On This Day: 4 January 1703

Occasionally I come across a manuscript within Thomas Bowrey’s papers that is completely confusing for one reason or another. Today’s is one such. It was written on this day in 1703 by Anne Oleyton to her Loving Brother. The reverse shows a long list of monetary amounts, the annotation Mr Simson the Anchor smith, and the top part of an address, the rest being torn off. What remains of the address says This For William Hall Living … It is far from clear if any of the three items on the reverse relate to each other or the letter on the front. However, it is most likely that Anne Oleyton was writing to her brother, William Hall. There is certainly nothing to explain the letter’s survival in Bowrey’s papers.

Whilst adding noting to our knowledge of Thomas Bowrey, the letter appeals to the nosiness within all of us. Three weeks prior to writing this letter, Anne Oleyton’s house was burgled. She lost all her pewter, most of her brass and other things, unspecified.  All her son’s and her brother’s clothes and linen were taken. She was alone because her husband was in the country so sent for her nephew, the son of her brother Joseph.

The letter then becomes very confusing before she mentions that her house was broken into again on the previous Sunday night. She seems to believe that her deceitful nephew, brother Joseph and his wife were responsible for the thefts, although the wife was the worst of them, and believed that her goods were at their house in Hammersmith. She warned William to be careful of them.

She finished by saying that they are well and that she does not wish William to be concerned. It seems that family strife over the Christmas period is nothing new.


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