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Edmond Prideaux’s Cash Book

Part 1


THE CASH BOOK 1725-1745 of Edmond Prideaux (at Norwich in 1725)

On the front page of The Cash Book is a grid.

It has rows "Johannes, Moiders, Lewis d'or, Jacobus XX, Jacobus Scept"

and columns 1/2,1,2,3,4,5 with a blank for the intersection of Lewis d'or and 1/2.

The unit rate in column 1  is 1£16s, 1£7s, 16s, 1£3s and 1£5s, respectively.

Curious to note that, at the time, the "£" sign was entered after the figure.


"£" being pounds sterling and "s" being shillings sterling.


This is a ready-reckoner for Gold Coins ....

Johannes (Joannes) being Portuguese,

used in the British American Colonies.

Value c.36 shillings sterling.

Moiders ( Moidores ) Portuguese 4,800 reis or 1 guinea,

last minted 1732, current in England in the first half of the 18th century,

value c. 27 shillings sterling.

Lewis d'or ( Louis D'Or ) France Louis XIII until 1640,

French, Issued reigns of Louis XIII-XVI,

fixed value in England in 1717 at 17 shillings sterling.

Jacobus ( Jacobus is Latin for James ) England James I -

 value c. 25 shillings sterling.



The circulation of money was rather hazardous in earlier times and gold itself became a standard, as Goldsmiths would give a receipt on paper. This receipt became used as a form of tender, in itself, a paper promise.

Banks were set up, on the basis of the Goldsmiths, mostly. Around 1550 John Wheeler formed a goldsmiths company, later to become Sir Francis Child's Bank. The first bank in Cornwall being in Bodmin, 1744, George Brown, a solicitor in Fore Street, is believed to have acted as a banker, until his death in 1795. The Bank of England was formed in 1694. Bills of exchange were used during the Middle Ages, this being taken up by the new banks, as being a safe method of transferring money. Bills were payable at banks, not until the "due date". A bank would issue a bill payable to someone, that person could then countersign it to be payable to a second person, etc., until it arrives back at the bank and is honoured. This procedure was interrupted occasionally in order to have the bill paid sooner by the use of "Discounters". These people would offer to pay up on the bill, but at a discount, since it would be paid before the due date. In this way "Carriers" could take payment from one person to another in complete security, since there was no money being moved and it was assigned to be paid to a particular person at a particular bank. The bill often represented a difference between the amounts being owed by each of the two parties, rather than a single amount being owed by one to another. These were known more precisely as "Bills of Exchange".



London            Sir Francis Child & Co [John Wheeler] (1550)

London            Coutts & Co    [John Campbell ]      (1690)

London            Bank of England                                1694

Bodmin           George Brown                                    1744

London            Biddulph & Co                                   1763

Truro               Sir John Molesworth & Co               1771

Truro               Copper Miner's Bank                        1771

London            Sir William Lemon, & Partners         1772

London            Pybus, Hyde, Dorset & Cockell        1773

Plymouth         Harris Bulteel & Co                          1774

Falmouth         Carne & Co                                        1781

Falmouth         J Banfield & Co                                 1782

Heiston           Glynn & Co                                        1788

Tavistock        Gill & Co                                            1791

Penzance         Batten & Co                                       1795

Padstow          Thomas Rawlings                               1806


A history of Cornish Banking will be given in The Acorn Archive


Coutts & Co has commented "Certainly from the sums involved and the range of business connections it would appear that Edmond Prideaux was trading in a large way."


SOUTH SEA ( Edmond Prideaux has entries relating to this )

In 1711, the Tories wanted the backing of a financial company, similar to the East India Company and the Whigs. The South Sea Company was formed, secured under government guarantee, they took over 9 million pounds of the National Debt. In 1719, speculation rose at an alarming rate, the whole of the National Debt was to have been passed over to them. Walpole warned against the situation but shares raced up, all and sundry scraped up their savings to buy more shares at any price. In the first six months of 1720, the price rose from £100 to £1,100 : a whole series of fraudulent companies collapsed. The public took alarm and in three months the shares had fallen to £150. Many were ruined, the government were driven from office. Upon Walpole's assistance, he directed that money raised from directors and others personal property being forfeited, a total of 2 million pounds, was set up to retain the company on a more sober basis.



