1661, Walter Brydall asks Charles II to grant him a post in the Jewel House

Transcription from ‘Petitions in the State Papers: 1660s’, in Petitions in the State Papers, 1600-1699, ed. Brodie Waddell, British History Online, Walter Brydall, gentleman. SP 29/28 f. 90 (1661).

To the Kings most excellent majestie

The humble peticion of Walter Brydall gentleman

May it please your sacred majestie

That yow were pleased out of your especiall grace and favour by your letterrs patentes bearing date the 23d of June last to grant unto your petitioner the office of clarke of your majesties jewell house. And now all powers being satisfyed that the sole power in disposeing of the said office remaines in your majesty and your petitioner after his long attendance and expence expecting according to your majesties warrant to be admitted one Robert Wright pretendes a former patent granted to him of the said office being a person that never made any claime thereof or tendred his service therein since your majesties happy restauracion and being one that in the usurped power voluntarily executed that power as a justice of the peace taking the engagement and was also dureing that power a judge of the dellagates and did adjudge marriages unlawfull that were solempnized by divines and not by justices of the peace, contrary to his owne knowledge he being a professour of the law.

May it therefore please your most excellent majesty the premisses considered notwithstanding the said pretended patent to grant unto your petitioner your majesties order for his admittance into the said office.

And (as in all humble duty he is bound) hee shall dayly pray etc

[paratext:] At the court at Whitehall this 12th of January 1660. His majesty is gratiously pleased to referre this petition to Sir Richard Fanshaw one of his majestys masters of requests and Sir Richard Everard knight, who are to examine the truth of what is herein alleaged and to certify the same to his majesty who will then declare his further pleasure.

Edward Nicholas

Report by Julia Fidler

In his petition, Walter Brydall recounted that the King had, in June 1660, granted him the office of Clerk of the Jewel House. His position had then been challenged by one Robert Wright, who claimed the office as his own.  Walter asked that the King confirm him to the post.

Walter Brydall (Bridal/Bridall/Bridell/Bridoll/Brydoll)

Reading Walter’s petition to be Clerk of the royal Jewel House one would guess that he would not have been a very young man in January 1661 to aspire to such a prestigious position. The records show that he was born Walter Bridell on 9 January 1621 at Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster, to John and Susan Bridell.[1]

A reference in 1652 lists a connection with the Bridewell and Bethlem hospital, which actually identifies Walter as a patient! This is puzzling as in 1661 his petition describes him as a gentleman and he is recorded elsewhere as a master goldsmith.[2]

Returning to the petition and studying it more carefully, especially the dates, several facts strike the writer as unusual.  It is addressed to the King and refers back to ‘your letters patents bearing the date 23rd June last’ (that is, June 1660), ‘to grant unto your petitioner, the office of Clerk of the Jewel House’. June 1660 was six months before the petition was served, in January 1661.  ‘All powers’, notes Walter are now solely in the King’s hands and he refers to his ‘long attendance and expense’ and his expectations.  So, it must be assumed that Walter was a Royalist who had helped the King at some time during the Interregnum and had a sufficiently close personal connection to have obtained that letter as early as June 1660.

Charles II

The English Interregnum lasted from 1649 to 1660. King Charles II had been only eight years old when the Civil war started, and 21 when he fled to France following his defeat and escape after the Battle of Worcester in 1651. He stayed initially in Paris with his mother, Queen Henrietta Maria.  After nine years in exile in Europe and with Cromwell dead, his future was about to change.

1660 was a very eventful year politically, following the dissolution of the Long Parliament in England on 16 March, followed by the Convention Parliament from 25 April. After the Declaration of Breda on 8 May 1660, Parliament declared that King Charles had been the lawful monarch since the death of his father in 1649, and therefore 1660 was the 12th year of his reign. On 14 May he was declared King of Ireland.

However, Charles II only landed back in England, at Dover, on 25 May 1660. So, the letter of 23 June 1660, mentioned in this petition, to our Walter is dated, surprisingly, only 25 days after the King’s arrival back in London and during this time of great change. Walter had certainly lost no time obtaining his letter, more than ten months before the King’s Coronation at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661.

The petition

In the petition Walter disparages Robert Wright (who might possibly have been promised the post under the usurped powers) and listed several serious defamatory allegations against him. He stated that Wright acted contrary to his own legal knowledge, being a ‘professor of the law’.

