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Lot 426
CORNWALL AND TIN MINING.
Sold for £840 (US$ 1,316) inc. premium

Lot Details
CORNWALL AND TIN MINING.
MANUSCRIPT AGREEMENT SIGNED BY SIR FRANCIS GODOLPHIN ('fra: Godolphin'), in his capacity as Receiver General of the Duchy of Cornwall, acknowledging the receipt of £500 from Sebastian Harvey, citizen of London, 'towardes the buyeng of such Tyn to his Ma[jes]ties use as at this present remayneth unsold in the handes of the Tynners of Cornewall', at 10% interest with provisos for its repayment in kind if the principal is not repaid, namely 'soe much Tyn after the rate of xxviii li the thousand weight by his Ma[jes]ties beame...if the said sebastian or his assignes, shall before the expiracion of the said vj months, require of mee Tyn bills to be delivered him to the value of his said dew, that I shall deliver him soe much in Tyn bills as shall amounte to the said value, And if alsoe the said Sebastian or his assignes shall require deliverance of that Tyn, that then uppon payment of such dews and fees as hath ben accustomed, I must mak him deliverance of the Tyn mentioned in his severall bills, soe as the place the same to be kept and to remayne w[i]thin the Townes wher the Coynedge howses are, w[i]thout removing the same untill thexpiration of the said vj monthes...', 1 page, folio, two stains, integral leaf endorsed in a good Italic hand 'Sr francis Godolphins receipt of 500 li for 6 monthes from 10 March 1603' with the name (?signature of) Sebastian Harvey written below in another hand, 10 March 1603/4

Footnotes

  • 'Tin-mining was the industry in which Cornwall was pre-eminent...it gave Cornwall its distinctive place in the economy of Europe...Cornwall was the chief source of supply for the western world. With wool and lead, tin formed the bulk of England's exports, and as a commodity had an importance in international trade hardly less than most of the spices of the East.' (A.L. Rowse, Tudor Cornwall). Mention of the 'Coynedge howses' in the document will be of interest to historians of Tudor coinage.

    Sir Francis Godolphin (c.1534-1608) was the first man of affairs in Cornwall, being Receiver-General of the Duchy of Cornwall from 1586. He employed 300 men in the tin and silver mines on his own estates and was personally responsible for many technical improvements and the extension of the tin industry that mark the sixteenth century. He employed German advisers and found financial backers for the industry, which resulted in a company being formed in London. He was much praised by Richard Carew in The Survey of Cornwall (1602): 'By his labours and inventions in tin matters, not only the whole county hath felt a general benefit, so as the several owners have thereby gotten very great profit out of such refuse works as they before had given over for unprofitable, but her Majesty hath also received great increase of her customs by the same, at least to the value of £10,000.' He was also lessee of the Scilly Isles and was responsible for their defence and fortification at the time of the Armada. Rowse notes that Godolphin travelled to Virginia, Ireland and the Azores, was a man of culture and reading and wrote a beautiful Italian hand.

    The present document is, curiously, written in two hands, the second a more advanced mixed and sloping hand, taking over just below the middle of the document.
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