12th June 1823
I have received your favor of the 15th of May & in reply, am happy to state, that the difference between the Sum received for last year & that which we estimated it at, does not arise from any cause which is likely to happen again – a Tenant of Mr Montague’s who owed you £17 – for rectorial Tythes – became insolvent & as yet, I have not been able to get any part of the money – this & the Twenty Guineas which you gave to the Clubs will more than account for the deficiency –
With respect to future Prospects, I am now beginning to feel quite cheerful, the considerable reduction which has been made in the Taxes & other causes appear to be gradually ameliorating the situation of the Farmers & you have probably seen by the Papers, that Sir Thos Lethbridge <2> has withdrawn his motion relative to Agricultural distress – if we should be so fortunate as to escape being drawn into this War, I have little doubt of this Country being soon in a state of prosperity – I certainly do not expect to see Rents so high as during the late War, but something better than at present – & with a reduction of half the Assessed Taxes a considerable reduction in all articles of Housekeeping, Servants Wages &c & no Property Tax to pay – I consider the Landed Interest will be nearly as well off as in former times –
I have the pleasure of making a general good report of all things at Lacock – with the exception of the Arrears on the two poor Farms on Nash Hill, <3> wch occurr’d during the very bad times, I get most of the Rents paid soon after they become due, but a few of the Tenants are more dilatory wch must be expected among so many – Since the close of the last accts I have remitted £300– to Hammerslys <4> – & the same Sum to Captn Feildings <5> Acct – I hope in a very few days to get another Sum paid in & to make a further remittance to Hammerslys –
By the death of Dr Popham’s Widow <6> wch has lately happened – I expect an increase of at least £30 pr annum to the Rent Roll – & having now nearly paid off the Tythes due to Mr Paley <7> during your minority, there will be an accession of Income from that source after the present year – We have begun building the School & I am much gratified in finding the Wood from the Copse [illegible deletion] which I had appropriated for raising the ways & means) turns out something better than was expected –
I remain Dear Sir Yr much obliged Sert
W. H. F. Talbot Esq
1. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
2. Sir Thomas Buckler Lethbridge, 2nd Baronet of Sandhill Park (1778–1849), MP.
3. Nash Hill, also Naish Hill, a hill and farm 1 mi NE of Lacock, Wiltshire.
4. Hammersley & Company, bankers, London.
5. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (1780–1837), Royal Navy; WHFT’s step-father.
7. Rev James Paley (1790–1863), Vicar at Lacock.