numerous long-suffering correspondents and 
friends, assisted me with helpful answers to troublesome 


And I take this opportunity of especially thanking 
Mr J. Bancroft Holmes for his generosity in giving me 
permission to use his MS. copies of the correspondence of 
Archbishop Sancroft, the originals of which were formerly 
at Wortham. 

K. F. D. 

Theberton Hall, 
December 191 1. 



Introductory ...... 3 


Ancient Wills — A Deed of a.d. 1272 — John Bettys' Home 

AT WORTHAM ...... 6 

Copy-book of the Bettys Children — A Memorable Pageant 

— A Poet Laureate Rector of Diss . . .16 

Subsidy returns for Wortham — " Medicins for all manner 

of Woundes " — Doctor John Bettys . . .25 


Papists and Protestants — Results of the Dissolution of 

Monasteries, and the Spoliation of Parish Gilds . 34 


" Rycharde Bettes de Wortham " . . . .46 

Thomas Bettes licensed to " Use the Arte and Science 
OF Chirurgery " — An Elizabethan Lady Doctor — A 
Manor Court ...... 56 


1 559-1602 
"The Queene's Majestie " in Suffolk — The Armada 

Scare ....... 65 



I 599-1609 PACE 

Elizabethan Farming — " Resaits for Hors Drincks " — 

" Measures of Blowing " .... 73 

1 609- 1 636 
The Rev. Elnathan Parr, B.D. — The Wortham House- 
hold-Book — Sale of a Swan-mark . . .84 

John Betts of Wortham, Royalist — Rose Betts marries 
AN "Intruded Minister" — Pulpit Fulminations 
against Parliament . . . . .94 


I 648- I 66 5 
The Betts Farming Accounts — Wages and Rents — 

A Bartholomew Confessor on the Great Plague . loi 


Contemporary Account of a Contested Election . 108 


I 674- I 68 5 
The Family Bible — " Susan Gaskin Har Book " — Astro- 
logical Gardening — The Newmarket Plot . . 117 


I 642-1 69 I 
A Famous Hostelry — Persecution of Witches — Accounts 

of a Cambridge Undergraduate . . .129 


The " Flower-pot Plot " — Correspondence of Archbishop 

Sancroft . . . . . .139 

George Betts hunts " Ye Ffoxe " — Baits for Coarse 

Fish . . . . . . .159 



I682-I7I4 PAOB 

A Minister's Difficulties — His Denunciation of " Ye 

Tyrant of France " — Healing of the King's Evil . 162 

The First Jacobite Rising — Children's Horoscopes — 

Wearing of Calico Forbidden .... 169 

Introduction of Pheasant Rearing — A Grim Wager — A 

Spinster's Calculation . . . • ^TS 


The Gay Young Squire of Wortham — Dr Shuckford, 

Royal Chaplain — His Account Books . . .192 

1 746-1 764 
A Driving Tour through Norfolk — Religious Statistics 

OF A Country Parish — Vales at a Christening . 204 

The Lost Eleven Days — George Betts' Magistrate's 
Book — Reform of a Bridewell — " Ye Labyrinth of 
Chancery " . . . . • .210 

The Monthly Dinner Club — Coz Edward Thurlow, 

Attorney-General — A Window-tax Case , .219 

Details Social and Domestic — Private Ownership of a 

Lighthouse — Archbishop Cornwallis . . . 330 

Farming the Poor of Wortham — An Air Balloon — Hiring 

Fairs ....... 339 



1788-1793 PAGE 

Three Great Religious Societies — Martha Betts, on a 
Sermon of John Wesley — English Friends of the 
French Revolution . . . . • 245 


The Loyal Association — Humane Justices — Bread at 

Famine Prices . . . . 255 

The Hartismere Volunteers — "Mr Devil" at the Turn- 
pike — News of Trafalgar .... 269 

1806-18 1 3 
Coke of Norfolk, and his " Whiggish Sheep " — Obsolete 
Cottage Industries — A Convict describes Sydney, 
New South Wales ..... 277 


The Betts Family in London — Rejoicings at the Peace— 

The First National Schools .... 291 


Thomas Betts' Walking-tour through Wales — A Valentine 
Party — Thomas Betts, Rector of Colney, 1821 — Sir 
Thomas Bettys Priest there, 1455 . . . 297 


Skits on Society — Marriage of Thomas D'Eye Betts and 

Harriet Doughty ... . . 305 

Beating the Bounds at Wortham — Captain George Betts 
IN THE Mutiny — Catherine Harriet, the Last of the 
Betts of Wortham . . . . .310 

Pedigree ...... facing p. 318 

List of Authorities . . . . . -319 

Index ........ 323 






Philip Chute, Standard Bearer to Henry VIII 

WoRTHAM Manor 

Brome Hall in the Seventeenth Century 

WoRTHAM Church 






Gardiner Colby 

Edmund Betts of Wortham 

^ Painted by \V. Keable 

Abigail, Wife of Edmund Betts 

Painted by W. Keable 



Mary, Daughter of Edmund Betts 

Painted by W. Keable 

Passengers going to Bury Fair . 

Dr Chester, who remained in London during the 
Z' Plague ...... 

William Cullum of Thorndon 

/^ Painted by H. Verelst 

. Scole Inn ...... 

Drawn by J, Kir by in 1740 

Fishing ....... 

Rebecca, Wife of James Betts the elder 

^ Painted by Thomas Spink 








, The Rev. George Betts of Wortham . . . 208 

Mary, Wife of Dr Shuckford .... 214 

X From a pastel drawing 

^ Edmund Betts of Oakley ..... 222 

Painted by Henry Walton 

Mary, Wife of the Rev. George Betts of Wortham 230 

■^ Painted by Henr>' Walton 

Balloon Ascent from Bury St Edmunds, 1785 . 240 

Martha, Wife of Edmund Betts of Oakley . . 246 

^ Painted by Henry Walton 

y A Wortham Portrait, " Non Sine Quare," dated 1606 270 


The Rev. George Betts, and Mary, his Wife . . 294 

From a double silhouette 

The Rev. Thomas D'Eye Betts of Wortham . . 306 

From a silhouette 

George Betts as Ensign in the 8ist Regiment . 314 

From a miniature 

IN SUFFOLK : : 1480-1905 

IN SUFFOLK : : 1 480- 1 905 


IN the remote parish of Wortham in Suffolk stands 
an ancient house, which up to December 1905 
had been for over four hundred years the home 
of a family whose history, revealed in papers 
preserved by them, will be unfolded in these pages. 

Like most old houses, Wortham Hall or Wortham 
Manor, for it has gone by both names, stands close to 
a road, the back of the house, once the front and b}' far 
the oldest part, literally abutting upon it. The road is 
known as Fen Street. 

This most ancient portion of the present building was 
in all likelihood the actual tenement in " Fenn Strete 
Waye," to which, in the year 1480 or thereabouts, John 
Bett3^s brought his bride Elizabeth Wryght, daughter 
of an even then old Wortham family. Through this 
marriage the Wryght estates came to the Betts, who were 
destined to be known as the Betts of Wortham from 
that nineteenth year of the fourth Edward to the third 
year of our late King Edward the Seventh. 

The opposite side, the front of the present house looks 
south over the park, where still stand oaks so aged that 


they must have witnessed the founding of the family 
which they have now outlasted. 

The house was evidently altered and added to 
as time went on ; the front, pleasing and eminently 
homelike, with its gabled wings and old chimney stacks, 
dates only from Tudor times. 

But, before the house was dismantled after the death 
of the last of the family, it was the interior which excited 
most particular interest : — the sunny home-like rooms, 
crowded with beautiful antique furniture worn by faith- 
ful service to many generations ; low ceilings crossed by 
massive oak beams ; panelled walls hung close with 
family portraits ; ancient prints interspersed and thrown 
into relief b}' blue and white delft plates ; suits of 
armour of the Stuart period in hall and passages ; and 
in the drawing-room, upon magnificently carved and 
inlaid cabinets, and adorning the walls from floor to 
ceiling, china of many hues and varieties, Vv'hich later, 
when it had to be sold, fetched fabulous prices at Christie's. 
The whole interior of the old house had an air of fitness, 
giving the impression of immemorial usage, as if each 
chair and cabinet, each picture and piece of china, had 
had its own particular place assigned to it by the wish and 
custom of many generations of the home-loving Betts. 

The library, however, the abiding- place of over four 
thousand volumes, for the greater part venerable tomes, 
held the most interesting of all the treasures of Wortham ; 
for here a door in the panelling opened into a tiny room, 
once, maybe, a secret chamber, where were hoarded 
muniments, MSS. and parchments of dates ranging from 
1272, the year of the accession of Edward First, to 
mid-Victorian days. 


It is from these documents that this little history has 
been compiled, and it has been fascinating work to gather 
from them, here a bit and there a bit, the life story of 
eleven generations. Chronicles of those great in fame 
and noble of birth are many, and may be seen any day 
in public museums and Record Offices ; but MSS. illus- 
trating the history of a family like this of middle rank 
are far more rare. 

"If," says quaint old Fuller, in words which aptly 
describe the Betts of Wortham, " a strict enquiry should 
be made after the ancient gentry of England, most of 
them would be found amongst such middle-sized persons 
as are above £200 and beneath £1000 of annual revenue. 
It was the motto of wise Sir Nicholas Bacon, mediocra 
firnia, moderate things are most lasting. Men of great 
estates in national broils have smarted deeply for their 
visible engagements, to the ruin of their families, whereof 
we have had too many sad experiences, while such 
persons who are moderately mounted above the level 
of common people into a competency above want and 
beneath envy, have, by God's blessing on their frugality, 
continued longest in their conditions." 

In piecing together the Wortham documents it has 
been the author's endeavour to let them, as far as is 
possible, tell their own story. They do in fact, as 
nothing else could have done, present a continuous 
picture of the life and customs of successive ages. " The 
old order changeth," indeed, " giving place to new," 
but so gently, so gradually, as hardly to be perceived 
by any one individual of the passing generations of men. 




THE records of the Belts may fairly be 
said to begin with Beatys Wryght, grand- 
mother of the Ehzabeth who married John 
At the end of the long Wars of the Roses, in 1462, 
Widow Beatys Wryght made her will. By it we find 
that she was a woman of independent means, who had the 
disposal of a tenement called " Lords " in Wortham, 
which she gave to Rycharde, one of her two sons. To 
John, her other son, the future father-in-law of John 
Bettys, she left nothing save six pieces of pewter — 
though this was a considerable bequest in days when 
to serve " dainty meats on wooden platters " was the 
rule even in great households — for John was then already 
in possession of his late father's copyholds. This is proved 
by an ancient copy of Court Roll preserved by the Betts 
family, wherein mention is made of a piece of land 
called " Spers " in Wortham, as being held at that time 
by John. " Spers " has since come down in a direct line, 
in the family of John Wryght's descendants the Betts, to 
the year 1905. 

A DEDE OF GYFT— 1272 7 

That John Wryght was also seized of freehold land is 
probable, but copyhold is the only description of landed 
property that can be traced with any certainty before 
the statute of Henry VIII. sanctioned the devise of real 
property by will. 

The oldest document found at Wortham deals with a 
piece of common land, which will be frequently referred 
to throughout the Betts history, and is still possessed by 
the parish. It is a " Dede of gyft," whereby Sir Gerard 
de Wachesham granted a common of 160 acres then and 
now called the Ling to the " town shipp of Wortham " 
by the service of " a gilloper cloue " to be paid yearly 
" on the Feast of Saint Michael the archangel." The 
two copies of this " dede," preserved by the Betts, 
were written, one in Latin and the other in quaint old 
English. On the back of the Latin copy dated 1272, is 
an unsigned memorandum : 

"This is 395 yeares old Anno Dom 1667." 

A marginal note states that the original " dede " 
under " seaU of Armys " was delivered to the abbots of 
Bury. Some of the witnesses' signatures show surnames 
in the making : " Robert at the stile, Rynold of Wython, 
Peter of Burgate." Of these, the first, Stile, later Stilles 
and Stiles, continued at Wortham until the end of the 
eighteenth century. 

The thirteenth century " townsmen " of Wortham 
severally held scattered acres in the infield under two 
lords : the generous Sir Gerard de Wachesham and 
the Abbot of St Edmundsbury ; and two priests, of 
the two lords' separate presentation, looked after the 
spiritual welfare of the parish. There was also a semi- 


religious gild in Wortham, " the fraternity of Saint 
Trinity," of which, in 1462, Beatys Wryght was a 
member. By her will she left to this gild a coomb 
of malt, which she may have intended to be brewed 
into ale for drinking at her " month's mind," instead 
of meaning merely to add to the endowment of the 

Such parish gilds, holding property in which each 
member had an interest, were of the greatest value to 
the people of mediaeval England, for the common funds 
helped the brethren in old age or sickness and provided 
for their burial ; as do the great and beneficent Friendly 
Societies of to-day. 

But life was by no means all work in the middle 
ages, and gilds had a social as well as a practical side. 
" You know," says a writer on husbandry about 1472, 
" there are fifty-two weeks in the year. Now take away 
eight weeks for holydays and other hindrances, then are 
there forty-four working weeks left." Among the " hin- 
drances " to work of which this old writer complained 
were, besides the great ecclesiastical festivals, parochial 
festivities, of which the principal was the annual 
Church ale, held either in the gild house or in the church 
itself. The pence contributed by members of a village 
gild seem absurdly inadequate, until it is remembered 
that a penny then had about fifteen times the purchas- 
ing power of a penny now. The contemporary accounts 
of Bishop Fleetwood tell us that four pence halfpenny 
would then buy a dozen pigeons, three pence a goose 
or a pig, and one penny a gallon of ale. Master 
tradesmen then wrought for three pence a day and 
labourers for one penny. But the fact is that, after 


providing for the festivities, there was usually a surplus, 
which passed into the hands of the churchwardens. 
That this was so, the records for 1485, and after, of the 
neighbouring parish of Yaxley may be accepted as 
sufficient evidence. 

Unfortunately, all the churchwardens' accounts of 
Wortham prior to the eighteenth century have been 
lost. We do not know the amount of the " town-stock," 
but tradition has it that but for the uncharitable be- 
haviour of the people of Wortham, the parish would have 
gained an annual income of thirty pounds. A man 
called Purdy asked leave to be buried among them, which 
they refused because he was a leper, whereupon he left 
his poor body and rich estate to the neighbouring parish 
of South Lopham, which in due time gave him Christian 

The last bequest in Beatys Wryght's will is of one coomb 
of wheat to John Bokynham. 

The price of wheat was at that time four shillings 
and four pence a quarter. Bishop Fleetwood bids us 
take notice " that from 1440 to 1460 wheat had never 
been above eight shillings the quarter, notwithstanding 
the sword was drawn between York and Lancaster, which 
usually cuts down corn as well as men." 

Suffolk happily was untouched by the Wars of the 
Roses, but more than mere echoes of the struggle were 
likely to have reached the ears of Beatys Wryght. Six 
miles from her home in the town of Eye dwelt one Margaret 
Jourdemayne, a noted witch ; and to this woman, before 
the first battle of St Albans, is said to have come the 
gallant Duke of Somerset to learn his fate. 

Shakespeare makes the familiar spirit say : 


" Let him shun castles ; 
Safer shall he be upon the sandy plains 
Than where castles mounted stand." 

Words falsely true, for after the battle the Duke's corpse 

was found 

" underneath an ale house paltry sign, 
The Castle of St Alban's." 

Later, the witch conspired with the Duchess of 
Gloucester, making for her a wax image of King Henr}^ 
VL, the gradual melting of which should drain his life 
away. The plot was discovered, the witch was burned, 
and the Duchess was imprisoned in Peel Castle for the 
rest of her life. 

These were the days of darkest superstition, when 
witchcraft was as real to the credulous people as the 
Devil they saw painted in the Doom on the church wall ; 
and far more to be dreaded than he, seeing that witches 
had power over this present life, and the Devil only over 
that which was to come. 

Neither John nor Rycharde, Beatys Wryght's two sons, 
left any record behind them, but Alys John's widow, 
signed her wUl in the third year of Henry VH., 1487. 

And this brings us to the Bettys, Bettes, or Betts of 
Wortham ; the spelling varied, after the casual habit of 
the day. 

Alys Wryght bequeathed to her five grandchildren, 
" John, Thomas, Water, Rycharde and Alys, ye chyl- 
dren of my dowghter Elizabeth wyfe of John Bettys, 
vjs. viijd. or ellys eche of them a kowe." 

" To Jon Harvey my (? nephew) xiijs. iiijd. and xs. ye 
said John owthe me I haue relese him to praye for my 
soule. To Amy Bouet my dowghter vjs. viijd. and vjs. 


viijd. that she owth me I relese her to praye for my 
sowle. To the high altar of the Churche of our Lady 
in Wurtham vjs. viijd. and to the gylde of St Trinite 
vjs. viiijd." (In those days a noble, value 6s. 8d., was 
enough to buy a cow or a load of hay.) " I will have 
a certyn (? certifying) in the said churche iijs. iiijd." 
Whether masses were to be sung by the rectors of 
Wortham or by " the Austen freres of Thetford," to 
whom xs. was bequeathed, is not stated. 

Her religious dues discharged, Alys Wryght's thoughts 
naturally turned woman-like to the disposal of her clothes, 
then among the most treasured of all personal property. 

The import of manufactured cloth had, with a view to 
encourage native enterprise, been forbidden by a statute 
of 1464. Up to then the English had been sarcastically 
nicknamed " de schepers van Vlaanderen," being content 
as they were to receive back their own wool, in the shape 
of cloth, from Flemish looms. The price of clothes in 
1487 must have been enormous, judging by the cost 
before imports were stopped of russet cloth the cheapest 
stuff in the market. This was as much as one shilling 
and a penny a yard (roughly sixteen shillings and three 
pence of our money), and at least twelve yards were 
needed for a woman's gown of that period. 

Alys Wryght had a servant Kateryn Gosshauke, and 
to her she bequeathed articles not to be despised by one 
whose annual wage did not exceed a pound of the then 

These were " j payre of shets ; j canuas : j hedkerche 
nexte ye beste : iij yerds blankets for a petycote and a 
smokke cloth : j pewter dysshe : j candylstyke, my 
russet cote and a payer of Beedes of Jeet." 


A pair of beads was the customary name for a rosary. 
Readers of Chaucer will remember his description of the 
Prioress : — 

" Of smal coral aboute hire arme sche baar 
A peire of bedes gaudid al with grene." 

And jet beads such as those left to Kateryn were 
supposed to have especial virtues : Bishop Bale in 
Kynge Johan, written some years later, alludes to this 
belief : — 

" Blessynges with black bedes will help in every peril." 

Only one other article of dress is mentioned by name, 
" my vyolet k3n-tyll." The testatrix, aware, perhaps, 
that this garment was out of date, leaves it to Margery 
Wrj^ght, with the humble proviso " 3^ she will haue it." 

Fashionable dress of that time was in cut and style 
not unlike that worn by the Court personages in a 
pack of cards. Gorgeous embroideries and silks, spoils of 
the French war, decked English men and women. In 
vain had Lydgate, the monkish poet of St Edmundsbury, 
ridiculed " Woman his homys," for the ladies continued 
to wear forked head-dresses. Men's dress, however, 
was more successfully attacked, and the long pikes or 
beaks of shoes, which they wore tied back to the knee 
with silver chains, were condemned by law to be cut 
down to two inches. 

To repress extravagance was the aim of Edward IV., 
and to this end he framed sumptuary laws ; he also 
fixed the price of bread by assize, and decreed that no 
man, were he duke or peasant, should be allowed more 
than two courses at dinner. This last law remained 
unrepealed until the reign of Victoria ! 


A genial king was this Edward, albeit he interfered 
with the fashions ; and although he taxed his people and 
oppressed them sorely with so-called Benevolences, he 
did it in a pleasant way. 

An old historian relates how in the course of gathering 
a Benevolence " the King had called before him a Widow 
Gentlewoman, much abounding in Wealth and equally 
stricken in years ; of whom he only demanded what she 
would freely give him, towards the support of his great 
Charges. By my troth, quoth the old Lady, for the 
Sake of thy lovely Countenance, thou shalt have twenty 
pounds. The King, expecting scarce half that sum, 
thanked her and gave her a loving kiss. Whether the 
Flavour of his Breath did so warm her old Heart, or she 
esteemed the kiss of a king so precious a Jewel, she 
swore directly that he should have twenty pounds more 
which she as willingly paid as offered." 

Alys Wryght may well have seen King Edward IV., for 
while on his progresses to Bury, Norwich and Walsingham 
he must have passed close by the parish of Wortham. 

And she had also good reason to remember his deposed 
predecessor King Henry VL, who convened a Parliament 
at St Edmundsbury in 1447. She could indeed hardly 
have forgotten how the roads round Bury had to be 
patrolled by armed men day and night, for fear of a 
rising to rescue the King's uncle, " the good Duke 
Humfrey " of Gloucester, who was accused of treason 
— falsely, people thought — at this Parliament. She may 
even have seen some of the men-at-arms on the roads 
near her house, and have heard that " many died of cold 
and watching." 

Wortham lies on the highway between Bury St 


Edmunds and the village of Hoxne — scene of St Edmund's 
martyrdom, a place almost equal in sanctity to the saint's 
great shrine. It was to encourage pilgrims to visit this holy 
place that Gilbert, titular bishop of Orkney, a suffragan of 
the see of Norwich, had in 1307 granted an indulgence of 
forty days to those who should go on pilgrimage to the 
image of St Edmund at Hoxne, and some such pilgrim 
perhaps may have brought the news of the good Duke's 
murder at Bury to the people of Wortham. Palmers and 
wandering friars were the great newsmongers of those 
days, paying for their night's lodging and entertainment 
with many a gossiping tale. 

Mistress Wryght did not die till ten years after the 
date of her will, which had been " Yovyn " (given) at 
Wortham in 1487. Let us picture her, in her serene old 
age, sitting by the hearth in the centre of the great hall 
of John Bettys' house in " Fenn Street Waye " with her 
grandchildren at her knee. Clad in her " vyolet kyrtyll " 
and " russet cote," the " hedkerche nexte ye beste " 
covering her silver hair, she must have made a pretty 
picture, with baby Alys, a miniature copy of herself, in 
her arms, and the four boys in their quaint long coats, 
reaching to the top of high boots with long pointed toes, 
their hair in curls on their shoulders, in strange contrast 
to their little sister's primly white coifed head. While 
the children listened, she would tell tales of her youth 
and middle age, of the long Wars of the Roses, of the 
hateful witch of Eye, and of the death of Richard the 
late king on the bloody field of Bosworth. 

Perhaps she would veil the horror of the murder of 
the young Princes in the tower, under the guise of a 
then new popular ballad, " The Doleful History of the 




IB &G &a 



^lliySw ' 





Babes in the Wood," to which the children would listen 
with round eyes and bated breath. A son of Rycharde 
Bettys, one of these children, was later to make his home 
at Watton, near Wayland (Wailing) Wood, which is still 
confidently believed by the country folk to have been 
the scene of the murder of " the Babes " of the ballad. 

All England was yet ringing with the ballad ; it had 
really been aimed at the late King, for the common talk 
ran, that it was by his orders that Sir James Tyrell had 
smothered the young Princes. The tragedy would have 
been of special interest at Wortham, for this Sir James 
was related to Sir Thomas Tyrell, one of the lords of 
Wortham Manor and patron of one benefice, who had 
but lately presented John Gentyleman, their then parish 
priest, to the Rectory of Wortham Eastgate. 

In the days of Alys WYyght education was mostly 
in the hands of the religious orders. It is known that 
the monks of St Edmund's Chapel at Hoxne kept a school, 
and so probably did the monks from the great Abbey of 
St Edmondsbury who served the Chapel of St John in 
Palgrave. We do not know which school the Bettys 
children attended, but that they had due instruction 
in " grammar," w^hich then included the arts of reading, 
writing and speaking, is certain. Most likely it was the 
good Fathers at Palgrave who gave them their first 
lessons, for St John's stood on the borders of Wortham, 
whereas the school at Hoxne was some four or five miles 
distant. However that may have been, the actual 
school book from which, with " blithe visage and spirit 
diligent," they learned to write and read their letters 
remains to this day, scrawled over with their childish 




THIS ancient copy-book dating from about 
the latter end of the fifteenth century is 
among the Betts MSS. It is bound in an 
illuminated fragment of parchment torn 
from a much older " Book of Hours." As one of the 
most treasured possessions of the family it was enshrined 
in an antique and beautiful cabinet in the drawing-room. 

The words to be copied are written on paper, which 
was then costly, coming mostl}'' from abroad. Quaint 
capitals adorned with outlines of grotesque heads begin 
each moral sentence, and continue in alphabetical order 
down to the letter W. 

The home-made ink — one ingredient of which was beer 
according to the Betts recipes — is as black now as on the 
day the laborious scribe penned the last maxim : " Whoso 
kepeth company with a thefe hateth his owne soulle." 

The Bettys children evidently took their copy-book to 
school, and in it scrawled remarks about other scholars, 
to be slyly passed round when the master's eye was 
elsewhere. Who would not feel for the girl who received 
this scathing rebuke from her school-fellows : "for her 


that is a Miser shalle euer be serued lyke a miser " ; or 
sympathize with the boy who so carefully recorded that 
" Yt was the vij daye of July that Wyllam Prylles ded 
Polle my Haar." " Wyllim Whyte giue thys book " is 
scrawled on another page. 

The first of five generations of Betts children to sign 


his name was " Rycharde bettes," the boy mentioned in 
his grandmother's will of 1487, the last signature is that 
of a schoolboy of 1680 : " Scribendo disces scribere : 
Edmundus Betts." 

" Enforce yo"^ Wittes somwhat to leare," counsels the 
old book, and woe to the youngster who did not learn, for 
the times were changing. 

The long Wars of the Roses had justly brought ruin to 
the great landowners who had instigated war, but had 
tended rather to improve the position of the lesser gentry. 


The traveller Comines truly said of England just after the 
wars : " Et tombe le sort et le malheur sur ceulx qui font 
la guerre." And now while the sons of noblemen were 
advised that it was enough for them " to wind their horn 
and carry their hawk fair, and leave study to the children 
of meaner people," those meaner folk were eagerly reach- 
ing up to grasp at the tree of knowledge. New men, new 
conditions of life, called for new manners, and, above all, 
for education. 

" Lerne somwhat," the Bettys children laboriously 
copied from their book, " for when Fortune doith 
Sodeynlie Slake : Connyng remaineth and doith Neuer 
a man Lyuing forsake : as it is red in the Boke of Cato." ^ 
Wise counsels ; for he who did " lerne somwhat " could, 
whatever his birth, now aspire, even as did the low- 
born Cardinal Wolsey, to the highest offices of State. 

The rise of the wool trade, bringing prosperity, with the 
requisite leisure for learning, was largely responsible for 
this new condition of things. 

The " faire felds," pictured in " Piers Plowman," full 
of folk who had to " swonken ful harde " at " the plow," 
and later at " settyng and sowyng," had given place to 
solitudes of grass." 

Bacon described it as a poor man's grievance, that 
" arable land, which could not be manured without people 
and families, was turned into pasture which could easily 
be rid by a few herdmen." 

The complaint, " Halfe Englande ys nowght now but 
shepe," is attributed by a contemporary MS. to the 
starving countrymen, forced to abandon their unneeded 
ploughs, for the handicrafts connected with wool. 
1 Au English version then lately printed by Caxton of Dionysius Cato. 



East Anglia was the centre of the weaving industry. 
Worsted, a httle town in Norfolk, gave its name to worsted 
stuff; and kersey, a woollen material (mce popular, is called 
after Kersey, one of the most picturesque of Suffolk 

To equip them for their hoped-for rise in the world, 
manners were now carefully taught to young people of all 
classes, and elaborate codes of etiquette were laid down in 

" Books of Urbanity." Even the ancient Betts copy 
book shows the forms then considered essential in polite 
letter wnriting ; it teaches the school boy of Anno Domini 
1500 to conclude his letter thus : — 

" After all due and humble Salutacons 

Right well beloved Vncle accordinge to 

My boundon Duetie Sueuss (service) I haue 

Me commended Vnto You and to my 

Louynge Aunte." 


About this time, a curious instance of a claim, made 
under the fast dying feudal law of villeinage, occurred 
concerning one William Revet a collateral ancestor of the 
present writer, and through her family of the last 
generation of the Betts. In 1497, William, living at 
Rishangles, a village not far from Wortham, was a 
man of some importance who owned land in five 
parishes — Cotton, Finningham, Bacton, Rishangles, and 

This from a MS. in the British Museum : — 

" Edmund Earl of Suffolk, on the Monday next before 
the Feast of St Matthew in the 13th Henry VII., seized 
upon William Revet senior of Rishangles, at Westhorpe, 

his villein belonging to a messuage of 124 acres of land, 
10 of meadow, and 30 of wood, with the appurtenances, in 
Cotton, Finningham, and Bacton in Suffolk, and pleaded 
that he, the said Earl, and his ancestors, had been time 
out of mind seised of the said William Revet and his 
ancestors as their villein belonging to the said tene- 
ments. To which William Revet replied that he was 
not his villein but a free man, and joined issue for trial. 
After which the Earl challenged several of the jury, and 
at last durst not appear upon the trial. Upon which 
the jury found the said William Revet a free man, and 
gave him £100 damages and £20 costs," amounting 
to at least twelve or thirteen himdred pounds of our 

Villeinage died hard, for as late as 1563 the manumission 
of a villein is recorded at Framlingham. In the eye of the 
law it lingered for another century. 

In 1524 a memorable pageant dazzled the eyes of the 
Bettys family and the good folk of Wortham. This was 


the funeral procession of Thomas Duke of Norfolk, the 
hero of Flodden, and a " most high, potent and noble 
prince " in East Anglia. 

The Duke died at his castle of Framlingham some twelve 
miles distant. 

The register of Butley Abbey relates that the body, 
after lying in state in the Castle chapel, " was brought 
forth in order to its interment at Thetford, and laid in a 
chariot, and the horses that drew the chariot were finely 
decked, each having four escutcheons, and on his fore- 
head a small escutcheon beaten in oil with fine gold. 
Besides mourners' attendants, there were six gentle- 
men waiting on the chariot, to attend on the noble corpse 
as time required ; and six knights were appointed 
in every town to be assistants ; also attending on the 
chariot were four hundred staves with torches burning, 
bowing, and every one of the bearers had a gown and 

" The order and procession was," says the monkish 
chronicler, " very magnificent ; first went three coaches of 
friars, then the minister of the church followed by his 
chaplain, then the standard borne by — Windham Esqre., 
then a general assemblage of knights, esquires, gentlemen 
of his household, all with staves in their hands and their 
horses trapped ; then his banner borne by Sir Edward 
Bray Knt., his coat of arms and the helmet and crest by 
two heralds, the targer of his arms by Clarancieux king 
of arms, and the coat of arms, which was to be offered, 
by garter king of arms, all of whom rode in their liveries of 
black, their hoods on their heads, their horses trapped, and 
on every one of them four escutcheons of his arms. Then 
came the chariot in which the noble corpse lay garnished. 


then followed the chief mourner, the Duke's second son 
Lord William Howard, the eldest, the Earl of Surrey, being 
with the King's grace on business, and in a space behind 
him the other mourners two and two riding together in 
their long gowns of black cloth, their hoods on their heads ; 
next came the chamberlain with his staff, and the Master 
of the horse leading a sumpter horse trapped in fine cloth 
of gold garnished with escutcheons of his arms " — the only 
touch of colour this, in the long procession. " After 
which followed all other lords, knights, and gentlemen 
in black according to their degree, to the number of 
nine hundred." 

" In every town and village they were met by the minister 
singing such service as thereunto belonged, and every 
town had 6/8 and an escutcheon of his arms." At Hoxne 
the Bishop of Norwich came forth from his palace robed 
" in Pontificalibus with all the procession of the place 
singing the service appointed. ' ' Passing close to Wortham, 
the funeral train neared the towTi of Diss in the dusk of the 
evening, and there was met " with all the procession of the 
church, choir and town," the rector John Skelton at their 

This John Skelton rector of Diss, was a man of note and 
a near neighbour of the Bettys. Orator royal, court 
poet, and former tutor to King Henry VIII., he was 
honoured by Erasmus " as the sole light and ornament of 
British scholarship." Laureate at three Universities, 
Oxford, Cambridge and Louvain, he signed his name : 
" Master John Skelton, Laureate, parson of Disse," as 
witness to the will of a parishioner in 1504. Laureateship 
was then an actual degree, the scholar who gained it 
being " solemnly crowned, or his temples adorned with a 


wreath of laurel : that is, decorated in the arts of rhetorick 
and grammar." 

The pomp of the great Duke's funeral procession, and 
the lowly homage paid to the " noble corpse," which rested 
for one night in the choir of the black hung church of Diss, 
may well have inspired Skelton's lines : — 

" There may no franchise. 
Nor worldly bliss, 
Redeem us from this, 
Our days be dated 
To be checkmated 
With draughts of Death." 

Early next morning the new Duke took his place as 
chief mourner, and was brought to mass at the parish 
church of Diss by the king at arms and heralds. Sir 
William Finlay knight chamberlain to the deceased, 
bearing up his train, the Earl of Oxford ^ delivering to him 
his offering, and the other mourners following according 
to their degree. And then the procession was agam 
marshalled, and started on the twelve remaining miles to 
Thetford in the same order as before. 

The Monks' chronicle does not tell us which of two roads 
the procession now followed : there are two. By the 
shortest way it would have passed through both Wortham 
and the adjoining parish of Redgrave. 

Of Redgrave the rector at that time was Cardinal 
Wolsey, who had been a friend, but later became a most 
bitter enemy of our rector of Diss : Skelton having made 
the Cardinal the butt of some caustic lines. " The poet's 
satirical wit," says Fuller, " was unhappy to light on 

^ The Earl was Hereditary Lord High Chamberlain. 


three, " Noli me tangeres : the rod of a school-master 
(Lilly, the grammarian), the cowls of friars (the 
Dominicans whom he scourged in his 'Image of 
Vpocracy'), and the cap of a Cardinal. The first gave 
him a lash, the second deprived him of his livelihood, 
and the third almost ousted him of his life." 




IN the dining-room at Wortham, before the house was 
dismantled in 1906, hung a quaint panel portrait 
of Philip Chute or Chowte, who for his services as 
standard-bearer to Henry VHI. at the siege of 
Boulogne was granted a canton with the lion of England 
as an augmentation to his ancient coat of arms. 

Chute, who held the office of steward of Anne of Cleves, 
Suffolk estates, was connected by his sister's and 
daughter's marriages with the Wortham families of Waller 
Allyn and Taylor.^ One of these families, it is probable, 
gave a wife to a Bettys — the maiden name of more than 
one Mistress Bettys of the sixteenth century not appear- 
ing in the family pedigree — through whom this portrait 
may have found a home at Wortham. 

Henry VHI.'s ineffectual yet costly wars laid a heavy 
burden of taxation on his people. To fill an emptied 
exchequer the King in 1524 demanded a subsidy from 
Parliament, which was refused. But monarchs such as he 
had a summary method of gaining supplies. 

Having sent for the leader of the opposition Mr Edward 

^ Alys Bettes, widow of Rycharde Bettes, was admitted in 1559 to a 
piece of land called " Ebyll once John Tailors." 


Montagu, who knelt before him, the King, laying a heavy 
hand on his head, addressed him roughly : — 

" Ho ! man, will they not suffer my bill to pass ? Get 
my bill passed by to-morrow, or this head of yours shall 
be off." 

The subsidy was granted after that, but its collection 
caused great discontent and riots in Suffolk and Norfolk. 

" Who is your captain ? " inquired the Duke of Norfolk 
to the Norwich insurgents. " His name," they answered, 
" is Poverty, for he and his cousin Necessity have brought 
us to this doing." 

This Duke was he who had been chief mourner at his 
father's magnificent funeral. 

The unpopular subsidy seems to have been collected 
without any difficulty at Wortham ; we have the official 
returns for that parish which show that only one other 
parishioner was taxed higher than John Bettys the 

The name, " John Bettys son, off Fenn Street," also 
appears in the return. This John, the younger, appears 
to have been a scholar who travelled much in distant 
lands, and it seems probable that in later life he entered a 
religious order. Of this there is some inferential evidence. 
A very curious and interesting MS. book of medieval 
medicine found among the Betts papers is attributed to 
him. The coarse hand-made paper pages of this book 
are roughly stitched together, and the cover, if one ever 
existed, has been destroyed. It contains twelve lengthy 
prescriptions, headed : " Medicins for all manner of 
woundes to drawe and heale them, be thay never so 
bade, olde or newe." In one place the writer speaks 
of coming from Jenisalem in 1518. 


Perhaps the most strange and curious prescription, 
where all are strange and curious, is this : "To make an 
oyle of red dog : by meanes wher of besides other infinet 
vertues yt it haith : i haue healed a frior of Snt. Onofares 
who had by ye space of 12 yeares a lame and drye 
withered arme like a sticke so yt natuer gaue it no more 

" Taike a young dog of red haire : and keap him 3 dayes 
without meat : and then strangell him with a corde and 
let him lye dead a qwarter of an hower : and in ye meane 
time boyle a kettell of oyle upon ye fire : and put ye dog 
in hole or in peases : it maketh no mater howe : so yt he 
be all ther with his skine and haire : and make him seeth 
so vntille he be all most sodden to peases keaping allwaies 
ye keattell close couered : in ye mean time taike scorpions 
to ye number of four skore or a 100 : and put them in a 
bason on ye fire : vntill they be thoroughly burned : then 
put them in ye said kittel with ye dog and ye oyle : puting 
to it a good dish full of great grownd wormes well washed : 
a good hand full of saint iohns worte : a hand full of wilde 
or marsh mallowes : and a hand full of wallworte : with 
an ounce of safrone : seeth all these thinges welle together : 
vntill ye flesh of ye dog be broken and fallen in peases : 
and because ye must haue much oyle : ye may at ye first 
put into ye kittel to partes of watter and one parte of oyle : 
and in seething ye maye power in water vntill ye dog be all 
together broken as is all redy saide then let it wax cold : 
after this ye shall taike ye bones of him and ye herbes : 
and when ye haue presed and squissed them well : yt all 
ye substance remaine in ye saide oyle : cast them away : 
this doone : you shall taike onlye yt which is aboue 
vpon ye said water : yt is to sale : ye oyle and ye grease : 


and cast away ye water if ther be much : but if ther be 
but littell : so yt you can scant discern ye oyle from ye 
water : ye shall taike all together : for a littell water cannot 
be but good : then straine it throughe a strainer or canues : 
first weated or steeped in white wine : and taike then 
vnguentum agrippe 7 or 8 ounces : of ye marie of a gambon 
and bones of a hogge : a pownde : of ye marie of ye hind 
thighes of an asse : a pownde : or as much as ye may gite : 
put all these thinges to gether with ye said oyle and grease : 
and make it seeth vpon ye fire : then ade to it a dish full 
or an halfe of oyle of roset : and when it seetheth : you 
shall put to it 3 ounces of masticke : 2 ounce of gumme 
elem : 8 ounces of red waxe : but ye masticke and ye 
gimime must be well beaten into powder and sifted and 
when all this haith boyled by ye spaice of halfe an hower 
let it coole againe and set it in ye sun in som kind of vessell 
well couered by ye spaice of sartaine dayes : then shall you 
hau an excelent substance and mater for all kindes of cold 
infirmities : and for many other : and as i hau all redy 
sayed i hau seen the experience of it in a fryer of sainct 
onofrey : yt is to say : of them that weare an habite of 
roane couler : but as he said he dwelt in ye monastarie : 
because of ye said infirmitie of his left arme which was as 
drye as ye branche of a withered tree : more ouer : he 
said vnto me : yt he did not remember : nor could tell 
whether yt chansed to him ether by sickness : or by som 
wounde or hurte : ye said arme was becom smaller than 
ye other all moste by halfe : so yt ye saide arme had all 
most no strength at all : and coulde not help itself in any 
wise : I caused him to be anointed with ye saide oyle which 
i had set in ye sunne ye sommer of ye year a 1000 500 47 
by ye spaice of 12 miserere : and maide him tarye in ye 


sunne vntill ye said oyle was dryed up : and had perced 
thorowe ye saide arme : and within 55 dayes men did 
peiceaue and see perfectly : yt ye vaines gau nourishment 
vnto ye member : 9 days after ye arme was as full of 
flesh as ye other : and with ye help of god was as hole an 
sownde : as thoughe it had neuer bine hurte : this saide 
ointment or oyle is a precious thing and good for all cold 
infirmities and for ye goute : and especiallye for all con- 
tractions or shrinkings together of sinewes or members 
or woundes : all be it ye man were wounded in ye midest of 
ye body : in puting to it this oyle shall a maraculous thinge 
be seene : and it is all so good for ye sinnewes : as i came 
from ierusalem in ye year 15 18 in a shipe of ye which ye 
maister was called peter de chioggia we wer set vpon by 
5 foystes of pirates on this side corphu : and on of ye 
mariners so attainted with ye stroake of a gunne : yt he 
had his arme brused and broken : and with ye same blowe 
another hurt in ye breast : ye phisitian wold hau cut of ye 
arme : but amonge other things yt I carried aboute with 
me : I founde a boxe of ye saied ointment : wher with I 
annointed his arme : and in ye space of 6 or 7 dayes he 
was healed marraculously : I hau maid many experiences : 
as well vpon myself as vpon others : and hauing giuen of 
it unto diuers men to ayde them selves with all : they hau 
tolde me yt they hau founde in it a maruelous vertye and 
operation : if you doe make this oyle in ye time when ye 
herbe sainct iohns worte is found : you shall put in ye 
herbe : ye blosom : and ye seed : but if it be in ye time 
when it cannot be found : after ye hau maide ye first 
decoction of ye dogge : as we hau saied : yee shall boyle 
ye oyle and grease ouer againe puting to it ye oyle of 
sainct iohns worte : wher of we hau spoken before : or 


as ye may get it : yt is to say : halfe as much as all ye oyle 
and grease is and if you cannot find : bismaluc or wild 
mallowes : you may put in stead of it ye ointment called 
dialtea : which is commonly fownd at ye apotheraries 
and when ye will boyle ye dogge in ye kittell : it shall be 
good to put in three tortoses yt line on ye land and not 
on ye water : and so shall ye said ointment be very 
excelent for ye gouet : a sartaine man of min aqwantance 
of ye age of 30 years vexed with ye gowte whome i maide 
taike of this oyle : and annointe him self a littell in ye 
plaice of ye griefe and abowte it : puting to it 2 partes of 
oyle roset : one part of ye oyle yiolets and 2 partes of ye 
oyle of dogge : told me yt he had fownd maruelous ease 
and help by it and ye said griefe returned again 4 sundery 
times yet anointing him self ther with 3 times as is a 
fore said ye paine came to him no more in ye spaice 
of 3 yeares yt we wer in rome together : which was ye 
year 1514 and this man was called drogo a portingall 
and dwelt at ye mount iordan : sith yt time being gon 
to venies and from thens to leuent I hau heard nothing 
of him." 

John Bettys the younger is mentioned in his grand- 
mother's will made in 1487, as the eldest of the five 
children of John and Elizabeth Bettys ; he would have 
been a few years over thirty at the time of his sojourn in 
Rome with " Drogo, a Portingall." The supposition that 
he had entered religion is strengthened by the fact that he 
did not inherit the Wortham estate which passed to his 
brother Rycharde. Moreover it is noteworthy that the 
prescription alludes to a long sojourn in Rome and a toil- 
some journey to Jerusalem. And again, the treatment 
prescribed for the friar's withered arm would certainly 


have subjected him if a layman to prosecution in the 
Courts Christian of that day. 

Here is a case in point from Hale's Precedents : — 

One William Browne was in 1527 accused in the court 
of the Commissary of London at Bow, for that he used art 
magic and incantations for horses. He confessed that his 
practice was to collect certain herbs and other things, and 
that he said the Lord's Prayer five times, the Salutatio 
Angelica five times, and Symbolus Apostolorum three 
times, and that with those medicines he cured a horse of 
a disease called " the fasshyns." No doubt poor William 
duly suffered punishment for his dire offence, but what his 
penance was we do not know, as the case was adjourned 
to the next court, and is not further reported by Arch- 
deacon Hale. 

In our old traveller's account of the attack made on 
the pilgrim's ship by pirates off Corfu in 1518, " the stroake 
of a gmine " which " attainted one of ye mariners," shows 
that fire arms were already beginning to take the place of 
bows and arrows. Not even Martin Luther's denuncia- 
tions could check "the inventions and multiplications of 
those cruel, damnable machines, the direct suggestion of 
the devil " : mynards, hagsters, culverins, flings, falcons, 
double-dogs, pestilent serpentes, and the bassils or 
basilicks which from the galleys and foysts of Henry 
VIII. 's navy were, it was said, capable of destroying an 
enemy's ship at one blow. 

Another of the old doctor's ointments " whose vertyes 
are infinit " was concocted of : "3 black vippers and 
vennemous : 3 serpentes : 3 snakes : 3 liteU serpentes 
called aspide : 3 vipers : 3 toades and 10 of those litell 
beastes called in lataine tartantula or steUiones : which 


be like unto lizards : 50 scorpions and if you can git any 
other vennemouse beasts : put them in qwicke." 

White wine and " ye oyle of sanct iohn's worte " was 
to be added to " ye oyle of ye said beastes," blossoms of 
celandine and " ye iuce of crispina rubra, called in some 
plases cardonello : and in venice sigone : it is a very 
precious herbe : i saw, " says the scribe, " once a man : 
yt cleft a yonge kidds head : all most a sunder and after 
laid to it : only ye iuce of ye said red crispine : and ioyhned 
ye head together : and bownd it with a band : and in 
2 days ye kidde was healed : as sounde as he was 

The " caudron," which contained the ingredients, "it 
shall be good to set in manner of a furnes : as it wer to 
make salt peter or as sope caudrons be set." When 
camphor was added " then must ye sudenly couer it : for 
ye campher is so fihne and dilicate : yt it wolde incontinent 
breathe out and vanish a waye." 

" Princes," said the learned doctor, " ought to command 
thys ointment to be made in ther commonweathes : and yt 
it shold be maid in ye presens of phisickians : as treacle is 

" Treacle " refers to " Venice treacle," a horrible 
mixture of vipers, white wine, opium, spices, red roses, 
treacle, mustard, and St John wort with other herbs, which 
was said to have been first made by Nero's physician. 
So late as the seventeenth century Venice treacle was, 
we read, taken nightly by Sir Ralph Vemey, who pro- 
cured it for 19 livres a pound from a shop near St Marks in 

In the foregoing prescriptions, vipers, scorpions and 
other " venemous beastes " find a place, for the reason 


that by their poisonous character they were beheved to 
destroy poison, even that of their own bites : — 

" Venym fordoth Venym and that I proue by resain 
For of alle venymes foulest is the scorpioun 
May no medcyne helpe the place there he styngeth 
Til he be ded, and do thereto the yuel he destroyeth." 




WITH the Belts papers was found an "Extent, 
and true Terrier (made in 1623) of all 
such houses, messuages, Lands, pastures, 
medowes, feedinges and liberties, as doth be- 
longe to ye Rectorie and psonage of Wortham Eastgate, by 
Thomas Leverington then incumbent, according to extent 
(which had been) mde in the Incumbencie of George Jarvis 
then Incumbent & Parson in the reign of Henry eighth." 

The names of neither this George Jarvis, nor of his 
contemporary Rector of Wortham Southmore, George 
Everarde, can ever be forgotten at Wortham, for since their 
incumbency the proper distinctive names of the two 
medieties have been dropped, and these are colloquially 
called Wortham Jarvis and Wortham Everarde to 
this day. The reason for this was perhaps that 
the two rectors differed as to the right of the King 
to usurp the Papal authority, and their separate flocks 
accordingly ranged themselves, each under its leader's 
name. If this were so, it is not hard to guess which side 
was taken by John Bettys, and after his death which 
occurred before 1538, by Rycharde his son, for in the 


library at Wortham were found two books of completely- 
contrary views, wdth just twenty-two years between their 
dates of publication. The first in aU probability reflected 
the father's opinions, the second those of the son. 

The first of these books published in 1521, is Henry 
VIII. 's " Assertio Septem Sacramentorum adversus Martin 
Lutheru," for which treatise the King was rewarded, as all 
the world knows, with the title of Defender of the Faith. 
This fine copy, a first edition with a woodcut border to the 
title by Holbein, was sold at Sotheby's in 1906 for ;^37, los. 

By the other book, " A necessary Doctrine & Erudition 
for any Christian man set furthe by the Kynges Maiestie 
of Englande," the royal author, in 1543, claimed to be 
supreme head of the Church, and to appropriate to himself 
all monies which had formerly been sent abroad to the 

Pope. l;^^^2;^3 

Wortham, situate where it was, could not have failed to 
be a veritable battlefield for conflicting religious opinions. 

On the Pope's side, the great abbey of St Edmundsbury 
must have exerted a strong temporal as well as religious 
influence. As patrons of half the church and lords of the 
manor of " Wortham Abbots," the monks still held their 
customary court yearly at the stone villa which Abbot 
Samson had built (in the adjoining parish), on the site 
of what is now Redgrave Hall ; and it was as true in 
the sixteenth as it had been in the twelfth century 
that " the men of Norfolk and Suffolk loved St Edmund 

Moreover, tenancy of the Abbey lands conferred special 
and valuable privileges. The Abbot and Convent of Bury 
had the right to exact oppressive tolls on all goods which 
out-dwellers brought into the town for sale, but such out- 


dwellers as held lands of the Abbey were entitled, on pay- 
ment of the town penny, to have their names written in the 
alderman's roll as free men, whereby they escaped all other 
payments, and acquired the right to have their causes 
tried by the oaths of their neighbours instead of by the 
courts Baron and Leet. 

On the King's side, the influence and following of 
Thomas Bilney and Thomas Arthur, who at this time were 
preaching the doctrines of the Reformation throughout 
East Anglia, were great and were daily increasing. 

Can it be that the Bettys and their neighbours could 
have refrained from taking sides with one or the other of 
the religious parties. We know that within a mile of 
Rycharde Bettys' home there lived one Nicholas 
Bokenham, a grandson it is likely, of the John Bokynham, 
mentioned in Beatys Wryght's will of 1462. Nicholas 
was cousin to one of the best known controversialists on 
the side of the old religion, Dr Robert Buckenham or 
Bokenham, prior of the Black Friars of Cambridge, and 
one of Latimer's most bitter opponents. To him had been 
committed the task of refuting, by an answering sermon 
at Cambridge, Latimer's arguments respecting the gen- 
eral use of the Bible by the laity. His views thereon are 
remarkable : — 

" If," said he, " that heresy should prevail, we should 
soon see an end of anything useful among us. The plow- 
man, reading that if he should put his hand to the plow 
and should happen to look back, he was unfit for the 
Kingdom of God, would soon lay aside his labour. The 
baker likewise, reading that a little leaven will corrupt 
the lump would give us very insipid bread. The simple 
man likewise, finding himself commanded to pluck out 


his eyes, in a few years we should have the nation full of 
blind beggars." 

Of the opposite opinion, another near neighbour of 
the Bettys, Antony Yaxley of Rickinghall, was an ardent 
partizan on the Protestant side. This unfortunate gentle- 
man, being " detecte " before the austere Richard Nix 
" busshope of Norwich," had in 1525 been forced to sign 
a recantation before his " Reverend ffathirhode " at his 
lordship's palace in Hoxne. 

Then, at Redgrave there lived Dr Butts, trusted 
physician of King Henry VIII., and a learned man of 
enlightened views and Protestant leanings. It may weU 
be that Rycharde Bettys, himself a follower of Master 
Bilney, escaped being " detecte," as was the unlucky 
Yaxley, through the protection of this influential neigh- 
bour. Butts is said by Foxe to have been a special 
favourer of good opinions, and to have twice used his 
influence with the King to gain preferment for Latimer, 
at the second time, by help of CromweU, procuring him 
the bishoprick of Worcester. 

In the National Gallery hangs a portrait of this 
Dr Edmund Butts, painted by a certain John Bettes in 
1545. Though nothing is definitely known as to the artist's 
parentage, it seems more than likely that he was a member 
of the family of the Bettys of Wortham, the doctor's near 

How deeply the old Church had struck its roots into 
the life of the people, even such unsympathetic documents 
as the deeds which were in the Wortham muniment room, 
bear witness. There are a hundred or so Betts charters 
from the thirteenth to the sixteenth century, and not 
one but is dated by a Saint's day, or by some Sunday 


for which a special service had been appointed. For 
instance, one bears date " Wednesday after the Feast of 
St Matthew 40th Edward III." ; another, " The Sunday 
on which Misericordia Domini is sung 43rd Edward III." 
And so, even long after the Reformation farming opera- 
tions continued to be begun on specified Holy Days. 
Tusser, the East Anglian poet and farmer, writing in 
Elizabeth's reign, dates aU his farm work from Saints' 
days, such as : " The day of St Stephen old fathers did 
use for bleeding horses " ; again, " Set garlic and pease at 
St Edmond the King." And the regular religious had 
taken a strong hold on the business of rural society ; the 
monks had won respect from the folk of the country-side 
as being the best of landlords. The old saw, " Good living 
under the crook," was often in men's mouths ; and, more- 
over, they had excellent skill, and were practical exemplars 
of the farmer's craft. 

On the other hand, the weakness and danger of the 
religious orders was their enormous wealth ; it was said 
that no less than half of the entire land of England was 
in the hands of the monks. One Abbey, the Benedictine 
House of Bury, possessed in Suffolk alone, no less than 
eighty-one manors and forty churches, and their rent roll 
amounted to the equivalent of at least ;£23,36o of our 
money. The end was inevitable, for while the religious 
houses were weak, the King was poor, and his power was 

In 1528, the first stone was thrown against them by the 
small relentless hand of Anne Bolejoi, who then presented 
to the King, Simon Fish's " Supplication of the Beggars." 
In this treatise it was craftily stated that the reason why 
the fifteenths and subsidies which " Your Grace most 


tenderly and of great compassion hath taken among 
your people . . . have been so slothfully yea painfully 
levied " was because " the uttermost penny had been 
beforehand gathered by the five orders of friars. And 
what remedy is it to endow hospitals to relieve the poor, 
sick, lame and sore bedesmen ? " argued Fish, " for ever the 
fat of the whole foundation hangeth on the priests' beard." 
The book having been read to the King, His Majesty made 
this enigmatical comment thereon. " If a man should pull 
down an old stone wall and begin at the lower part, the 
upper part might chance to fall on his head." True 
enough, no doubt, but the Sovereign's sage reflection, 
did not save the lesser convents, which met their fate in 
1536, three years before the fall of the greater houses. 

Amongst the lesser houses which were first dissolved 
and robbed was that of the Bettys' neighbours, the 
community of the Priory of Eye. Two years pre- 
viously, in the vain hope of obtaining a reprieve, 
the Prior and his eight monks had subscribed to 
the supremacy of the King, but it had availed them 
nothing ; they were now driven forth, their revenues 
confiscated, and all books, archives, and registers, and 
the family records which had been deposited with them, 
were lost or destroyed. 

Among their archives was the celebrated Red Book of 
Eye. This sacred and revered volume was a MS. copy of 
the Gospels written in Lombard characters. It had been 
brought to England in the seventh century by St Felix the 
Burgundian, bishop of Dunwich, and the first missionary 
to preach the gospel in Suffolk. It had been treasured 
at Dunwich, till the sea encroaching threatened its safety 
there, when it was removed to Eye. Of such sanctity 


was this Red Book that oaths sworn upon it were deemed 
of special solemnity .^ 

Then in 1539, a yet greater upheaval shook the fabric 
of rural society at Wortham. The princely house of 
St Edmundsbury, second only in magnificence to 
Glastonbury Abbey, was dissolved ; and John de Melford, 
last of a long line of mitred abbots, with his shrunken 
following of sixty-two monks, was driven out to die 
presently in grief and obscurity. Some years before the 
final fall of the Convent, the King's visitors had robbed 
the " ryche shryne " which they found " very cumbrous 
to deface," of most of its glory, and " takyn in the 
Monastery in gold and silver M.M.M.M.M. (5000) 
marks, and above over and besyde, a riche crosse with 
emreld, as also dyvers and sundry stones of great value," 
and yet, so runs their report " we have left the Churche 
Abbott & Convent very well furnished, with plate 
& silver necessary for the same." 

The manor of Wortham Abbots, then wrested from 
the Abbey, was granted by the Royal Robber, to a rising 
young lawyer, Nicholas Bacon by name, a former scholar 
of the monks' far-famed school. 

Rycharde Bett3's was one of the tenants of the manor 
of Wortham Abbotts. Among the family papers is a 

^ Leland, when commissioned by Henry VIII. to examine all ecclesias- 
tical libraries, saw the Red Book while in possession of the monks. Two 
centuries later Bishop Tanner refers to it as " in the hbrary of Corpus 
Christi College, Cambridge," an assertion believed now to be incorrect. 
Dr James, in his " Sources of Archbishop Parker's Collection of MSS. at 
Corpus Christi College," published in 1899, says he had heard, on good 
authority, that the book which Leland saw was in possession of the 
municipality of Eye until quite recent times, and that it had been, 
within living memory, cut up for game labels ! He believes Tanner 
confused the Red Book of the Peak of Derbyshire, which is certainly 
at Corpus Christi College, with the Red Book of Eye. 


copy of Court Roll dated 1535, being the surrender by 
him to the use of his will. He had lately married, and 
this prudent surrender enabled him to dispose by will of 
his copyhold land, which otherwise would, according to 
the ancient custom of Borough English prevailing in 
the manor, have gone to the youngest son. 

It is interesting to note that the descriptions of certain 
copyhold lands in this surrender of 1535, are in the 
very same words, by which the same lands were described 
when the estate was sold in 1907. It is also the fact, as 
has been before stated, that the house in which Rycharde 
Bettys was born and died still forms the oldest part of 
the existing mansion, and that about a hundred acres of 
freehold land owned by him in the reign of Henry VIII. 
can be clearly identified with the site of the present 
garden and park. 

In the year 1538, Thomas Cromwell, Vicar-General 
and Vicegerent of the King, issued an injunction that 
a book of register should be kept in every parish, 
wherein should be written every wedding, christening, 
and burying. 1 

The parish register of Wortham, " Tyme's dumb 
recorder," has since that date chronicled the births, 
marriages, and deaths of the Betts of Wortham. 

Rycharde Bettys and his wife Alys had already had 
two sons, George and Thomas, before the establishment 
of the register. The baptism of John, the third son, is 

1 This order reached paison Jarvis of Wortham through the hands of 
WiUiam Rugg, bishop of Norwich. Bishop Rugg had been the last 
ruhng abbot of St Benets Hulm, Norfolk, an abbey which was never 
dissolved, its barony and revenue being transferred together with its 
abbot to the See of Norwich. The bishops of Norwich claim to be 
titular abbots of St Benets to this day. 


registered in 1538, that of Hillary (or Harry) in 1541, and 
that of Elizabeth the only daughter in 1545. Anocher 
son, also baptized John, and called John the younger 
to distinguish him from his elder brother, was baptized 
in 1548. 

This year 1548 was not to be soon forgotten. In spite 
of the efforts of Archbishop Cranmer to delay the measure, 
the Act passed for the dissolution of gilds, chapels, and 
chauntries. Cranmer had striven to postpone it till 
King Edward should come of age, and hoped then 
to gain his permission to bestow the foundations on 
impoverished impropriate rectories. 

By this legalized robbery, the Wortham gild of St 
Trinity was deprived of all its property, which was held 
to — what were in the eye of the law — " superstitious 

The neighbouring little town of Diss had a notable 
experience. The town gilds of St Nicholas and Corpus 
Christi had in 1500 purchased an estate in Framlingham 
with a fund raised by generations of self-denying brethren. 
In 1508, the four original trustees infeoffed fifteen more, 
and "by an English Schedule annexed, declared the 
uses of the Feofment, viz. : that a BaiUy or officer, by 
them or the Moste Parte in Nombre of them appointed, 
shaU perceyve the yerly profites of the Londes, where- 
with an honest and govenable secular Preist, by the most 
Parte of the Cofeoffees to be named, hired and waged 
competently, yerly to synge or seye Masses & other 
devygne Service, for the Sowles of the Brethren & 
Sistem of the Glides, in the Parishe Churche of Disse, 
by the Terme of LXXXXIX yeres, & at the End of 
the seid LXXXXIX yeres, the Feofees their Heirs and 


Assignes for suche Price as they or the Moste Parte of 
them in Nombre, canne agree, shall sell all of the Premises 
and with the money therefor comying, shall fynde 
annuelly, an honest govenabill secular Preest to synge 
for the Sowlys aforeseid for ever, if it so may be contynued, 
hy the Ordour of the Lawe." The overplus was to be 
laid out in repairing the steeple, church, and streets. 

Thus the gilds continued till this fateful year of 
1548, when their property was seized under the Act. 
The townsmen objected, and stood an action with the 
King ; it appearing, however, that the term of the 
feoffment was not expired, they could do no good in the 
affair, and it continued in the Crown till the 43rd of 
Elizabeth. In that year, the Queen granted the lands to 
Thomas Mildmay, at the rent of £4. To this Thomas 
succeeded Thomas Mildmay his son under the grant. 
However, the original feoffment and the due succession 
of feoffees had been carefully preserved, and in 1608, 
when the ninty-nine years expired, one John Shreeve 
and the rest of the then feoffees, entered upon the 
premises, ejecting Thomas Mildmay, and John Wood his 
tenant. They pleaded that these lands had been settled 
to superstitious uses for ninety-nine years only, and that 
they could now employ them, as lawfully they could do, 
for repairing their church and streets. The title of John 
Shreeve was duly proved, and in the result the lands 
were given by verdict to the town. 

Three of the four original feoffees of these gild lands — 
Thomas Cooper, of Diss, rafman, Edward Cooper, and 
Thomas Folser (Fulcher), were ancestors of a later genera- 
tion of the Betts family ; and to a son of the fourth, 
John Lowdale, a conveyance of land was preserved 


among the family papers, to which " Rycharde Bettes de 
Wortham " affixed his signature as a witness. 

