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Letter from Sir Thomas Clarges to the 1st Earl of Abingdon concerning the new Oxford city charter

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Letter from Sir Thomas Clarges to the 1st Earl of Abingdon concerning the new Oxford city charter

Author
Sir Thomas Clarges
Date
19 July 1684
Medium
Manuscript

In January 1684, at the Earl of Abingdon's behest, the Oxford Council agreed to surrender the city charter to Charles II (MS. Wood diaries 28, fol. 8). The Council had initially resisted the Crown's effort to undermine their charter but relented when the Earl promised that he would support the inclusion of additional privileges in a newly granted charter (MS. Wood diaries 28, fol. 2). The University, appalled at the prospect of new rights for the city, then interjected and demanded that the new charter contain a clause enshrining its right to the 'night watch' and power to levy a forty shilling fine on any person out after nine at night. Having provided his personal assurance to the Council, Abingdon was furious. In this letter, Abingdon is informed of a compromise brokered by the Lord Keeper. In return for the city agreeing to forgo its request for new privileges, the University would drop its demand for a night watch clause. The new charter, which secured the Crown the right to remove Council members, was presented to the city by the Earl on 2 October (MS. Wood diaries 28, fol. 33r; VCH Oxon., vol. 4, p. 124).

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