A Survey of the Parish of Twickenham
Prepared for a new Rate Assessment
On New Year's Day 1661 (i.e 25 March old style) a Survey was made of all the Real Estate in the Parish by four persons, whose findings were then referred to the parish Vestry. Interested parties were invited to make representations concerning the valuations placed on their property. Houses and land were given an estimated annual rental value: this would be for the purpose of assessing and levying the Church and Poor Rates for the Parish, generally at a proportion of 4½d or 6d in the pound. The preamble to the Survey reads:
A Surveigh made the 25 March 1661 of all the reall estates in the parish of Twitnenham by the 4 persons appoynted by the commissioners for the seasons, vizt. Thomas Cole, Robert Bartlett, Collings Groome & Robert Parslow, which was examined by 5 vestryes sumoned 5 several times in the church that all persons might come in if they pleased to make their complaynt & be releived.
In all there were 98 landholders and householders (owners of the houses) listed, including 22 for Whitton ("Witten"). The total annual value of the Parish was put at £1193. Eight landowners/house owners accounted for just over 43% of the total value; twenty of all those assessed accounted for nearly two thirds of the total value (62.95% to be precise). With one exception, the value placed on houses ranged from a low £1 to a high £20. Sir Joseph Ashe's house (later to be known as Cambridge Park) was assessed at £20, but then he was also valued at a further £42 for 193 acres of land. Captain Ells was assessed at an annual value of £70 including one house at £20 (occupied by Dr Fuller) and another, his 'great new house'(probably on the site of Orleans Park and not yet completed) at £7-l0s. Charles Pitcarne was rated at £92 for houses and land, including £10 for the house he was then living in at Whitton. The largest assessment was for Serjeant Birkehead (or Birkhead)with his house (later Richmond House) at £20, another new house that "the french schoolmaster now dwells in" at £15, the 'glasse house that Trotts lives in' at £6, and various lands; in all totalling £94-l0s. John Browne, Clerk of the Parliaments and a declared Roundhead was living in the Manor House opposite the church. His house was valued at £20.
The one exception was that of the Earl of Manchester at York Farm (now York House). He had only 13 acres of land, but his assessment was at an annual value of £40, including £30 for “His great house he dwelled in”. This was the highest rating for any house in the parish and was probably used as a benchmark for the other assessments. It was also the first property to be listed by the assessors either because it lay so close to the church or because the Earl was then the most important person in the parish. For example Henry Murray at Twickenham Park was assessed at £80 for his property, 110 acres of land and a house. The latter was assessed at £20, an entry noting that it was “two thirds ye great house”. This was because the parish boundary actually ran through the house itself, so that a third of the value would be assessed by the adjoining parish of Isleworth. More to the point, Murray's entry follows on immediately after Manchester's.
Following the expulsion of Thomas Willis who had been appointed by Parliament as Minister during the Commonwealth, the "Parsonadge" appears to have been in the hands of Mr Mildmay pending the arrival of the new Vicar, the Rev William Hobson on 29 June. However, the house itself did not receive a valuation.
It seems, from the descriptions of ownership that not all the owners lived in the parish themselves. Mrs Parr owned 7 houses, all leased to tenants. There are also small mysteries: Ralph Blower, almost certainly living in a riverside cottage in Cross Deep owned a single house occupied by William Browne. It is evident that work needs to be undertaken to collate the Survey with the ratepayers listed in the Churchwardens' Accounts and the 1656 record of Copyhold tenants of the manor ("The Peace").
Source: St Mary's Archives, Churchwardens Accounts Bl/9, transcription of Survey by Vic Rosewarne.