But though the townsmen of Diss had such success 
with this affair, they met with the contrary in relation 
to other lands in the same feoffment, namely, a close called 
Chawmpennys in Diss and Frenze, which together with 
other acres were given to find " lamps & Anniversaries for 
ever." The curious name of this close is evidently that of 
the original owner ; for three small parchments found 
at Wortham, dated 1430, 1439, and 1449 respectively, are 
grants and leases of land, from John Chawmpennys of 
Dysse and another to William Revet of Dysse and 

It is grievous to reflect that all over England the 
slowly accumulated gild property, representing the savings 
of generations of toiling men and women, was swept into 
the King's treasury, to be by and by parcelled out to 
greedy courtiers, by the oligarchy who ruled in the boy 
King's name. 

The natural consequence of the dissipation of the 
wealth, first of the Church, the patrimony of the poor 
and then of the parish gilds, was that the kingdom soon 
became infested with sturdy vagabonds and wandering 
dispossessed monks, an evil which was met by the dis- 
graceful enactment that any man found loitering with- 
out work for three days, could be adjudged by a Justice to 
be the slave of the prosecutor for two years, and to have 
the letter V marked with a red-hot iron upon his breast. 

And the changed conditions brought about by the 
Dissolution pressed hardly upon the the copyhold 
tenants of manors. " The new lords," so reads " The 
Supplication of the poor Commons " (in 1546), " make 


us so in doubt with their threatenings that we dare do 
naught but bring into their courts copies taken of the 
Convents of the late dissolved monasteries, and these 
they pretend are void." The commons complained also, 
that they " could get no farm, tenement, or cottage, at 
these men's hands, without we pay them more than we 
are able to make." 

Actually King Edward VI. 's primer of private prayer 
invoked Divine aid " to endow covetous worldings with 
more humane views." 

The pitiable state of the out-of-work labourers — for 
more and more land was being laid down to grass — 
awoke the compassion of John Hales, a member of the 
Commons House. He brought in three bills : " For the 
pacifying of the people, and making the conditions of 
the poor easier against grasiers, and gentlemen who in- 
close commons and neglect tillage," which were debated 
but not passed in the second parliament of Edward VI. 

In 1549, the general discontent in East Anglia brought 
about Kett's rebellion. Kett was a substantial yeoman 
of Wymondham in Norfolk, not twenty miles from 
Wortham ; the reforms he desired we should now 
regard as no more than reasonable ; but the remedy he 
endeavoured to apply, no other being available, was force. 

He headed an insurrection of over 16,000 men of Suffolk 
and Norfolk. It had to be put down, after much cruelty 
and bloodshed, by the strong arm of the law ; Kett the 
leader was hanged in chains from the top of Norwich 
Castle, his brother William from Wymondham steeple ; 
and the " Oak of Reformation " on Household Heath, 
near Nor^vich, under which Kett had administered rough 
justice, was used as a gaUows for his unhappy followers. 




" ^ ■ ^HE native dweller," who, as an American 

I poet writes, keeps " the old dull round of 

I things," is slow to forget or forgive. 

"^^ When six years after Rett's outbreak 

the Duke of Northumberland marched into Suffolk to 

gather support for his daughter-in-law. Lady Jane Grey, 

the cruelties he had as Earl of Warwick inflicted on 

" Hob Die & Hie," Rett's unfortunate followers, were 

still fresh in men's memories. 

Princess Mary, who had fled to her manor of Renninghall, 
not many miles from Wortham, was believed to have 
favoured Rett's enterprise ; and to her standard flocked 
from Suffolk and Norfolk both loyal men and sympa- 
thizers of all degrees. On the other hand, Northumber- 
land was so generally mistrusted, that it was even 
whispered that he had hastened the Ring's end, panic- 
struck at a " smart jest " of young Edward's making. 
The story ran that one day when shooting at the butt, 
the Ring's arrow struck the very white. " Well aimed, 
My Liege," cried the mighty Duke. " But," answered 
" the boy Ring," " you aimed better when you struck 
off the head of my uncle Somerset." 

Rycharde Bettes is unhkely on account of his age (he 


was then seventy) to have been among those who rallied 
round the " Quene's Gras " at Kenninghall ; it is highly 
probable, however, that his elder sons followed in the 
train of Sir Thomas Comwaleys of Brome, a near neigh- 
bour of the Wortham famUy, and for that year high 
sheriff for Norfolk and Suffolk. 

But old Rycharde Bettes may perchance have seen the 
Queen, for on Mary's subsequent flight from Kenninghall, 
she and her loyal following crossed the Waveney only 
a mile above his house at Wortham, on their way to 

On the attainder of the Duke of Norfolk in the reign 
of Henry VHI., the castle of Framlingham had becom.e 
forfeit to the Cro\Mi, and had, upon the duke's petition 
" that being stately gear it might be bestowed on one of 
the Royal children," been granted at a later date to the 
Princess Mary, and there, Foxe asserts, " to her resorted 
the Suffolk men ; who being always forward in promoting 
the Gospel, promised her their aid and help." 

They stipulated that " she should not attempt an 
alteration of the religion, which her brother King Edward 
had before established by law " ; and to this condition she 
is said to have agreed, " with such promises to them that 
no innovation should be made in the matter of religion, 
that no man could or would then have doubted her." 
But once firmly established on the throne, she ignored 
her former promises, and returned this ungracious answer 
to their " Humble Supplication." " Fore-as-much as 
you, being but members, desire to rule your head, you 
shall one day well perceive that members must obey 
their head, and not look to bear rule over it." 

Mary's first step was the removal of Protestant clergy. 


and among others, William Collinson, the rector of 
Wortham Eastgate, was deprived in the first year of 
her reign. 

The heretical opinions of Rycharde Bettes passed 
undetected by George Ferrers, CoUinson's easygoing 
successor. No doubt he was excused from attending mass 
on account of his age and infirmities ; but should his 
house have been searched, enough evidence would have 
been found to bring him to the stake. For Rycharde 
possessed two Bibles in English ; a Cranmer's of 1541, 
and the " Matthew's Version " by Edward Becke of 1549, 
both of which retained their place in the Wortham 
library till the sale of 1906. 

A second appeal by the Protestants of Norfolk and 
Suffolk in 1556, to the commissioners then sent by the 
Queen to inquire into matters of religion, served, if any- 
thing, to exasperate the cruelty of persecution. It was in 
this year that two men, Robert Lawson and John Noyes, 
who must both have been well known to the Bettes 
family, were taken from the dungeon of Eye to the 
market place of Bury St Edmunds, there to suffer 

These were dark times England over. Dwellers in 
villages such as Wortham, once homes of peace, now 
endured the torture of anxious uncertainty, none could 
tell who might be the next victim. 

Yet, however imminent the peril, however great the 
distress of mind, daily life had still to be carried on, to 
outward appearance much as usual. Dame Alys Bettes, 
we may be sure, continued to rise betimes to see to the 
ways of her household, watched the kine milked, made or 
superintended the making of cheese and butter, while her 


daughter Elizabeth decocted simples from herbs gathered 
in the simny walled herb garden, which still exists. The 
day declining, Alys would set her maidens to work at 
spinning, and weaving cloth and linen for household uses. 
The wool was supplied by her husband's flocks ; the hemp 
and flax, too, was grown on the estate, for then by law a 
quarter of an acre had to be yearly sowti with these crops, 
on farms of sixty or more arable acres. 

And Master Rycharde Bettes, though well stricken in 
years, would not have ceased to frequently " manure the 
ground with the master's foot, and provender the larder 
with his eye." Accompanied perhaps by his elder sons 
he would set his men " on work." Sometimes, too, he 
would oversee the netting of the river Waveney where it 
ran through his estate, for fish were indispensable for the 
then re-established weekly fast day. 

Again, mounted on his ambling hobby, we can picture 
old Rychardes traversing the few miles which separate 
the parishes of Wortham and Brome, to watch with 
interest the building of Sir Thomas Comwaleys' stately 
new house. 

" Who built Brome Hall > " 

runs a contemporary rhyme, 

" Sir Thomas Cornwaleys. 
How did he build it ? 
By the taking of Calays." 

But was not this a libel on a noble gentleman ? Sir Thomas 
was a Roman Catholic, and, though knight of the shire, 
was for that reason generally unpopular. He had re- • 
signed his office as treasurer of Calais about two months 





before the loss of that brightest jewel in the English 

A solid brick building, the new Brome Hall con- 
trasted strangely with the neighbouring half-timbered 
houses. At that time the timbering was usually 
of willow, and Harrison, an Elizabethan writer, and 
laudator tempons acti, railed against even the intro- 
duction of oak timber and of chimneys ; he declared that 
the oaken men had become willow, and a great many 
altogether straw ; that the smoke used to harden both 
the man and his house timbers, preserve the one from 
decay, the other from the hands of the quack. 

" This rude kind of building," he says " made the 
Spaniards in Queen Mary's days to wonder, but chiefly 
when they saw that large diet was used in many of these 
so homely cottages. These English, quoth one of no 
small reputation amongst them, have their houses made of 
sticks and dirt, but they fare commonly so well as the 
King, whereby it appeareth that he liked better of our good 
fare in such coarse cabins, than of their own thin diet in 
their princely habitations and palaces." 

The yeomanry and lesser gentry commonly slept on straw 
pallets with chaff bolsters, covered with coarse sheeting ; 
their servants slept on straw with no covering at all. 

The rushes on the floors, which Erasmus describes as 
serving only to hide the refuse and dirt of years, were, 
we need not doubt, occasionally removed, for Tusser, the 
East Anglian poet, exhorts the housewife to scatter 
wormwood seeds when the floors were swept, for an 
evidently necessary purpose : — 

" Where chamber is_sweeped and wormwood is strowne 
No flea for his life dare abide to be knowne." 


The sweating sickness, which too often devastated 
England, was asserted by Erasmus to originate in the 
incommodious houses, the sluttishness within doors, 
and the filthiness of the streets. 

In wills of this period, bequests for reparation of roads 
and streets are of frequent occurrence. The highways 
of that time did indeed, " by reason of straitness and dis- 
repair breed a loathsome weariness to the passenger." 
In the third year of Mary's reign, however, waywardens 
were established in every parish, to be chosen by the con- 
stables and churchwardens, and to report on the state of the 
roads to local justices. They had power to simimon teams 
of horses or oxen from those parishioners who were then 
rich on fifty pounds a year, and to demand two labourers 
for six days' statute duty on roads from freeholders worth 
an annual forty shillings ; with power to levy fines and 
settle compositions to be paid by those who wished to 
avoid personal labour. They saw also to the cutting of 
fences, and had altogether much the same duties as those 
of the modem road surveyor. 

On the 17th November 1558, the misguided unhappy 
Queen " yielded her life to nature, and her Kingdom to 
Queen Elizabeth her sister." Her death was the occasion 
of heartfelt thanksgiving to persecuted Protestants ; in 
Ipswich alone seventy-seven people sentenced to burn 
for their religion, were thereby reprieved ; and the 
dungeons of Bury, Norwich, Eye, and other East Anglian 
towns disgorged their victims. 

In one of her many rare old cabinets, the last of the 
Betts of Wortham kept a notable relic, symbolical of the 
joy of her ancestors at that great deliverance. It was a 
hand-made damask linen table-cloth. In the centre was 


woven a large portrait of Queen Elizabeth, as she appeared 
at her accession, a close Tudor cap surrounding her girlish 
face, and it was bordered with patterns of pelicans and the 
royal arms, and the words " Qvene Elizabeth God save the 
Qvene." The flax for this cloth was perchance grown at 
Wortham and spun by Alys Bettes, to be afterwards woven, 
in the pattern described, by the linen weavers of Diss, who 
had been long famous for their skill. Its possession and 
use argues a greater amount of refinement for the family, 
than Harrison ascribes to the lesser gentry of their time, 
who, he says, ate their meals from wooden trenchers, and 
ladled their pottage into their mouths with wooden 

Old Rycharde Bettes did not live long to enjoy the 
unwonted freedom for religious thought ; he died in 1559, 
the year following Elizabeth's accession. 

In his will, which he executed in the last year of Queen 
Mary, we have his declaration of faith. He bequeaths his 
soul, not, as was customary, and practically obligatory in 
pre-reformation days, to " the saints and all the company 
of heaven," but " unto the hands of Almighty God my 
Creator and Redeemer besechyng hym of his Infinite 
Goodnesse to graunt me the fruition of his death." 

Omission in a will of that date of the names of the 
Virgin Mary and other saints as legatees of the testator's 
soul, was regarded as the sign of a pestilent heretic ; it is 
indeed recorded that in the latter days of King Henry VIII. 
the body of a Mr Tracie was for this very offence actually 
dug up, and publicly burned by order of the Chancellor of 

Rycharde was fortimate, in that he died a year too late 
for such savage vengeance to be taken on his poor bones, 


which still lie, as he wished, in " the sanctuary " of 
Worthain Church. 

For Alys his wife, Rycharde provided UberaUy, leaving 
her all his lands, tenements, meadows, woods, free and 
copy in Wortham, Redgrave, Palgrave, Burgate, and 
Bressingham ; which were to go after her death to his 
eldest son George, he paying his brothers, Thomas, John 
the elder, Hillary, and John the younger twelve pounds 
each. Twelve poimds was roughly speaking equivalent 
to £150 of our money. To Elizabeth his only daughter, 
her mother was to pay a like sum, half do\vn and the rest 
on the day of her marriage. 

Thomas the second son, was also given " two pictelles 
(pightles) at the Linge gappe, and the close lying at St 
John's." St John's refers to the chapel on the borders of 
Wortham and Palgrave, where the testator had been 
taught his letters by clerics from St Edmundsbury : the 
ruins of this chapel were still standing in the eighteenth 
century, when they were described by " honest Tom 
Martin," the antiquary of Palgrave. The name is now 
applied to a modem house, possibly on the same site. 

The win, after providing for the descent of the land in the 
male line, or failing that, to his daughter's children, 
contains this clause, " No son or other inheritor of my 
lands to sell or exchange any of them to or with George 
Waller or any one for him, on pain of forfeiture of all 
bequests." This George Waller must have been a new- 
comer in Wortham, for his name does not appear in the 
Subsidy list of 1524. His wife Mary seems to have 
been related to Anthony Yaxley, the abjurer of Bilney's 
doctrines. Remains of the coat-of-arms of George and 
Mary Waller may still be seen in a window of Yaxley 


Hall. Two sisters of Mary Yaxley married : the one 
John Lany of Cratfield, and the other Thomas Sherman 
of Yaxley, both of whose signatures are attached to a 
deed of bargain and sale among the Betts papers. 
From the Suffolk Shermans it is said that the well- 
known family of that name in America is descended. 

We hear no more of the Betts- Waller feud. It may 
have originated in anything, from differences in religious 
opinions to petty squabbles between the shepherds of their 
respective flocks. In the case of neighbours whose lands 
march together, the Scotch proverb is too often sadly 
applicable : " Friends are like fiddle strings, they mauna 
be screwed too high." 

John, to whom the old book of " Medicins " is attributed, 
is not mentioned in Rycharde Bettes' will, nor is his sister 
Alys, who possibly was dead ; Thomas and Water, his 
younger brothers, are both named. Old men they must 
have been, both well over seventy, when Rycharde 
passed to his rest. 

Rycharde's three eldest sons, George, Thomas, and 
John, were grown men at the time of their father's death, 
the youngest of the three, John the elder, being just 
twenty-one. To him his father left a special gift " my 
grate brasse pot on the daye of his marriage." The 
youngest son, John the younger, was a boy of eleven 
when his father died, his brother Hillary twelve, and 
Elizabeth thirteen. Two brothers with the same Christian 
names, even when there were ten years between them, 
must, one would imagine, have caused many a real 
" Comedy of Errors." 

The wills of the period show that it was common for 
our forefathers to name two children — who, it may be, 


had been born on the same Saint's day— ahke. And to 
make confusion worse confounded, no second Christian 
name was ever bestowed. The Church, it is true, aUowed 
young people to change their baptismal names at con- 
firmation, but the validity of the change in the eye of 
the law seems to have been doubtful. 




A LONELY woman, whose whole wealth lay 
in her lands, and whose revenue depended on 
their proper management, might find her 
position difficult even in this, the second year 
of King George V. ; how much more so the new-made 
widow of Rycharde Bettes in the rough trouble-stricken 
England of Queen Elizabeth's first regnaJ year ! 

The country was then but slowly recovering from the 
famine and sickness that in Queen Mary's reign " did 
sore molest the commons," when corn had grown so 
" skant that the plain poor people did make very much 
of acorns." 

No wonder corn was " skant." Every year, less and 
less land came under the plough ; and wool — its im- 
portance typified to this day by the Lord Chancellor's 
woolsack — was at once the riches and the curse of the 
country. A land " glad with corn-fields " no longer 
rejoiced the farmer's heart ; his ideal was now " hills 
white over with sheep " ; and the strong hands which 

" Coude eke sowe and hold a plowe, 
Both dyke and hedge and milke a cowe," 



had to be put to more deft exercise, helping to make 
bayes, sayes, arras and mockades at Norwich, imder the 
tuition of the Dutch refugee weavers. 

It is hard to realize, in these days when government 
securities and numberless private enterprises offer a 
safe return, that the England of three centuries ago 
knew no such easy channels for investments. A man's 
income then came from land, flocks, and herds ; or, were 
he a town dweller, from the practice of his profession 
or merchandise. Younger sons of country gentlemen, 
as a matter of course looked to trade for means of 
livelihood. John Bettes the younger was an example 
of this ; in mature life we find him settled in the little 
Norfolk town of Watton, where he accumulated a fortune 
by trading in tallow, another product of the ubiquitous 

The short reign of Mary, though of infamous memory, 
yet may fairly be said to have done more for England, 
than England then knew. The gold which Spanish 
Philip scattered, drawn from the newly discovered Indies, 
and the romantic tales told by the adventurous voyagers 
of Spain, opened to English eyes visions of wealth and 
fame in a new world beyond the sea. The neighbour- 
hood of Wortham can boast of one " venterous gentle- 
man " — Francis Pretty of Eye, who in 1586 sailed with 
Master Thomas Candish of Trimley in Suffolk " round 
about the circumference of the whole earth." Richard 
Hakluyt, later rector of Wetheringsett, a village not 
many miles from Wortham, published Pretty's account 
of his amazing adventures ; and with the Betts muni- 
ments is a deed of 1542 which reminds us of him, 
bearing as it does the signature of one Thomas Pretty 


of Eye, who was certainly a relative, most probably his 

Of the sons of Dame Alys Bettes, only George the 
eldest remained at home with his mother, to manage 
for her the Wortham estate, \\dth the help and advice of 
Master John Thurston, a neighbouring landowner at 
Hoxne, " the supervisor " of his father's will. John 
the younger was settled, as we have seen, at Watton, and 
Thomas soon after his father's death had gone to Norwich, 
to try his fortune as a doctor, no doubt equipped for 
practice with his uncle's book of " Medicins." 

In 1561, we find this document — a licence to Thomas 
Bettes to practise " chirurgery " : — 

" John by the Sufferannce of God Bisshop of Norwich 
to all the fayethfull flocke of Christ sendeth greating 
Whereas by the credible Reporte of dyuers Wourshipfull 
and honest men of the Towne of Norwich one Thomas 
Bets hathe ben comended unto us for a perfight skilful! 
& Practized man in the Science of Chirurgery, of whiche 
there commendacon as there certificate doethe testifie, 
the difftculte cuer of dyuers pacyentes hath ben the 
cause, withoute any favor or affection, There for knowinge 
howe necessarye a membre a practized Chirurgion is to 
the common welthe, knowe ye that I the sayed Bishop 
Do authorize & Licence the sayd Thomas Betts to Vse 
Practize & ffoUowe the sayd Arte & Science of Chirurgery 
as well w* in the sayd Cittie of Nor^'^'^ & the lyberties 
of the same as elles where within o*^ hoUe dioses of Norffolk 
& Suffolk Charging hym neuertherless so to vse the same 
his Vocacon as yt maye growe to the glory of God and 
bodelye health of the Queues Matins lovinge subjects. 
In Wytness hereof we haue caused o' scale to be 


putt Thies psentes yoven the XX Daye of March in 
the yere of o' lord God one thousand fine hundreth 
threskore and one and of o' consecration the second 

The Nonvich records show that women were also 
licensed to practise medicine in that city, though they 
could not be members of the company of physicians and 
barber surgeons. 

What a contrast between the highly quahfied medical 
woman of the twentieth century, and the lady doctor 
licensed to practise " chirurgery " by a sixteenth-century 
bishop. The one clad in severely cut coat and skirt 
visiting her patients in an electric brougham, the latest 
science at her finger tips ; the other " going sprucely in 
ruff and farthingale," padding along the foul streets on 
tall chopines, her faith fixed firm in the doctrine of 
signatures, and in the efficacy of precious metals, loathly 
reptiles and fibres of the hangman's rope, as remedies 
for all the ills that flesh is heir to. 

In 1568, another subsidy was collected in Wortham. 
The commissioners were Nicholas Bacon of Redgrave 
Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, Sir Charles Comwaleys 
of Brome, Nicholas Cutler, and John Thruston or 
Thurston of Hoxne, who, as we have seen, was a friend 
of the Bettes family. We find among the names 
returned for Wortham Alys Bettes widow and her 
son George. The rectors of Wortham appear then to 
have been John Ferrer and Radulphus Jones ; but as 
clergy were not liable for glebe lands their names are 
absent from the return. 

Roger Erie, however, curate perhaps of one of the 
medieties, or parish clerk, for parish clerks were often in 


holy orders, was taxed for £i in land. Amye Erie, who 
seems to have won the heart of Doctor Thomas Bettes, 
was either a sister or daughter of his. 

At the time the subsidy was taken, George was still the 
only son of Alys Bettes living at home ; but not long 
after, either for lack of patients, or for the sake of the 
bright eyes of Amye Erie, Thomas returned to Wortham, 
and soon afterwards, in 1571, we find him there in mortal 
sickness making his last will and testament. 

This document shows that he was then farming the 
lands left to him by his father ; for his sheep and cattle 
he leaves equally between his mother and Amye Erie, 
with the exception of two calves to his sister Elizabeth. 
His lands he devised to his brother Harrye (Hillary) ; 
and to John the younger of Watton he left his black 
ambling mare. 

Ambling was " an accomplishment peculiar," says 
Harrison, " to horses of our soyle, a well proportioned 
pase not hurtful to the rider, yeilding comfortable sound 
as he travelleth by the waie." Another writer recom- 
mends horsemen, riding steeds which could not amble, 
to carry a stick of alder in their pocket, so that "his 
breech should nein be galled or wearied although he rode 
on trotting horse." 

Amye Erie, Doctor Thomas Bettes' sole executrix, did 
not long remain inconsolable. The Wortham registers 
testify to her marriage, early in 1572, to one Thomas 
Sheppard, only a few months after the poor doctor's death. 

In the same year, 1572, died the widow Alys Bettes. 
The freehold estate and some of the copyholds passed 
to George her eldest son according to his father's 
will, but it was not till 1578 that he was admitted 


to the copyhold lands held of the manor of Wortham 

This manor was now in possession of the Feltons of 
Playford in Suffolk, through the marriage of the lady 
thereof, Margaret Sampson, with the head of that family. 

The court at which George Betts was admitted in 1578 
is described in his copy of Court Roll, which was among 
the Wortham muniments, as " the first court of Mistress 
Mary Felton widow, and Robt. Sampson armiger execu- 
tors of the last wiU & testament of Thos. Felton armiger." 

In the spacious days of good Queen Bess, no, event 
even in ordinary life was allowed to pass without its proper 
accompaniment of pomp and circumstance. The Tudor 
sovereigns were accustomed to be addressed by their 
greatest subjects kneeling ; and even in Her Majesty's 
absence. Queen Elizabeth's dinner-table was, so the 
German traveller Hentzner relates, thus saluted thrice 
before the cloth was laid. 

We cannot therefore be far wrong in surmising that 
none of the ancient ceremonies proper to a manorial 
court would be omitted at this first court of a new lord 
and lady. The court was probably held in the ancient 
house stiU known as Wortham Old Hall, and the lady 
of the manor would be present. Imagine her seated on 
a high-backed carven chair, her enormous white starched 
ruff showing up the close black velvet hood then worn 
by widows, the long-waisted bodice, worn over the stiff 
stays of the period, ending in a point, reaching half-way 
to the knees, which together with the huge hooped skirt 
would give her the appearance of standing. 

By her side would be seated her kinsman and co- 
executor Robert Sampson, accommodated most likely 


with an oval buffet stool, to allow for the spread of the 
fashionable trunks, which as then worn were so voluminous 
as to necessitate an alteration in the seats of peers and 
commoners in their Houses of Parliament. The bright 
colour of his pointed stuffed satin doublet and the ribbon 
points of his slashed sleeves would contrast with the 
sable of his companion's dress and the smoke-darkened 
walls and rafters of the unceiled hall. With his small 
feathered cap in his hand, he would courteously return 
the salutations of " the natural tenants " of the manor 
as they came in one by one — the humble clown come to 
do homage for his few roods, as well as gentlemen in the 
position of George Bettes, owner of many copyholds in 
many manors. 

After the first proclamation made " for any to come 
and take out of the hands of the lady of the manor of 
Wortham, lands late in the occupation of Alys Bettes, 
Cometh George Bettes and prayeth to be admitted." 
The loud voiced crier recited the descriptions and 
boundaries of the various lands to which he was entitled, 
and " seizin by the rod " was then delivered to him. 
It was not till 1610 that land was freed from feudal 
customs, so it is probable that George had to kneel in 
compliance with ancient usage, and placing his joined 
hands between the lady's hands, profess that he did 
become her man from that day forth, of life and limb 
and earthly honour, receiving in return a kiss from the 
fair lips of Mistress Mary Felton. 

George Bettes had married before his mother's death, 
his wife's name being Agnes or Anneys Mans, of what 
parish is not known, for the marriage is not registered 
in Wortham. 


In 1578, when the court was held, he was father of two 
children, Richard bom in 1573, and a daughter with 
the quaint name of Syeth. 

With a growing family to provide for, George must have 
welcomed the rise in rent, and the greater agricultural 
prosperity, which was being brought about by increased 
knowledge and better farming. Land let in 1574 at one 
shilling and threepence an acre had in 1577 risen to one 
shilling and sixpence, and by 1589 reached five shillings 
the acre ; and landlords could also exact considerable 
fines upon granting and renewing leases. 

Tusser complains : — 

" Great fines so neare did pare me. 
Great rent so much did skare me. 
Though country heahh long staid me, 
Yet lease expiring fraid me." 

Though, we are told by a contemporary writer " there 
be much more ground eared (ploughed) now than hathe 
been of late years," the price of wheat reached sixteen 
shillings a quarter — at the lowest computation £4, i6s. 
of our money. 

At such prices for wheat, " the poure labouring man," 
whose wages were a fixed quantity under order of the 
justices, had to content himself with beans, peas, and 
oats. A ploughman then was paid one shilling (equiva- 
lent to 6s.) a week with his food provided, the cost of a 
man's food being about eightpence (4s.) a week. 

Exportation laws were framed to keep wheat from 
famine prices. In 1553 export of wheat was forbidden 
when the price in England per quarter exceeded 6s. 8d. 
(equivalent to 40s.). In 1568, the price limit had to be 


raised to ten shillings (60s.), and in 1593 to twenty 
shillings (£6) the quarter. 

Yet in Suffolk the price of corn rose to such a height 
that in 1589 Sir George Colt, High Sheriff, transmitted 
to Parliament a petition from the hundreds of Hoxne, 
and Hartismcre to which Wortham belonged, imploring 
help to stay the dearth of corn. 

The certificates he enclosed — showing the prices that 
obtained in the two hundreds, were signed by Sir Nicholas 
Bacon of Redgrave, son of the Lord Keeper, Bassingbourne 
Gawdy, and John Thurston of Hoxne, three of Her 
Majesty's justices of the peace. 




IN the history of the Bettes of Wortham such 
striking events as the two visits of the great 
Queen EHzabeth to Redgrave must find a place. 
The manor of Wortham Abbots had, it may be 
remembered, been granted to Sir Nicholas Bacon at the 
dissolution of the Abbey of St Edmundsbury, and on the 
site of what is now the fine mansion of Redgrave Hall, 
stood at that time Abbot Samson's stone built villa. 

This house, then the residence of the newly created 
Lord Keeper, was visited by the Queen in 1559 ; and 
while there, she granted a charter to her Borough of Eye 
— the charter " given at Redgrave " — which conferred 
on that town the privilege of sending two members to 
Parliament and is still preserved among the town archives. 

As the death of Rycharde Bettes had taken place only 
two months before the Queen's visit, it is unlikely that 
his bereaved family would have joined in the festivities ; 
but in 1578 they were to have another opportunity. 

On this second occasion, the Sheriff of Suffolk Sir 
Thomas Spring, had short notice of the Queen's coming ; 
but notwithstanding, he was able to receive Her Majesty 
in considerable state, being accompanied by " two 


hundred young gentlemen cladde all in white velvet, 
and three hundred of the graver sorte apparelled in 
blacke velvet and faire chaynes, with fifteen hundred 
serving men on horseback, well and bravely mounted." 
With this noble body-guard the Queen progressed through 
Suffolk on her way to Norwich, where " a shew of some 
strange device " was daily set forth to divert the maiden 

It is most likely that it was on her return through 
Suffolk that the Queen knighted " Mayster Nicholas 
Bacon," eldest son of the Lord Keeper, at Redgrave, 
and visited the house of " Maister Revet, where all things 
were well, and in very good order and meate liberally 
spent." Probably this was Thomas Revett, Esq., of 
Brockford House, one of Her Majesty's justices of the 
peace, who afterwards contributed handsomely to the 
Armada fund, and who was descended from the same 
family as the William Revet whose name has already 
appeared in these pages. ^ 

We may be sure that the Bettes family were among the 
throng who eagerly watched the dazzling pageant on 
its stately progress through Wortham to Redgrave, and 
from Redgrave to Brockford some seven miles distant. 
In it rode gallants in the rich costume of the day, their 
yard-long rapiers clattering against the gay trappings of 
their prancing steeds, and vying with each other as to 
the size of their dazzling white ruffs ; following them, a 
host of handsomely clad mounted serving men, the silver 
badges of their various masters on their arms. Then 

^ This looks more likely than that the Queen should have made (as 
suggested in the notes to Churchyarde) a longer deviation from her 
route to the house of James Revett of Rattlesden a cousin of Thome^s, 


the central figure ot the procession, the Majesty of 
England, decked in the gorgeous raiment she loved 
sparkling with jewels, with her bevy of fair ladies all in 
brave attire ; the coaches in which they were seated 
" putting both man and horse into amazement by their 
monstrous strangeness." 

Taylor, the water poet, one of " Gloriana's " loving 
subjects, describes Her Majesty's coach, generally drawn 
by six grey horses with tails and manes dyed bright 
orange, as a gaily decorated canopied vehicle surmounted 
by a huge bunch of plumes. It was, he strangely says, 
reputed by some to be a giant crab shell brought out of 
China, while others thought it one of the Pagan temples 
in which cannibals adored the devil ! 

Whether provisions for the Queen and her vast 
train were provided entirely by those whom she 
delighted to honour, or whether they were in part 
supplied by the royal purveyors, is an open question. 
Francis Bacon, younger son of Elizabeth's host at 
Redgrave, made a notable speech in Parliament some 
years later, pointing out the evils of the purveying 
system. " No one knew," he said, " when he might not 
be visited with the unwelcome presence of these taxers 
instead of takers, or by whom he was despoiled, since 
they refused to exhibit their authority." 

Miss Strickland tells a story of a farmer who, seeking 
redress from such unlawful exactions, placed himself in 
the Queen's way as she was taking her morning walk, 
crying out : " Which is the Queen ? " "I am your 
Queen," answered Elizabeth graciously, " what would'st 
thou have with me ? " " You ! " cried the farmer, feign- 
ing amazement, " why you are one of the rarest women 


I ever saw ; you can eat no more than our Madge, who 
is thought the properest lass in the parish, though short 
of you ; but that Queen Elizabeth I look for, devours so 
many of my ducks and capons that I am not able to live." 

" Suffolk," says Reyce, " groaned under the remedyless 
burden " ; its annual contribution to the royal household, 
in ordinary times, being valued at £3616 of our present 

In 1579, the parish registers of Diss record no less than 
fifty-six deaths from " the plag." This visitation is by the 
Court chronicler of the Queen's progress attributed to 
" the traines of Her Majesty's carriages being many of 
them infected with the plague ! " 

Nine years later, when, on the approach of the great 

Armada, the 

" Daughter of ancient kings ; 
Man-souled Eliza,'' 

called on all " to consider the arrogant threat enings now 
burst out in action on the seas," the neighbourhood of 
Wortham responded even more freely than the rest of 
Suffolk. Although George Bettes' name does not appear 
in the list of money contributions, it is proved from his 
wife's will that he furnished himself with arms and 
armour to enable him to take his place among the 
five hundred " choice men, disciplined & singularly 
furnished," with whom Sir Nicholas Bacon marched by 
commandment unto the camp at Tilbury. 

All men between sixteen and sixty put themselves 
under arms. Even the clergy were not exempt, but were 
charged according to their livings ; and both on foot and 
on horseback, were mustered and trained by captains 
appointed by their Diocesan, " until experience teaching. 


made them require to be inserted into the trained 
bands of the layiety." John Parsley was at this time 
rector of Wortham, but he was exempt from training on 
account of age, as it appears by a parish document of 
five years later that he had then been rector of Wortham 
for forty-six years. 

This document, a yellow parchment roll drawn up and 
signed by " the anncyent inhabitants " of Wortham in 
Parsley's time, was preserved by the Betts family imtil 

" 26th March 1592 — A special note & remembrance 
of such Tenths & Tythes as ar Usuallye payable to the 
parsons ther (of Wortham), & the course and forme 
howe they ought to be payed accordinge and by the 
anncyent customes ther tyme out of mynd of man. 
Used collected by us whose names are Underwritten, 
aswell of our owne knowledges, as of dyvers our pre- 
decessors and other anncyent Inhabitants in the same 

Corn I Impi'mis, ther hath bene payid the the tenth sheffe 

of all kynd of Come growing in the same towne rydye 
bound, in respect of the whole corne and reasonable 
rakeings and alredye left out upon the ground where 
it groweth, and for peace and tares the tenth stetch 
ryddye werked. 

hey 2 Itm : ther hath byn likewyse payd allwaise the tenth 

cocke of hey of all the hay growing in the same towne, 
mowne and sett out at the first cocking thereof, in 
respect of the hay & rawinge ^ of the same growing. 

hemp 3 Item : Ukewise ther hath bene paid allwaise the tenth 
sheflfe of hempe, rydye retted, dryed, bound up and 
made ryddye, and ye same brought rydye to churche. 

1 " Rawinge " means the second crop of grass after taking the first 
crop of hay. The word Rowen is still used in Suffolk. 


fruit 4 Item : likewyse ther hath bene payded the tenth 

of apples and pears, and the same likewyse brought 
to churche. 

bees 5 Itm : ther is likewyse payable for each Skeppe of bees 

dryven one pennye. 

Eggs 6 Itm : ther ar likewyse payable on Maundy thursday 

ye tenth of all those Egges w* were gathered all 
that lent, aswell for chyckins as ducklinge, and that 
the parson hath used to fetch the same egges. 

Geese 7 Itm : ther hath bene payed the tenth of such yonge 
geese as ar bred in the same towne ; and if ther be under 
seaven then we use to paye no tythe gosse, but for 
everye gosse one farthinge ; and if ther be seaven, 
then we use to pay a tyth gosse, and the Parson 
do allowe for everye gosse lacking of Tenne, one 
farthinge, and tyth gese brought rydye to churche. 

lambe Itm : we use to paye the tyth lambe and pigg bred 

pigge in the same towne, and if ther be seaven or aboue 

we paye one tyth lambe or pigge, & then the parson 
allowe one halfe pennye for everye lambe or pigge 
wanting of tenne ; and if but sixe or under, then we 
are to allowe to them for everye lambe or pigge under 
seaven one halfpennye, and the same to be brought 
to the churche. And we use to paye the tyth wolle 
by the weight & bringe it to churche. 

Milch Itm : we use to paye for everye mylch cowe kept in 

neat the same towne and hyr calfe two pence, and use 

to paye no tyth lactage calfe nor chese, and for everye 
cowe goinge farrowe i^- ob,i and for everye cowe 
and hyr calfe for the yeare in which she hath her 

^ A penny and a halfpenny. Oboli and quadrantes were used for 
halfpennies and farthings up to the early years of the eighteenth century. 
The Rev. G. Conybeare, in " Highways and Byways in Cambridge 
and Ely," tells us that for 100 minutes work, a villain was paid |d. He 
derives our word "job" from opus, work; i opus, (one work), written 
j op ; but I think obolus a more likely derivation than opus, one 
obelus (worth of work), j ob. 


first calfe one pennye and one halfe pennye, for every 

drye neat beaste above a yeare olde one pennye, 

and for everye fole fallinge one pennye. 
Wood 10 Itm : we have allwayes used to pay tyth wood of all 

such growne in the same towne which are whollye 

planted or used with wood and not otherwise. 
OfiFering 1 1 Itm : everye person of the age of xiiij yeares & upward 

of the same parish is to pay thir offerings, viz : ij*^- 

at the usual feasts in the yeare, viz the byrth of our 

lord, the feast of Easter, the Nativitie of St. John 

the baptist, and St. Michael the arch angell, by even 

portions viz a haKepennye at everye feast aforesaid. 
Marredge Itm : we pay for every person marryed ther sixpence 
burial Itm : we pay for every person bur>'ed there fower 

churchings Itm : we pay for every woman churched sixpence 
Mortuary ^ Itm : we haue used to pay a mortuary 

Willm Corbold for xxxix yeares remembreth 

George Bettes for ffyftye yeares 

James Thurlow for Sytye yeares 

Henry Battely for ffyftye yeares 

John Benton for ffyftye yeares 

Robt. Hasell for ffyftye yeares 

John Scase for fortye yeares 

John Kyrke for fort>'e yeares 

John Benton Jun. for forty yeares 

Watter Battely for forty yeares 

Test. Edw. Coppledycke 

Robt. Archer 

Robt. debenham 

By me John Parsley, parson of Wortham Whose 
continuance hathe bene there fortie yeares and sixe 
And do confirme the aboue written customs to be true. 
Test. Henry Chittocke." 

' Mortuaries, or corse presents, were only due by custom, not by law. 


The Archdeacon of Sudbury visited Wortham in 1602, 
and his report thus describes " Wortham Churche, a 
p'sonage presentative Sir John Parsley person thereof, 
that is to say of one moietie. The chancell over the North 
syde verie ruinous, through his defaulte, who sold away 
the Leade and covered it with boardes it hathe been so this 
XV yeares, and besides the Stone worke for wante of the 
Leade decayed thare through the defaulte of the Church- 
wardens and parishioners." 

Fifteen years previously, just before King Philip's 
invincible Armada started to conquer England, Elizabeth's 
proclamation had warned the country against " these 
great preparations . . . tending to a conquest wherein 
every man's particular state is to be touched." That 
being so, may we not hope that Sir John Parsley had 
stripped his chancel for patriotic reasons and sold the 
lead not for his private gain, but to provide balls to be 
fired from the muskets of the trained bands ? 




GEORGE BETTES died six years after adding 
his name to the testimony of the other 
"anncyent inhabitants " of Wortham. On June 
7th 1599, he slept with his fathers, and for the 
second time a widowed Mistress Bettes was left alone to 
guide the family fortunes. Her husband's will provided that 
for ten years she was to hold possession of all messuages, 
lands, etc., in Wortham, Redgrave, Palgrave, Brissingham, 
and Fersfield in Norfolk and Suffolk; after that to take only 
her dower of one-third. During the ten years, she was to 
pay portions of £100 (£600) each to Syeth, Bridgit, and 
Maryona, her daughters. After the expiration of the ten 
years Richard was to have the estate, and George and 
John specified parcels of land, subject to their mother's 
dower. The testator appears to have somewhat dis- 
trusted Richard, his eldest son, then a young man of 
twenty-six, for he makes elaborate provisions to prevent 
him from depriving his brothers of their younger sons' 
portions ; and it was for this reason probably that he left 
his wdfe in charge for ten years, his three yoimger children 
being imder age — George nineteen, Maryona seventeen, 
and John a boy of thirteen. 


That same year of her father's death, Bridgit, the 
second daughter, married Thomas Heme of Burston, a 
village about five miles off, across the Norfolk border. 

From the records that are left to us, it would seem as 
though Richard was much away from home, and what- 
ever the reason, his younger brother George managed the 
family affairs. 

On a fly-leaf in the old copy book, already described, 
is the following entry in the clear flourishing handwriting 
of the day : — 

" Itm on the xvj*'' day of October A° dno 1603, I 
George Betts did pute xviij^ swine of Thomas Denton's 
in the pounde In the presence of William Bately and 
Richard Bately." 

This is the earliest occurrence of the name of Betts 
being spelt without the penultimate letter e. In a 
similar entry, however, on the same page, and dated 
the same year, he signs his name as George Bettes, 
and his signature is witnessed by his aunt, " Elizabeth 
Bettes" ; possibly she, belonging to a former generation, 
objected to his abbreviation of the family name. 

Thomas Denton, the owner of the twenty-eight swine, 
would hardly grudge the fine payable to the lord of the 
manor for redemption of " waifts & estrayes," for if they 
had gone farther afield, and fallen into the hands of a 
thief, recovery would have been difficult. 

Among the Wortham papers is the following " Forme 
of Hue & Crye," dated 1605, which was then the one and 
only method of regaining stolen goods : — 

" These are to Will & require yo and ye* in his Mat®- 
name straight lye to Charge and comande yo and ewye 
of yo to whom it may apptayne, that forth w*'': Upon 


the receipt hereof yo make delygent search w^ in ewye 
yo' sewal towne shipps, after one S.B. : late of C : in the 
p*'' and Countye aforsde labor'* being a man of a middle 
stature, and about xlyte (sic) yeares oulde, whose 
hare is browne whose appell is a gray freese Jerkin, a 
white fustian dublitt, a paire of Russet briches, a pair of 
grene stockin and a black hatt, who is lately depted from 
C. in the pte, aforesaide and lately stolen from thence a 
propper graye geldinge wch. cann both amble and trott 
\vth. a flesh brande one his neare shoulder like unto this 
JJ , he hath a little pece cutt offe of his farre eare, and 
is shodd of all foure feete. If by yo' diligent search any 
such be founde, Lett the fellon and hors be stayed, and 
word brought to C. aforesaide, in the p** & County 
aforesaide, and the ptys that bringe worde shallbe well 
satisfied for theire paynes here-of faile ye not as you and 
ewye of yo'^ \vill answere the Contrarye at yo' utter- 
most p'ells, given the vijth. day of July in the third yeare 
of his Ma^ Raigne of England France and Ireland 
and of Scotland the XXXI Xth. To the constables of 
A.R.C. so from thence to Q. and soe forward Eastward 
speedylye to be Conveyed." 

With the MSS. at Wortham was also the proclamation 
of the Commissioners for levying and collecting payment 
of the second subsidy granted to King James " by the 
laietie " in the first year of his reign. In the returns for 
Wortham, Anneys Bettes and her brother-in-law John 
Bettes of Watton are the only members of the family 

Anneys Bettes died in 1606, before the ten years of her 
occupancy of the estate had expired. She left a will dis- 
posing of her household stuff and stock on the home farm. 


The bequest of her " horse-beasts," cows, calves, farm 
implements, and her " horse my 11 with all the goinge 
giere " to her son George, shows that it was he, and not 
his elder brother Richard, who was expected to carry on 
the farm, and manage the estate as he ultimately did. 

Horse mills were in general use in large households, 
by those " at liberty to grind at home " ; the " common 
mille," owned by the lord of the manor, to which tenants 
were sometimes compelled to come, being often " farre 
off, and the way foul." 

Another significant bequest to George is six table 
turned posts and three table planks, used evidently to 
form the trestle table in the " great hall," long enough to 
seat at one common meal the master and his family above 
the salt, the house servants and farm labourers below. 
According to contemporary accoimts such table planks 
cost as much as two pounds each of the then money, 
a large sum, and no doubt the turned posts on which they 
were laid were proportionately expensive. 

A long list of " household stuff " is also left to George, 
including " the bed on which he lieth, two pair of fine 
sheets, two good pillow beres," and ending with " my 
second brasse pot." 

" Pillow beres " were made, not of linen, but of cloth 
often richly embroidered, to lay over the pillow ; thus 
in Chaucer's " Boke of the Duchesse," we read : " and 
many a pilow, and every bere of clothe of Reynes to 
slepe softe." 

John, then nineteen, the youngest of the family, had 
with his share four " milch neat," with the curious names 
of " littell Clarke, Godword, Jelyfer, and Leuse," and the 
bed complete in the parlour. 


It was then customary to have beds in sitting-rooms ; 
in an inventory taken three years before, of the great 
house of Sir John Rous, at Henham, " three joyned bed- 
steads " are mentioned as among the furniture of his 
parlour. The custom still lingers in farmhouses and 
cottages in other parts of the coimtry, though in Suffolk 
it has completely died out. 

John was also left " a great chair " in the parlour ; 
one, very likely, of the pair of very ancient chairs which 
remained in the house till the sale of 1906 ; the other 
was bequeathed to the eldest son, Richard. The two 
chairs sold had backs carved with foliage under an arch, 
with strap work above, and were described in Messrs 
Christie's catalogue as " early seventeenth century." 

" The cubberd now standing in my parlor," which was 
left to Richard by his mother, was sold at the same time 
for £100, i6s. It stood, up to the time of the sale, in 
the hall at Wortham, a six foot high court cupboard, of 
solid oak, carved with foliage and fluting, with baluster 
supports at the side, the panels inlaid with groups of 
flowers and foliage with borders of chequer pattern. 

Syeth and Maryona, the unmarried daughters, were 
appointed executors ; and to them were bequeathed 
beds, sheets, buffet stools, tables, and other household 
furniture, as well as many cattle and sheep. 

Neat stock formed also part of the share which fell to 
Brigit Heme, the married daughter, and " the lyverie 
bed complete." In other wills of the same date fre- 
quent mention is made of " lyverie " beds, tables, and 

Anneys Betts remembered each of her daughter's children 
in her will, Anne, Nicholas, and Margaret ; and to their 


father she left a " muskett, head piece, flask, and touch- 
box, and one httle birdmg piece." The"muskett and head- 
piece," had been bought no doubt by George Betts during 
the Armada scare, when each landowner was compelled 
by law to provide himself with arms. " Birding pieces " 
were still scarce. Cross-bows remained in general use 
for long after, as witness the grievous mishap of Arch- 
bishop Abbott in 1622, whose arrow while he was shoot- 
ing at a deer with a cross-bow, pierced instead the heart 
of an unfortunate gamekeeper ; the hospital in Guild- 
ford High Street, founded by the remorseful prelate, still 
commemorates that fateful hunt. 

Among the family papers are directions of about the 
date (judging by the handwriting) of this accident, for 
making the string of a cross-bow of " rawe thread." 

Anneys Betts' long will concludes with substantial 
bequests to John and Margaret Awgar, her nephew and 
niece, and to each of her servants. 

Richard Betts, the eldest son of Anneys, was evidently 
not at home in Jime 1606, when his mother made her 
will ; though it would seem as if she expected him back 
before harvest, for she left him all " my come now 
growing " ; but harvest passed and still Richard never 

The copyhold lands on which he should have entered 
after his mother's death, remained unclaimed until the 
manor court of April 1608 ; and after three fruitless pro- 
clamations, the bailiff was about to seize them for the use 
of Sir Anthony Felton, the lord ; when George Betts 
appeared, and undertook to hold the lands for the few 
months remaining of the ten years of his mother's 
occupancy, during which his sisters' legacies were to be 


paid. Maryona's legacy from her father was still short 
by twenty pounds. 

There was found in the Wortham library a copy of 
Gervase Markham's " English Husbandman " published 
in 1613, scored with notes in the handwriting of this 
George Betts. He was evidently a careful man, like the 
franklin described by Sir Thomas Overbury, who " says 
not to his servants go to the field, but let us go ; and 
with his own eye doth both fatten the flock and set for- 
ward all manner of husbandry." 

The passages underscored in George Betts' well-worn 
book are quaint to our ideas. What would a gentleman 
farmer of to-day, whose wheat is drilled in faultless rows 
by a beautiful and efficient machine, say to George's 
method of setting corn according to these directions : — 

" You shall take a board of sixe foot square which 
shalbe bored fidl of large wimble holes, each hole standing 
in good order iust sixe inches one from another, then lay- 
ing the board upon the new digged ground, you shall 
with a sticke, made for the purpose, through every hole 
in the board, make a hole into the ground, at least fore 
inches deepe, and then into every such hole you shall 
drop a Corne of Wheate, and so remouing the board from 
place to place, goe all over the ground that you have 
digged, and so set each seuerall Come sixe inchs one from 
another, and then with a rake you shall rake ouer and 
couer all the holes with earth in such sort that they may 
not be discerned." 

Against these directions, George has written " a crop of 
set corne is 12 times better than a crop sowed con- 

Turning the pages of George Betts' book we find some 


curious prognostications in which he probably placed 
firm faith : — The following were signs of a bad year. 

" If the oake apple breed instead of a fly, a spyder : if 
Comets cr Meteors oppresse the Ay re : if the Sunne has 
his whole body or at least three parts eclipsed " ; any of 
these were most certain signs that " the yeare will prove 
barraine and fruitless " ; but if Christmas Day should fall 
on a Sunday, it was an infallible sign " that the yeere 
shallbe good, seasonable, and abounding with all store 
and plenty." 

On New Year's Day, he could, if he would, learn if corn 
was to be cheap or dear, by this simple method : " Take 
twelue principall graynes of Wheate out of the strength 
of the eare, and when the harth of your Chimney is most 
hot, sweepe it cleane, then make a stranger lay one of 
those Gra5mes on the hot hearth, then mark it well, and 
if it leape a little, Corne shall be reasonably cheape, but 
if it leape much then Corne shall be exceeding cheape, if 
it lye still and moue not, then the price of Corne shall 
stand, and continue still for that moneth ; and thus you 
shall use your twelue Graynes, the first day of every 
moneth one after another, and you shall know the rising 
and falling of Corne in every moneth, all the yeere 

With what breathless interest would George and his 
younger brother and sisters gathered round the open 
hearth in the " great hall," watch the result of this 
divination ; it was no child's play with them ; the 
signification of signs and Friday dreams were then articles 
of belief to all, from the King downwards. 

Methodically painstaking in all relations of life, George 
Betts collected from many sources thirty-two recipes for 


" Hors Drincks." Among the authorities, whose names 
he rarely failed to transcribe, are : " Doctor Bealles, 
John Doutes, owlde Roues, and goodman Mosses," whose 
" Resait " hereunder given is enough to make the stoutest 
" hors beast " quail : — 

" 2 : ounces of veenes turptin and : 6 : or eight Gray 
snailes Beete them with aspuonfuU of sope and a littel 
chack (?) beeten all to gether with the whit of anegg all 

George no doubt found the newly introduced tobacco 
both enjoyable and soothing. Physicians had hailed it 
as the long sought panacea for the aches and pains of 
poor humanity, and in vain had King James reviled it, 
as being " like hell in the very substance of it, for it is 
a stinking loathsome thing & so is hell." His Majesty's 
stiff-necked subjects still continued to smoke their long 
pipes over tankards of home brewed, and not only so, but 
actually gave it by way of medicine to their horses. Here 
is a " Resait " for a sick horse. " Blow a pipe of tobacco 
into his throat, halfe an hour after give this drinck 
following : boyle a quart of newe beere the spirgings 
(sic) of the vessells is best, and boyle in it 3 quarters of 
an ounce of senna, halfe a pinte of new goose dung, an 
ounce of allocs, a handfull of rues " Ashes of tobacco, 
so said the sages, had virtue to cure a " hors beast " even 
of glanders. 

The authorities for the two following are not given. 

" After a Hors be hard riden and much hotte " Take : 
3 : ounces of dieslaselen and giue it att. 3 : seuerall 
mornings in a pint of stronge bere or sacke, and giue him : 
3 : ouers after, a Littel white watter and ride him." 

" ffor a Tread of a Horse ffote Take a handfull of 


Nettel-cropes and a handfull of Salt and a quantey of 
snailes and beate them together and apley them to ye 
Tread ; and drauc it well : Then take Turpetin and Tare 
and white pich and a littel Rosen and Deers suet melt 
them together and aplie it very hot to ye place." 

George Betts may have procured the deer suet 
necessary for the last prescription from venison out of 
the deer park at Redgrave, of his own hunting. We find 
these " measures of blowing " written out in his marked 
handwriting at the end of the " resaits for Hors Drincks." 


/".—T "P^P S.., ^/ r>-t ^S^^W 

o V o' a o a' <^ /? o ^ 6 y 

T'r?^^^ ^«-^a.^<^ l/;^\thoJ^ y^^^a- 





IN 1609, Richard Betts died ; and two inquisitions 
were considered necessary, the first held at Eye 
two years after his death, before John Forrest, 
Esq. the King's escheator. On this occasion, 
" Robert Cheeke gent, Thomas Bysshop and others, 
said on their oaths that the said Richard Betts, on the 
day he died, was seized of a messuage in Wortham and 
100 acres of land pasture and marsh adjacent to the said 
messuage, and of a close called Hedge close containing 
six acres, and of a close called the Woonges containing 
8 acres and 3 roods at the Mill hill in Wortham, and of 
lands at the millgapp, and in the field called Waterfall 
held of Sir Harbottle Grimstone knt of his manor of 
Rishangles ; and that being so seized, he died on ist 
Sepf" in the 7th year of the present King's reign. The 
Jurors further said that John son and next heir of the 
said Richard Betts was at the time of Richard's death 
aged three years or thereabouts." 

At the next inquisition taken a year later at Ipswich, 
the jurors gave particulars concerning other lands 
Richard Betts had held, some of Sir Nicholas Bacon 
Bart as of his Manor of Abbotts in Co. Suffolk, and some 



of Sir Anthony Felton as of his manor of Wortham 
Hall, and of marsh lands held of the manor of Bressing- 
ham in Co. Norfolk, and of the manor of Fersfeilde. It 
was noted that Susanna Betts the relict of the said 
Richard Betts took the rents and issues of the said 

Beyond the bare Christian names of his widow and 
little son, nothing is known of Richard Betts' family life. 
His widow was represented by her attorney at a manor 
court held in 1611, after which her name is absent from 
the court rolls. ^ George, her husband's brother, continued 
to look after the estates until the coming of age of her 
only son John Betts, but of that later. 

In 1613, Syeth Betts, George's eldest sister, died. By 
her short will she divided her money among her brothers 
and sisters, leaving small legacies to Bridgit's children 
and her cousins John and Richard Awgar. Twenty 
shillings she gave to the repair of Wortham almshouse, 
and twenty shillings each to Thos. Levrington (who had 
succeeded John Parsley) Minister of Wortham, and to 
Elnathan Parr Minister of Palgrave. The residue to her 
brother George the sole executor. 

The Rev. Elnathan Parr, the legatee of poor Syeth, was, 
as will be shown, an ancestor of a later generation of the 
Betts family. Author of several works, his best known 
book being " Grounds of Divinity," he had in 1600 been 
presented to the living of Palgrave by the Comwallis 
family, and when thirteen years afterwards Jane Lady 

1 Susan, daughter of William Smith of Thelnetham, widow of Richard 
Betts of Wortham, married secondly, Robert, son of Richard Smith of 
Thrandeston, Suffolk, for 50 years philiser for Co. Norfolk in Common 
Pleas. — " Genealogical Notes of the Family of CuUum," by G. Milner- ) 
Gibson CuUum, Esqre., F.S.A. 


Cornwallis, the widowed lady of Brome Hall, asked his 
advice in negotiations of a delicate character, the learned 
divine did not refuse his good offices. 

The fact was that another neighbour of his. Sir Nicholas 
Bacon, son of the Lord Keeper, who was blest with nine 
sons, was then seeking to procure the hand of the well 
endowed Lady Cornwallis for Nathaniel, the youngest ; 
and Elnathan Parr " of grave and reverend counte- 
nance," was well suited to win the lady's confidence, and 
act as matrimonial go-between. 

The first advances are in quite the professional manner ; 
the marriage broker tells the lady how anxious a certain 
gentleman is to be introduced to her. Becomingly coy, 
the fair widow replies : "I hope you will remember what 
I said to you at your being here, as that you have no 
incoregement to the gentleman ; " however, at the end 
of the letter, a little shy " incoregement " is slipped 
in : " the gentleman being so desirous to see me as you 
said he was, I thought then as I do now, it wore uncivell 
part of me to forbid him coming, but left it you know to 
himself, and so I do still." The letter was directed, 
" To my kind friend Mr Parr." 

The coquettish widow's next letter to her " varie kind 
friend Mr Parr " shows that her suitor's parents had 
adroitly intervened. " Wareas," she writes, " you say that 
Sir Nicholas and my La : expects their son should have 
such grate prefarment by me, I must answer againe, that 
they have made it seem other wayes to me, in asseuring 
me that it was my self e and not My fortune which they 
desired ; but," adds the astute lady, " I maye greatly 
feare that I shall finde my fortune to be the chiefe motive 
... if I do, it will much discourage me from persevering 


any furder in it ; Praye let my love be remembered to 
Mrs. Parr." 

Next the reverend broker is instructed by the lady 
to put on a face of indifference to the gentleman's offer. 
That it was a pure matter of bargain was not disguised, 
and the lady showed plainly to " my varie kind friend," 
that she considered herself worth a higher price, and 
now protested that she had her son, " pretty Frede's " 
interests, to think of. She writes indignantly : "I must 
teU you that I did never expect that you would have 
been a persuader of me to a gave awaye the increase of 
my owne estate, seeing that you have ever heard me 
earnestli to protest that I would not, though I had 
married to a much greater fortune than Sir Nicholas 
Bacon doth offer with his son ; for I would never have 
done my child so much wronge, though I might have had 
all the good of the world by it. . . . Besides, whatso- 
ever you and the rest of Mr Bacon's friends think of my 
fortune in present, I know any indifferent bodi will saye 
it doth desarve faur greater offers then hath ben yet made 
me. . . if it should now appear to me that all this was 
but done to entice my affection, would be a grate reson 
to direct it another waye, and I fere I shall find such hard 

And then we have a letter to the reverend go-between 
from Lady Bacon, which puts the business aspect of the 
affair from her son's side, equally without disguise. " We 
have offered," she says, " what we are abell, and what we 
can and will faythfuUy perform. If it be acceptable we 
shall rejoyse much therein ; if not we must be contented 
without grudging asseuring ourselves it is the Lord's 
doing. And although the juell layd before us be never 


so riche, if we be not abill to buy it, we must be con- 
tent to forbeare it. We must not leye out all our stocks 
upon one purchus, having so many others to provide 

The bargain, was at last struck ; and on the ist of 
May 1614 Master Nathaniel Bacon became the proud 
possessor of the fair widow and her still fairer fortune. 
Let us hope that that " faithfull and painefull preacher 
Mr Elnathan Parr, Batchelour in Divinitie," had the 
satisfaction of tying the nuptial knot. In 1632 he 
dedicated the third edition of his works to Nathaniel, 
as " the very noble and religious knight Sir Nathaniel 
Bacon," and to " the very honourable and most worthy 
lady the lady Jane Bacon," whom he describes as " late 
his (Sir Nathaniel's) wife now widdow " ! 

Bridgit Heme only survived her sister, Syeth Betts, a 
few months, dying in 1614 in her 38th year ; her burial 
is recorded in the Wortham registers. John seems to 
have made a home for himself soon after, taking with him 
his sister Maryona ; we find the entry of her death some 
seventeen years later in the Diss Registers, and George, 
now past his youth, was left alone. 

Not more than five miles from Wortham is the village 
of Yaxley, where in the beginning of the seventeenth 
century dwelt the Fulchers or Folsers, a family already 
mentioned, which had there persisted since the date, and 
probably since long before the date, of Domesday Book. 
At the time of which we write, this family was repre- 
sented by Master Rychard Fulcher, on whose daughter 
Rose the lonely George Betts now cast his affections. 
Cannot we imagine sober George riding over in the 
cool of the evening to discuss the state of the crops with 


Master Fulcher, and retailing the latest gossip to Mistress 
Fulcher and her daughters ; while he sipped the mead 
or home-made wine they brought out for his refreshment. 

This happy wooing was not long adoing ; and in 1619 
the Yaxley registers record the marriage, the bride- 
groom being then thirty-nine and the bride eleven years 

A year after the marriage of George and Rose 
Betts their eldest child Rose was bom ; then another 
daughter Elizabeth ; and in 1624 a son, who was the third 
Betts to bear the name of George. After him came four 
more sons, John, James, Hillary, and Daniel the youngest 
who was baptized in 1636. 

There remains to us a MS. parchment-covered note- 
book, filled with household and other recipes by the careful 
hands of George Betts and his wife ; and by the help of its 
closely filled pages it is possible partly to reconstruct their 
domestic life at Wortham. 

Mistress Betts was evidently something of a leech, as 
well as a careful housewife, and while her husband rode 
or walked " abroad " to see that no " thistles or other 
superfluous weedes annoyed his come," she would be pre- 
paring simples such as " a rare drink for ye scurvy," 
which combined in one nauseous draught, watercress, 
scurvy grass, sage, wormwood, celandine, scabious leaves, 
agrimony, roots of bitterweed, fennel, and parsley. 

When little Rose came crying to her mother with a 
purple bruise, or one of the boys proudly showed a bleed- 
ing finger, she would bind the place with a plaster com- 
pounded of the herb " all heal " and hogs suet, believing 
with George Herbert that " Herbs gladly cure our flesh 
because they find their acquaintance there." 


When her husband complained of rheumatism, Mistress 
Betts had an unfaiHng remedy : a sheet dipped in specially 
prepared warm lime and water was wrapped round the 

Cherry, cowslip, and ebilun (elderberry) wines were 
made at Wortham ; and beer was specially brewed with 
raisins, from a recipe given to Rose Betts by her neighbour 
Lady Gawdy, a daughter of Sir Nicholas Bacon of 
Redgrave, whose tomb erected in 1621, by Philip Colby her 
second husband, may still be seen in Redgrave Church. 

