By the 20th century the stewardship of the Liberty of St Edmund and the Bury St Edmunds liberty were both in the hands of the Marquess of Bristol.King Henry VIII now began to convert the seized properties of the church into cash.
It was getting a steady stream of immigration into its cloth trade, and Gottfried believed that its population had by this time regained its pre-plague levels.
In 1340 the population was about 7,150, falling to 3,000 by 1440. Local agriculture was highly productive, depending on Bury for its market, and as a marketing centre for onward distribution.
The word of the monarch now held sway in the Liberty, but the area continued to hold itself somewhat separate from the rest of Suffolk.
This situation continued up until about 1970, and the hereditary Stewardship of the Liberty also continued until that time, although its importance was purely nominal by then.
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.
The independent weavers raised a petition against these new practices.
It would probably be 50 years before there was much interest in them from collectors.
Many manuscripts may have simply been disposed of as waste materials.
"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.