which consists of the villages of Crich, Fritchley and Whatstandwell

Crich "Chief" rents paid to the Duke of Norfolk in 1581

Transcribed by Dr Alan Wilcockson

Chief rent is an annual sum payable on some freehold property common in North West England, but found throughout the UK. Despite its name it is not a rent.

Ground rent is a regular payment required under a lease from the owner of leasehold property, payable to the freeholder. A ground rent is created when a freehold piece of land or a building is sold on a long lease.

Red text shows words or letters of which I am not convinced.


Cheife rents belonging to the
Manor of Chrich & toto due
owid at Martynmas 1581

John Sellers for cheif of his lands   2s 2d dyckinson
Robt. Radford for chief of Mr Pawle lands of Wakebrydge p ann   ob   dyckinson
George Radford for cheif of Mr Babington lands p ann     12d dyckinson
Johne Frytcheley for cheif of ye land  I received from wardley p ann 6s 8d which is ans**ryd amongst ye rent he payeth        
The cheif rents of Wynster p ann   7s 0d dyckinson
Thomas Woodward and Robert Taylor br cheif of Marmaduk Babington lands & p ann in Washington   30s 0d dyckinson
Frances Rolston cheif p ann   5s 8d dyckinson
Thomas Radford cheife p ann   5s 0d dyckinson
The chief rent of Ible p ann   5s 6d dyckinson
Marmaduke Babington cheife of Collington p ann   14s 0d dyckinson
Jerman Pawle cheif of his land p ann & one pounde of pepers1   5s 8d dyckinson
The common fyne of Chriche p ann   2s 6d dyckinson
John Kirkeland  cheif     6d dyckinson
Raffe Wilcockson p ann     6d dyckinson
Edmond Northedy p ann   3s 0d dyckinson
Wm Alseybreck for cheif rent to ye Chantery of Lea p ann   13s 4d dyckinson
Vidua2 Awrom cheif   2s 8d dyckinson
Henrye Ammott cheif     20d dyckinson
Andrewe Allen p ann     10d dyckinson
Sum £5 0s 12d ob

1Historically pepper has been very valuable and equivalent to money. In 408 AD Alaric, King of the Visigoths, demanded a large price for sparing the besieged city of Rome. The tribute included fine garments, gold, silver and three thousand kilograms of pepper. Merchants of Venice would bribe tax collectors with a pound of pepper. King Ethelred collected a tax from ships that landed at Billingsgate in the form of bags of pepper. In France a pound of pepper was enough to free a slave. In Germany a nickname for the rich was 'pepper sacks'. When the ship Mary Rose, which sank in 1545, was raised from the sea-bed nearly every sailor's body was found to have a bunch of peppercorns in his possession.
Pepper was considered as a more stable form of currency than money! In England a pound of pepper was a commonly accepted form of rent from land tenants. The term "peppercorn rent” started off meaning that such a contract was taken very seriously based on the cost of a given weight of peppercorns per year. In later years, when pepper became cheap, a custom of handing a single peppercorn to confirm a tenancy came into existence. When Prince Charles became the Duke of Cornwall he received a pound of pepper as part of his tribute.

2 Vidua is a widow

'Sheffield City Council, Libraries Archives and Information: Sheffield Archives ACM/S/114. Reproduced with permission from His Grace the Duke of Norfolk, DL and the Director of Culture, Sheffield City Council'.

Chief rents Crich Martinmas 1851

Similar data also exists for the Chief rents of 1582, 1583 and 1587 – the original records are in the Sheffield City Archives, Document reference nos. ECM 5114 & 5118.

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