On wills and inventories in Sambourne in the 1720s one witness signs his name very frequently R.A.Hunt. This was, in fact, Raphael Hunt, a Sambourne schoolmaster. As one of: the few literate people in Sambourne he must have been in great demand for witnessing such legal documents.
Some of his doodlings appear at the back of a copy of the customary of the manor of Sambourne,now in possess ion of a gentleman in Alcester. The customary is an interesting document giving rules regarding the inheritance of land (which in Sambourne manor followed the Borough English principle of inheritance from father to youngest son) and other customs of the manor of Gambourne. Perhaps extracts from this customary can be reproduced for readers in the future. In this article we will confine ourselves to Mr.Hunts doodlings on the back page of the document.
After the name George Perkes the school master
writes his own name:
Raphael Hunt of Sambourne his Custome Book Ra.Hun . I give to my grandson George Boulton and to his heires for ever in hopes he will have an estate to make use of it' . Raphael Hunt
When all things fade and nothing hitts: ffarewell f friends God have mercy witts
Honour seldom comes by slothfullness: but by birth or estate or both. As I was drinkeing I was thinkeing if I should rich Raphael Hunt
I must mend my manners. Keepe my money, and fall not in the ditch 1725
This for George Boulton to learn by and practice other good things when he shall come to knowledge and understanding whereby he may learne to be a good clerk or a good schoolmaster to teach a Latin or a good English schoole to get a good liveing or livlyhood in this present world is the hearty desire of(here the script ends although two more lines had been scored ready for writing)
Perkes and Boulton were local farming families. Perhaps Perkes had owned this copy before Hunt. Would the same advice be given to a grandson these days to learn well so that he can earn a good livelihood as a cleric or teacher? He might do better to stick to farming.
The rhyme may be a composition of the schoolmasters but it contains some traditional phrases. It is, nevertheless, interesting as an example of early eighteenth century poetry.
Spring 1986 Index
© Alcester & District Local History Society 1986