A begging letter


Portrait of Nicholas Lechmere Pateshall, http://www.royprecious.co.uk

William Pateshall (1779-1832) was the second son of Ann and Edmund Lechmere Pateshall, whose fourth son Nicholas is pictured above. This wealthy family lived at Allensmore Court, 4 miles from Hereford. At the age of 17, William was on his travels and had to write the following letter to his mother:

I have the pleasure to inform you that I arrived here safe yesterday from Birmingham where I slept. I called upon Mr Conquest in the morning who wanted me to stop a day or two with him, but as Mr Rob was going to town, I thought it better not, he desires I will go there, any time I can make it convenient for a day or two. My expences were much more than I or you thought they would be, as you will see by this account

Breakfast at Ledbury                        1/6

Dinner at Worcester                          2/6

Coach from Hereford                        6/-

Coachman &c                                        2/-

Coach to Birmingham                     12/-

Coachman                                             1/-

Supper &c                                             4/-

Breakfast Bd &c                               3/6

Porter                                                     6d

From Birmingham                        11/0

£2 4/0

And after paying out of that which I have remaining 1/16 for my horse & about 15d for washing I shall not have any money in my pocket, leave alone money to pay for a pair of small cloths & waistcoat which I had made & shoemaker for shoes which you may remember I wanted very bad. Therefore I hope you will send me some as soon as you conveniently can (as I am in want of it as you may suppose) & stop it out of that which you promised to give me. I will send those stokins home as soon as I have an opportunity. I hope you will send me some in the place of them. You will excuse the shortness as I have something waiting for me to do in a hurry.

Mr & Mrs Conquest desire to be remembered to you & my brother. I remain your dutiful son

Wm Pateshall

I hope I shall heare from you soon.

Note the typical teenage strategies here – first of all I got here safely and I’ve being paying my respects as you would expect; then a list of expenses, which are noted to be ‘more than you or I thought they would be’; then the other things I’ve ordered that ‘I wanted very bad’, and of course I really need them, don’t I? He remembers his mother has asked him to send some stockings home, so he assures her he’ll do that  as soon as he can, but he doesn’t have time right now as ‘I have something waiting for me’ – something far more important than writing to his parents, no doubt! Finally, the pièce de résistance, ‘I hope I shall heare from you soon’, with the ‘you’ firmly underlined.

But this ‘dutiful son’ was to be disappointed. A small folded piece of paper wrapped inside the letter provides what is presumably a draft of the reply, which you’ll note comes from his father:

The 5 guineas I have here enclosed is cutting into a half yrs allowance Reconing the <illeg> you had before you left home the expences you have been at to <illeg> since the 1st of last June are no less than £100 according to a moderate calculation which she & myself made last night exclusive of Mr Robins’s fee & the fee to government. Mama will allow you what you pay for the horse at some future time.

William evidently survived, and was later to become a solicitor, town clerk and coroner, as well as being Lord Mayor of Hereford in 1820. His role as coroner gave him plenty of opportunity to reclaim expenses, as this extract from a set of contemporary accounts shows:


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