When after a long day's sport in the field, George would 
bring his cronies to dine at Wortham, his wife was wont 
to set before them her far-famed " cock ale," made after 
the following recipe in her note-book : — 

" Boyle a cocke when he is dressed in some of the wort, 
and if you will a neats tongue too, and when they are boyled 
all to bitts, then streine them into the rest of the wort 
hauinge bin 3 houeres well boyled alsoe and well wrought. 
You must alsoe boyle spices, and some raisons also with 
the meat ; then put it in a vessell and let it stand about 
3 weekes after it haue done working ; then bottell it up, 
and within a weeke or tenn days after it is fitt to drinke. 
Flesh doe much quicken and make briske the Ale." ^ 

Perhaps it was after such a draught that George 
entered in the note-book under the heading " joes " : 

" Incipe cum Liquido sicco finire memento ; " 
but one turned the verse thus : 

" Incipe cum Liquido sic finire memenlo ; " 
lines which may be freely rendered : — 

^ In 1668 Sir William Temple wrote that the Prince of Orange (after- 
wards King William III.) "preferred cock ale to any sort of wine." 


Begin with wet, but this say I, 
Do not forget to end with dry ; 


Always begin good cheer with wet, 
And end the same way — don't forget. 

Another "joe " of his is, " when a master was blaming 
of his servant for drinking, telling him it would shorten 
his days," he turned the rebuke thus, " Truth sir, for 
when I refuse drink I think the days seem long." 

The river Waveney nms within a stone's-throw of the 
house at Wortham, and in consequence we find elaborate 
directions in the note-book for the making of all sorts of 
nets, and the prices of " London twine." Now that sea 
fish are so cheap and easily procured, we have lost the art 
of cooking fresh-water fish, but Mistress Betts knew many 
ways of making it savoury. Here is one of her recipes, 
which though cruel is really no worse than our custom 
of boiling lobsters alive. 

" Take carpes aliue and bleed at the taile, gitt as much 
blood as you can and putt it into a deepe pan with as 
much claret wine as will more than half couer the fish ; 
put in a bunch of sweete hearbes, an onjon quartered, a 
little mace ; keepe the fish with turning till it be stued 
enough, then let the liquor be the sauce, but take the 
onjon out, and the hearbes, only let the leaues of the 
hearbes be stripped into ye sauce ; then put in butter and 
make the sauce salt enough, you may add an anchouie and 
good store of pickled oysters." 

Nets were also used for catching wild fowl in the fens 
near the Waveney. 

The slow flowing rivers of Norfolk and Suffolk were 
special preserves for swans ; the privilege of keeping them 


being confined to people who owned a certain extent of 
land, whose marks cut on the swan's beaks were according 
to law registered in rolls with their names. 

Queen Ehzabeth possessed a great number of the royal 

birds in East Anglia, and had her distinctive mark. 

Her chief swanner for Norfolk and 

Suffolk was one Sir Edward Cleere. 

-^ I To this day the corporation of Nor- 

J wich own numbers of swans, and at 

^k their annual " swan-upping " the 

city's mark is nicked in the soft 

beaks of the cygnets. 

The Betts preserved among the 
family papers a curious assignment 
of a Swan Mark from a certain John 
Allen of Thetford to Bartholomew 
Gascoigne gent, of Kenninghall. 
George Betts the third was destined 
to marry this Gascoigne's grand- 
daughter ; but that event was still 
" on the knees of the gods " when 
in 1605 John Allen " did give graunt 
bargaine and sell unto the said 
Bartholomew, Susanna his wife and 
Edmund their son, all that his 
Swanne Marke called the Lamme hocke which is ex- 
pressed, mentioned and set forth in the margent of this 
present wrighting." 

Detected thieves of swans were subject to a peculiar 
penalty by way of compensation to the owners for their 
loss. It is laid down by Sir Edward Coke that : " He who 
stealeth a swan in an open and common river, lawfully 


marked ; the same swan shall be hung in a house by the 
beak ; and he who stole it shall in recompense thereof, 
give to the owner so much wheat as may cover all the 
swan, by putting and turning the wheat upon the head of 
the swan until the head of the swan be covered with 

Students of obsolete laws will be reminded of the com- 
pensation which Blackstone records was extorted from 
the slayer of a royal cat ! The corpse of the poor " custos 
horrei regii " — guardian of the King's granary — was to be 
himg by the tail, with nose touching the floor, and so to be 
heaped over with grain until the last hair of its protesting 
tail disappeared beneath it. 




GEORGE Belts' nephew John, the then head 
of the family, had returned to live at Worth am 
in 1627, and his name appears that year as 
one of the trustees of the "towTi lands " belong- 
ing to the parish. Soon after, George removed to " a 
tenement called Stanforths " (not now to be identified), 
which he purchased from John. 

The lord of the manor of Wortham, now called Wortham 
Hall to distinguish it from Wortham Abbots, was Mr, 
afterwards Sir Henry Felton ; he was a friend of the Betts, 
but his name was soon to become a byword throughout 
Great Britain. Strange that this manor of Wortham 
should be associated through the family names of its 
lords, with two political crimes infamous in history. To 
a man of the name and blood of Sir Thomas Tyrell, the 
lord of 1483, was attributed the murder of the young 
Princes in the Tower ; and now in 1628 it was a relative 
of Sir Henry Felton, Lieutenant John Felton who was the 
assassin of the Duke of Buckingham. 

Some little time before, the Duke had been urged, by 
reason of his great unpopularity, to wear a secret coat of 


mail ; but it needs not," was his light reply ; " there are 
no Roman spirits left " ; words soon to be disproved, 
for in the lining of Felton's hat was found pinned this 
defiant vindication : — 

" That man is cowardly and base, and deserveth not 
the name of gentleman or soldier, that is not wrllinge to 
sacrifice his life for the honor of his God his Kinge, and 
his countrie. Lett no man commend me for doeinge 
of it, but rather discommend themselves as the cause of 
it, for if God had not taken away or hartes for or sinnes, 
he would not have gone so long unpunished. Jo. 
Felt on." 

In 1640, Wortham was assessed for ^^27, 14s. 6d. ship 
money, to be collected by that year's constables. The 
names of the two Betts, uncle and nephew appear : 
George Betts, gent., lis. 4d. John Betts, gent., £1, os. 6d. 

Opposition was general to this hateful and uncon- 
stitutional tax ; but Wortham paid up, as did the ad- 
joining parishes of Redgrave and Brome, the names of 
Sir Edmund Bacon and Sir Frederick Comwaleys head- 
ing the lists. Palgrave refused to pay at all. " The chief 
inhabitants of the town," said the constables " are not at 
home, and the rest refuse to meet or make their rates." 

In 1627, Suffolk had addressed " an humble remon- 
strance " to Parliament, showing the following reasons 
why the inhabitants of the county should not be forced 
to contribute to the two ships " impressed on the town 
and port of Ipswich." 

They represented that : — 

" First. The town did not contribute to the inland 
taxes for provisions, carriages, and material for 


His Majesty's buildings, during his abode in Thet- 
ford and Newmarket. 
" Second. The county paid £1050 a year for com- 
position for His Majesty's household. 
" ;^iooo for repair of beacons and bridges. 
" £400 for watching beacons, for maimed soldiers, 
relief of Marshalsea, and King's Bench, to all of 
which Ipswich did not contribute." 

It is significant, that nothing that could in any way 
reveal the political opinions of the Betts during the Civil 
Wars, could be discovered among the mass of papers which 
so far as concerned all other periods of their history, were so 
carefully preserved by this methodical family at Wortham. 
It was only after a most careful search, that the chance 
turning of the fly leaf of an ancient copy of Raleigh's 
" History of the World," disclosed these half erased lines, 
which had probably been over-looked when other in- 
criminating documents were cautiously made away 
with : — 

" When men can freely put the question 
Or God in mercy raise againe 
Or gracious K.C. and his sonnes 
O'er Englishmen againe to raigne." 

That the writer, George Betts in all probability, was a 
Royalist is made clear beyond a doubt, but as he had 
passed his sixtieth year before the outbreak of hostilities, 
it is unlikely that he took part in the fighting. 

After the Restoration, we have further evidence ; many 
hundreds of yellow old MS. sermons preached by members 
of the family have been found at Wortham, from one of 


which the following lurid picture of Commonwealth 
times has been extracted : — 

" As soon as ye Long Parliament departed from their 
allegiance, what a scene of confusion and desolation 
then followed. Almighty God here suffered by his per- 
mission, tyranny and rebellion to be successful and 
prosperous, but, alas, how did they manage that victory, 
they made a great reformation in Church and State in the 
Church, by pulling down her walls & pillars by devouring 
her land, destroying her ornaments, defacing her beauty, 
extirpating her primitive and apostolick government, 
abolishing her excellent Liturgy, throwing away all forms 
of publick worship . . . They reformed the State like- 
wise by oppression of the people, by exhausting the 
wealth of the kingdom, by the subvertion of the funda- 
mental laws and all the sacred priveleges of Parliament, 
cashiering the Peers of the Realm, and at last accomplish- 
ing the ruin of ye monarchy seizing upon his sacred 
Majesty and committing him as if a thief or a robber to 
ye prison. 

" They pretended to aim at nothing more than the 
honour and happiness of ye king in delivering him from 
evil counsellors, and security of the subjects in their 
liberties and rights, and the glory of God in the purity of 
Religion : varnishing over their wicked designs with the 
cause of God ; and this method took strangely with the 
people, that large contributions were raised to promote 
and carry on this bloody design, for immediately upon it 
what storms, what outrages of cruelty and violence, 
what spoils and rapine, how many thousands of 
brave and loyall subjects were cut off. King and laws 
laid aside as useless, and the nation's ears nailed to ye 



door posts of ye Tyranizing and rebellious House of 

" Taking it in all its circumstances it was perhaps the 
greatest and most comprehensive sin, next to the cruci- 
fixion of the Son of God, and the sin against the Holy 
Ghost, that any of Adam's degenerate race was guilty of 
since ye creation of ye world, to arraign and condemn 
God's sacred viceregent." 

What the clergy suffered, may be inferred from the 
calumnies of their adversaries the Puritan Ministers in 
the days of their power. In 1642, one Mr Simon Ash 
preaching before the House of Commons designated the 
loyal clergy as " blind seers, dumb dogs, idle drones 
schismatical heretical & scandalous men," and in 1643, 
another preacher also exulted in the sufferings of his 
brethren. " How many dumb devils," he sneered, " are 
now casting out of many parishes in the land." And 
verbal abuse was translated into acts of cruel tyranny. 
In Worth am it is true that the rectors of both 
medieties managed, perhaps by signing the "Protesta- 
tion," to keep their livings ; but though they escaped, 
the incumbents of most of the neighbouring parishes 

In 1644, after forty-eight years ministry, the aged Mr 
Sayer vicar of Hoxne, was ejected on a trivial charge. 
At Palgrave, the rector Thomas Honekin or Howchine 
was, according to Walker, " harried and frightened 
into a resignation, after which he lived a retired and 
melancholy life," dying at Thelnetham, a neighbouring 
parish in 1646. The unfortunate Howchine was son-in- 
law, as well as the successor as rector of Palgrave, of our 
old friend Elnathan Parr, and so, as will be shewn, a 


direct ancestor of the later Betts. The rector of Oakley 
John Gordon also suffered. 

Wives of " plundered ministers " were, according to 
Parliament law, entitled to one fifth of the value of the 
livings their husbands had been deprived of, but before 
the amount could be recovered from the new rectors, 
proof was required that the ejected ministers were alive. 
It is recorded in one case, that the usurper obstinately 
refused to admit that the late incumbent was in the land 
of the living, and when the poor man came to his door 
in person, turned him away with the words " that though 
he was naturally alive, yet he was dead in trespasses and 
sins, and therefore nothing was due to him." In Diss, the 
rector Edward Palgrave, B.D. was ejected, and Richard 
Moore, A.M., who had signed the Protestation was put 
in his place. This touched the Betts family nearly, for 
Rose the eldest daughter of George Betts became the 
wife of the intruded minister Mr Moore. 

The marriage is proved by the family deeds, but is not 
registered at Wortham ; it most likely took place before 
a Justice according to the Parliament law. Puritans 
objected even to the use of the ring in marriage, and no 
longer were the ancient seasons for matrimony observed. 
"Marriage," as we read in the Wortham Register, referring 
to former times, " comes in on the 13th of January. 
It goes out on Septuagesima Sunday. It comes in again 
the day after Low Sunday. It goes out again Rogation 
Sunday. It comes in again after Trinity Sunday. It 
goes out Advent Sunday." 

The Wortham manor rolls record the death in 1648 of 
John Betts, the head of the family, at the age of fifty. 

Of this John, the family records tell us little. Five 


years earlier his name had disappeared from among the 
trustees of the Worth am town lands ; he died intestate ; 
his burial is not entered in the parish registers. 

Can it be that he fell — if so, no doubt on the royalist 
side — at the battle of Preston, fought a month or so before 
the manor court was held ? A small oval Royalist badge, 
and a complete suit of armour of that period were among 
the treasures at Wortham, both may have belonged to 

The court rolls of the manor show that John Betts left 
four children all under age, Thomas, Andrew, Susan and 
Mary ; his widow Elizabeth, who soon married one 
Nicholas Sucklinge, was appointed their guardian. 

In 1652, George Betts of Stanforths died in his seventy- 
second year. By his will, made twelve years before, he 
left all his lands to Rose his wife, with the reversion at 
her death to George his eldest son. To each of his other 
sons John, James, Hillary and Daniel, he gave some acres of 
land and a hundred pounds in " lawful English money," 
and to each of his daughters Rose and Elizabeth he left 
the same sum. A hundred pounds was considered at 
that time a fair fortune for a gentleman's daughter. 




FROM the accumulated mass of Wortham papers, 
has been rescued an ancient account book, 
containing entries of wages, rents and so 
forth from 1656 to 1710. It is bound in 
brown paper worn as thin as tissue, and dated outside 
1648, but unluckily a few pages are missing. Some of 
the entries are of interest as showing the cost of living at 
that time : — 

" Mistress Gavelet' s " bill of May 20th 1656 

£ s. D. 

For I load of straw . 

0. 5. 


I lb. of butter . 

0. 4. 


a peck of rye 

0. 0. 


Constables eating 

0. 0. 


On March 25th 1664 servants wages are entered : 
" Joseph his half yeares wages . £2. 10. o. 

Katherin Smith hir wages . £1. o. o." 

Another man Sam received £1. 15s. The men's wages 
were considerably more than double the wage paid half 
a century before, as witnesseth an old ballad of 1609 : — 


" The serving man waiteth from street to street, 
With blowing his nails and beating his feet ; 
And serveth for forty shillings a year, 
How can he be merry and make good cheer ? " 

And the yearly wage of women servants had risen pro- 

Except during the civil wars, labourers' wages were, as 
already mentioned, annually fixed by proclamation of the 
county justices at quarter sessions holden at Bury. 
During the wars they received seven pence to eight pence 
daily. This was raised in 1651 to one and two pence, 
when the price of wheat was over sixty-five shillings a 
quarter, and meat was about five per cent, above its 
usual price, which had been three pence a pomid for 
mutton and two pence a pound for beef. 

Agriculture was perforce neglected during " these un- 
faithftil times," but in the end the temporary stagnation 
worked for good. Confiscated estates fell into the hands 
of practical farmers ; new interest in agriculture was 
evoked, and scientific farming, advocated by the writings 
of Platts, Hartlib and Blyth, became the rule. 

" The newe forme of come setting," a machine called a 
drill, lightened the labours of the farm ; and the lately 
introduced cultivation of turnips and clover enabled the 
farmer, if so minded, to keep sheep and cattle through 
the winter. The general custom before turnips were 
introduced had been to slaughter and salt and hang up 
enough beasts in November to last through the winter ; 
as recommended by Tusser : — 

" (For Easter) at Martilmas, hang up a beef, 
For stall-fed & pease-fed play pick-purse the thief, 


With that and the hke, ere an grass beef come in 
Thy folk shall look cheerly, when others look thin." 

The Betts account book shows however, that at first, 
improvements notwithstanding, the Restoration did not 
bring better times to the farmer. Against June 3rd, 
1670 is the following entry : — 

" Rec : then of John Clarak in full of his halfe yeares 
rent endinge on or Lady day last past, in money 61b. 5s. 6d., 
for makinge 3 loade of woode 4s. 6d., abated him in con- 
sideration of ye hardness of the times los. in all £7." 

Two years before, the same tenant had had his rent 
abated for the same reason ; he was a glazier as well as 
farmer, for 8s. iid., is then reckoned in his rent " for 
glazinge the Hall windows." 

But later, the account book shows a great increase 
of rents. For example, we find this entry for 22nd 
May 1684 : " Reced. then of Robt. Case for rent 
by George Betts ye sum of eighteen pounds. I say 
reed." Two years later, this rent is raised to ^^24 ; and 
another piece of land, let in 1669 at £5, was raised to £10. 

" A paire of fowles " are entered in 1667 as bought for 
one and sixpence, and " a paire of soales for sixpence." 

Dwelling at Eye in 1649, were two well-known Parlia- 
mentarians described in a somewhat confused con- 
temporary document as " Thomas Deye of Moore Hall 
gent and Thomas Deye of Stairhouse gent yoimger 
brother of the father of the other. Thomas Deye of 
Moore Hall hath 20o£ p. a. and the other about 30o£. 
Either of them is married to a daughter of Simon Bloom- 
field sometime of Coddenham gent." At the first glance 
this last sentence is amusingly ambiguous, " either," we 
may suppose should have been written " each." The 


Deye family intermarried with the Betts, and like that 
family is now extinct in the male line. A memento of 
Thomas Deye of Moore Hall passed to his descendants 
of Wortham, in the shape of a large silver porringer bear- 
ing his name engraved ; it was sold at Christie's in 1906 
for £250. His uncle Thomas Deye of Stairhouse, 
according to the same old document lent fifty pounds 
upon " the Propositions of Parliament " for raising money 
at eight per cent., at the beginning of the war. 

In 1649, Thomas Deye of Moore Hall was made treasurer 
of the rates levied by Parliament on the town of Eye, and 
his accounts thereof are among the Betts MSS. The 
first rate made in 1649 was for three months pay for 
the maintenance of the forces in England and Ireland. 
"There was charged upon the county £4700 per men- 
sem, and upon the towne of Eye p. mensem £30, 14. i." 
Thomas Deye, sen., gent, was rated at £25. los. a year 
and for £50 stock. Thomas Deye the nephew is rated at 
£76, and for his meadowes and stock £212. 

In July 1650, there was another rate made " for 
the maintenance of the forces under Oliver Cromwell 
Esq., Capt. Generall of England & Ireland." That year, 
there were also two further rates made upon the town 
of Eye. One was for drums and colours at £16. 13. 4. 
The other, which Thomas Deye treasurer for the hundred 
" appoints to be paid ye 31st of August " at Eye, is headed : 
" the rate for Drums and Trumpetts according to an 
order from the Commissioners, and likewise for payment 
of Officers and other Imergent Occasions, for putting this 
County into a posture of Defence upon the New Modell ; 
this hundred Charged with the sume of 1691b. 4s. od. for 
halfe of that payment. Upon this towne i61b. i8s. 4d." 


In 1652, a monthly assessment is made " by the present 
Parliament for the raising of 120,000 lb. per mensem for 
and towards the maintenance of the Armies in England, 
Scotland, and Ireland, together with the Navie att Sea. 
Charged upon the County, 62661b. 13s. 4d. per mensem." 

Cromwell's war with the Dutch accounts for the 
" Navie att Sea " being coupled with the maintenance of 
three armies. In the case of defaulters, who either could 
not or would not pay, the rates were levied by distraint, 
their goods being carried to London and sold by the 
candle, i.e., for the highest bid made during the flicker of 
a certain length of candle. 

The two Thomas Deyes, uncle and nephew, were suc- 
cessively bailiffs of Eye, and their names occur in 1650 
and 1653, as holding the annual courts of pie powder at 
Finningham fair, over which fair the bailiffs and burgesses 
of Eye presided. 

At such courts of " dusty feet," the duty of Justices 
was to determine petty disputes, fix the assize of victuals, 
and test weights and measures. 

In January 1686, at a sitting at Eye upon Excise, two 
offenders from Wortham were convicted by the Justices, 
of whom Thomas Deye was one. " Joseph Singleton in 
respect of two Barrells of Ale non Entry and non pai- 
ment of Exise doble duty los. Costes los " ; and John 
Lyst for the like offence. The convictions were signed 
by " Jo : Castleton and Thos. Deye." 

The village inn at Wortham, at the time of this " sitting 
upon excise," was then, and stiU is, known as " Tumble- 
down-Dick," or " the Dick " for short. Until lately, it 
displayed a painted sign made in derision of the fall of 
Richard Cromwell, representing a man falling off a table. 


In 1661, the year after the Restoration, Rose Betts' 
husband, Richard Moore the intruded rector of Diss, 

having refused to comply with the " Act of Uniformity," 
were in their turn ejected from their Hvings. He retired, 
probably to his own property " The Common Farm " at 
Diss ; but that he continued to preach is in evidence, for 
we find in the year of the great plague a quaintly phrased 
sermon in his hand-writing on the text " The Lord sent a 
Pestilence in Israel." 

The austere old preacher no doubt voiced the prevailing 
views of the causes and course of the plague. First, he 
attributes the awful visitation to the Nation's sins, 
" The undercause," he deems to have been famine. 
" Surely that may be the proper Cause of the Plague say 
the Phisitians : for the Poore at such time of dearth 
beinge constrained through want to eat such things as 
are not Good ; but corrupt and unwholesome ; their 
food corrupts and putrifies their Bodyes, from whence 
proceedeth noisesome and infectious diseases. 

" But here, it may be objected that many men and 
women who fare choicely and daintily and wholesomely, 
yet are infected notwithstanding, and dye of the plague. 

" I answere ; that there be many other under Causes, 
not yet specified, and among others this is one : corrupt 
airs ; the Air beinge corrupted through the Putrification 
and unseasonableness of the weather, and beinge sucked 
into the body of man, corrupteth the vital spirits also, and 
so infects him. 

" It is called the arrow that flieth by day. An arrow 
fiys swiftly and falls suddenly : So the Pestilence 
catcheth hold of a man so swiftly and suddenly, that 

0>ie oj the /cxi< physicians 

o the C' eat P/njiue 


many are marked out for death, before they feel them- 
selves sick at all. 

" Its called the Pestilence that walketh in darkness ; 
That is first, Its a walking disease ; It creepes, it goes, it 
walks, from one to another by the Contagion of the 
Aire or Clothes of a Man. 

" Its called the sickness that destroyeth at noonday. 
Its non dehilitans, it seizes on the vital Spirits, kills him 
on a suddaine in his full strength. It kills not only one or 
two, or some few ; but where it setts in, it doth com- 
monly wast, depopulate and sweepe all away : Whole 
houses, whole Streets, whole townes and Cities have been 
brought to nought by it." 

Another MS. sermon in a different handwriting, is 
the utterance of a man living perchance in Wortham, in 
the midst of the Great Terror : 

" As for the effects of the Pestilence I need not tell you 
what they are, every day's experience makes us ac- 
quainted with the iU news of our friends' and neighbours' 

The last generation of the Betts of Wortham through 
the Doughty family, could claim as a direct ancestor, one 
of the few physicians — a certain Dr Chester — who did not 
run away from his professional duties in London, during 
the Great Plague. 




IN the spring of 1665, just before the coming of 
the Plague, died the widowed Rose Belts, her un- 
married daughter EUzabeth having predeceased 
her. Of her five sons, two were then married : 
James and Hillary. They had both sought their fortmies 
in the Nonvich weaving industry ; Hillary made his 
home in Norwich, but James returned to his native 
neighbourhood and settled at Diss. There, his first 
child Rebecca was born, to be later followed by a son 
called James after his father, and then another daughter, 

George married soon after his mother's death, but his 
married life did not last long, Mary his wife dying in 
1669, after the successive births and deaths of two 
infant daughters. 

The other brothers had after their mother's death, 
sold their several portions of land to George ; and in 
the same year George also purchased from his cousin 
Thomas, son of the royalist John Betts, what remained 
of his share of the family estate. Andrew the younger 
son of John Betts had died in 1660, leaving his inheri- 
tance to his sisters Susan and Mary. Susan married 
Nicholas Browne, and Mary became ]\irs John Thompson. 


From Mary Thompson, who died in 1669 leaving no 
children, her land passed to her sister Susan Browne, who 
in 1682 sold both shares to her cousin George Betts. 
After that date, the names of the elder branch of the 
family no longer appear in the Court Rolls. The acres 
alienated by them, were, however, bit by bit bought 
back by George. 

A letter written on February 6th 1672 by Thomas 
Deye describes what a Suffolk county election was like 
more than two centuries ago. This by-election of 1672 
had been rendered necessary by the death of Sir Henry 
North, one of the knights of the Shire. Mr Deye's letter 
is addressed to Sir George Reeve brother-in-law of Sir 
Edmund Bacon of Redgrave, and one of the sitting 
members for the borough of Eye. 

The candidate for the vacancy was, on the Royalist 
side, the eldest son of Sir Lionel Tollemache of Helming- 
ham. Lord Huntingtower, his mother being Countess of 
Dysart in her own right. His opponent was Sir Samuel 
Barnardiston of Kenton, the head of a family of strong 
Parliamentarian opinions. 

Sir Samuel, it is said, had been the miconscious cause 
of the name of Roundhead being bestowed on the Parlia- 
ment party. The story runs that when an apprentice in 
London, he took part in the riots created by Lansford's 
apprentices. Queen Henrietta Maria, who was watching 
from a window, noticing the tall young man, cried : 
" See what a handsome young roundhead is there ! " 
It will be seen that Sir Samuel, though now older by 
half a lifetime, had not forgotten how to make a riot. 

Thomas Deye's opinions had evidently midergone a 
remarkable change since the time when he was treasurer. 


under Parliament, for the Hundred of Hartismere. His 
letter omitting merely formal parts reads thus : — 

" It wold be tedious if not impertinent to kavell the 
Methode of those endeavors used to obviate the ambition 
of that person whoe had pride enough to tell my Lord 
Comwallys att London and att Ipswich allsoe on the day 
of election, That Hee cold give him the advantage of 
fower voyces to one, and shall onely say, such insolence 
founded uppon the ffanaticke Interest, united the gent, 
as Concerned in their owne honour and the Coimtry's 
Cause, and put them to doe their utmost against soe bold 
a Pretender, and accordingly they laboured to a wonder 
in that little time they had which was but three dayes to 
make an Impression uppon Men of sense and sobernes, 
and soe farr prevailed therein, and soe prudently ordered 
the conduct of their Busines, That on Sunday night my 
Lord Cornwallys accompanied with Sir Edmund Bacon 
and the gent, of Burye division, Rode into Ipswich at 
the Head of more a thousand ffreeholders whoe came out 
of Hartsmere Hundred and the ffranchise of Burye : 
Sir John Duke, Mr Duke and the Gent, of Beccles Came 
in allsoe in other parties, Monday morninge brought in 
Sir Henry ffelton and Sir Robert Brooke on the one side 
of the Towne and Sir William Doyly and some others on 
the other side : All brought in the Lord Huntingtower 
and appeared a gallant and noble Traine and in a Solemn 
and grave Order : Sir Samuell wanted not a man allmost 
in the whole County of a factious fanaticke principle, and 
all the Crewe of the meaner sorte of Traders out of the 
Clothinge and great Townes, besides a strange Rabble 
of poore Common Seamen, gathered upp from all places 
in and neare the county. All armed with Clubbes and 


great staves as designed for terror. Beeinge thus driven 
on with the fire and heate of the zealots and factions, and 
the furye and madnes of the seamen and Common Rout, 
You will not wonder that Hee made his entrye with noyse 
and Clamor with disorder and terror. Appearinge to 
the Gent, like another Tamberlaine who was styled Ira 
Dei and a scourge to the World. Nothinge but the 
Courage of the Gent, and the Comfort of Servdnge their 
Country faithfully cold have borne upp against such a 
Torrent : The Mannage of the Affaire and the order of it 
as to Clarkes etc was agreed uppon and settled over night 
by the Sheriff whose office gave him the sole power. 
Care was especially taken for the Clarkes, that such 
might be att his Booth as might bee honest and vigilant 
to prevent (at least not to bee tooe forward to accept of) 
the non Residents and Rabble not qualifyed to vote : 
But Hee sawe his power in theise people tooe great, and 
them tooe insolent to Receive but rather give Lawes : 
Indeed both the Sheriff and Gent, stood stifly to have those 
Clarkes which were ordered to him, But hee required his 
owne and such as were fitted for the purpose and had 
enough of the faction : the Debate held until Wee had 
polled 5 or 600 att my Lords Booth, But then the Clubb 
Lawe prevailed and the seamen began to fire into tumult. 
The Sheriffs Wyfe swooned att the affright, and the Sheriff 
yielded, the Gent, shrunke or withdrewe as beinge 
willinge not to perish by the hand of the enraged Multitude 
and indeed S"^ aU sober men that stood neere doe declare 
That the Gent, (especially Sir Henry ffelton) were in 
manifest peril of their lives : Nor were Wee att my Lords 
Booth in much lesse danger and knewe it not, for some 
seamen gave the word to pull downe the Booth but the 


rest not understandinge which, fell uppon that which was 
next which was Sir Samuell's beinge eager to lay hold on 
our Gent, there, they in the Rere called out my Lords 
Booth, but the other were tooe busye to heare them. 
And so Sir William Bloys like a sober and worthy Gent, 
used all persuasions to pacifie the Multitude. By whose 
Entreaties (Sir Samuell not vouchsafing to speake a 
word) the Sheriff yieldinge some of the Gent, with- 
drawinge, and the rest complyinge, the seamen Cooled 
and danger disappeared : S" you will better comprehend 
than I howe much the amatinge [terrifying] of our Gent, 
the actuatinge of the seamen's heate, and the fixinge of 
such Clarkes, might contribute to the Encrease of his 
Poll : When the PoJlinge was finished, which was by the 
close of the day (each Booth havinge six Clarkes) the 
High Sheriff with the Lords and Gent, of both sides went 
upp into the Towne Hall to number the Bookes, and there 
waited Sir Samuell, After a long Expectation and before 
any entrance uppon the worke, they sent to him, Hee 
returned an answere not full of Civility and scorned to 
come amongst them, I am sure he came not, soe they 
were compelled to proceed without him. It was uppon 
my hand to take the Nombers of each page after the 
Tellers, and to Add them together from Booke to Booke, 
my Lord's Bookes were faire and signed by each Clarke 
that toke them. Sir Samuell's were otherwise. When all 
was brought into grosse Nombers the totall Accomit arose 
thus : My Lord had 2202 : Sir Samuell 2280 : But the indirect 
practice of the heady people in givinge and of others in 
procuringe not allowable Votes and the Tumult of the 
Accont, made the Sheriff Resolve not to declare for Sir 
Samuell, Believinge the trewe number of loyall Electors 

" WEE REMEMBERED '39 " 113 

to be some Hundreds on my Lords side. And had the 
Sheriff beene in Capacitie, the proof was pregnant and at 
hand, for in one To\vne and that noe Markett Towne 
neither, the Minister certified the names of above 20 
voters who were not ffree holders, the hke was suspected 
to greater Nimibers where the Townes were greater, and 
the same for non residents and wee feare a greater fraude 
than that : Uppon the Sheriffs demur danger reappeared, 
for Sir Samuell att 9 of the Clock att night toke his 
Chaire and mounted his Beast (I meane the Clubd 
Multitude) and came to the Hall by Torch light, to tell 
the Gent, his pleasure and the Sheriff his duty, What 
Ecchoe his words wold have made uppon that Brazon 
Wall that followed him, I dreaded to heare lest it shold 
have struck me deafe tUl the Resurrection, But it soe 
happened that the Sheriff and Gent met him att the staires 
foote and soe had the opportunity to slipp away ; My 
Lord Comwallys, my selfe and some others staid behinde 
att the Table where wee sate and soe sawe not the Rout, 
But Sir Edmund Bacon goinge with the Sheriff was soe 
surprized at the sight, that hee came back with great 
apprehensions and professinge there was a tumult not 
to bee suppressed but by the Posse Comitatis : But the 
Rider's [Sir Samuel] back beinge turned wee Recollected 
our selves and in the dark (much better than by Sir 
Samuell's Torch hght) wee found the way to my Lord 
Huntingtower with whome Wee supped without Musick 
or Mirth, other than what arose from the Contemplation 
of our escaped danger. Wee remembered '39 [the be- 
ginning of the Civil Wars] as seeing it nowe acted over 
againe with clearer Prognosticks of an approaching '48 
[the year the King was beheaded, reckoned as 1648 up 


to 25*^ of March]. If not timely prevented by a Lawe 
restoring Elections to their antient Composure and 
peacableness and Raising the valuation of Electors to 
their old standard of value which is nowe debased as 
one to twenty : By his Ma"* Restraininge at least the 
insolence of the ffanaticks for if they once came to know 
their strength in other places as in this, That they are 
able to Beare downe and Baffle the whole Aristocracye 
of a County, It will not bee long ere they bee bold to 
affront Monarchy allsoe : God preserve the King in his 
power, ye Church in its settlement The House of Commons 
in their Loyalty. Us in our duty and you in your health 
Soe prays 

Yo' most humble Servant 

Tho : Deye 
ffeb. 26 

ffor the Hono'''" S"^ George Reeve Knt & Barr*- and 
member of Parliament at his Lodginges neere Jacobs 
Coffee House in old Southampton Buildings." 

The High Sheriff that year was John Risby, Esq. of 
Thorpe Morieux ; in spite of his demurs, Sir Samuel 
Barnardiston was declared duly elected. 

Sir Henry Felton of Playford, who is mentioned in 
the letter, was related to the earlier Sir Henry who was 
lord of the manor of Wortham when the Duke of 
Buckingham was assassinated. The Sir Henry of the elec- 
tion was a sitting knight of the shire in 1672, and had, in 
CromweU's day, been a member of the " Bare-bones 
Parliament." He carried on the traditional friendship 
with the Betts family. Until the sale of 1906 there 


remained a copy of Euripides in the Wortiiam library 
with the name Henry Felt on inscribed therein. 

All readers of Evelyn's " Diary " will be familiar with the 
name of Sir William Doyley. He was one of the com- 
missioners associated with Evelyn, appointed to care for 
the sick, woimded, and prisoners during Charles IL's 
Dutch War ; he had also sat on the Parliament committee 
for Norfolk during the Civil Wars. 

The Lord Comwallys, who accompanied Thomas Deye 
in his ignominious flight from the furious rabble, was 
Charles the second lord, son of Sir Frederick Comwallys 
of Brome, the " pretty Frede " of his mother's letters 
of 1613. An ardent Royalist, Sir Frederick had fought 
for the late King in nearly all his battles, and went into 
banishment with the young Prince, who at the Restora- 
tion created him Baron Comwallys of Eye. 

Sir John Duke, who came into Ipswich with " the Gent 
of Beccles," was the owner of Benhall Lodge near 
Saxmundham, which had been built by his grandfather 
in 1638. 

Sir Robert Brooke, one of those who brought Lord 
Huntingtower into Ipswich on the day of election, owned 
Cockfield Hall in Yoxford and was father-in-law to that 
" sober & worthy Gent " Sir William Bloys of Grun- 
disburgh. This last named gentleman had been one 
of the Parliamentary Committee for Suffolk during the 
Civil Wars. 

Sir Edmund Bacon of Redgrave had broken away from 
all his family traditions by supporting Lord Huntingtower, 
for the Bacons were Roimdheads of the Roundheads ; 
and Sir Edmund's grandfather, whom he succeeded, had 
been one of Cromwell's most trusted captains. 


Picture the scene on that bleak winter's morning of 
1672, Lord Comwallys and Sir Edmund Bacon, at the 
head of more than a thousand freeholders, riding through 
the streets of Ipswicli. The gentlemen in long vests 
and surcoats reaching to the knee, a Persian mode 
lately introduced by the king, Charles II., their curled 
" perruques " showing under small plumed hats. Of 
many colours and varied fashions would be the dress 
of their followers ; some men still in puritanical 
garb, with Cromwellian breeches and steeple crowned 
hats, others with the love locks and brave attire 
of the Cavaliers, or the gay doublets of their youth- 
ful days; the red cloaks, green aprons, and broad 
brimmed hats of the white capped women in the crowd 
adding here and there a touch of vivid colour ; while 
from the diamond-paned windows in the high gabled 
plaster and timber houses, patched and painted faces of 
fashionable dames would appear, gazing on the motley 
procession, as it clattered along the cobble stones of the 
antique winding thoroughfares. 




IN 1674 George Betts married again, his second 
wife being Susanna, the only child of Edmund 
Gascoigne of Stowlangtoft, and grand-daughter of 
the Bartholomew Gascoigne and Susanna Higham 
his wife of Kenninghall, who had in 1605 bought the 
swan mark from John Allen. Edmund Gascoigne had 
married a Wolson, or Wilson as the name is now spelled. 
She was presumably of the older family of that name 
who preceded the D'Ewes at Stowlangtoft, for after 
his marriage Edmund settled at Stowlangtoft. His 
name appears in the hearth tax returns for that place in 
1674, the year of his daughter's marriage with George 

As a childless widower George had, as is shown in the 
hearth tax returns for Wortham, occupied a small tene- 
ment, possibly Stanforths his late father's house, but 
shortly after his second marriage he seems to have 
returned to the old home, which had been unoccupied 
since the death of John Betts. 

There remained at Wortham until 1906, a few memorials 
of Susanna Betts. In the drawing-room was a relic 
of her maiden days and an example of her skill in needle- 


work, a large bead workbasket. The design was a 
Cavalier listening to a lady seated playing a lute ; in the 
background were animals and birds ; the deep sides being 
ornamented with hunting scenes, flowers, buildings, and 
the name of the embroideress " Susanna Gascoigne 1669." 

Among the Wortham linen there was a table- 
cloth and six napkins, which Susanna probably brought 
as part of her bridal outfit, the thread spun by her own 
hands, for spinster was then no meaningless term for an 
unmarried woman. This damask tablecloth is woven 
with the date of Susanna's marriage, 1674 ; and for pat- 
tern, shows an equestrian portrait of William Prince of 
Orange, and a view of his palace on the Maas, surrounded 
by the English Blue Garter motto : " Honi soit qui mal y 
pense," and the Dutch : " Lange leeft onser victorwesen 
Prins van Oranje." 

The young Prince, King Charles II. 's nephew, was even 
then, before his marriage with his cousin the Princess 
Mary of York, the hope of the Protestants of England — 
and this notwithstanding that we were at the time at 
war with the Dutch, and were getting decidedly the worst 
of it. 

Dutch privateers and pirates then infested the narrow 
seas, and all English vessels had to be armed for their 
owTi defence. 

A parchment deed of sale dated 1678 is in the Wortham 
collection. The parties to it were members of the CuUum 
family, who by intermarriage with the Deyes became 
ancestors of the later Betts of Wortham. By this deed, 
John Cullum of Ipswich mariner covenanted to sell to 
William Cullum of Thomdon merchant, a two and thirtieth 
part of his " new ship ye Mary, of the burthen of 300 


tuns " (evidently a mere trader), and of all her stock ; 
and among the stock are specially mentioned " gnnns, 
gmipowder, shott, ammunition, and artillerie." 

But a greater treasure than either the basket or table- 
cloth is the Elizabethan Bible of 1589, which Susanna 
Gascoigne brought into the Betts family. 

On the fly-leaf is written the name of the first owner : 
" Grizel Gascoigne hir book " ; and on another leaf at 
the end, is the name of Grizel's descendant, written in a 
childish scribble, " Susan Gaskin har book shall be." 
And in " har book " have been entered ever since Susan's 
marriage, the births and deaths of the Betts of Wortham. 
The universal custom of entering such events in the Bible 
may weU have come from the frequent absence of other 
means of recording them during the Civil Wars. 

In the Bible, the first entry written before Susan's 
birth is : " My uncle departed this life upon Tewsday 
beinge the sixt day of June 1643, and was interred the 
Wednesday foUowinge just beneath the ffont toward the 
North side." No name is added. Only the matrix of 
a brass now remains at the spot indicated in Stowlangtoft 
church, the brass itself having probably been torn up by 
some enthusiastic follower of Dowsing. 

So, " Grizel Gascoigne hir book " contains her uncle's 
only memorial, for there are no entries in the parish 
registers between the years 1636 and 1644. 

Soon after Susanna Gascoigne's marriage with George 
Betts, her maternal uncle William Wolson wrote the 
following letter which was found at Wortham. Mr 
Gascoigne had lately died, and his widow was living 
with her daughter Mrs Betts. William Wolson was 
evidently an aged man ; — 


" Deare Sister Gascoigne, and Cosen Susan Belts. 

" I thanke you boath for y°' kind letter received by 
ye hand of Mr. Gray. I cannot but rejoice much to see 
the good Blessing of God, still followinge you boath, who 
indeed haue always walked in ye waye of God's blessing, 
and such are likelyed to finde it. I reioice with you in ye 
Christian departure of my Brother Gascoigne. ... I wish 
Mr. Betts and your Selfe much joy ; I hope a mutual 
blessing each to other ; and whereby your Mothers joy 
will be increased, necessarily in ye happie fruition of y" 
boath. I have little hope of seeing y" any more on this 
earth, y" are removed farther into Suffolke, and it was a 
great journey for me to Stow Langtoft : . . . 

" Deare Relations, I shall die ye more Comfortably in 
y* I know y" so well settled, in such a happie contented 
Condition : having Agur's portion left y", which y" 
might well have called Achsah's ; (Caleb's daughter 
Josh : 15. 16 ad 19) but y* your Modestie humilitie, and 
y* which most of all makes it soe, is your Contentation ; 
that doth it : and indeed such an Estate is happiest ; for 
it is ye friest from Contempt, and Enuie : . . . 

" Deare Sister and cosins wishing y" much happines and 
prosperitie, each in other, and all of us in ye Lord : and 
desiring much my service to be presented to worthy Mr. 
Betts ; I take leave and rest, in those neere Relations, 
wherein it hath pleased God to vnite us, and I hope by 
y" accepted, 

" Y' ever affectionate Brother, and Vncle William 

" When I gott to ye topp of ye hill, going from y", I was 
wont to looke back againe to you : as shewing how loath 
I was to depart : So now by letter cold I write a whole 


Sheete of paper yet I must bidd y" once againe heartily 

" These 

ffor his deare sister Mrs. Gascoigne at Mr. Betts 
his house in Wortham." 

The writer's allusion to Achsah's portion — the blessing 
of " the south field and upper springs and nether springs " 
— was perhaps meant actually, as well as metaphorically, 
to refer not only to his niece's happy state of neither 
poverty nor riches, but also to a natural curiosity in the 
field called the " Wonges," on her husband's lands, where, 
in one almost flat meadow, two rivers take their rise, 
one the Little Ouse, running north into the Wash, and 
the other the Waveney, south and east into the German 

The varied interests of a quiet country life are indicated 
by the remarks inserted by George and Susanna Betts in 
the family note-book. 

Susanna was fond of gardening, a fashion just then at 
its height. She gives directions for the " Ordering of 
my millions " (pumpkins are still knowTi as " millions " 
in Suffolk). The seeds were to be steeped in milk, and 
sown in a hot bed, " and when they appeare set glasses 
over them." 

Glass was rarely used for gardening, and greenhouses 
were almost unknown in England at that time. Readers 
of Evelyn will remember his amazement at the sight of 
a " warming apparatus " in the Chelsea apothecary's 
garden, as late as 1683. 

Susanna grew flowers mostly for practical purposes, 
and was " very curious in all manner of distillery," such 
as oil of roses, a sovereign remedy for sore eyes, to be dis- 


tilled from the white damask rose on the proper Saint's 
day. She also would find in a book which was in her 
library, directions for " the ordering of the Kitchen garden 
and the planting of strange Flowers." The cinnamon 
rose, so called from its artificial scent, was to be grown 
from seed soaked in " milk in which good store of cinnamon 
hathe been steeped," and the seeds when planted were to 
be watered with the same liquid. 

If Mistress Susanna wished for lilies of a purple hue, 
she could steep her seeds in the lees of red wine to change 
their complexions ; if she desired blue, she could put 
" Azure or Byse between the rind and the small heads 
growing about the roots ; if green, verdigreace ; and thus 
any other colour." 

Much in the same way, she could change the colour and 
taste of fruit, by innoculating the tree's trunk with the 
desired colour and perfume, and closing the hole with 
red or yellow wax ; the fruit would then " take the colour 
and relish of the same." 

To make a barren tree fruitful, she was to lay the 
principal root bare, and drive a pin of old dry ash into 
it, cut it off close, and seal it with yellow wax. 

The mere ashes of a burnt weasel, scattered in the 
garden, were, the book said, enough to scare away field 
mice. Less obvious was the device of the burning of 
stag's fat to drive off toads and frogs, or the " assured 
rule " that moles would not approach Palma Christi, 
garlick, and onions. 

The very smell of herb rocket was, Susanna read, 
enough to kill green fly, and — the faith of our ancestors 
was stupendous — lightning could not possibly strike a 
garden in which there was a laurel or bay tree. 


The superstition about laurel is as old as Tiberius 
Caesar, who, " when the weather or aire was anything 
troubled ever carried a wreath of lawrel about his neck, 
because that (as Pliny reporteth) is never blasted with 

As to bay, in an old play one of the characters is made 
to exclaim — 

" Reach the bays : 
I'll tie a garland here about his head 
'Twill keep my boy from lightning." 

Susanna Betts has left us directions in her note-book 
" to make funke," whatever " funke " may be. The 
fungus called " the Vegetable Beef Steak " answers the 
description, and is edible, as its name suggests. 

" Take," she wrote, " a cap that growes on the side of 
an Ash, or for want of Ash then other wood, the cap growes 
like a horses hoofe, hard on the outside but within soft 
and dry like the funck when it is drest, boile this cap two 
howres in Ashes and Water or Lie, then lay it into a 
hott owen as soon as the bread come out, and after it 
be through drie, beat it well with a hammer, but re- 
member to cutt the cap into broad slices about halfe inch 
thick before it be boiled." 

A leather bound " Ryder's Almanack " for 1683 was the 
gift of George Betts to his eldest boy, another George, 

In this almanac we find a quaint illustration of the 
anatomy of man's body as it is influenced by the signs 
of the Zodiac each month ; and each day of each month 
has a sinister or favourable meaning for some part of 
the human frame. Advice as to health is given. In 
January " the best physic is warm Diet, warm clothes 
and a merry honest wife." In February, " the air is not 


lasting but oft deceives us to our prejudice." March is 
the time " to advise with the honest and able astrological 

Can we not fancy the " honest and able astrological 
physician " tracing a bilious attack to a sign of the 
Zodiac! yet even to this year of grace he has his suc- 
cessors in the compilers of Old Moore's and Zadkiel's 

As the moon was then an indispensable guide in all 
affairs of life, the Almanac of 1683 gives its readers the 
following directions to ensure success in the farm and 
garden : — 

" In February, remove grafts of young trees in the last 
quarter of the moon, being in Aries, Libra,or Scorpio." 
Herbs were not to be gathered except in a June full 
moon. Lettuce and radish would not run to seed if sown 
four days after the full of the moon. " The moon in- 
creasing, shear sheep ; kiU swine in the full moon and 
the flesh will the better prove in boiling." 

Almanacs were expensive, yet how without them, 
were country folk to guess the exact age of the moon ? 
George Betts knew a way, and in the family note-book 
entered the following directions : " To knowe the age of 
the moone." It will be remembered that the year was 
then reckoned from the 25th of March : " First, take the 
number of the day of the month, and add thereto the 
number of the expact (sic),^ then the number of the month, 

^ Epact — see the table of Moveable Feasts in the Book of Common 

To find the epact, having the prime or golden number given, the old 
rule was : — 

" Divide by tliree ; for each one left add ten ; 
Thirty reject : The prime makes epact then, " 


that is March one, being the first month, and ffebruary 
twelve, being the last ; and when all be put together, 
then if it want of 29 that is the age of the moone, and if 
it be more than 29 then cast away 29, and the remainder 
is the age of the moone. Example : — the 18 day of 
November 1688, I would knowe the age of the moone ; 
first I take the day of the month being 18, then I add the 
number of the month which is nine, then the expact which 
this yeare is seven, and all make 34, then cast away 
the 29, and the remainder is 5, soe old is the moone. 
The expact is 11 more every yeare than the last, as in 
1688 it is 7, and 1689 it is 18, and so till 29, but when it 
comes above 30, then cast away 29 and the remainder is 
the expact." 

Superstition dies hard in coimtry villages. " No good 
ever came of a Sunday moon " is a saying still current 
in Suffolk. 

" Law causes " are entered in the note-book for which 
" Mr. Betts' " authority is given. The first, which is not 
of much interest, is dated 1664 ; the next is a charge of 
Judge Hide's, which reads strangely in these days when 
every man is at liberty to regulate his own religious 

" The officer wanting a man out of his usual seat," 
said the learned judge, " and not seeking him at church, 
ou' to present him for it ; the person presented must 
proue he was there, which if he doe, yet noo damage 
lies on the officer's side for it. The officer is to present 
or procure a justice's warrant for such as doe not come to 
hear divine service, although they be there at sermon." 

The last conviction for non-attendance at church was, 
it is believed, in 1740. 


It was no doubt a hardship to be obHged by law to 
attend Divine Service, but it had its compensations. 
At rare intervals, news letters, forerunners of our news- 
papers, would arrive for the squire ; he would pass them 
on to the parson, and that " pious and painful preacher 
of God's Word " would, while edifying his congregation 
in matters of religion, excite their keen interest, by 
drawing from the news of the day apt illustrations for 
his discourse. 

Thus, one Sunday morning in June 1685, a sermon was 
preached in Wortham Church by Theophilus Williams, a 
relation of the Deyes, on the text : " Let every soul be 
subject to the higher powers." This text the preacher 
applied to " ye Rebellion in ye West," giving his hearers a 
vivid description of the then unchecked progress of the 
Duke of Monmouth. 

Mr Williams expressed loyalty but without enthusiasm ; 
how indeed could James II. be loved by the clergy of that 
Church which he continually sought to betray ? " The 
interests of kings and people," this clergyman somewhat 
weakly asserted, " are wrapt up and linked together, they 
cannot be happy or miserable asunder, but are usually 
equal bearers in ye common blessings and misfortunes " ; 
which was strange hearing for those of his congregation 
who must have well remembered the undoing and death of 
one king, and were soon to see the unmaking of another. 

The country was very unsettled ; real and pretended 
plots had succeeded each other all through the late King 
Charles II. 's, reign. Concerning one of these, the New- 
market plot of 1683, a warrant was found with the Betts 
papers, addressed to the constables of Eye, and runs 
thus : — 


" Whereas wee have received a letter from our Lord 
Lieutenant grounded upon another from one of his 
Mat'^ principall Secretarys of State Declaring that there 
hath bin lately discouered, A horrid design upon his 
Sacred Mat'^ and His Royall Highness' life, which should 
have been executed in his Mat'^ return from New Market 
in March last, which designe hath bin still carryed on, 
by ill affected and desperate persons, and was to have 
bein seconded by an Insurrection of the same in seuerall 
parts of the kingdome. These are therefore in his Mat'^ 
name and in persuance of the directions from our L*^- 
Lieutenant for the disarming of all such persons as wee 
suspect to be disaffected to the Government, and foras- 
much as wee have reason upon this occasion to suspect all 
such persons who live in an open breach of the Lawes by 
frequenting Conventicles, to require you to make diligent 
search in the houses of all such persons within your Towne 
of Eye for armes. And if you finde any besides such as 
belong to the County Militia that then you take them 
into your Custody. And if any person shall resist or 
oppose yo' soe dooing, That you make retume thereof to 
us. That so they may be dealt with all according to their 
demerritts And hereof faile not as you will answer the 
Contrarye at your perills 

" Giuen under our hands and seales this ffourteenth day 
of July Anno Dom 1683 

To Mr. Dan" Sheppard 

And to the Constables of 

the Towne of Eye for 

the execution hereof 
This warrant was signed by five justices : — " Henry 


ffelton, Charles Gawdy, Rob. Broke, Nicho : Bacon and 
ffram : Gaudy." 

A note was added : — " The houses of the severall 
persons hereunder named are to be carefully searched 
for armes : — Richard Hayle, James Harvey gent, John 
Shuckforth, Robt. Dammont." 

How this warrant came to be among the Wortham 
papers is not known, but the families of Harvey and 
Shuckforth, two of the frequenters of " conventicles," 
were to be later connected with the Betts family. 

The brother of James Harvey, who inherited Bedingfield 
Hall from his father, had married Grace Cullum, a sister 
of the William Cullum who had in 1678 bought a share 
in "ye newe ship called ye Mary." Among the family 
plate of his descendants the Betts, was a silver pipkin 
engraved with the quaint old Harvey coat-of-arms. 
John Shuckforth was a member of an ancient family 
who had long been settled at Diss ; and the history of a 
branch of this family became later, as will now be shown, 
interwoven with that of the Betts of Wortham. 



IN 161 1, a branch of the Shuckforths of Diss had 
settled in Palgrave, on land bought from Thomas 
Heme and Bridgit his wife, formerly Bridgit 
Bettes of Wortham. 
The marriage settlement dated 1642 of Henry Shuck- 
forth of Palgrave and Margaret Howchine daughter 
of the deprived rector of Palgrave, and granddaughter 
of Elnathan Parr, is among the Betts papers. Margaret's 
tomb, by the chancel door of Diss Church, may still 
be seen, though the quaint inscription of 1692, of 
which Blomfield gives a copy, and the elaborate coat-of- 
arms of the Shuckforths, are now almost weathered out. 
In the parish church of Saham-Toney in Norfolk are 
other early seventeenth-century monuments to cousins 
of Henry Shuckforth, which show the same arms : — a 
fess ermine between three two-headed eagles displayed 
argent — Crest : an eagle's head erased argent. 

It seems strange to modern ideas that Henry Shuckforth, 
though come of old gentry, was content to follow the 
mechanical trade of a plumber, but students of the past 
are of course familiar with many such instances. While 
the elder son of the country gentleman was given a good 

J 129 


education, and if means permitted took his degree at 
Oxford or Cambridge, the younger was still often bound 
apprentice. For example, Edmund Bohun, a Suffolk 
squire of ancient family, enters in his diary for 1689 : " In 
the latter end of the summer I put my eldest son to 
Cambridge, and bound my third son out to a leather 

Pope's satirical lines were written about half a century 
later : — 

" Boastful and rough your first son is a squire, 
Your next a tradesman, meek and much a liar." 

In 1688, Samuel eldest son of Henry and Margaret 
Shuckforth married Catherine Needham.^ Her brother 
the Rev. William Needham, a Fellow of Emanuel 
College, was from 1685 to 1691 chaplain to Sancroft, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, who gave him the living of 
Arlesford in Hampshire, and made him Chancellor of 
St Davids. 

It was through Catherine's marriage that the Sancroft 
letters (see next chapter), relating to the now forgotten 
" Flowerpot Plot," came to the Shuckforths, and from 
them into the Betts family. 

The year 1688 saw the imprisonment of Archbishop 
Sancroft and six of his episcopal brethren in the Tower, 
as a result of their petition against the " Declaration for 
Liberty of Conscience." King James had ordered this 
declaration to be read in all churches ; Sancroft and his 
six suffragans, however, declared it "to be illegal and 
destructive to Church and State." 

The seven bishops were regarded by the country as 
champions of the national religion, and were compared 

1 Proved by their post-nuptial settlement among the Betts papers. 


to the Seven Golden Candlesticks, and called the Seven 
Stars of the Protestant Church. One of the medals struck 
in their honour was among the treasures of Wortham. 

After the public trial and acquittal of the seven bishops, 
but while the Archbishop was still under the Royal dis- 
pleasure, William Needham uttered these significant 
words in a sermon preached in Lambeth Chapel on the 
1 2th August 1688 : " Traitors have ever thought to 
employ the best arts, since they could find colour for 
fastening the charge of disobedience on those whose 
ruin was resolved upon for no other reason than a con- 
stancy in their religions." Words, soon to be justified, 
though for a time the revered Archbishop was left in 

While the trial of the seven bishops was agitating the 
minds of his elders, George Betts the younger and his 
brother Edmund, had been sent to the well-known school 
of Bury St Edmunds, originally founded by the Abbey. 
In their " school manual " of Latin and Greek prayers 
for 1688, is written in a round school-boy hand : — 
" George Betts his book " — and below is his brother's 
signature, which he had also written in the old copy- 
book : — " Edmimdus Betts." 

Elizabeth, the only other child, was left at home at 

The boys' journeys to and from school were easily 
accomplished by means of the stage-coach, as the high 
road between Norwich and Bury passed through the 
parish of Wortham. 

By this time stage-coaches were inmning all over 
England ; they were springless, cumbrous affairs, with 
six horses to drag them through the sloughs ; not luxurious 


conveyances to our degenerate notions, yet a contem- 
porary writer, Sir William Dugdale, inveighed against 
them. " They contracted," he averred, " an idle habit 
of body in passengers, who became idle and listless, unable 
to travel on horseback, endure frost and cold, or to lodge 
in the fields " — so hardy were our forefathers ! 

To meet the need of coach passengers, inns more or 
less commodious were built at intervals along frequented 
roads. One, a noted hostelry, still stands at Scole, not 
many miles distant from Wortham. It was built in 
1655 by John Peck, a merchant of Norwich, and in 1687 
was purchased by James Betts, brother of George of 
Wortham. James had prospered greatly, and, since 1673, 
had been steadily buying lands in Diss, Scole, and 

The village of Scole or Osmondeston lies at the junction 
of four high roads, and Scole Inn became a far-famed 
stopping-place. The huge fireplace in the kitchen was 
then capable of roasting seventeen joints at once, and to 
this day, it is enclosed by ancient high-back settles, to 
seat a score or so of frozen travellers ; and the house also 
possessed an enormous round bed in which forty people 
could sleep at a time. 

But the great glory of the inn was its " Sumptuous 
sign." It took the shape of an arch spanning the road, 
and was the work of a wood-carver John Fairchild, who 
in 1655 had received for it no less a sum than £1057 ^^ the 
then money. " After the first setting it up, there was a 
great resort of company to see it," says a traveller of 1681 ; 
it was carved all over with coats-of-arms, and twenty-five 
life-sized allegorical figures ; over the centre was the figure 
of an astronomer seated on a globe, so constructed that in 


fine weather he faced north, but on stormy days turned 
to the prevaiHng wind ; on one side Jonah struggled out 
of the mouth of a grotesque whale, and on the other 
Charon with the help of Cerberus was ferrying a witch 
to heU. 

At the time the inn sign was erected, the first great 
persecution of witches had but just spent itself. " Of 
all superstitions," says a modern writer, " perhaps the 
most preposterous was the notion that an imbecile hag, 
who, as Charles Lamb put it, hides from the constable 
and trembles before the beadle, could summon Beelzebub 
to her councils, and wield preter-human powers by the 
co-operation of Satan." A case of witchcraft occurred 
at Hoxne close to Wortham, the poor victim being tor- 
mented until she confessed the unimaginable horrors of 
a brain distraught. Under the same treatment, a certain 
Widow Chambers confessed that she had by her witch- 
craft kiUed the Lady Bloys, though everybody was 
convinced she had died a natural death. This Lady 
Bloys was the wife of the Sir William, who, it will be 
remembered, was eulogised in Thomas Deye's letter, as 
a " sober and worthy gent." During the first per- 
secution no less than forty reputed witches were hanged 
in one year, in the town of Bury St Edmunds, but 
a champion was to be raised up. 

About 1686, the Bacon estate in Redgrave was sold to 
Lord Chief Justice Sir John Holt. This enlightened 
judge saved the life of many a wretched old woman. 
With this object he, even when presiding at the King's 
Bench, did not hesitate to proclaim a folly of his own 
young days. 

During a trial, the " powerful spell " of an accused 


witch — some words written on parchment — was brought 
into court. This the prisoner confessed had been given 
originally to her, to cure her child of ague, and that it 
had since cured many others. The judge examined the 
parchment, and then addressed himself to the jury thus : 
— " Thirty years ago," he said, " I and some companions 
as thoughtless as myself, went to this woman's dwelling, 
then a public-house, and after enjoying, foimd we had 
no means to discharge the reckoning. I had recourse to 
a stratagem. Observing a child ill of an ague, I pretended 
I had a spell to cure it, and wrote the classic line you see 
on that parchment before you. I was discharged the 
demand on me, by the gratitude of this poor woman for 
the supposed benefit. Nature did much for the sick 
child, imagination the rest. This incident," he continued, 
" but ill suits my present character and station ; but to 
conceal it would be to aggravate the folly for which it 
becomes me to atone — to endanger innocence and 
countenance superstition." 

In 1688 died Daniel Betts " singleman." His will, 
proved by his brothers George of Wortham and John of 
Diss, left his land between " his cozens " George, Edmund, 
and Elizabeth, children of George Betts. To " his 
cozens," James, Rebecca, and Mary, children of his brother 
James, he left forty pounds each. Legacies also were left 
to Prudence, widow of his brother HiUary, late of Norwich, 
and to her children Mary and John Betts, and his sister 
Rose Moore, widow. 

The same year, the death took place of the uncle, after 
whom Daniel Betts had been named, Daniel Fulcher, 
owner of land both in Wortham and Diss. The initials 
of Thomas brother of Daniel Fulcher, carved in 1634, can 


stiU be seen on the wood panelling which he then gave to 
Yaxley Church. 

A wedding was the next event in the Betts family ; 
Rebecca eldest daughter of James Betts, marrying Robert 
second son of Thomas Seaborn of Wymondham in Norfolk. 
Of this aUiance a curious relic survives in a leather bound 
note-book which originally belonged to the bridegroom's 
brother James Seaborn, whose name is inside the cover. 

