John Reed Fire Insurance Claim, 1772


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This document is an insurance claim for damage caused by a fire in Exeter, England on September 5, 1772. John Reed, a merchant from Crediton in Devon, Exeter, states here that his buildings were damaged by an accidental fire, that the inventory provided contained a true and faithful account of the damage, that the buildings were not insured in any other office at the time of the fire, and that the damage amounted to the sum of forty four pounds, three shillings, three pence. Below this is a statement by the minister, church warden and other principal inhabitants of Crediton in Devon, Exeter, England certifying that John Reed is “an honest man and of good repute” and that the fire was truly accidental.

On the reverse side of the document is an estimate or inventory of the loss and damage by fire to Mr. John Reed of Exeter on the 5th day of September 1772. At the top of the page is written “Policy 103,347” although no insurer is mentioned. The inventory includes items such as floor board and joyst, roof and thatching, cob, and fine windows and glass.

Side 1

John Reed fire insurance claim 1772 side 1Side 2

John Reed fire insurance claim 1772 side 2

Nicholas Barbon Agreement for Purchasing a House


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We have another transcription challenge with this second Nicholas Barbon document from the library’s collection.

This document, dated April 11, 1684, appears to be an agreement between Dr. Nicholas Barbon and another individual for the purchase of a house in Devonshire Square. There are two wax seals near Barbon’s signature. There is similar damage to that of the mortgage document featured in the previous blog post, but overall, it is much better condition with no fading of the text.

We are seeking help in transcribing part or all of this 17th century handwritten document. Contact us or leave a comment on this post to contribute your knowledge. (Click on images to zoom in.)


Frank Kelsall, Non-Executive Director, Architectural History Practice Ltd, London, has generously contributed a transcription of this document. We are still interested in further information about Nicholas Barbon and early insurance, so please continue to contribute!

(This transcription includes expanded contractions, modernized spelling and added punctuation and paragraphing to ease understanding.)

Memorandum the 11th of April 1684. It is agreed between Dr Nicholas Barbon of the one part and Edward Noell of the other part, viz.

That the said Dr Nicholas Barbon, in consideration of the sum of seven hundred pounds of lawful money of England to be paid or discharged by the said Edward Noell, shall and will convey release or assign [inserted: or cause to be conveyed, released or assigned] unto the said Edward Noell [inserted: or to such person or persons as he shall direct] all those three leases of those three messuages formerly leased by Mr Jackson and Mr Newman, trustees of the Earl of Devon, unto William Rowley [inserted: trustee for the said Dr Nicholas Barbon] for a term of sixty one years of at several rents, two of the said houses [crossed out: being, lying] being now uncovered and being in the [space left for unstated position] corner of Devonshire Square and the other being cornerwise by the alley leading to Hounsditch;
And that the said [crossed out: Edward] Nicholas Barbon shall and will at his costs lay the stone(s) steps leading up unto the said [inserted: two] corner houses in such manner as the steps leading to the [inserted: said] house [crossed out: leading] by the said alley leading to Hounsditch are now made and set up;

And that the said Mr Noell shall have such materials as are now on the premises in order to the building and finishing the said houses and shall and will at his like costs well and sufficiently roof with good fir deals the said two houses now being uncovered, and shall and will well and truly pay and discharge(d) all rent and arrears thereof due or owing for the said three houses and each of them to the ground landlord thereof at Lady Day last past.

In witness whereof as well the said Nicholas Barbon and the said Edward Noell have hereunto set my hand and seal the day and year first above written.

Nicholas Barbon

Sealed and delivered in the presence of
Edward Cartwright

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Nicholas Barbon house purchase 01Side 2

Nicholas Barbon house purchase 02

Nicholas Barbon Abstract of Title


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This week’s featured item is a transcription challenge!

This 17th century document appears to be a mortgage (*update – it is an Abstract of Title – more info below) for a property called Devonshire House for Dr. Nicholas Barbon from Mr. Sayer. Nicholas Barbon is known as one of the pioneers in the formation of the insurance industry in London. This document contains various dates, from as early as 1616, to as late as 1679.

