Nathaniell Readinge was one of the least scrupulous of the fortune seekers who had been attracted into the Fens in the seventeenth century by the prospect of rapid wealth and advancement.
Brought up in London, where he received a legal education, he embarked upon a European Tour, during which it is said he became secretary to Masaniello during his Naples insurrection. Narrowly escaping execution when the insurrection failed, he returned to England, where he established a reputation as a legal advisor. He first ventured into the Hatfield Level around 1650 to help collect rents due to the State for the delinquency of the second Duke of Buckingham. He changed allegiance from the participiants to the fenmen, and back, several times.
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