In this book, James Seaborn, aged seventeen, kept 
account of : " My bills since I went to Cambridge " ; 
they amounted for the term ending Midsummer 1685 to 
£11, 8s. 6d. 

This included his initial expenses for gown, cap, and 
surplice, of which the heaviest items were eight yards of 
caJimanco and velvet for his gown. His bedmaker was 
well content with four shillings the term, his barber's 
charge was half a crown, and " the landresse " was 
satisfied with twice that sum. 

Young James had gained a scholarship which brought 
him one pound six shillings a term, and he must also have 
had an allowance from his father, though it is not entered ; 
for " Commons " cost him £2, 19s. iid., sizings ten shillings, 
and tuition a pound. From Christmas to Lady Day, coals 
and candles came, the one to two shillings and twopence, 
and the other to two shillings ; the rent for chambers was 
thirteen shillings and four pence. Stockings were a heavy 
item, the price of the ordinary woollen or cotton was five 
shiUings, but silk cost as much as twelve shillings a pair. 
Window-mending was a constant expense, and once a fine 
of six shillings was exacted for punishment. 

In 1689 James Seaborn left Cambridge for London to 
study law. There he boarded with one " Mis Wheeler " 


for the weekly sum of four shillings and two pence. 
Over his door he put " a coat of arms blazon," and in 
consequence of thus setting forth his social degree, he 
had to pay as much as a guinea for " poll money," a 
graduated tax which had been imposed the year before. 
Mum, a kind of ale made from wheat, was his favourite 
drink, of which he got half a barrel at a time for private 
consumption ; he was a member of an Inn of Court or 
Chancery and dined in Hall, for which entertainment 
he paid eighteen shillings, and " to ye servants of ye Inn " 
three shillings and sixpence. 

Our young gentleman carefully set down the price of 
" materials for making a coat and waistcoat " as under : — 

2 yards and a quarter of cloth . 

5 yards of Tabrine . 

2 yards and a quarter of rich damask 

I yard and a half Pertian 

9 yards of Pantins . 

7 doz. & I of coat buttons 

I yard & 3 quarters of lace 

These items come to seven pounds five shillings, a goodly 
sum, at the then value of money, for materials only of a 
coat and waistcoat. 

Certain indispensable accessories without which his 
costume would be incomplete James had also to purchase : 
a sword at eight shillings and a periwig at one pound five. 
A morning gown and a silk cap came to fifteen shillings 
and sixpence. A neckcloth and a pair of buckles which 
together amounted to two shillings and nine pence, and 
an ivory comb and a seal had to be added. 


























In 1691, James Seaborn " agreed with Mr Baugh for the 
hire of a chamber at seven pomids a year " ; but he was 
not destined to occupy it long, for the Wymondham 
parish registers record against 8th July of the same year : 
" James Seaborn gent, died at London the second day 
and was buried in the parish church of Wymondham the 
eight day." A mural tablet there preserves the pious 
memory of his twenty-three years, and that of his parents 
who had both predeceased him in 1690. 

The last year of James Seaborn's studies in Cambridge 
had coincided with the most peaceful revolution ever 
seen in England. The King and Queen with the infant 
Prince of Wales fled from an invader without striking a 
blow, and William and Mary reigned in their stead. 

Archbishop Sancroft, though he had boldly withstood 
King James in the days of his power, would not now con- 
sent to break his oath of allegiance to the Royal exile, 
nor would he allow his chaplains, who disagreed with him, 
to read prayers in Lambeth Chapel for King William 
and Queen Mary. He also refused to perform the 
coronation ceremony, his place being filled by the Bishop 
of London. 

However, such was the respect he inspired, that for 
three years the new sovereigns, who had — the Queen in 
especial — an affectionate regard for him, allowed him to 
continue as titular Archbishop at Lambeth. After the 
battle of the Boyne, however (though the calumnies 
then directed against the non-juring archbishop and 
bishops had been publicly refuted by them), Dr Tillotson 
was nominated to the Primacy in his place. 

In 1 69 1, the revenues of the archbishopric being 
" stopped," Sancroft " lessened half his family," and told 


his chaplains that " the time had come when they must 
part, as it would make them invidious, and it might be 
dangerous, for them to serve him." Mr Needham made 
answer " that tho' he differed with the Archbishop in 
opinion concerning State affairs, yet as to personal duties 
in attending on His Grace, he feared no dangers that 
might happen to him at any time or place ; and he 
believed his brother Wharton was of the same opinion ; " 
to which Mr Wharton agreeing, the good old archbishop 
with vivacity in his looks replied, " Will you so, then go on 
in God's name." 

Archbishop Sancroft in the days of his prosperity had 
been compared by his contemporary Dryden to — 

" Zadoc the priest, whom shunning power and place 
His lowly mind advanced to David's grace." 

And now, when deprived of all Royal favour and of his 
princely archiepiscopal revenue, the unworldly prelate 
could still smile, and say " Well, I can live on fifty pounds 
a year," which was the whole of his private income. 




IT must be remembered that in the precedmg reign 
many infamous pretended plots had been invented 
(notably one by Titus Oates, who gained a pension of 
twelve hundred a year by his perjuries), blameless 
lives and noble reputations being thus mercilessly " done 
to death by slanderous tongues." And now covert accusa- 
tions and open abuse had been directed against the non- 
jurors, who were dubbed " the Holy Lambeth Club," 
and the " Holy Jacobite Club," in a lately published 

Not without reason therefore was it that the arch- 
bishop, who knew himself to be suspected of favouring 
the return of King James, inflexible as he was as regards 
his religion and his duty, was timidly apprehensive of 
spies and false witnesses. 

Evidently distrusting his memory, and with a view to 
his defence, should defence be one day required of him, 
he penned the following statement, cautiously suppress- 
ing names, soon after his ejection from Lambeth : — 

" I was, just before, driven from my own house, there 
being in the hands of the Sheriff of Surrey an attachment 
to seize me, and carry me to prison etc. : — hereupon, 



between 8 and 9 o'clock in the evening, I suddenly put 
over to the Temple, into a house which I was told I might 
have entirely to myself, but found it otherwise ; I had 
only two little chambers, the people of the house stayed 
there still. There was an Irish gentleman lodged above, 
and an English gentleman below me (one, as I after 
understood, quite otherwise persuaded than I am), and 
all these were strangers to me. On the other side of a 
little alley, just against the door of this house, was the 
shop of a barber (a violent bigot) from the windows of 
whose house they might look through and through my 
little rooms. 

" When the gentleman came first to me and told me 
his errand, I told him all this ; and besides I had reason 
to think there were eyes and spies upon me and upon 
those that should come to see me, who I therefore kept 
from me as much as I could ; so that though he had been 
welcomed to me at my own house, I could not without 
pain see him where we were, both for his sake and mine 
own, there being at that time many under sharp persecu- 
tion upon that same occasion. 

" He showed me in an old kind of scroll, three or four 
lines written without any address or subscription as I 
remember, asking me if I knew the hand, intending it I 
suppose for his credentials ; I said I did not know, but 
it might be as he affirmed, but did not know it was so ; 
he asked me if I durst not trust him, for in truth all 
resolved into that. It was not fit to say I did not, but 
I answered however, in my circumstances I am very 
unfit to enter into any business of this nature, for I every 
hour expected a new attachment directed to the Sheriff 
of Middlesex to seize me, and therefore resolved forth- 


with to leave the city, and go almost a hundred miles 
off, into the deepest retirement I could find. He then 
desired me to recommend him to some with whom he 
might negotiate. I told him that my most intimate friends 
and relations were out of town (it being the great Vacation), 
and among the rest I had very little acquaintance, having 
for many years lived very retiredly ; yet there was 
another who had been employed here before him, and 
(yes, said he, a clergyman, I hear), so that he would but 
act as agent, and others would be apt to think (as I 
declared I did) that if he was sent, it was to those of his 
own nation, many persons of which had been a little 
before for some time in town, but were newly gone home. 
" Before he came to me again, I spoke with that other 
person employed here before him, and told him the sum 
of the former conference ; he was of the same opinion 
with me concerning that gentleman, that he had no 
commission to me, but perhaps to his own countrymen, 
and that not from the same persons with whom he cor- 
responded, but some others of another party ; but how- 
ever, that in a letter which he would write the very next 
post, he would secure me from all misapprehension and 
misinterpretation, and encourage me to go on as I had 
begun. What he did herein I know not, nor can know, 
he being since dead. But by such time as that gentle- 
man came to me the second time (which I would fain 
have avoided), I confess I did not trust him so far as I 
did before ; and therefore, having expressed to him, 
how much I was in pain for him, lest he should be dis- 
covered and endangered in a place so frequented, I ad- 
vised him to go northward etc. ; and when he was very 
earnest with me over and over, to send a letter by him 


to saying more than once that he would come to me 

again for it, and in fine that he would not go away without 
it ; I said that he was too importunate and pressed me 
too far, and desired him not to trouble himself any 

" What hideous representations he hath made of the 
conference elsewhere, I know not nor desire particularly 
to know, for what is before related is all, or at least the 
worst, of what passed. 

" I am apt to think that the gentleman made no great 
progress in his negotiation, and to ease himself would 
lay the blame of his miscarriage upon me, so it seems I 
had done more wisely and warily if I had not trusted him 
so far as I did. 

" When I had read over what I had written, I per- 
ceived I had omitted, upon the passage of the letter for 
which he had so warmly solicited me, that I had had for 
many years a great aversion from writing of letters, that 
perhaps scarce any person of my quality wrote so few as I 
do, and that he could not but have heard what horrid 
inconveniences a poor unhappy brother of mine had 
brought upon himself (upon me too and others) by such 
a letter ; in fine, that I had no affectation of the sort 
especially without manifest necessity, the wise Italians 
say " il cane riscaldato a paiira ancora de 1' acqua fredda " 
[The scalded dog fears even cold water] , which, however, 
he thought he put into a safe conveyance. 

" In the letter which he desired, he urged me vehemently 
to set down what conditions and limitations I thought fit 
for the bringing about a great event, and he would under- 
take etc. I had this in horror, and said it was a proposal 
so improper and impracticable for me (there must be 


persons very numerous and most eminent that must go 
about it), I could not believe he had commission to offer 
it to me, and here we broke off, and I would hear no 

Archbishop Bancroft was never driven to make use of 
this document to vindicate himself, but was allowed to 
retire in peace to his native village, Fressingfield in Suffolk. 
Mr Needham wished to accompany him, but the Arch- 
bishop said " his house was too strait, and that in future 
he must be his own chaplain." Needham, however, 
continued to visit his revered master, probably from the 
house of his sister Catherine, now Mrs Samuel Shuckforth, 
at Botesdale, a neighbouring village to Wortham. 

During the spring of 1691, while the blameless arch- 
bishop was enjoying his peaceful retirement at Fressing- 
field, three low wretches then imprisoned for fraud in 
Newgate were engaged in concocting a plot, of such 
audacity and villainy that had it been successful, it 
would certainly have disgraced the venerable prelate, 
and might even have cost him his life. 

The prime mover in this dastardly attempt was one 
Robert Young, who had begun his career by forging letters 
and testimonials from the Archbishop of Cashel and the 
Bishop of Waterford, calculated to induce the Bishop of 
Killaloe to ordain him deacon. Later, the man had 
been degraded from his orders thus fraudulently obtained, 
by the Bishop of Kilmore, and tried for bigamy. In 
1683, he fled to England, and exhibited to Archbishop 
Sancroft orders, which he had counterfeited, purporting 
to be from the Bishop of Clogher, and in the character 
of a distressed Irish clergyman begged him to provide him 


with employment. Sancroft refused, after inquiries made 
in Ireland, saying, " He had no cure void in his gift." 

In 1684, after a series of forgeries, Young and his 
wife were tried at Bury St Edmunds for exhibiting 
a false testimonial from the archbishop, and sentenced 
to stand in the pillory. But as he still carried on the 
trade of begging under Sancroft's name, the archbishop 
in 1687 inserted warning advertisements in the Gazette 
— being advised from " divers quarters that his hand 
and seal went abegging throughout the Kingdom." 

Young, while at Bury, had been heard to say " it wall 
not be long before the Archbishop's head is off " ; and 
when King Charles' death was reported in February 
1684, he had cried : — " Is the King dead ? then have 
at the Archbishop of Canterbury." 

Of Young's two accomplices, one. Captain Lawe, had 
been a prisoner in Newgate till 1691. The other, Stephen 
Blackhead, who had also been a prisoner there, was a 
broken tailor ; he had been condemned to lose his ears, 
but escaped by delivering up some bills and letters. 

With the help of these two villains, Robert Young forged 
" a paper of Association," counterfeiting the signatures 
of Archbishop Sancroft, the Earl of Marlborough, Spratt 
bishop of Rochester, and four others, by which they were 
to undertake to assist King James in the recovery of 
his kingdoms with 30,000 armed men ; to deliver the 
Tower into his hands ; and seize on the person of the 
Princess of Orange dead or alive. 

And this forged paper Blackhead was commissioned 
to hide in the house of the Bishop of Rochester at 

The time chosen for this was a moment of panic. 


" The English fleet was scarce out of the river," says 
Bishop Spratt in his " Relation " of the plot ; " the 
Dutch for the most part at home ; the French in the 
mouth of the Channel, only kept back by contrary winds ; 
a terrible invasion hourly expected from France ; the 
army beyond the seas, which should have defended us. 
How very little evidence would have sufficed to ruin 
any man who had been accused with the least proba- 
bility of truth." 

Bishop Spratt of Rochester had sat on the Ecclesi- 
astical Commission illegally instituted by King James 
in 1686, and was thus the more liable to suspicion, a fact 
taken into consideration by the crafty scoundrel Young. 

The plot began to work on the 7th May 1692, when the 
bishop was arrested on the charge of high treason ; his 
house was searched ; but as nothing treasonable was 
found, he was after a few days released. 

The following letter written by William Needham 
" to Mr. Francis Nicols at Mr. Bancroft's house in Fressing- 
field " relates the events which followed : — 

" You best know my Lord Grace's moments of leisure, 
and may most conveniently present to him (with the 
heartiest render of my most humble duty) this large 
account of a terrible design against himself, as well as 
my Lord Bishop of Rochester (and many other noble 
persons) which has been very freely and providentially 
laid open by what has happened to my Lord Bishop 
of Rochester within a few days. The particulars as 
follows, according to the best of my memory, who received 
them yesterday from his Lordship's own mouth, whilst 
they were yet fresh in his thoughts ; and he also (with 
most cordial respects to His Grace) desires that my Lord 


might know how much danger has hung over them by 
the villainy of some profligate (if not prostitute) wretches. 

" When my Lord Bishop's guards were taken off (on 
Friday night in Whitsun week as I remember) he thought 
he had been free both from trouble and suspicion ; but 
as he was coming to town from Bromley on Thursday 
last, he met with a letter from my Lord Nottingham, 
requiring him to appear before the Council the next day. 
He thought fit to go to his Lordship immediately after 
he got to town, hoping to give him satisfaction so quickly 
as that he might have returned that evening as he had 
intended ; but he was bid to appear according to order, 
and told by Lord Nottingham that he did not enter into 
discourse with him till he had heard further from one 

" The Bishop appeared accordingly, and was charged 
with corresponding with one Young (a name surmised 
to have been assumed by Lord Marlborough during his 
surmised secret management of this plot) which startled 
his Lordship, he not knowing any one of that name, from 
whom he had received any letter, excepting one he 
received once out of Newgate from one Robert Young 
pretending to be a clergyman, in which he desired him 
to recollect that he had for some weeks officiated in the 
college at Bromley at the chaplain's request, and preached 
once or twice before his Lordship ; to which letter my 
Lord Bishop said he returned only a verbal answer, 
refusing his testimonial as not remembering the person, 
and having found upon enquiry that he had indeed 
officiated at the college, but was reported a very idle 
man, and his wife a worse woman ; and excepting this 
passage, he disowned all correspondence with Young. 


" Hereupon, a man was called in, and it was demanded 
whether the Lord Bishop knew him, and he answered 
he had seen him at his house at Bromley. 

" This fellow al!irmed that he had carried a letter 
from Yoimg to the Lord Bishop, and an answer to Young 
written by the Bishop's own hand, and that, within such 
a time (I forget but it was some few months) . 

" My Lord Bishop happily recollected the time, and 
the occasion of this man coming to his house, and being 
well assured his memory did not fail him, charged him 
very positively and solemnly with the truth which was 
this : — This man brought him a letter from a D.D. in 
Buckinghamshire whom he represented to be his Master, 
The letter was an enquiry after one who had (as the 
Dr. supposed) forged letters of orders from the Bishop of 
Rochester. Upon the receipt of it he searched his keys, 
found the suspicion just, and wrote to the Dr. commending 
his honest zeal, and desiring him to get the counterfeit 
punished ; that this happened on a Fast day, upon 
which account my Lord Bishop bade the bearer then, 
and now the informant, to stay till after evening prayer ; 
and gave order to his servants to entertain him kindly at 
supper, which was accordingly done. The truth of which 
he pressed so hard upon the fellow with questions, that 
he was plainly disordered in his looks ; though he would 
not acknowledge what my Lord Bishop said, he persisted 
that he never carried any letter to him but from 

" The Bishop told the Lords, that this man and his 
business were very well known in his family, and that 
he was sure some of his servants must be able to inform 
their Lordships and to confirm what he had told them. 


" It happened well, that the Bishops secretary Mr. 
More, waited upon him at Whitehall, and observing 
this man (Blackhead is his name) to be walking in the 
chamber before the Comicil door and afterwards called in, 
recollected where and upon what occasion he first came 
to know that man, whose face he weU remembered, but 
found that he (Blackhead) was not willing to take notice 
of him. 

" The Council called Mr. More in, who being interro- 
gated, very readily gave the same account of Blackhead 
which his Lord had given, adding that he brought a 
letter from one Dr. Hooks (whose name the Bishop said 
he could not remember, but upon hearing his secretary 
name it, he said he had well refreshed his memory, and 
that that or one very like it, was the name of the Dr.) 
which letter he had stiU by him amongst his papers at 

" This filled the wretch with confusion, especially 
when it was added, that the same man came again with 
thanks from his Master, for the assistance my Lord had 
given him, and so acquainting his Lordship that they 
were bringing the counterfeit to London for punishment. 

" Upon this, the Bishop and his secretary were bid to 
withdraw, and after a little time my Lord Somerset came 
to the Bishop, and told him they had detected a great 
piece of viUainy, and were convinced of his Lordship's 
innocence, who was soon after called in again and kindly 
saluted by the Lords, who were all abundantly satisfied 
with what had passed towards the discovery of so black 
a design. This passed on Friday. 

" When my Lord Bishop came at Bromley, he bade 
Mr. More find out the letter from Hooks, which he quickly 


did ; he enquired of the man's behaviour at his second 
coming, and found that he had seen the rooms of the 
house, and out of an odd sort of curiosity would fain have 
seen his study ; alleging that his Mr. (the Dr.) had a very 
fine one, and that he (Blackhead) had shown it to strangers ; 
but the butler replied, that his Lord's books were chiefly 
at Westminster, and by good providence did not let him 
in, though he desired only to see the room. 

" He learned further from his servants, that the same 
man had been there again on Whitsunday, saying that 
business had brought him to Greenwich, where hearing 
of the Bishop's troubles (he was then imder confinement 
at Westminster) he could not forbear coming to condole 
with them ; but he was got into the middle of the house 
without ever knocking at the door, which, together with 
such a slender pretence, gave the Lord Bishop (upon the 
information given him by his servants) a jealousy of 
some design ; whereupon he resolved to lay the letter 
from Hooks before the Council, and to give them a full 
account of these particulars concerning Blackhead, and 
to have his servants ready with him, to prove them by 
oath if required. And to this end he did accordingly 
wait upon them at Council yesterday, and found the 
event of it very surprising. 

" Blackhead was examined concerning his desire to 
see the Lord Bishop's study, and charged with bringing 
him a letter from Hooks ; he denied it, saying he only 
brought a letter from Young ; but upon admonitions 
given him to deal truly, and upon reminding him of 
the particulars of his discourse with the butler, he con- 
fessed the truth, owning that it had been told them by 
the Lord Bishop ; and being asked for what end he 


would have gone into the study, he owned it was to 
have left a paper there, which he afterwards did leave 
in a flower pot in the parlour, and that his business on 
Whitsunday was to retrieve that paper, which he did ; 
Young, who employed him, telling him that it was an 
original and that he would do nothing without it. 

" Hereupon, the Lords told the Bishop, that Young 
had informed them that the Lord Bishop had in his 
custody an association for bringing in K.J. signed by 
several great persons ; which when he was abroad he 
constantly carried with him, but was so very cautious, 
that at his coming home he used to hide it in a flower 
pot, and had therefore given the messenger instructions 
to be sure to search the flower pots, as well as to shake 
all his books, which the messenger did with great diligence ; 
the ransacking the flower pots looking like a jest, till 
now that the reason of it appears. 

" But by great providence, the messenger who took 
my Lord into custody, was not informed of two parlours 
at Bromley, and so having missed of the paper by search- 
ing the flower pots in the wrong rooms, made it necessary 
for Blackhead to fetch it again on Whitsunday. 

" The paper was an Association (now in the hands of 
the Council) by the villains for proof upon . . . sub- 
scribed by our most honoured Lord, by Lord Marlborough, 
Earl of Salisbury, Bishop of Rochester, Sir Basil Fire- 
brace (and I think my Lord Bishop said some others) 
all whose hands were so exactly counterfeited, that the 
Bishop said his own was so very accurately done, that 
had he not been sure of never having done the thing 
he could not have ventured to disown it, and my Lord 
Godolphin was pleased to say that he knew my Lord 


Archbishop of Canterbury Sancroft's hand so well 
that he thought it was more artificially done than the 

" After this, their Lordships confronted Young with the 
confessing Blackhead, but he is hard enough to persist 
still ; disowns all that Blackhead says concerning him, and 
had impudence enough to say to the Lords, that for aught 
he knew this Blackhead was suborned by the Bishop 
against him. He boldly asked the Bishop if he did not 
know Captain Lawes, and told him he would make a 
portent business of it ; but the Bishop refusing to reply 
to a question of his, thought fit to give (as he did) full 
satisfaction to the Council that he knew no such man ; 
and leaving them to search into the bottom of this dark 
design, took his leave. And whilst I stayed at hand 
amongst some others to receive these particulars from 
my Lord Bishop, one came in from Whitehall, and told 
us that the Council had ordered the Attorney General 
to prosecute the villains immediately. 

" God preserve His Grace from all his and God's 

" I am ... to serve you. 

"William Needham. 

" I forgot to tell you that the Lord Camarthen (sic) 
observed that the letter which was signed Hooks (sent 
by Young) was written in the same hand with the 
Association, which evidently appeared to the Lords 
upon a full comparison of them. This Young is said 
to have laid long in Newgate for forging a bond, and to 
have been lately set at liberty, it seems he is rogue enough 
to find friends at a critical season." 


The Bishop of Rochester had undertaken to write a 
" Relation of the contrivances of Blackhead and Young." 
The archbishop had by him several papers concerning 
Young's "former pranks," and Bishop Spratt now asked 
permission to make use of them. Here follows the 
bishop's letter : — 

" Bromley, July 8th 
" May it please Your Grace 

" I can never be sufficiently thankful to Almighty 
God that in his gracious providence he has made me in 
some sort the poor instrument of discovering this villainous 
design against Your Grace and so many other innocent 
persons as well as myself. I will not now trouble Your 
Grace with all the particulars both because I desired 
Mr Needham to acquaint Your Grace with the substance 
of what passed, and also because I am advised by divers 
worthy and great persons to draw up a brief account of 
the whole business, which when it is done shall be com- 
municated to Your Grace ; only now give me leave to 
tell Your Grace that the forged association besides Your 
Grace's name (so well counterfeited that I believe it 
would have puzzled your chaplain to distinguish), and 
mine (so exactly imitated that perhaps it would have 
deceived my wife), and the Earl of Salisbury, the Earl of 
Marlborough, the Lord Cornburies, and Sir Basil Fire- 
brace, all of them very like, as is said by those who know 
their writing. At the bottom of the paper is put the 
name of one Wilcox, who they tell me is in Holy Orders, 
who it seems has been some time in Newgate, and 
I have heard a very ill character of him and that he 
was either deprived or prosecuted by Bishop Lloyd of 


Norwich ; so had doubtless the other wicked persons 
put his name into such company, in hope that to get 
out of prison and atone for his former crimes he would 
be induced to confess anything. 

" Now my Lord I have already with as much earnest- 
ness as became me, pressed the Lords that this diabolical 
contrivance may be searched into the bottom, and 
that the conspirators already discovered, especially 
Young and his wife, may be brought to condign punish- 
ment ; and they have solemnly promised me it shall be 
done, particularly the last time I was to solicit my Lord 
of Nottingham about it. He assured me the prosecution 
was only delayed till the King's council should determine 
whether it would reach Young's ears or his life ; that 
for his part he thought it would touch his life, and if it 
did, there should be no mercy on him ; adding words to 
this purpose, that such villains were the enemies of man- 
kind and as dangerous as mad dogs, and ought so to be 
treated as far as the law will give leave. 

" I humbly thank your Grace I had lately a sight 
of some papers in Mr Needham's hands relating to Young's 
former practices upon your Grace, but it was with this 
condition that they should not be so used as to involve 
your Grace in any prosecution of the Council on that 
account ; that my Lord, I pass my word you shall not 
need to fear ; yet I beseech you give me leave with 
all respect to represent to your Grace my poor judgement 
that it will be absolutely necessary these papers should 
be produced, because they cannot but entirely confound 
Young, whose former pranks without this witness we 
cannot so well set forth, and especially since the mis- 
creant does still persist in denying this last forgery, and 


after he was undeniably convicted before the whole 
Cabinet Council, he still had the unparalleled impu- 
dence to threaten Your Grace and me and the rest with a 
Parliament. In truth my Lord, I have already under 
a promise of secrecy read two or three of these papers to 
my Lord Rochester (sic), who is absolutely of my opinion 
that your Grace should be prevailed with to permit that 
they be shown, and if need be published. I do therefore 
again most earnestly entreat your Grace to trust me the 
use and disposal of them, and I will take as much care 
as for my own life that your Grace shall not be concerned 
or disturbed with any journey on that pretence. It will 
be enough if you shall please to write two or three lines to 
me, that your Grace has consigned into my hands the papers 
you sent to Mr Needham, relating to Young the falsary. 

" I should also take it for a great favour if your Grace 
would send me a short narrative of the beginning, 
discovery, and success of that forgery ; for this last I 
do not find sufficiently expressed in those papers, whether 
he was tried and punished at Bury or no : or how he 
got free, and thereby to have opportunities to commit 
so many other enormities since the year 87, since which 
year I have traced out many other footsteps of the like 
viUianies practised by him and his wife. 

" I beseech your Grace to pardon my importunity 
in this affair, and give me leave to add I do with some 
impatience long for your Grace's answer, that you have 
given up these papers to my poor discretion. 

" I pray God in Heaven still to preserve your Grace 
as being your Grace's most humble, most faithful, most 
obedient servant 

" ThO : ROFFEN." 


In his next letter, Bishop Spratt asks further that the 
archbishop would give him a narrative of the time 
" wherein Young played the knave with your Grace," 
and assures Bancroft that he will use the papers already 
sent, "so as your Grace shall not complain I have trans- 
gressed your instructions." He adds "the other rascal 
Blackhead has made his escape, or has had his escape 
made for him." 

In answer, Bancroft forwarded papers relating the 
former villainies of Young to Wilham Needham, who 
" perused them and sent four of them to my Lord Bishop." 

In a letter dated from Alresford, 28th October 1692, 
Needham informs the Archbishop that Bishop Spratt 
had shown the first part of his " Relation " to Lord 
Nottingham, who " upon perusal found reason to alter 
only one word, ... he afterwards gave direction to 
Mr. Bohun ^ to put an imprimatur on it, my Lord Bishop 
means to speed the publication of it as much as may be, 
he has also finished the second part, he means it shall 
quickly follow the first." 

By April of the year following, both parts had been 
pubUshed, and Sancroft writes to send " hearty thanks " 
to Bishop Spratt, " for your two exact relations," and 
thanks him for the part he played in his deliverance 
from the plot : — 

" The ever w^aking Providence of a most gracious 
God," wrote the aged Archbishop, " was pleased 
lately not only . . . but also to make use of the 
ready mind, quick wit, and steady memory, wherewith 
He hath so eminently blessed you, as an instrument to 

1 This Suffolk gentleman whose diary has already been referred to 
was Licenser of the Press. 


deliver me (with yourself) from a most dreadful ruin, 
which hung black o'er my head, when I dreamt not of 
it ; for had the cursed association been found in the 
flower pot (t'is next to a wonder it was not), or had you 
made a weak defence, my quarters here had been beaten 
up too, and my study ransacked by messengers and 
soldiers, and I myself hurried up to London, so that not 
withstanding my innocence, the very journey, the attend- 
ance and the imprisonment would probably effectually 
have destroyed me without any further prosecution. 
But blessed be God, the soul is escaped, as a bird out of 
the snare of the fowler, the snare is broken and we are 
delivered. The remainder of my life is much too little 
to express my thankfulness to God." 

Bishop Spratt in his answering letter, assures the 
archbishop that — " After the happy and wonderful 
deliverance from that villainous design, I have always 
esteemed it the greatest argument of the Divine goodness 
to me that I was in some sort made the poor instrument 
of your Grace's preservation." 

The Bishop of Rochester ever after commemorated 
his deliverance by a yearly day of thanksgiving. 

Though made use of by Bishop Spratt in 1692 as a 
basis to expose the " Flower pot plot," these interesting 
letters have never till now been published in their entirety. ^ 

Archbishop Sancroft died at Fressingfield in November 

" You and I," he said to William Needham, in their 

^ The original letters for generations treasured at Wortham have been 
lost ; but fortunately they were copied some years ago by Mr Sancroft 
Holmes, a collateral descendant of Archbishop Sancroft, though the 
original spelling was not preserved. Mr Sancroft Holmes has most 
kindly allowed me to make use of his copies. 


last interview, " have gone different ways in these late 
affairs, but I trust heaven's gates are wide enough to 
receive us both." 

The archbishop received the last sacrament from 
Dr Trumbull, a non-juror who came there accidentally 
the day before his death. He had intended to receive 
it from another non- juror, Mr. Edwards the ejected 
minister of Eye. 

Mr Edwards' signature is in the ancient Wortham 
copy book close by that of " Edmundus Betts " ; he was 
most likely tutor to the boys George and Edmund Betts, 
before they went to Bury school. 

The town of Eye had remained loyal to King James, 
and forfeited its charter in 1696, on the refusal or 
neglect of the Bailiffs and Burgesses to subscribe to the 
Association for "the better serving" of King William. 

The sympathies of the rector of Wortham- J arvis, 
Thomas Thurlow, were also with King James. In the 
Bury records is the following entry concerning him : 
" Mr. Thomas Thurlow minister, stood in the Pillory 
for one hour at Bury, and was fined £200 for a seditious 
assembly on the Fast day at Buddesdale (Botesdale), 
and drinking confusion and damnation to King WilMam 
and Queen Mary and prosperity to the French King." 

There is among the Wortham collection a sermon 
against profane swearing, bound up with the Proclama- 
tion of King William which ordered all ministers to 
preach on that subject. The King had instituted fines 
against swearing, "which," said our preacher, "the 
common verily think so modish." 

In spite — perhaps because of — sermons and fines, 
swearing continued fashionable. Some years later, Sarah, 


Duchess of Marlborough, in quest of legal advice, is 
said to have visited an attorney's office, but found the 
man of law absent. The clerk who had received her, 
could not say who the visitor had been ; but told his 
master that he was quite certain she must be a lady of 
quality, because she swore so horribly. 



THROUGH the Fulchers, his mother's people, 
George Betts was related to Philip Vincent 
of Marlingford, whose family like his own 
ranked with the smaller coimtry gentry. 
The Vincents, who had been seated at Marlingford, 
in Norfolk, since 1367, had in James L's reign given a 
wife to Gawdy Brampton of Blo-Norton Hall. Blo- 
Norton is close to Wortham, so that through this con- 
nection the Vincents would have been likely to see 
much of their cousins the Betts : — 

In 1696 George wrote a letter directed : — 

" Theis 
ffor Mr Vincent att Marlingford 
to be left at ye Goat in Norwich " 

" November ye 10th 1696 


" I had thoughts to have scene you and my Cosin 
at Wortham before yo' letter came to o' hands ; but 
the season being now better then when you writ, wee 
should be glad of yo'^ company ; for I want a companion 
to Hunt with me and my 4 : Cupel doggs, the ffoxes 


being so plentifull with us, that ye 4 : or 5 : last times 
I have gone out I have mett with a ffoxe. 

" So with our sarvis to you and all our relations remain 
Yo'' Louing Kinsman 
to Command 
Geo : Betts 
My Cosin ffulcher's dauter continues ill still." 

George Betts with his " 4 cuppel doggs " may lay claim to 
have been perhaps the earliest M.F.H. in Suffolk ; indeed 
Beckford says, fox-hunting as a sport hardly then existed 
in any part of England, foxes being considered mere 
vermin to be knocked on the head whenever caught : — 

" Though space and law the stag we lend 
Ere hound we slip or bow we bend, 
Who ever reck'd where how or when 
The prowling fox was trapp'd or slain ? " 

And Reyce, at the beginning of the seventeenth 
century, says of the fox : — " Where he marcheth he is 
infinitely pursued for his manifold robberies and murders." 
At Wortham, however, poor Reynard was allowed the 
honours of war.i 

On that November morning in 1696, before the sun 
had risen high enough to brighten the dewdrops on the 
gossamer, the veteran George Betts then in his seventy- 
third year, with his " cuson " Philip Vincent his junior by 
twenty years, rode out to trail up to " ye ffoxe." 

See our two jolly old sportsmen in long skirted coats 
flapping on their horses' quarters, leather breeches, 
and long boots coming up over the knees. No dandies 

* They seem to have been allowed for at least half a century. See 
" Measures of Blowing," supra, page 83, " the death of foxe." 


they, but their ruddy faces shone with health and perfect 
content. The then fashionable long wigs, as likely to 
catch in thorns, would have been left at home, and 
silk caps, worn beneath small soft black hats, would 
alone cover their shaven pates. 

A nondescript pack no doubt were the few " doggs " 
straggling at the horses' heels, and they would have been 
entered at all sort of game — deer, otter, badger, hare, as 
well as fox ; yet they were cheered or rated by George 
Betts, and " cuson Philipp Vincent," his amateur whipper- 
in, in exactly the same dog language as that now 
employed by a twentieth-century huntsman to his perfect 
pack of highly bred fox-hoimds. 

Hunting was not the only sport which claimed George 
Betts' attention, he was fond of fishing also, and often 
gave his friends a day's sport : — " 20th June : Samell 
Church and Cristep"^ Lond fish my watters and Musik 
and his sonne the week after." And in our sportsman's 
note-book are several directions how to twist fishing lines, 
and recipes in his hajidwriting for baits for coarse fish. 

Here is one for paste : " Take the kidney tallow of 
a sheepe, or sheepes blood, and as much young cheese, 
and beat them in a morter till they be of one body, and 
as much wheat flour as will make it exceeding stifle, then 
before the fire alay the stiffness with life-honey, and 
this will last a yeare, and all fish will bite at it." A 
deadly mixture for anointing baits was " oyle of the 
Aspray, and coculus Indie, and Assafaetida beaten, and 
mix with as much life-honey, and dissolve them on the 
oyle of polypody, soe keepe it in a close glass, and 
when you angle, anoint the bait therewith and the fish 
will bite at all times." 



A minister's difficulties — HIS DENUNCIATION OF " YE 

IN a letter to Archbishop Sancroft written in 1692 
William Needham had given him the talk of 
London : — " the castle of Namur is like to hold 
out yet awhile," and we have a subsequent 
sermon of his headed : — " Thanksgiving for the taking 
of Namur 22 September 1695." 

By the fall of Namur, all fear of King James regaining 
a footing in England was at an end ; though the death 
of Princess Anne's only son the Duke of Gloucester, 
opened, soon after, the unwelcome prospect of a Jacobite 

The Betts preserved at Wortham a series of letters 
and sermons noteworthy as showing what good reason 
the clergy of the Church of England had to dread such 
a contingency. The letters passed between the Rev. 
Theophilus Williams who has already been mentioned, 
then Rector of St Peter's, Thetford, Bishop Moore of 
Norwich, and Dr John Sharp, Dean of Norwich, who 
was later Archbishop of York. 
The first letter, dated Oct. 2nd 1700, refers back to 


King James II. 's reign and the subsequent time when 
Bishop Lloyd, Bishop Moore's predecessor and Bancroft's 
friend, was exiled from his see as a non- juror. The 
correspondence is too lengthy to transcribe here, but it 
shows that Mr Williams in 1682 had been threatened by 
the Mayor of Thetford, " to be had up to the High Com- 
mission (Ecclesiastical Commission) Court. The Mayor 
having turned papist," he writes, " and being my debtor 
for tythes, thought he could not pay an heretick priest 
any better way than by delivering him up to the tender 
mercies of the Court." 

Dean Sharp had himself, in King James's reign, been 
suspended for preaching against Popery. The letters were 
sent by the hand of " my brother Burley." ^ 

The Wort ham sermons of Queen Anne's time supple- 
ment and succeed these letters, and give a vivid picture 
of events which materially affected the lives of the men 
and women of that generation. In one such sermon, 
preached by Mr Williams, pity for the Palatine Protestants 
oppressed by Louis of France, fear of a like fate for 
those of England, exultation at Marlborough's victories, 
and gratitude to Queen Anne for her discharge of the 
first fruits of poor livings, find each and all fitting 

" At this time," said the preacher, " a great and mighty 
prince, I mean the tyrant of France, bends his whole 
force to root out the Protestant name, as well as to 
usurp upon the liberty of Europe. What he has done 

* Robert Burley of Wisbech was a brother-in-law of Theophilus 
WiUiams, and Burley's wife was sister to the 2nd Mrs Thomas Deye. 
Thus through the Deye family the letters and sermons came to their 
descendants the Betts, and also the Burley heraldic achievement which 
hung for over a century in the hall of Wortham. 


in his own country and wherever his power and influence 
reached, I need not tell you : from some of his subjects 
he has forced away their faith ; others, to keep their 
faith, have lost their estates, their liberty and their lives, 
witness the Camiasars in his own country, and the poor 
distressed protestants in the Principality of Orange." 
And the preacher thus proceeds : — " Now should that 
mighty Monarch prevail against our English nation, 
and like an irresistible stream carry all before him, it is 
easy to conjecture what will become of Protestants ; 
but our hope and trust is in God, that the Christian faith 
will never be rooted out ; we have a good and gracious 
Queen at home, who is the honour and glory of it, and 
the joy and delight of her people. She has done such 
bountiful and charitable acts amongst her subjects and 
especially the poor clergy, that methinks this great and 
glorious victory seems to be a bountiful reward from 
heaven for that particular charitable act." 

The discharge of the first fruits did not benefit any 
one of Mr Williams' three hvings of Thetford, Bridgham 
and East Herling, nor the rectory of Wortham, for they 
were all above the prescribed value. 

The victory the preacher referred to was the success 
of the Allies near Mons, for which the Queen had pro- 
claimed a general thanksgiving. 

As a result of the religious persecution by Louis XIV., 
a circular letter from Bishop Moore of Norwich was at 
this time read in Wortham church, exhorting the people 
to show kindness to the distressed Palatine Protestants 
who had taken refuge in Norfolk and Suffolk, and point- 
ing out that in Queen Elizabeth's reign the Protestant 
refugees had, as the then (Elizabethan) Bishop Parkhurst 


pointed out, brought God's blessing with them. " Ye 
great dearth of men," the parson added, " to supply 
ye necessary occasions of ^oldiers and seamen has been 
such, that the very last harvest is a sufficient con- 
viction of ye want of hands to carry on ye publick 

John Betts, brother of George of Wortham, died in 
1698, unmarried, leaving his lands to his eldest brother 
George who survived him, burdened with a small charge 
in favour of his nephew John, son of his late brother 
Hillary of Norwich. 

In 1703, James Betts died ; he devised his estates, 
which were considerable, in Palgrave, Diss, and Scole, 
to his wife Rebecca, who did not long survive him. After 
her death the lands went to their only son James, with 
remainder to the unmarried daughter Mary, Rebecca 
the eldest having been previously provided for on her 
marriage with Robert Seaborn. And the testator directed 
that the largest of his silver tankards should go down as 
an heirloom in the family. 

Three tankards dated 1668, 1674, and 1677, were sold 
at the Betts sale in 1906 for £180, £125, and £100 respec- 
tively. The last in date was probably the heirloom, as 
it was the largest. 

In a list of house linen owned by James, pillow-cases, 
though now no longer made of cloth, are still described 
as " pillow beeres." 

James Betts the younger died shortly after his father, 
leaving two children, James and Mary. His sisters, 
Rebecca Seaborn now a widow and Mary Betts, settled 
at Wymondham. The distant Scole estate (including 
the famous inn), which on her brother's death had passed 


to Mary under her father's will, was managed for her 
by her young cousin Edmund, younger son of George 
Betts of Wortham. 

Edmund's accounts, which date from 171 1, of the 
money he received and spent for " Coz Mary Betts," are 
entered in the note-book which had formerly belonged 
to James Seaborn undergraduate and student at law. 
Edmund farmed as well, a farm, his own property, at 
Costessy in Norfolk. 

Among the notes made by this young man in the days 
of Queen Anne is an entry, interesting as showing how 
little progress the science of medicine had made since 
Dr John Bettys wrote his recipes for " medecins " in 
the early years of the reign of Henry VHI. 

" To cure the Biting of a Mad Dog," Edmund Betts 
in 1712 gives this prescription : " Take of ye leaves of 
Rue, picked from ye stalks and bruised, 6 ounces ; garlick 
picked from ye stalk and bruised ; Venice Treacle or 
Mithridates ; ye scrapings of Pewter ; of each 4 ounces : 
boyl all these over a small fire in 2 Quarts of strong ale, 
till one pint be consumed, then keep it in a Bottle close 
stopped, and give of it 9 Spoonfulls to a Man or Woman, 
warm, 7 mornings together fasting, and 6 to a Dog, and 
apply some of the Ingredients from which ye Liquor was 
strained to the bitten place. This receipt was taken 
out of Calthorpe church in Lincolnshire, where many 
in ye Town were bitten by a Mad Dog, and all that took 
ye Medecine did well, and ye rest died mad, and ye same 
Medecine is hung up in Bradford Church in Wiltshire, 
where its efficacy had been approved on the Like 
Occasion ! " 

On " March ist 1714-15 " Edmund Betts wrote : 


" My mother lent Coz Mary Betts ye piece of toucht gold 
with ye Britaine and this motto on one side 

Gloria Soli Deo 

and on the other ye ship with this motto 

Anna : D;G: M: B; R: 
JE: E*: H: Reg: 

Received it back 28 June 1715." 

The rubric of the service in the Queen Anne prayer 
books, for healing the King's Evil, directs that as every 
infirm person is presented, the Queen laying her hand 
upon them, shall put the gold with which she has touched 
the sore about their necks, while the chaplain pronounces 
a blessing. " Ye piece of toucht gold," without the 
personal healing touch, however, failed to cure " Coz 
Mary Betts ; her death coincided with its return on 
28th of June 1715. This identical piece of "toucht 
gold " remained at Wortham rmtil 1906. 

Since Edward the Confessor, who is reputed to have 
been the first English King to heal the evil, the only 
sovereign up to Anne's time who refused to touch was 
sensible Dutch WiUiam ; and he, instead, used to wish 
his applicants " better health and more sense." That it 
was during the Stuart period, generally believed that 
the King could heal scrofula, is shown by a public notice 
given by Charles II. on May i8th 1664, stating that it 
was " his royal will and pleasure to continue the healing 
of his people for the Evil during the month of May, 
and then give over till Michelmas next." 

George Betts died in February 17 14, aged 90, and in 
the chancel of Wortham Church lies a black marble 


slab to his memory. Within two years of his death 
his signature appears as firm as ever, as one of the two 
justices who allowed a rate made by the Wortham over- 
seers. Born in the last year of the reign of James I., 
he had lived through a Civil War ; witnessed the be- 
heading of a King ; endured the rule of Cromwell ; 
greeted the Restoration ; and heard with amazement of 
the ignominious flight of the second King James. He 
had followed the details of William III.'s struggle with 
Louis of France, and rejoiced later over the victories 
of Marlborough. With due decorum, he had listened 
to the Wortham parson's sermon on " the Union of 
England and Scotland," preached upon the text, hardly 
an encouraging one, " See that ye fall not out by the 

The last year of his life had seen the end of the long 
war, and the Treaty of Utrecht ; he died only a few 
months before the death of the placid, prosperous Queen, 
the fifth sovereign, and sixth ruler of England, since his 
advent into a changeful, troublous world. 

Susanna his wife survived him, as did his two sons, 
George and Edmund. His only daughter Elizabeth 
had died eight years before, in 1706. A tombstone 
in Wortham Church thus records her twenty-eight harm- 
less years : 

" Vertu and piety in her youth did Joyne 
To make her for her God a soule deuine." 






HE year after the death of the venerable 
George Betts, the following entry was made 
in the registers of Marlingford Church : — 

" May loth Edmund Betts of Wortham in Suffolk, 
1715 single, and Abigail Vincent of Marling- 

ford, single, were married." 

Abigail was a daughter of Philip Vincent, George 
Betts' cousin and old hunting companion, by his second 
wife Elizabeth Colby. The ancient coat-of-arms of 
Colby impaled with Vincent appears on some of the 
Betts silver ; and there is a seed-top spoon of 1667, 
engraved with the name of " Gardiner Colby." Abigail's 
half-sister Elizabeth Vincent, had eight years previously 
married " Nathaniel Life Esqr. of Swaffham in Norfolk." 

A few months after the marriage of Edmund Betts, 
the Pretender made his first futile attempt on the English 
throne, and the fiery though now aged Theophilus 
Williams was to the fore as usual with a sermon on the 
subject. He spoke of " that perfidious crew, who took 
the oaths to King George, with a full intent to sacrifice 


him and his government to their wicked purpose of 
bringing us into slavery and popish darkness." And 
he quoted " a very sweet and pious composure " by the 
Archbishop of Canterbury and his suffragans, expressing 
their abhorrence of this unnatural rebellion ; and in 
conclusion gave it as his opinion that there was a fair 
prospect of subduing the rising. 

It is said that parsons in Queen Anne's reign displayed 
their poliitcal opinions by the shape of their gowns. An 
M.A. gown was the sign of a Tory, while a Whig would 
only appear in a gown with pudding slee\^es. The vicar 
of Bray would of course have worn them " when George 
in pudding time came o'er." 

The following lines from one of the Wortham papers 
in a Betts handwriting, show perchance which way the 
family sympathies lay : — 

" The Pilfering Brood 

" What a cursed Crew have we got 
From a Country called Han — r. 
A wretched Race to our disgrace, 
Which we too late discover. 
Drive them hence, drive them hence. 
Quickly, quickly drive them hence. 
Here's a health, Here's a health 
Here's a health to our Lawful P e. 


Had you seen their Publick Entry, 
When first they graced the City, 
Each did appear in his best gear 
Like pilfering poor Banditti ; 
Drive etc. 


Now they have got our Money, 
And our Estates are carving, 
If they stay here another year, 
They'll leave us not one Farthing ; 
Drive etc. 

The only way to save us, 
And keep both Church and Steeple, 
Is to bring in our lawful K — g, 
The Father of his people. 
Let him come, let him come. 
Quickly, Quickly let him come. 
Here's his health, here's his health, 
Here's his health and safe Return." 

In a different handwriting are some satirical verses 
on the Marquis of Wharton and the Bishop of Salisbury. 
Wharton had been created a Duke by the Pretender ; 
but coming over to England, he changed his side and 
became a warm supporter of King George. In the song, 
the marquis and bishop are represented as together in 
the lower regions, conspiring to dethrone his Satanic 
Majesty, and bring in the House of Hanover. The 
Bishop says in conclusion : — 

" Right Marquis of Wharton, 
T'is what I just thought on. 
His title nor you nor I know. 
'Twould be a fine thing. 
If horns made a king, 
I'm sure he's not Jure Divino." 

On her son Edmund's marriage, Susanna Betts his 
mother gave him the old Gascoigne Bible which she had 


brought into the family. And below the original in- 
scription " Grisel Gascoigne hir book," Edmund wrote : — 

" now Edmund Betts' 

Marlingford Oct. 5 1715. 
Wortham Oct. 5th 1724." 
Edmund and his bride lived at Marlingford for the lirst 
years of their married life. There, on the 29th of 
February 1716 their first child Susan was bom " at 
twenty minutes after three of ye clock in ye afternoon." 
The exact time is noted so that the child's horoscope 
could be more accurately cast. The next year, the 
birth of another daughter Elizabeth is entered in the 
Bible, " on ye 9th of June 1717 at eighteen minutes after 
eleven o'clock at night being Whitsunday." Their 
three next children, George, Edmund, and Mary, were 
born at Wymondham. 

In 1719 Edmund Betts lost his mother. As he had 
been well provided for on his marriage, when two farms 
at Blo'Norton were settled on him by his father, his 
mother left him merely " My little silver tankard and 
£15 to buy him and his wife mourning," all her real and 
personal estate going to her eldest son George. 

George, a lonely bachelor, now persuaded his brother 
Edmund to live with him at Wortham, and to take 
the trouble of the estate off his hands. To this end, a 
curious deed was executed, by which in 1724 George 
made over " his capital messuage " and estate to his 
cousin Thomas Fulcher of Bressingham, in trust for his 
brother Edmund with remainder to his son, on con- 
dition that Edmund should provide George with " all 


necessaries of meat, drink, washing, and lodging suitable 
for him," and also keep and depasture a horse for 
him, and provide him a servant with a horse to attend 
him " when he goe abroad." Edmund covenanted also 
to allow him £60 yearly (a much larger sum then than 
now), to be paid quarterly in the south porch of the 
parish church of Wortham. 

Edmund Betts' third son Thomas was born at Wortham 
the year after this agreement, but died two years later, 
and was buried " in Wortham church at ye feet of his 
aunt Elizabeth." 

In the family Bible is pinned with an ancient soldered 
headed pin this affidavit of his burial in woollen. " Suffolk 
March 31st, 1727. Elizabeth Woodcock then made oath 
that the Body of Thomas Betts of Wortham was buried 
in Sheeps Wool only according to Law 

Sworn before me | Witness. 
Thomas Birch [ George Betts. 

Curate of Redgrave j Edmund Betts." 

In 1666, an Act had been passed, which with a view 
to encourage the manufacture of woollen, enacted that 
all dead bodies should be wrapped in woollen only ; and 
by an Act of 1668 the clergy were required to enter in 
the register the receipt by them of affidavits that the 
law had been complied with. For burial in linen a 
special fee was demanded. Thus in 1700, for " the burial 
of Thomas Deye senior in linen " a fine of five pounds 
was exacted, which is duly entered in the parish registers 
of Eye. 

In the early eighteenth century the wool industry was 

still declining, and six years before the burial in " sheeps 
wool " of the infant Thomas Betts, an Act of Parlia- 
ment had actually forbidden the living to wear calico — 
" painted calico " having till then been the mode for 
ladies — ^to the detriment of the wool trade. 




— A spinster's calculation 

ON the death in 1717 of Thomas Thurlow 
rector of both the medieties of Wortham, 
William Randall was instituted to Wortham 
Jarvis, and Henry Stebbing, D.D., to Wortham 

In Wortham as in most comitry parishes, the then 
current compositions for tithes dated before turnips had 
been grown as a field crop ; but now, new incumbents 
demanded tithes on the new crop. 

A case of refusal to pay tithes on turnips had occurred 
in the neighbouring parish of Wattisiield, and was cele- 
brated, by probably a member of the Betts family, 
in some MS. sheets of doggerel lines found among the 
family papers : — 

" He took tithe roots to warm his boots, 
And blocks his beef to boil ; 
Sith timber tops he took of souls. 
That he cou'd over-rule. 
You should do well old Clears to tell, 
What danger will accrue. 
He falsely swore he knew full well. 
Ye pillory is his due. 


If we proceed, his ears will bleed, 
His cause is bad enough ; 
He must I fear be forced to wear 
The pillar'd wooden roof." 

Judging from these lines, the parishioners of Wattis- 
field gained their case ; but at Wortham the result of 
the dispute would seem to have been otherwise. The 
attornies employed by the parishioners, one of whom 
was " Tom Martin " the antiquary of Palgrave, show in 
their letters to Edmund Betts that they thought the case 
weak. It was based on the antiquated customs of 
tithing to which Edmund's grandfather George Betts 
had in 1592 attached his signature, with the other 
" anncyent inhabitants " of Wortham. 

While the tithe dispute was raging, it is entered in the 
Bible that " Angellica," youngest child of Edmund Betts, 
was baptised " ye 19 of October 1727. Mad™ Alick, Mad"" 
Hunt, Godmothers. Coz James Betts Godfather. N.B. 
Mad"" Hunt dyd ye next day at Brissingham." 

Did the angry rectors refuse to register this baptism ? 
Edmund's next entry is : — " Now I examined ye Register 
ye 12 of May 1728 and Angellica was not registered 
then. She died ye 22 September 1728 and was buryed 
ye 25th instant in ye church by (the side of) my brother 

George Betts' death had taken place soon after the 
birth of Angellica, he lived just long enough to add this 
codicil to his will : " Whereas Thomas Betts, my late 
nephew to whom I had given in my will £100 is lately 
dead ; I give the £100 to Angellica Betts my niece." 
The will confirmed the Deed of arrangement between 
the testator and his brother Edmund, by which all his 


property was to go to Edmund, with remainder to 
Edmund's eldest son George. In his codicil the testator 
advised that no timber growing on his freeholds in 
Wortham and Redgrave should be cut until George 
was twenty-four. 

Since the publication of Evelyn's " Sylva," when the 
first note of alarm was sounded, country gentlemen had 
been alive to the then shortage of timber, and the necessity 
and profit of planting for future navies. Notes in George 
Betts' handwriting cover the margins of a treatise on 
husbandry published in 1721. The treatise recommends 
that every tenant be obliged to plant certain quantities 
of timber " for public advantage, and to supply the 
Nation with that valuable commodity, which at present 
is so scarce that its price is above one third part more 
than what it was sold for twenty years ago." 

At that time, woods were also being planted as game 
coverts, pheasant rearing was coming into fashion, 
though the same treatise remarks : "it was generally 
thought to be so difficult and expensive that but 
few will undertake it." The manner of rearing was 
to keep seven hen pheasants to one cock in a pen, 
and to feed on " pollard, milk, and a common hen's 


George Betts by his will left £500 to his younger nephew 
Edmund ; and to his three nieces, Susan, Elizabeth, and 
Mary, £100 each. He also bequeathed a guinea apiece 
for mourning rings, to " my cousin Thomas Betts of 
Yoxford and his wife." 

To this branch of the Betts are erected several mural 
monuments in Yoxford Church — the most noteworthy 
being that of William Betts, father of Thomas — bearing 


the same arms as those of the Wortham family. The 
lengthy Latin inscription on this monument to William 
Betts states that he " was sprung from a family dis- 
tinguished (if any is distinguished) both for faith towards 
the King and for probity of morals." He died in 1709 
aged fifty-nine. His wife was Dorothy, daughter of 
Thomas Mann of Yoxford and Ipswich, probably the 
" Mr Mann " Recorder of Ipswich with whom John 
Evelyn dined, during a visit to that town in 1677. 
William Betts was an active justice, and lord of five 
Suffolk manors, of which Halesworth was one ; he was 
also Recorder of Dunwich, once a city, now overwhelmed 
by the ever-encroaching sea. 

The wife of the Thomas Betts of Yoxford mentioned 
in George Betts' will, was Avice Byrd, of Roydon, an 
adjoining parish to Wortham. 

The many MS. sheets of merry rhymes written at this 
period by members of the Betts family, record a constant 
round of festive gatherings. It was then counted no 
shame for gentlemen to be overtaken in their cups. 

" For as bread is the staff of man's life so ye know 
Good Drink is ye switch makes it merrily go." 

That one among their neighbours applied " ye switch " 
in a manner somewhat mortifying to his family is shown 
by the Betts papers. 

This was William Cullum of Eye (whose father had 
purchased a share of "ye Mary of Ipswich"). After 
WiUiam's death in 1727 a claim was brought against 
his estate, which his widow and executrix thought it 
her duty to contest. A case for the opinion of counsel 
was drawn up by Edward Goate attorney at law, a 


nephew of her late husband. It states that in the year 
1714, Wilham Cullum, John Wohioe, and " a parson " 
whose name is not given, were making merry at a tavern 
together. They all drank freely, and ]\Ir Cullum became 
so incapable that he had to be led home, though his 
house was quite close by. The occurrence would 
probably have excited no comment, but for a wager 
which had been entered into by the jolly topers, " while 
William was very much in liquor." The wager was 
recorded by a formal agreement binding the executors 
of the parties, which was signed next day, and witnessed 
by the parson and one Cason. It stated that " WiUiam 
Cullum layed John Wolnoe £100 to £20 that he would 
survive him." 

Counsel's opinion is scribbled at the foot of the case : — 
" Mrs Cullum is obliged to pay this £100 and caimot 
defend herself either in law or equity." Born of a 
combative family, the Cropleys of Shelland, Martha 
Cullum could not have relished being thus forced to 
surrender without fighting, even for such a paltry 

The Wortham papers give a good idea of the social life 
of the neighbourhood in the early years of the eighteenth 
century. Nathaniel Deye and Mary his wife daughter 
of WiUiam and Martha Cullum, occupied Moore Hall 
in Eye ; " Coz James Betts " had a house in Diss ; at 
Palgrave lived the antiquary Tom Martin whose book, 
the "History of Thetford," remains, as he prophesied, 
his only monument ; Lord Cornwallis, the great man of 
the neighbourhood, lived at Brome ; Redgrave Hall, 
once the seat of the Bacons, was now the home of Rowland 
Holt, nephew of the Chief Justice ; while the rectory 


of Oakley sheltered Dr Broome, poet and erstwhile 
friend of Pope. 

Broome translated eight books of the Odyssey. Pope 
rewarded him with ;£500 — and with a niche in the 
" Dunciad," and their friendship cooled. Pope, in his 
turn, was ridiculed by Henley : — 

" Pope came off clean with Homer ; but they say 
Broome went before and kindly swept the way." 

Riddles seem then to have been very much the fashion, 
and the Betts preserved many of that date, among 
their treasures being a piece of yellow paper carefully 
folded and endorsed: — " Dr Broomes enigmie very 

Inside in a sprawling masculine hand is written — 

" Mystic is my look, and tho' my name 
May vary, yet my Royalty's the same : 
Now I a male, a female now am seen, 
Now I a king resemble, now a Queen : 
Yet such strange virtue in my person lies, 
That he who dares but Imitate me dies." 

The crime of coming was then punishable by death. 

There was also at Wortham a manuscript poem of 
Broome's addressed to Lord Comwallis' two little girls 
(the eldest aged twelve) who had given him a map of 
the world drawn by themselves. 

It was then considered fashionable for gentlemen to 
compose verses on every occasion, no matter how small 
a gift they had that way. The following lines describing 
the Redgrave Ball " on ye illustrious fair Lady Lucy's 
birthday," are signed by George Betts : — 


" Jack Clerk and myself with ye trusty Freemoult 
Rid to pay our devoirs to ye generous Holt. 
Friend Gibbs was before us boxed up in his chaise, 
And ye Prettymans roll'd in a coach at their ease. 
The Lord of the Manor gave welcome to all, 
But ye scheme we pursued was an elegant Ball. 
Then each mortal squire had a partner divine, 
And ye lovely Miss Lovel by good chance was mine." 

" The fair lady Lucy," in whose honour this ball was 
given, was Mrs Thomas Holt, wife of Rowland Holt's 
second son ; and the ball must have taken place between 
1721, the year of her marriage, and 1727, when George 
Betts the verse-maker died. 

Another member of the Wortham circle at this time 
was a young clergyman, Samuel Shuckforth or Shuckford, 
as he now began to sign himself. The names of his 
father Samuel Shuckforth of Palgrave, and of his 
mother Catherine Needham, have already appeared 
in these pages. She was, it will be remembered, 
the sister of William Needham, chaplain to Archbishop 

Young Shuckford had been educated at Caius College, 
Cambridge, and began his clerical career as curate of 
Diss. It was probably while living at Diss that he fell 
in love with Mary Betts, sister of " Coz James Betts " of 
Diss ; but they did not marry till 1721, when he obtained 
the Uving of Hardmck in Norfolk. Shuckford was then 
thirty-three. At first the good man with his heart in his 
books seems to have found matrimony rather irksome 
than otherwise, for a few months after his marriage 
he wrote thus to a friend : " Tis too soon for me to 
pretend to write to you about the satisfaction of a 


married life : it is a subject of weight and moment ; 
it requires as many experiments as Sir Isaac Newton 
made about Lights and Colours, and perhaps, (I 
don't say as much patience but) as much skill in trying 

His patience, and perhaps that of his young wife, in 
time transformed him into a most domestic if eccentric 
husband. After the birth of his little daughter Ann, he 
was moved to study Mr. Locke's book, " Thoughts con- 
cerning Education ; and his lengthy extracts therefrom 
makes one sorry for poor little Nanny. 

The first thing noted is that the child should never 
be warmly clad, but the same in winter as in summer, so 
as to be made all face like the Scythians. Her shoes 
must let in water, so that she may take no more harm 
from wet feet than she would from wet hands. The 
child's meals should not be at fixed times, but varied 
constantly every day, and her drink should be only small 
beer ! Her bed should be hard, rather a quilt than 
feathers, and made variously every day, so that she 
should learn to sleep anyhow. Other notes, such as not 
to eat much meat, and to be always in the open air, agree 
with the opinions of to-day. 

