The Annals of Bristol in the Seventeenth Century

By John Latimer

Author of “Annals of Bristol in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”.

Transcriptions by Rosemary Lockie, © Copyright 2013


THE TABLET here shown has just [in 1905] been erected on the West wall of the North Transept of Bristol Cathedral, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter.

John Latimer - b. Newcastle-on-Tyne May 7th 1824, d. Bristol January 5th 1904
In Loving Memory
Born at Newcastle-on-Tyne May 7th 1824.
Died in Bristol January 5th 1904

THE MEMORIAL consists of a slab of fine Vert des Alpes marble, the inscription being on a circular convex panel of white statuary marble surrounded by bronze mountings of a refined 18th century classic character; from a design by H. Dare Bryan. F.R.I.B.A., honorary adviser to the Committee.

January, 1905.

Position of the Tablet to John Latimer in Bristol Cathedral


The circumstances which led to the compilation of the present volume are within the knowledge of many who will peruse its pages, but are too flattering to the author to be left without a memorial.

On June 10th, 1893, soon after the publication of the “Annals of the Eighteenth Century”, a considerable number of gentlemen of literary tastes were pleased to confer a probably unexampled honour on a writer of local history. It would be unseemly to reproduce any of the eulogistic remarks that were made at the complimentary dinner given at the Victoria Rooms. And the grateful feelings which the entire proceedings inspired, and continue to inspire, must be left unrecorded. The subject is referred to as furnishing the compiler's best plea against a reasonable criticism:-

Superfluous lags the veteran on the stage.

The chairman of the gathering, Mr. Alderman Fox, was kind enough to observe that the annals of the city during nearly two centuries had been so satisfactorily dealt with that he and others could not help cherishing a hope that their guest would brace himself to a further effort, and take up the events of the Seventeenth Century, so full of interest to Bristolians. Such a desire, afterwards re-echoed by other gentlemen, it would have been ungrateful to evade. During the long process of compilation, further encouragement was received from many quarters; and within the last few weeks the support and sympathy of a large body of friends have been tendered with a munificence that leaves the writer helpless to offer adequate acknowledgments.

When Mr. Seyer undertook the local history of the Seventeenth Century, upwards of ninety years ago, he was refused access to the most important source of information - the records of the Corporation. Most of the State Papers of the period were not arranged, and scanty facilities were offered for inspecting what could be seen; the collections in the British Museum were, as compared with those of the present day, insignificant; while vast stores of manuscripts now available were then practically unknown. The author of the Memoirs of Bristol was consequently compelled to base his narrative on the printed pamphlets of the time, often strongly tinctured with party spirit, and on the casual jottings of a few local chroniclers, frequently at variance in their facts and dates, often ignoring the most important events of their time, and, as Mr. Seyer was fain to confess, generally untrustworthy. Later compilers were more favourably situated, but the pressing engagements of their professional life left them little leisure for comprehensive research, and some valuable mines of information were left unexplored.

The object of the present volume is to give the history of the century, not by reproducing the imperfect statements of books already in print, but by extracting the marrow of official records and contemporary documents of unquestionable authenticity, but hitherto for the most part unexamined. The archives of the Corporation have produced a vast mass of material throwing a vivid light on the habits, feelings, passions, and trials of the community during a very eventful period. Equally valuable matter has been disinterred from the voluminous State Papers in the Record Office and from the minutes of the Privy Council; for although the city suffered grievously, and almost constantly, from the meddlesome dictation and unjust burdens and restraints of successive Governments, the astonishing extent of this suffering is now for the first time disclosed. Supplementary facts of great moment have been obtained from the immense treasures of the British Museum and the Bodleian Library, from the numberless letters and papers recently brought to light by the Historical Manuscripts Commission, and from the large collections of local antiquaries that have been generously made available. Something also has been gleaned from the numerous Bristol manuscripts acquired of late years by the Museum and Reference Library, the records of the Dean and Chapter, the minutes of the parochial vestries, and the local wills at Somerset House. The chief difficulty in dealing with all this accumulation of resources has been to compress it into a moderate compass whilst setting out all the essential facts and preserving as far as possible the language and spirit of the writers. The results must be left to the judgment of the reader.

