Archive for August, 2008

Old Warden 1622I’ve just returned from a course in Cambridge to learn how to read old documents. If you have ever tried to read and old will and found it impossible, don’t be surprised – the characters are completely different, the spelling is interesting, and the language unfamiliar to us today. I say learnt, but its like learning to read again, and I’m still at Janet and John stage 1.

Anyhow, I’ve begun to look at the Old Warden manor court rolls for the late 16th early 17th century to peek at daily life for our Bedfordshire Inskip ancestors. What they reveal is a fascinating glimpse at lives that, without the technology, are not so very different to our own!!

In 1623 we find John Inskip and his neighbours concerned that John Roffe has left his dunghill in the street and they will fine him 3 shillings and 4 pence if he does not remove it by All Hallows. Roland Throstell has been making holes in the street and must mend them or face a 3/4d fine. They want a good ditch dug between the stewpond (place for breeding fish) to the pondyard (place for keeping fish) by ‘Kristmas’ at a cost of 10 shillings. And are rather angry at a baker from Bedford, who has adulterated his flour.

So, what’s different to dog’s fouling pavements, inconsiderate neighbours, and requests to the council to make sure the drains work – besides ensuring that the supermarket has fresh fish and doesn’t use too many e-numbers. The only difference is that we have less power to do anything about it!!

PS For any Inskip who hates DIY it may be in the genes – in 1622 John Inskip’s house is noted for being ‘out of repair’!!


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