Marriage and the expenses of housekeeping, versus 
single blessedness, were the subject of a clever skit in the 
Norwich Mercury of 25th October 1729. The newspaper 
is a single sheet about fourteen by eight inches square ; 
and the spinster's estimate takes up one side, and her 
amusing remarks as to her suitor's income nearly the 
whole of the other : — 


The Calculations of Mrs. Elizabeth Balance 
My fortune, she says, is just £2000, which brings in with very 
little trouble clearly £100 a year. 

£ s. d. 

I board with a female relation in a plea- 
sant country and agreeable neighbourhood, 
from which she removes in the winter to 
her house in London for which I pay 
yearly. 25. 00. 00. 

Cloaths, linen and washing 30. 00. 00. 

Books lo- 

Presents to my cousin's servants 5. 

My expenses in London at Plays etc 
never amount to more than £10 per annum 
— I sometimes play at Quadrille, and as often 
win as lose ; but if the latter it is comprized 
in the same sum 10. 

The greatest part of the remaining £20 I 
lay by as a reserve, for sickness or any 
other accident. 20. 

The rest I bestow on the poor, and 
pass for a very charitable and generous 

100. 00. 00. 

" Thus I dispose of my own fortune ; and what I should 
gain by marrying the Squire will best be seen, by con- 
sidering how his revenue would be laid out, and how 
much would come to my share. — I must premise that my 
fortune was intended to pay off a mortgage on his estate, 
so there would be no addition thereby to his £1000 per 


The unavoidable expenses of Timothy Shallow Esqre 

i s. d. 
Imp. Deductions for taxes parish and 

County Charges. i8o. oo. oo. 

For Housekeeping at least. 360. 00. 00. 

For his own cloathes I will venture to 
put down no more than 20. 00. 00. 

Coach & horsesj wages of coachman 
and Footman, and their liveries cannot 
be less than 120. 00. 00. 

A gardener & other servants wages 
must amount to 30. 00. 00. 

Hounds, setting dogs, horses etc with 
allowance for horses lost and hurt, 
bets at races, and other incident charges 120. 
Ale, wine, brandy, pipes & tobacco, 80. 

Journeys to London to get rid of liis 

wife, and expenses there. 50. 

Expenses at an Ale house, in private 
conference with the landlord, the 
barber & the excise man to. 

Books pens ink and paper 00 00 00 

Apothecary and surgeon after drinking 
bouts and hunting matches 10. — — 

For a steward to perform the drudgery 
of receiving and paying money 20 — — 

The twenty-five pounds which our sprightly spinster 
was supposed to pay for her board, seems now a 
very inadequate sum ; but it is evident that money 
went much further then : twenty pounds was the sum 
actually paid for a lady's yearly board, as is shown in 
the Shuckford household accounts. Provisions were 
what we should now think absurdly cheap, even consider- 


ing the then value of money. Here is a butcher's bill 
which was found at Wort ham : — 

An Accotml of meat received from Francis Hubbard 29 April 1732 

£ s. d. 

iqI^^- of Beef — 2 6 

Neck of Mutton 7"'^- 2°^- . . . . —16 

Quarter of Lamb — 20 

Leg of Mutton — 16 

At the bottom of the second side of the same Norwich 
Mercury, the price of South Sea stock is stated to be 
" 102 14th." That it was still at a high level was due 
most likely to the Parliamentary interference in the 
Company's affairs in 172 1. In the Wortham library a 
pamphlet was found dated 1720, exposing the financial 
rottenness of the South Sea Company when in the height 
of its popularity, " by a tradesman in the City, whose 
name is not to be found in any of the subscriptions." 

After his elder brother's death, Edmund Betts applied 
himself more than ever to the care of his estate, which 
was spread over six parishes. He followed the family 
custom of himself farming the home farm, and paid the 
labourers partly in money and partly in kind. 

For example, his account of the money due to one 
James Birch, February 1730 : — 

For your part of 36 Comb 2 bushels of oats 

thratching (sic) at 6d. 
Y"^ part dressing them 

1 days work plowing 
3 days ditching at Redgrave 
5 days at Wortham . 

2 days & i making wood . 

9s. ijd. 


2 - 6 


This account was paid by giving Birch i bushel of malt 
at 28. 6d., I bushel of wheat at 4s., and the rest in money. 

In January 1732, Edmund Betts sent his eldest boy 
George to his own old school at Bury, giving him as a 
parting present James Seabom's leather covered note- 
book, in which Edmund had entered his o\vn accounts, 
and now wrote his son's name. " George Betts Ejus 
Liber Ex Dono Patris Edmundi Betts Jan ye 3'"'^ Anno 
Domini 1732/3." 

Edmund Betts died the same year, and in October 
young George was summoned from school to attend his 
father's funeral, and placed under the guardianship of 
his cousin Humfrey Rant of Dickleburgh, recorder of 
Ipswich. This gentleman had married Mary, only child 
of Mrs Nathaniel Life of Swaffham, who was the elder 
sister of Mrs Edmund Betts. 

The year before his death, Edmund Betts had acted 
as churchwarden and, together with Thomas Flowerdew 
the other warden, rebuilt the north aisle of Wortham 

His portrait and that of his wife were painted just 
before his death. His picture represents him with a 
sprig of oak bearing three acorns in his right hand, 
emblematic perhaps of his Jacobite proclivities — it was 
a well-known badge of the beloved Stuarts — or it may 
possibly have been intended to testify his faithfulness 
to his brother's directions, regarding the preservation 
of the timber on the family estate. 

Young George Betts methodically kept his accounts 
in the book his father had given him. His guardian 
allowed him £12 a year for pocket money, which was 
later raised to £18, an income frequently supplemented 




by sums " received from my mamah." School fees for 
the first term after his father's death, came to £4, iis. 8d., 
" a wigg cost £1. 3. o," and shaving two shillings. 
George was not more than fourteen, so that this last item 
must have stood for shaving his boyish poll. Wigs were 
then considered necessities for all classes, ages, and 
conditions of men, and the commonest wig cost a guinea. 
An article in every apprentice's indentures then pro- 
vided that his master " should find him in one good 
and sufficient wig yearly." In the Norwich Mercury 
for 1733 is an advertisement describing a cordwainer's 
runaway apprentice, as " wearing a short black wig, 
and brown drugget coat with flat buttons." 

The autumn of 1733 was a time of great excitement, 
for a general election was in progress. Samuel Shuckford, 
now rector of Shelton in Norfolk, which he held together 
wdth Hardwick, kept a book of cuttings from the Nor- 
wich Mercury for 1733-4, by means of which we can see 
the proceedings through Whig spectacles. 

The candidates for Norfolk were, on the Whig side 
the Hon. Robert Coke and Mr. William Morden, — on the 
Tory side Sir Edmund Bacon and Mr. Wodehouse. The 
candidates of both parties visited every town and village, 
riding through the streets accompanied by as many 
gentlemen and freeholders as they could collect. The 
qualification for voting was still forty shillings income 
from freehold ; and then, as now, there were most 
stringent laws against bribery, which were constantly 

Mr Shuckford, it appears, worked hard as an honorary 
agent for Mr Morden. Pasted in his book are the two 
following letters from an out-voter. 


" To the Hon*'''- Capt. Morden 
at Sufficld Hall near 

North Walsom in Norfolk 
Colchester 24 Dec. 1733 
" Sir 

I am informed that you stand a Candidate for Member 
of Parliament for the County' of Norfolk. I am a Free- 
holder in the said County, and am very willing to give you 
my vote, providing you will allow me for the Charges of 
my journey and give me any timely notice. If you think 
it worth your while please to acquaint my Brother Joseph 
Chapman, Farmer, living at the Bush House Farm in 
Banham near New Buckenham, and leave it with him 
what you please to allow ; the sooner j^ou doe it the better 
before I am engaged to any other Gent. My Estate is 
in the occupation of Wm. Clark, Blacksmith, and the 
Widd : Matthews in Shelfhanger near Diss. If you please 
to apply to my Brother desire him to give me your answer 
which my humble Servis is all at present 

S'^ yo"" hum Servt 

Benj° Chapman." 

Chapman's next letter to Mr Morden is dated May 6, 

" I received an answer by the hands of Mr Shuckford 
the Clergyman of Shelton, and I, not knowing the time 
when the Election would be, occasioned my goeing over 
with Intent to serve you at the Election, and Mr Shuckford 
came to me at New Buckenham, but would not sattisfie me 
for the charges of my journey, nor yet give me a Mugg 


of ale. Mr. Coxage heard how I was slighted by Mr 
Shuckford, and has promised to assist me to Norwich. 

" I have made two Journeys over, which have been verry 
Expenceive. My Brother deposited two pounds four 
Shill' for my Horse hire and Expence ; if he can by any 
hands be sattisfied for the same by the 19 day of this Inst 
May, I design to be at his House and then freely serve you 
and Robert Cook Esq^^." 

In the last year of the expiring Parliament, the Whigs 
had brought in an Excise Bill for imposing a tax on wine 
amongst other things, but they failed to carry it. The 
great Dr Johnson voiced the general opinion. In the 
seventh edition of his dictionary, corrected by the author, 
he defined excise as " a hateful tax levied upon com- 
modities, and adjudged not by the common judges of 
property." So unpopular was this bill, that the names 
and coats-of-arms of those members of Parliament who 
had voted against it were printed on silk banners, which 
were sold all over England. One of these banners, framed 
and glazed, used to hang in the Hall at Wortham. 

The Tory election cry was " Liberty, property and no 
Excise " ; to which the Whigs retaliated by the cry, 
"Tories and Jacobites," and accused their opponents 
of wishing to upset the government and bring back the 

The then Mayor of Norwich was evidently a Whig, for 
on the 30th January 1734, being the anniversary of the 
Martyrdom of King Charles, he requested Mr Shuckford 
to preach in the Cathedral. Shuckford's sermon evoked 
a storm from the Tory party ; and a parody of it in 
rhyme, entitled " A Looking-glass for a time serving 


parson," M'as printed and circulated. Slmckford much 
amused copied the verses out at length, which begin : — 

" Upstarts a saucy pedant of the schools 
To bridle senates with pragmatic rules," 

and proceed to directly accuse the minister of preaching 
in the Whig interest, with the intent : — 

" A prebend or a dean to fish up 
Or providentially a bishop." 

In the November before the election, Shuckford had 
the management of a meeting and entertainment, in the 
interest of the Whig candidates, which took place at Diss. 
Mr Coke and Mr Morden, by his arrangement, were met 
at Scole-Inn by above 200 freeholders, and more than 20 
of the neighbouring clergy ; and afterwards they paraded 
the narrow winding streets of Diss, their train being 
closed by a very considerable number of coaches of the 
gentry. Ringing of bells and acclamations greeted them. 
In the middle of the proceedings they were confronted by 
a " very odd Tory cavalcade, with a drum, a trumpet, 
and a board upon a stick carried as a standard, with the 
words ' Liberty Property and no Excise ' painted on it ; 
followed by a cart containing four barrels of beer with 
the same words painted on them. " Justice should be 
done," continues the Norwich Mercury, " to the inhabitants 
of Diss, by remarking that they discouraged any riot, 
and expressed the greatest civilities to the Whig candidates 
Mr. Coke and Mr. Morden." 

Shuckford made out the expense of this meeting to be 
£154, 15s. lod., including dinners at four different inns, 


ringers, guns, music, and men to keep the peace. Among 
the clergy present besides himself, were Dr Broome the 
poet, Mr Gibbs, "the friend Gibbs" of George Betts' 
verses on the Redgrave Ball, and Mr Randall rector of 




IN 1737, Mrs Edmund Betts married Jeremiah 
Burroughes of Wymondham, a widower. Her 
son George had left Bury school for Clare Hall 
Cambridge the year before, and became a fellow 
commoner at Clare in 1738. 

Susan Betts the eldest sister, was by now the wife of 
John Soley, rector of Long Stratton in Norfolk; and 
soon afterwards, Elizabeth followed suit, by marrying 
Jehoshaphat Postle, an attorney at Norwich, leaving 
Mary the youngest sister with her mother in her new 
home at Wymondham. During vacation, the house at 
Wortham being empty, George lodged with Mr Darby, 
a doctor at Diss, paying eight shillings a week for his own 
board, and four shillings for that of his servant. His 
accoimts, which he kept minutely, chronicle all his doings ; 
his frequent visits to friends and relations ; even such 
trifling items as the sums he lost at cards, and presents 
of snuff for his " sister Soley," are all entered. 

He was constantly "at ye club," both at Norwich 
and Bury, or at the theatre. A " ball at Norwich " 
cost him seven shillings. He kept a horse and a servant 
at Cambridge, and frequented both the bowling green 

i-.iiMiM. i;i:r [s c ii' \\i ii< iiiam 


and the "camping ground." Camping, a rough cross- 
country football, James I. had denounced as " meeter 
for lameing than making able the users thereof." A 
match on Diss common, Norfolk against Suffolk, was 
played by three hundred a side, and lasted fourteen hours. 
George's diary gives us glimpses of Ipswich in " ye olden 
time " ; in 1741, he paid a shilling " aboard a man of war 
at Ipswich." This ship was the Hampshire, of fifty 
guns, launched that year at Donham Bridge. A salmon 
weighing 22 lbs. had been taken not far from there in 


Like his grandfather, George was a devotee of hunting 
and a master of hounds. In 1742, one Jack Knivett 
was paid for keeping his hounds two guineas, not an 
extravagant sum ; but wages were low and " vales " 
counted for something : witness this entry in his 
accounts : — " Oct. 2nd 1746, Agreed with Job Segsby 
to serve me till Christmas upon liking, at two shillings a 
week, and that if he stayed after, at ye Rate of five 
pounds per ann : he to have half ye vales with Tom, and 
a Livery which is to last him two Years, and ye Great 
Coat to be mine." 

About this time, " ye gray crop mare " is sold for 
£8, 9s. 6d., and " ye bay horse " bought in her place for 

i9> 9s. 

Master, servants, horses, and hounds were all bled at 
regular intervals. 

The accounts show that setting partridges was prac- 
tised by George Betts ; for a small sum is entered " for 
mending my setting net, 4s. 6d." This method, now 
utterly forgotten, of taking partridges, dates certainly 
from Edward I.'s reign, probably earlier. The EHzabethan 


book on " English Dogges " describes how the " index 
setter (a trained spaniel) betrayeth the place of the byrde's 
last abode " ; when " the fowler immediately operateth 
and spreadeth his net, and his dog draweth neere to the 
fowle that by his presence they might be the authors of 
their own ensnaring." And the sport is enlarged upon in 
Gervase Markham's " Art of Fowling," published half a 
century later during the Commonwealth. 

" Vales " given to the servants at his friends' houses, 
are constant entries in George Betts' accounts. Among 
other places, he stays a day or two " at Hengrave with 
Sir F. Gage," " with Sir Edmund Bacon at Garboldisham," 
" at Bacton with the Prettymans," and with " Horace 
Walpole at Wolterton." 

After coming of age, George Betts made his home at 
Wortham, and following the family tradition, farmed the 
home farm. His accounts with the labourers he employed 
are attested at the foot of each page by the mark of the 
wage recipient. Labour was still at one shilling a day ; 
but to set against this, provisions other than grain, were 
still proportionately cheap. In 1739, two stone and 
two and a half pounds of pork cost seven shillings and 
sevenpence halfpenny, and a pint of butter sevenpence. 

Butter has been sold by the pint in Suffolk within 
living memory. Farmers now sell it by the lb. and have 
gained by the change, charging the same price, though the 
lb. is somewhat under the pint in weight. 

In August 1741, George was invited to Canterbury by 
his cousins the Shuckfords. 

Dr Shuckford, still retaining his livings of Hardwick 
and Shelton, was now also rector of Wamham and of All 
Saints', Lombard Street, prebendary of Canterbury, and 


chaplain to His Majesty George II. He was, besides, 
distinguished as the author of many books ; the MS. of 
one : " Sacred and Profane History of the World," was 
preserved at Wortham. At the time of George Betts' 
visit, Dr Shuckford was engaged on his great work, " The 
Creation and Fall of Man." 

Another member of the Royal household, Dr Benjamin 
Hoadly the King's physician and a brother author, was 
connected with the Shuckf ords, his wife being a daughter of 
William Betts of Yoxford. 

George Betts, accompanied by a friend, rode on horse- 
back to Canterbury via London, leaving Wortham on 
August 16 and spending ten days on the journey, which 
included four days' stay in London. He kept a journal 
of each day's ride, but it is unfortunately too long for in- 
sertion here. A memento of this London visit is the 
following MS. skit found at Wortham, purporting to be 
an address to the King on his return from Hanover, and 
His Majesty's reply : — 

" Society of White's at gaming assembled 
" Most righteous Sovereign 

" May it please your Majesty 

" We the Lords, knights etc. of the Society of White's, 
beg leave to throw ourselves at your Majesty's feet (our 
honours and consciences being under the table, and our 
fortunes being ever at stake) ; and congratulate your 
Majesty on your happy return to these kingdoms, which 
assembles us together, to the great advantage of some, the 
ruin of others, and the unspeakable satisfaction of all, 
both us our wives and children. And we beg leave to 
assure your Majesty of our most unfeigned loyalty and 


attachment to your sacred Person ; And that, next to the 
kings of Diamonds, Clubs. Spades and Hearts, we love 
honour and adore you. 

" To which His Majesty was pleased to return this most 
gracious answer. 

" My Lords and Gentlemen 

" I return you my thanks for your loyal address ; but 
whilst I have such rivals in your affections, I can never 
think it worth procuring or regarding. I look upon you as 
a pack of cards and shall deal with you accordingly." 

George Betts was probably a member of White's the 
oldest of our Clubs, which dates from 1697. 

From London, our young squire rode to Greenwich, 
from there to Dartford, next day to Rochester and Sitting- 
bourne, arriving at the Shuckfords' house in Canterbury 
on the 26th August. On Sunday 30th he writes : — 

" Walkt with the ladies in what they call the Oaks, a 
tolerable pleasant walk where all the company of the town 
presently met ; and there I saw their most flaming 
Beauties, such as the Miss Boyces, Frend, Lynch, Stokes, 
Pudner etc., and there were really some pretty faces." 

Dr Shuckford's household comprised, besides himself 
and his wife, his daughter Nanny now grown up, and a 
friend and companion, a certain Miss Freeman. 

During his ten days' stay, George Betts was taken by 
his cousins to see Dover Castle and other sights of the 
neighbourhood. In return, he entertains them all at the 
Play, paying only twelve shillings for a party of six, and 
takes the ladies to the Assembly, driving there in Dr 
Donne's carriage. George was evidently happy in the 
society of some among the " most flaming beauties," for 

he wagered a Mr Pykarell three guineas to one, that he 
" would be married before St Michelmas 1744." He lost 
his three guineas. 

Dr Shuckford kept throughout his life household and 
other accounts of the most detailed character, which were 
found among the papers at Wortham. In consequence 
of the taking of plate ships, notably at Vigo, during the 
late wars, a great deal of foreign money was then current 
in England. In 1744, Shuckford had in his purse, coins 
whose value he thus sets down : "A Pistole equal to 
i6s. 6d., A Louis D'or 20s. o, A double Louis D'or 24s. o, 
A Moidore 27s. o, A Port or Johann 3s. 6." And such 
money long continued in use ; for as late as 1772, we find 
among the Wortham papers a table showing the EngUsh 
equivalents to the foreign coins, " which a gentleman 
receives from his banker for convenience of carriage." 

The closely written pages of Dr Shuckford's vellimi 
covered account books give many quaint details of his 
domestic life. For part of the year, duty compelled him 
to be in residence at Canterbury ; and for a month, to be 
in waiting as Royal chaplain. The rest of his time was 
spent at his parsonage of Shelton, which he looked upon 
always as his home. In 1739, he insured his dweUing 
house at Shelton against fire with " the Royal Exchange 
Assurance Company " for £600, at a premium of £1, 8s. 
The policy, headed by a quaint print of the Royal 
Exchange, is among the Betts papers. He never now 
resided at any one of his three other Uvings, but placed 
curates in them who had to content themselves with being 
passing rich on forty poimds a year. 

For the annual move from Shelton in Norfolk to 
Canterbury, he hired a coach for £6, which carried beside 


his servants and family, four trunks, three portmanteaux, 
and his wig box. The heavy luggage was carted via 
London to Canterbury. The total expense of the 
move, including a few days' stay in London, Shuckford 
set down at ;^26, but this did not include the ladies' 

His accounts show that two hoops and a cloak were 
bought for £i, IDS. ; and stays for Nanny at £i, 15s. ; 
" a suit of cloathes " for her cost £S, 4s. 6d., and four 
pounds for her riding habit was not thought excessive. 
A nightgown for Mrs Shuckford for £6, 14s. 3d., and 
another for himself at a quarter that sum were among 
the Doctor's purchases. " Nightgown," says Johnson's 
dictionary, meant a " loose gown worn for undress," 
answering probably to ladies' tea-gowns of modem days ; 
that for the Doctor relieving his shoulders of the silk 
cassock, then constantly worn by the clergy. 

Longer wigs were coming into fashion, a new one 
now cost Dr Shuckford £4, and a beaver hat two 
guineas ; a girdle buckle, a pair of shoe buckles, and a 
pair of stockings all for ten shiUings, together with 
spectacles for £1, 6s., completed his personal purchases. 
A present of "teaboards" for Aunt Harvey cost the 
good Doctor 6s. 6d.i For diversion while in London the 
family spent £1, os. 6d. "at Faux Hall" (Vauxhall). 

Preserved at Wortham were ladies' " Cloathes " of this 
period ; the actual ones it may be, whose price has just 
been given, and which in 1741 had enhanced the charms 
of Mrs and Miss Shuckford. These quaint old garments 
were lent by the last Betts of Wortham to the South 

^ In 1739, Hyson tea cost 21s. the lb., the best Imperial tea i8s., 
and the cheapest Bohea, 7s. 6d. Coffee was only 53. the lb. 


Kensington Museum, where they were exhibited for some 

Lottery tickets and cards were among Dr Shuckford's 
incidental expenses, and both his wife and daughter had 
a special allowance for their " card purses." To read or 
even to think, was then considered ruinous to the com- 
plexion, and perhaps for that reason, ladies were vastly 
fond of cards. 

In the autumn of 1741, " Coz James Betts " of Diss 
died intestate; his sister, Mrs Shuckford, was heiress-at- 
law, and Dr Shuckford was appointed administrator. 
Among other things, were bought in a chariot valued at 
£20, coach horses at eight pounds apiece, and a black 
mare at six guineas. The widow, who soon married again, 
took most of the silver. 

James Betts left no children. The will of his amit, Mary 
Betts of Wymondham proved in 1715, provided that on 
the death of James, the Scole estate including the famous 
inn was to be divided between her two nieces Mrs 
Shuckford, and Mrs Lee who was the only child of Mary 
Betts' sister Rebecca Seaborn. 

Edmund Betts, younger brother of George, married, 
about this time, Sarah daughter of John Cooke of 
Rougham near Bury, a lady some years older than him- 
self. Their home was the " White House " in Oakley, 
now called " Oakley House." 

In her maiden days, Sarah Betts had herself composed 
and collected from her friends a number of verses, which 
fortunately were kept in the original cover, on which is 
written " Mrs Sarah Cooke 1720." A great many are on 
social events at Bury, for instance " On the Duke of 
Grafton appearing at a concert in the Assembly Rooms 


at Bury Nov. 9. 1734." Again, 1735, " On the sisters 
Lady Mary Powis and Lady Fanny Brudenel :— 

" When two together of that race 
Appear at Bury Fair 
Amply adorned with every grace 
And all perfections share." 

Bury fair whereto flocked the gentry of three counties, 
Suffolk, Norfolk, and Cambridgeshire, was one of the most 
fashionable of Beauty Shows. It was, by one writer, 
vilified as a mere marriage mart and place of intrigue — an 
imputation on the ladies, which by the way Defoe in- 
dignantly denies ; " the gentlemen," he says, " that wait 
on them hither ought to resent and correct him for it." 

It was probably at one of the fairs that Sarah Cooke 
first met young Edmund Betts ; and the questions put 
to the lover, in her collection of poems, may perchance 
have been written for him. 

" The test of Love 

" Do you within a sudden impulse feel 
To dress, look florid, and appear gentil 
With glittering Gems, with Velvet and Brocade ; 
Your snowy wrists do Mechlin Pendants grace, 
And do ye smartest Wiggs adorn thy Face ; 
Do you correct your Gait, adjust your Air, 
And bid your Tayler take uncommon care, 
Before your Glass each morning do you stand 
And tye your Neckcloth with a Critick's Hand, 
From Hence a real Passion you may prove, 
For dressing ever was a mark of Love. 
If in the Ring her graceful Horses prance 
Does your new Chariot to ye Ring advance, 


If in the Mall she chooses to appear 

Or if at Court, do you attend her there. 

If in the curst South Sea her all was lost 

Still would her eyes their former Conquest boast." 

Edmund it is to be supposed showed all these symptoms 
and evidences, for Sarah writes and signs this verse : — 

" Love is the Monarch Passion of the mind, 
Knows no superior, by no Law confined, 
But triumphs still, impatient of control. 
O'er all the proud Endowments of the Soul." 

Sarah Betts died in 1745. This was the year of the 
second Jacobite rising. On October 14th, at a county 
meeting held at Stowmarket, " an association was agreed 
upon, and a subscription opened, to support His Majesty's 
person and government." Edmund Betts subscribed 
five guineas to the fund. Thomas Deye thirty guineas, 
and Nathaniel Deye ten guineas. The town of Eye sent 
in to headquarters £1180, 6s. ; and £16 was given 
besides, for the purpose of enlisting four men. 

The Westminster Journal expressed the general 
feehng that " the circumstances do at last give a reason 
for serious alarm." Edinburgh surrendered without 
firing a gun ; it was thought a necessary precaution to 
have the gates of Newcastle " shut, and built up with a 
stone wall about two feet thick " ; and the King's " little 
army " was supplemented by " eighteen hundred Swiss 
and Dutch troops, landed at the Tower, and marched 
to the North." 

Later, when Prince CharHe reached Derby, a veritable 
panic ensued. King George prepared to fly, and placed 


all his valuables on board a yacht, and the financial scare 
nearly caused the Bank of England to stop payment. 
Indeed, it is said that this disaster was only averted by a 
device of the Directors, who employed agents to present 
notes for payment, which the tellers were instructed to 
pay in sixpences, thus entailing a delay which pre- 
vented many holders of notes from getting near the 

After the victory of Culloden, Dr Shuckford as Royal 
Chaplain, preached a thanksgiving sermon, in which he 
minutely traces cause and effect. The rebels' first success 
was, he maintained, due to the unreadiness of the country, 
engendered by the too oft repeated cry of " the Pretender 
and invasion," which when at last a reality fell upon deaf 
ears. The decisive victory he attributes, as in duty 
bound, to the great military skill of the Duke of 

George Betts' name did not appear in the Loyal Associa- 
tion ; so it is more than likely that his secret sympathies, 
as would have been those of his royalist ancestors, were 
with Prince Charlie. 

Several MS. poems on " the forty five " were kept at 
Wortham. One in the form of a letter addressed to the 
Rev. Mr James Barker at Redgrave, contains " lines 
(supposed to have been) taken out of the Marquis of 
TuUibardine's pocket, when a prisoner in the Tower of 
London in 1746," which read in column are Hanoverian, 
read across Jacobite in sentiment : — 

" I love with all my heart The Stuarts party here 

The Hanoverian part Most Hateful doth appear 

And for the settlement I ever have denyd 

my conscience gives consent To be on Jemmy's side 


Most righteous is the cause To be for such a King 

To fight for George's laws Will Britain's ruin bring 

This is my mind and heart In this opinion I 

Though none sho'd take my part Resolve to live and die." 1 

* Since copying these lines from the Wortham MSS., I have found 
them printed in Chambers's " Book of Days." 




AFTER the death of Edmund Betts' wife, his 
sister Mary divided her time between the 
houses of her two brothers at Wortham 
and Oakley. In the family she was always 
called Polly, but to the outside world, having reached 
the ripe age of twenty-eight, she was known as Mrs Mary 
Betts. She was the youngest of the family, and a great 
pet of her brothers ; George kept a horse and side saddle 
for her use at Wortham, and no doubt she would often 
accompany him when he rode out with his hounds. 
Picture her, mounted on "ye grey crop mare," attired in 
the blue riding habit of the time ; the skirted coat with 
white silk facings made double breasted, worn with a 
high cravat, a three-cornered hat, and voluminous skirt. 

The story runs, that the Navy owes its present blue 
uniform to the riding habits of this period ; for until then, 
naval officers had been clothed in scarlet. King George 
II. walking in the Mall, was, it is said, so struck with 
admiration at the Duchess of Bedford's riding dress, 
that he ordered the naval uniform to be changed to blue 
and white, on the model of that lady's riding-coat. 


Among Mary Betts' treasures is a pathetic poem 
written in a bold masculine hand, which she carefully 
endorsed " Lines given me by a gentleman the day he 
parted from me." A hidden romance perchance ; but 
Mary gave herself no time for idle sorrow. Like all the 
ladies of her family she was a great housewife, and her 
household and cookery recipes fill a fair-sized volume. 
Therein, are directions for making drinks and dishes now 
despised or long forgotten, but to our ancestors indis- 
pensable delicacies, such as, " mead, lemon brandy, 
hartshorn flummery, orange posset, orange butter, 
currant wine," and many others. The art of making 
mead and currant wine yet lingers in the village of 
Wortham, as in other old-world places which still harbour 
old-fashioned folk. 

In 1746, George Betts made up a party of young men 
for a driving tour through Norfolk, and was himself 
treasurer and kept the bills for each night's lodging. The 
party consisted of five besides George, Mr Burgh, Captain 
Burgh, Mr Evans, Captain Evans, and Mr Barker, rector 
of Redgrave, to whom the verses on the '45 had been 
addressed. They drove, some in chariots, and others in 
coaches, whose wheels had to be greased daily, and had in 
all four servants and twelve horses. 

Among other places, they visited Houghton, the seat 
of the second Lord Orford, the elder brother of 
the celebrated Horace Walpole, who, as appeared in the 
diary, was a friend of George Betts. Houghton had been 
rebuilt in 1722, and was famed for its woodwork of 
mahogany imported specially for the first Lord Orford, 
when Sir Robert Walpole, and prime minister. George 
Betts possessed a descriptive MS. catalogue of the 


one hundred and sixteen celebrated pictures which the 
mansion then enshrined. Three years after the driving 
tour, they were sold to Catherine of Russia for £40,000, a 
sum considerably less than that lately paid to secure one 
great picture for the English nation. Holkham, Wells, 
Holt, Wolterton, Aylsham, Norwich, and Attleburgh were 
in turn visited by the six friends. Their expenses were 
not ruinous. At the King's Head, Norwich, dinner for 
the whole party cost five shillings and fourpence ; this 
for fish, meat, vegetables, and pudding only ; six bottles 
of wine, with arrack, punch, beer, and tobacco added on 
£1, 8s. 6d. to the bill. At the Crown, Swaffham, four pair 
of soles were served for eighteen pence, and a leg of 
mutton for three and sixpence. " Cyder, Bumbo, and 
Mountain " were the drinks they chose there. 

The party returned without encountering any of the 
" gentlemen " who then infested country roads. Accounts 
of local highway robberies are frequently reported in the 
Ipswich journal of that day. Even the populous London 
streets were unsafe. In November 1748, a newspaper 
kept by the Betts, records that one of the Lords of the 
Admiralty Lord Duncannon, was stopped in Bond Street 
by footpads, who presented pistols at the chairmen's 
heads ; " but on his Lordship jumping out of the chair 
and drawing his sword, they made off." The same day 
Lord Orford's uncle the Honourable Horatio Walpole 
was attacked while driving through Hyde Park, by high- 
waymen armed with blunderbuss and pistols, who held 
up his coach, and robbed him of all his valuables. 

George Betts was ordained not long after the driving 
tour, and in 1749 was inducted to the rectory of Bressing- 
ham, a presentation which he bought from the patron, the 


Duke of Norfolk, for a term of ten years. The Duke, 
being a Roman Catholic, was, under the then law, pro- 
hibited from selling the right of next presentation for a 
longer term. A few years later, George Betts obtained 
also the living of West Winch, principally through the 
influence of Anne, widow of the third Viscount Primrose. 

George's brother, the young widower Edmund Betts, 
married again in 1749. His bride was Martha, only 
daughter of Nathaniel Deye of Moore Hall and Mary 
his wife, daughter of the William Cullum, who by dying 
too soon lost his wager as we have seen. This festive 
old gentleman's metal armorial seal, and a damask table- 
cloth woven with the Cullum arms, are Wortham relics 
of the Betts and Cullum connection. Edmund Betts 
and Martha Deye were married by an old friend of 
both families, the Hon. and Rev. Frederick Cornwallis, 
soon after consecrated Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry, 
and who became later Archbishop of Canterbury. After 
the ceremony, by way of Hghtening the prospective re- 
sponsibility of the newly married couple, Mr Cornwallis 
promised to provide for their son, should they have one, 
by the gift of a living. 

George Betts was not long in following his brother's 
example ; two years later, he married his distant cousin 
Anne, daughter of the Rev. Dr Shuckford. The marriage 
took place at Wortham on the 13th of June, and George 
settled down to the regular life of a " squarson," a now 
almost extinct variety of country gentlemen. 

Soon after his marriage, he wrote the following account 
of his parochial cure, in answer to " the Bishop's queries." 

" Brissingham is a large village, but thinly inhabited. 
There is no Papist, or Dissenter of any Denomination in 


it. The People are well behaved and regular at their 
Church. I do not reside in the Parish ; but within half 
a mile of the Church, where my ancestors have lived for 
many generations, and where by your Lordship's Leave I 
hope to continue to live. I perform publick service 
twice every Sunday in that Church, but seldom on 
Holidays. The Sacrament is administered four times 
in the year, and the number of communicants is com- 
mendable in proportion to the number of the inhabitants. 
A further account of the Charities belonging to the parish 
may be seen in the Terrier ; they are I believe most 
honestly disposed of for the purposes for which they were 
given. The money collected at the offertory is given to 
the sick and necessitous poor. If there be any other 
matter relating to the parish which your Lordship wants 
to be further informed about, I shall at all times, whenever 
your Lordship commands me, think it my duty to wait 
upon you, and give you the most faithful and honest 
account I am able, of whatever you shall want to be 
informed about." 

The beautiful church of Bressingham stands, as George 
Betts stated, within half a mile of Wortham. A private 
bridge, known then as Mr Betts' bridge, crosses the narrow 
Waveney exactly opposite the house, whence a path 
called the Long Walk leads, at first through trees, and 
then over a fen, to the hill whereon the church is built. 
This path George Betts traversed each Sunday with 
sweet Nanny his wife, on their way to church. There is 
a portrait of him, just as he then appeared, in his short 
white wig and clerical bands and gown. During the long 
service, the rustic congregation we may be sure would 
have time to take in the details of town Madam's sacque, 




made plain in front, but falling behind in folds over an 
enormous hoop, and to gaze at the veil which fell to her 
shoulders, over puffed and powdered hair. 

The service over, " Coz Thomas Fulcher," whose home 
was at Bressingham, would perhaps stroll back with the 
rector and his wife to two o'clock dinner ; and after he 
had well dined, duly admire the baby, another George 
Betts, who had been born the year following his parent's 
marriage. When Thomas Fulcher died in 1764, he de- 
vised to George Betts, in memory may be of such Sunday 
walks, the fenland and path on the Norfolk side of the 
river to Bressingham Church," planted and dyked." 

Though George Betts was rector of Bressingham, his 
three children were all baptized in Wortham Church, 
George, Mary who did not survive her infancy, and 
Anne, whose birth cost her mother's life. Anne was born 
in 1757, but was not publicly baptized until 1764. Her 
aunt Mrs Edmund Betts, thus entered the event in the 
family Bible : — 

" 1764 November 7, my niece Anne Betts was baptized 
in Wortham Church ; the sponsors were my self, sister 
Mary Betts, and the Rev. Mr John Dawney ; gave the 
nurse los. 6d., Chamber Maid, 5s. Cooke, 2s. 6d., Coach 
Man, 2s. 6d., Footman, 2s. 6d., in all one pound 3s." 



MARTHA, wife of Edmund Betts of Oakley, 
recorded the births of her six children, in 
a Bible originally the property of her great 
grandfather Thomas Deye. Only three 
out of the six survived their infancy, Martha, Mary, and 

Against Martha's name in the Bible her mother wrote : 
" born September 20th, 1751. Her birthday is now the 
ist October" — the Act of Parliament directing the adop- 
tion of the Gregorian style, having been passed the year 
of baby Martha's birth. 

Under that Act, the year was to be reckoned from the 
ist of January instead of the 25th March, as had been 
the case during the centuries since the year 11 55. To 
make the calendar right, it was officially ordered that 
the eleven intermediate days from the 2nd to the 
14th of September for the year 1752, should be un- 
reckoned and omitted, so that the 3rd day of September 
under the old style should under the new be dated 
the 14th. The bill had been brought in by the Earl of 
Macclesfield ; his son, Lord Parker, when Parliamentary 


candidate for Oxfordshire, could never after appear in 
public without being called upon to restore the eleven 
days which his father had stolen from the country. 
Hogarth's picture of a Whig candidate, with a banner 
inscribed " Give us back our eleven days," commemorates 

A memento of another political cry, " Wilkes and 
Liberty," was preserved at Wortham : an election squib, 
with the portrait of the popular hero. This appeared 
after Wilkes had been expelled from the House of 
Commons in 1764, for being the reputed author of the 
treasonable No. 45 of The North Briton. 

Besides this squib, George Betts has left us noth- 
ing political, save a few newspaper cuttings of no 

On the other hand, he kept many papers describing the 
progress of the two great wars England was then waging 
in India and in Canada. After the fall of Quebec, the 
London Chronicle contained an article " on the import- 
ance of Canada," giving the parishes as 120, with 150 
armed men in each. " In Quebec, 700, Trois River, 350, 
Montreal, 600, total 19,650 armed men." Wars and 
rumours of wars were then in every one's mouth ; " One 
is forced," wrote the flippant Horace Walpole, " to ask 
every morning what victory there is, for fear of missing 
one." The loss of Pondicherry, by breaking the French 
power in India, at length brought the end in sight ; and 
in 1 761 Edmund Betts, writing from London, sent the 
joyful news, " We talk very much of peace." 

It was a fighting age. In private society duels were 
frequent ; even the clergy did not always consider them- 
selves exempt ; though when they did fight they were 


the subject of much ridicule. George Betts, himself a 
parson, composed the following lines " on a late duel in- 
tended to have been fought in Barton Churchyard near 
Bury, between MrT. H. and a clergyman, one Mr Rennery." 

" A Dispute rose so high t'wixt Parson and Squire, 
That a Duel alone could extinguish their ire, 
The Militant Clerk every Canon defy'd, 
In each hand a Pistol and sword by his side. 
To make the more solemn this valourous deed. 
The scene, a Churchyard, was wisely decreed. 
For where could a Parson more properly go, 
For on his own dung hill what cock will not crow." 

But the deadly encounter was happily averted ; 
discretion — 

" In the shape of two friends came and parted each foe, 
And prevented — what neither desired to do." 

In 1752 there was great agitation amongst the farmers 
and labourers against the excessively severe game laws, 
and papers were affixed to the doors of both Houses of 
Parliament, threatening to destroy all pheasant and par- 
tridge eggs, if the comitry gentlemen would not desist 
from " The Association for the better preservation of 
game." The rules of this Association, subscribed to by 
nearly all the gentlemen of the neighbourhood, are among 
the Wortham papers ; but to their honour be it said, that 
the names of neither George nor Edmund Betts appear 
among the list of members. 

In 1748, a Book Club had been inaugurated among the 
gentry round Wortham, which held monthly meetings 
on the Tuesday after the full moon at the Crown Inn, 
Botesdale. George Betts was a member of this club. He 

also belonged to another similar club which was organized 
at Diss a few years later. Among the original members of 
the Diss Club were Edmund Betts and his brother-in- 
law Thomas Deye, Rowland Holt 1 of Redgrave, William 
Evans, rector of Wortham, and Thomas Martin of Pal- 
grave. Martin's "History of Thetford," left unfinished 
at the author's death, was later subscribed for by 
the club. 

George Betts, as a magistrate for both Norfolk and 
Suffolk, kept a book in which he entered all his cases, 
several of which are of interest, as illustrating laws now 
happily obsolete. Obligatory statute labour on roads, 
begun as we have seen in Philip and Mary's reign, was 
still enforced. Servants were hired by the year and could 
not be dismissed, even for a fault ; nor could they leave 
until formal complaint had been made before a magistrate. 
Here is an instance : — 

"Be it remembered, that on the 15th day of March 
1764, Mr John Brown of the parish of Hinderclay and 
Michael Rate, his servant, came before me one of His 
Majesty's Justices of the Peace, and mutually agreed to 
release each other as master and servant as witness their 
hands." Signed " George Betts." Another case is that of 
a master, who having hired a servant at Michaelmas for 
a year at £2, 2s. 6d., now came to complain that the man 
refused to rise at reasonable hours. 

This man was a farm servant, judging by the rate of 
wages, for at that time George Bett's footman received 

1 Rowland Holt, elected M.P for Suffolk in the room of Sir Cordel 
Firebrace in 1759, withdrew in 1767, when he failed to be nominated 
at Stowmarket. Nicknamed " Tyrant of Manors " for too strictly 
enforcing his manorial rights. 


£7 a year, the gardener, ;£ii, the three maids, £5 a year 
each, and a boy, £2. 

The minute books of the Quarter Sessions at Ipswich 
for 1764 record an act of George Betts, to which deservedly 
honourable mention has been given by the authors of 
" English Local Government : — " At a time when no 
ordinary Justice dreamt of visiting the fever haunted 
prisons — ten years before John Howard set a memorable 
example to the world — we find the Rev*"^ George Botts,^ 
a Suffolk Justice, representing to Quarter Sessions that 
the House of Correction at Botesdale was in a shocking 
state, getting himself formally deputed to report what 
steps should be taken, and inducing his fellow- justices, 
not only to provide materials on which to set the prisoners 
to work, but also to pay an increased salary to the keeper, 
on condition that he abandoned the taking of fees." 

It was not till twenty-five years after George Betts' 
death that Justices were enjoined to visit the Bridewells 
four times a year. His good work at Botesdale was one of 
his last public acts. He died suddenly on the 21st of 
March 1766, at the age of forty-seven, intestate, and was 
buried beside his wife in the Chancel of Wortham Church. 

His brother Edmund Betts became guardian of the 
orphaned boy George ; and little Anne the only other 
child, was taken charge of by her grandmother, the now 
widowed Mrs Shuckford. 

In 1765, came the end by way of compromise of a 
curious Chancery suit between members of the Deye 
family. It will be remembered that Mrs Edmund Betts 
was Martha daughter of Nathaniel Deye. The Stayer 

1 Erroneously spelled by Mr and Mrs Webb, but correctly entered — 
Betts — in the minute books. 



House estate already mentioned had been the property 
of Thomas Deye, brother of Nathaniel. He had 
left two only daughters, Dioness and Mary, and his 
nearest male relative was his nephew Thomas brother 
of Martha Betts. 

On the death of their father Dioness and Mary had 
without question retained his estate. Their cousin 
Thomas was rector of Palgrave and was about to be 
married. To prepare his marriage settlement he employed 
an attorney named Negus. 

On a morning came this Mr Negus to Palgrave on 
business, and in the course of conversation casually asked 
Thomas Deye what he would give if he helped him to 
£1000. On Mr Deye carelessly promising £100, Negus 
informed him that he had discovered that the title of his 
cousins Dioness and Mary to the Stayer House estate was 
invalid, and that the property rightfully belonged to 
him ; adding that as his cousins were in possession, it 
would be very costly and difficult to prove this ; but that 
he, Negus, had no doubt that he could persuade the ladies 
to make Mr Deye a compliment of £1000, if he relinquished 
all claim. 

Thomas Deye naturally hesitated, and the matter 
rested for a week or so ; then Mr Negus came again to 
Palgrave, stated that he had mentioned the affair to 
Dioness and Mary, and showed Thomas the form of a 
letter which he had drawn up, purporting to be addressed 
by Thomas to Dioness the elder sister. To persuade 
Thomas to sign this letter, he represented that, as Thomas 
" well knew, his cousin Dioness was of a fretful capricious 
temper, and the suspense was injuring her health ; and so, 
knowing his clients indolence, he had himself prepared 


the letter for his signature." The letter purported to 
surrender to his cousins all Thos. Deye's rights on 
consideration of his receiving £1000. 

The Reverend Thomas, being as his counsel afterwards 
put it, then " warm in liquor, and at the same time in a 
hurry to take the service in church it being Sunday, 
signed the letter without reading it ; confiding in Mr 
Negus' friendship for him." But afterwards, on more 
sober thoughts, and influenced by his wife's counsel, 
for he was now married, he went into the matter 
afresh, and, on discovery of the real facts of the case, 
" publicly repudiated the pretended agreement at Eye 

Now, the actual facts were these, Dioness and Mary 
Deye, who had lately come of age, had wished to make a 
partition of their landed property, and for this purpose 
had laid the title-deeds of the Stayer House estate before 
Mr Negus. He discovered thereby, that in the marriage 
settlement of Nathaniel Deye and Mary Cooper, the 
sister's grandparents, the Stayer House estate had been 
settled on their father, in tail male ; and that the ladies 
therefore could not inherit. He communicated this 
discovery to the sisters ; and they empowered him as 
their attorney to go to their unsuspecting cousin, and get 
him to relinquish his rights, in the manner and for the 
price before mentioned. The sisters could not plead 
necessity, as they, exclusive of the Stayer House, had each 
£5000 a handsome fortune in those days. They could 
only urge that their father must have been ignorant of the 
terms of the settlement, or he would certainly have barred 
the entail, and so have enabled himself to leave the 
property to them, his only children. 


As to Negus, he is said to have publicly declared, when 
heated by a dispute with a certain Mr Malyns, rector of 
Eye, and Miss Deye's uncle, " that he would not have 
drawn Deye in to give up his right for £1000, but on 
account of his own nephew's courting Miss Mary Deye, 
for that this would make her the better fortune." In 
point of fact, this nephew, Henry Negus, was secretly 
engaged at that time to IVIary Deye. 

To avoid " treading ye labyrinth of Chancery " Thomas 
offered to end the suit with his cousins by paying them 
;^iooo each, but this offer they indignantly refused. In 
the end the suit was compromised on far more unfavour- 
able terms for them. 

Thomas d'Eye, in order to acquire power of disposi- 
tion over the estate, barred the entail, by suffering a 
" common recovery." He had to make a legal entry 
on the land, proceeding thus : — " To go upon each 
respective farm or holding — and not enter the house but 
upon the land — and take up a clod of earth and say — ' By 
virtue of this clod of earth I Thomas D'Eye — this day 
of — 1761 make an actual entry and take possession of 
all the lands etc' " 

The legal business had been kept as much as possible 
in the family, by employing as attornies Mr Jehoshaphat 
Postle Edmund's brother-in-law, and Mr Buxton of 
Norwich ; and as counsel Mr Anguish who was con- 
nected with the Betts of Yoxford, and Mr William 
de Grey, a Cambridge friend of Edmund's brother, 

Thomas Deye, in the middle of the suit, had begun to 
sign his name with an apostrophe, a change which was 
thus noted by Jehoshaphat Postle in a letter to Mr Buxton: 


" Mr Deye out of some whim and caprice has chosen to 
write his name D'Eye, though all his ancestors wrote it 
Deye." He also dropped his Christian name in his 
signature, and was in consequence nicknamed " his 
Lordship " in the family. 




IN 1756, a club had been formed for a monthly 
meeting of the gentlemen in the neighbourhood of 
Diss. The rules provided that members should 
meet at the King's Head Diss, every Friday before 
the full moon, at two o'clock in the afternoon ; the landlord 
James Simpson agreed to provide a good " dinner at 
IS. head for the ordinary, and 1/6 a head for the extra- 

There were twenty members, among whom were George 
Betts president, Edmund Betts, Thos. D'Eye and Rowland 
Holt. Forfeits were imposed for non-attendance, and any 
member who dined there on club day alone, was entitled 
to claim 4s. or two bottles of port, to be paid for by the 
absent members. On November i8th 1768, it was entered 
in the Club book that Edmund Betts, then president, 
being the only member present, claimed three bottles 
of port, to be paid for by the majority of the Club at the 
next meeting. At the next meeting, however, this 
minute appears : " The Majority of the Club allow the 
president 2 bottles only, as having respect for his neck 
and his constitution, Dec. 23. 1768." 

Their landlord's personal appearance was not always 


pleasing ; and the Club ordered that " unless James 
Simpson on every future Club Day, be clean shaved, have 
a powdered wig and a clean shirt, that he forfeit a bottle 
of port for every default." 

In a letter to Jehoshaphat Postle, Thomas D'Eye gives 
us a description of a contemporary club at Palgrave. 
Thomas seems to have had no little reputation as a 
preacher, and having to preach at the Cathedral, had 
been asked to stay the night in Mr Postle's house at 
Norwich. He writes to excuse himself, and continues : — 

" Last night was our Club night here in Palgrave, 
and with that oil of gladness as Shakespear has it, ye 
sweet oblivious antidote which purges ye foul bosom 
of ye perilous stuff which weighs upon ye heart, we 
dissipated every care, and caroused it o'er our bowls, till 
night's candles were burnt out, and jocound day stood 
tip-toe on ye misty mountain top ; so was it that when 
wine has once made glad ye heart, we are in some degree 
like Romeo and his mistress ; parting has such sweet 
sorrow, that we often say good night tiU it be morrow, 
and have no care to stay than will to go." 

Of old, it was said that every man is allowed a different 
proportion of drink, which when he has despatched, there 
remains nothing for him but to die. Thomas D'Eye 
despatched aU too soon the proportion allowed to him ; 
" cheerful he played the trifle life away," and in the 
midst of his years paid the penalty. 

During the progress of the Chancery proceedings, 
Edmund and Martha Betts made several visits to London, 
on one occasion breaking their journey at the house of 
Mr Jenney in Ipswich. Edmund Jenney was an old 


friend of the Betts, having been brought up by his uncle 
Barnaby Gibson of Wortham. Bamaby had married 
Martha Cullum, an aunt of Martha Betts, which con- 
nection accounts for two letters having been kept at 
Wortham addresssed to Mrs Barnaby Gibson. The head 
of the younger branch of the Cullums, Sir John Cullum 
squire of Hawsted, in order to help his son who was then 
" innocently amusing himself by compiling a history of 
his native place," wrote to his cousin Mrs Gibson for 
particulars of the Eye branch of the Cullum family. 
" It is," he wrote, " a mere matter of curiosity which 
most persons have, of knowing as much as they can 
of the Family to which they belong." The information 
she supphed him with, later appeared in his son's book 
the " History of Hawstead." 

The columns of the Ipswich Journal for Feb. 18 1764, 
advertise " a new Flying Machine," to accommodate 
passengers from Norwich to London, by way of Scole 
Inn, Needham Market, Bramford, Copdock, etc., each 
passenger to pay one pound two shillings and to be allowed 
14 lbs. weight of luggage. Jehoshaphat Postle speaks, 
in one of his letters, of going to London by this " Machine," 
and wishes Edmund Betts in his turn " much diversion 
in town with health, spirits and cash to enjoy it. " 
Passengers from Oakley or Wortham would have to 
drive to Scole to meet the " Flying Machine " ; no swiftly 
ghding aeroplane, but a cumbrous coach crawling along 
the dusty roads. 

Sometimes Mr and Mrs Betts would post aU the way to 
London in their own new chariot, which Edmund had 
himself brought from London a year or two before. Of 
the chariot when new, his irrespressible brother-in-law 

Thomas D'Eye wrote as follows to Jehosaphat Postle : 
" This dull county affords no news worthy of your 
attention. The most important is that Edmund arrived 
at Oakley on Sunday night in his new chariot, a very neat 
one indeed. I went to pay him a visit on Monday, and 
never was ye sympathy between ye animal spirits and ye 
breeches pocket more remarkably display'd than in ye lines 
of Mun's serious contenance." 

This letter was found at Wortham, and likewise a bill 
of a certain " John Smith coachmaker in St. Martin's 
Lane near the Strand, London," which had been ruefully 
discharged by " Mun " before he left London, the total, 
including a postilion saddle, being £89, 8s. 6d. The 
chariot is described in the bill as having carved hind 
standards and spring locks, mahogany shutters, a small 
seat to fold inside the other seat, best plate glass, a trunk 
under the seat, and carpet to the bottom, the whole 
" painted a fine brown, with shields of arms, and all the 
framework gilt." 

The great outbreak of smallpox in East Anglia, 
which at this time drove people to flee for their lives, 
is alluded to in Edmund Betts' letters. Norwich 
was attacked, and in February 1762, Edmund writes 
to congratulate his relations there on their recovery. 
In May, it was still raging, for writing then to invite 
his sister Mrs Postle, Edmund says : " Our Post 
Chariot shall meet her anywhere she pleases. My man 
have not had the smallpox or else he should come to 

The family at Oakley were to suffer, and Mrs Postle in 
her turn congratulates Edmund on his children's recovery, 
" which," she says, " we esteem as a very happy event." 



The portraits painted some years later, of Edmund Betts' 
daughters, show no marks of the dread disease, so pre- 
valent during the eighteenth century, that only to possess 
a face unpitted by smallpox was considered a sufficient 
claim to beauty. 

In August 1773, Edmund Betts brought his nephew 
George to the Diss Club Dinner, and got him elected 
president for the ensuing year — " Nunky having agreed," 
rims the minute in the club-book, "to take the chair during 
his nephew's residence at Oxford." 

George had then been at Christchurch for more than 
two years. Martha Betts had an influential cousin, an 
Oxford Don, which was probably the reason why her 
husband chose Oxford rather than the East Anglian 
University for his nephew and ward. Mrs Betts' 
cousin at Oxford, the Rev. Thomas Thurlow, was 
then fellow of Magdalen, and later bishop successively 
of Lincoln and Durham. His grandfather, another 
Thomas Thurlow, had been that rector of Wortham 
who in the days of William and Mary was, as 
we have seen, condemned to stand in the pillory for 
drinking a disloyal toast at a Jacobite meeting at 

When George Betts was at Oxford, a certain Mr Bixley 
solicited Mrs Edmund Betts' interest with her cousin 
Thomas Thurlow ; but she being better acquainted with 
Edward Thurlow the future Lord Chancellor than with 
his clerical brother, wrote first to him. His answering 
letter, written the year after he had been made Attorney- 
General, shows nothing of the rude manner generally 
attributed to him, or perhaps Martha would not so care- 
fully have preserved it. 


" Dear Cousin, 

The moment I received your commands, 
I set myself to obey them with all that attention and 
alacrity which your commands are entitled to exact. I 
have sent your letter to my brother, and desired him 
to do his best. He- will learn from that, that one Mr 
Bixley desires to be Fellow of Magdalen, and that Mrs 
Betts is of the same mind, and I hope Mr Bixley will be 
ready to explain to him, what pretensions he has, and how 
my Brother can serve him. He can't be chosen unless 
he be a Demi as they call it ; nor to any fellowship, but 
of the division to which he belongs, unless there are no 
such in College ; and which is worse, I guess he wants to 
be elected in place of my Brother, in which case he will 
have no vote. Now if any of these articles should stand in 
his way, I beg you will be assured, that it be will be because 
I can't tell how to remove them. As you put off your 
journey to Oxford last time, only till you could find a 
reason to go, why not take this opportunity and canvass 
for your friend in person ? 
"I am 

Dear Cousin 
with perfect regard 
your most obedient Servant 
E. Thurlow. 
" Inner Temple 
Wednesday, February 5, 1772." 

In 1773, Harriot, Edmund Betts' youngest child a girl 
of fourteen, was taken seriously ill, and young George at 
Oxford was " truly concerned to hear it." I hope by this 
time," he writes, " she is again better, I shall be glad to 


hear as often as I conveniently can ; my aunt almost and 
Molly absolutely promised they would write . ' ' The news of 
the burning of Henham Hall had just been published ; and 
George continues : " I am sorry to hear Sir John Rous has 
met with so great a loss, I see by the newspapers the damage 
which is done is computed at thirty thousand pounds." 

Writing to his uncle during the Easter vacation, George 
describes a driving tour he had enjoyed with two other 
undergraduates : "I wish," he says, " you could have 
been with us at Bedford, we met with the most facetious 
Landlord I ever saw. We ordered some Punch, and in- 
tended to have gone to bed at ten, but just as our bowl 
was out, up came the landlord and almost insisted on our 
having a bottle of wine that we might taste it ; Fisher 
and Mountain made no objection, and if I say I did, you 
would not believe me. Just before we finished that, he 
praised some old wine which he had had 8 or 9 years 
in Bottles ; we ordered a Bottle of that. Before that was 
finished, he would have us go into his Cellars, and very 
convenient they were and very well stocked with Liquor. 
We could not think of coming up empty handed, in short 
he made us sit with him till | past two and exceedingly 
diverted we were. Dismal roads across the Country — 
mem : never to come that way again in a Post Chaise. 
You shall soon hear from me again, but at present I do 
assure you I am busy, for on Monday I have an Examina- 
tion to pass through. Pray give my duty to my Aunt. 
Love to Molly, Harriot, and Co." 

The letter begins " Dear Sir " and ends " your dutiful 
nephew," after the fashion of our ancestors, whose utmost 
affection was masked under the stiffest terms, 


Young George's next letter, dated nearly a month 
afteru'ards, expresses his sorrow at hearing of his cousin 
Harriot's death. " No one," he writes, " can feel more real 
concern than I do on this occasion, as in her I have lost a 
sister (for I always esteem'd my cousins as sisters)." He 
goes on to assure his uncle that he never should be able to 
return " half the Obligations I have received from you, 
but altho' I never shall be able to return them, they will 
always remain deeply imprinted in my mind. When I 
prove in any degree ungrateful to you, I ought to be drove 
from all society whatever." George concludes his letter 
by sending his " Duty to his aunt, and love to Molly and 
Mrs Worth." Martha, the eldest daughter of Edmund 
Betts, had then recently married John Worth, surgeon 
and apothecary of Diss. 

On the 13th of February 1773, Chases Paper pub- 
lished at Norwich, contains the following notice : " On 
Sunday morning last died Mrs Burroughes, aged 83, relict 
of Jeremiah Burroughes late of Wymondham Esqre., 
deceased, and formerly the wife of Edmund Betts of 
Wortham in Suffolk Esqre. ; her piety, charity, affability 
and gentleness of manner rendered her esteemed and 
exemplary in life, lamented in death." Anne Betts was 
living with her grandmother Mrs Burroughes at the time 
of her death ; Mrs Shuckford her maternal grandmother 
with whom she had previously lived having died a few 
months before. Mrs Burroughes left directions that she 
should be buried in Wortham Church beside her " first 
husband Betts." 

Smallpox was then still prevalent in Norwich, as appears 
from Mr Soley's refusal to accompany the fimeral cortege 
from Norwich. " I am at present," he wrote, " in good 


health, and mean to attend in my own chaise at the hour 
appointed, being afraid to travel in a mourning coach, 
perhaps often used by persons infected with the small- 

Fifty-three relations and friends were provided with 
hatbands and gloves ; among them Humfrey Rant the 
deceased lady's nephew, and his daughter and son-in- 
law the Rev"^ Seymour and Mrs Leeke of Yaxley 

Edmund Betts was the sole executor ; and among his 
accoimts, is the affidavit of Sarah Puggin the nurse, that 
the deceased was not " buried in any shirt, shift, sheet, 
or shroud, made or mingled with flax, hemp, silk, hair, 
gold or silver, or other than what is made of sheeps 
wool only." 

Mrs Burroughes left all her unsettled property to 
Edmund Betts, and her three daughters Mrs Soley, 
Mrs Postle, and Mrs Mary Betts. 

Acting no doubt on his uncle's advice, young George 
bought all his grandmother's plate and her pewter 
(pewiier being then still in general use) from his uncle and 

George's diary shows how pleasantly he passed his 
time during his vacations, flitting from one neighbour's 
house to another, and attending the local theatres. Here 
are two typical entries. " Dined at Mr Holts, supped at 
Mrs Goldsmiths, went to the play at Brome." " Dined 
at Thrandeston Fair, went to a play at Brome." x\t 
other times he would attend Eye, Bungay, Bury or 
Norwich theatres, or go to Hingham bowling green to 
play bowls with Sir Armine Wodehouse. Regularly two 
or three times a week, he would dine or sup with Lord 


Cornwallis ; and distance did not deter him from riding 
the eighteen miles to Norwich, to dine with the Postles 
and then back to sup at Oakley. 

It must be remembered that the fashionable dinner hour 
was in those days between two and three o'clock in the 
afternoon. Supper, a light meal, might be at any time 
in the evening ; indeed, we read of one family whose 
regular supper hour was eleven at night. But that was 
in London, and such late hours would not have found 
favour with the early rising country squires. 

In May 1773, George Betts came of age, and in 1774 
took his B.A. degree. He also placed his name on the 
law list," not that he meant to practice law, for the same 
year he was ordained deacon at Christchurch, Oxford. 

The window tax was then still in force. Among the 
Betts papers for 1773 is the statement of the case of one 
Nathaniel Pinborough of Diss and others. It concerned 
surcharges made on dairy and cheese-chamber lights, 
which, not being mentioned in the Act, the commissioners, 
Sheppard Frere,^ Samuel Carter, and C. Simpson, were of 
opinion should be exempted. The surveyor thought 
otherwise ; and the case was sent to the King's Bench, 
and decided against the householders by twelve judges, 
among whom were Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, Sir 
William Blackstone the Hon'''*' Sir Beaumont Hotham 
an ancestor of the writer, and Sir William de Grey, who 
had been counsel for Edmmid Betts in the Deye Chancery 

An assessment of 1703 for the window tax on several 
parishes round Wortham was preserved by the Betts ; 

• Sheppard Frere of Roydon, grandfather of Rt. Hon Hookham 
Frere, and great grandfather of Sir Bartle Frere, 


the duty had since that date been frequently increased. 
For instance in 1766, the year's tax on the forty-three 
lights in Wortham Manor was twenty-five shillings alto- 
gether, but when the Diss case was heard in 1773, no less 
than two shillings a year was demanded for each light. 




