1634, Richard King, clerk, seeks a more profitable employment

Richard King. SP 16/258 f. 13 (1634)

To the right honourable the lords and others commissioners for his majesties Navy and Admiralty of England.

The humble peticion of Richard King

Shewinge that the petitioner was Master Nicholas clerke (now secretarie to your lordshipps for the Admiralty) almost 7: yeeres, and since served him for the fishinge busines, which goes on soe slowly, that it produceth not anie considerable profitt or imployment, and the petitioner (not able to spend more fruitlesse tyme attending the same, and unwilling to live idle anie longer) is desirous to picke out some other imployment, but cannot accomplish the same without your honours favour, and furtherance.

May it therefore please your lordshipps to favour the petitioner soe farre as to recommend him by your honourable letteres to the farmers of his majesties great customes, and thereby desire them to imploy the petitioner, and to give him such sallary, and preferment, as they shall thinke fitt, and according to his desertes; and the petitioner shall never cease to pray for the increase of your lordships, honours etc.

Report by Miranda Simond

In his petition Richard King stated his employment as clerk to ‘Master Nicholas’, a secretary of one of the Lords of the Admiralty, was no longer profitable. He asked that he be recommended for alternative work to ‘the farmers of his majesty’s great customs’.

On the death of the Duke of Buckingham in 1628 his office of Lord High Admiral was put into commission by King Charles I, six Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty were appointed to execute the office jointly and this petition was sent to them.[1]

No records have been found of Richard King. His present employer, Edward Nicholas (1593-1669) was Buckingham’s Admiralty Secretary. He remained in post following Buckingham’s death.[2]

Richard King sought employment with the ‘the farmers of his majesty’s great customs’. Customs farming was the practice whereby the King sold the collection of customs duties for a fee, often substantial, to a merchant, who would then undertake their collection with their own staff.[3]


[1] ‘Board of Admiralty’, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Board_of_Admiralty.

[2] ‘NICHOLAS, Edward (1593-1669), of Dover Castle, Kent and King Street, Westminster; later of West Horsley, Surr.’, in Andrew Thrush and John P. Ferris (eds.), The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1604-1629 (2010), https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/member/nicholas-edward-1593-1669.

[3] ‘HM Customs’, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HM_Customs. For customs farming under Charles I, see Ann Hughes, The Causes of the English Civil War (1998), pp. 15-16.


This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reign of Charles I and the Civil Wars’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.