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period in the last century, none are now to be found prior to the year
1808. In a Benefaction Table in the Church, which bears date in 1703, it is stated that the Deeds and several Specialties for the sums mentioned, were in the Treasury over the South Porch. This old room remains, but there are now no Papers in it. There is a report in the Town, that they were all burnt, more than a century ago, but under what circumstances is not said, and this was the only explanation which The Commissioners could obtain of their disappearance.10
In like manner, the documents relative to the foundation of the free Grammar School of Dilhorne are, somewhat unaccountably, not now to be found.1
The chest.for writings, directed by the Rules of The School and Hospital of Tadcaster to be preserved, has long ceased to exist,—the last notice of it being found in a Memorandum, in the custody of The Archbishop of York, under date of 1762, 10 Rep. iv. p. 366 11 Rep. XIII.
which states it to be then in the School, but unlocked, and no Evidences therein.12
The documents relating to the lands which were given to the parish of Buckfastleigh, are stated to have been destroyed many years ago by Damp in the Church chest.13 And from a similar cause, those of the parish of Marwood have been much injured.14
It may also be observed, that many Deeds which were produced to The Commissioners, were wholly illegible from age or damp,-while some were decyphered with difficulty, which were hastening rapidly to decay. One great benefit of the present Commission has been to secure from impending destruction, and to place upon permanent record, a considerable number of Deeds and other Documents which, in a very few years more, would have ceased to be of the slightest use in elucidating the origin or the object of the Charities to which they relate.
12 Rep. X. p.
725. 14 Rep. ex. p. 48.
13 Rep. VII. p. 138.
A singular fatality seems to have attended the loss of the Parish Ledger of St. Peter's, in Bristoi. In 1770, an Accomptant having been employed by the then Churchwardens to make
up counts, his house, during the time the Ledger was in his possession, was inundated by a great flood, so that for many weeks that book, with some Church papers (being in a box in the Cellar) were under water, and totally spoiled.15
Several Deeds and Writings relating to Roulston's Almshouse and Charity at Rolleston, having been stolen from a box in the Church in which they had been kept, in 1811, no particular account of the management of the Charity between 1750 and 1798, could be given to The Commissioners.16
CIVIL WARS, AND FIRE OF LONDON.
Other circumstances have also contributed to this unfortunate Loss of Charita
16 Rep. xu. p. 366.
16 Rep. XI. p. 571.
ble Funds, over which human prudence could have no control,—these were the horrid confusion of The Civil Wars, and the calamitous Fire of the City of London.
Various sums of money are stated to have been given by different persons at Tiverton, and amounting in the whole to more than 6001., for the purpose of being lent to the poor Weavers and Artificers of that Parish. These sums are supposed to have been lent as directed by the Donors, and to have been lost during the Civil Wars of the Seventeenth Century.
The Corporation of Bristol, with their wonted integrity, have not taken advantage of, nor claimed any allowance for the Loss of their Charity Loan Fund, by the plunder committed upon it in the times of the Civil Wars, or by the failure of any of the Sureties upon which it had been lent out, but have carried on their accounts from the beginning, just as if the whole of what they received under the different Donors, had remained un
17 Rep. III. p. 171.
impaired and unreduced by any loss or casualty whatever.
During the Civil Wars of the Seventeenth Century, Bristol was a principal scene of the disturbances,-and it appears by several of the entries of that period in the books of The Corporation, that they were plundered of their possessions, particularly that their Loan money chest was robbed of it's contents, and that The Corporation were driven to borrow money to make good the Contributions which were levied upon
them. Part of the Loan money of Sir Thomas White is particularized, as having been the subject of depredation,--and it also appears, that The Corporation were obliged to part with all their plate.18
It will be seen, that several of the Charitable Payments of The HABERDASHERS' COMPANY were discontinued about the year 1673, in consequence of the embarrassment of The Company's affairs, occasioned chiefly by exactions during the
18 Rep. viii. p. 602.