On This Day: 29 July 1699

On this day in 1699, Thomas Bowrey paid James Davis’ bill. Four days earlier, Martha Davis sent Davis’ bill for 11 shillings for two check shirts and two pairs of ticking drawers to Captain Bowrey.

The description of these garments surprised me. At the time, shirts were considered undergarments that protected the more expensive outer garments from bodily oils and sweat. The check fabric may have been gingham which Bowrey was familiar with from his time in India but I had always understood shirts at the time were plain, not checked.  Ticking was a close woven fabric often striped. It was used to cover pillows and mattresses because the close weave stopped feathers escaping. The ticking I remember as a child would have been very rough next to the skin.

Martha Davis was Bowrey’s wife’s cousin. Bowrey’s wife was Mary Gardiner. Her uncle, Robert Bushell, described Thomas Davis as his nephew in his will. Like most people at the time, Bowrey did not normally pay his bills this quickly and often negotiated a discount. He did not this time. Was this because it was a personal, rather than a business, expenditure or was he more generous to a (presumably) less wealthy relative.

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