1665, Richard Erwin requests payment of outstanding arrears from his father’s annuity

Transcription from ‘Petitions in the State Papers: 1660s’, in Petitions in the State Papers, 1600-1699, ed. Brodie Waddell, British History Online, Richard Erwin, gentleman sewer to the king. SP 29/110 f. 96 (1665).

To the Kings most excellent majestie.

The humble peticion of Richard Erwin gentleman sewer to your majestie.

Sheweth that there was an annuity of 300 pounds per annum granted by pattent payable out of the Exchequer to your petitioners father (Sir William) by your royall father of blessed memorywhich was vested in your petitioner for certain yeares [yett?] to come and unexpired, which yourpetitioner duly recieved formerly. But being only for the terme of 21 yeares, it is determined some few yeares since, there is in arreare to your petitioner six yeares of the same: yet hitherto your petitioner hath forborne to solicit your majesty though his suffereings and present meane condition is not inferior to any.

May it therefore pleas your sacred majesty to cast your favourable eye on your petitioner your ancient servant, and to be graciously pleased to order him such a considerable proportion of his arreares aforesaid being six yeares for your petitioners better subsistance, as your majesty in your princely goodnes and wisdom shall seem meet.

And as in duty bound he shall pray etc.

[Read the full transcription here.]

Report by Pauline Brown

William Erwin was awarded a £300 annuity for 21 years by Charles I. This petition is from his son, Richard Erwin, who held a senior position as server to the King and sought outstanding arrears of the annuity covering six years. The King refered this to the Lord High Treasurer for payment.

Richard Erwin

Richard Erwin, the son of Sir William Erwin, was appointed by warrant of the Lord Chamberlain as one of the ‘gentleman sewers’ to Charles II on 10 June 1660.[1] This was an office of high rank in the court and he, along with three other sewers, was responsible for the seating of guests at the table and the serving of meals.[2] His father had been Gentleman Usher of the Privy Chamber at the Court of Charles I and he had a sister Mariana, born in 1620 and married at St Martin-in-the-Fields.[3]

After his father, Sir William Erwin, died in 1635 and was buried at St Martin-in-the-Fields, it appears that Richard was paid his annuity until 1658, as he was claiming in the petition for six years in arrears.[4] Certainly, he received payment of £300 for one year at Michaelmas 1636.[5]

Richard’s name appears in the Westminster Rate Books as living at Bell Yard in the Parish of St Margaret, Westminster in 1677.[6] The date of his death is unknown.


[1] ‘Presence Chamber: Gentlemen Sewers 1660-1782’, in Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 11 (Revised), Court Officers, 1660-1837, ed. R O Bucholz (London, 2006), pp. 59-63. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/office-holders/vol11/pp59-63.

[2] Yeomen of the Guard: http://yeomenoftheguard.com/glossary.htm#seweroftheking.

[3]  Genealogy Library for Sir William  Erwin: https://en.geneanet.org/fonds/bibliotheque/?nom=Erwin&ignore_each_patronyme=&prenom=William&prenom_operateur=or&ignore_each_prenom=&q=Gentleman+usher&ignore_each=&zonegeo__0__=London%2C+England%2C+United+Kingdom&country__0__=GBR&region__0__=ENG&subregion__0__=LND&type_periode=between&from=&to=&go=1.

[4] Find my Past, Sir William Erwin: https://www.findmypast.co.uk/transcript?id=GBPRS%2FD%2F701186691%2F1.

[5] ‘Charles I – volume 363: July 1-15, 1637’, in Calendar of State Papers Domestic: Charles I, 1637, ed. John Bruce (London, 1868), pp. 276-313. British History Online http://www.british-history.ac.uk/cal-state-papers/domestic/chas1/1637/pp276-313.

[6] Find my Past, Westminster Rate Book, 1634-1900 https://search.findmypast.co.uk/record?id=GBPRS%2FWSMTN%2F005108785%2F00354&parentid=GBOR%2FWESTMINSTER_RATEBOO%2F9290394%2F2.

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’.