Transcript fo. 5r: Great Dunmow’s Tudor dialect

Transcription of Tudor Great Dunmow’s churchwardens’ accounts (1525-6)

1 Item to Rychard scoryar for pavynge in ye cherche[Item to Richard Scoryar for paving in the church] xd
2 &ffor mendyng of a hole on ye fuvll(??)[& for mending a hole on the ??]
3 Item payde ffor ye reste of ye gyldyng of owr ladye[Item paid for the rest of the gilding of Our Lady’s] xijs iijd
4 tabarnakyll & all ye yrynwark yt longye ye to[tabernacle & all the ironwork it belongs to]
5 Item for curtan ryngs for ye same tabernakyll[Item for curtain rings for the same tabernacle] iijd
6 Item \payde/ ffor parte off ye dore yt is sett on ye owte syde off ye new warke[Item paid for part of the door which is on the outside of the new work] xijd
7 Layd owte ffor ye stepyll [heading][Laid out for the steeple]
8 In primis – ffor ij tun off ston wt ye carryynge[Firstly, for 2 tons of stone with the carrying (ie carriage)] xxvis viijd
9 & Amd(??) all other costs & charge ye sum[& along?? all other costs & charges the sum]
10 Item payde to John Atkynson ffor viij dayes warke & halfe[Item paid to John Atkinson for 8 and a half days work] ijs xd
11 to fett ye scaffalde tymber & to gay(??) roddye[to fetch the scaffold timber & to ????]
12 ffor to make ye hardylls wt dyvers oyr besynes[for to make the hardalls (handles?) with divers (ie sundry other) our business]
13 Item ffor ij dayes warke off henry longe & hys cart[Item for 2 dayes work from Henry Long & his cart] iijs iiijd
14 to fett home tymber for ye scaffawde & ye bryke from ayston[to fetch home timber for the scaffold & the brick from Easton (ie either Great or Little Easton –nearby Essex villages)]
15 Item ffor ye borde thee(??) ij dayes[Item for the bord(er?) 2 days] viijd
16 Item to Thomas Savage ffor xv dayes wark to[Item to Thomas Savage for 15 days work to] vs
17 purvey pyce(??) stufe As ye workmen showelde need[?? ?? stuff as the workman should need]
18 Item& to sett them a werke & helpe to stage wt oyr[& to set them to work & help to stage with our]
19 Item ye same tyThomas for ij dayes jornay to camrege[Item the same Thomas for 2 dayes journay to Cambridge] ijs
20 & to dyttun to seke for ye ston my hys costs for myhys horse & hyme\selfe/[& to Duton (Duton Hill, nearby Essex village) to seek for the stone his costs for his horse & himself]
21 Item ffor goynge to haddam to speke for ye lyme[Item for going to Haddam (a village in Hertfordshire – probably Much Haddam) to speek for the lime] iijd
22 Item ffor goynge ij tymye to thaxsted for buttoll[Item for going 2 times to Thaxted (a nearby Essex town) for ??] iiijd
23 to a made ye stagynge becawce he was expert in ye making[to make the staging because he was expert in the making (of this)]
24 Item ffor a load of lyme from haddam pryce[Item for a load of lime from Haddam (a village in Hertfordshire – probably Much Haddam), price viijs
25 Item ffor a fewe of lyme fett att haddam wt ye cost[Item for a few(??) of lime fetched at Haddam with the cost] xixd
26 Item ffor xij bosshall off shalnerd lyme[Item for 12 bushalls of ?? lime] xviijd
27 Item ffor qrt naylle \and/ to john brewer of tayclay[Item for quart of nails and to John Brewer of Takeley (nearby Essex/Hertfordshire village)] ijs ixd
28 Item payde to Thomas Averell fo nayle[Item paid to Thomas Averell for nails] jd
29 Item ffor iij ston off scaffalde lyne <illegible> a half[Item for 3 stone(??) of scaffold line a half] iiijd xd
30 Item for ij ropys to wynd up ye tymber & ston pryce[Item for 2 ropes to wind up the timber & stone, price] iijs vd
31 Item to robarde kelynge ffo xxij dayes warke & half[Item to Robert Kelynge for 22 dayes work] xis
32 for to make ye stagynge wt oyr besynes wt mete & drynk[for to make the staging with our business with meat & drink]
33 Item to Thomas dygby for iiij dayes warke &[Item to Thomas Digby for 3 days work &] xixd
34 for to make hardell for ye stagynge[for to make the hardall(??) for the staging]
35 Item for mete & drynke \when we/ wente to choce ye okye[Item for meat & drink when we went to choose the oak iiijd
36 Item ffor wex & for Rofyn for to mak syme(??) for ye stayer[Item for wax & for Ruffin(??) to make ?? for the stairs. xiid

The Voice of Great Dunmow’s scribe
This blog has many readers from the North Essex and Suffolk area.  To them (and, of course, to my other readers too) I say… can’t you just hear the Suffolk accent shining through this folio!  Say the names of the following villages and towns out loud and you will hear that scribe from five-hundred years ago!  Remember, the scribe was writing phonetically, so pronounce each word out-loud phonetically and you will hear our long-dead, invisible, but always present, scribe.

