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William Dugdale Correspondence

Thomas Wood

Servant to Lady Katherine Leveson

William Dugdale, Blyth Hall to Thomas Wood, Newcastle near Stone, Staffs., 18 January 1674

Sir, In answer to yours of the 14th instant (which I received yesterday) this is to let you know, that the first Grant by the Lord Moubray, of Balshall, to the knights Templars, was without any distinction: and that after those Templars were seated there, then came the distinction, that part where they had their Habitation, and their church, being called the Temple, the other Balshall, or more usually Balshall-street, as it is at this day.

In that Narrative, which I sent to the noble Lady at Trentham; you may discerne that there are foure Fermes, which are part of Balshall Lordship; and neverthelesse of Berkswell parish. I have enquired of one who owneth one of those foure Fermes; and he tells me, that when the parishioners of Hampton do make their perambulation, they encompasse those Fermes within it, though they be of another parish. And he farther tells me, that the demesnes of the Temple (which are in Question) are environed by the other part of Balshall totally, as so that their perambulation will signifie little to this businesse.

I thinke I told you, in that Narrative; that, upon the Tryall, about fifteen yeares since, the Impropriation was Non-sute; and that he afterwards brought on the businesse in order to another Tryall; but then discerning how well the other side was prepared, declin'd to put in his Record. I well remember, that I was then at Warwick with Mr Williamson, who manag'd that sute for the Ladyes: and though I was not there the first time, upon that hearing, when the plaintiff was Non-sute, I was told, that the substance of the Evidence, which he produced, was their Perambulation, and that the Inhabitants of the Temple had sometimes received the Sacrament at Hampton-church; and buryed there, at sometimes, as I thinke: other Evidence I remember not that he offred.

But on the other side, that it was proved by severall antient Witnesses; that the Inhabitants of the Temple, had buryed in the Temple-church, though ruinous, and receiv'd the sacrament, christend, and marryd, at other adjacent parish-churches, as well as Hampton. And there were severall old people, then living; who, at the Tryall before-mentioned, did testifye, that they knew an old man (his name Greslley, as I take it) who used to read divine service in the Temple-church, and for so doing had an annull stipend, untill the Roofe of the Church was by a Tempest blown downe, one of which witnesses (being a very old woman) is yet living.

This of Balshall Temple, as Extra-parochiall, is no single case; I instanced some others in my Narrative, with the reasons thereof; and if need be, can furnish you with more; which I thinke may be materiall herein.

So desiring you to present my most humble service to the most honourable Lady at Trentham, I rest

your very affectionate freind and servant

Postscript: I expect Mr Martin Holbeach here within a few days; and then I shall assist him herein all I can, before he goes towards London.

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, DR18/15

Address says that if Wood is absent, letter should be given to Mr Thomas Bagnall.