The beautiful but unfamiliar 17th century handwriting is a challenge to read. There is also considerable fading and damage to the fragile paper. We are seeking help in transcribing part or all of the document. Contact us or leave a comment on this post to contribute your knowledge.


Frank Kelsall, Non-Executive Director, Architectural History Practice Ltd, London, has generously contributed a transcription of this document. We are still interested in further information about Nicholas Barbon and early insurance, so please continue to contribute!

(This transcription includes expanded contractions, modernized spelling and added punctuation and paragraphing to ease understanding.)

Devonshire House
Evidence of the Earl of Devonshire’s purchase and before
  1. 22 April 22 Elizabeth: A deed enrolled from Margaret Fisher etc to Edward Earl of Oxford in fee
  2. 10 December 31 Elizabeth: Copy of a sale from the Earl of Oxford to William Cornwallis and Lucie and her heirs, by partition between Archibold Earl of Argyle and Lady Anne his wife, coheirs of Lady Lucie Cornwallis, the capital messuage now in the tenure pf Sir William Cornwallis and a tenement over the back gate, and all conduits, pipes etc, are allotted to the Earl and Countess of Argyle and her heirs with agreement for a fine to Sir Anthony Maine etc
  3. Pasch [Easter] 8 James: A fine thereupon, Sir Anthony Maine plaintiffs etc and said Earl and wife etc defendants
  4. 15 March 7 James: A deed enrolled whereby Sir William Cornwallis being tenant by the ?curtileie? sells for his life to William Lord St John for the life of Sir William (inter alia) the capital messuage and a tenement over the back gate, and the conduits, pipes etc.
[where is No 5?]
  1. 25 June 1615: Copy of a deed enrolled in the Hustings from the Earl of Argyle and his lady to Sir Charles Cornwallis and Sir Edmond Withipole in fee
  2. 3 June 1616 14 James: A deed enrolled from Sir Charles Cornwallis and Sir Edmond Withipole to Anne, Lady Harrington, in fee, of the capital messuage etc, in tenure of Peter Morley and the, waterhourses, cisterns, pipes and conduits etc
  3. Michaelmas Term 14 James: A fine from Sir Charles Cornwallis and Sir Edmond Withipole to her.
  4. 3 June 14 James: A ?….? from the Earl of Argyle and wife to Lady Harrington.
The Lady Harrington makes a settlement in tail upon the Countess of Bedford, not produced but mentioned in the deed in 1619.
The Lady Harrington makes a settlement of the reversion upon Sir jJhn Croke in tail with power of revocation. Not produced but mentioned in deed in 1619.
  1. 6 July 1619: the Lady Harrington revokes a use in a former conveyance limited to Sir John Croke, after an estate tail in the Lady Bedford, and limits to the use of herself in fee.
  2. 7 July 1619. The Lady Harrington covenants to stand seised of the reversion expectant on the estate tail of Lucie Countess of Bedford to the use of said Lady Bedford in fee with power of revocation
  3. 1 October 18 James 1620: Edward Earl of Bedford and his Lady Lucie agree to levy a fine to Woodward and Lucas to the use of [crossed out: countess, inserted: ?…?] in fee
  4. Not produced. A fine upon the same as per note only. Call for it. Michaelmas 28 [?mistake for 18] James.
  5. 20 May 1622, 20 James: James Marquess Hamilton for £3000 purchases to himself and Sir Benjamin Rudiard and his own heirs from the Earl of Bedford and Countess, Woodward, Lucas, Sir Charles Mountague and Lady
  6. Trinity 22 James: A fine thereupon exemplified.
[16.] 11 June 22 James: A deed enrolled in BR [King’s Bench] for a £1000 [?something missing]from Edward Pye to the Marquess, [space] Earl of  ?…..? and Sir Benjamin Rudiard and the heirs of the Marquess of the premises which had been  conveyed by them to Pye 4 August 21 James 1623
  1. Trinity 22 James: A fine from Pye and his wife to the Marquess and Sir Benjamin Rudiard.
  2. 18 June 22 James: A mortgage from the Marquess and Sir Benjamin Rudiard for 99 years to Mr Strode for £2000.
  3. 17 December 1626 2 Charles: The assignment from Mr Strode for £2000 to William Earl of Devon.
