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"For the rich men, the clothiers, be concluded and agreed among themselves to hold and pay one price for weaving, which price is too little to sustain households upon, working day and night, holy day and week day, and many weavers are reduced to the position of servants." The Liberty of St Edmund, covering the area of West suffolk, had been the barony of the Abbot of St Edmunds up to 1539.The Liberty now came under the control of the Crown.They had been used to being independent men, negotiating their production rates with clothiers, and controlling their own workrates. The clothiers had begun to set up their own weavers with looms, and fixing their pay.
It did this largely independently of the Abbey's decline and eventual closure.The details of each sale were settled by the Court of Augmentations which was responsible for the disposal of former monastic lands for the crown.Nicholas Bacon was Solicitor to the Court of Augmentations from 1537 to 1546, and he had local connections.After about 1120 it seems to have become an hereditary post.By 1536 the post of Steward of the Liberty had passed into the hands of Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk.
The Sheriff had never had a direct control over the area of the Liberty.