DIGITAL COLLECTIONS


Earliest known Bath Handstruck Postal Mark

  • Digital Collection

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1993-18-4-21

 

Letter dated 13 March 1705 / 6 (1706 being the Calendar Year)

from Bath to Edinburgh.

The STRAIGHT LINE Bath handstamp was first introduced in 1706 – no earlier Bath handstruck Postal Marks are known, - with serifs, size 16mm x 6mm, in black.

The Bishop Mark of March 15 in black is the date of arrival of the letter in London.

Two handwritten amounts of postage in black.

‘In all 6’ being 3d. from Bath to London plus 3d. for London to Berwick.

An extra 2d. for ‘Berwick to Edinburgh brought the total postage to 8d.

 

Letter addressed to Mr Bennet of Grubet - Muster Master General ………

Information about the addressee and some of the contents of the letter is interesting.

The addressee, Sir William Bennet Bt. [2nd Baronet], was a Scottish Member of Parliament who was about to become an MP in London following the Acts of Union between England and Scotland that came into effect on 1st May 1707

Grubet is now spelt Grubbet and lies 40 miles SE of Edinburgh near Kelso in Roxbroughshire. The language of the Scottish Borders was a pure form of English, which at that time had changed little from that of Shakespeare, but spelling varied.

Bennet [the younger] had been made Captain of a Troop of 50 Horse after supporting Prince William of Orange who became King of England in February1689, and he rose to Muster Master General

The letter says: -

Sir

On Saturday was sevennights, which was the day my lord left London.

I write to you an answer to yours of 15th of ffebry, which did likewise containe the nomination of our commissioners of the Union.

Truly, I had then but little time, so that letter was but very short. -

I had yours of 23rd on Monday last which put me in mind of the quarell I had quite forgot & which I am resolved to mention no more, only you may be assured if things had been as you imagined you had knowen as soon of it as anybody. So fast.

If any designs had been against you I can 't think but I would have heard of it, but if there had, I'm afraid that person would have declined to act in the method you propose, for I don't find that those two persons did anything towards the friendship you told me one of them desired so much, and indeed his behaviour in the nomination of our Treaters looks quite the other way, besides you know it would be to no purpose to propose that now at this distance.  I confess you have reason not to list too much to the promises that have been made you, but at as things are at present I don’t think you need fear a successor, sooner at least than the meeting of our parliament. However I wish my Lord could contribute to prevent any designs that may be then, which I -

do believe he would willingly do, and I wish you could think upon some proper way he could do it by.    The Marquis of Annandale is to be here tonight or tomorrow, and I am told the Marquis of Montrose has already got or will get the place he refused.  I have no more news except this which I believe will please you as well as any. My Lord has been on horseback these two days, and finds himself the better on't.  I wish he had begun that exercise sooner. I shall write to you often, tho I hope we sha'n't - be long now, and shall let you know how matters go's if I hear anything of them, as I expect I will.

 

The spelling of the word Divinity at the end of the address shows how vowels and sometimes consonants were sometimes omitted in letters written three centuries ago, making reading difficult.

The Signet/Sender is EKS. [See wax seal]

The Political ambience supports the date of the letter as March 1706.