  4. 3 January 1626[/7] 2 Charles: A bargain and sale for same £2000 and £2000 more of the inheritance from the young Marquess of Hamilton etcand the Countess of Bedford… [water damaged and not clear] …….. of the Earl of Devon
21 ..?? 1626. Acquittance for the £4000.
  1. Trinity 30 Charles: A fine from said Countess of Bedford now widow to …[not clear]
A Settlement by Act of Parliament: There was an Act of Parliament entitled An Act concerning the inheritance, freeholds and possessions of William Earl of Devonshire, whereof there is an inspeximus dated 4 July 4 Charles reciting, inter alia, that the Earl by his purchase to him and his heirs or to some other in trust for him and his heirs of the mansion house late called Harrington House now Devonshire House and tenements thereto annexed without Bishopsgate, and by building etc was indebted and other reasons for a settlement
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Devonshire House
thereof and other parts of his estate, whereupon it is enacted among other things
1. That the said Earl and Lady Christian his wife shall during their lives and the life of the longer liver of them hold and enjoy, inter alia, the mansion house and all buildings, orchards, gardens, yards and tenements with the appurtenances thereunto belonging in St Botolph Bishopsgate late called Harrington House and now Devonshire House and all other messuages, lands and tenements thereunto annexed or otherwise used.
  1. That after their deceases the same remainder and heir (i) Sir William Cavendish, Lord Cavendish, his son and heir apparent tail male (ii) Charles Cavendish the Earl’s second son in tail male (iii) the third son of said Earl (iv) every son of said Earl successively according to seniority in tail male (v) William Earl of Newcastle for life (vi) Charles Lord Man[s]field his eldest son in tail male (vii) the second son of the Earl of Newcastle in tail male (viii) every son of the Earl of Newcastle successively according to seniority in tail male (ix) Sir Charles Cavendish for life (x) his first and other sons successively according to seniority in tail male (xi) said William Earl of Devonshire in tail male heirs of his body (xii) the same earl in fee.
Shortly after the making of this Act the said Earl of Devonshire died, and in the year 1674 the said Lady Christian his Countess Dowager died, and the remainder of the said Sir William Cavendish, Earl of Devonshire, took place in possession
The purchase of Dr Barbon and securities for £6000 to the Earl of Devonshire..  [water damaged not clear]… and £1000 to Richard Mulys
4 April 1678: The Earl of Devonshire made a lease to Richard Newman  esquire and Roger Jackson gentleman for 500 years at a peppercorn as per recital 10 October 1678. Call for one part or a copy thereof
5 April 1678: Copy of an indenture, William Earl of Devonshire first part, Dr Nicholas Barbon second part, John Coates and John Bland third part and Nicholas Durrant fourth part, the said Earl covenants with Barbon to do and suffer such acts etc to convey and assure to Coates and Bland in fee the capital messuage now or late called Devonshire House, Harrington House or Fisher’s Folly in St Botolph Bishopsgate and the tenement over and near the back gate, formerly in tenure of the Countess Christian deceased, and all yards, gardens, grounds etc
[new page]
to said capital messuage belonging, and all the rights etc of the Earl to the waterhouse, cisterns, watercourses, conduits and pipes as Barbon his etc shall devise, to make Coates and Bland tenants for a recovery to be had by Durrant with voucher of the Earl and by him of the common voucher to uses, viz (i) to confirm a lease for 500 years dated yesterday from said Earl to Newman and Jackson and (ii) the corroborating of every grant, lease etc etc to be made by them or the survivor of him etc (iii) as to the freehold and reversion for the use of the said Earl and his heirs till Barbon his etc pay the Earl his etc £7000 with interest till it be paid (iv) and to the use of such and for such estates as Bartbon shall appoint (v) or in default thereof the use of Barbon in fee. Signed by all the parties.
