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Senate House Library, University of London

Petition of William Courten


Reference code(s): GB 0096 MS 407

Held at: Senate House Library, University of London

Title: Petition of William Courten

Date(s): 1671

Level of description: Collection (fonds)

Extent: 2 leaves.

Name of creator(s): Courten | William | fl 1671 | grandson and heir of Sir William Courten


Administrative/Biographical history:

Sir William Courten (1572-1636) was a highly successful silk and linen merchant, possessing a fleet of over 20 ships which traded with Guinea, Spain and the West Indies. He lent money to both James I and Charles I, and was rewarded with a knighthood and grants of Barbados (which had been discovered by one of his ships). Courten sent colonists to Barbados in 1625 and 1628, but they were forcibly ejected by the Earl of Carlisle in 1629. Courten's grandson, William Courten (1642-1702) was a naturalist, and sometimes went by the name of Charleton. He tried to enforce his grandfather's claim on the money lent to the crown and to lands in Barbados, and failed in both attempts. He opened a botanical museum in London in 1684.


Scope and content/abstract:

Manuscript petition of William Courten, grandson and heir of Sir William Courten, the administrators and executors of Courten's estate (Sir Richard Mauleverer, Sir Erasmus de la Fountaine, Sir John Ayton, Maurice Thompson, Walter Deureux, Thomas Coppin and William Lloyd) and the rest of Courten's creditors, requesting compensation for the loss of Courten's estates in Barbados. The petitioners beg the king to compel the merchants who have unlawfully dispossessed Sir William Courten of his plantations in the Barbados to make redress to his creditors. Endorsed 'Peticion of Sr Richard Mauleverer & others abt the Barbados'; also, in another hand, 'Rec'd 13th Sept. 1671'.


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Single item.

Conditions governing access:

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Physical characteristics:

Finding aids:

Collection level description.

Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information:


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The petition was found inserted into a volume of printed material mostly relating to Sir William Courten and lettered 'Barbadoes Courten & 1676-1682' (Ref: Goldsmith's Library Catalogue 2466).


Existence and location of originals:

Existence and location of copies:

Related material:

The Goldsmith's Library of Economic Literature holds several works relating to legal cases following the death of Sir William Courten (Ref: G.L. 2053, 2072, 2124, 2168-9, 1350 and 2466).

Publication note:



Archivist's note: Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Jul 2001

Land tenure | Land economics | Agricultural economics
Legal procedure | Administration of justice

Personal names
Ayton | Sir | John | fl 1671 | Knight
Barrot | Sir | Erasmus de la Fountaine | fl 1671 | Knight
Coppin | Thomas | fl 1671 | [executor of Sir William Courten]
Courten | Sir | William | 1572-1636 | Knight | merchant and shipowner x Courteen | Sir | William x Curteene | Sir | William
Courten | William | 1642-1702 | naturalist x Charleton | William
Deureux | Walter | fl 1671 | [executor of Sir William Courten]
Lloyd | William | fl 1671 | [executor of Sir William Courten]
Mauleverer | Sir | Richard | ? 1623-1675 | Knight
Thompson | Maurice | fl 1671 | [executor of Sir William Courten]

Corporate names

Barbados | Caribbean
West Indies x Caribbean