30th Novr 1826
Dear Sir /
Presuming from your Message thro Mr Darley,<2> that you are likely to remain some time in Paris I trouble you with a few Questions which I have to ask at present first with respect to the half acre of Land on Bowden Hill <3>, which was sold at the Auction, subject to there being a Life upon it I beg to acquaint you that I have enquired & find that the Person is living & about Seventy years of Age Mr Bruges of Seend<4> who was the Purchaser, desires me to say that he shall be happy to complete the Purchase upon being allowed the fair Value for this Life & if you should accede to this Proposal, I will get Mr Darley to fix a Sum I thought (when I wrote after the Auction) that the Lease would be void, in consequence of its being mentioned in the Life Book under a Covenant to build but upon speaking to my Solicitor upon the Subject he says if we have recd the Quit Rents it would not be void & such has been the case If you prefer keeping the Ground, I have nothing to do but return the Deposit Money, as agreed upon at the Auction
The next thing I have to mention, is respecting the Farm rented by the late John Curnish His Son, who was always living upon the Farm, having applied to me to rent it, I thought it desirable to have it valued, as it had not been looked over for many years & I obtained a considerable advance by doing so after the death of Farmer Edwards Upon the present occasion the case is as follows The Estate was, during the late War, let for £307 after the Peace reduced to £260, & is now valued at £282 This Sum the Farmer thinks too high, having a great deal of poor Land wch wants draining & he has requested me to say that he will give £270 & expend £12 pr annum in draining I am rather inclined to recommend acceding to his offer, as I know the Farm not to be an eligible one to let but this Man having been brought up in it, will probably give more than a Stranger & he has Property, wch is so essential for Tenants in these times If you should agree to his Offer, I will take care to keep him to his covenant as to draining
Since the last Audit, I have paid the £300 to Captn Feildings <5> Acct, as usual & have remitted £700 to Messrs Hammersleys <6> I am sorry to say that I have considerable difficulty at this time in getting some of the Cottage Rents paid, from so many of the Poor being out of employ & in a few cases I fear I must resort to a seizure of their little furniture for payment but as I am aware that you would wish this avoided as much as possible, I shall give as much time as prudence will allow
I remain Dear Sir Yr obliged & obedt Sert
W. H. Awdry
W. H. F. Talbot Esq
1. Chippenham, Wiltshire: largest town near Lacock, 3 miles N.
2. John Darley, architect & surveyor, Chippenham.
3. Bowden Hill, Wiltshire, 1 mi SE of Lacock.
4. Thomas Bruges of Seend (d. 1835); JP, Melksham banker, landowner, surveyor and mathematician. For reasons yet to be determined, in his will Thomas bequeathed a sum of money to Mary Anna Fry (b 1793) spinster sister of the photographic pioneer Peter Wickens Fry (1795-1860).
5. Rear Admiral Charles Feilding (17801837), Royal Navy; WHFTs step-father.
6. Hammersley & Company, bankers, London.