Copy of indenture enrolled in Chancery between the Earl of Devonshire first part, Barbon second part, Coates and Bland third part whereby the Earl for £500 paid by Barbon and performance of covenants in 5 April, and for 5 shillings paid by Coates and Bland grants and sells to Coates and Bland in fee the said capital messuage or tenement courtyards etc waterhouses etc
10 October 30 Charles II 1678: a copy of an indenture, William Earl of Devon first part, Richard Newman and Roger Jackson second part, Dr Nicholas Barbon third part and Richard Mulys fourth part, recites an indenture of 4 April last int [between] said Earl first part, Newman and Jackson second part whereby said Earl bargained, sold and leased to them the capital messuage called Devonshire House or Harrington House or Fisher’s Folly in the parish of St Botolph without Bishopsgate London and a messuage over and near to the back gate of said capital messuage opening upon Hounsditch, formerly in possession of the late Countess Christian, and all courts etc belonging, and all the right of the said Earl to the waterhouses, cisterns etc belonging, with ingress etc to repair the same habendum [to have] from the date for 500 years at a peppercorn rent; and recites that Barbon did purchase of the said Earl the said capital messuage and premises and of the purchase money there is due to the said Earl £6000 and that Richard Mulys did at request of Barbon pay said Earl £1000 other part of said purchase money, whereby Barbon is indebted to Richard Mulys £1000; now it is declared that the 500 years is upon trust to secure the payment by Barbon his etc of the £6000 with interest to said Earl his executors or administrators, and afterwards £1000 with interest to Richard Mulys his etc; and reciting that before the date there accrued arrears due to the Earl for half year’s interest for £6000 .. [water damaged, not clear].. to Mulys £30 [water damaged].. interest for said £1000; now declared by all parties [?that if?] Barbon his etc pay to the Earl £6360, viz £180 10 April and £6180 11 October 1689 and to Mulys his etc £1060, viz £30 [on]10 April and £1030 [on] 11 October 1679 that then Newman and Jackson  their etc shall stand possessed of the premises in trust for Barbon his heirs and assigns, and assign to him or them as he or they shall appoint; and Barbon covenants severally with the Earl and Mulys to pay said sums accordingly free of taxes, and Barbon to receive the rents until default; it is covenanted by the Earl that Newman and Jackson their etc may make such leases of parts as Barbon shall direct so as such the rents of such leases amount to the yearly sum of £550 or more.
Call for counterparts of leases.
[New page]
Devonshire House
The recovery is not produced. Call for it or copy [space] of 2 messuages, 2 tofts and 3 acres of land [space]in the parish of St Botolph.
Dr Barbon’s mortgage to Mr Hayes
3 and 4 December 1679. A lease for a year and a release in fee between Nicholas Barbon first part and John Hayes second part, the release recites the indenture of 10 October 1678 and therein the indenture 4 April then last past; and recites that the said £6360 and £1060 were not paid, and that Barbon has pulled down the said capital messuage and has built or is building thereupon several messuages; and recites that Hayes has lent the said Nicholas Barbon £1500 towards carrying on the same and thereupon Barbon for said £1500 grants, sells and releases to Hayes in his possession being all that the site, soil and ground whereupon the said messuage or mansion house etc lately stood, and the house at the back gate, and all houses etc upon the site etc built and building or to be built habend [to have] in fee, the covenants except the leases for 500 years and leases made to Newman and Jackson not exceeding 61 years in pursuance of the covenants in said quadripartite indenture, Newman and Jackson to stand trustees to secure £1545 to Hayes after the payment of the £6360 and £1060 with interest, or proviso to be void by payment of £1545 on 5th May next
11 March 1679[/80] An endorsement recites that Hayes has lent Barbon £300 more and agreed that said £300 with interest shall by the premises be secured to Hayes.
Endorsement: Abstract of the Earl of Devon’s title to Harrington alias Devonshire House, with Dr Barbon’s title derived from the Earl of Devon

