Latest edit 2 Sep 2007.   

Interactive version ©2006 R.J.PENHEY

The Bourne Archive


Fenland Notes and Queries. Edited by Rev. W.D. Sweeting, Rector of Maxey.

Part 15. October  1892.

This quarterly periodical took the form of a forum in which people sent in questions about the history, ecology and so on of the Fens and the region’s environs and others replied with some sort of answer. Some ‘answers’ seem to have been spontaneous, so qualifying as ‘notes’.

Seventeenth Century Civil War

298 – The Seven Associated Counties. – In 1642 the Eastern Counties formed an association against the King, under the command of Lord Grey of Warke. These were Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Hertford, Cambridge, Huntingdon, and Lincoln. The Earl of Manchester afterwards commanded their levies, having under him Oliver Cromwell. Their proceedings were regulated by an Ordinance of 16 Jan., 1643. In the following year, 14 May, 1644, another Ordinance was passed, to raise funds from the several Counties to maintain these forces. In the title they are called “The Seven Associated Counties.” The preamble reads like a solemn mockery. “Whereas the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincoln, and the other counties with them associated, out of their loyall respect to His Majesty, their pious disposition to the Peace and Happiness of this Kingdom, in obedience to the Orders of Parliament, Have raised and maintained to the number of fourteen thousand horse, foot and dragoons, or thereabouts, and with them within Five moneths last past have done many services against the common Enemy, tending much to the safety of the Kingdom, And intend to raise a far more considerable force both of horse and Foot; And have also bought many Arms and Ammunition, and must buy more, whereby to furnish themselves with a Train of Artillery, And have been, and must be at great charges in maintaining and recruiting the said Forces, and in keeping severall Garrisons, making and erecting the Fortifications, Magazines, Courts of Guard, and other things requisite and necessary for the Defence and safety of the said Association, against the incursions of the Enemy: By all which means the said Asociation is become much indebted, and without speedy raising of large and considerable sums of money, proportionable to their vast expences, cannot long subsist in a condition to keep themselves from ruine, and to advance the Publique safety, &c.” It was accordingly ordered that weekly sums of money should be “Charged, Rated, Taxed, and Leavyed” on the several Counties, and that these sums shall continue to be paid weekly for four months, beginning on the first of May. The weekly amounts of these:-

                                  Essex:                                          £1687 10s.

                                  Suffolk:                                        £1875.

                                  Norfolk, and city of Norwich:   £1875.

                                  Hertford:                                              £675.

                                  Cambridge:                                 £562 5s.

                                  Huntingdon:                               £330.

                                  Lincoln, and city of Lincoln:               £1218 15s.

                                  Isle of Ely:                                   £221 5s.

All the money so collected was to be paid to the Earl of Manchester, or his agents and to be issued out according to his directions.


[This article is useful in giving an idea of the administrative system supporting the armies. These sums were of course, not sufficient alone. Sequestrations from Royalists and free billeting were other examples of burdens placed on the population by the one side.]