    • Ayston (ie Great Easton or Little Easton)
    • Camrege (ie Cambridge – I love saying this one out loud… to start with, a nice hard ‘cAM’ and then growl out that ‘r’ to get the soft Suffolk burr to the ‘rege’!  Wonderful!)
    • Dyttun (ie Duton Hill)
    • Tayclay (ie Takeley. This town is now pronounced ‘Take-Leigh’. So try out you best Tudor accent: try the ‘Tay’ and then sound out that ‘clay’!)
    • Thaxsted (ie Thaxted, everyone I know still pronounces this town’s name as Thaxsted, despite its modern day spelling! Thaxted is one of Essex’s jewels-in-the-crown of beautiful villages.  The town has many medieval buildings still standing including the beautiful medieval church (pictured below) which is more like a cathedral in its dramatic size and dimensions and the town’s medieval guildhall.  This town is well worth a visit to tourists visiting Great Britain.  If anyone is visiting this area during June or July, then I strongly recommend the Thaxted Festival for an evening of beautiful music in a remarkable location.

Thaxted Parish ChurchThe beautiful Thaxted church, home of the yearly Thaxted Festival.
© Essex Voices Past 2012.

Being able to ‘hear’ the sound of our Tudor scribe is the very reason why this blog is called Essex Voices Past and also why my pseudonym is ‘The Narrator’.  I can only merely narrate the stories from Great Dunmow’s past, the Tudor scribe can speak perfectly well for himself.

Unwitting Testimony
There are several items on this folio that we can use unwitting testimony to interpret the entry.  For example:

  • Line 3: ‘paid for the rest of the gilding of Our Lady’s Tabernacle’.  Although we are now five folios into the leather-bound churchwardens’ book, we are still on in the first year of the accounts recorded within it.  Therefore, this entry implies a couple of things, firstly the initial gilding was done (or paid for) prior to the start of the account-book (so perhaps in the years 1524-5), and secondly that the tabernacle must have been large because the payment was in (at least) two parts and this instalment was for 12s 4d (a significant sum).
  • Line 6: ‘New work’.  What new work?  It’s not itemised in the accounts and so must have occurred prior to the start of the churchwardens’ accounts in 1525-6.  The very way it’s described implies that this was an area of the church that everyone knew as the ‘new work’.
  • Line 20: the crossed out ‘my’.  This is intriguing.  Was Thomas Savage the unknown scribe?  Unlikely, as he was the churchwarden.  Also, the entries on this folio imply that he was the builder commissioned to build the steeple (and the person who contributed the largest amount towards the same steeple!)  Maybe the scribe was copying entries into the leather-bound account-book from various people’s loose receipts and he was busy word-for-word copying Thomas Savage’s receipt and accidently wrote ‘my’.

Church Steeple
Finally we are into the expenses for the building of the new church steeple.  Anyone who has seen Great Dunmow’s beautiful church will know that there is certainly not a steeple in existence now (and the church hasn’t had one in living memory).  However, here we have costs for the timber, the scaffolding, stones and limes.  Perhaps the Victorian vicar of Great Dunmow, W. T. Scott, was correct in his assessment that this merely for repairs, new windows and a wooden spire.

St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow
St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow


The steeple-less tower at St Mary the Virgin, Great Dunmow.
© Essex Voices Past 2012.



Notes about Great Dunmow’s churchwarden accounts
Great Dunmow’s original churchwardens’ accounts (1526-1621) are kept in Essex Record Office (E.R.O.), Chelmsford, Essex, D/P 11/5/1.  All digital images of the accounts within this blog appear by courtesy of Essex Record Office and may not be reproduced. Examining these records from this Essex parish gives the modern reader a remarkable view  into the lives and times of some of Henry VIII’s subjects and provides an interpretation into the local history of Tudor Great Dunmow.


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You may also be interested in the following
– Index to each folio in Great Dunmow’s churchwardens’ accounts
– Great Dunmow’s Churchwardens’ accounts: transcripts 1526-1621
– Tudor local history
– Medieval Essex dialect

© Essex Voices Past 2012-2013.

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One Response to Transcript fo. 5r: Great Dunmow’s Tudor dialect

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