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1612: Thomas Hobson prosecuted for profiteering in wheat


In the autumn of 1612, Hobson again faced a charge of engrossing wheat1; that is, of monopolising supply in order to sell it at an artificially high price. The Taxors, University officials elected annually to exercise the institution’s right to the supervision of weights and measures and the conduct of the trade in victuals, alleged that he had bought 37 acres of corn in the fields surrounding Cambridge and Grantchester from one Thomas Robson with that express purpose. In his defence, Hobson claimed among other things that he intended the corn for the provisioning of his household and animals only. The case ran for about two months and ended in Hobson’s absolution and dismissal.

The documents digitised here comprise:

• Act Book entries recording the progress of the case, 25 September –27 November 1612 (classmark: UA VCCt.I.41 and UA VCCt.I.8)

• Thomas Hobson’s appointment of his proctors, 24 September 1612 (classmark: UA VCCt.III.17/94).

• Allegations of Thomas Kitchin MA (Fellow of Trinity College), Taxor, [August or September] 1612 (classmark: UA VCCt.III.17/92)

• Interrogatories of Thomas Hobson for Thomas Robson, called as a witness by the Taxors, 16 October 1612 (classmark: UA VCCt.III.17/93)


Except for entries in the Act Book and a pro forma document appointing lawyers, all records are transcribed. Latin abbreviations have been extended; spelling and punctuation transcribed as seen. 

For an outline of the jurisdiction and procedure of the University courts, and the methodology employed in presenting records online, see the introduction to this CUDL collection.



1 see also his prosecution in the Court Leet in 1587.