THE PARLIAMENTARY ARMY AND THE CROWN LANDS AS a result of the civil war and its aftermath, the state owed very large sums of money to the army for arrears of pay and for obligations incurred on behalf of the state. In April 1649 it was decided to secure these debts on the royal estates, and when the act for the sale of these estates was passed in July 1649 the soldiers were allowed to use their claims on the state-their debentures-to pay for purchases.1 A very large amount of the property was in the event bought by regiments or by smaller groups of soldiers. The immediate purpose of this essay is to try to discover the reality behind collective purchases of this kind. It has also a more general purpose-to shed as much light as a pilot survey can on the social composition of the parliamentary armies; for one of the conclusions of this investigation into the reality behind the regimental purchases is that it differed greatly from one regiment to the next in a way which illuminates the differing character of the regiments. It has often been supposed that collective purchases were a facade for purchases by a small number of grandees who bought up the debentures of the rest of the army at very low rates and carved great estates for themselves out of the Crown property. Thus a leading modern historian of the period writes that when the Crown lands came to be sold 'most of the purchasing power was already accumulated in the hands of a relatively small circle of officers'.2 In the light of this view I have chosen to investigate three group purchases, two of them by regiments- Twisleton's and Okey's- and one by a less formal group, the supernumeraries of north Wales. I The choice of Twisleton's regiment is determined by the fact that James Berry, the Major of this regiment, has been quoted as an instance of an officer who profited from regimental purchase.3 This regiment was one of the New Model regiments of horse and consisted of six troops of 100 men each, exclusive of officers. In the autumn 1 C. H. Firth and R. S. Rait (eds.). The Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum (1911). pp. 168-91; S. J. Madge. The Domesday of Crown Lands (1938). pp. 319-26. J. E. C. Hill, Puritanism and Revolution: studies in interpretation of the English Revolution of the seventeenth century, p. 177. 8 Ibid., p. 177.
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