ON November 16, 1775, George Belts married 
his cousin Molly. 
There are indications that for some time 
George had no longer " esteem'd his cousin 
as a sister," but as " something more than kin," though 
not " less than kind." His diary records sundry gifts of 
trinkets, and trifling articles of dress such as girls love, and 
playful bets lost to Molly ; so that when the entries of 
payments for licence, parson, and ringers are reached, it 
causes no surprise. The marriage took place at Oakley, 
" in the little grey church on the windy hill," and 
the young couple, it would seem, went straight to their 
home at Wortham, for there is no account in the diary of a 
wedding tour. Honeymoons spent in travel had not then 
come into fashion. 

Among the Betts portraits, is one of Molly painted just 
after her marriage, a gentle girlish face, her light brown 
unpowdered hair rolled back over a cushion. The 
portraits of her mother and sister, painted at the same 
time, show them wearing enormous erections of powdered 
hair. Such " heads " took a skilled hand hours to erect, 
and were not taken down for days at a time ; even for 




three weeks, it was considered by our ancestresses 
" that, a head could well go in summer without being 
opened ! " 

The portrait, painted the same year, of Edmund Betts, 
represents him wearing a short powdered wig, a fashion 
which the older men still clung to ; though it appears by 
a petition of peruke makers to the King that wigs had been 
going out for the last ten years ; they complained of the 
decline of their trade through gentlemen wearing their 
own hair. Edmund's nephew George never wore a wig, 
but, after the fashion of the young bucks, tied back his 
own pomatumed and powdered locks with a black 

The year after his marriage, George was ordained priest, 
and a few months later was appointed curate of Shelf- 
hanger and Bressingham, places some miles apart. The 
Rev""^ Randall Burroughes, a stepson of George's grand- 
mother the late ]\lrs Burroughes, was his rector in both 

George Betts' diary gives us an interesting picture of 
the life of a country gentleman's family in the eighteenth 
century. Anne Betts, two years younger than the bride, 
lived with her brother and sister-in-law at Wortham. The 
ladies had the newest romances from the Botesdale Book 
Club ; we find in the Book list, " Evelina," " The Vicar of 
Wakefield," Dr Goldsmith's " School for Scandal," Mrs 
Radcliffe's " Female Advocate," and so forth. For more 
serious reading, George brought back " An Account of 
Corsica," by Frederick son of Theodore King of Corsica, 
" Journey to ye Western Isles of Scotland," by the author 
of "Ye Rambler," and Young's " Agriculture." This last 
book was specially procured by the Club at George Betts' 


request ; agriculture was a subject in which he was in- 
terested, for he continued to farm the home farm hke his 

The ladies had their riding horses, and neighbours for 
miles roimd constantly met at each other's houses. 
" Commerce," and " All Fours " were fashionable games, 
ten or fifteen shillings lost or gained at cards is a weekly 
entry in the diary. 

" The play " at Norwich, Bury, Eye, and Bungay was 
much patronized ; the Betts family would attend in their 
own chaise, purchased for £79 soon after George's marriage. 
According to the coach-builder's bill, which was at 
Wortham, it was lined with light-coloured cloth trimmed 
with lace, a turkey carpet to the bottom. The body was 
painted a light colour with purple ovals bordered round ; 
and adorned with the Betts' arms and crest. A big trunk 
for fastening behind the chaise, harness, and two postilion 
saddles were included. George had two postilions, one 
of whom also acted as footman ; their wages were six 
guineas a year, a fustian frock and waistcoat, and a pair 
of leather breeches ; one had besides a suit of footman's 
livery, for indoor work. 

Every year or so brought a new baby to Wortham. 
The first a son born in 1777, died two days after his birth ; 
his place was filled next year by a daughter, Martha. In 
September 1779, George's diary records the christening 
feast of another daughter Elizabeth, for which occasion 
" a fish was purchased from Mr Frere of Roydon, for 
nineteen shillings. Can it be that salmon then came up 
the sluggish Waveney ? A leg of mutton, bought for 
half a crown, also graced the christening dinner. The 
deposed baby was now supplied with a " child's coach," 


for a guinea, a cumbrous vehicle on four wheels which had 
to be drawn, not pushed. 

Scores of sermons in George Betts' writing testify to 
his clerical activity ; among them is one preached at 
Bressingham " on the Fast Day, Friday 27 February 
1778." The King's proclamation is with the sermon, 
and probably was first read from the pulpit. " We, 
taking into our most serious consideration the just and 
necessary hostilities in which we are engaged, and the un- 
natural rebellion carrying on in some of our Provinces and 
Colonies of North America, hereby command that a Public 
Fast and Humiliation be observed." This war inust 
have evoked particular interest in the district, as in it 
George Betts' neighbour and friend Charles first Marquis 
ComwaUis played a conspicuously disastrous part. 

In 1781, George went to stay in London with his 
relative Lord Thurlow, a stormy advocate of the King's 
, American policy ; and while there, went to see Copley's 
famous picture of the tragically sudden death of Lord 
Chatham while making his great appeal in the House 
against England's abandonment of the American Colonies. 

In London, George purchased two lottery tickets for 
£26 ; half of one ticket he sold to his friend Mr Frere, 
and shared the other with " his mother Mrs Edmund 
Betts " ; the first of these gained a prize of £20. State 
lotteries had for long been a regular source of revenue ; 
the annual profit to the Government averaging about 
three hundred and fifty thousand pounds. They were 
drawn at the Guildhall, and later at Cooper's Hall, the 
tickets being taken from the wheel by the Blue Coat boys. 

This year, a son was bom to George Betts, and baptized 
George ; he was the first son who survived his infancy. 


and the eighth successive Betts, if we include the infant 
who only lived two days, to bear the Christian name of 

Mrs Humfrey Rant's death followed close on the birth 
of this child. She left her estates in Norfolk to her cousin 
Edmund Betts and Mr Hasell of Ipswich, in trust for her 
daughter Mrs Seymour Leeke, who was unhappily married 
and had separated from her husband. 

At Mrs Leeke's death the estates in Overstrand and 
Mendling were to pass to George Betts ; while the lands 
at Dickleburgh were to go to Edmund, with remainder to 
his grandson John Worth, now an orphan. Mr Hasell 
had acted as Mrs Rant's agent for some years before her 
death, and his letters to Edmund Betts regarding her 
property are extant. 

To the ancient soil of England still cling im- 
memorial customs of which the names, though some- 
times happily not the substance, yet survive. Mrs 
Rant, as lady of the manor of Overstrand, enjoyed 
the right of shipwreck. This right was claimed to be 
included in his lease by one of her tenants there, a man 
called Howes. Not wishing to relinquish it, she consulted 
Mr Hasell, who told her that " the little advantage 
that had accrued to her on that score for many years past, 
should induce her to let the tenant have the whole right 
of wrecks." No doubt there was " little advantage " to 
be gained from this feudal right. Mrs Rant received, 
however, for many years, dues from ships which passed 
safely, guided by light from a lighthouse which her 
father had built, and which was her own property. 

The history of this lighthouse is unfolded in the Betts' 
papers. The original structure stands no longer, but its 


successor still guides mariners along the dangerous coast 
of Cromer and Overstrand. 

It appears that in 1717, Nathaniel Life, father of Mrs 
Rant, and brother-in-law of the then Edmund Betts of 
Wortham, built at his own cost a lighthouse on the heath 
land between Cromer and Overstrand. Two years later, 
with the help of one Edward Bowell master mariner, a 
younger brother of the Trinity House, he obtained a 
patent for lighting the " shell," and granting to himself 
and Bowell jointly, one farthing per ton from every ship 
passing the light, and a halfpenny for every chaldron of 
Newcastle coal carried. The Trinity House acquired 
the ownership of the site, and Life and Bowell became their 
tenants under a lease for the term of sixty-one years, at a 
rent of £100 per annum, this rent being thus secured to the 
Trinity House " without their having been at a shilling of 
expense." The term expired the year before Mrs Rant's 
death, when the lighthouse with " the acre of land 
whereon it was builded " reverted to the Trinity House. 

This " Foulness Light " must have been one of the 
earliest of our lighthouses, and its light was probably a 
mere beacon fire of coal. Twenty years after its erection 
there were only five-and-twenty lighthouses on all the 
coasts of England, a great many of which hkewise owed 
their origin to private enterprise. 

As to another ancient custom the right of lords of 
manors to a " heriot " — the best beast, or its money value, 
due on the death or alienation of a tenant — a dispute arose. 
It is worth referring to, if only as showing the change of 
prices which had taken place in fifty-nine years. Now, 
in 1781, ten guineas was demanded for a " heriot " by the 
steward of a manor in respect of property of which Mrs 


Rant had been a copyhold tenant. In 1722, when her 
husband had been admitted to the same tenement, only 
thirteen shillings and fourpence in lieu of the " heriot " 
had been paid.' 

The trustees had also to deal with other property 
besides land. Mrs Rant had held two mortgages on the 
Scole turnpike, which the trustees disposed of later. 
Such mortgages secured on the tolls seem to have been 
regarded as ordinary investments, for Mr Postle inquires, 
" whether they are above or under par." Turnpikes when 
vacant were put up to auction, the highest bidder having 
the right to the profits, after deducting the rent. The 
rate of the tolls was fixed by law. 

In the accounts of Mrs Rant's executors, the carriage 
of letters amounts to a goodly sum. Village carriers took 
local letters ; but for longer distances the so-called post 
boy had to be employed. Such a man riding alone with 
the mails might fall an easy, sometimes perhaps a willing, 
prey to highwaymen. To guard against such robberies 
Edmund Betts transmitted money in bank bills cut in 
halves, which he posted on different days, sometimes 
sending them by the stage-coach, a safer but more ex- 
pensive way than by the government post boy. A letter 
by coach from Oakley to London then cost a shilling. 

In 1785, a much-needed reform was instituted. That 
year, the first mail coach carrying letters and inside 
passengers started from Norwich to London. The fare 
was higher, but then the security was greater, for on 
the top of the scarlet and gold coach sat a scarlet 
and gold guard armed with pistol and blunderbuss, the 
mail coaches being licensed to carry arms, which the stage- 
coaches were not. 


Owners of stage-coaches published inflammatory para- 
graphs against the mail coaches, predicting fearful 
accidents, and deaths by apoplexy, in consequence of the 
mail's excessive speed — their contracts obliging them to 
travel at the rate of eight miles an hour, including 

In the spring of 1783, Archbishop Cornwallis, Primate 
of All England, died. He it was who, as the Hon. and 
Rev. Frederick Cornwallis, had married Edmund and 
Martha Betts in 1749. The promise he then made to the 
bridegroom and bride, though not forgotten, had not been 
fulfilled, and Edmund, now that his friend was no more, 
wrote this letter to Mrs Cornwallis, his widow : — 

" Madam 

I sincerely condole with you on the very great 
and heavy loss you have so lately sustained. The very 
particular Respect with which my late ffriend honoured 
me with, will I hope apologize for the trouble I have given 
you, as I thought it a Duty I owed my ffamily to state 
some particulars with which I hope you are not altogether 

" When the Archbishop married ]\Irs. Betts and me, he 
told us whatever sons we should have, if we brought them 
up to the Church, he would provide for them. About 
four years since, I had the honour of dining with him at 
Lambeth, when his Grace mentioned this promise of his 
own accord, and enquired about my family. I then told 
him I had no son, but my nephew had married my 
daughter, was in orders, had no preferment, and I begged 
he would be kind enough to look upon him as my son, 
which he told me he certainly would do, and would give 


him some preferment very soon, and at that time 
mention'd an option he had in the Diocese of Rochester. 
About two years since my nephew Mr G. Betts waited 
upon his Grace with a letter from me ; the Archbishop 
then told him, he certainly would provide for him, and 
that he had been for a considerable time upon his list. I 
thought it proper to state these particulars to you, as I 
am certain, as far as it lies in your Power, you would be 
happy to fulfill any promise the Archbishop ever made ; 
I should be happy to hear from you that you excuse the 
Liberty I have taken in thus troubling you and am 

" Your most obedient humble servt. 
Edm''- Betts. 

" P.S. Mrs Betts desires her compliments. 
Oakley 26th April 1783. 

To Mrs Cornwallis at Lambeth House." 

The Archbishop's widow probably had no power to carry 
out her husband's promise ; when in 1787 preferment 
came to George Betts in the shape of the living of West 
Winch, it was by the presentation of the Lord Chancellor 

The beginnings of the modern " week end " parties may 
be traced back to Archbishop Cornwallis ; for his routs and 
card parties on Saturday night were, it was whispered, 
often prolonged into Sunday morning ; and young King 
George urged thereto by Lady Huntingdon, actually 
wrote to the offending Archbishop, to request that his 
Sunday parties should be discontinued. 




AMONG the pages of George Betts' diary for 
1782 is a paper of " proposals made by John 
Smith of Wortham, whitester/ offering to 
undertake " the whole charge of the poor of 
Wortham for three years to come, for the sum of nine 
hundred pounds, as they are in the Shipmeadow House, 
maintained in the same manner as they are now, he not 
to be obliged to keep either boys or girls turned of fourteen 
years of age." 

At this time, country parishes had their own work- 
houses and relieved their own poor, sometimes farming out 
their responsibility to such contractors as John Smith ; 
and they arranged to bind out pauper children " turned 
of fourteen years of age " as apprentices. It was however 
often difficult to induce a farmer or tradesman to take a 
parish child, at an age for mischief, but not for much work, 
into his house. 

A present of live guineas is entered in George Betts' 
accounts, which he gave to R. Algar, one of his farm 

^ A whitener of yarn. We find from the Preamble to a Statute of 
Henry VIII. that " lynen yarne had to lie out in the night for half a 
year to be whited." 


tenants, over and above the sum Algar was to receive from 
the parish, for taking a " parish boy " as apprentice. 

In 1782, a bad harvest had brought a winter of distress 
and discontent ; and the diary records subscriptions all 
over England, for the purpose of buying corn and selling 
it at a low price to the starving poor. In January 1783, 
foreign suppHes were found necessary, and two ships laden 
with wheat from Dantzig arrived in the Thames. 

Many country town fetes can now boast of a balloon 
ascent among their attractions ; but when, nearly a 
hundred and thirty years ago, George Betts paid " a 
shilling to see an air balloon," it was accounted one 
of the wonders of the age, the greatest invention of the 
century. The pocket-book for the year 1783 in which 
he wrote his diary announces that " a method has been 
hit upon by two Erench philosophers the Sieurs 
Montgolfier, of constructing a light globe, which by 
being filled with inflammable air, will ascend towards 
the clouds : Many experiments are being made on this 
singular deviation from the laws of gravity." 

This balloon was the Montgolfiers' third experiment, 
and was built by public subscription, and filled with 
hydrogen, then called Montgolfier gas ; it ascended in 
the Champs de Mars before 30,000 spectators. The first 
balloon passengers were a sheep, a cock, and a duck. 

Then, two Erenchmen adventured themselves, and ac- 
cording to the pocket-book were " suspended in a gallery " 
under the balloon, " provided with a stove and a quantity 
of straw to furnish a sufficiency of smoke ; they passed 
over Paris at the height of 3000 feet." 

On March 2 1784, M. Blanchard made an attempt 
with his improved " aerostatic machine, to which he had 


affixed wings and a rudder, in order to work it horizontally 
and vertically against a current of air." The trial flight 
miscarried, owing to the violent temper of a pupil in the 
military school, who on M. Blanchard's refusal to allow 
him to accompany him, drew his sword and damaged 
the wings and rudder. 

Another attempt was made in the same month, and 
proved successful. " MM. Marveau and Bertrand then 
ascended from Dijon, in a kind of gondola suspended 
to a balloon fitted with oars and rudder, and descended 
near Auxonne where they found a group of people kneeling 
in fear and adoration." 

The last ascent recorded in the pocket-book was by 
M. Blanchard again, in his gas balloon from Rouen ; " and 
by means of wings he moved in certain directions of the 
wind and could ascend and descend at pleasure." 

In May 1784, Wortham was threatened with an epidemic 
of the dreaded smallpox, and three of the Betts' children 
were inoculated — George, Mary Anne, and Edmund the 
six months old baby. Twenty-five shillings each was 
charged for the operation. Though quite a quarter of a 
century had elapsed since its introduction by Lady 
Mary Wortley Montagu, inoculation had only lately 
become general. Like many other beneficent discoveries, 
it was at first ignorantly opposed, one well-known preacher 
positively asserting that " Job's distemper was confluent 
smallpox, and that he had been inoculated by the devil." 

The great feature of 1784 was "a good old fashioned 
winter." Snow fell on the seventh of October and, with 
only one intermission of twelve days at the end of January, 
the frost and snow continued for one hundred and seventy- 
seven days, till April 2 1785. 


Soon after the breaking up of the great frost, George 
Betts' aunt Mrs Soley died, aged 70. 

In the summer, George, while in London, paid another 
shilling to see " Leonardi ascend in a balloon from the 
artillery ground, and descend rapidly but safely in Totten 
Court Road through the bursting of the machine." 
During this visit, he bought " buskins " (gaiters) for him- 
self for seven shillings, and one pound six shillings worth 
of lace for his wife's cloak. 

A shooting licence is entered in the accounts for the 
year under the title of " Game certificate " ; and another 
new tax on servants is noted. This new duty revived in 
another form the tax on bachelors of William III.'s reign, 
for bachelors were now obliged to pay double duty on 
each servant, while the family man was in part excused. 
George Betts having five children, was allowed two 
maid-servants free ; he had seven servants in all, and 
paid this year for two male and three female domestics. 

The servant question even then agitated the minds 
of good housewives. Mary Betts possessed a book on 
" Domestic Management," and subscribed to the " Society 
for the encouragement of good servants." The author of 
" Domestic Management " professed to write both for ser- 
vant and master. " Be strictly honest " is the first advice. 
" Thirteenpence halfpenny is called hangman's wages, 
because the law will condemn a man for stealing that 

Dean Swift had earlier in the century written a book 
on the same subject ; and his sarcastic comments are 
quoted in Mary Betts' book, such as how to properly 
snuff a candle. " You may run the candle end against the 
wainscot, you may tread it out, you may hold it upside 


down till choked with its own grease, or cram it into the 
socket of a candlestick ; you may whirl it about in your 
hand till it goes out ; you may spit on your finger and 
thumb and pinch it out ; the cook may run it into the meal 
tub ; the groom into a bin of oats, or a heap of litter ; 
anything is better than using the snuffers with tallow 
candles, and not closing them again if without a spring ; 
or you may blow it out and perfume the house with the 
smoke." It was indeed a veritable art to be able to 
extinguish a candle so that it left no smell or smoke. The 
book directs the servant " to snuff it properly, then to dip 
the point of the snuffers into the hot tallow, and to touch 
the top of the wick with it. This being warm runs down 
the wick and is a priming for fresh lighting." Easy 
lighting was a great advantage in the days of tinder boxes. 

Then there are directions as to the cleaning of pewter 
plates and dishes, and a whole chapter is devoted to " the 
honours of the table." " Never," run the rules for the foot- 
man, " give a second glass of wine in a glass that has once 
been used ; always wait till the person has drunk, and 
take back the empty glass on your waiter. It is genteel 
to have thin gill glasses." The footman's duty attending 
his mistress out walking is defined, and that of the groom 
riding armed behind his master's chaise. 

Domestic servants as weU as farm hands were stiU 
usually hired by the year. Hiring fairs held yearly at 
Botesdale and Stoke Ash, villages near Wortham, were 
frequented by farm servants, clad in clean white smocks. 
Shepherds, ploughmen, waggoners would each have an 
emblem of their caUing in their hats — a shepherd wool, a 
cowman hair, and a ploughman or waggoner whipcord. 
Girls wishing to be hired stood separate from the men. 


not unlike cattle at a fair waiting for dealers. Red 
ribbons denoting a cook and blue streamers a house- 
maid. When a contract was concluded, earnest money 
was given, and the emblems exchanged for ribbons of all 

Servants lived hardly, and wages were, even allowing 
for the then greater purchasing power of money, extremely 
low. The Wortham cook had only ■£'^ a year with her 
board, and the gardener £16 without board. Indoor 
servants then slept, as George Betts' accounts show, 
between sheets made of hemp cloth. 

Life was what we of an ease-loving century would call 
hard ; even the weather showed no mercy, and winter 
was winter with a vengeance. George Betts' diary for 
15th January 1786 tells of the Wortham chaise, with his 
wife and sister inside, becoming so deeply embedded in a 
snow drift as to require the efforts of three men and a boy 
to dig it out. 

The diary soon after records the death of a favourite. 
" My cropt horse died this year after fourteen years 
service." Mercifully the cruel fashion of cropping horses' 
ears is now past memory. 




IT is hardly possible to review the life of George 
Betts — a clergyman of the Church of England — 
and yet to ignore the state of that Church, prior 
to the great religious revival of which he was an 

It is generally believed that the eighteenth century 
was a period in our history which, according to one writer 
the Rev. W. H. Fitchett, was " exhausted of living 
religion, and black with every kind of wickedness." This 
may be true of the main stream of life ; but there were 
backwaters, such as the quiet village of Wortham, where 
men and women were unostentatiously striving to raise 
the standard of living and encourage purity of ideals. 
That it was a coarse age cannot be denied ; and no doubt 
gentlemen, some parsons among them like one specimen 
we have seen, drank to excess, and gross jests and anecdotes 
may have raised many a rough laugh ; yet, judging by the 
light of the Betts papers, country gentlemen and clergy 
did their duty to the best of their ability, loved truth and 
honour, and acted justly by their neighbours. 

Among other agencies for good, in which the Betts 


family took their part, were three great societies : " the 
Society for Distributing (iood Books among the Poor " 
(now known as the S.P.C.K.), the original proposals of 
which, dated 1698, were among the Wortham papers ; the 
" Society for the Propagation of the Gospel " ; and the 
now forgotten " Society for the Reformation of Manners." 
George Betts, following the example of his grandfather 
Dr Shuckford, belonged to all these Societies. The Rev. 
George Doughty, contemporary with Dr Shuckford, and 
an ancestor of a later generation of Betts, was also among 
the most enthusiastic and early supporters of the S.P.C.K. 
A great advocate for the spread of education, George 
Doughty founded before 171 2, and himself supported a 
village school in his parish of Martlesham. He also, to- 
gether with three likeminded friends, made a joint -sub- 
scription to the S.P.C.K., and they formed themselves 
into a local committee for distributing the books procured 
from the Society. George Doughty's letters to the 
S.P.C.K., written during the years 1712 to 1721, have 
been preserved in his family. 

The original proposals for founding the " Society for 
the Reformation of Manners ' ' were also at Wortham. 
They are dated 1694 ; and in them the founders mourn- 
fully complain " that our light looks like the evening of 
the world " — a cry which has often since been repeated, 
and which will be repeated while the world endures. 

Preaching nearly a hundred years later to a still more 
disobedient and gainsaying generation, John Wesley 
too, felt assured that the end could not be far. Mrs 
Edmund Betts made a memorandum in her pocket- 
book of a sermon of his which had evidently deeply im- 
pressed her. " Mr John Wesley," she wrote, " preached 



in the Parish Church of Bradford in Wiltshire on Sunday 
4th of May 1788. His text was : * the end of all things is 
at hand, be sober and watch unto prayer.' In his sermon, 
he assured the audience that the world would be at an 
end in the year 1856 ; but he said a new world would 
succeed to the old one, far better and infinitely more en- 
lightened than the present, in which there would be no 
false teachers, no sly hypocrites, but universal holiness 
and angelic purity." 

Poor Martha Betts ! The end, not of the world, but of 
her happy married life, was at hand. In September 1788, 
her husband died at the age of 69. 

Edmund Betts was buried in a vault he had himself 
made in the chancel of Oakley Church, beside his iirst 
wife Sarah Cooke, and his brother-in-law the erratic 
Thomas D'Eye. The slabs which marked their resting- 
place have since been removed by some rector ignorant 
and careless of the past, and placed outside the east end of 
the Church, where rain and weather have nearly obliterated 
the arms and inscriptions. " My Mother gave me five 
guineas to pay for a suit of mourning " is the only 
allusion to his uncle's death in George Betts' diary. 

Public events were now exciting a great deal of 
attention. The unrest in France was the chief talk of 
the day ; and at the fall of the Bastille in July 1789, there 
were great rejoicings in Norwich. At the beginning of 
next year, however, attention was diverted from foreign 
affairs by the approach of the general election. George 
Betts took an active part in this election, and kept all the 
newspaper accounts of it. 

The Parliamentary candidates for the two Suffolk seats 
were, on the Tory side Sir John Rous the old member. 


and Sir Charles Bunbury ; on the Whig side Sir Gerard 
Vanneck late member for Dmiwich. 

The election was fought on the repeal of the Test and 
Corporation Acts, which had originally, in the reign of 
Charles II., been designed to prevent Roman Catholics 
holding office mider the Cro^^'n. In 1790, all danger from 
the Roman Catholic party had long ceased ; and the acts 
pressed heavily on the Protestant Dissenter, who could hold 
no government office of profit or trust, civil or military, 
without producing a certificate that he had received the 
sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England, 
within three months after his appointment. 

The Tories, at this election, raised the cry " the Church 
is in danger " ; while the Whigs professed to regard the 
sacramental test as an offence, not only to Nonconformists, 
but also to pious Churchmen both clergy and laity. 

The candidates' political opinions were derided some- 
what profanely by a parody of the Athenasian Creed : — 
" Sir John is a Pittite, and Sir Charles is a Foxite, and 
tho' of different political interests they are one body. Sir 
Charles is a Foxite and Sir Gerard is a Foxite, Yet they 
are not of one mind, etc." This, being interpreted, meant 
that Sir John Rous and Sir Charles Bunbury, though 
hitherto belonging to different parties, were on this 
occasion united for the purpose of opposing the repeal 
of the Test and Corporation Acts ; while Sir Gerard 
Vanneck was in favour of the repeal. Bitter was the 
newspaper controversy, and personalities were rife. 

Sir John Rous, termed by the Whigs Sir John Weather- 
cock, was addressed thus : " When you were first chosen, 
knowing your breed, and the man that broke you in, we 
took you for a staunch young Tory ; but when you put up 


the game of America to our utter surprise we found you a 
Whig. What we therefore now wish to be told is, how 
long your present Toryism will last ? Whether your 
political fits be regular in their accesses, and your 
blowing hot and cold be periodic like the trade winds ? " 
" The father of Sir J. R.," runs another paragraph, " was 
at Southwold in company with Col. Boyde, a rebel in the 
year '45 ; and when inspired by the rosy god, they drank 
their sentiments freely to ' Charley over the Water,' and in 
their madness enforced some Custom House officers to do 
the same, and iU-treated those who refused to comply," 

The Tories retorted to these personalities by some 
doggerel lines on Sir Gerard, the Whig candidate : — 

" Let Mynheer Vanneck go to his Dutchmen, 
We have better members here ; 
Men of Suffolk don't want such men, 
For Rous and Bunbury cheer, boys, cheer." 

Sir Gerard Vanneck's parliamentary silence was also a 
matter of reproach ; he is represented as thus addressing 
his constituents : — 

" For twenty long years I have been independent, 
In the Senate a silent and constant attendant, 
If to me for such service your votes you accord, 
I shall first be your member, and then be a lord." ^ 

George Betts, a personal friend of Sir John Rous as 
well as an ardent Tory, was one of the first to join the 
Hartismere Committee for convassing the county in his 
support. > 

^ Sir Gerard died in 1791, and was succeeded by his brother Sir 
Joshua, who in 1796 was created a peer of Ireland by the title of 
Baron Huntingfield. 


George's family was now rapidly increasing ; since his 
father-in-law's death in 1788, three more children had 
been added to the nursery : Harriet born in 1787 ; 
Thomas D'Eye named after his eccentric great-micle, 
bom two years later ; and in the year of the election 
another daughter, Sophia. 

A year after her husband's death, Mrs Edmund Betts 
had married Thomas Wayth of Eye, a widower with two 
children. She was fifty-nine, and though it was not the 
fashion in the family to waste time in vain regrets, it is to 
be observed that George did not again allude to her in his 
diary as " my mother." 

In 179 1, Mary Anne Betts aged seven and Edm.und her 
six-year-old brother were both sent to Mr Rogers'.boarding- 
school at Walsham, while George, who had been there since 
he was five years old, was promoted to Mr Francis' school 
at Ditchingham. " Poor Patty," the eldest of the Wor- 
tham family, died in 1791 ; Betsy the next girl was too 
delicate for school, and was taught b}^ a resident governess 
Miss Dickens. 

Her father's accounts show the purchase of many books 
for Betsy, especially those of the poetess Mrs Barbauld, 
who kept a school in the neighbouring parish of Palgrave. 
Children's books were becoming so plentiful that the great 
educational authority of the time, Mrs Hannah More, 
gave it as her opinion that such books had a tendency " to 
arrest the understanding and prolong the imbecility of 
childhood." Could she see the books, too many and too 
artistically illustrated, which educationists of the present 
day put into the hands of our elementary school children, 
would she not say that learning is made too easy now ? 

Girls who held themselves badly, no matter from what 


cause, were then subjected to such drastic remedies as 
steel backs and steel collars. " Riding the double horse " 
was another and more pleasant remedy. This was tried 
for delicate little Betsy, for whom her father now bought 
what he describes as a " man-pillion." 

The Wortham household, far in advance of their times, 
possessed an umbrella, the mending of which cost nine 
shillings. Umbrellas were then not ordinary things ; one 
would perhaps be kept at an inn or a coffee-house, and 
let out, to shelter customers on their way home, much 
as a coach or a chair would be ; but few men save the 
" macaronis " cared to be seen with such an effeminate 
article in their hands. 

In December 1792, there is this significant entry in 
George Betts' diary : "At Eye meeting of Hoxne and 
Hartismere Himdreds, to form a branch of the Loyal 
Association against levellers and republicans, and abettors 
of the designs of France against this country." Thomas 
Wayth was secretary for the Hoxne and Hartismere 
branch of the Association. 

Soon after, the Botesdale book club received from the 
head-quarters of the Association, a remonstrance for 
including among its hst of books " The Rights of Man " 
— a notorious production of Tom Paine, the son of a 
Quaker staymaker of Thetford, and who for a short time 
had carried on his father's business at Diss. 

Ten years before, while Paine was fighting in America 

both with pen and sword against England, a valentine had 

been addressed by a local admirer to Miss Anne Betts, 

which shows that Paine even then bore no good reputation. 

" You I love my dearest Life 

More than gracious George his wife. 


More than Hardingham a flower. 
More than Gay a midnight hour, 
More than Chambers loves a Rout, 
More than Paine a drinking Bout." 

On his return from America, Tom Paine had been forced 
b}' a charge of treason to fly to France ; and from under 
the red flag of the Revolution, had the audacity to write 
to the Attorney-General who had ordered his arrest, that 
he and " Mr. Guelph might take warning from the example 
made of such people in France." Paine was called " a 
mad dog," and his writings were turned into ridicule ; 
but for all that, they were, if not dangerous, certainly 

There were riots so near to Wortham as Diss ; and in 
many other places grave fears were entertained for the 
internal peace of England ; not without reason, for the 
" Revolutionary Society of London " actually sent a 
congratulatory address to the French revolutionists in 

Among the many MS. skits on the English friends of the 
Revolution, preserved at Wortham, is the following : — 

"To THE Master of the London Tavern 

A Dinner prepare for my good friends and me, 

The tenth of next August precisely at three. 

Fox, Sheridan, Lambton, and Whitbread, and Grev 

Send cards to invite — my call they'll obey. 

Lords Lansdowne and Wycombe, and Brissott's good friend, 

Our feast of pure virtue, well pleased, will attend. 

Fair Bouverie ^ and Di - may be sure of a place. 

Nor will Dr. Priestly, dislike to say grace. 

' The Hon Bouverie. - Her sister. 


Let Lange ^ be our cook, and delicious the meat 
Which the sons of French freedom will greedily eat. 
Human blood be the soup, the Remove do ye hear, 
In sorrell well dressed, the proud heart of a peer. 
If bishops have brains, and enough you can get, 
Send them up before dinner, they'll serve for a whet. 
The head of a Dutchess,- if cut off with care, 
Baked with orange in mouth, is republican fare. 
The tongues of Burke, Windham, and Pitt you may stew ; 
They're already too sharp, without sauce they will do. 
As your tradesmen are saucy, my sutler proposes 
A good fricasee made of shopkeepers noses. 
The blood of your clergy black puddings mil make. 
And a King spHt and broiled a most excellent steak. 
Burnt bones of young princes, just after we dine. 
Will serve for a devil to relish our wine. 
Feb. 1793. DuMOURiER." 

England was filled with French refugees, especially 
East Anglia. In 1791, Prince Louis Philippe and his 
sister Princess Adelaide D 'Orleans took refuge in Bury 
St. Edmunds, under the charge of Madame de Genlis, in 
an old house adjoining the Angel Inn. 

The immense sum, raised by voluntary contributions, 
for the support of the many thousands driven destitute 
from their native country, threatened after some months 
to become exhausted ; and, preaching at Bressingham, 
George Betts made an appeal, not only for contributions, 
but also to the loyalty of his congregation. 

" We see," said he, " a neighbouring nation who have 
thrown off all submission to subordination, decency and 
order ; their King and Queen deliberately and most in- 

^ A famous cook at the London Tavern. 
^ The Duchess of Rutland. 


humanely murdered ; their Church plundered ; their 
nobles exiled ; and the whole Kingdom plunged into the 
deepest anarchy and distress. We see them, endeavour- 
ing by every method in their power, to carry the same 
disorder and to create the same confusion in every other 
nation, which they have brought upon their own. All is 
now at stake ; the fate of society depends upon our con- 
duct. Our sensibility must now be roused. Our highest 
duty and our dearest interests call upon us, to guard with 
the most watchful attention, against the introduction of 
French principles and French barbarities." 




FORTUNATE were those who Hved by a navig- 
able river in the days before railways. Charges 
for carriage by road were excessive, and a 
heavy item of the country gentleman's expendi- 
ture was cartage of such necessaries as wine and salt. 

George Betts' diaiy shows how neighbours then clubbed 
their orders together, to minimise the charge for carriage. 
A pipe of wine is shared between the Wortham household 
and Mr Edward Frere of Roydon. A large supply of 
salt, the price of which the exorbitant duty had raised to 
seven shillings the pound, is purchased by George, to be 
divided later between three neighbouring houses. Com- 
missions for friends are undertaken by him when going to 
London, such as " cloth for waistcoats for Merest and 
self." Mr Merest was the curate in charge of Wortham, 
and a great friend. ^ 

It was then the practice for the customer to supply the 
cloth to be made up by the tailor. A " le\'ity " in one of 
George Betts' pocket-books, relates how a tailor, who had 
long been in the habit of making free with his customers' 
stuff, was seized with illness, and thinking his end was 

1 The Rev. H. Patteson was the Rector. 



near, sent for his foreman, to whom he expressed his deep 
repentance for his dishonesty. " Last night," he said, 
" I saw all the different coloured cloths, which I have 
clandestinely taken, pass before my eyes, my crime stares 
me continually in the face." The penitent however re- 
covered and returned to his work. His foreman, seeing 
him again at his old dishonest tricks, reminded him of his 
former confession, and of how the different coloured cloths 
had appeared to him on his sick bed. " True," replied the 
tailor, " but there was not one of this colour to be seen 
there," and with that comfortable reflection, he cut off 
a large piece of his customer's cloth, and deposited it in a 
place which generally went by the name of " hell." 

In 1795, the smallpox again visited Wortham, and three 
of the servants were inoculated, as well as the five youngest 
children, Harriet, Tom, Sophia, Sarah, and James. 

This year was one of almost famine, for after the murder 
of the French Royal Family, England had drifted into a 
war with France, which curtailed supplies from abroad. 
Corn was indeed so scarce, that government stepped in 
and prohibited the use of wheat flour in starch ; allowed 
bakers to mix an inferior grain with wheat flour ; forbade 
export ; and encouraged import, duty free, of all sorts of 
food. Eight shillings a week — all that farm labourers 
then received— was quite inadequate for the necessaries of 
life, and the parish workhouse was full to overflowing. 
" Gave ten and sixpence to the poor at the Work House 
who had nothing to eat," wrote George Betts on one of his 
weekly visits there. 

In the summer holidays of 1795, George took his two 
eldest sons George and Edmund, " to see the troops " 
— volunteers, who had lately enrolled themselves — " for 


the internal defence of Suffolk." Holidays over, the two 
boys went to Dr Grimwood's school at Dedham. 

September nth was a sad day at Wortham. George 
Betts wrote in his diary : " About eleven o'clock this 
morning, Dr. and Mrs. Grimwood came, and brought word 
that our dear boy George was drowned yesterday after- 
noon in the river at Dedham." The poor boy had been 
drowned while bathing, and the unscientific methods 
for his recovery " used for upwards of an hour " were of 
no avail. Artificial respiration was not then known, 
and the usual procedure was, that those apparently 
drowned were " stripped and well rolled about before a 
good fire, and afterwards thoroughly rubbed with salt and 
covered therewith." 

The funeral took place at Dedham ; the boy's father, 
Mr Wayth, and Mr Merest were present. The poor 
mother, doubly bereaved, for she had lately lost her newly 
bom baby, was not strong enough for the journey. 

Mrs Seymour Leeke owned the advowson of Over- 
strand, which she had inherited from her mother Mrs Rant, 
and this living being now vacant, she gave it to her cousin 
George Betts. 

While at Norv\dch, where he had gone " to take the oaths 
to qualify for Overstrand living," he visited the Castle, 
now a museum, but then a prison echoing to the ineffectual 
sighs of miserable debtors. A present " to a poor man 
who had been confined in Norwich Castle a twelve month 
for a debt of four pound seven shillings " is entered in the 

That year, the local meeting of the Loyal Association 
had to be deferred, on accoxmt of the Eye election. The 
members returned were Mr Singleton and Admiral 



Cornwallis, brother of Lord Cornwallis who had lately- 
been made a marquis for his services in India. " Blue 
Billy," and " Billy go tight," were the playful nicknames 
bestowed on the Admiral in the navy ; he was a friend of 
Nelson, and himself a most distinguished officer. " The 
Admiral," wrote his brother the marquis, " got very 
drunk at the election, and the next day insisted on my 
steward taking ;^5oo towards defraying the election. . . . 
No youth of one and twenty was ever more pleased at 
coming into Parliament." 

At a ball given by the newly elected members at Eye, 
Mrs Betts' nephew John Worth lieutenant R.N. made 
one of the party from Wortham. Two other sailors be- 
longed to the neighbourhood. Captain Wilson of Redgrave, 
and Captain Cunningham. 

On 27th October 1797, George Betts " rode to Oakley 
and Hoxne, and took the oaths of a Justice of the Peace 
before Mr Maynard." Justices had then power to transact 
much business in their own houses. George became an 
assiduous magistrate, and was a man of much usefulness 
to his neighbours for many years. 

In June 1798, George lost his invalid daughter, " dear 
Betsy." A letter written by an old friend, Mr, after- 
wards Sir Thomas Beevor, shows how great had been 
her sufferings : — "I can scarce condole with you on your 
late loss, as knowing the melancholy state your poor 
little girl has so long laid in, I am certain both you and 
Mrs Betts must find consolation that she is released from 
her misery." 

In July, the diary records : paid " armorial bearings 
certificate £1, i. o. New assessed taxes . . . deduct 
for 7 children £5. 5. o." 


An entry made about this time illustrates the working 
of the unpopular Test Acts. George received in his 
capacity as a clergyman, " one shilling from Mr. Wayth 
for certificate of receiving the sacrament." Mr Wayth 
had lately become town clerk of Eye for which this quali- 
fication was required. 

In the spring of 1798, George had attended " a meet- 
ing at Stowmarket called by Lord Euston, (the Lord 
Lieutenant) to consider a plan proposed by government, 
for calling forth the power of the county in case of in- 
vasion." Orders from headquarters, a copy of which was 
found at Wortham, were circulated, commanding a 
watch to be kept for the enemy's fleet in every parish on 
the eastern coast. If sighted, a red flag was to be dis- 
played on the church tower, and the beUs were to be in- 
stantly pealed. Every o^vner of waggons and horses 
within sight and hearing, was ordered to drive them 
immediately to a specified place, for transport of troops. 

This was the year of the Irish rebellion, when the French, 
invited to co-operate with the insurgents against England, 
had succeeded in landing an army in Killala Bay, in 
spite of the efforts of Lord Comwalhs, then Lord-Lieutenant 
of Ireland. Public contributions were organised, and 
largely subscribed in Bressingham and Roydon, both 
curacies of George Betts. 

In London, the Lord Mayor accompanied by a numerous 
body of respectable merchants, bankers, and others, 
appeared on a temporary hustings in the Royal Exchange, 
to invite contributions for the service of the country. 

Altogether two millions were voluntarily subscribed. 

In the spring of 1799, news reached Wortham that 
John Worth, then serving as second lieutenant of 


H.M.S. Dcedalus, had been court-martialled for insub- 
ordination in Table Bay, The Dcedalus was one of a 
squadron, then under the command of Commodore Losack, 
at the Cape of Good Hope. The Wortham copy of the 
minutes of the court-martial states, that Captain Ball of 
the Dcedalus had accused Lieutenant Worth " of speak- 
ing a falsity " before the ship's company, with regard to 
the quantity of wine supplied to the sick and wounded. 
Losing his temper, John Worth replied that the Captain's 
conduct was unlike that of a gentleman and the captain 
of a man-of-war. The words were spoken on the quarter- 
deck, in the hearing of two French prisoners, " the first 
and second captains " of a prize they had captured. 
Five captains, Charles Boyle, Samuel Hood Linzee, 
William Hotham, Thomas Alexander, and William 
Granger, sat on the court - martial, and sentenced 
Lieutenant Worth to be instantly dismissed His Majesty's 

Acting perhaps on a friendly hint, John Worth ap- 
pealed to the King, and before the year was out, he was 
restored to the list of lieutenants. 

In December, George and Mary Betts' fifteenth child 
was born. In memory of the boy they still mourned, his 
parents named him George. 

Two cases which came before Justice Betts, soon after 
his appointment to the bench, illustrate conditions which 
have now passed away. 

The first was that of one Sarah Boyce of Botesdale,. 
who demanded maintenance from her parish. Parishes 
were obliged to maintain the families of militiamen, 
and her husband was serving in the Suffolk militia. 
Militiamen were taken by ballot. Affixed to the churck 


doors were the names of men liable to serve, and there 
would the anxious women crowd, fearing to see the fateful 
number against the name of their own particular man. 

The other case appears thus in the diary : " Gave a 
poor woman two and sixpence, whom I had sent to 
Botesdale Bridewell till she could be removed into 
Northumberland with a pass." Mrs George Betts' great- 
great-grandfather, Thomas Deye, had granted just such 
a pass to a pauper in 1693. The old document, which 
bears his signature and that of the other sitting justice, 
Sir John Castleton, was found among the pages of 
George Betts' Magistrate's book, to be made use of 
probably as a precedent. Since 1693, the law had been 
but slightly modified ; paupers were now allowed to 
settle in a new parish, on producing certificates from 
the churchwardens and overseers of their original place of 
settlement, but this indulgence was only for those capable 
of work. 

On April 2nd 1800, an incident occurring in Wortham 
brings vividly before us the savage terrorism of the 
English law, which magistrates, however mercifully dis- 
posed, were still bound to administer. 

One John Styles of Wortham yeoman, had sent his 
sheep to graze on Wortham Ling. In the evening when 
the shepherd, or day man as he is called in the deposition, 
went to look for his master's flock, he was told that two 
boys, William Flatman of Wortham and John Waters of 
Roydon, had been seen to carry away a new-born lamb 
and were then busy flaying it. The shepherd found the 
carcase of the lamb half flayed covered with flags (turf) ; 
and one of the boys accused the other of having killed it 
with a cudgel, and of having threatened to beat him unless 


he helped to flay it. The enraged fanner brought the 
boys before the nearest magistrates, George Betts and John 
Frere of Roydon, who committed them to prison intending 
that they should be tried at the Ipswich Sessions at the 
end of the month. Neither of the boys were believed to 
be more than ten years old. 

On the 9th April, George Betts received a letter from 
Lord Chedworth, the chairman of the Ipswich quarter- 
sessions, saying that he " apprehended that the Sessions 
had no power to try the offence for which the little boys 
are committed." 

To this George Betts replied : " Mr Frere and I, when 
we committed the two little boys, were fully aware that 
the Sessions seldom if ever took cognizance of offences of 
that nature, but we felt ourselves disagreeably circimi- 
stanced ; we most sincerely wished the farmer had taken 
the law into his own hands and horse-whipped both of 
them severely, but after they were brought before us, 
we thought it impossible for us not to commit them. On 
account of their tender age, and looking upon it rather as 
a boyish freak, although certainly a very bad one (in the 
eye of the law it is a very heinous offence) we were un- 
willing they should lie in gaol till August, before they were 
tried, if it could be avoided, and we therefore bound the 
prosecutor over to the Sessions, at the same time we 
doubted very much whether the Sessions could or would try 
the offence. I intended to take the liberty of calling on 
your Lordship the day before the Sessions, when I should 
have stated the case fairly to you, and advised with you 
how to proceed, and if the matter could not be got rid of 
in any other way to have continued the prosecutor's 
recognizance for his appearance at the assizes." 


Lord Chedworth replied in a long letter, stating that 
he had conferred with three other magistrates, " Mr. 
Dillingham, Col. Stisted, and Mr. Gibson, and that they 
feared it was impossible for a capital offence to be tried at 
the Sessions. " Of your humane inclination towards the 
little culprits," he writes, " I am well assured, I wish it was 
in my power to suggest any mode by which the matter 
could be terminated at the Sessions." 

As a concession to the wishes of Mr Betts and Mr Frere, 
it was eventually agreed that counsel's opinions should be 
taken on the matter, and two barristers were consulted. 
The most lenient view was that of Mr George Wood of the 
Inner Temple, afterwards a Baron of the Exchequer, 
who gave it as his opinion that the only chance for the 
little boys was for the indictment to be in the common 
form of larceny. It was possible, he argued, and he was 
a famous special pleader, that the lamb had been dead 
when the boys carried it away, and that they were 
therefore only guilty of stealing meat of the value of ten 
pence. Otherwise the offence was felony, and could not 
be tried at the Sessions, being punishable with death. 

The fate of the two wretched children is not related, but 
it is probable that they lingered in gaol till the Assizes at 
all events. 

George Betts attended these Assizes, arriving at Bury 
on the ist of August 1800, when he " dined with the 
judges," the Lord Chief Baron Sir Archibald Macdonald 
and the Hon. Sir Beaumont Hotham, and the day 
following with the High Sheriff. 

The second trial of Margaret Catchpole, for escaping 
from Ipswich gaol, was held at these same Assizes. Her 
romantic history was written at Wortham Rectory by 


a later rector, the Rev. Richard Cobbold. The trial 
was before Cobbold's time, and the vivid picture he gives 
of it may very likely have been supplied in after years by 
his old friend George Betts. Cobbold writes of the 
Sheriff's pomp and state, as something approaching to 
regal splendour — indeed, the gaudy liveries, the gilded 
carriage, and all the attendant expenses made it a 
heavy burden on the unfortunate country gentleman 
appointed to the office. The despair of the wretched 
prisoners is contrasted with the rejoicings of the townsmen ; 
the bells ringing ; the scarlet-robed white-wigged judges 
attended by the Sheriff's javelin men ; and the Mayor and 
aldermen, clad in civic robes, with gilt chains and silver 
maces. George Betts could describe it all to him, for he 
was among the magistrates sitting by the side of the Sheriff 
and judges during the trial. 

In the spring of 1800, George had attended a coimty 
meeting at Stowmarket " to address the King on the 
scarcity of provisions." England then stood alone 
against France, and in consequence the price of grain 
was enormous. 

The Wortham farm accounts show the state of the 
market. In May, George sold ten coombs of wheat to the 
parish at £3, 4s. the coomb ; this was at a reduction on 
the market price, for which he was later compensated by 
the overseers. 

But whatever the market price, farm labourers, accord- 
ing to custom, bought wheat from their masters at a 
specified rate. Thus, when it was up to nearly four pounds, 
George Betts supplied his men at one pound four shillings 
the coomb. A like arrangement applied to other pro- 
visions, as is shown by an agreement made between Mr 


Belts and one William Catton, his " farming man," in 
March 1800. 

"He is to have wages twelve shillings a week. His 
wheat at one pound four shillings per coomb. His pork 
at four shillings and six pence a stone. His house rent 
and firing. If any butter to spare, he is to be allowed i lb. 
a week at nine pence per pound. He is to board a boy 
at four shillings a week." William Catton, who seems 
to have been engaged as, what would now be termed a 
working bailiff, was kiUed by a faU from a waggon ; a 
man named Eastgate took his place, and the same terms 
held good with him, with the addition of two guineas a 
year to Eastgate's wife to pay half her servant girl's 

The Suffolk county meeting on the subject of the dearth 
of bread, and other like meetings throughout England, 
brought about an Act of Parliament prohibiting the sale 
of bread until twenty-four hours after it was baked. 
This was followed by a Royal Proclamation of which a 
copy remained at Wortham. The proclamation re- 
commended the greatest frugality in the use of all species 
of grain, and exhorted all heads of families to reduce the 
household consumption of bread by one-third of that 
consumed in ordinary times. One quartern loaf was to be 
allowed to each person for the week, and no flour was to be 
used in any cooking other than bread. 

In February 1801, a special sessions of magistrates, 
which George Betts attended, was held at the " King's 
Head " Diss, for putting in execution " an Act for making 
better provision for the poor, and for diminishing the 
consumption of bread com." 

The contemporary newspapers found at Wortham, 


are filled with recipes for making potato bread, potato 
jellies, puddings, and flour, which it was said would keep 
for years. Horses, cows, and pigs were to be put on the 
same diet as their masters. A satirical bard of 1800 
recommends his fellow countrymen to — 

" Boil some potatoes nice and pappy ; 
Your nags will all be mighty happy, 
When first they taste such dainty food, 
So savoury, relishing and good. 
You'll soon rejoice, and well you may 
In the vast saving of your hay." 

With the price of provisions so high, and the poison of 
the French Revolution still working in England ; it is 
no wonder that a spirit of sedition was spreading. This is 
shown in some letters preserved at Wortham. 

A militiaman of the Northumberland regiment, on his 
way to see his wife's relations in Wortham, encountered 
the Rev. Daniel Phillips, who incautiously asked him 
the price of bread in his part of the country. The soldier 
answered that his part of the country would soon be up ; 
and that, if the militia were called out, they would not 
fire or endeavour to suppress any tumult ; that some 
great people had been long enough in power, and that 
their heads, and many of the farmers', would be taken off. 

This conversation being reported to Lord Charles 
Fitzroy, the general commanding the Eastern district, a 
search party was instantly sent to Wortham ; the sergeant 
in charge bringing a letter from his superior officer. Lord 
Euston the general's brother, asking Mr Betts for in- 
formation and help in securing the rebel. The man could 
not be identified, and so escaped. This was on the ist 
July, 1801. 


On the 30th July 1801, George Betts paid four guineas 
for a coomb of wheat. 

Surely the widespread trouble and distress revealed by 
the diary of this simple country gentleman should be a 
grave warning to us. When, at the end of the eighteenth 
century, the war with France broke out, Britannia did 
rule the waves ; we were stronger at sea than all the 
nations of the world put together ; the population was 
not more than one-fifth of what it is now, we grew 
actually more wheat then than now, and less than one-sixth 
of the corn and flour now required had to be imported ; 
yet war risks sent freights up, with such effect on prices, 
and such resulting distress as we have seen. 

At the present time, the sea power of one great European 
nation is nearly equal to our own. In the event of our 
having to defend ourselves against an enemy or a com- 
bination of enemies of nearly equal, equal, or superior 
force to our own, to what figure might not freights be 
driven up, and to what the price of the staff of life — bread ? 

Moreover, in the time of George Betts, very little raw 
material was imported from abroad, to be manufactured in 
this coimtry. Now such manufactures are among our 
greatest industries, and they afford the sole means of 
support to millions. Under war conditions, with war 
perhaps at our doors, freight of raw material would pro- 
bably reach a prohibitive point ; which would mean the 
shutting down of mills, and a total loss of wages to the 

With bread at famine prices, and our great hives of 
industry with no work to do, what would be the attitude of 
the masses — the great majority — of the people of England ? 
Would not submission be forced upon our government 


(of whatever party it might be) — submission to terms of 
peace disastrous certainly to our future prosperity, pro- 
bably to our imperial rule, even possibly to our very in- 
dependence as a nation. Can any self-denial be too hard, 
any sacrifice too great, if by adequate preparation, we can 
safeguard ourselves against so awful a catastrophe ? 




IN 1801, a notable change in agriculture took place, 
the introduction of machinery. That year, " a 
chaff cutting engine " made by one Burrell of 
Thetford, was purchased for use on the Wortham 
home farm. 

Edmimd, now the eldest surviving son of George and 
Mary Betts, left Dedham school in that year for a private 
tutor, a certain Mr Cobbold of Coddenham. He was 
nearly eighteen ; and his father's frequent presents of 
stocks, coats, hats, breeches, etc., suggest the curled, 
scented, tight-waisted exquisite of that day, the immediate 
successor of the absurd macaroni. Edmund had been 
somewhat wild and extravagant, and left debts at 
Dedham which his father paid. Mr Hasell in a letter to 
George Betts of this year's date, says, " I rejoice that 
Edmund has seen the errors of youth, and is in a way to 
administer comfort and not pain to two kind parents," 

The comfort came in a good hour, for the year was one 
of sorrow. On February the 3rd, George Betts enters in 
his diary, " my little boy George died at Oakley a little 
before twelve at night." Mrs Wayth had been ill for 
some time, and it would seem that Mary Betts had gone to 


" the White House " at Oakley to nurse her mother, and 
had taken with her the three-year-old George. 

This affliction was soon after followed by the death of 
Mrs Wayth ; she was buried in Oakley Church beside her 
first husband Edmund Betts. By her will, she left her 
Hoxne estate, inherited from her brother Thomas D'Eye, 
to her grandson John Worth ; her Scole estate and £500 
to her husband Thomas Wayth, £200 to Anne Betts ; 
and all the residue of her real and personal estate to her 
daughter Mary, wife of George Betts ; John Worth her 
grandson, to take plate, furniture, linen, and china, to the 
value of one hundred pounds. By three codicils she 
disposed of the furniture of the " best parlour " and the 
" keeping parlour." Her diamond bracelets and other 
trinkets went to Mary Betts, together with " the pictures 
of her father and Mrs Worth," and several articles of plate, 
among which were two silver boxes 2 inches in height 
and 3|- inches in diameter. These little cylindrical boxes 
dated 1677 were, in 1906, sold at Christie's for £300. 
They had originally belonged to Martha Cropley, wife of 
that William CuUum whose curious wager has already been 
recounted, and for sole ornament were engraved with the 
arms of her family. Eighty-four years later. Miss Kate 
Betts, Martha Cropley's direct descendant, wrote to 
Mr Manning, rector of Diss, a well-known antiquary, in- 
quiring about the arms on these boxes. Mr Manning in 
his answer said : "I find that the arms are those of the 
family of Cropley of Shelland, Suffolk, now represented by 
the Harbords, Lords Suffield." This letter was found in- 
side one of the silver boxes when they were on view at 

A portrait of WiUiam Cullum's great grandfather now 

"non sine quare" 


came into possession of the Betts family. The Cullmn 
estate of " Shorts " in Thomdon had been then lately 
sold, and the old books and furniture dispersed or de- 
stroyed ; but Martha Betts loved the old things, and 
out of one of the condemned books she rescued a couple 
of ancient soldered headed pins, and inserted them in a 
piece of paper, wTiting on it the following explanation : — 

" These pins were taken out of a Book that came from 
' Shorts ' in Thomdon Nov^^' 23*^- 1787 ; they were then 
a himdred and 50 years old, and the Book belonged to the 
Cullum who^- picture I have in our Great Parlour. The Book 
is burnt, he was my Great Grand Grand Father's Father." 

After his mother-in-law's death, George Betts took his 
family to Overstrand, of which he was now rector, and 
there subscribed " two guineas to the life boat." This 
was twenty-four years before the founding of the Royal 
Life Boat Institution. 

In the summer of 18 01 George Betts, who had taken his 
degree as LL.B., was installed a Prebendary of Lichfield, 
through the good offices of James Cornwallis, Bishop of 
Lichfield and Coventry, nephew of the late Archbishop 
and brother of Lord Cornwallis of Brome. 

On his return from Lichfield, George hurried to Norwich 
to the deathbed of Mrs Mary Betts, his last surviving 
aunt. She died in her 8ist year, and appears to have been 
hale and hearty up to within a few weeks of her death. 
In George's diary we read of her making a long visit to 
Wortham, and with her nephew, nieces, and all the 
children spending a day on Scole Common to see the 
Hartismere volunteers, and coming back in the evening 
to a late dinner ; this during the last year of her life. 


Then, her nieces, Mary and Anne Betts, and later, George, 
went to stay with her at Norwich, where she took them to 
the play and to the gardens to see a cock-fight ! Aunt 
Mary did many commissions for her nephew's family. 
To her, George's wife sent her wedding ring, grown tight 
after twenty-four years service, to be enlarged by a 
Norwich jeweller ; and it was she who chose the cloth 
for little Tom's clothes, when he went to school with Mr 
Careless at Felsted. Her house was always open to the 
Wortham family, and there her nephew stayed, when- 
ever business with his friend and solicitor, Mr, afterwards 
Sir William, Foster called him to Norwich. Aunt Mary 
was a link with the past who could ill be spared. 

This year, Mrs Betts took her second daughter Harriet 
to Miss Wingfield's school at Dereham ; and she " carried " 
her two youngest girls " to Miss Routhe's school at Brooke." 

Before the shooting season of 1801, George Betts pro- 
cured game certificates for Admiral Wilson and himself, 
from Mr Hasell in Ipswich, who wrote with them in 
friendly wise : " Enclosed are the game certificates, and I 
wish you and your neighbours good diversion in the field, 
and a capacious shoulder of mutton after it." 

A wager, made at Redgrave, is thus recorded in the 
diary : " 3rd. August 1802 Admiral Wilson laid Mr. Moore 
two guineas, that if he met twelve people at Sir H. Parker's ^ 
on Wednesday the 4th, two of them would never have 
seen a melon cut cross wise. If he met six and under 
twelve, he betted one guinea that not one of them had 
seen it." Whether or no Mr Moore won his wager, 
during his visit to Melford Hall, is not stated. 

^ Sir Harry Parker was High Sheriff of Suffolk for that year and the 


That year, Captain John Worth married Miss Catherine 
Sinclair, and brought his bride home to Oakley. 

The short-lived peace of Amiens, of which " every 
body was glad and nobody proud," came to an end 
in May 1803. The event had been expected, and the 
price of wheat had risen accordingly. The Wortham 
copy of the London Evening Post for the 3rd of the 
preceding August, states that the " Lord Mayor then 
ordered the price of bread to be raised half an assize, 
thus the quartern loaf was to be sold at tenpence 

In the face of renewed war, the supplementary militia 
was again embodied, Ned one of the Betts postillions, 
being drawn for Wortham. 

George's diary for August of that year records that he 
" went with Admiral Wilson to consult with Lord Corn- 
wallis at Culford," with the result, that a meeting was 
caEed at Eye for the Hundred of Hartismere. At the 
meeting a subscription was made for the defence of the 
country. Admiral Wilson was elected inspector ; and Mr 
Betts, who subscribed twenty-one guineas, was treasurer. 
Besides this, the thirty-one parishes of the Hundred raised 
a fund of £838, 3s. for the clothing of volunteers, to 
which the Betts family gave twenty-six guineas. Once 
again East Anglians lived in dread of the hourly expected 

Bonaparte had already seized Hanover, and in arrogant 
anticipation of his conquest of Britain, prepared a medal 
engraved, " Descent upon England, struck at London 
in 1804." In answer to which boast the following 
epigram was published in the Bury Gazette and copied 
by George Betts : — 


" Says Boney to Johnny, I'll soon be at Dover ; 
Says Johnny to Boney, that's doubted by some : 
Says Boney, but what if I really come over ? 
Says Johnny, then really you'll be overcome." 

Lieutenant William Frere, with the help of his neigh- 
bours, raised tv^^o companies of light infantry known as 
the Hartismere rangers, drawn from volunteers in the 
coimty between Bacton and Wortham. All classes were 
arming themselves, irrespective of age or calling. The 
Rev. George Betts for the defence of his family laid in 
a stock of " cartridges for my blunderbuss," and pur- 
chased besides a double-barrelled gun for the sum of six 
guineas. Before the end of the year, Edmund Betts 
the eldest son entered the East Suffolk militia. His father 
took him to Ipswich where the regiment was stationed, to 
furnish his rooms. Among his ensign's equipment, " a 
sword, gorget, and sash " were bought for thirteen pounds. 

The war scare continued ; and early in January 1804, 
special constables for every parish in Hartismere were 
sworn in at Wortham Manor, " by John Frere, Thomas 
Jenkinson Woodward Esqrs. and John Dove, and George 
Betts clerks." They were to act " in case of the enemies 
of this country putting to sea, for the purpose of invading 
it, or of actual invasion." 

It was at this time that the first Act of Parliament was 
passed for the making of railways, so-called ; in reality, 
merely tram-limes of wood cased with iron, for use in 
manufacturing districts. The first steam carriage had 
been invented the year before by Richard Trevithick, 
and had lately been exhibited in London, on (very 
appropriately) the site of the now great railway terminus 
of Euston. It is said that the engine under the charge 


of the inventor, on its way to the port where it was to 
be shipped for London, came to a closed toll gate, which 
flew open like lightning. " What have we to pay ? " 
shouted Trevithick to the gatekeeper. The trembling 
man, his teeth chattering in his head, cried in a shaking 
voice : " Nothing to pay my dear Mr. Devil, nothing to 
pay, drive on as fast as you can." 

In July 1804, George Betts bought the manor of 
Wortham Hall, and became lord of lands as freehold, 
which his ancestors had held as copyhold for nearly four 
hundred years. 

