Saturday, 17 February 2007

Cheriton Fitzpaine Churchwardens'
and Overseers' Accounts

Included in my package from Vanessa Goodwin were some fascinating extracts from the Churchwardens' and Overseers' Accounts for Cheriton Fitzpaine in North Devon. There is no space here to include a complete transcription but I'm providing details of some of the more interesting items.

Elizabeth Cruse seems to have struggled after the death of her husband John in 1681. She received regular payments at the rate of four shillings a month from 1693 onwards. The rate rose to five shillings per month at the end of 1709 and six shillings in 1710. The last payments to "Widd. Cruwys" were made in an account dated 16th April 1715. She was not mentioned in the account for the following year so she had presumably passed away. It would be interesting to find out if there is a corresponding burial in the Cheriton Fitzpaine registers.

In 1731 'Elias Mills of ye P[ar]ish of Sandford was convicted by Sr. John Davie for killing of a hare in the P[ari]ish of Cheriton Fitzpaine & ye Moiety p[ar]t of ye Money was p[ai]d to ye Overseers and distributed ye 25th Day of Aprill 1731". Fifty people received one shilling each including Henry Cruwys, George Cruwys and John Cruwys.

Henry Cruwys (1665-1745), a shoemaker, and his wife Mary Back fell on hard times in 1740. Henry was now 75 years old and was presumably no longer able to work so, in the absence of an old age pension, he was forced to rely on parish relief. By 1741 Henry and Mary were receiving ten shillings a month from the parish. That same year the overseers splashed out on two shirts for Henry Cruwys costing 3s 0d and 3s 2d respectively. The next year they paid 3s 2d to buy him a sheet. In 1743 the overseers paid "the Expence in Burying Mary Cruwys 12s 6d". In the account the following year Henry as a widower received a reduced payment of six shillings per month. Inevitably in 1745 the parish paid "The expenses in Burying Henry Cruwys 12s. 8d".

The account dated 23rd October 1743 gives "the names of those persons to whom the Conviction Money of Andrew Taylor was given, to wit, ten Shillings, for suffering John Cruwys, Philip Back & William Cruwys to sit Tippling in his House as also the Conviction Money levied on J.C., P.B. & W.C. to wit 3s. 4d. each for Tippling in the sd. Andrew Taylor's House contrary to Act of Parliamt...' John Cruwys and William Cruwys received 2s 6d from the Conviction Money so it would appear that their fine was effectively reduced to 8d each!

The Account for 1747 included:

Pd. for the pair of Indentures Cruwys and Clark 8s. 0d.
George Cruwys in Necessity 2s. 0d.
Making Cruwys' Boys' Grave [?]s. 0d.
John Cruwys for filling a Bedtie and conveying it in place 2s. 0d.
Jno. Cruwys mending Joseph Back's shoes 6d.

From the account for 1754 it can be seen that the overseers are trying to ensure that those in receipt of parish relief provide a useful service to the parish. The payments for 1754 included:

Feb. 27th: To Jno Hockaday & Jno. Cruwys 3 days & Wm. Cruwys 2 Days to clean ye Court and Dig Paving Stones at Ford Quarry at 9d. 6s. 0d.
June 8th: To Jno. & Wm. Cruwys for cleaning the House one Day 1s. 8d.
June 17th: To Jno. & Wm. Cruwys for cleaning the House 1s. 6d.
7br. 17th: To Wm. Cruwys for cleaning the House one Day 9d.
9br. 12th: To John Cruwys for going to Thorverton 6d.

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