A shopping list has turned up under the floorboards of Knole, an ancient and huge country house in Kent. We’ve never been, but it’s just in reach of a day trip and has been on our list since forever.
The note is dated 1633 and appears to have fallen out of a trunk in the attic and worked its way down into the woodwork. It reads:
Mr Bilby, I pray p[ro]vide to be sent too morrow in ye Cart some Greenfish, The Lights from my Lady Cranfeild[es] Cham[ber] 2 dozen of Pewter spoon[es]: one greate fireshovell for ye nursery; and ye o[t]hers which were sent to be exchanged for some of a better fashion, a new frying pan together with a note of ye prises of such Commoditie for ye rest.
Your loving friend
Wikipedia tells me Greenfish is used as the common name of several unrelated groups of fish: Ascension wrasse, Bluefish, Murray cod, Pollock, St. Helena wrasse. Though all of those were discovered after 1633, so most likely it’s this one: “Greenfish” was also formerly used to refer to green cod, fresh or freshly-salted Atlantic cod.
I first saw this story at The Smithsonian‘s FaceBook, which, sadly, spends too much time these days explaining to us important historic facts like the Statue of Liberty is actually a Muslim woman. I used to love that place.
They’ve been working on a multi-million pound renovation at Knole for some years now. I posted in 2014 about the witch marks found there by workmen.
February 1, 2017 — 9:30 pm