On This Day: 6 September 1714

Today’s document is a rare one in Thomas Bowrey’s papers. Although Richard Carnac Temple wrote that the papers were added to after Bowrey’s death, few can be found today. Dated 18 months after his death, it is a sheet of paper recording An attount of my Charges goeing and comeing back from Clackton Sept: ye 6th 1714. It is approximately 80 miles from Wapping to Clacton.

This does not appear to have been a journey to Clacton by Bowrey’s widow, Mary, because, according to this account, she had given the author £1. Mary’s father, Phillip Gardiner, had some connection with Little Clacton and was buried at Great Clacton ten years prior to this visit. Gardiner left property at Clacton to his wife and daughters who sold it onto Bowrey. His servant, Joseph Noden, stayed with the family until after the death of Bowrey’s mother-in-law (who was predeceased by her daughter) but, from the few surviving examples of Noden’s handwriting, this does not appear to have been written by him.

Whoever it was, they were extremely careful with the money they had been given spending only a third of it. Travelling on horseback, he went out via Witham and Colchester, returning via Colchester and Chelmsford. The same route as one would take today. At best, the journey would have taken two days each way. On his return journey he had a meal of meat, bread, half a pint of claret and a tankard of beer.

At Colchester, on the outward journey, he gave ye Maid 1 shilling (the combined price of the meat, bread and beer) and ye Man just 6 pence (half what was given to the maid). A shilling for the maid seems disproportionally high and I am left questioning what services she supplied …

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