When Walter first sought the position in June 1660 he was described as a master goldsmith who ‘forsook a good estate in St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields to serve the late King, twice purchased his estate from the sequestrators [that is, he was punished financially for his Royalist sympathies] and has since several times engaged in the loyal cause’. The Lord Chamberlain had rejected the warrant for the office as he ‘wishes to expose the office for sale’. Walter was granted his position but was asked to pay a fee of 20 marks a year.[3]

In seeking to discharge his duties Walter, presumably, became aware of the counter claims of Robert Wright, which prompted his petition. The petition was successful. The King asked for the truth of Walter’s claims to be examined. In March 1661 he granted Walter the office for his lifetime, for a fee of 13l. 6s. 8d. and suspended Robert Wright’s position for his lifetime.[4]

Robert Wright just may have continued his life in the law undeterred. It is possible he is the Robert Wright who trained at Peterhouse College Cambridge and went on to be a Judge and a Justice.[5]

His will and family

Between 1661 and the 1690s Walter Brydall had an interesting and long life but finding the record of his death, his will and probate revealed his family. He died about 1699, probate on his will was granted on 29 January 1700. The will, in the name of Walter or Walteri Brydall, shows he died in the Parish of St Martin-in-the-fields. Under his will he ‘leaves his loving wife Patience, property, plate, his jewels, goods and household stuff, for her lifetime’. He left ‘a house in St Martins Lane to his daughter Ann Rolfe. To his son Thomas he leaves several buildings, boathouses etc’.[6]

With his wife’s name, which is unusual, one can discover birth records.  Ann and Thomas were the youngest of Walter and Patience’s eight children.  All eight were born in Westminster.

Their first daughter, Patience, was baptised on 13 June 1652, born to Walter and Patience Brydoll. Baby Patience died on 10 June 1654, three days before her second birthday.[7]

Their first son Philylpus was born 13 October and baptised 2 November 1661, to Gualteri and Patientiae Bridall.[8]

(Nine and a half years is an unusually large gap between children and may show Walter’s absence during the Interregnum.)

Gualterus was born 22 September and baptised 29 September 1663, to Gualteri and Patienciae Bridell.[9]

Johanes was born 20 June and baptised 25 June 1665, to Walteri and Patienciae Bridal.[10]

Elisabetha was born 9 March and baptised 17 March 1666, to Gualteri and Patientiae Brydall.[11]

Maria was born 19 September and baptised 27 September 1668, to Gualteri and Patientiae Bridall.[12]

Thomas was born 25 September 1670, to Gualteri and Patiente Bridall.[13]

Anna, their eighth child, was born 8 January and baptised 21 January 1671. Her mother is shown as Patientiae Bridall. Her father is shown, erroneously, as Joannis Bridall.[14] Anna married John Rolf in December 1697, nearly three years before Walter’s death,confirming her as the Ann Rolfe in his will.[15]


[1] ‘Walter Bridell, 1621’, Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9841&h=73280048&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx37&_phstart=successSource.

[2] ‘Charles II – volume 5: June 25-30, 1660’, in Mary Anne Everett Green (ed.), Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1660-1 (1860), pp. 65-83. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/chas2/1660-1/pp65-83.

[3] ‘Charles II – volume 5: June 25-30, 1660’, in Mary Anne Everett Green (ed.), Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1660-1 (1860), pp. 65-83. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/chas2/1660-1/pp65-83.

[4] ‘Charles II – volume 33: March 20-31, 1661’, in Mary Anne Everett Green (ed.), Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles II, 1660-1 (1860), pp. 543-561. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/chas2/1660-1/pp543-561.

[5] ‘Robert Wright (judge, died 1689)’, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Wright_(judge,_died_1689);

Edward Irving Carlyle, ‘Wright, Robert (d.1689)’, Dictionary of National Biography 1885-1900, Volume 63, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Wright,_Robert_(d.1689)_(DNB00).

[6] ‘Walter Brydall, 1699’, Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=5111&h=769720&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx8&_phstart=successSource.

[7] ‘Patience Brydoll, 1652’, Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9841&h=159904146&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx11&_phstart=successSource.  

[8] ‘Philylpus Bridall, 1661’, Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/?name=Philylpus_Bridall&birth=1661&birth_x=1-0-0&count=50&location=3257.3250&name_x=_psx&priority=english.

[9] ‘Gualterus Bridell, 1663’ Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9841&h=179510731&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx16&_phstart=successSource.

[10] ‘Johanes Bridal, 1665’, Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/?name=Johanes_Bridall&birth=1665&birth_x=1-0-0&count=50&location=3257.3250&name_x=_psx&priority=english.

[11] ‘Elisabetha Brydall, 1666’, Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9841&h=99007214&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx20&_phstart=successSource.

[12] ‘Maria Bridall, 1668’, Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9841&h=160694927&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx25&_phstart=successSource.

[13] ‘Thomas Bridall, 1670’, Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9841&h=75240194&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx27&_phstart=successSource.  

[14] ‘Anna Bridall, 1671’, Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=9841&h=2918044&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx29&_phstart=successSource.

[15] ‘John Rolf/Ann Bridall, 1697’, Ancestry, https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=1624&h=7061552&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=JNx34&_phstart=successSource. 

This report is part of a series on ‘Petitioners in the reign of Charles II, 1660-1685’, created through a U3A Shared Learning Project on ‘Investigating the Lives of Seventeenth-Century Petitioners’.