The Account Book of John Hooper, Steward to John Holles (2nd Earl of Clare).
Transcribed and Edited by S. J. Kirk, Deputy City Librarian.
Thurland Hall (formerly Clare House). From Water Colour Painting by A. Parker in 1831.
THERE has lately come into the possession of the Public Libraries authorities in Nottingham, a most interesting record of the troublous times of the Civil War in this busy centre of military operations, just before Charles I. surrendered himself to the Scotch Commissioners at Southwell. This is a note and account book kept by John Hooper, steward to John Holies, the second Earl of Clare, whose town residence was Clare House, or, as it was formerly called Thurland Hall, a large and gloomy Mansion, which, until the year 1831 stood in Gridlesmith Gate, (now re-named Pelham Street), in Nottingham. In 1642, the Common Council of Nottingham elected the Earl of Clare to be Recorder of the town, and the minute in the muniment room at the Guildhall, and quoted in full in the "Borough Records" finishes with the statement that "Maister Hooper, Steward to my Lord of Clare, beinge acquanted herewith, hath undertaken to signifie the same elleccion to the Earle of Clare, and to acquaynt thys Companie withall convenient speed, whatt my lord's good pleasure is herein." The note-book is composed of "Gallen's Almanac" of 1645, bound up with a number of leaves of MS. paper, on which the memoranda and accounts have been kept. It measures 5in. by 2½in., is bound in sheep-skin, and is clasped by two small brass clasps. The volume is in very good condition, and has evidently been hidden away for a number of years. The writing is fairly good, although in the cramped style of the 17th century. The work is worth transcribing, not only because of its details relating to town affairs during the Civil War, but the matter dealing with the Earl and Countess of Clare's domestic and estate accounts, makes the research very interesting. The matters are generally dated 1644-45, in which years the Earl's sympathies were with the parliamentary forces, although, throughout the war he veered from one faction to another, so much so that Mrs. Hutchinson, in her husband's memoirs, says that "the Earl of Clare was very often of both parties and, I think, never advantaged either." The most interesting matter in the way of accounts is those relating to the household expenses when the general of the hired Scottish army stayed at Clare House for some days. There are a few references to this event in the Nottingham Borough Records, but these later details throw considerable light on the visit. General Alexander Leslie, first Earl of Leven invested the fortifications round Hereford, held by the Royalists, about June 14th, 1645, but the approach of Charles with an army forced him to raise the siege, and he retreated into Yorkshire, afterwards joining forces with those surrounding Newark, taking supreme command. By the accounts dated June 20th, 1645, the General evidently passed through Nottingham on his way to Newark. Clare House had formerly been used for accommodating state visitors, and at this time opened its doors to the Scottish General. Other accounts refer to the rentals of certain of the Holles' family estates in the parish of Basford. However, it will be better to take the book page by page in order to get some sequence of circumstances, and so that one may distinguish between local and general matter.
On page 1 appears the following receipt—
the 21 of April 1645 Received of John Hooper the some of threeskore and fowre pounds and ten shillings for the use of the Right Honorable the Earle of Clare. I say received as afore said the some of 64-10-01 by me
Pages 2 to 4 are blanks.
On page 5
|The perticular of my accounts which I delivered to ye subcommitty1 for accounts at Nottingham in|
|for ye Bre|
|due to me from|
On page 6
|for a man to make cleane ye hous4 and help to dres5 ye roomes|
On page 7
|Received from Mr. Storer ye 20 June, 1645 when His Excelence ye generall of ye Skots6 came to Nottingham.|
|ye som of||3||00||0|
|laid out ye same day|
|for 2 dozen of manchet7||0||2||6|
|for Radish rootes||0||0||1|
|I for vinegar||0||0||8|
|I for pepper||0||0||8|
|for cloves and mase and nuttmegs and||[|
|curaine9 floure 1 peck||0||1||6|
|milk and pipes||0||0||2|
|butter 33 pound ½: 8½ at 4½d. all ye rest at 5d.||0||13||7|
|3 dozen of eggs at 3d. 10||0||1||0|
|1 peck of oates||0||0||4½|
|1 3 5½|
On page 8.
