swuklink: Isle Abbotts, Somerset: Relief of Marlborough, 1653  
Collection for the Relief of Marlborough, 1563
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In 1563, the town of Marlborough in Wiltshire was greviously damaged by the worst of a series of fires which destroyed some 250 houses, the Town Hall and the Parish church of St Mary the Virgin. When the Civil War broke out, the townsfolk there stood for Parliament and the town was beseiged and over-run by Royalist forces from the King's headquarters at nearby Oxford. The town thus had great sympathy from Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, for its plight and the Puritans ordered a collection to be made in aide of Marlborough in every parish in England and Wales.

Many parishes record the collection and below is reproduced the record from the small village Isle Abbats in Somerset which is in the possession of the Parish church of St Mary the Virgin;-


Collected in the Parish Church of Ile Abbotts and from house to house the summe of One Pound twelve shillings and three Pence towards the reliefe of the Towne of Marleborough, in Wiltshire, which was consumed by fire in the space of three or foure houres, there was burnt downe to the ground abut two hundred twentie foure dwelling Houses, besides many out-houses and stables, and most of the household goods and Wares in the shops of many of the inhabitants of that Towne, ammounting (in the first Survey) to the value of seventie thousand pounds, and upon a second more serious and strict review, unto ten thousand pounds more; The whole losse arising unto four score thousand pounds. Likewise there was burnt downe to the ground one of the churches, and the Market House.


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