The document is an abstract of title, not a mortgage. Abstracts were made when someone wished to sell or mortgage property to show that the person was entitled to sell or mortgage it. This document is almost a textbook example of the complexities of 17th century conveyancing; and the dating is a mixture of calendar (some when the year end was 24 March), regnal year and legal term.

The document adds to what we know about Barbon’s development of what became Devonshire Square, long since demolished, quite apart from what it says about the earlier history of the site. It looks from this that Barbon  was proposing to sell or mortgage again property of which he had not yet paid the purchase money and was already substantially mortgaged. This document takes the story up to 1680; at one time it was proposed to add the development to the endowment of his fire insurance company in the early 1680s but this didn’t happen. John Hayes was probably Barbon’s brother-in-law.  – Frank Kelsall

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Nicholas Barbon mortgage side 1

Side 2

Nicholas Barbon mortgage side 2


Slave Insurance Policy, 1857


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In Havana, Cuba on July 30, 1857, Dr. Jose Ma. Morales purchased an insurance policy on the life of a slave for a term of four years from La Protectora Compania General Cubana de Seguros Mutuos Sobre la Vida de los Esclavos (The Protector General Mutual Insurance Company of Cuba for the Lives of Slaves). The slave, named Carlota, is described as being 26 years old, of robust constitution, with a small forehead and mouth, a short nose, and black eyes. Slave insurance policy, Cuba, 1857


Slave Insurance Policy, 1863


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The Davis Library’s collection includes two insurance policies on the lives of slaves. This week’s post will be about one of the policies, an 1863 policy from the American South. Next week will feature the other, which is from Havana, Cuba, in 1857.

The first of three related documents is a letter dealing with the purchase of a female slave to be a maid to the daughter of Samuel Pearson, who initiates the matter in a letter to his son-in-law, A. W. Lewis, which reads as follows:

“Columbia, October 3rd 1863
Mr. A. W. Lewis, Augusta, Ga.
Dear Sir My Dear Son I have intended for some time to give my Daughter Lizzie your wife a good trusty negro woman to wait on her and who can be depended on when she goes out and one that can take care of the children + house. Now if you can find such a servant in your judgement, get her and let me know the amount, and I will settle A + C. All are well.
Yours respectfully
Saml Pearson”
Letter regarding purchase of a slave, 1863

The second document is a receipt showing that a slave was bought according to Mr. Pearson’s instructions, a week after the letter was written.

[2850] Augusta, Ga. Oct 10th 1863
Received of Samuel Pearson Twenty Eight Hundred and fifty Dollars, being in full for the purchase of two negro slaves named Sarah + Child the right and title of said slave I warrant and defend against the claims of all persons whatsoever; and likewise warrant them sound and healthy to date. As witness my hand and seal P. L. Dawson.”  Receipt for the purchase of a slave, 1863

The same day as the purchase of the slave named Sarah, and her child, A. W. Lewis purchases insurance on the life of Sarah and child. It is Negro Policy No. 1079 of the Southern Mutual Life insurance Company of Columbia, South Carolina. For the premium of $75 paid by A. W. Lewis, Trustee, of Augusta, Georgia, the life of the slave “Sarah, sometimes called Henrietta, 30 years” is insured for one year for the sum of $2000. The policy will remain effective for up to 5 years if the annual premium of $75 is paid on time. Insurance policy on the life of a slave, 1863

An endorsement on this policy (handwritten on reverse) shows that approximately 5 months later, on March 24, 1864, Lewis paid an additional premium and substituted his slave “Sally” aged “about 42 years,” for the “Sarah or Henrietta” named in the policy, “after due examination by Doct Henry A. Bignon, Physician for the Sou Mut Life Ins Co for the balance of the term named in this policy.”