As discrepancies will be observed in the spelling of certain surnames, it may be explained that when the orthography differed in two documents of equal authority it has been often impossible to determine the accurate form. Indifference to precision on the subject was carried so far that some leading citizens wavered in the spelling of their own names. Alderman Gonning often signed “Goninge”, Chamberlain Pitt sometimes preferred “Pytt”, the unfortunate son of Alderman Butcher seems to have adopted “Bowcher”, and almost at the end of the century Sir John Duddleston is found spelling his name “Dudelstone”.

The compiler has to return grateful thanks to the Clerk of the Privy Council for permitting a lengthened search of the records in his custody, and to Mr. Tremayne Lane, the City Treasurer, whose courtesy, though severely taxed for many months, was unfaltering throughout. Many interesting contributions have been gathered from the extensive store of Bristol manuscripts and books in the library of Alderman Fox, whose hospitality has been as generous as his cheering sympathy. The fine local collections of the late Mr. Sholto Hare and of Mr. G.E. Weare, of Weston-super-Mare, have also proved fruitful, and great assistance was rendered by a much-lamented friend, the late Mr. William George. Acknowledgments are also due to the Rev. R.L. Murchison, vicar of St. Nicholas, the churchwardens of various parishes, Mr. W.W. Hughes, Chapter Clerk, Mr. J.E. Pritchard, F.S.A., Mr. Alfred E. Hudd, F.S.A., Mr. J.J. Simpson, Clerk to the Corporation of the Poor, Mr. H.H. Bowles, and the Rev. A.E. Beaven, of Preston.

Trelawny Place,
June, 1900.



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The Rt. Hon. Lewis Fry.
Sir C.D. Cave, Bart.
Sir Herbert Ashman.
*J.W. Arrowsmith.
James Baker.
*W.R. Barker.
A.B. Beaven.
John Beddoe.
A.N. Blatchford.
H.B. Bowles.
W.J. Braikenridge.
James R. Bramble.
H. Dare Bryan.
C.E. Boucher.
John Bush.
R.H. Carpenter.
F.F. Cartwright.
Charles H. Cave.
Arthur S. Cavell.
C. Challenger.
Sanford D. Cole.
Henry Daniel.
J.W.S. Dix.
H.G. Doggett.
M. Dunlop, Leytonstone.
J. Fuller Eberle.
T.F. Fdgeworth.
H.L. Evans.
Sparke Evans.
W. Agnew Fedden.
*Francis F. Fox.
Claude B. Fry.
Conrad F. Fry.
Francis J. Fry.
Joseph Storrs Fry.
Alfred C. Fryer.
S. Gane.
Charles George.
*Frank George.
Mrs. George.
W.E. George.
H. Martin Gibbs.
James Gilchrist.
W.V. Gough.
Geo. C. Griffiths.
L.M. Griffiths.
Alfred Harvey, Westbury-on-Trym.
Edward A. Harvey.
C.A. Hayes.
Latimer Hedley.
C.J. Hole.
C.E. Hole.
J.H. Howell.
*A.E. Hudd.
Stanley Hutton.
W. Jones.
H.G. Kerslake.
J. Tremayne Lane.
A.A. Levy-Langfield.
Miss Latimer.
Mrs. R. Latimer.
Miss A. Latimer.
Chas. L. Latimer.
R.C. Latimer.
Eleven members of the family of the late W.R. Maby.
A. Trice Martin.
The Society of Merchant Venturers.
C. Lloyd Morgan.
E.T. Morgan.
Jere Osborne.
A.W. Page.
George Pearson.
Alfred C. Pass.
George H. Pope.
John E. Pritchar[d]
C.W. Cope-Proc[tor?]
*Walter Reid.
W. Nichol Reid.
James Rowley.
Jos. R. Scott.
J.J. Simpson.
J. Hudson Smith
T. Sherwood Sm[ith]
Robert F. Sturge
Charles S. Taylor
L. Acland Taylor
*T.D. Taylor.
T. Thatcher.
Alfred Trapnell.
Charles Thomas
Harry E. Thomas
Charles Townsend
Stephen Tryon.
F.F. Tuckett.
R.C. Tuckett.
J.E. Tully.
Mrs. Tully.
The Misses Tyn[dal?]
John Walls.
*R. Hall Warren.
Edward J. Watson
Francis Were.
G.E. Weare.
A.C. Welch.
Mrs. Welch.
Charles Wells.
G.A. Wills.
H.J. Wilkins.
P. Watson Willis
T.W. Williams.
Miss Julia Wood[]
Philip J. Worsley

* Members of the Committee.


OCR/transcript by Rosemary Lockie in August & September 2013.

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