1609, Francis Galbreth hopes for a grant of land in Cumberland

Francis Galbreth, serjeant of his majesty’s pantry. SP 14/43 f. 14 (1609)

To the right honourable the Lord High Tresurer of England

The humble peticion of Francis Galbreth sargant of his majesties pauntrie

Most humblie shewinge unto your honour that wheareas his majestie was pleased to give to your lordship at Hampton Courte a peticion with a survaie in parchment concerninge Kerkeoswould parkes in Cumberland for the which I have beine an humble suter unto his majestie this foure yeares and such thinges beinge graunted then and since unto his majesties servantes inregard of service and inregard I have served his majestie ever from a child and hetherto have got nothinge that your honour would be pleased upon pittie of my estate to give furtherance unto his majesties gratious favour towardes me and I and myne shall remayne in all dutie ever bound to pray for your honours happines

[Paratext:] Master [And?] King I pray you let me know the state of Kyrkes Wold Park in Cumberland that I may judg of this [illegible] sute / R Salisbury / Let Master Osborne certifie me whether it appeare by the survay of these parkes that there hath bene are any deare in this parke, or that it be disparked, and at what valewe it is survayed. / R Salisbury

Report by Celia Jones

This petition is addressed to Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury (d. 1612). It would seem to refer to a ‘gift’ made by James I to Galbreth (an anglicised version of the Scots name Galbraith) c. 1605/6 as a reward for long service. The family had been in James’s service for a long time: several members feature in records of the king’s Scottish household, and Francis’s father James had been in service since c. 1567. The following July he was appointed ‘keipar of oure soverane lordis pantrie and breidhous’ for life. On the same day Francis was appointed ‘ayd in our soverane lordis pantry’ for life, receiving a yearly fee of £20. Francis also appeared as an ‘aide horseman’ in 1578.[1] Clearly Galbreth came south with the king on his accession to the English throne and came to rest at Hampton Court Palace.

It is unclear whether Galbreth asked for or was promised the land in Cumberland. Kirkoswald had belonged to the Dacres, but in 1572 Leonard Dacre was executed for treason and his lands sequestrated and thus were in the gift of the Crown (the family did not recover the lands until 1649).[2] According to the Victoria County History Kirkoswald was leased from the Crown by Thomas Bartram from 1606 to 1639, but without the parks.[3] The parks, some 1,600 acres (648 ha), were used primarily as a deer reserve, and (probably) heavily (and no doubt productively) wooded. Enclosures began in the mid-16th century and the remaining unenclosed area was leased ‘in nine named parcels’[4] — probably too early for Galbreth to be involved. Sadly, the VCH says simply that from 1606 the enclosed areas of the parks ‘were leased’, but does not say to whom.

Sergeant of the Pantry was a post in the royal household’s Domus Providencie – that is essentially those who actually did the work that made the various royal palaces run and were not of the nobility or gentry. Sergeants (generally promoted from yeoman who themselves began as pages) received a comfortable wage and wielded considerable power in their departments, but were unlikely to rise much further. It appears that Pantry servants were mostly waiters and that the Pantry came under the Ewery, which concerned itself with the equipment for dining and drinking.[5]

On 29 May 1605 the King ordered the Provost of Eton to admit James, Galbreth’s son, as a scholar,[6] and on 13 March 1611, Francis was granted £40 a year for life.[7] What relevance this has to his petition is not clear, and sadly, Francis Galbreth’s next appearance appears to be a burial record dated 22 September 1611, giving his occupation as ‘in the Pantry’ and place of residence as ‘at Court, Hampton’,[8] so he would not have had long to enjoy his grant, and there is no record in the school’s archives that Francis’s son took up the place at Eton.[9]


[1] Amy L. Juhala, ‘The Household and Court of King James VI of Scotland, 1567–1603’, Edinburgh Phd thesis 2000, passim.

[2] Richard Brockington, ‘The Dacre Inheritance (1569-1601): the Narrative’ (2012);  The National Archives, E178/576.

[3] Richard Brockington, ‘Kirkoswald’ (2012 draft)

[4] The National Archives, LR2/213.

[5] Sara Batty, ‘Elizabeth’s Household’, BA thesis, Mills College 1994

[6] ‘James I: Volume 14, May-June, 1605’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1603-1610, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1857), pp. 214-227. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1603-10/pp214-227

[7] ‘James 1 – volume 62: March 1611’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: James I, 1611-18, ed. Mary Anne Everett Green (London, 1858), pp. 14-20. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/jas1/1611-18/pp14-20

[8] FindMyPast, https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=GBOR%2FMIDDLESEX%2fburials%2FCO%2F027385

[9] Eton College Register, 1441–1698, G, p. 134.


This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I, 1600-1625’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.