|A pint of oalives||0||1||0|
|½ a pound of capers||0||0||6|
|½ pound of sugar||0||0||7|
|an ounce of cloves & mase||0||1||0|
|3 dusen of bread||0||3||0|
|3 pecks of flower||0||4||10|
|¾ of a pound pepper||0||2||0|
|a well rope||0||1||10|
|beere 20 gallons||0||10||0|
|2 quarts of claret12||0||2||0|
|2 pounds & ½ of cherys13||0||2||0|
|2 quarts of crame||0||0||8|
|a pint of whit wine||0||0||6|
On page 9
|a pint of vinigere||0||0||4|
|½ pound of sugar||0||0||9|
|this 23 of June 1645|
|a peck of barly||0||0||10|
|½ a pound of suger||0||0||7|
|a po of curaine||0||0||7|
|½ of ou of nuttmegs||0||0||3|
|bread 3 dozen||0||3||0|
|pease 5 pecks & ½||0||5||2|
|2 pound of chereys||0||1||0|
|to John drury|
|for 14 rabets14||0||5||1|
|for 2 capons & 3 hens||0||4||4|
|for ½ a po of suger||0||0||7|
|for a qur of viniger||0||0||8|
|a peck of barly||0||0||10|
|1 4 5½|
|On page 10|
|for 2 dozens of bread||0||2||0|
|earbes and rootes||0||0||5|
|to John Drury|
|22 po of butt15 at 5||0||9||2|
|4 hens & 1 capon||0||2||4|
|bread 2 dosen & 10 loves||0||2||10|
|suger ½ po||0||0||7|
|currant 1 po||0||0||7|
|viniger 1 qua||0||0||8|
|4 quar of veale16||0||13||0|
|3 pound of cherys||0||2||10|
|½ pound of capers||0||0||6|
|2 0 11|
|On page 11|
|Received ye 24 & 25||2||0||0|
|Received ye 26||2||0||0|
|bread 3 dosen||0||3||0|
|barley 1 peck||0||0||10|
|1 po of capers||0||1||0|
|hearbs & cabbage||0||0||9|
|to a smith for opening a lock for ye coach|
|1 qurt of viniger||0||0||8|
|3 po of chereys||0||2||0|
|1 peck of pease||0||0||11|
|0 11 0|
|Page 12 blank|
|On page 13|
|disbursed more than the quartermaster|
Page 14 blank.
On page 15
|disbursed after the lord genarall of ye skotes went from clare hous ye 2 of July 1645.|
|I to ye widdow porter for a beere glas which was broken while his lordship was in towne|
|I to mis mastian for ye like||0||0||8|
|I to william Hall for 4 wine glasses||0||1||4|
|I to him for a beere glas||0||0||8|
|I to goodwife greene for 6 days worke in ye time and after the skottish genarall went fr hence|
|I to good (wife) cope for hir laber and goodwife greens diet in that time|
on page 16
|I to goodwife greene for 3 days more to wash|
|18 pound of sope||0||2||8|
|to wash 16 dosen of nap 20 table clothes 16 paire of sheetes besids other linin|
|I to peeter Deme to help to hang17 the roomes|
|besids all my owne familey to help all the time they were here.|
on page 17
|The charge of the hous which I am about to build in ye castle for my lady, 1645 In to 2 carpenters 6 days at 12d.|
|I for 4 days||0||8||0|
|I for sawing bords||0||6||0|
|I for tilling 1 and latts2 and naills & time by great 3|
|I for nailes||0||0||8|
|I for a 1000 of tile||01||0||0|
|I for bords and hookes for a doore||0||1||8|
|I for 7 strike of lime||0||2||4|
|3 04 8|
The items on page 17 are probably an estimate for putting up a temporary building in one of the courtyards of Nottingham Castle, the purposes for which are made clear in a note-book of Mrs. Hutchinson's, which she used in the compilation of the "Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson," and which is now in the manuscript department of the British Museum Library. The note is reprinted in the appendix of Firth's edition (1906) of the "Memoirs." We will quote the note in full. "The Earl of Clare sent to the governor privately by Mr. West to excuse his passion to him when he was in town, and to tell him it was much for his advantage, for if he had been more familiarly entertained the enemy was resolved to have taken him, hearing that he was returning to the parliament, and as a matter of great trust acquainted the governor that he had an intent to go immediately to London, but that he had some things of value which he desired to secure in this garrison, and for that purpose wanting trunks he desired leave to carry some out of my lady's house 4 in this town, which he said he would convey privately back again with all the best things he had, and desired that Hooper might build a room for them at his own charge in the castle, with other contrivances, that he had to carry his daughter to London and to get thither himself; which the governor hearing was very willing to consent to, but that being to have been done within two or three days the governor heard no more of him." The room here referred to is no doubt the house mentioned in the account or estimate and the work may have been proceeded with later.
(1) This appears to be money sent to the Earl while absent from Nottingham. Earle corrected from Countes, the steward sometimes acting for the Countess of Clare.
(2) The sub-committee of the Parliament at Nottingham Castle. The Earl's estates were at one time sequestrated by the Parliament.
(3) Major Ireton.
(4) Clare house.
(5) Probably with draperies.
(6) General Alexander Leslie, of the Scottish Army, 1st Earl of Leven.
(7) Manchet=fine white bread.
(8) Vegetables ; as potherbs.
(10) A miscalculation.
(11) Sand imported from Calais for scouring, or for the sand-box to dry writing.
(12) In the Nottingham Chamberlains' Accounts in the Borough Records is the item—"Wyne presented to Scotch Commanders and Ministers : xxxvs. jxd.
(15) Butter ?
(16) Other meat would probably be killed and stored in the house.
(17) Draperies and curtains.