September 2011 - Love and Amitie
The letter below, signed by Barnabus Oley, describes the money he was leaving to the Master and fellows of Clare that should be paid to King's College after his death to help cover the various costs Clare incurred by leasing the area of land known as Butts Close from King's. This area of land is now more commonly recognised as being the tree lined avenue that forms the approach towards Clare College Bridge from the Backs. The Clare College bridge is now the oldest bridge crossing the Cam in the centre of Cambridge and as part of his role as 'Master of the fabrick', Oley saw not only the construction of the bridge but also the redevelopment of most of the buildings in Old Court which are the ones we still see today.
The more touching side to this otherwise fairly straightforward business transaction is the allowance of £10 made by Barnabas Oley that was left to the "Groomes or the children of such Groomes as suffered most losse by ye grasse of Butt Close being taken fro[m] them". From this phrase it is not difficult to imagine that the children of the grooms at King's would often use the area now occupied by the avenue for playing in.
For a transcription of the letter, please click here.