Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ships Accounts

As the name of this blog suggests, I like to mine the past for information, and this is worth a dig.

Ships accounts/stores from the 18th century.

Some of it might take some interpretation, though. The transcript of one sheet is:
Account of Stores for the Brigg Saley

logg Real & lines Doppy lad & line
long & short mesures Lantorns & funels
3 hand pumps Hamer & Nales & lether
granes & Harpons fishing hooks & lines pames
Nedles & twine glases minuet and 1/2 Dozen Half
our glases Spike Nales of Defront Sises
gimblets lades & tormanters one or too hatchets
a Sarwing malet woding Boles Knifes
forkes & Spunes a Cabine table Candles
& oyl Pots for the Long Bots Padlocks
Scales & wates a pare of Small Stilards
Corking iorns and Serapors hand Spikes
Seedor Pales Lime for the Cumboos

Minuet I assume is minute, and the glasses for measuring time. Tormanters? Serapors?

Cumboos? We could people a fantasy novel with them. "Tho Tormanters are coming! Invoke the serapors. Arm the cumboos!"

Another document is the articles, ie the agreement before sailing, which lists the men and the money they're paid before sailing, and the pay per month. It seems pretty good for the time. The carpenter, for example, Abraham Hawkins, is paid 148 pounds advance, then 50 pounds a month if I read it right. Or perhaps it was an either or.

Jo :)

Read an excerpt from The Secret Duke here.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

An 18th century account book.

Genealogy web sites can be great sources of historical data. I came across The Account Book of Thomas Morgan of Carmarthen from the 18th century.

(Also came across this interesting chronology of events, which mostly seem to be industrial.

This is an article on the book, and I wish the book itself were available on line as it would be a wonderful resource for daily cost of living. I'm currently gathering data on cost of living for the poorer folk in the mid 18th century for my MIP, An Unlikely Countess.The article is from the '50s. Where is the book now?

(The cover is of the UK edition of Tempting Fortune, out on March 22nd, and shows Portia about to be auctioned off in a brothel for a great deal of money. It's unavailable in the US at the moment, but if you want a copy you can get it from The Book Depository in the UK, which ships free around the world. Great de

Items of interest.
"In the same year Morgan rents a tenement called Gwaintre beddau [Laugharne ?] for £9 from Anne Parry whose receipt is a very shaky 'A'. " Was this an annual rent? It seems low for that, but without more detail it's hard to tell.

There's more clarity on the cost of a maidservant. "In 1761 he paid his servant maid Susan Hanmer £1.15s.0d per annum, had her shoes mended for a shilling and bought a silk hat for 4s.4d. Other purchases included a cotton gown, handkerchiefs, whale bone and even a pair of garters." So the wage was truly on top of all expenses.

Unless there's something else going on here. That silk hat is suspect. But we'll probably never know.

There are some clear lists, such as this.
  • Seven cane chairs £0.17s.6d
  • One Brass Pan £1.6s.7d
  • Five Pewter Dishes £0.8s.4d
  • Twelve Pewter Plates £0.11s.0d
  • Two brass candlesticks £0.3s.9d
  • Two Iron Pots £0.6s.0d
  • Two small casks £0.2s.0d

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Sinecures et al

A sinecure is a job that provides income without requiring much if any work, and they were a common source of income for the upper classes in the past. Usually, someone else was hired to do any necessary work at a much lower income.

There were also court appointments which did require some work, at the least attendance, but still paid very well as well as giving access to royalty with all the benefits that can bring. I came across this list of the household of Princess Augusta in the mid 18th century.

Princess Augusta was King George III's mother, so her household is grand. Why is she not queen? Because her husband, the Prince of Wales, died before becoming king.

Among the grand, we have:

Groom of Stole and Mistress of Robes

Hamilton had £500 as Groom of Stole and £400 as Mistress of Robes and possibly also £400 as Lady of Bedchamber. Middlesex was apparently only Mistress of Robes.

Hamilton, Lady Jane WS 12 July 1736 (Add. MS 24397 f. 90v). Res. offices of Groom of Stole and Mistress of Robes by 6 June 1745 when granted pension of £1200

Middlesex, Grace Countess of WS as Mistress of Robes 24 June 1747

900 pounds a year was a lot of money back then.


The new edition of Tempting Fortune will be out in the UK in a few weeks.

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