Below this is a note of the receipt of $82.50 for the renewal of the policy for an additional year, until October 10, 1865 at noon.

The conditions of the policy read:

“That if the application signed by A. W. Lewis Trustee and dated the 10th October 1863 shall be in any respect fraudulent or untrue or if the said slave or slaves, or any of them, shall die by his, her or their own hands, or by intemperance, or by the hands of justice, or in the violation of law, or by or in consequence of a mob, a riot, a foreign invasion, a civil war, or an insurrection, or any military or usurped power, or by the final-treatment or neglect of the owner, or of any person to whom he, she or they may be entrusted; or if the said slave or slaves, or any of them, are now, or shall be hereafter insured in any other Company, or shall abscond or be kidnapped, or shall, without the written consent of the said Company, either be sold or given to a new owner, or be removed fifty miles from their present residence, or be employed in a more hazardous occupation than their present one, the degree of hazard to be estimated by the said application and the scale endorsed on this policy, whenever it is applicable, or if, in case of the sickness of the said slave or slaves, or any of them, he, she or they shall fail to receive all due and proper care, promptly, and without delay, or if this policy shall be assigned, without the written consent of the said Company; then, and in all such cases, the said Company shall not be liable to pay the sum insured and set opposite the name or names of the said slave or slaves, deceased, or any part thereof, and this policy, so far as relates to such payment, shall be utterly void. And it is further agreed, That the said Company shall not be bound to pay more than two-thirds of the value of such of the said slaves as may die during the continuance of this policy, the said value to be estimated as at the beginning of the last illness.”

Additional conditions on the reverse read:

“Not hazardous when employed by their owner in ordinary occupations. Hazardous when hired out, even in ordinary occupations. Extra hazardous when employed on steamboats, vessels, railroads, rice-fields, or about a steam engine.”

Insurance policy on the life of a slave, 1863, reverse

Marie Antoinette, the present Queen of France, in “A List of the Nominees in the Life Annuities of 1775”


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This leather-bound book published in Dublin in 1777 is  often asked about at the Davis Library, because it happens to mention Marie Antoinette. She is listed on page 10, under the category, “Second Class” referring to the life annuities for 1775, as “Her Majesty Marie Antoinette” aged 20. Her “Abode, and other Descriptions” is noted as Present Queen of France,” and the amount subscribed is £100.

Page 10 Marie AntoinetteThe cover reads, “A List of the Nominees in the Life Annuities of 1775.”

book_1777_01The full length title as printed on the title page is,

A List of the Persons on whose Lives The Sum of 175000l. was subscribed, Pursuant To An Act of Parliament passed in the Kingdom of Ireland (in the 15th and 16th Years of the Reign of His present Majesty George the Third, King of Great Britain, &c.) for granting Annuities in the Manner therein provided. Disposed into The Three separate Classes, agreeable to the alphabetical Order of their Names: And Shewing The Sum subscribed on the Life of each respective Person, the Number of Lives, and total Subscription in each Class. To which are annexed, Extracts From The Act of Parliament: With Forms and Directions Relative To Different Cases which may occur in the future in the Progress of that Business.

The bottom of the title page states that the volume was published in Dublin, by order of the Right Hon. Nathaniel Clements, Deputy Vice-Treasurer of Ireland, in 1777.book_1777_02


Davis Library’s Oldest Insurance Policy


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Among the many original insurance policies at the Davis Library, the earliest is a handwritten policy on vellum dated November 26, 1655. It measures about 7 x 9.5 inches and has five ties at the bottom corner.

The handwriting is elegant but difficult to read. We have transcribed much of the text below. If anyone can contribute to our transcription, please leave a comment below or email us and we will update this post with the new information provided.