Humphry Prideaux ( Dean of Norwich ), on his death in 1724, left one surviving son, his third. Edmond Prideaux was christened 22 Feb 1693 at Soham Tony, Norfolk, matriculated Clare Hall, Cambridge , buried 23 Jun 1745 at Padstow. Wrote his will in Jan 1743, with a codecil dated 12 June 1745. He married Hannah, daughter of Sir Benjamin Wrench of the city of Norwich, on 17th April 1717, she died 2nd February 1726, aged 29 years. It is sad to note that Edmond's mother had died young, also. His father was born 3rd May 1648, and died in Norwich, 1st November 1724, buried in the Cathedral. Edmond's mother was Bridget, daughter of Anthony Bokenham, and they married 16th February 1686 in Suffolk; she died in November 1700, Norwich. From this it can be assumed that both Edmond and his father became lonely men, and it can be understood why such a strong bond grew between them, as can be seen in the writings of Edmond Prideaux.



From entries in his Cash book dated 1725, it can be seen that, Edmond travelled quite well. In his younger life, from the age of 21, he had visited various houses of the Prideaux family and others who were socially connected with the family, making "topographical drawings". These sketches have proved useful in restoration work, there is no doubt of that, but it also shows that Edmond had a very lively interest in his family connections and their houses. Upon being a widower at the age of 33, he immersed himself in the study of all scholarly matters, particularly architecture and garden design. The Cash book reveals that, contrary to present belief, Edmond had deer on the site prior to Humphry, his son, and that he had planted trees on the site and erected the garden architectural features prior to his Grand Tour. It is also clear that his major alterations to Prideaux were undertaken in 1733.


RELATED ENTRIES in Edmond’s Cash Book

Feb 1726                  In London

Jan 22 1727             In London

May 24 1727           Back in Norfolk

Aug 11 1727            Journey Into Cornwall Devon & London ( four months )

[ The completion of the Tower of St Eval church ]

Feb 11 1728             To London until April 1728, back to Norfolk

Jun 22 1728             Journey via London Into Devon and Cornwall

Jul 20 1728              Cornwall to London

Aug  4 1729             Removal from Norwich  ( visiting London on the way )

Mar 20 1731            To London & Norwich etc until 26 June

Feb 21 1732             To London - up to Jun 24th

Sep 21 1732             To Bath until end of November

May  3 1733            To London until 11 July


Nov 17 1733            "17 Novemb: pd: Hen: Williams for a

                     by Clauds: Guide  on Mr:John Girard

                     In the Strand London dated

                     Oct : 25th : 1733 ."

                     "NB.  I sent this Bill to Mr.Knapton"


                     [there is a gap in the records for May/June 1734]


Jul  9 1734               To London

Feb  1 1735              To London until 27 June 1735, lodging with Mr.Bennion

May  4 1735            in Bath

Feb 12 1736             To London until the end of May

Mar 16 1737            To London

May     1737            To London

Jul 13 1737              in Bath

[ I suspect that this was to organise the supply of the stone ]


Jan  1 1739  Edmond pays Ralph Allen for his stone.

Jan 17 1739 Mr. Richard Broad Free Stone Mason is paid for his

                     work done in the Garden Temple, Obelisk and seats.

                     Edmond Prideaux would not have paid for work in advance,

                     looking through his Cash Book, it is clear that he

                     was very careful about his business dealings,

                     besides, there is the fact of his stay in Bath.


Mar 3 1739  " I left my own house at Padstow March 3rd: 1738/9 and

                     went out of England May 21st: and having been with my

                     eldest son Humph: In France Italy and Germany,

                     I returned into England the first of July 1740. and

                     I expended during that time In Travelling Expenses,

                     expenses of my two Sons and daughter besides

                     ye repairs of my house servts: wages &c about £ 1715 15 6"


Oct 30 1740             "October 30th : 1740 got home after an absence of more

                      than a year and a halfe, Deo Gratia, in good health"


Mar 8 1742              To London until 2nd July

Apr 18 1743             To London & other stops until 23rd June.


Edmond was 52 years old at his death in 1745, having inherited Prideaux Place at the age of 32. He went on the Grand Tour when he was 46, a comparatively late age for such a tour. Though not a member of The Dilettanti, he was closely associated with many of its members.


Whilst abroad, he kept notes of all he had seen and experienced.

His MSS, describes the Tour in accomplished detail, but makes heavy reading.

I will set out some detail of this at some later date.


The Knapton, mentioned in the Cash book was

J. & P. Knapton, Ludgate Street, London.


Raymond Forward


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