Dear Sir /
I beg to acknowledge the rect of your Letter of the 27th Ult – enclosing one from Mr King <2> to you –
I am glad to observe that your opinion is not altered respecting the essential points which were arranged between Mr Grosett <3> & myself & particularly so, as I am quite confident that he would not take the Abbey to be liable to what the Law might consider as Tenants Repairs – When I made Proposals to him upon this subject, he at once declined being a Tenant on such conditions, because he considered it impossible to calculate what might come under that description in such
an ancient & extensive premises – at the same time I think you have every reasonable prospect that he will (for his own comfort & convenience) keep the interior of the House in good repair – He has a large family & Establishment & keeps a great deal of Company – under these circumstances, I submit for your consideration, whether it is likely (with a lease of Eight years) he should neglect to keep windows & doors &c – in a tenantable state of repair, & with regard to Fixtures, as he covenants to replace every thing as it was, before they were put up, if you should decline to take them – I really think nothing can be less objectionable than this part of the Conditions –
I consider it a very essential point that you have only to keep the Walls & Roof of the House in repair – there are many other things, such as Garden Walls & Paling, Fish Ponds, Gates &c– which are continually wanting repairs & wch Mr G– for his own convenience must do as they may happen to want, but he does not like to be obliged to rebuild an extensive Wall &c should such a Circumstance become necessary during his Lease – at the same time, you are equally released from the necessity of doing so, by the proposed covenants of the Lease, & every expence of this kind, will, of course depend upon your own views as to future arrangements –
With respect to Game, I entirely agree in opinion with Mr King, I see at once the force of his argument, at the same time I hope to get over the difficulty without entering into any Engagement, I have little doubt, but that the Tenants will readily do what they know to be your wishes upon that subject, & I will do my best to get this matter arranged satisfactorily – I really am anxious that we should retain Mr Grosett as a Tenant, because I think it much for your Interest under present circumstances. – you will remember I have no doubt, that, during our conference upon the subject in town, I was not at all disposed to recommend your making any pecuniary sacrifices to retain him – but according to his last Proposals (with the exception of the Game) I have no hesitation in recommending you to accept them, as far preferable to shutting up the House. –
I am at this time negociating about the insurance of the Property – I have divided the Farms, so as to make £2000 on the whole – & I find there will be a saving by seperating [sic] the Abbey & the Furniture, therefore I think of putting £3000– on the Walls & £1000 on the Furniture – With respect to the Cottages I fear we shall not be able to get them insured under a heavy premium, on account of the materials of some part of them & therefore I think it hardly worth while to insure them at all – but I have proposed £400· on the Red Lion Inn – as that is a valuable House –
I am Dear Sir Yr obliged & obed Sert
W. H. Awdry
W. H. F. Talbot Esqr
1. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
2. Of William Read King & Son, solicitors, London.
3. John Rock Grosett (1783-1866), MP; Jamaican Parliament; occupant of Lacock Abbey until summer 1827.