1655 Fire Insurance Policy side 1* click on image to zoom in


Know by all men these presents that we the right honorable William Lord Marquesse of Herftes, Stephan Bowman of Compton Chamberlyane, in the County of Wilts Gont, Thomas Keylway of Lions from London Gont, Thomas Gape of the Middle Temple London Gont and George Thomas of Easten in the said County of Wilts Gont are bound and firmly obliged unto Henry ? of the ? Temple London in One Thousand pounds of lawful mony of England to be paid to the said Henry ? or to his ordayne. Attorney his  ? or assignds. To which paymt will and faithfully to be made We binde ourselves and every of us by himself for the whole and in the whole our and every of our heirs, appoints and admes by those sealed our seals the six and twentieth day of November in the Yeare of our Lord God One Thousand Six Hundred fifty and five.

Sealed and delivered by the above bound the marquesse of herfts, Stephen Bowman, and George Thomas in the presence of … W. Leuett, John Nye, John Shenton,

Sealed and delivered by the above bound  Thomas Keylway and Thomas Gape in the presence of Tho., John Shenton, John Hundreth.

Hertford, Bowman, Thomas Keylway, Thomas Gape, George Thomas.

1655 Fire Insurance Policy side 2* click on image to zoom in


The condition of this obligation is such that if the ? right honorable William Lord Marquese of ? Stephen Boromom, Thomas Keylway, Thomas Gayes, and George Thomas and their ? ? or assignors, or any of whom ? will and truly pay or ? to be paid unto  ?? named Benny Ehoot his ? or assigns, the forms of five hundred and fifty one pounds of lawful money of England, upon the eight and twentieth day of May ? written ? or ? the ? dwelling house of Thomas Bostock ? ? the Royal Exchange in London, ? this obligation to be void or ? it to stand in full force and virtue.

? The 28 day 1656

A Damaged Fire Insurance Policy, 1796


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fire insurance policy 1796 frontAbraham Codington purchased an insurance policy for $34.38 on August 22, 1796 from the Mutual Assurance Company for Insuring Houses from Loss by Fire in New-York. The policy protected his home for up to $1,250 during a term of seven years. Codington’s property included,

“his dwelling house and back building No. 41 in Barclay Street bounded east by Moore Tuties framed house, rear the yard and college yards, west by George Beaumans framed house, as described in the surveyors report No. 1615 Book D Folio 86 and are classed in the sixth rate of insurances…”

fire insurance policy 1796 seal

This document has a starburst-shaped papered seal near the bottom, and an engraving at the top, depicting a scene of a burning building with firefighters pumping water from an old fashioned fire truck. The engraving is signed by P.R. Maverick, 65 Liberty Street.

fire insurance policy 1796 engravingUnfortunately, this document is in very poor condition. A long ago repair-attempt was made using copious amounts of tape on the reverse, including directly over some of the handwriting. The entire document is brittle and crumbling, and some loss of paper has already occurred in a few places.

fire insurance policy 1796 back

Fire Insurance Policy, 1791



engraving, life insurance policy 1791

On July 30, 1791, Mr. Robert Wilson of Glasgow, leather cutter, paid 19 shillings and four pence, and agreed to pay a yearly premium of sixteen shillings, to the Phoenix Assurance Company of London to insure against loss by fire his property up to 750 pounds. This property included,

“His now dwelling house and shop communicating situate on the north side of Bridge Gate Street 150 pounds stock in trade therein, 160 pounds household goods and linen therein, 40 pounds wearing apparel therein, 20 pounds stock not hazardous in a cellar near, 140 pounds stock not hazardous in a cellar situate in ? Land near, 140 pounds all stone and slated and the fourth story and garrets of a tenement timber and slated in tenure of ___ situate on the west side of the salt market 100 pounds all in Glasgow aforesaid.”

This document has a beautiful engraving of a female figure holding a shield with a phoenix on it, in front of a scene of firefighters pumping water from an old-fashioned fire truck onto a burning building.