In December, Dr Lubbock was summoned from Norwich 
to see little twelve-year-old Sarah ; but his skill was of no 
avail, for on the 4th her father writes : " Dear Sarah died 
this morning at seven o'clock." 

The sad Christmas past, the prospect of the first wedding 
in the family brought renewed brightness to Wortham ; 
and Edmund, now a young captain of twenty-one, intro- 
duced his future bride. Miss Maria Druery of Erpingham. 
To enable his son to marry, George Betts settled on 
him the manors of Overstrand and Cromer Gunners, the 
advowson of the church, and Overstrand Hall and the 
farm belonging to it. On her side, the bride brought into 
settlement a house and small property in Erpingham 
close to Norwich, left to her by her father, Thomas Druery. 

The wedding took place on the 28th of February, when 
George writes : "I married Edmund and Miss Druery 
this morning at Erpingham and returned to Mr. Foster's." 
The Betts family were staying with the Fosters at Norwich 
for the wedding, Mrs Molly being given a new hat for 
the occasion, which cost her husband the then enormous 
price of one pound thirteen shillings. 


At the end of October, came the news of Trafalgar ; 
and in honour of Nelson, England's dead hero, all church- 
bells were tolled for sLx hours. " No work was done, and 
it was very stUl, and you could hear all the bells 
going." A medal of Nelson was this year George Betts' 
Christmas gift to his friend Mr Merest. 

In Norwich, the Mayor's refusal to allow a bonfire in 
the market-place on Thanksgiving night, awoke a storm 
of mdiginaton. Dr Lubbock sent to Wortham some 
printed lines on the subject : — 

" Why has Norwich of joy than most places shewn less ? 
Does she slightingly think of great Nelson victorious ? 
Are her citizens traitors, and rebels inglorious ? 
Do the wretches then pray that their country be cursed, 
With the all-blighting presence of Nappy the first ? " 

Then, in allusion to the former rejoicing in Norwich at 
the fall of the Bastille, the writer continues : — 

" For Frenchmen are not now as twelve years before, 
Marseillais's out of fashion, Ca ira's a bore." 




GEORGE BETTS' diary for 1806 shows him 
again much interested in a contested election, 
this time for the county of Norfolk. The 
Tory candidate the Hon. John Wodehouse, 
was opposed by two well-known Whigs, Mr Coke of 
Holkham, and the Right Hon. William Windham. George, 
as ever, was on the Tory side, and in August " canvassed 
Brissingham for Col. Wodehouse, and was promised thirteen 
votes." A few weeks later, he " paid eighteen pence to 
Mr. Mullinger of Burgate, who had promised me his vote for 
Wodehouse, and had paid one and three pence for letters." 
" Coke of Norfolk," a great agriculturist as well as an 
ardent Whig, was famed for his " progressive beef," and 
for the Southdown sheep which he introduced into East 
Anglia. The Tories, remaining faithful to the old breed, 
railed against " Coke's whiggish sheep, which they said had 
completely spoilt the taste of Norfolk mutton." " Old 
Norfolks will do well enough," they declared, " spite of 
their braggery and puff." To back his political opinions, 
Mr Betts bought a score of sheep of that breed for his 
home farm. 


George did not, like many of his neighbours, manu- 
facture his own wool into cloth, but let his " whiting 
office " used for whitening yam, for the sum of fifteen 
pounds a year. The various hand industries connected 
with wool then gave constant employment to the Wortham 
cottagers. In her school-girl days, Mary Betts had written 
out a list of wool trades carried on by the poor in their 
own homes, the very names of which are now forgotten : — 
" Staplers, dyers, pickers, scourers, scribblers, carders, 
combers, spinners, spoolers, warpers, queelers, weavers, 
fullers, tuckers, burlers, shearmen, pressers, clothiers and 
packers. One after another, tumble, toss, twist, bake, and 
boil the raw material, until they have each extracted a 
livelihood from it." 

In an industry so widespread, fraud in some shape or 
another was sure to occur ; and it is not surprising that 
numerous cases of " false reeling " are entered in George 
Betts' magistrate's book. In 1804, a certain Mary Flatt 
of Wortham, " a putter out of yarn," was found in pos- 
session of a pound of worsted yarn, " reeled contrary to 
the statute made and provided." 

In this book, for the same year, there is a case of 
smuggling, Samuel Linstead of Hoxne being found in 
possession of foreign geneva and shag tobacco without 
being able to produce a warrant for their delivery. But 
the neighbourhood of Wortham was really too far inland 
for smuggling, and this is the one and only case which was 
recorded by George Betts. 

On the 13th of November 1806, George made this 
entry in his diary : " Edmund died about 2 o'clock this 
afternoon." It seems to have been very sudden, as his 
father mentions no previous iUness. He had only 


married the year before, and was not quite twenty- 

The young soldier died at home, and three days after, 
while his body still lay unburied, duty, as he understood 
it, called his father to Norwich. It was the third day of 
the Norfolk election, and " the weather," as George's 
poll book relates, " proved remarkably fine. The Castle 
Hill and all its avenues, the Market place, and the 
principal streets of Norwich, were thronged with the 
cavalcades of voters (preceded by banners and bands of 
music) decorated with the colours of the respective 
candidates." Along the crowded streets, threading his 
way through the excited, uproarious freeholders, who had 
thronged into Norwich in every sort of conveyance from 
many miles round, drove the sad-faced elderly clergyman, 
to record his vote for Wodehouse ; and duty accom- 
phshed, he turned without resting and drove home to 
lay the head of his eldest son in his grave in Wortham 

Maria Betts the young widow, stayed at Wortham for 
a few weeks after her husband's death. She married 
again three years later, another soldier Lieutenant Longe 
of the 7th Light Dragoons. 

In the summer of 1807, Anne Betts' health broke down, 
and she went away for change of air ; George thus play- 
fully records it in his diary : "I signed a furlough for 
Nanny from the 6th of August till the 17th of September, 
after which she is to be reputed a deserter and treated 
accordingly if she does not return." His sister, entering 
into the joke, wrote beneath — 

" I agree to this witness my hand 

"A. Betts." 


The improvement wrought by the change was only- 
temporary ; in the spring following the diary tells of 
Dr Lubbock coming from Norwich to prescribe for the 

George was at this time attending daily meetings at 
Diss to assess the property tax, being one of the com- 
missioners. The following return made by a farmer at 
Bressingham was preserved by him as a curiosity : — 

" I, J. E. can say 
I've no income to pay, 
Because I have got little pelf, 
For should I appeal 
The truth to reveal, 
I've nothing to maintain myself. 
Gentlemen, with submission 
Who sit on commission. 
If I come to the place that you choose, 
As my Family is large. 
It will bring such great charge 
You must pay for the time that I lose." 

As soon as Anne Betts was well enough to be moved, 
the doctor sent her to Aldborough, a little seaside town 
then lately made famous by Crabbe's poems, within 
a long day's drive of Wortham. While she was there, 
her brother rode over to see her, and was so charmed 
with the primitive little place, that he took lodgings for 
the summer holidays, the whole family migrating there in 
July. They drove over in the family coach, and the 
whisky a new purchase, dining at the Tuns at Yoxford on 
the way, and reaching Aldborough in the evening ; the 
turnpike charges came to three shillings. George's son 
Tom and his friend Mr Thomas joined them in Aldborough, 


coming from Woolpit, where both the young men were 
under the tutorship of Mr Cobbold. 

Five weeks passed happily away, in driving, riding, and 
boating on the river Aide, and the time came to return ; 
the young people driving in the coach, the father and 
mother in the open whisky. On August the 8th, George 
writes : " We left Aldborough soon after nine ; soon after 
ten, there was a most violent tempest, and Molly and I 
were completely wet. We stopped at the Tuns Yoxford, 
where we dried our clothes, from thence to Mr. Leggatts 
at Sibton where we were hospitably received. At Sibton 
three horses were killed by lightning : We stopped at 
Fressingfield, and from thence got home to a late dinner." 

Mr Leggatt was the Vicar of Sibton, for whom George 
Betts during his stay at Aldborough had several times 
taken the duty. 

George writes in his diary for May 1809 : " Gave MoUy 

five guineas when she went to see the fashions at Diss." 

Those were the days before fashion papers caricatured the 

human form ; dolls, known as Flanders babies, were used 

to display new styles in dress. 

" Empire " fashions, brought in by the Empress 
Josephine, reigned supreme over the world feminine ; but 
in the world masculine, a new garment was causing almost 
more heartburning and distress of mind than the great 
Peninsular War, to which it owed its origin. Trousers were 
introduced by the Duke of Wellington, as being easier to 
supply to his men than breeches. In England, the general 
detestation of trousers threatened even the Iron Duke's 
popularity. The militia at Bath refused to march, on 
account of deductions made from their pay to supply 
these hated garments. 


Tom Belts, now an undergraduate at Cambridge, read 
a notice on the screens that " students appearing in hall or 
chapel in pantaloons or trousers should be considered 
absent." At Oxford, the Hebrew lecturer was severely- 
censured by the Principal of Brasenose, for daring to 
appear so attired " before young gentlemen in statu 
pupillari." Even the great Duke himself was turned back 
at Almack's some years later by an official, who informed 
his grace that he could not be allowed to enter while 
wearing trousers. 

In his diary for the 21st of May 1810, George Betts 
records the following wager : — " Present Mr. Beevor, 
Admiral Wilson, Mr. Sheriff e and Mr. Betts. If Portugal 
is in the possession of the French on this day twelvemonth 
the Admiral gives a dinner ; if not, Mr. Sheriffe gives a 
dinner. Therefore only a peace can prevent our having 
a dinner." 

The year had begun darkly for England ; and the 
landing of the wreck of Moore's army after the disastrous 
victory of Corunna, and the news of the defeats in Spain, 
had filled the hearts of those like-minded with Mr Sheriffe 
with despair. However, the stout-hearted Admiral's faith 
was justified. In July the victory of Talavera restored 
British prestige ; and by the time the four gentlemen sat 
down to the dinner of Mr Sheriffe's providing, Massena, 
with what remained of his army of eighty thousand men, 
had fallen back on Salamanca, and relinquished all 
attempts to drive Wellington out of Portugal. 

Sir Thomas Beevor, the father of one of the gentlemen 
concerned in this wager, received a letter soon after, of 
which he gave his friend Mr Betts a copy. On the copy 
George wrote the following note explanatory of the cir- 


cumstances under which the letter was written : " Old 
X was a tenant to Sir Thomas Beevor at Wrenningham. 
He gave up farming, and took to the profession of horse- 
stealing, in which he carefully educated all his sons. For 
a very long time, this trade was conducted with great 
success by an exchange between Yorkshire and other 
northern Counties and the southern parts of the kingdom. 
The sons were first laid hold of in succession, the old man 
fighting shy, and all sentenced to be hanged, but reprieved 
on condition of transportation. The old man at last was 
also caught in the trap, and took his trial on two indict- 
ments, one for burglary to a very serious amount, the 
other for horse-stealing. He was condemned, but re- 
prieved, and remained in Newgate or on board the Hulks, 
till the ship was ready to convey this virtuous character 
to the delightful abode described in his letter." The 
letter is dated Sydney, New South Wales, 25 November 
181 1. Names are suppressed for obvious reasons : — 

" Sir, 

I think it a duty incumbent on me knowing you 
to be a gentleman that wishes to hear of my welfare, I 
have been at my destination about two months I therefore 
beg leave to give you a little account of the nature of this 
country ; at my arrival I had a happy scene, that was 
my five sons were all alongside the ship before I had been 
an hour in the cove and made a most respectable appear- 
ance, which gave me more happiness than tongue can 
express, and more so when I came on shore to find such a 
delightful town and places of amusement of every de- 
scription, and what more astonished me was to see one of 
the first race courses that ever I beheld, and horses of a 


very superior quality. My sons are all well situated, viz, 
one in business for himself, a carpenter and employs 
several hands, another a cooper, and one clerk to the com- 
missary, one groom to the Governor and another training 
groom to one of the first gentlemen in this Colony and on 
my coming on shore I was appointed by his Excellency the 
Governor to be principal superintendant of the King's 
Stores, in which situation I am very comfortable and give 
great satisfaction. 

" In this country there are the finest crops of com of 
every description that I ever saw, and plentifully supplied 
with merchandize from the East Indies as well as from 
America and Europe. This harbour is always crowded 
with shipping and the handsomest harbour I ever saw. 
The town is situated on a level and the streets much after 
the streets in London. The merchants' houses are very 
large and their trade very extensive, they have all been 
prisoners but are immensely rich. 

" The man whom I succeeded is now made a magistrate 
and General Inspector of the King's works. 

" The agricultural parts of the country are situated 
about forty miles from the Capital but they are very ex- 
tensive and bring forth wonderful produce. A man of 

the name of who was convicted from Norwich about 

twenty years since, is now one of the greatest merchants 
in the world. He has a fleet of twenty-five sail 
of merchant-men which trade to all parts of the 

" The natives of this country are of colour black, but 
very lusty and straight in figure, go quite naked, the clime 
being very healthy and pleasant and many of the natives 
speak good English. 


" Chief of their support is fish which is very plentiful, 
they have no houses, the Bush is their delight. 

" They frequently fight very severe battles. Their war 
arms are spears about twenty feet long which they throw 
very fatal. 

" Sir Thomas I hope this will meet you well as it leaves 
me and my sons. I will be very thankful if you will 
please to inform all my friends of my welfare, and at the 
same time most humbly beg that you will be pleased to 
write to me to give me an account of my native land. 

" I could say a great deal more, but the ship is about 
sailing and the captain is closing his packet. 

" So I conclude your most obedient 

and very dutiful servant X. 

" Sir Thomas Beevor Bart 
Hethel Norfolk." 

In the diary for 1810, occurs the first mention of a 
family before long to be connected with the Betts of 
Wortham. " Tom at Mr Doughty's," writes his father, 
on September 3rd. 

The Doughtys were near neighbours. The Rev. 
George Clarke Doughty vicar of Hoxne, had come there 
some fifteen years before, during the life of his father 
George Doughty of Theberton Hall, and there continued 
to live after his father's death. He held as well as Hoxne, 
the family living of Martlesham near Woodbridge. At 
this time, Mr Doughty was a widower, his wife, a member 
of the old family of Rivett of Brockford already mentioned 
in these pages, having died six years before. 

Early next year, a collection was made in Bressingham 
for the reHef of English prisoners confined in France. A 


great many of these poor people had been detained there 
since the rupture of the Peace of Amiens, when Napoleon 
seized on all the English tourists who had taken advantage 
of the peace to flock over to the Continent. 

The long wars and the consequent shortage of men was 
responsible for a great rise in servants' wages. The 
Wortham postillion at this time received £26 a year, a 
footman £30, the gardener £25. When George Betts 
first began housekeeping in 1775, his postillions had been 
well content with six guineas a year and their livery, and 
in 1790 the gardener had received only £16 a year. Maid- 
servants' wages had also risen, but not to such an extent 
as the men's ; the cook at Wortham now received £10 a 
year, as against £5 in 1780. 

In 1813, the farm labourers' weekly wage was ten 
shillings in summer, and nine in winter. That year, the 
control of Justices over farm wages, which had long been 
a dead letter, was formally abolished. The price of wheat 
and the rate of wages both fluctuated greatly during the 
next few years. In the summer of 1817, wheat was sold for 
fifty shillings the coomb, and wages rose to thirteen shillings 
and sixpence, dropping to twelve shillings in November. 

In 1810, a new form of entertainment was thought 
worthy of special mention in the diary. " Mr. Lee, Mrs. 
A5rton, Miss E. Lee, and Miss Ibbetson came and tea-ed 
here," wrote George Betts ; the italics are his. No longer 
was it the fashion to eat one's dinner at two ; five was the 
accepted hour, and friends arrived to drink tea between 
that meal and supper. Tea, become fashionable, was so 
freely adulterated, that an Act of Parliament especially 
provided against " great quantities of sloe leaves and 
leaves of ash, elder, and other trees being manufactured 


and sold in imitation of tea, to the injury and destruction 
of great quantities of timber, woods, and underwood, 
the prejudice of the health of his Majesty's subjects, the 
diminution of the revenue, the ruin of the fair trader ; 
and the encouragement of idleness." 

The Lees of Dickleburgh were intimate friends of the 
Betts family ; and when, in 1812, James went to Oxford, 
he entered Trinity, where Dr Lee was President. That 
year, Thomas Betts was ordained deacon at Norwich ; and 
another domestic event to be chronicled was the birth of 
John Worth's only child, christened Mary in honour of 
Mrs Betts, her godmother and great -aunt. 

On the murder of Mr Perceval the unfortunate Prime 
Minister kiUed this year by a maniac, a county meeting 
was called. " At Stowmarket," wrote George, " to 
address the Regent on the assassination of Mr Perceval." 

Another local event which took place soon after, was 
the funeral of the widow of the second Duke of Chandos. 
George writes : on the 8th of April 1813 " I attended the 
Duchess of Chandos' funeral from Major House to 

Early in June, George went to London, to help his friend 
Admiral Wilson, who had some important business to 
transact. He stayed \\ath Mr and Mrs Fisher, relations of 
Mr Merest and old friends of George Betts ; and from 
their house, he wrote the following letter to his wife : — 

" Cloysters, Westminster Abbey, 
Thursday, 10th June 
" My dear Mary, 

Before I set out on my travels this 
morning I \vill begin a letter to you to inform you what 


has passed since we parted, and before the post goes out 
in the evening, and what more I can of the occurrences of 
the day. 

" After I reached Norwich on Tuesday evening, Tom 
and I went to the Coach Office and luckily I was able to 
take a place in the coach which carries four and leaves 
Ipswich at eight o'clock. 

" I called upon Jackson who was not at home. I called 
upon Mr. Bacon and left Merest's letter, and then called 
on Hasell who is quite weU and sat chatting with him a 
quarter of an hour and then went to the Golden Lyon where 
I slept. At eight precisely the coach came to the door 
in which I found Dr. Kilderbee and Mr. Wenn an attorney, 
and we took another gentleman up at Washbrooke Swan. 
We had a very pleasant party and arrived in Bishopsgate 
Street 1/4 before seven. 

" I proceeded directly to the Cloysters where I met with 
the friendly hospitable reception I ever have done. 

" I found Fisher very weak and his medical attendant 
teUs me he must keep himself quiet and he makes no doubt 
in a few days he will be well. 

" He desires you would tell Merest he is to write to him 
when he wishes to have a dish of fish. His spirits are 
very good and I sat chatting with him till eleven o'clock. 
He has slept well. I have breakfasted and am now going 
to set out in search of adventures. Tom wiU write to 
his aunt Nanny and confirm my account of her ticket 
being drawn a blank. It is ten o'clock so I must have done 
for the present. 

" 1/4 past three. I have seen Mrs. Wilson who wrote to 
Mary Anne last Saturday, the Admiral left it somewhere 
to be frank'd, the Admiral's friend I suppose forgot it and 


if Mary Anne has not received it, it is lost. She desires 
her love to you all and intends to leave London on Monday, 
Miss Byer comes with her. The Admiral and I called on 
Lord Cornwallis from whom I procured this frank. I am 
sorry to say the Bishop of Lichfield is in Staffordshire. 
I am this instant going with Wilson, Raven etc. to the 
Committee. I am to dine with Pollard at six after which 
the Admiral and I go to see Aladdin. 

" I can add no more. Write as soon as you can after you 
receive this. Love to one and all not forgetting friends at 

" I am in great haste 
Most affectionately yours, 
Geo : Betts." 

The diary for June loth refers to the committee thus : 
" Walked with Wilson to Lord Cornwallis' and Lord 
Henniker's, at noon attended the committee of the Lords 
on Wilson's business." 

The letter has two covers, the inner directed by George 
Betts, but the outer being written by Lord Cornwallis, 
with his name as frank at the left hand lower corner and 
dated in full " London, June ten 1813." This was in com- 
pliance with the Act of 1784 which decreed that the peer 
or member of Parliament should not only sign his name, 
which had previously been sufficient, but also write the 
whole address and date in full. 

This Lord Cornwallis was the son of the first and cele- 
brated Marquis, who had lately died in India soon after 
his second appointment as Governor-General. 

On June 28th, " Tom returned from Norwich, having 
been ordained a priest yesterday." On the day of his 


ordination he accepted the curacy of Bucklesham from 
the rector Mr Walford, to which early next year he added 
that of Newbourne, the rector being Joshua Rowley. 
Both parishes were near Ipswich, where Thomas Betts 
now took up his abode. 

Among this year's expenses (1813), six shillings and 
sixpence was spent for "a box of phosphoric matches." 
It is not stated how many matches the box contained ; but 
sixteen years after, in 1830, a box of fifty cost half a 
crown ; it was four years later again before matches took 
the place of tinder boxes for general use. 




SEPT. 6th, 1813, " James and I dined at the 
Botesdale Book Club for the last time ; it had 
existed since 1748." Its mission accomplished, 
the old club passed to the land of the Have 
Beens, together with the boisterous conviviality of a 
bygone generation. Lines in Mary Anne Betts' MS. book 
fitly sings its dirge : — 

" Now all you who fond of reading 
Tales of wonder, tales of woe, 
And your precious time unheeding, 
To the Botesdale Book Club go. 
Once a month confined to drinking 
Mister Cobbold's wine and beer, 
Which to sober people's thinking 
With your health may interfere," 

On the 6th of January 1814, deep snow prevented the 
Wortham party from attending the Diss Ball ; this was 
the beginning of the famous frost, during which a sheep 
was roasted whole on the icebound Thames. 

The " Society of Universal Good Will," which had been 
founded about 1784, numbered George Betts among its 



sympathisers ; and his diary of 1814 tells of a sermon 
preached, and subscriptions collected by him, on behalf of 
the " distressed Germans at the seat of War." 

On the 25th of April of this year, Mr and Mrs Betts 
with their two youngest children, James and Sophia, 
posted to London in their own coach. The long journey, 
along roads covered with " ruts deep enough to fracture 
the leg of a horse," over which the postilions had to 
manoeuvre from side to side, must have been trying to 
Mrs Betts, whose increasing bad health had made the best 
London advice necessary. Her husband, to make the 
journey as easy as possible, arranged to sleep at Witham, 
where their eldest son James met them ; the whole party 
arriving by three o'clock of the following day at 32 Norfolk 
Street. Two days later, we read " Mr Powell cupped 
Mrs Betts, before Mr Ware couched her eye." The 
invalid's recovery was slow, and they had to remain in 
London till the end of June ; but the lodgings were changed 
to 31 Surrey Street, the chairmen's charge for conveying 
Mrs Betts to her new rooms being seven shillings. 

James had gone to Oxford, and Sophia and her father 
were left to do the sights together. Several friends 
happened also to be in London, with whom they constantly 
dined and went to the play. Mr Postle, a nephew of 
Jehoshaphat Postle, George Betts' late uncle, and his family 
from Colney Hall, were staying at the " King's Arms 
Hotel," Palace Yard, Sir Thomas Heselrigge of Hoxne, 
and the Pattesons, were also in town ; with these last 
they went to see Kean in " lago." George Betts' en- 
gagements are all chronicled in his diary. We find him 
dining with his old friend the Bishop of Lichfield, and 
going with James Patteson " from Trinity House to 


Deptford, and dining with the Elder Brethren at the 
London Tavern." Another day he went to Woolwich, 
where Commissioner, afterwards Admiral, Sir Charles 
Cunningham ^ (the Captain Cunningham already men- 
tioned) showed them the Arsenal and Nelson Dockyard ; 
and another day to Kew to see the gardens and palace. 

Shopping was not forgotten, three hats for his three 
girls were bought at Mrs Edwards' for four pounds sixteen 
shillings ; a cap for their mother cost two guineas, and 
spectacles for her poor eyes one pound fourteen shillings. 
Friends were remembered, and three turbots were de- 
spatched to Aunt Nanny and the Merests at Wortham, 
and six shillings was spent on " Pears' transparent soap " 
for Mr Postle. 

On the tenth and eleventh of June, George writes of 
the illuminations in honour of Royal guests ; and, on the 
i8th, he paid a guinea for places for his wife, now nearly 
recovered, and himself, to see " the procession of the 
Prince Regent, the Emperor of Russia, the King of Prussia, 
etc., to the City dinner." This royal visit to England was 
in celebration of a great event, no less than the overthrow 
of Bonaparte by the Allies, and his banishment to the 
island of Elba. On the 20th, Sophia and her father 
attended a great review of troops, and heard the pro- 
clamation of Peace. " Seats," runs the diary, " for 
Sophy and self in Fleet Street to see Peace proclaimed, 
ten shillings." 

July the 7th, after their return home, was Thanksgiving 
Day, and there was a dinner and a ball at Diss. Every 

1 Sir Charles Cunningham later became connected with the Betts 
by the marriage of his daughter Beatrice with Frederick Goodwin 


parish throughout England had " a festival " in honour 
of the peace. "We gave," writes George, "on the 27th, 
the poor inhabitants of Wortham a dinner by subscription 
on Wortham Green, where we dined about six hundred." 
He also subscribed generously to the Bressingham and 
Eye celebrations. 

In August, Mrs Betts malady took a turn for the worse ; 
and we find the following sad entries in her husband's 

" August 5th, Mr Rigby came from Norwich to see my 
dear wife. 
6th, who died this morning soon after two 
o'clock. Mr and Mrs Merest with us. 
,, 7th, We sent to Dereham for Harriet, who re- 
turned this evening. 
13th, My dear wife was buried in the South aisle 
of Wortham Church between ten and 
eleven o'clock." 
Their married life had lasted nearly forty-nine years. 
On receiving the sad news, Mr Postle wrote to Mr Merest 
asking him to convey his condolences to the widower. 
" Thank God you are so near our widow'd friend, as 
you will be a comfort to him. I know how bereft he must 
feel himself ; and on no one could such a stroke fall more 
heavily, for no one was ever more strongly, more devotedly 
attached to each other than he and his dear late wife. 
He has one consolation, and it is a great one — the re- 
collection that the main study of his life was to make her 
comfortable and happy. He has another consolation 
and a greater, the certainty that for a life, not of negative 
goodness, but of uniform active and most warm bene- 
volence, she has gone to receive her reward." 


In November, George attended " a meeting at Diss, to 
consider of enclosing Wortham Commons when it was pro- 
posed to rate them." The diary does not say what 
passed at this meeting ; it is probable that the lords of 
the manors of Wortham Hall and Wortham Everard, 
i.e. Mr Betts and Admiral Wilson, agreed to pay the 
rates for the Ling and Long Green, and thus saved 
them from enclosure, for they remain to the parish to 
this day. The commons of Diss and other surrounding 
parishes were enclosed at that time. Enclosures had 
occasioned many disputes ever since mediaeval days ; 
" first," says Mr Gamier in his Annals of the British 
Peasantry, " it was a war question, then a wool ques- 
tion, next, a timber question, a little later a com one, and 
now-a-days a moral one." 

On Sunday, June i8th 1815, the day of the battle of 
Waterloo, George Betts was taken very ill while conduct- 
ing service in Bressingham Church ; nothing was written 
in the diary for many weeks, and much we miss all 
accounts of that eventful time. As soon as he could be 
moved, the family went to Aldborough, and on August 
22nd he had sufficiently recovered to be able to ride over 
to see the ruins of Leiston Abbey, where he gave a 
shilling largesse to the harvest men. 

This old custom still survives ; largesse was asked of 
the writer by the " lord " of the harvestmen, only a few 
years ago, while sketching the Abbey. 

On the 31st August, the family returned to Wortham, 
dining with the Hon^'^ F. Hotham rector of Dennington, on 
their way home. Mr Hotham was a son of Sir Beaumont 
Hotham, who had been one of the judges at Margaret 
Catchpole's trial and who had then lately succeeded his 


brother, as the second lord Hotham. The Hothams 
were later connected with the Betts, through the marriage 
of Charles Montagu Doughty with Frederica Hotham, 
a daughter of this rector of Dennington. 

George Betts' farm accounts for 1815 record the 
hire of a threshing machine for two days at four shillings. 
At this time many riots took place, and organized gangs 
went about Norfolk and Suffolk destroying threshing 
machines ; but no disturbances occurred at Wortham, 
owing perhaps to the liberal supply of " beer when using 
the threshing machine, eight shillings." 

" Expenses driving the common " are also set down 
in Mr Betts' accounts. Beasts found, not belonging to the 
commoners, were on these occasions impounded until a 
fine had been paid to the lord of the manor. 

A regular item in the accounts is a subscription to 
the National schools. " National schools " received no 
support from the nation, but were so-called because, soon 
after 181 1, they had been planted all over England by the 
National Society. This Society, and the British and 
Foreign School Society founded two years before, together 
share the honour of having made the earliest organized 
attempt to educate the people. State help was not forth- 
coming till 1832, when the Commons voted ;^20,ooo for the 
erection of school buildings, to be distributed by these two 




IN July 1816, Thomas Betts went for a walking tour 
through Wales, with Mr Thomas his former fellow- 
pupil at Mr Cobbold's, then of Woodbridge. Start- 
ing at Hereford to follow the beautiful Wye Valley, 
the two friends walked completely through Wales, cover- 
ing in a period of seven weeks, a distance of five hundred 
and sixty-six miles. 

Thomas Betts kept careful record of each day's walk, 
and has left in his diary vivid pictures of the scenery. He 
relates romantic stories of ruined castles and abbeys 
reminiscent of greatness long past ; and adds interesting 
notes on the rising iron industry, destined to bring future 
greatness of a totally different description to gallant little 
Wales. After speaking of the castles of Goodrich, 
Chepstow, and Caerleon, and the beautiful Crooked Water- 
falls and Tintem Abbey, he observed on the canal 
leading from Merthyr Tydvil to Cardiff, " some barges 
made of iron, and upon enquiry found that they would 
bear a greater burthen than those of wood ; but some 
objection was made on account of the rivets (by which 


the plates were fastened), breaking, by which means they 
frequently became leaky. One of the boats, which I 
saw, was the first that appeared on that canal, where it 
had floated nine years." 

At Merthyr Tydvil, the friends " went to the principal 
iron works, belonging to a Mr Crawshay. His brother, 
very obligingly accompanied us thro' the works, which are 
of great extent. There had, till within a few days, been 
some dispute between him and his men, occasioned by the 
reduction of their wages ; and as he employs upwards of 
1500 men, it wore at first an alarming appearance. Mr 
Crawshay is now making great improvements in the 
machinery, by erecting a prodigious steam engine of a 
hundred horse power, the largest in the kingdom. The 
water wheel (which will, I believe, be taken down) is 
fifty-two feet in diameter. We saw the whole process 
of making the bars, which are completed in the fourth 

Richard Crawshay the iron master, who, though not 
the founder, had made these works the greatest in the 
kingdom, had as romantic a history as that of Dick 
Whittington. In 1757, a Yorkshire lad of sixteen, he 
ran away to London, and found work in the iron ware- 
house of a Mr Bicklewith, and married his master's 
daughter. Later, he had the luck to win £1500 in a 
state lottery ; with this sum he started for the Welsh 
ironfields, and bought the iron works of Merthyr Tydvil. 
The Mr Crawshay who showed the travellers over the 
works, was the grandson of the great Richard who had 
died in 1810. 

The pedestrians emerged at Wrexham, where Thomas 
Betts was much struck by an epitaph to the celebrated 


Elihu Yale, Governor of Madras, and benefactor of the 
great American University which bears his name, who 
died in 1721 : — 

" Bom in America^ in Europe bred, 
In Afric travelled, and in Asia wed, 
Where long he lived and thrived— In London dead. 
Much good, some ill he did, so hope all's even, 
And that his soul thro' mercy's gone to heaven," etc. 

The name of Elihu Yale is connected with Suffolk, 
through the marriage of his daughter with Dudley North 
of Little Glemham Hall ; his portrait and other mementos 
of his eventful career remained at Glemham until the 
death of the late Dowager Lady North. 

On reaching Liverpool, the friends were taken across 
the Mersey in one of the earhest steamboats. " Within a 
few months a steam barge across the Mersey has been 
established," writes Thomas ; "to this we were conveyed 
in a wherry drawn by three horses about nine miles in 
two hours. The steam barge conveyed us across the 
Mersey, twelve miles, in one hour and a quarter." 

Thomas Betts, who was much interested in manu- 
factories of all kinds, inspected the silk works at Derby, 
and was told that the industry " was very dull, which 
might be attributed to smugglers and the increase of 
travelling." From Derby, with his friends he visited 
Matlock, Bakewell and Haddon. " I never enjoyed 
scenery more, it is, everything considered, the most 
beautiful I ever saw." 

A month after his return, while he was still in good 
training, Thomas Betts makes the following entry in his 
diary : " Oct. 9th. At the Beef Steak club (in Ipswich). 


I betted Mr. Read five guineas that I could walk sixteen 
miles in four hours, and another five guineas that I could 
walk twenty miles in five hours. This morning, Dr. 
Thomson and Mr. Squire attending me, I walked the six- 
teen miles on the Bury road in three hours and twenty 

Early in the following year, Thomas Betts received an 
urgent summons to Wortham ; his father had been again 
" taken very ill in Bressingham Church, while marrying 
a couple." The attack passed off ; but Mr Betts was not 
well enough to attend the county meeting held at Stow- 
market, " to address the Regent on his escape from the 
mob on his return from opening Parliament." Thomas 
and James Betts, now both in Holy Orders, attended the 
meeting in their father's place. 

On November 19th, Thomas' diary tells of a national 
sorrow : " We went to church, being the day of Princess 
Charlotte's funeral." 

On February 14th, Thomas with his friend the Rev. 
J. Tweed, who shared his lodgings in Ipswich, "went to 
Mrs. Cobbold's Valentine party." This pretty, forgotten 
custom of drawing valentines by lot on Valentine's Day 
was of very ancient origin, and is mentioned in Pepys' 
Diary. In Thomas Betts' time, presents were given, each 
young man being bound, for a few days to be the cavalier 
of his fair valentine and to wear her favour. 

At Wortham, Thomas' father, though frequently 
suffering from alarming attacks of illness, continued his 
active public life. His diary speaks of a saving's bank, 
of which he was the moving spirit, being established at 
Eye, and he was also on the committee formed " to con- 
sider about navigation from Ipswich to Eye and Diss." 


" The Bishop of Quebec and Mrs. Mountain came to 
Wortham " in the autumn of 1819. This now grave and 
reverend prelate had been the merry careless under- 
graduate " Mountain," who accompanied George on the 
driving tour described by him in his letter to his imcle, 
and who had drunk wine with their " facetious landlord " 
at Bedford till half -past two in the morning, being " ex- 
ceedingly diverted." Forty-five years had since sobered 
their boyish spirits, and the added decorum of priestly 
dignity had chastened their erstwhile love of good wine. 

On January 31 1820, two days after the death of King 
George III., George IV. was proclaimed; the delay was 
owing, as Thomas Betts notes, to the 30th being " the 
anniversary of the martyrdom of King Charles." 

A Pitt Club had lately been estabUshed at Norwich, 
which James Betts joined. A dinner ticket of the Club 
remained at Wortham, sealed with an impression of Mr 
Pitt's head in red wax. 

George Betts' diary speaks of assemblies, dinners, and a 
constant stream of friends dining and sleeping in his ever 
hospitable Wortham ; but George now did not go out 
himself, he had even of late years given up shooting, de- 
puting it to his sons, though he still records the bag. 
" Mr. and Mrs. Merest," he writes on one occasion, " Major 
Ray, Mr. ^Martin, dined with us. They shot the Cars with 
Tom and James, and got fifteen brace." Another time. 
" Lord Blandford shot with James and dined and slept 
here." Sometimes, when the yoimg people were all out, 
his neighbour and particular friend would keep him 
company : " Admiral Wilson dined with me, I was con- 
fined with the gout." 

In March 1820, George Betts subscribed to a fund got up 


by Major Ray " for the police officers who apprehended 
the conspirators." This refers to the abortive Cato Street 
Conspiracy, a second Gunpowder Plot, whose object was to 
assassinate the whole Ministry, at the house of the Earl of 
Harrowby in Mansfield Street, while they were at a cabinet 

On June i6 1821, Thomas Betts took the Shannon 
coach to London. On the 19th, he writes : " King 
crowned. We went to Westminster at five o'clock, I got 
a good place for two guineas and a half." 

On the 25th, " Thomas was instituted to the rectory 
of Colney (in Norfolk) given to him by Mr J. Postle," 
of Colney Hall ; but he still kept his curacies, visiting 
Colney only occasionally to conduct the service, and preach 
in the parish church. By a curious coincidence, he was 
not the first incumbent of the parish of Colney to bear 
his name. Nearly four hundred years before, a certain 
Sir Thomas Bettys, who was probably a collateral 
ancestor of his own, had officiated as priest in the 
same church. A brass to his memory was then still 
extant, with the following quaint inscription : — 

" Owan the Belle ys solemplye rownge 
And the Messe with Devosyon songe 
And the Mete meryly hete, 
Sone shall Sir Thomas Bettys be forgete 
On whose Sowle God have mercy. Amen 
Qui obit 20 die Aprilis An. Dno. 

On the 19th of September 1821, the diary of George 
Betts stops ; for the hand which had written it for nearly 
fifty years could now no longer hold the pen. Thomas 


was at Harwich (where he had gone to see Admiral Wilson) 
when he received the news of his father's illness. On the 
25th of September, he describes how he " left Harwich, 
met the gig at Shotley Gate, on my way to Ipswich re- 
ceiving a letter from Wortham. My father being very im- 
well, took a chaise on my arrival at Ipswich to Wortham, 
where I arrived at half past nine, and found my father 
very ill." George lingered mitil April. On the nth, his 
son writes : " My father died at half past seven a.m." ; 
and later, " He was buried on the i8th in Wortham 

The Bury Gazette for April 17, 1822, published the 
following obituary : — 

" On Thursday April nth, died at Wortham in this 
county, in his 71st. year, the Rev. George Betts L.L.B. 
rector of West Winch and Overstrand in the county of 
Norfolk, prebendary of the Cathedral Chmxh of Lichfield, 
and nearly forty years one of his Majesty's justices of the 
peace for the counties of Suffolk and Norfolk. Whether, 
as a magistrate, a minister, a landlord or a master, his 
loss wiU be deeply felt and unfeignedly lamented. 

" As a clergyman he was moderate in his demands, in 
the highest degree assiduous in the discharge of his 
clerical duties : and an eloquent and impressive preacher. 

" As a magistrate he wiU be long remembered in the 
hundreds of Diss, Hartismere and Hoxne, where he many 
years presided, for the unshaken loyalty of his principles, 
his inflexible regard to justice, the soundness of his judge- 
ment, and the impartiality of his decisions ; during a 
period of considerably more than thirty years, he never was 
known to omit attending either the quarterly or weekly 
meetings of the magistrates, till within the last eight 


months, when advanced age and increasing infirmities 
confined him entirely to his apartments, and at last put a 
period to a life, long and actively devoted to the service 
of his Maker, his King and his country." 

By his will, George Betts left his Thorndon estate to 
his son James ; lands in Diss and Blo'horton to his three 
daughters to the value of £5000 apiece ; and all his other 
property, including the Wortham estate, to his eldest son 




THOMAS BETTS' diary is not as fuU as his 
father's, and the day's entries are usually only 
a list of social engagements, such as : " Dined 
at Woolverstone." " Rode to Norwich 
County Reform meeting." " Pitt Club at Bury, three 
hundred and three met, Edgar in the chair, Gooch attend- 
ing Lord Londonderry's funeral." 

A dinner party at Wortham is chronicled : " 30th 
October, The Wilsons, Mr. Clay, Sir Miles and Lady 
Nightingall, Lady Mary Comwallis, Mrs Wood, dined with 
us." A shooting party in January 1823 in the famous 
coverts at Redgrave is thus set down : " Lord Blandford, 
Scott, Poley, Surtees, Blake, James, and I shot in the 
home coverts at Redgrave. We killed 218 pheasants, 
26 hares, and 15 rabbits.^ Admiral Wilson unwell. We 
dined at Redgrave." Thomas writes also while at Ipswich 
of dining " with Fonnereau," and " at Orwell Park, and 
Stoke Park," and staying with " Deans at Hintlesham." 

^ It is believed that the first big bag recorded (for Norfolk) was in 
1796, 80 cock pheasants (hens were then seldom shot) in one day at 
Wretham Three years before, the total bag for the season at Holkham 
was 262 pheasants. In 1801, this total had risen to 480. These 
Holkham figures may have included hens. 




In May 1823, he " resigned the living of Colney "; he 
was now much occupied with work ; and the diary con- 
stantly mentions clerical duties performed both at 
Wortham and Bressingham. On 15th April 1824, he 
" buried Tom Hanton at Wortham aged one hundred 
years." On the 17th, being Easter day, he took the duty 
at Bressingham, and " administered the sacrament to 
Ann Francis aged one hundred and six, who died at night." 
A few months later he " commenced as curate of Burgate." 

In October, " Cobbold read himself in to Wortham, I 
dined with him at Merests." The Rev. Richard Cobbold, 
author of " Margaret Catchpole," succeeded Mr Patteson 
as rector, but though he now read himself in, he did not 
come to reside at Wortham till after the death of Mr 
Merest, who continued there as his curate. 

Another day, Thomas writes, " dined with Lord 
Bayning, met Worth, and Croft, and James who slept 
at Wortham." James had now taken the curacy of 
Garboldisham. In the summer Thomas gave a farewell 
dinner to his cousin Capt. Worth, R.N., who was leaving 
the neighbourhood. " Worth dined and slept here on his 
way to Brighton, having let Oakley to Mr White, the vicar 
of Stradbrook." 

In October, the family party at Wortham broke up. 
" My aunt, sisters and James started for Hastings." 
From subsequent entries in the diary, it is plain that the 
aunt and sisters knew that Thomas intended to marry 
before long, and so were settling themselves at Hastings 
to make room for his future bride ; but in June they were 
all back at Wortham for a long visit. That winter 
in Hastings, had much amused the country-bred girls. 
Mary Anne brought back a MS. skit on the society there : 



a " fragment dropped by an elderly gentleman on the 
Parade." It describes the arrival of the belle of the 

" See, see amid a halo of perfume 
She comes, she comes and dazzles all the room, 
Surely from yonder wave some sea king's bride, 
To shame our mortal beauties, leaves the tide. 
While frantic Tritons chide their bride's delay. 
And periwinkles chant a plaintive lay. 
Ye envious Tritons, spare for one short hour 
The ocean goddess from her crystal bower ; 
Ye periwinkles, faithful creatures sleep. 
Ye agitated oysters cease to weep. 
For oh ! ye lose her not, too fair is she 
To join unless to mock our revelry. 
Fate in her smile, confusion in her frown, 
A bow gives credit, and a word renown. 
While guilty fiddlers bend beneath her eye. 
And faltering waiters spill the tea and fly." 

A man of fashion is next ridiculed : — 

" But see advance, in beauty's point and might. 
Him, who must be Love's beacon, here tonight. 
Him, whom Costume, her own dear votary lends. 
Protects, and squeezes, and from dust defends. 
Guards the moustache, corrects with ready eye 
Each straggling curl, and hovers round the tie ; 
Mercy ! oh mercy ! shrieking Venus begs. 
Thy face thou can'st not hide, oh ! hide thy legs ; 
While each stout footman wonders as he goes. 
And views with envious eye, his own diminished hose." 

Whilst his " Aunt Nanny " and sisters v^ere at Wortham, 
Thomas Betts became engaged to Harriet, the second 
daughter of the Rev. George Clarke Doughty. His diary 


is now full of meetings with the Hoxne family, such as : 
" Went with White, and Doughty s, to see Wingfield 
Castle and church and Stradbrook, we all dined at 
Oakley." " Shot with Doughty at Hoxne, White and 
the Misses Rivett dined at Hoxne." 

In October, Frederick Doughty, Thomas' future brother- 
in-law, took him to shoot the Theberton woods, returning 
to Hoxne " to dinner with Mr. Doughty and Edgar 
Montagu." " Dined with Holmes at Gawdy Hall, with 
Harriet and Charles Doughty " is another entry. 

The 30th of January 1826 was fixed for the wedding. 
Of that day's doings, the bridegroom gives but this scant 
description : " James and Foster accompanied me in the 
carriage to Hoxne, where James married me to Harriet 
Doughty. After the ceremony, Harriet and I went in the 
carriage to Wortham, — Foster in the rumble." 

We may be sure that the wedding procession carefully 
avoided the Gold Bridge over the Dove at Hoxne, by 
which, to this day, no bridal party will willingly pass. 
At this spot, the story runs. King Edmund the Martyr 
hid himself from the victorious Danes after the battle of 
Thetford in 870, and was betrayed by a bride, who riding 
over the bridge, espied the reflection of his golden spurs in 
the water. Edmund is said to have cursed the bridge, 
foretelling that it should " never again be crossed by a 
happy bride." The oak, to which the king is supposed 
to have been bound as a target for Danish arrows, was 
still standing in 1848. A stone cross now marks the 

The newly married couple spent their honeymoon 
quietly at Wortham ; it had not even yet become the 
fashion to make wedding tours. From an unpublished 


diary belonging to another family, it appears that a bride 
was then expected, for a week or more after her marriage, 
to put on her wedding dress every afternoon, and wait 
at home to receive callers. Our bride and bridegroom 
had three days to themselves, and then the diary records 
numerous wedding visits paid and returned. 

That spring, Thomas Betts " took the oaths to Manning 
at Diss as magistrate for Norfolk " ; he was also made 
magistrate for Suffolk a few years later. 

In the summer. Aunt Nanny and Tom's sisters came to 
Wortham, and there were gatherings of friends and 
relations ; " Mr. and Mrs. Lucas, Miss Montagus, and 
Doughty, dined," on one occasion. On another : " Mr. 
and ^Irs. Holmes, Charles and Mary Doughty, Lord and 
Lady Henniker, and Mr. and ]Mrs. Glasse, dined here." 

On their return, the Misses Betts must have sadly 
missed their dear old friend Admiral Wilson, who had 
died in the early spring. The Comwallis family too had 
left Brome, the estate having been sold in 1824 to Mr 
Matthias Kerrison. 

In August 1827, a daughter was bom to Thomas and 
Harriet Betts, and christened Mary ; "her sponsers were 
Mrs. Anne Betts, Mr. Doughty, and Miss Doughty." The 
births of two more children are entered in the old Bible ; 
George, bom in December 1829, and Catherine Harriet, 
bom in June 1832. 




AMONG the political tracts found at Wortham 
are several directed against the radical policy 
advocated by William Cobbett. In March 
1830, that rural agitator was staying in the 
house of Sir Thomas Beevor at Hargham, whence he 
visited Eye, and other towns in the neighbourhood of 

Thomas Betts' farming accounts show that labourers 
on an average were receiving eight shillings a week, and 
three pounds twelve shillings with beer for the five weeks 
of harvest. Wheat, then selling in the market for thirty- 
eight shillings a coomb, was supplied to the farm men at 
twenty-four shillings ; and they still had the privilege of 
buying pork and other provisions at a low rate from their 
masters, thus avoiding the excessive taxes on food at 
which Cobbett railed. 

A curious action concerning the boundaries of the 
parishes of Wortham and Burgate, fought this year at the 
Ipswich Trinity Sessions, shows the then importance of 
the old-time custom of " beating the bounds." This 
annual perambulation of the rector and parish officials 


had come down from pre-Reformation times, when on 
Rogation days, the priests were accustomed to bless the 
fields. George Betts, Thomas' father, as his diary 
shows, had taken part in beating the bounds of his 
parishes, the last time on May 3rd 1799 : " beating the 
bounds of West Winch." 

It appears by a counsel's brief preserved at Wortham, 
that the action was by way of appeal by the parish against 
an order made by the Eye magistrates for the removal 
of two paupers, Thomas Woods and his wife, from the 
town of Eye to the parish of Wortham, as the place of 
their settlement. 

The case for Wortham states that Woods, aged thirty- 
eight, had been " born in the parish of Eye, whence he, 
at the age of thirteen, let himself on Michaelmas day to 
a certain Mr Hammond of a neighbouring parish for one 
year, at the wages of forty shillings ; that after about 
two years' service, he returned to Eye, where he continued 
for three years without letting himself out ; that he then 
enlisted into the 12th Regiment of Foot, and went abroad, 
returning in February 1818, with a disorder in his eyes 
which terminated in blindness. The parish of Eye, in 
which he lived, had relieved him ever since, until his 
marriage, " when the parish officers fearing it might lead 
to an increase of the charge on the parochial fund were 
anxious to settle him elsewhere." They sent him there- 
fore to Wortham, in which parish they asserted he had 
" gained a settlement," during his two years' service 
as a boy with Mr Hammond. 

Hammond had kept a public-house, called the Dolphin, 
which was assessed to Burgate, though it stood on the 
actual boimdary-line of the two parishes, Wortham and 


Burgate. It contained three bedrooms, in the middle 
one of which the servant boy Woods hal slept. His bed- 
stead had been placed close against the wall, the head of 
the bed being immediately over a beam in the kitchen, 
which marked the boimdary of the two parishes. 

One Simon Frost of Burgate, " who had accompanied 
the inhabitants of Burgate about twenty years before 
when they perambulated their boundaries, was called to 
give evidence. He said that on that occasion, they 
entered " the Dolphin " at the front door, went straight 
through the kitchen into the wash-house, and put a stick 
through the sink-hole at the right-hand corner ; that they 
returned into the kitchen, went out at the back door, and 
round the wash-house. They then took a circle round 
some fields, and returned through the Dolphin. No 
notice was then taken of the beam. In another per- 
ambulation, however, a witness stated that the beam had 
been pointed at. 

It was then proved that taking this beam as a boundary 
line, " only eleven inches of the bed, in the room above, 
would be in Wortham, so that about four or five inches at 
the most of the boy's head could have slept in that 
parish, and the whole of the rest of his person must have 
slept in Burgate. 

Therefore, Counsel maintained, " the pauper had gained 
a settlement in neither parish as it appeared that he 
slept in both at the same time." 

What the Courts' decision was does not appear. 

In 1832 the Rev. G. C. Doughty having lately died, 
Thomas Betts was given the family living of Martlesham, 
by his brothers-in-law Charles and Frederic Doughty ; 
and thither the Betts family removed, for rectors now 


could no longer remain non-resident. The old home at 
Wortham was therefore let for a term of years. 

In 183 1, Thomas Betts' eldest sister Mary Anne, died 
at Hastings aged forty-nine ; and her death was followed 
in 1838 by that of her aged aunt Nanny ; and in 1842 by 
the death of her sister Sophia. The surviving sister 
Harriet then removed to Ipswich, where she died in 1852. 

Some of Sophia Betts' letters are extant, mostly relat- 
ing to the com.pulsory purchase in 1841 of some of her 
land in Diss by the " Diss Railway Extension Company." 
She collected franks as we now collect stamps ; and four 
or five bundles of wrappers from her own and her friends' 
letters are among the Wortham papers. Among the 
signatures are those of the Prince Regent, Sir Robert Peel 
and Lord Palmerston. She lived long enough to see the 
abolition of franks, and Rowland Hill's first black 
postage stamps of 1840. The following lines, which she 
cut from a newspaper, satirise both the new postage and 
the new railway speculation : — 

" The Railroads we find are falling down fast^ 
The pace was too rapid, of course could not last. 
Alas ! our good ancestors little did dream 
Their descendants were doomed to be blown up by steam ; 
Nor thought that the cash they collected with care 
Would be stuck in the railroad to purchase a share. 
I find the stage coaches such evil forbode, 
That they each advertised they will travel by road. 
Sure good Rowland Hill was more friendly than any 
When he schemed that our letters should cost but a penny; 
This made work for others, it left them a space 
To scheme some new tax to be paid in its place." 

Railways rang the knell of many good old country 
customs, bringing towns and town fashions into remote 


villages. " When," said an old farmer of that day — like 
Adam laying the blame on the woman — " it was Dame and 
porridge, 'twas real good times ; when 'twas Mistress and 
hroth, 'twas worse a great deal ; but when it came to be 
Ma'am and soup 'twas very bad." 

The Ipswich Journal of gth December 1837 published 
the announcement of the marriage of Thomas Betts' only 
brother, James. " On the 7th, by the Rev. Frederick 
Borradaile, M.A., Prebendary of Lincoln, the Rev. James 
Betts, M.A., of Ellingham, Norfolk, to Sophia, youngest 
daughter of the late Richardson Borradaile, Esq. of 
Bedford Hill, Surrey." The fashion of honeymoon tours 
had now come in, so the newly married couple went over 
to Ireland, visiting Killarney and other beauty spots from 
Lismore in company with their host Archdeacon Cotton, 
an old Oxford friend of the bridegroom. 

In 1848, James became rector of Great and Little 
Thornham, but he did not live long to enjoy his prefer- 
ment. He died the following year leaving no children. 

The Betts family now numbered only five persons : 
Thomas D'Eye Betts, his wife, and their three grown-up 

George, their only son, had entered the army, and sailed 
for India soon after, joining the 8ist Regiment. 

In a letter to his mother, written just before the Mutiny, 
from Nowshera, where the 8ist were then quartered, he 
gives no hint of the coming trouble. This is the only 
letter of his which has been preserved ; but his official 
record shows that he served through the Mutiny, and 
was present as Captain when the 8ist Regiment, under 
Colonel Renny, disarmed, at Meean Meer, one regiment 
of native cavalry and one regiment of native infantry, all 



disaffected and ripe for revolt. There is, however, a 
letter worth recording which George received at Lahore 
during the Mutiny, from an officer of another regiment, 
E. D. Hamilton Vivart : 

" Meerut, May 26th. 

" I have been requested by Osbom of my Regiment to 
write to you a few lines, to say that he was one of the few 
who, like myself, escaped from Delhi when the Mutiny 
broke out. He was unfortunately shot through the 
thigh by a musket ball whilst escaping, and is now in 
ArtiUery Hospital in this place (Meerut) doing very well 
I am happy to say. It appears that his wound was the 
means of saving his life, as some four or five other poor 
fellows who got out of the Main Guard at the same time as 
himself, among them Butler and Angelo of my Regiment, 
were all murdered by the villagers. He says he accom- 
panied them for about fourteen miles, when his wound 
became so painful as to oblige him to be left behind in a 
ditch, the rest promising to return for him if able to pro- 
cure assistants. He was found the next morning by some 
villagers, who, after robbing him of all he possessed, at 
last brought him into Meerut. From them, he learned 
that the others, after leaving him, shot a Brahmin, and 
were then set upon by the natives and all killed. It is 
supposed that Willoughby of the Delhi Magazine was the 
man who fired the shot, he being the only one of the party 
who had a gun in his hand. 

Osbom says he is very anxious to hear from you, and 
will write himself when a little stronger. Orders came in 
this morning from the Chief, desiring half the force from 
here to march and join him at some place near Delhi, 


They are to leave this on the ist. There has been no 
down country dak arrived here for the last four days, but 
now that the Goorkas have reached Bolandshuhur (sic) it 
is hoped that communication will soon again be opened." 

The Rev. Thomas D'Eye Betts died at Martlesham on 
the 13th March, 1859. " He was," writes one who well 
remembers him, " one of the best of magistrates. Firm, 
plenty of common sense, knew the law and had leanings 
to mercy ; and though he was not an active parson, and 
his sermons not very attractive, he had a most reverent 
manner and a good voice. He was very much respected, 
and his opinions and word went a long way." 

The funeral took place at Wortham, where, soon after, 
the widowed Mrs Betts and her two daughters returned to 

George Betts still remained with his regiment in India, 
and in 1861 had the joy of again seeing his eldest sister 
Mary, who came to India as the bride of Major, afterwards 
Colonel, Robert Bruce Chichester, C.B. In the December 
of the following year, Mrs Chichester died at the birth of 
her only child, the baby Archibald being sent home to 
his grandmother at Wortham. 

On February 23rd 1865, George Betts embarked from 
Calcutta on board The Sultana, with the head quarter 
wing of his regiment, under the command of Major 
J. A. Gildea. A month later, " whilst still in the Indian 
Ocean, they encountered a terrific cyclone which raged for 
two days, leaving the ship a wreck — yards whirling round 
the mast with each roll of the ship — many of the braces 
and all the running gear of the ship broken or loose — 
ropes without blocks swinging about in the air — the ship 


straining and groaning fearfully — the sea very high. It 
was impossible for the sailors to go aloft to secure the 
ropes. Nearly all the live stock were killed or drowned. 
The ship was in the semi-circle of the cyclone. Soldiers 
as well as sailors behaved with great gallantry." 

With the return of Major George Betts, Ught-hearted 
gaiety once more reigned at Wortham, and its hospitable 
doors were again thrown open to the neighbourhood. 
In 1873, however, a sad event happened, poor little 
Archie Chichester, eleven years old, died from the effects 
of an accident. 

Mrs Betts died in 1874. 

After the death of their mother. Major George Betts and 
his sister lived together for some years at Wortham. His 
health, however, had been seriously impaired in India by a 
sunstroke, and in Jime 1883 he died. 

Of Catherine the last of her family, little or nothing re- 
mains to be told. After her brother's death she lived, for 
the most part, a solitary life at Wortham, among her old 
books and the ancient family possessions, every one of 
which had descended through a long line of Betts. 

At her death in December 1905, the good old family 
who had made their home at Wortham, during four 
hundred and twenty-five years, became extinct in the 
male line. 

The heir to the landed estate had to be found in 
Admiral Sir Baldwdn Wake Walker, Bart., a descendant 
of Captain Worth, R.N., whose mother Martha, a 
daughter of Edmund Betts of Oakley, had married John 
Worth as long ago as 1772. 

John Bettys, son of John Bettys of Wethe 

John, probably a pries' 
not inherit estate. 

George of Wortha 
ob. 1599. 

Anneys Mans, ob. 1606. 

Rychard of Wortham, 
b. 1573, ob. 1609. 


Richard Smith of Thrandeston. 

= Susanna, da. of William Smith 
I of Thelnethara ; 2nd husband, 

John of Wortham, b. = 
1606, ob. before 1648. I 

Elizabeth . . . m. 2nd, 
Nicholas Sucklinge. 

Daniel, b. 1636, 
l- ob. s.p. 1688. 

Thomas = Mary . . . Andrew, Susan, ux. Nicholas Marj', ux. John Mary. 

ob. s.p. Browne. Thompson. 

Sold Wortham estates to their 

cousin, George Betts. 715. 

Susan, Elizabeth, b. George of Wortham, Edmund of Wortham, = ^rector of 

ob. 1678,0b. b. 1679, ob. s.p. b. i63i, ob. 1733, I Phaplainto 

infant. s.p. 1706. 1727. m. 1715. Canterbury. 

Susan, b. 1716, = John Soley, rector Eliz., b. 1717, = Jehosophat Postle= George Betts 
ob. 1785, s.p. of Long Stratton. ob. s.p. 1777. attorney-at-law. of Wortham. 

George of Wortham, rector of = 1775, Mary, dai 
Overstrand, Prebendarj' of I Betts of Oakley 
Lichfield, ob. 1822, aged 71. aged 

A I I I I I 

George, Martha, Eliz., George, Mar>' Anne, 

ob. 1777. b. 1778, b. 1779, b. 17S1, b. 1782, 

ob. 1791. ob. 1798. drowned at ob. 1831. 
Dedham, 1795. 

i I I 

Edmund =ifant, George, 

b. 1783, t795> b. 1799, 

ob. s.p. hd d. ob. 1801. 
1805. 2me 


1827, ob. 1862. = Major Robt. Bruce Chichester 
Archibald, b, 1862, ob. 1873. 


John Bcllys, son of John Bettys of VVetherden, came to Fenn Street. Worlham, 1480, heir to his father-in-law = Elizabeth, da. of John and A\ys Wryght of Wortham. 
John, probably a priesi, did Rycharde of Wortham, = Alys . . . ob. 1573. Thomas. Water. Alys. 

George of Wortham, = Annej-s Mans. oh. 1606. Thorofcs, ob. 1571. John, the elder, Hillary, bapt. 1541. EliiaUih, bapt. 1545. John, the younger, of Walton, = ... 

ob. 1599. j ! bapt. 1538. ob. 1594. bapl. 1546. ^ 

Rychard of Wortham, = Susanna, da. of William Smith George, bapt. = Rose, da. of Rycbard Fulcher John, b. 1586, Sieth. ob. s.p. Bridgit, m. 1599. = Thos. Heme of Manona, b. 1583, 

b. 1573, ob. i6oo. I of Thelnetham: 2nd husband. liSo, ob. 165a. I of Vaxley, m. 1619. ob. s.p. 1613. ob. 1614. J, Bursion. ob. ».p. 

I Richard Smith of Thrandeston. 7 

*"« ■ e 


Ros., = Richard Moor 
K.a,o. r.c,oro, 


, Eli;ab=. 




cou«iii,°G<:org''e Btiu. "' 

.,da. John. b. J.m« of = Rebecca. Hillary, 


N^i^ I 

Daniel, b. 1636, 
ob. 6.P. 1688. 

John Mai 

ian, Elizabeth 

Rebecca = Robert S 
Rebecca = Jol 

Rebecca = John Lee of Amsterdam 

Edmund of Wonham, = Abigail, da. of Philip Vincent of Marling- i. Katrin . . . = James of = 

b. i63i,ob. 1733, I fcrd, and Eliz. Colby, his wife land husband. Diss, ob. 

m. 1715. Jeremiah Burroughes of Wymondham. s.p. 1741., b. 1716, = John Soley, rector Eli/., b. 1717, = Jchosophat PostleJ George of Wortham, rector of = Anne, da. of i. Cooke of= Edmund of = 1749, 2. Martha, da. of Nathaniel Mary, Anne = George 

ob.i7B5,s.p. of Long Siratton. ob. s.p. 1777. altorney-at-law. [ Shelfhnnger and Bressingham, | Dr Shuckford Roiigham, Oakley, b. r7i9. 1 Deye of Eyc,and Mary Cullum, b. 1721, I ofWort 

m. 1751, ob. 1766, aged 48. and Mary Betts, ob. s.p. 1745. ob. 1788. his wife, and husband, Thomas ob. 1801. I 

^ ; I his wife, ob. 1757. WaythofEye. B 

Georgeof Wortham, rector of = 1775, Mary, dai). of Edmund Anne, George, Martha, ob. 1779, = John Worth, Harriet, Mary = George Belts 

Ovorstrand. Prebendarj'of I Betts of Oakley, ob. 1814, ob. 1838, ob. infant. aged 30. m. 1772. I apothecary and surgeon, ob. 1779, \ of Wortham. 

