Letter – 20 September 1761
The Right Honble the Earl Fauconberg
Date-stamped: 23 September; place stamp: EASING / WOULD
Remains of red wax seal
Newborough 20th Septr: 1761
Ive this Day Sold to Mr Sterne and the Churchwardens a Scotch Ox which is to be Roasted Whole at Coxwold on Tuesday next, the Joy full Day of their Majesties Accession to the Crown; Mr Sterne hath prevailed with me to give e’m a Bushel of wheat for Bread so that all the Poor in the Parish may be Satisfied – there will also be a Collection for a Drink for e’m —
Scotch Ox: Scotch beef cattle were highly regarded, as now. This particular beast cannot have been an Aberdeen Angus as we learn in a subsequent letter that it has horns, and they are naturally polled.
their Majesties Accession: George II had died on 25 October 1760. On 8 September, his grandson, George III, had married Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz and was crowned king of Great Britain on 22 September. ARE
Bushel: a bushel was a measure of capacity used for grain – for many years it was a quantity which varied as to geographical location and was only standardised in 1826. Under an Act of Parliament of the reign of Henry VII (12 Henry VII c. 5) a bushel was defined as a measure containing 8 gallons of wheat where each gallon contained 8 pounds Troy weight of wheat. In fact, the bronze standard which was distributed around the country at the time contained not 8, but 9 gallons – 72 Troy pounds. This was because wheat was sold in the market in heaped measures. There were inevitable variations. Based on figures in Elizabeth David’s English bread and yeast cookery (London: Allen Lane, 1977), 72 pounds of wheat would have made nearly 90 standard one-pound loaves.