Berkshire, Reading, 1553–4
BRO: D/P 97/5/2

p 270 (29 September–29 September) (Receipts)


Recceived of Richard Watlyngton late Churchewarden for the kyng play the last yere & not then paied x s. viij d.


p 272 (Debts)


Item vppon Iohn Sawnders thapparelles of the Mores dawncers/ he saith he delyuered to Master Buklond


  • Marginalia
  • Footnotes
    • kyng play: likely held at Whitsuntide, 21–3 May 1553
  • Glossed Terms
    • kinge n in phr kinge ale, kingal, kingale, kingalle, kingeale, kyng ale, kyngale, kyngalle, kynge ale, kyngeale king ale, an inversion of order event in which a king — typically a local young man or farmer — was appointed to preside over the festival; kyng game, kynges game, king play, kynges play, kyng play synonymous with king ale; in phr king halle, kyng halle king hall, likely a bower built for the king of the king ale
    • mores n morris; morec; morece; moreys; morreyce
  • Endnote

    Richard Watlyngton, clothier, was a member of a large and prominent parish family and had been churchwarden the previous year (1552–3). He served as cofferer in 1560 (Guilding, Reading Records, vol 1, p xlvi). He contributed 7s for one part of the new churchyard wall (BRO: D/P 97 5/2, p 275; Dils, St Laurence Churchwardens' Accounts, pt 2, p 112). The only Richard recorded in the obituaries did not die until 1595–6 (Kerry, Municipal Church of St Lawrence, p 197). Presumably the king play had taken place in 1553.

    Mary ascended to throne on July 19 and at the end of the expenses for this year they are buying service books that include an antiphoner, a processional, and a small mass book.

    Saunders had no verification for his assertion that he had given the costumes to Buckland, since Buckland had died in 1550–1 (BRO: D/P 97/5/2, p 263; Dils, St Laurence Churchwardens' Accounts, pt 2, p 83). Buckland, a vintner, had been churchwarden 1544–6 and was again the year before his death (1549–50). He was another party to the ordinance concerning the Jesus Mass in 1547. In 1549 while warden he paid 4s to buy the Jesus altar and the St Thomas altar (BRO: D/P 97/5/2, p 259; Dils, St Laurence Churchwardens' Accounts, pt 2, p 78). During his first term as churchwarden (in which he and Saunders served together for the year 1545–6), he sold off excess plate to the total of £26 14s 4d ob. In 1549–50 he held three positions simultaneously – churchwarden of St Laurence's, mayor, and justice of the peace. Martin remarks that during that year 'the office of churchwarden was temporarily elevated to an unprecedented level' ('People of Reading,' p 188). That year was a momentous one in Berkshire when Protector Somerset issued a directive concerning the 'commotions and uproars' in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire. That there was disaffection in Reading and that Mayor John Buckland and other local dignitaries were vigilant is demonstrated by the appearance of a Reading shoemaker, Thomas Bonham, before a special commission of oyer and terminer on a charge of high treason. On 10 December 1549 he and two weavers from Newbury were accused of having 'machinated and compassed the King's death' on the previous 20 November. Despite their pleas of innocence, they were found guilty and executed at Reading (Martin, 'People of Reading,' p 245).

  • Document Description

    Record title: St Laurence's Churchwardens' Accounts
    Repository: BRO
    Shelfmark: D/P 97/5/2
    Repository location: Reading

    The churchwardens rendered their accounts on the feast of the Annunciation (25 March) until 1516 when they adopted the Michaelmas–Michaelmas pattern rendering their accounts on 29 September.

    1498–1626; English; paper; 250 leaves; 330mm x 225mm; modern pagination; some display capitals; pp 1–2, 490–3 are separated but have been repaired and put separately in a brown paper wrapper; bound in boards covered in parchment, title on front cover: 'The Book of the | Church-Wardens Accounts | of the Parish | of | St Laurence.'

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