Petition of William Courten

Scope and Content

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'.

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.


Single item.

Access Information

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.

Acquisition Information

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).

Other Finding Aids

Collection level description.

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Conditions Governing Use

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.

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).