Gloucestershire Archives is one of the largest county archives. It preserves so many documents that they are stored on a staggering nine miles of shelving behind the scenes at the Heritage Hub.
The Friends of Gloucestershire Archives is the only organisation which exists specifically to support the Archives financially and in other ways.
In January 2023 the Friends bought for the Archives a large vellum indenture dated 31 July 1557. It recorded an agreement between the Earl of Pembroke and Sir Giles Pole by which the Manor of Ruddle (in Newnham) was exchanged for the Manor of Bullridge. The Crown had granted Ruddle Manor, which belonged to Gloucester Abbey before the Dissolution, to the Earl of Pembroke four years previously.
The Earl was brother-in-law to King Henry VIII through his marriage to Anne Parr, younger sister of Catherine, and was guardian of the young King Edward VI after the death of Henry VIII. According to John Aubrey, Pembroke could neither read nor write, but ‘had a stamp for his name’. That seems not to be entirely true as he did write his name at the bottom of this indenture, although in capital letters and spelt ‘PENBROKE’ rather than ‘PEMBROKE’.
As the Earl had his principal residence in Wilton, near Salisbury, Wiltshire Archives also contributed to the purchase price. The original indenture will remain at Gloucester, but Wiltshire will have a digital copy.
The Friends will be organising a mystery tour on Sunday 25 June, once again led by Dr John Chandler. The coach will pick up participants in Cheltenham and Gloucester. Further details will be available on the Friends’ website in due course: www.foga.online/events-1
If you are not already a member of the Friends, you could join now and receive priority booking and a preferential rate for the tour: www.foga.online/join