Sarah's thoughts on buying land
Monday at noon Nov 22nd 1714
By Ruth Herman
I hope my dear Lady Cowper is not the worse for her standing so much last week and though for [some] reasons I wish nobody so much with the princess as yourself, for your own sake I desire you enjoy as much ease and liberty as is reasonable for you to do In your place till your next turn of waiting comes. But this advice, I must own, as good as I think it, was not the reason of this trouble which is to beg the favour of you to ask your lord when [he] can do it with not any manner of trouble if he has made any offers to buy an estate of William Gostwick near Bedford because the Duke of Marl[borough]. has a mortgage upon it and it must be sold and the men the Duke of Marl[borough] employs in those affairs think that Mr Gostwick pretends my Lord Chancellor makes great offers only to raise the price unreasonably upon him, but if your lord has really any design upon buying that estate or any part of it I am sure my Lord Marlborough will never think of it and I believe there’s so much loss in laying out money upon land that tis no great complement to anybody but to my Lord Cowper I am sure I have a great deal more real service than I can ever hope to pay.
Any time tomorrow, when you have some, to do so will be soon enough to answer this question.
Lady Mary Cowper was a lady of the bedchamber to Caroline, Princess of Wales, In her diary for 21 November she says: “I was ill from standing so long upon my Feet, for which Reason I did undress me as soon as I came Home, and stayed within for two Days, to recover myself”.
 Gostwick was well known for his indebtedness and managed to fritter away an inheritance of£1800 p.a. (£150,372.00 in today’s money). He agreed to sell his estate at a loss, but the creditors including Marlborough refused the deal, despite Gostwick’s plea that without this sale he would be obliged to abscond. The Duke of Marlborough had lent Gostwick money upon the estate. Before banking as we know it was firmly established mortgages in the eighteenth century could be transactions through private individuals as opposed to loans from institutionss.