Lichfield, ob. iSaa, aged 71. aged gg. aged 81. of Diss. aged 14. A 

John, Capl. R,N.,b. 1775. = Catherine Sinclair. Harriet, b. 1773, ob. 1786. 
___^ 1 ± _^_ 

Ehi., George, Mar>' Anne, Edmund =i Maria Harriet. Harriet, Thomas D" Eye. = (1836) Harriet, dau. Sophia, Sarah, James, = Sophia, da. an infant, George, 

b. 1779. b. 1781. b. 1782, b. 1783, iDruetyof and Sarah, b. 1767, of Wortham. Rector 01 Rev. Geo. Clarke b. 1790 b. 1792, reclorof of Richardson ob. 1795, b. 1799, 

ob. 1798. drowned at ob. 1831. ob. s.p. Krplngham; twins, ob. ob. 185a. of Martlesham, Doughty of ob. 1B42. ob. 1804. Thornham, Borrodaile, b. and d. ob, 1801. 


1789, ob. 1859. 

Catherine Harriet of Wortham, b. 1832, d. iSth I 


In addition to the large collection of family MSS. and 
muniments found at Wortham the following books and 
authorities have been consulted : — 

History of the English People. Green. 

History of the Enghsh Landed Interest. Garnier. 

Annals of the English Peasantry. Garnier. 

Memoirs of the Verney Family. Lady Verney. 

Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury. Dean Hook. 

History of Suffolk. J.J. Raven, D.D. 

Church Bells of Suffolk. J.J. Raven, D.D. 

Blomefield's Norfolk. 

Suckhng's Suffolk. 

Martin's History of Thetford. 

Evelyn's Diary. 

Evelyn's Sylva. 

Kirby's Suffolk Traveller, 1764. 

Thackeray's Four Georges. 

Suffolk in 1674. Hearth Tax Returns. S. H. A. Hervey. 

MS. Records of the City of Dunwich. 

Chambers' Book of Days. 

England under the Tudors. A. D. Innes. 

A House of Letters. Ernest Betham. 

Strutt's Sports and Pastimes. 

Sportsman's Dictionary, 1735. 

Chronicle of Jocehn of Brakelond. 

Piers the Plowman. Skeat. 

Luther's Table Talk. 

Burnet's Historj^ of his own Times. 

Navy Records, War with France, 1512-1513. 

Pepys' Diary. 

Elizabethan Age. H. Hall. 

History of Norfolk. Walter Rye. 

Journal of Sir Simon D'Ewes. 

Joiirnal of Wilham Dowsing. 

Calendar of State Papers. 


Ditto, Domestic. 

Chronicles of Theberton. H. M. Doughty. 

Witchcraft and Christianity. H. M. Doughty — Blackwood's Magazine. 

Proceedings of Institute of Archaeology. Suffolk. 

Ditto, Norfolk. 

Fitch's MSS. (Ipswich Reference Library.) 

Clyde's Material for History of Suffolk. (MS. in Ipswich Reference 

Excursions tlirough Suffolk, 1818. 
Ditto, Norfolk. 

East Anglian Notes and Queries. 

Ship Money Retiirns, Suffolk 1639-1646. V. B. Redstone. 
Chapels, Chantries, and Gilds in Suffolk. V. B. Redstone. 
Reyce's Breviary of Suffolk. 

Glimpses of Suffolk in Past Times. Lord F. Hervey. 
Diary and Autobiography of Edmund Bohun. Rix. 
Manors and Manorial Records. N. J. Hone. 
The Great Civil War. Gardner. 
Hale's Precedents in Criminal Causes. 
Tom Martin's Church Notes. (MSS. in the Library of Mr Milner-Gibson- 

CuUum, Hardwick House.) 
De Quincey's Autobiographic Sketches — TraveUing. 
Rise and Decline of the Netherlands. Ellis Barker. 
Disraeh's Miscellany of Literature. 
Martha, Lady Giffard. Julia Longe. 
D'Oyley's Life of Archbishop Sancroft. 
Bishop Spratt's Relation (of the Flower-Pot Plot). 
English Costume. D. C. Calthrop. 
Stephen's Commentaries of the Laws of England. 
Peacham's Complete Gentleman. 
George Herbert and his Times. A. C. Hyde. 
Essay concerning Witchcraft, 1718. F. Hutchinson, D.D. 
Weever's Funeral Monuments. 
Gervase Markham's Enghsh Husbandman. 
Medieval Parish Life. Abbot Gasquet. 
Reformation and Renaissance. J. M. Stone. 
Town Life in the Fifteenth Century. Mrs Green. 
Coke. The Reports. 

The House in St Martin's Street. Constance Hill. 
The Cliffs. C. M. Doughty, Litt.D. 
Records of an Old Vicarage. Rev. R. Y. Whytehead. 
Wesley and his Century. Rev. W. H. Fitchett. 
Literary Associations of East Anglia. Dutt. 
English Local Government. Mr and Mrs Sidney Webb. 
Minute Books of Ipswich Quarter Sessions. 
Prying among Private Papers by the Author of " Sir Kenelm Digby." 


Memoirs of a Royal Chaplain. Albert Hartshorne. 

Macaulay on Southey's Colloquies on Society. 

A Book about Travelling Past and Present. 

Manors of Suffolk. Copinger. 

History of the Parish of Buxhall. Copinger. 

Suffolk Records and MSS. Copinger. 

Eastern Counties Collectanea. 

Manorial Families. Muskett. 

Visitation of Norfolk. 1563. 

Visitation of Suffolk. 1563. 

The Boke of Brome. Lady C. Kerrison. 

Coke of Norfolk and his Friends. A. M. W. Stirling. 

Annals of a Yorkshire House. A. M. W. Stirling. 

Fuller's Worthies of England. 

The Family of Buckenham or Bokenham. H. Maudslay. 

MS. Collections for History of Bennington. Ed. Dunthorne. 

Enghsh Children in the Olden Time. Elizabeth Godfrey. 

Deer and Deer Parks. E. Shirley. 

Gleanings after Time. G. L. Apperson. 

Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy. 

Cullum's History of Hawsted. 

Miss Strickland's Queen Elizabeth. 

Parish Registers of England. J. C. Cox. 

Tusser's Five Hundred Points of Good Husbandry. 

Foxe's Book of Martyrs. 

Private Correspondence of Jane Lady Cornwalhs. 161 3-1644. 

The Queene's Majesties Entertainement in Suffolk and Norffolk (1578). 

Thomas Churchyarde. 
Dictionary of National Biography. 
Chaucer's Poems. 
Cobbett's Rural Rides. 
North Wales. S. Baring Gould. 
Index Monasticus Diocese of Norwich. Taylor. 

The Workes of that Faithfull and Painefull Preacher Mr Elnathan Parr. 
Hentzner's Travels in England. 
Diocesan History of Norwich. Dr Jessop. 
Paxhamentary History of England (23 Volumes). 
East Angha and the Great Civil War. Kingston. 
The Parish Registers of Wortham, Diss, Bressingham, Eye, Yaxley, 

Palgrave, Stowlangtoft, Wymondham, Marlingford, Kenninghall. 
Rolls of the Manor of Wortham Hall. 
Erasmus' Pilgrimages of Walsingham and Canterbury, translated by 

J. G. Nichols. 
Highways and ByAvays in Cambridge and Ely. G. Conybeare. 
Defoe's Tour through the Ecistern Counties. 1722. 
Davy's Suffolk Collections. Add. MSS. British Museum. 


Chancery Inquisitions Post Mortem. 

Registers of the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. 

Registers of the Archdeacon of Sudbury, Bury St Edmunds. 

Registers of the Norwich Archdeaconry Court. 

Registers of the Consistory Court of Norwich. 

The Sources of Archbishop Parker's Collection of MSS. at Corpus Christi 

College, Cambridge. M. R. James, LittD. 
History of Framlingham. R. Loder. 



Abbott, Archbishop, So 

James Seaborn's, 135 
Dr Shuckford's, 197 
Edmund Belts', i66 
Farming, A.D. 1656, loi et se^/. 

Acts of Parliament- 
Test and Corporation, 248, 259 
Burial in Woollen, 173 
For Diminishing the Consumption of 

Bread Corn, 265 
For making Railways, 274 
To Prevent Adulteration of Tea, 286 
Forbidding the Wearing of Calico, 

Agriculture — 

New interest in, 102 
Drills invented, 102 
Turnips and Clover, early cultivation, 

George Betts' agreement with 

labourers, 265 
First chaff-cutting engine, 269 
First threshing machines, 296 

Aldborough, Suffolk- 
Town of, 280, 295 

Alder, useful for horsemen, 60 

Alexander, Capt. Thomas, 260 

Algar, farmer, Wortham, 239 

Alick, Madam, 176 

Allen, John, of Thetford, IT7 

Allyn, family of, Wortham, 25 

Almanack, Ryder's, A.D. 1683, 123 

America, War of Independence, 233 

Amiens — 
Peace of, 273 
Peace of, rupture of, 286 

Angelo, officers' escape from Delhi, 315 

Anguish, Mr, 217 

Archer, Robert, 71 

Armada scare, 78 

Arthur, Thomas, 36 


Monthly, on town of Eye, 105 
Window Tax, 228 
Property Tax, 280 

Assize — 
Of bread, 12, 273 
Of victuals, 105 

Assizes, held at Bury, A.n. 1800, 263 
Association — 

For Better Serving of King William, 

To Support His Majesty's Person and 

Government, 201 
Loyal, against Republicans and 

Levellers, 251 
For the Better Preservation of Game, 
Awgar — 
John, 78, 85 
Richard, 85' 
Margaret, 78 
Ayton, Mrs, 286 

Babes in the Wood, ballad of, 14 
Bacon — 

Sir Nicholas, 5, 40, 64, 68, 128 

Sir Nathaniel, 86 

Sir Edmund, 109, no, 715, 187, 

Their Redgrave Estate sold, 133 
Bacton parish, 20, 194 
Balloon — 

Montgolfier's, a.d. 1782, 240 

First passengers in, 240 

Leonardi's, 242 

Blanchard's dirigible, a.d. 1784, 240 

Marveau's dirigible, a.d. 1784, 241 
Banham parish, 188 
Baptismal names, 54 
Baptismal names, change of, at Con- 
firmation, 55 
Barbauld, Mrs, 250 
Barker, Rev. James, rector of Redgrave, 

202, 205 
Barnardiston, Sir Samuel, 109 et seq. 
Bartholomew confessors, 106 
Battely, Walter, 71 
Bayning, Lord, 306 
Beacons, watching, 96 
Beads, pair of, 12 
Beating the Bounds, 310 
Beccles, no, 115 
Bedingfield — 

Hall, 128 

Parish, 20 
Beds, in sitting rooms, 77 


Beevor — 
Sir Thomas, 258, 283, 310 

Mr, 282 
Benevolence, a, 13 
Benhall Lodge, 115 
Benton, John, 71 

Bettys, Bettes, Betts of Wortham, 
throughout the book, and see pedi- 
gree and dates of chapter headings 
Betts, of Yoxford, 177, 178, 195, 217 

Cranmer's, 48 

The family, inscriptions in^ 119, 171, 
Bilney, Thomas, 36 
Birch, Thomas, 173 
Birding pieces, 78 
Bixley, Mr, 223, 224 
Blackstone, Sir William, 228 
Blake, Mr, 305 
Blandford, Lord, 301, 305 
Horses and hounds, 193 

Horses bled on St Stephen's Day, 38 
Bio' Norton — 

Hall, 159 

Parish of, 172, 304 
Bloomfield, or Blomville, Simon, 103 
Bloys, Sir William, 112, 115 
Bloys, Lady, death of, attributed to 

witchcraft, 133 
Bohun — 

Edmund, 130 

Edmund, Licenser of the Press, 155 
Bokynham or Bokenham — 

John, 9 

Nicholas, 36 

Robert, his sermon against Latimer, 36 
Bonaparte — 

Boast of, 273 

Banishment to Elba, rejoicings at, 293 
Book Club— 

Botesdale, 212, 251, 291 

Diss, 213 

Diss, members of, 213 
Books of Urbanity, 19 
Borough English, custom of, 41 
Borradaile — 

Richardson, 314 

Rev. Frederick, 314 

Sophia, 314 
Botesdale — 

Parish of, 143, 155, 157, 243 

George Betts reforms House of Cor- 
rection, 214 
Bowell, Edward, 235 
Bowling-green, Hingham, 227 
Boyde, Colonel, 249 
Boyle, Captain Charles, 260 
Boyne, battle of the, 137 

Brampton, Gawdy, 159 

Bray, Sir Edward, 21 

Consumption of, restricted bylaw, 268 
Potato, recipes for, 266 
Price raised by Lord Mayor, 273 

Bressingham — 

Parish of, 53, 172, 176, 207 
George Betts, rector of, 206 
Centenarian, 306 

Bridgham parish, 164 

Brome — 
Hall, 47, 49 
Parish, 95 

Brooke, Sir Robert, no, 115, 128 

Broome — 

Rev. Dr, friend of Pope, 180, 191 
Enigma by, 180 

Brudenel, Lady Fanny, 200 

Buckingham, assassination of Duke of, 

Buckenham, New, 188 
Building, rude, temp. Elizabeth, 50 
Bumbo, a drink, 206 
Bunbury, Sir Charles, 248 
Burgate parish, 53, 306, 311, 312 
Burley, Robert, 163 
Burroughes — 
Jeremiah, 192 

Jeremiah, Mrs, death of, 226 
Rev. Randall, 231 
Bury St Edmunds, or St Edmundsbury, 
or Bury — 
Town of, 7, 13, 35, 38, 48 
Dissolution of Abbey, 40 
School of, 40, 131, 186 
Fair, 199, 200 
' Assizes held at, 263 
I Butler, officer's escape from Delhi, 315 

Butts, Dr Edmund, 37 
j Buxton, Mr, 217 
! Byer, Miss, 289 
j Byrd, Avice, 178 
Bysshop, Thomas, 84 

Calendar, alteration in, 210 
Calico, act forbidding to wear, 174 
Camping, great game on Diss Com- 
mon, 193 
Canada, importance of, 211 
Candles, how to snuff, 243 
Canterbury — 

Dr Shuckford, prebendary of, 194 

George Betts' visit to, 195 

" Flaming beauties" of, 196 

Assembly, 196 
Cards, expenses of, 199 
Careless, school of Mr, at Foisted, 272 
Carmarthen, Lord, 151 
Carter, Samuel, 228 



Castleton, Sir John, warrants by, 105, 

Catchpole, Margaret, trial of, 263 

Cato, Boke of Dionysius, much read 
in the Middle Ages, 18 

Chancery suit, Deye v. Deye, 214 

Chandos, funeral of Duchess of, 287 

Chapman, Benjamin, letters of, 188 

Chariot, Edmund Belts' new, 223 

Charters, ancient, at Wortham, 37 

Chawmpennys — 
John, 44 
Gild land of Diss, 44 

Chedworth, Lord, George Belt's 
correspondence with, 262 

Cheeke, Robert, 84 

Chester, Dr, in the Great Plague, 107 

Chichester — 

Major R. Bruce, C.B., 316 
Archibald, 316, 317 

Chirurgery, Episcopal licence to Thomas 
Belts to practice, 58 

Chittocke, Henry, 71 

Chrislchurch College, Oxford, 223, 228 

Non-attendance at, 125 
News of the day heard at, 126 

Chute or Chowte, of Appledore, Philip, 


Clare Hall, Cambridge, George Belts, 
fellow-commoner of, 192 

Clay, Mr, 305 

Mustered in trained bands, 68 
Sufferings of, during Commonwealth, 

Clothes, eighteenth century, exhibited at 
South Kensington, 199 

Beef Steak, Ipswich, 299 
Diss Dinner, 219 
Pitt, at Bury St Edmunds, 305 
Pitt, at Norwich, 301 
While's, 195 

Palgrave, Thomas D'Eyes letter 
about, 220 

Coaches — 

Queen Elizabeth's, 67 
Stage, 131 

Opposition to first mail, 236 
Flying machines, 221 

Cobbelt, William, 310 


Rev. Richard, 264, 306 
Mr, 269, 281, 291, 
Mrs, 300 

Cock ale. Rose Belts' recipe for, 90 

Cockfield Hall, 115 

Coddenham parish, 103, 269 

Coining, enigma on. 180 

Coke, Hon. Robert, 187 
Coke of Norfolk, 277 
Colby, family, 90, 169 
Colney — 

Hall, 292 

Thomas Belts, rector of, 302, 306 

Sir Thomas Bettys, rector of, A.D. 
I4SS. 302 
Colt, Sir George, 64 
Common, expenses of driving, 296 
Commonwealth, a sermon, 97 
Confiscated estates, 102 
Conspiracy, the Cato Street, 302 
Cooke, of Roughham, family, 199 
Cooper — 

Thomas, 43 

Mary, 216 
Coppledycke, Edward, ji 
Copy-book, Bettys' children fifteenth- 
century, 16 
Corbold, William, 71 
Corn, foreign supplies found necessary, 

Cornburies, Lord, 152 
Cornwallis — 

Sir Thos., 47, 49 

Family, 85, 115, 179, 309 

Lord, no, 228, 233, 273, 289 

Lord-Lieutenant ot Ireland, 259 

Archbishop, 207, 237 

Bishop of Lichfield, 271 

Admiral, 258 

Lady Mary, 305 

Edmund Belts letter to Mrs, 237 
Costessy, farm at, 166 
Costume, 12, 14, 61, 66, 116, 136, 198, 

204, 208, 230, 269, 281 
Archdeacon, 314 

Parish of, 20 
Courts — 

Christian, 31 

of Pie- Powder. Thomas Deye pre- 
sides over, 105 
Coxage, Mr, 189 
Crabbe, poems of, 280 
Cranmer, Archbishop, 4a 
Crawshay, Richard, iron master, *<j9 
Croft, Mr, 306 
Cromer, 235, 275 
Cromwell — 

Thomas, 41 

Oliver, 104, 105 

Richard, 105 
Cropley, family, 179, 270 
Culford, George Bells visit to, 273 
Culloden, Dr Shuckford's sermon on, 

Cullum family, 118, 179, 207, 370 

Sir John, letter of, 321 


Cumberland, Duke of, 202 
Cunningham — 

Capt., R.N., 258 

Admiral, Sir Charles, 293 
Curates, stipends of, 197 
Cutler, Nicholas, 59 
Cyclone, description of, 316 

Dammont, Robert, 128 

Darby, Dr, ol Diss, 192 

Dawney, Rev. John, 209 

Dean, Mr, 305 

Debenham, Robert, 71 

Declaration for liberty of conscience, 

Dede of gyft, a.d. 1272, 7 
Dedham, George Betts drowned at, 257 
de Grey, William, 217, 228 
Derby, silk works at, 299 
D'Ewes ol Stowlangtoft, 117 
Deye, family, 103, 104, 105, 109, 118, 

179, 207, 210, 213, 215, 220, 261 
Dickei s, Miss, 25 

Dickleburgh, parish of, i86, 234, 287 
Dillingham, Mr, 263 
Diss, 22, 106, 165, 304 

Gilds, dissolution of, 42-43 

Rector ejected, 99 

Hundred of, 303 
Dissolution of monasteries, 39 
Domestic Management, Mary Betts' 

book on, 242 
Doughty family, 20, 107, 246, 285, 296, 

307. 3 '39 
Dove, Rev. John, 274 
Doyley, Sir William, no, 115 
Driving tour — 

George Bett's, A.D. 1746, 205 

Names of the party, 205 

Places visited, 206 

E.xpenses of, 206 
Druery — 

Thomas of Erpingham, 275 

Maria of Erpingham, 275 
Duelling, verses on, 212 
Sir John, no, 115 

Mr, no 
Duke of Norfolk, Funeral of, A.D. 

1524, 20, 26, 207 
Duke of Northumberland, 46 
Duncannon, Lord, attacked by foot- 
pads, 206 
Dunwich, 248 

William Betts, Recorder of, 178 

Felix, bishop of, 39 


145. 163 

Edgar, Mr, 305 

Education — 
Monk's schools, 15 
Shuckiord's notes on Locke, 182 
Parish school of, Rev. George 

Doughty, A.D. 1712, 246 
First organised attempt at National, 
Edwards — 

Mr, ejected minister of Eye, 157 
Mrs, hats bought at shop of, 293 
Election — 
County of Suffolk, A.D. 1672, 109 

et %eg. 
County of Suffolk, A.D. 1790, 247 
County of Norlolk, A.i). 1774, 187 

et seq. 
County of Norfolk, A.D. 1806, 277 

ec seq. 
Borough of Eye, A.D. 1795, 257 
EUingham parish, 314 
Emperor of Russia in London, 293 
Enclosure of commons, 18, 45, 56, 

Epact, to find the, 124 and note 
Roger, clericus, 59 

Aniye, 60 
Euston, Lord, county meeting called by, 

259, 266 
Excise — 

Magistrates' cases, 105 

" Liberty, Property, and no," 189 
Eye — 

Witch of, 9 

Town of, 104, 311 

Priory dissolution of, 39 

Red Book of, 39, 40, note 

Queen Elizabeth's charter to, 65, 157 

Search for arms at, 126 

Stayer House estate, 215 

Moore Hall, 207 

Martyrs in dungeon of, 48 

Fairchild, John, 133 

Family notebook, a.d. 1619, 89, 121 

Felton — 

Family, 61, 114, 128 

Sir Anthony, 85 

The assassin, 94 

Sir Henry, no, in 
Fen Street, 3. 14 
Finlay, Sir William, 23 
Finningham — 

Fair, 105 

Parish, 20 
Firearms, early, 31, 78 
Fire Assurance policy, A.D. 1739, 197 
Fire brace — 

Sir Basil, 150, 152 

Sir Cordel, 213 note 



First fruits of poor livings, discharge 

of, 163 
Fisher, Mr, 225, 288 
Fishing, George Belts' recipe for baits, i6i 
Fitzroy, Lord Charles, 266 
Flatman, William, 261 
Flax, 49 

Fleetwood, bishop, 9 
Flowerdew, Thomas, i86 
Flowerpot Plot, the, 130, 14^ ei secf. 
Folser or Fulcher, family, 43, 88, 89, 

133. 159, 209 
Fonnereau, Mr, 305 
Footpads, 206 
Forrest, John, 84 
Foster, Sir William, 272, 275, 308 
Fox hunting, George Betts' letter about. 

A. D. 169 J, 159 
Framlinghani, 20, 42, 47 
Francis, school of Mr, at Ditchingham, 

On letters, 289 

Distinguished autographs, 313 
Frere — 

Sheppard, of Roydon, 228, 232 

Edward, 255 

John, 262, 274 

Lieutenant William, 274 
Fressingfield, village of, 143 

Of 1784, lasting 177 days, 241 

Great, of 1814, 291 

Simon, 312 
*' Funke," to make, 123 

Gage, Sir F. , 194 
Certificates, 242, 272 

Laws, agitation against, 212 
Games, fashionable, a.d. 1777, 232 
Gaming at White's, 195 
Garboldisham parish, 194 
Gardening, fantastic methods of, 122 
Gascoigne or Gaskin — 

Bartholomew of Kenninghall, 92 

Edmund, 92, 117 

Susanna, 118 

Grizel, 119 
Gawdy — 

Bassingbourne, 64 

Lady, 90 

Charles, 128 

Framlingham, 128 

Hall, 308 
Gentyleman.John, Jiff rectors of Wortham 
Gibson — 

Barnaby, 221 

Mrs, 221 

Mr, 263 

Gibbs, Rev. — , 191 

Gild, Sequestered property recovered. 

Parish, 8, 11 

Dissolution of, 42 
Glasse, Mr and Mrs, 309 
Glemham, Hall of Little, 299 
Goate, Edward, 178 
Goldsmith; Mrs, 227 
Gooch, Mr, 305 
Gralton, Duke of, 199 
Granger, Capt. William, 260 
Grass, Land laid down to, 18, 56 
Greenhouses, first, A.D. 1680, 121 
Grey, Lady Jane, 46 
Grimstone, Sir Harbottle, 84 
Grimwood, school of Dr, at Dedham, 

Grundisburgh parish, 115 

Hakluyt, Richard (voyages), 57 
Hales, John, bill against enclosures, 

Hardwick, rectory of, 181 
Hartismere, Hundred of, 64, no 
Harvey family, 128, 198 

Robert, 71 

Mr, 234, 269. 272 
Hayle, Richard, 128 
Hemp, 49 

Sheets of, 244 
Hengrave, 194 

Henham Hall, burning of, 225 
Henniker, Lord, 289, 309 
Heresy, post-mortem, 52 
Heriot, right ot, 235 
Herlmg, East, parish, 164 
Heme — 

Thomas, 74 

Family, 77, 129 
Heselrigge, Sir Thomas, 292 
Hide, charge of Judge, 127 
Hinderclay parish, 213 
Hintlesham, 305 
Hiring fairs, 243 
Hoadley, Dr Benjamin, physician to 

George U., 194 
Holmes, Mr, 308, 309 
Sir John, Chief Justice, 133 

Family, 179, 181, 213 
Honeymoon customs, 230, 309, 314 
Horoscopes, 172 
" Hors drincks," 81 

Mills, 76 

Stealing, 283 

"Cropt," 244 


Hotham — 

Sir Beaumont, 228, 263 

Capt. William. 260 

Family at Dennington, 295 
Houghton, pictures at, 205 
Household — 

Stuff, Anneys Betts', A.n. 1606, 70 

Recipes, a.d. 1620, 89, 205 
Howchine or Honekin— 

Thomas, minister of Palgrave. 98 

Margaret, 129 
Hoxne 14, 15, — 

Bishop's palace at. 22 

Vicar ejected, 98 

Hundred of, 64 

The Gold Bridge, 308 

George Clarke Doughty, vicar of, 
Hue and Cry, form of, A.D. 160:;, 74 
Hunt, Madam, 176 
Hunting — 

" Measures of blowing," 83 

George Betts, M.F.H. a.d. 1696, 

George Betts, devotee of, 193, 204 
Huntingdon, Lady, 238 
Huntingfield, Lord, 249 note 
Huntingtower, Lord, 109 

Ibbetson, Miss;, 286 

Indian Mutiny, letter about, 315 

Inquisitions, post-mortem, 84 

Invasion — 
Precautions against, 259 
Special constables enrolled, 274 

Procession through streets, 116 
Launch of H.M.S. Hampshire, 193 
Salmon taken near, 193 
Quarter sessions, A.D. 1764, minutes 
of, 214 

Iron — 
Boats, the first, 298 
Works at Merthyr Tydvil, 298 

Jacobite — 

Succession, prospect of, 162 

Rising, A.D. 1715, \6getseq. 

Rising, A.D. 1745, county meeting 
about, 201 

Rising, A.D. 1745, financial panic, 202 
Jenney, Edmund, 220 
Job, derivation of word, 70 note 
Justices, powers of, 258 

Kenninghall parish, 47, 117 
Kerrison, Mr Matthias, 309 
Kersey, 4 
Kelts' rebellion, 45 
Kilderbee, Dr, 288 

Kings of England- 
Edward IV., 3, 13 

Henry VI., 10, 13 

Richard III., 15 

Henry VII., 20 

Henry VIII. , 25, 35 

Edward VI., 42, 45 

Philip of Spain, 57 

James I., 81, 193 

Charles I., 97 

Charles II., ii6, 118, 127, 144, 167 

James II., 126, 144, 163 

William III., 118, 137, 157, 167 

George I., 171 

George II., 195, 201 

George III., 233, 238, 301 

George IV., 301, 302 
King of Prussia in London, 293 
Kyrke, John, 71 

Lany, John, of Cratfield, 54 
Largesse, custom of, 295 
Latimer, Bishop, 37 
Law — 

Causes, 125 

Common recoveries, 217 

Of master and servant, 213 
Lee — 

Rebecca, 199 

Family, 287 
Leeke — 

Rev. Seymour, 227 

Mrs, 234, 257 
Leggatt, Rev. — , Vicar of Sibton, 281 
Lei.ston Abbey, 295 
Leland's visit to Eye, 40 note 
Letters, Carriage of, 236 
Lichfield — 

George Betts, Prebendary of, 271 

Bishop of, 271, 289, 292 
Life, Nathaniel, 169, 186, 235 
Lighthouse, private property, 235 
Linzee, Capt. Samuel Hood, 260 
Lloyd, nonjuring bishop of Norwich, 

152, 163 
London tavern, 252, 293 
Londonderry, Lord, funeral of, 305 
Longe, Lieutenant, 279 
Long Stratton, 192 
Losack, Commodore, 260 
Lottery tickets, 199, 233 
Louis XIV., 163, 164 
" Love, the test of," 200 
Lowdale, John, 43 
Lubbock, Dr, 275, 276, 280 
Lucas, Mr and Mrs, 309 
Lyverie furniture, 77 

Macclesfield, Earl of, 210 



Macdonald, Sir Archibald, Lord Chief 

Baron, 263 
Mad dog, recipe to cure bite of, 166 
Maimed soldiers, 96 
Malyns, Rev. — , rector of Eye, 217 
Mann, Mr, Recorder of Ipswich, 178 
Manning, Mr, of Diss, 309 
Manorial Court, 61, 62 
Mans, Anneys, 62 
Mansfield, Lord Chief Justice, 228 
Markham, Gervase, George Belts' notes 

on, 79 
Marlborough — 

Earl and Duke of, 144, 146, 152, 163 

Sarah, Duchess of, 157 
Marlingford, parish of, 159, 172 
Marriage — 

Negotiations, 86 

Expenses of, 182 et seg. 

Seasons for, 99 

Disuse of ring for, 99 

Before Justices, 99 
Marshalsea, 96 
Martin — 

Mr, 301 

Thomas, Antiquary, 53, 176, 179, 213 
Martlesham parish, 246, 285, 312, 316 
Martyrdom, anniversary of King 

Charles, 189, 301 
Martyrs, Local, 48 
Maynard, Mr of Hoxne, 258 
Medicine — 

Mediaeval, 27 

Tempore Queen Anne, 166 

Hall, 272 

John de (Abbot Reeve), 40 
Merest, Rev. James, Curate of Wortham, 

25s et seq. 
Families of men maintained by 
parishes, 260 

Ballot for, 274 

Edmund Betts joins East Suffolk, 274 
Money, foreign coins current in England, 

Mons, success of allies near, 164 
Montagu — 

Edgar, 308 

Leader of the opposition temp. 
Henry VIII., 25 

Miss, 309 
Moon — 

Influence of, 124 

To know the age of, 124 
Moore — 

Bishop of Norwich, 162, 164 

Mr, 272 

Richard, "intruded "rector of Diss, 99 

Richard, sermon on the Plague, 106 

Morden, William, parliamentary candi- 
date, 187 
More — 

Mr, Archbishop Sancroft's secretary, 

Mrs Hannah, 250 
Mortuaries, 71 note 
Mountain — 

Bishop of Quebec, 301 

A drink, 206 

Mr, 225 
Mum, a kind of ale, 136 

Namur, thanksgiving for the taking 

of, 162 
Navigation proposed from Ipswich to 

Eye and Diss, 301 
Navy, guns of Henry VIII's, 31 
Needham — 

William, Archbishop Sancroft's chap- 
lain, 130 

William, sermon at Lambeth, 131 

William, letter of, 145, et seq. 

Catherine, marriage of, 130, 181 
Negus Daniel, 215, et seq. 
Nelson, Lord, death of, 276 
Newgate, prisoners in, 143, 144 
Newmarket — 

Plot, A.D. 1683, 126 

King Charles I. at, 96 
Nicols, Francis, 145 
Nightingall, Sir Miles and Lady, 305 
Nix, Richard, Bishop of Norwich, 37 
Non-jurors, 139 
North, Dudley, 299 
Norwich — 

Rejoicings at fall of Bastille, 247 

Castle, 257 

Bonfires for Trafalgar forbidden at, 

Polling day, description of, 279 
Nottingham, Lord, 146 


Sufferings of rector, 99 

White House, 199, 204 

Church, Belts' tombs in, 247 

Dr Broome, rector of, 180 
Gates, Titus, 139 
Oboli and quadranles, 70 note 
Orford, Lord, 205 
Orkney — 

Gilbert, titular bishop of. Indulgence 
granted by, 14 
Orwell Park, 305 
Osborn, officer's escape from Delhi, 

Overstrand — 

Foulness Light, 234 
George Betts, rector of, 257 


Overstrand — 

Lifeboat, 271 

Manors of 275 
Oxford, Earl of, 23 

Paine, Tom, 251, 252 

Palatine Protestants in Norfolk and 

Suffolk, 164 

Parish, 15, 53, 95, 165 

Rector ejected, 98 

Thomas D'Eye, rector of, 215 
Parish registers, commencement of, 41 
Parker — 

Lord, 211 

Sir Harry, 272 
Parkhurst, Bishop of Norwich, 164 
Parr, Klnathan, rector of Palgrave, 8t;, 

86, 88, 129 
Patteson, James, 292, and see Wortham, 

rectors of 
Pauper — 

Settlement of, 261, 311 

Pass granted to by George Belts, 261 
Peck, John, of Norwich, 132 
Perceval, the Prime Minister, assassina- 
tion of, 287 
Pewter, bequest of, 6, 227 
Pheasant-rearing, introduction of, A.D. 

1729, 177 
Phillips, Rev. Daniel, 266 
Phosphoric matches, 290 
" Pilfering Brood," the, 170 
Pillow beres, 75, 165 
Pinborough, Nathaniel, 228 
Pitt Club, see Club 
Plague — 

At Diss, A.D. 1579, 68 

Sermon on great, 106, 107 
Plundered ministers, 99 
Poley, Mr, 305 
Political parsons, shapes of their gowns, 

Pollard, Mr, 289 

Porringer, Thos. Deye's silver, 104 
Posse Comitatis, 113 
Postilions, George Belts' wages of, 

Poslle, Jehoshaphat, 192, 217, 220, 236, 

Potatoes given to live slock, 266 
Pound, swine impounded, A. n. 1603, 

74. 296 
Powell, Dr, 292 
Powis, Lady Mary, 200 
Prettyman family, 194, 181 
Pretty, Francis of Eye, Elizabethan 

circumnavigator, 57 
Food and provisions, 8, lot, ro 

Prices — 

Clothes, II, 136, 185, 194, 198, 206, 
273. 275 

Wheat, 9, 63, 102, 264, 267, 286, 310 

Tea, 198 note 

Chariots, 199, 222 

Chaise, 232 

Table planks, 76 
Primrose, 3rd Viscount, 207 
Princess Charlotte, funeral of, 300 
Proclamation — 

William III. against swearing, 157 

Queen Anne, thanksgiving for victory 
near Mons, 164 

George IIL, war in America, public 
fast, 233 

George HI., of Peace, 293 
"Prognostications," seventeenth century, 

of weather and prices, 80 
Propositions of Parliament, 104 
Protestant refugees, tetnp. Elizabeth 164, 
Provisions, scarcity of, 264 
Puritan persecutions, 98 
Purveyors — 

For royal household, 67, 68 

Composition in Suffolk for, 96 

Quebec, 211 

Bishop of, 301 
Queen — 

Anne Boleyn, 38 

Anne of Cleves, 25 

Mary I., 47 

Mary I., humble supplication to, 47 

Mary I., second appeal to, 48 

Mary I., death of, 51 

Elizabeth's progress through Suffolk, 

Henrietta Maria, 109 

Mary II., 137 

Anne, 163, 167 

Railways, 274, 313 

Humfrey, Recorder of Ipswich, 186, 

Mrs Humfrey, 234 
Rates, Parliamentary, for drums and 

trumpets, etc., 104 
Raven, Mr, 289 
Ray, Major, 301 
Read, Mr, 300 
Redgrave —, 23, 35, 53, 65, 133 

Deer park, 8i 

Church, 90 

Hall, 6s 

Ball, George Belts' verses on, 181 
Reeve, Sir George, M. P. for Eye, 109 
Reform County meeting, 305 



Refugees, Royal French, at Bury, 253 
Regent, Prince, 293; escape from" the 

mob, 300 
Rennery, duel of Mr, 212 
Sixteenth century, 63 

Seventeenth century, 103 
Restoration, the, 96, 103, 168 
Revet or Rivett — 

William of Rishangles, 20 

Thomas of Brockford, 66 

James of Rattlesden, 66 

Catherine, wife of Rev. George C. 
Doughty, 285 

Misses, 308 

William of Dysse, 44 
Riding the double horse, 251 
Rigby Dr, 294 
Riot at Diss, 252 
Rioters destroying threshing machines, 

Risby, John, 114 
Rishangles, 20 
Roads — 

Of fifteenth century, 51 

Waywardens appointed, 51 

Statute labour on, 213 
Rogers, School of Mr, at Walsham, 250 
Rous, Sir John, 225, 247 
Routhe, School of Miss, at Brooke, 272 
Rowley, Rev. Joshua, rector of New- 
bourne, 290 
Roydon, parish, 178 
Rugg, Bishop of Norwich, 41 note 

Saham-toney, Shuckforth monuments 

at, 129 
Saint's days, farming operations begun 

on, 37 
Salisbury — 

Earl of, 150 

Bishop of, 171 
Salt, duty on, 255 
Sampson — 

Margaret, 61 

Robert, 61 
Samson, Abbot, 35, 65 
Sancroft — 

Archbishop, 130, 137, 156 

Statement of Archbishop, 139 

Letter of Archbishop, 155 
Scase, John 71 

Inn, 132, 165 

Estate accounts of Edmund Belts, 199 
Scott, Mr, 305 
Seaborn — 

Family of, 135, 165 

James, accounts of, 136 et seq. 

Rebecca, 135, 165, 199 

Sermons — 

On the Commonwealth, 97 

The Great Plague, 106 

Duke of Monmouth, the rising of, 126 

Louis XIV., persecutions of, 163 

The First Pretender, 169 ; Second 
Pretender, 202 

The American Rebellion, 233 

French Revolution, 253 
Servants — 

Tax on, 242 

Society for encouragement of good, 
Setting corn, a.d. 1608, 79 
Setting partridges, see Sport 
Sharp, Dr, Dean of Norwich and Arch- 
bishop of York, 162 
Sheep, stealing, case of children, 261 
Shelton, rectory of, 187 
Sheppard — 

Daniel, 127 

Thomas, 60 
Sherman family in Suffolk and U.S.A., 

Sherriffe, Mr, 282 
Shipmoney, 95 

Ship, sale of an armed trader, ir8 
Shipwreck, right of, 234 
Shuckforth or Shuckford family, 128, 
129, 207 

Dr, Royal Chaplain, 181 187, 195 

Mrs Shuckford, 214, 226 
Simpson, C, 228 
Sinclair, Catherine, 273 
Singleton, Mr, M.P., for Eye, 257 
Skelton, John, Poet Laureate, Rector of 

Diss, 22 
Smallpox — 

Outbreak of, 222, 226 

Inoculation for, 241 
Smith, family, 85 note 
Smuggling, case of at Hoxne, 278 
Soap, Pears transparent, A.D. 1814, 

Societies — 

Propagation of the gospel, 246 

Reformation of Manners, 246 

For distributing good books 
(S P.C.K.), 246 

Revolutionary of London, 252 

Of universal good will, 291 

British and Foreign School, 296 

National, 296 

For encouragement of good servants, 
Society at Hastings, verses about, 307 

Rev., John, 192, 226 

Mrs, death of, 242 
Somerset, Lord, 148 


South Lopham parish, 9 
Southsea, stock prices quoted, 185, 201 
Shooting, 301, 305, and see Pheasants 

and Game 
Hunting, 83, 160, 193, 204 
Setting partridges, 193, 184 
Camping, 193 
Fishing, 91, 161 
Cock fighting, 272 
Spratt, Bishop of Rochester, 144 et seq. 
Spring, Sir Thomas, 65 
Squire, Mr, 300 
Stamps, first postage, 313 
Steam — 

Boat, first on the Mersey, 299 
Carriage, first, 274 
Stile or Styles, name of, 7, 261 
Stisted, Col. , 263 
Park, 305 
Ash parish, 243 
Stowlangtoft parish, 117, 119, 120 
Stowmarket, County meetings at, 201, 

264, 287 
Sturdy vagabond, branding of, 44 
Subsidy of A.D. 1524, 25 ; of A.u. 1568, 

59 ; of A.D. 1603, 75 
Sucklinge, Nicholas, 100 
Humble remonstrance from, a.d. 

1627, 95 
Edmund, Earl of, 20 
Supper, hours of, 228 
Supplication — 
Of the Beggars, 38 
Of the poor commons, 44 
Of Protestants of Norfolk and Suffolk, 

Surtees, Mr, 305 
Swafiham, 169 
Swan — 
Mark, assignment of, 92 
Penalty for stealing, 93 
Sydney, New South Wales, described 
(1810), 283 


Elizabethan, 51 

William, Prince of Orange, n8 

Cullum, 207 
Tailor, the penitent, 256 
Tankards, seventeenth century heir- 
looms, 165 
Tanner, Bishop, 40 note 
Taxes — 

Hearth tax, 117 

Poll tax, 136 

Servants, 242 

Armorial bearings, 258 

New assessed, 258 
Property tax, 280 
Window tax, 228 
Taylor, family, 25 
Teaboards, 198 

Terrier, Wortham, A.U. 1623, 34 
Theatres, Eye, Bungay, Bury, Norwich, 

Brome, 227, 232 
Hall, 285 
Shooting at, 308 
Thelnetham parish, 85 
Town, 21, 23, 251 
His Majesty at, 96 
Mayor of, 163 

Rectory of St Peters, 162, 164 
Thomas, Mr of Woodbridge, 280, 299 
Thomson, Dr, 300 
Thorndon parish, 118, 271, 304 
Thornham, Great, James Belts, rector 

of, 314 
Thorpe, Morieux, 114 
Thrandeston — 
Fair, 227 
Parish, 85 
James, 71 
Rev. Thomas, 157 
Edward, Attorney General, Letter of, 

Bishop of Durham, 223 
Lord Chancellor, 233, 238 
Thurston or Thruston, John, 58, 59, 64 
Tillotson, Archbishop, 137 
Timber, preservation and planting for 

Navy, 177 

On turnips, newly introduced, refusal 

to pay, 175 
Customs of titliing, A.D. 1592, 69 
Tobacco, virtues of, 81 
Tollemache, Sir Lionel, 109 
"Toucht gold," for King's Evil, 167 
Trade for younger sons, 57, 129 
Trafalgar, news of, 276 
Travelling — 
Expenses of, 197 
Difficulties, 292 
Trevithick, Richard, 274 
Trinity House, The, 235, 292 
Trousers, Introduction of, 281 
Trumbull, Rev. Dr, 157 
Tullibardine, Marquis of, 202 
"Tumble-down-Dick," 105 
Turnpike tolls. Mortgages on, 236, 280 
Tusser, Elizabethan poet and farmer, 

38, 63, 102 
Tweed, Rev. J., 300 


Sir James, 15 
Sir Thomas, 15 

Umbrellas, introduction of, 251 
Uniform, Naval, 204 

Valentine, an eighteenth century, aci 
Valentme party, Mrs Cobbold's, 300 
Vales to servants, 193, 194 

Sir Gerard, 248, 249 

Sir Joshua, 249 
Vauxhall, 198 
Venice treacle, 32, 166 
Verney, Sir Ralph, 32 
Vigo, taking of plate ships near, 197 
Villeinage, 20 
Vincent family, 159, 169 
Vivart, E. D. Hamilton, 315 
Volunteers — 

For defence of Suffolk, 257 

Hartisraere, 271 

Hartismere Rangers, 274 

Subscriptions for clothing of, 273 

Wachesham, Sir Gerard de, 7 
Wager — 
On death, 179 
On marriage, 197 
On melons, 272 
On walking, 299 
On war, 282 
Wages 8, 11, 63, lor, 193, 194, 213. 
232, 244, 286, 310 
Fixed by Justices at Quarter Sessions, 

63, 102 
Paid in kind, 185 
Justices control of abolished, 286 
Wales, Thomas Betts walks through 

297 et seq. 
Walford, Rev. — , rector of Bucklesham 

Walker, Sir B. W., ^17 
Family, 25 

George and Mary, 53 
Walpole — 

Horace, 194, 205, 211 
Horatio 206 
With France, distress caused by, 267 
With France, 273 
Peninsular, 282 
Of the Roses, 9, 17 
Ware, Dr, 292 
Warnham, Rectory of, 194 
Waterloo, victory of, 295 
Waters, John, 262 
Wattisfield parish, 175 


Watton parish, 15, 57 
Waveney, river, 47, 49. 91 
Wayth — 
Thomas, 250, 251, 259 
Mrs, death of, 270 
Weaving industry, 18, 52, 57, 278 
Week end parties. Archbishop Corn- 

wallis', 238 
Wellington, Duke of, 281, 282 
Wenn, Mr, 288 

Wesley, Prophecy of John, 247 
West Winch, Betts rectors of, 207, 238 
Wetheringsett, parish, 57 

Marquess of, verses on, 171 
Chaplain to Archbishop Sancroft, 138 
Wheat flour, use of, restricted by law, 

256, and see Prices 
White, Rev. — , vicar of Stradbrook, 

306, 308 
Wigs, 187, 188, 231 
"Wilkes and Liberty," 211 
Wilhams, Rev. Theophilus, 126, 162, 

163, 164, 169 
Willoughby, officer at Delhi, iik 
Wills— ^ ^ 

Beatys Wryght (1464), 6, 9 
Alys Wryght (1487), 10, 13 
Rycharde Bettes (1559), 52 
Thomas Bettes (1561), 60 
Anneys Bettes (1606), 75 
Syeth Betts (1613), 8^ 
George Betts (1652), "loo 
Daniel Betts (1688), 134 
John Betts (1698), 165 
James Betts (1703), 165 
Mary Betts (1715), 199 
George Betts (1727), 177 
Mrs Burroughes (1773), 227 
Mrs Humfrey Rant (1781), 234 
Mrs Wayth (1801), 270 
Rev. George Betts {1822), 30 
Wilson or Wolson — 
Of Stowlangtoft, 117 
William, letter of, 119 
Wilson — 

Captain, of Redgrave, 258 
Admiral, 272, 282, 289, 301, 305, 309 
Windham, — , Esq., 21 

William, Rt. Hon., 277 
Window tax. Diss case of, 228 
Wingfield — 
Castle, 308 

School of Miss, at Dereham, a7« 
Wisbech parish, 163 
Witchcraft, 9, 133 
Wodehouse — 
Mr, 187 

Sir Armine, 227 
Hon. John, 277 


Wolnoe, John, 179 
Wolsey, Cardinal, 18, 23 
Wolterton, 194 

Women doctors, sixteenth century, 59 
" Wonges, the," a natural curiosity, 121 
George, Baron of the Exchequer, 262 

Mrs, 305 
Woodward, Thomas J., 274 
Woollen, burial in, 173, 227 and sec 

Acts of Parliament 
Woolpit parish, 281 
Wool trade — 

Rise of, 18, 56 

Decline of, 174 
Woolverstone, 305 
Workhouses, parish, 239, 256 
Worsted, 19 
John, surgeon of Diss, 226 

John, Captain R.N., 258, 260, 287, 
306, 317 
Wortham — 

Manors of, 3, 4, 35, 40, 41, 61, 94, 
274: 295 

Ling, 7, 261 

Green, 294 

Centenarian, 306 

Eastgate, 15 

Southmore, 34 

Jarvis, 34 

Everarde, 34 

Almshouse, 85 

Parish boundary, 311 

Devolution of land and of mansion, 41 

Wortham — 

Gilds, 42 

Rectors of, 7, 15, 48, 59, 69, 71, 72, 
85. 98, 157, 17s. 191, 213, 306 

Curious Trust Deed, 172, 176 

Archdeacon's report on church, A.i). 
1602, 72 

Town lands, 94 

Inn, 105 
Wryght — 

Family of Wortham, 3, 6 

Beatys, 6, 8, 9 

John, 7, 10 

Rycharde, 6, 10 

Alys, 10, 13, 14, IS 
Wymondham, 45, 137, 165, 172, 192 


Elihu, epitaph of, 299 

University, U.S.A., 299 
Yaxley — 

Parish, 9, 88 

Hall, 54 

Church, 134 

Anthony, recantation of, 37 

Mary, 54 
Commencement of, old style, 124 

New style, 210 
Young — 

Robert, his forgeries, 143 et seq. 

His accomplices, 144 
Yoxford — 

Betts of, 177, 178, 19s 

The Tuns, 280 


T has long been a reproach to 
England that only one volume 
has been adequately rendered 
into English ; yet outside this 
country he shares with 
TOLSTOI the distinction 
of being the greatest and most daring 
student of humanity living. 

f There have been many difficulties to 
encounter in completing arrangements for a 
uniform edition, though perhaps the chief bar- 
rier to publication here has been the fact that 
his writings are not for babes — but for men 
and the mothers of men. Indeed, some of his 
Eastern romances are written with biblical can- 
dour. " I have sought truth strenuously," he 
tells us, " I have met her boldly. I have never 
turned from her even when she wore an 


unexpected aspect." Still, it is believed that the day hr».s 
come for giving English versions of all his imaginative 
works, as well as of his monumental study JOAN OF 
ARC, which is undoubtedly the most discussed book in the 
world of letters to-day. 

H MR. JOHN LANE has pleasure in announcing that 
the following volumes are either already published or are 
passing through the press. 











JOAN OF ARC (2 vols.) 

% All the books will be published at 6/- each with tiic 
exception of JOAN OF ARC, which will be 25/- net 
the two volumes, with eight Illustrations. 

^ The format of the volumes leaves little to be desired. 
The size is Demy 8vo (9 X 5|), and they art printed from 
Caslon type upon a paper light in weight and strong of 
texture, with a cover design in crimson and gold, a gilt top, 
end-papers from designs by Aubrey Beardsley and initials by 
Henry Ospovat. In short, these are volumes for the biblio- 
phile as well as the lover of fiction, and form perhaps the 
cheapest library edition of copyright novels ever published, 
for the price is only that of an ordinary novel. 

f The translation of these books has been entrusted to 
such competent French scholars as MR. Alfred allinson. 



% As Anatole Thibault, Jit Anatole France, is to most 
English readers merely a name, it will be well to state that 
he was born in 1844 in the picturesque and inspiring 
surroundings of an old bookshop on the Quai Voltaire 
Paris, kept by his father, Monsieur Thibault, an authority on 
eighteenth-century history, from whom the boy caught the 
passion for the principles of the Revolution, while from his 
mother he was learning to love the ascetic ideals chronicled 
in the Lives of the Saints. He was schooled with the lovers 
of old books, missals and manuscript ; he matriculated on the 
Quais with the old Jewish dealers of curios and objets d'art; 
he graduated in the great university of life and experience. 
It will be recognised that all his work is permeated by his 
youthful impressions ; he is, in fact, a virtuoso at large. 

f He has written about thirty volumes of fiction. His 
first novel was JOCASTA & THE FAMISHED CAT 
appeared in 1881, and had the distinction of being crowned 
by the French Academy, into which he was received in 1896. 

f\ His work is illuminated with style, scholarship, and 
psychology ; but its outstanding features are the lambent wit, 
the gay mockery, the genial irony with which he touches every 
subject he treats. But the wit is never malicious, the mockery 
never derisive, the irony never barbed. To quote from his own 
GARDEN OF EPICURUS : " Irony and Pity are both of 
good counsel ; the first with her smiles makes life agreeable, 
the other sanctifies it to us with her tears. The Irony I 
invoke is no cruel deity. She mocks neither love nor 
beauty. She is gentle and kindly disposed. Her mirth 
disarms anger and it is she teaches us to laugh at rogues and 
fools whom but for her we might be so weak as to hate." 

f Often he shows how divine humanity triumphs over 
mere asceticism, and with entire reverence ; indeed, he 
might be described as an ascetic overflowing with humanity, 
just as he has been termed a " pagan, but a pagan 
constantly haunted by the pre-occupation of Christ." 
He is in turn — like his own Choulette in THE RED 
LILY — saintly and Rabelaisian, yet without incongruity. 


At all times he is the unrelenting foe of superstition and 
hypocrisy. Of himself he once modestly said : " You will 
find in my writings perfect sincerity (lying demands a talent 
1 do not possess), much indulgence, and some natural 
affection for the beautiful and good." 

fl The mere extent of an author's popularity is perhaps a 
poor argument, yet it is significant that two books by this 
author are in their HUNDRED AND TENTH THOU- 
SAND, and numbers of them well into their SEVENTIETH 
THOUSAND, whilst the one which a Frenchman recently 
described as " Monsieur France's most arid book " is in its 

fl Inasmuch as M. FRANCE'S ONLY contribution to 
an English periodical appeared in THE YELLOW BOOK, 
vol. v., April 1895, together with the first important English 
appreciation of his work from the pen of the Hon. Maurice 
Baring, it is peculiarly appropriate that the English edition 
of his works should be issued from the Bodley Head. 

-• 1 9 

To Mr _ _ 


Please send me the following works 0/ Anatole France: 








JOAN OF ARC (2 Vols.) 

for which I enclose . 


Address __ , _ 


Those who possess old letters, documents, corre- 
spondence^ MSS., scraps of autobiography , and 
also nnniatures and portraits, relating to persons 
and matters historical, literary, political and social, 
should communicate ivith Mr. John Lane, The 
Bodley Head, Vigo Street, London, W ., who ivill 
at all times be pleased to give his advice and 
assistance, either as to their preservation or 


An Illustrated Series of Monographs dealing with 
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Edited by J. T. GREIN. 

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George Cran. 
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*jj* This interesting contribution to Nelson literature is drawn from the journals 
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Life of Madame Tallien Notre Dame de Thermidor. From the 
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%*Aniong the many queens of France, queens by right of marriage with the reigning 
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Feucheres," "The Queen of Chantilly" and 'The Montespan de Saint Leu" in the land 
which she chose as a suitable sphere in which to excercise her talents for money- 
making and for getting on in the world, stand forth as a proof of what a women's will 
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*,»Atime when the Italians are celebrating the Jubliee ol the Italian Kingdom 
is perhaps no unfitting moment in which to glance back over the annals of that royal 
House of Savoy which has rendered Italian unity possible. Margaret of France may 
without exaggeration be counted among the builders of modem Italv. She married 
Emanuel Philibert, the founder of Savoyard greatness: and from the day of her 
marriage until the day of her death she laboured to advance the interests of her 
adopted land. 


TIMES. 1 630- 1 676. By Hugh Stokes. With a Photogravure 
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%* The name of Marie Marguerite d' Aubray, Marquise de Brinvilliers, is famous 
is famous in the annals of crime, but the true history of her career is little known. A 
woman of birth and rank, she was also a remorseless poisoner, and her trial was one 
of the most sensational episodes of the early reign of Louis XIV. The author was 
attracted to this curious subject by Charles le Brun's realistic sketch of the unhappy 
Marquise as she appeared on her way to execution. This chic/ cfoeitvfc of misery and 
agony forms the frontispiece to the volume, and strikes a fitting keynote to an 
absorbing story of human passion and wrong-doing. 


1 73 5-1 82 1 . By Eugene Welvert. Translated from the French 
by Lilian O'Neill. With a Photogravure Frontispiece and 16 
other Illustrations. Demy 8vo. (9X s| inches.) 12s. 6d. net. 

*^,* The Duchesse de Narbonne-Lara was Lady-in-\Vaiting to Madame Adelaide, 
the eldest daughter of Louis XV. Around the stately figure of this Princess are 
gathered the most remarkable characters of the days of the Old Regime, the 
Revolution and the fist Empire. Thegreat charm of the w'orkis that it takes us over so 
much and varied ground. Here, in the gay crowd of ladies and courtiers, in the rustle 
of flowery silken paniers, in the clatter of high-heeled shoes, move the figures of 
Louis XV, Louis XVI., Du Barri and Marie-Antoinette. We catch picturesque 
glimpses of the great wits, diplomatists and soldiers of the time, until, finally we 
encounter Napoleon Bonaparte. 



the Papers of a Macaroni and his Kindred. By A. M.W. Stirling, 
author of "Coke of Norfolk and his Friends." With 33 
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Demy 8vo. (9x5! inches.) 2 vols, 32s. net. 

MINIATURES: A Series of Reproductions in 

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including Queen Alexandra, the Queen of Norway, the Princess 
Royal, and the Princess Victoria. Painted by Charles Turrell. 
(Folio.) The Edition is limited to One Hundred Copies for sale 
in England and America, and Twenty-Five Copies for Presentation, 
Review, and the Museums, Each will be Numbered and Signed 
by the Artist, i 5 guineas net. 


WALPOLE. During the Reign of George III. from 1 771-1783. 
With Notes by Dr. Doran. Edited with an Introduction by A. 
Francis Steuart, and containing numerous Portraits reproduced 
from contemporary Pictures, Engravings, etc. 2 vols. Demy 8vo. 
(9X5I inches.) 25s. net. 


Wheeler and A. M. Broadley. An Account of The Rebellion 
in South of Ireland in 1798, told from Original Documents. 
With numerous Reproductions of contemporary Portraits and 
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by His Valet FRAN901S. Translated from the French by Maurice 
Reynold. Demy 8vo. (9 x 5| inches.) 


Joseph Conway, M.A. With 32 Full-page Illustrations. Demy 
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COLLINS. Written and Compiled by his son, L. C. Collins. 
Demy 8vo. (9 X 5| inches.) 



Joseph Turquan. Author of "The Love AiFairs of Napoleon," 
etc. Translated from the French by Miss Violette Montagu. 
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Demy 8vo. (9X5I inches.) 12s. 6d. net. 

*,» Although much has been written concerning the Empress Josephine, we 
know comparatively little about the veuve Beauharnais and the ciioyenne Bonaparte, 
whose inconsiderate conduct during her husband's absence caused him so much 
anguish. We are so accustomed to consider Josephine as the innocent victim of a cold 
and calculating tyrant who allowed nothing, neither human lives nor natural affections, 
to stand in the way of his all-conquering will, that this volume will come to us rather 
as a surprise. Modem historians are over-fond of blaming Napoleon for having 
divorced the companion of his early years ; but after having read the above work, the 
reader will be constrained to admire General Bonaparte's forbearance and will wonder 
bow he ever came to allow her to play the Queen at the Tuileries. 


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AUGUSTUS SAINT GAUDENS : an Appreciation. 

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%» "The greatest living Englishman" was the tribute o< his Continental 
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very prominent place in society, but whose name is almost forgotten by the present 



The Story of the Great Terror, 1797- 1805. By H. F. B. 
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S/>*c/«/or.— "Without doubt Mr. Oscar Browning has produced a book which should 

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1 769- 1 793. Some Chapters on the early life of Bonaparte. 
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Joseph Turquan. Translated from the French by James L. May. 
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By Edward de Wertheimer. Translated from the German. 
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Times. — "A mobt careful and interesting work which presents the first complete and 

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well-applied research." 



• By F. LoRAiNE Petre. With an Introduction by Field- 
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1807. A Military History of Napoleon's First War with Russia, 
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RALPH HEATHCOTE. Letters of a Diplomatist 

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A record of the extraordinary events in the life of a French 
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Chronicles of the Court of Napoleon III. By Frederic Loli^e. 
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ECHEROLLES. Translated from the French by Marie 
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(i 840-1 893). By his Brother, Modeste Tchaikovsky. Edited 
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The Times. — "A most illuminating commentary on Tchaikovsky's music." 

IVorid. —"One of the most fascinating self-revelations by an artist which has been 

given to the world. The translation is excellent, and worth reading for its own 


Contemporary Review.— ''Thehook'sappeal is, of course, primarily to the music-lover ; 
but there is so much of human and literary interest in it, such intimate revelation 
of a singularly interesting personality, that many who have never come under the 
spell of the Pathetic Sympnony will be strongly attracted by what is virtually the 
.spiritual autobiography of its composer. High praise is due to the translator and 
editor for the literary skill with which she has prepared the English version of 
this fascinating work. . . There have been few collections of letters published 
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us in these pages." 


NEY, K.C.M.G., Commander of Li Hung Chang's trained 
force in the Taeping Rebellion, founder of the first Chinese 
Arsenal, Secretary to the first Chinese Embassy to Europe. 
Secretary and Councillor to the Chinese Legation in London for 
thirty years. By Demetrius C. Boulger, Author of the 
" History of China," the " Life of Gordon," etc. With Illus- 
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from the French of Francis Laur by Violette Montagu. 
With an Introduction by John Macdonald, Portraits and other 
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Daily Telegraph.— 'It is Gambetta pouring out his soul to Lfeonie Leon, the strange, 
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France. A Translation by Winifred Stephens. With 8 Illus- 
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Therese-Charlotte of France, Duchesse D'Angouleme. By G. 
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GEORGIAN ERA. By John Fyvie, author of " Some Famous 
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Times, 1655-1719. By C. C. Dyson. With i Photogravure 
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A. M. Broadley. With an Introductory Chapter by Thomas 
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Alfred Allinson, M.A. With 48 Full-page Illustrations, 
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and Work. By W. H. James Weale. With 41 Photogravure 
and 95 Black and White Reproductions, Royal 4to. ^^5 5s, net. 

Sir Martin Conway's Note. 
Nearly half a century has passed since Mr. W. H. James Weale, then resident at 
Bruges, began that long series of patient investigations into the history ot 
Netherlandish art which was destined to earn so rich a harvest. When he began 
work Menilinc was still called Hemling, and was fabled to have arrived at Bruges 
as a wounded soldier. The van Eycks were little more than legendary heroes. 
Roger Van der Weyden was little more than a name. Most ofthe other great 
Netherlandish artists were either wholly forgotten or named only in connection 
with paintings with which they had nothing to do. Mr. Weale discovered Gerard 
David, and disentangled his principal works from Memlinc's, with which they were 
then confused. 


The Lombard School, His Life and Work. By Constance 
JocELYN Ffoulkes and Monsignor Rodolfo Majocchi, d.d,, 
Rector of the Collegio Borromeo, Pavia, Based on research in the 
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