CASH BOOK 1725-1745
ALTERATIONS TO THE HOUSE
By way of Introduction
WOODSTOCK - BUILDING COSTS
( from Edmond Prideaux’s MSS )
Because there was no residence at Woodstock, The Lord Bishop of Oxford "projected the building of an house for the minister at Woodstock and having accordingly purchased a piece of ground lying on the left hand of the gate entering into the park from the town and formed the model, he committed it to the Care of Mr. Prideaux to see the house, which was accordingly finished in the year 1685.... The house was built in the forme of a Crosse.... The purchase of the ground and the building of the new house thereon was wholly at the expence of said Pious & Learned Bishop which cost him in all above £600, but the converting of the old house formerly built on the said piece of ground into a stable wash house & other out houses, to goe with the same was at the Charge of Mr.Prideaux which cost him near £100".
CASH BOOK ENTRIES
In his Cash Book, Edmond makes only two references to any work to the house. The book, other than the times when he was away, is a careful record of all expenses made, insofar as expenses were concerned, the only parts that were vague, were for small amounts, "expences as by book". The alteration undertaken by Edmond were by no means trifling and therefore some major expense would be expected.
There is no mention of any purchase of panelling or staircase, or any named entries that has been linked with Stow. It may well be that "Hobart" made these purchases on Edmond's behalf as part of the "other disbursments". The fact of the use of panelling from Stow is not in dispute, only the date of the incorporation of these items in the house.
Humphry was 20 years old when his father took him on The Grand Tour, it is therefore possible that Edmond did this as an education for his son, as well as extending his already intensive embracing studies.
Edmond mentions, in his expenses for his Grand Tour, "ye Repairs of my house", whilst he was away ( May 1739 - Oct 1740 ), having spent 3 months in London, beforehand. However, these are described as repairs, not alterations. He states that the total expenses, for the time he was away, as being £1715, for a period of 20 months, an average of £85 per month, including the running of the house, which would have been some £20 per month, and his children's expenses. Charles, Benjamin and Rebecca remained in England and Edmond normally sent about £100 per year to each of them. Humphry went on the Grand Tour with his father, Edmond. This leaves around £1000 to be spent as "Travelling Expences" and "ye repairs to my house", ie. £50 per week for Edmond and his son to travel through France, Germany and Italy. There would ( on the face of it ) not have been very much left over for major works to the house.
However, the entry for the 23rd of November, 1733, states that Edmond settled an account for "work done to my house as wages to the work men Deals lime & other disbursments". The amount of £ 224, in relation to the cost of erecting the Temple, Obelisk and Seat, before January 1739, being a total of £ 40, indicates the scale of works involved. The term "Deals" is used to describe large pieces of sawn fir/pine, minimum 8 x 3 inches and between 12 and 6 feet long. Obviously, stone was not a problem, with his own quarry on the "doorstep", so the only major materials to be purchased for building were timber and lime for the plaster.
As described above, £ 600 would buy a plot of land and build a goodly sized house, at the time, so £200 would have represented a substantial expense in alterations to the house at Prideaux Place.
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