‘ Ingram Rectory, Alnwick,1827 ’
This is a letter written from London to Alnwick in Northumberland dated 1827. It is addressed to Messrs Russell, Solcrs Alnwick, and the filing note is 12th April 1827 Messrs Bell & Brodrick.
The writing is harder to read than we have found with most of our letters.
Charge is 1/1d for a distance between 300 and 400 miles and Alnwick is 311 miles from London. The London evening duty mark is double ring in black, the year in full and identifying code letter N at the left. The date is AP 12, the same date as the letter was written. This type was in use from 1823-1828 and used the codes A-Z.
So now to the letter, transcribed as well as possible, the words in brackets show what the abbreviated word could be.
Bow Ch Yd 12 Apl 1827
1) Although this looks like a straightforward letter, it is surprising what information has become available for people who are interested in the past. For example, in the case of the word simoniacal in the letter. A check in the Oxford English Dictionary shows
SIMONIACAL = GUILTY OF THE NATURE OF SIMONY. Which required a further check. This showed
SIMONY = BUYING OR SELLING OF ECCLESIASTICAL PREFERMENT.
Notes : from the Encyclopaedia Britannica on line
Simony, buying or selling of something spiritual or closely connected with the spiritual. More widely, it is any contract of this kind forbidden by divine or ecclesiastical law. The name is taken from Simon Magus (Acts 8:18), who endeavoured to buy from the Apostles the power of conferring the gifts of the Holy Spirit.That explained the word simoniacal, the next thing to check was what legislation was referred to in the letter. An internet search for Hansard for the week which included 12 April 1827 gave us the website for Parliament, including both houses, with contact details.
We sent an e-mail to the House of Lords Archives, and they replied overnight with a link to the archives which are online. I put in the search query for April 1827, Simoniacal and it brought up the document within 10 seconds.
The relevant document has a reference number of HL/PO/PU/1/1827/7&8G4n120 and the description of this particular Act f Parliament is .
An Act for the Relief of certain Spiritual Persons, and Patrons of Ecclesiastical Preferments, from certain Penalties; and rendering valid certain Bonds, Covenants, or other Assurances for the Resignation of Ecclesiastical Preferments.It is unusual to find a personal letter with links to an actual Act of Parliament, and the incredible expansion of the information on the internet has made research like this so simple and fast.
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