Tithes on wood in Warehorne

Basil Becon, my 9 x great grandfather, was institued as Rector of Warehorne in 1588, and lived there for about twenty years.

In 1630 he was a deponent in a case where there was a dispute between the then Rector, one Henry Curtis, and two local landholders, Edward Chute and John Larkin.

A series of questions (interrogatories) were put to those who might be able to provide information to help settle this dispute. The document can be found at the National Archives, TNA ref: E 134/6Chas1/Mich25.

While the depositions are included in the online Discovery Catalogue the bill, i.e. the complaint being made by Henry Curtis, is not in Discovery. I hope I may be able to use catalogues held at Kew to find it on a future visit.

From Basil’s time living in Warehorne as Parson he was well placed to report on the situation, and so was one of the deponents. So far I have only transcribed his depositions but will be adding some more information – the interrogatories at least.

Line breaks as in the document to make it easier for me to refer back to my photos of it, should I need to.

Basill Becon of Waltham in the County of Kent Clarke aged 71. yeares or thereabouts
sworne and examined saith as followeth1. To the first Interrogatory hee saith that hee knoweth Henry Curtis the plt and hee knoweth the Deft Mr
Chute but only by sight and as for the other Deft Lorkyn hee knoweth him not.2: To the second Interrogatory hee saith that hee knoweth the parish of Warhorne and hath knowne it above
forty yeares last past and did dwell in the said parish by the space of Twenty yeares of thereabouts.

3: To the third Interrogatory hee saith that Henry Curtis the plt is reputed to bee the lawfull Parson of the
parish Church of Warhorne aforesaid and hath there recided by the sapce of Three yeares nowe last past
or thereabouts and hath there discharged the Cure by the said three yeares space.

4: To the fourth Interrogatory hee saith that there hath beene by the space of Forty yeares (all wch tyme
hee was Parson of the said parish of Warhorne) tithes there paid after the rate of Eight pence for
ev[er]y Sixe shillings eight pence[1] for all fuell wood there felled in the said parish, and for the said p[ar]cell of
Woodland called Yalland wood menconed in the Interrogatory conteyninge by estimacon Twenty acres
whereof Tenne acres lyeth wthin the said parish of Warhorne wch p[ar]cell of Woodland duringe his tyme
was twice felled, and hee did receive the tithe of the said Tenne acres in Warhorne after the rate of
Eight pence of the noble[2] wthout opposicon or Contradiccon.

5: To the fift Interrogatory hee saith that hee was Parson of the said Parish of Warhorne by the space
of Forty yeares as above hee hath said and all that tyme of his beinge Parson hee hath received for all fyrewood felled wthin the said parish Eight pence of the Noble, And hee saith that the first yeare of
his Comyinge to bee Parson of Warhorne hee did demand of div[er]se of the parishionrs tithes of the fuell
wood felled in the said parish in kynde, unto wch the anncient p[ar]ishionrs answered that they would pay him
noetithe wood in kynde for there was in that parish of Warhorne an anncient Custome to pay for all
fyrewood there felled after the rate of Eight pence of the noble wch they said they would pay, and did
after that rate soe pay duringe all his tyme of his beinge Parson there.

6: To the Sixt Interrogatory hee said that hee did finde three books of his Predecessors Mr Thomas Knell
whoe was Parson of Warhorne aforesaid prima Elizabathe Regine and of his farmer and tennant there
in wch books hee did finde that there was div[er]se payments of money paid in liewe of tithe wood.

7: To the Seaventh Interrogatory hee saith that the twoe books nowe shewed forth unto this depont are the books
wch hee received from Mr Thomas Knell his predecessors ^ {owne hand} wch were as hee verily beleeveth the books of his
predecessor or of his farmers or tennants.

8: To the Eight Interrogatory hee cannot depose more then hee hath formerly deposed to the fourth Interrogatory

9: To the Nynth and Tenth Interrogatoryes hee cannot depose.
10:

[1], [2] The Noble was an old English coin, first minted during the reign of King Edward III (1344-1346), last minted during the first reign of King Edward IV (1461-1470). In 1464 the value of all gold Nobles was raised from six shillings and eight pence (i.e. 80 pence) to eight shillings and four pence (100 pence), but clearly here the older value, 6/8 is being referred to. When the value was changed a new gold coin was introduced, the Angel. Although in 1464 it was worth 6/8 its value had changed a number of times by 1630, and so still referring to the amount as a noble was probably clearer. The use of the old pre-1464 amount does suggest that the tithes had been paid in this way since before 1464.


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