As part of Explore Your Archive Week we are celebrating our latest archival acquisition, a 17th-century account book which documents the daily business of an English rural estate in the years following the Civil War.

The Acquisition

 

The Devon Archives and Local Studies Service has recently acquired a superb, 17th-century account book which belonged to William Walrond (1610-c1667), a member of the Walrond family of Bradfield House, near Uffculme in mid Devon.

The volume’s original leather cover and binding are in excellent condition. The cover bears the arms of the Walrond family, and is monogrammed with William Walrond’s initials. The volume’s early pages are mainly taken up with a range of Latin quotations and aphorisms and an indication that it first came into William Walrond’s possession in 1634. However, the main series of estate accounts begins in 1650, and the majority of the rest of the book records the daily business of an English rural estate in the years which followed the English Civil War.

Post-Civil War Business

Entries record wages paid to estate employees, and rent received from tenants, as well as money paid out for a wide range of estate and personal expenses. These include parochial poor rates and tithes and aspects of livestock management, but also more extensive and expensive undertakings such as ‘what it cost me to repaire Woodhouse, since my father suffered it to bee ruined’. This precedes a detailed account of the renovation of part of the house in the years following 1647, including payments for such items as lead, nails and linseed oil, and money paid to masons, carpenters and plasterers.

There are also numerous references to grist and fulling mills, the purchase of furniture (‘payd for a side Table at Tyverton’) and clothing (‘payd for a hatt at Exon’), while there is the additional inclusion of a survey of the Bradfield estate, undertaken by Edmund Crosse of Kentisbeare in February 1650.

Expanding Our Collections

Several collections at the Devon Heritage Centre include material relating to the Walrond family, but most of this relates to later periods, so the volume adds to our knowledge of the family during the mid-17th century and complements records held relating to Bradfield House, most of which have later origins.

Thank You

We are immensely grateful to Graham York, the antiquarian book dealer who brought the volume to our attention, and also the Friends of Devon’s Archives and the Friends of the National Libraries, whose generous grants enabled us to purchase it.

Explore Your Archive

Explore Your Archive is an Archives and Records Association (UK and Ireland) tool for public and private organisations across the UK and Ireland to showcase the hidden gems stored in their collections. The campaign provides a range of resources to help you learn more about archives and help archivists share the collections they care for. This year’s launch week runs 21 – 29 November #ExploreYourArchive